Friday, September 25, 2015

Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, Take 2

The Orphan Fansubs nostalgia tour continues with a new version of Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki (St. Michaela School Drifting Story). In the original release post more than a year ago, I said, "If a better source turns up, I'll release a new version." Well, it did, so here's the new version.

This release is part of Orphan's ongoing collaboration with Piyo Piyo Productions. Erik has an extensive collection of Laserdiscs, many of which have never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. He also has a setup for near-lossless ripping, which facilitates encoding of these sometimes recalcitrant media. Tomoe's Run and Sei Michaela are just the first of what I hope will be many releases from this treasure trove.

In the original release post, I described, as best I could, the intricate and convoluted plot of Sei Michaela. It didn't make much sense then, and on repeated viewing, it made even less sense. To start with, it's not clear when the anime takes place. Because of the Japanese military uniforms and the World War II fighter planes, I thought it was set during World War II, but that has proved incorrect. In one exchange, the girls talk enviously about visiting the "discos in Roppongi," which implies at least the 1980s. In another, they talk about needing to train in martial arts in order to play "Oscar in the French Revolution"; Rose of Versailles began publication in 1982. So the anime is clearly taking place in "contemporary" times, e.g., the 1980s... except when it isn't. Let's try to straighten out the timeline.

The roots of the plot start during World War II, with the romance between a Japanese office, Karino Daisuke, and a well-born woman and mother named Yuko, who is mostly notable for having a star under her left breast. Yuko's daughter Yumiko falls in love with Daisuke. When she discovers that he is her mother's lover, she is heartbroken and becomes a nun.

Fast forward to the 1980s. Yumiko yearns to be seventeen again and in the arms of Daisuke. Somehow this summons him through time. He seduces her, and together they set in motion the "Michaela project." This involves setting up a strict Catholic school for girls that teaches singing, dancing, and martial arts to create a "Girls Crusade." The girls think they are training to become members of the Takarazuka Review. In fact, Daisuke intends to take them back in time to become "comfort women" for the Japanese Army in the Second World War. This will somehow inspire the soldiers to greater heights of valor and turn the tide of battle.

Daisuke's and Yumiko's nefarious plot in turn summons the attention of fallen angel (and intersexual) Hans Heilner, leader of the failed 13th century Children's Crusade. Hans travels through time and enrolls at the school disguised as a girl, Mimura Aiko. Hans wants to take the Girls Crusade back in time to defeat both the Church and God. It also attracts the attention of ninjas from the 17th century Shimabara Rebellion. They want to take the Girls Crusade back in time to fight the Tokugawa Shogunate. So there are three sets of time travelers -  Karino Daisuke, Hans Heilner, and the Shimabara ninjas - all of whom want to use the Girls Crusade for their particular cause.

At least, I think that's what's going on. There's quite a bit that's unclear. When Hans Heilner and the Girls Crusade reach the Shimabara Rebellion, they actually fight against the rebellion's leader, Amakusa Shiro. Yet in the concluding scene, a new timeline covering the World War II era has come into effect. Yuki is now the loving wife of Gonza, who was her servant in the original (historical) timeline. Gonza says that Hans and Amakusa created the peaceful, religion-free, nationalism-free world that now exists. So what was the outcome of the Shimabara Rebellion? What did Hans and the Girls Crusade supposedly do back in the 17th century, or even earlier? These questions are answered in the sequel, Sins of the Sisters... maybe. Or maybe not.

I'd like to again thank all the folks involved with this:
  • Translation: anonymous
  • Spot translation check: convexity
  • Timing: Eternal_Blizzard
  • Editing: Collectr
  • QC: Calyrica, CP
  • Raws and Encoding: Piyo Piyo Productions
This new version has allowed for additional QC, and there are numerous small changes and fixes throughout. This release is in two episodes, reflecting the organization of the Laserdisc.

Enjoy the improved video of this new encode. And if you figure out what's actually going on, be sure to let me know, okay?

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