Monday, September 28, 2015

We're Off to See the Wizard...

When I got my hands on Piyo Piyo Production's (that is, Erik's) first version of Oz, a 1992 two-part sci-fi OVA, I knew that Orphan had to sub it. Here was one of the better early 90s OVAs, and no one seemed to know it existed because it was marooned on Laserdisc.

The original encode didn't meet Erik's exacting standards, so he encoded it anew from his own Laserdiscs.The rest of the Orphan team was equally enthusiastic about the project. convexity translated it from scratch, m74 timed it, I edited and styled (there's very little typesetting), and Calyrica and Eternal_Blizzard did quality checking. Orphan Fansubs now proudly presents the results.

Oz is set in a post-apocalyptic near-future, following World War III. Much of the world has been reduced to desert. The surviving population has fragmented into many nations, and they're all fighting over the planet's declining resources. The only hope seems to be the legendary Oz, a lost laboratory founded by eminent scientists. Filicia Epstein, the surviving daughter of a family of prominent scientists, sets out with a mercenary named Yo Muto on a quest to find Oz and, she hopes, her missing brother Lyon, who is rumored to be there. Filicia and Muto get a lot more than they bargained for.

The scientists at Oz - well, Lyon at least - have been developing androids (called cybernoids or bioroids in the show), patterning their brains on Filicia's and Lyon's mother, Pamela, who (it turns out) was a homicidal maniac. Her murderous tendencies have been inherited not just by the androids but by Lyon, who wants to rule the world (of course). Lyon controls not only the Oz androids but a laser-based space weapon that can destroy anything on earth. With the odds heavily stacked against them, Filicia and Muto must find a way not just to survive but to stop Lyon and destroy the technology of Oz.

Oz is far from perfect, of course. It suffers from any number of improbable coincidences and deus ex machina plot twists, which are needed to rescue the main characters from the predicaments they get into. For example, the neutralizing of the space laser occurs far too quickly and easily (although if Lyon had watched Akira, he would've realized that controlling a space weapon is not all it's cracked up to be). None of the characters has much depth. The main android, 1019 is probably the most complex character, which says something. Still, it's well animated and very entertaining, and it does pose some interesting questions on what it means to be alive versus a machine, and human versus an artificial intelligence.

Oz was made just as Yawara! was wrapping up, so it's not surprising to see some overlap in the voice cast. Matsumoto Yasunori (Yu Muto) had a non-featured role in Yawara!, but he's all over OVAs of that era; for example, he plays the lead role in Starship Troopers. Fujita Toshiko, who shows great versatility as 1019, played Inukuma Tamao, Yawara's mother. Mitsuja Yuji (Lyon) had a bit part as Yawara's crush in the first episode. And Minaguchi Yuko (Filicia) was Yawara-chan herself. For me, it's a bit startling to hear Filicia Epstein, girl genius, talking in Yawara's nasal cadences.

Enjoy Oz in this first English edition!





4 comments:

  1. This is something I never expected to be translated. Thank you so much.

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  2. I know an old anime that deserves to be fansubbed more than anything: Lady Lady!! (and its second season, Hello Lady Lynn) Feel free to take a look or consider it if you want.

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  3. Finally got around to watching this. You guys did an excellent job. It was very enjoyable and actual had characterization to boot. Thanx.

    P.S.
    wondering if team Orphan has any interest in subbing Xanadu Dragonslayer Densetsu? The raw seems entertaining enough.

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