Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hi-Speed Jecy

As I've said before, I'm really fond of OVAs from the 80s and 90s. Orphan Fansubs has been very lucky to get help from two Laserdisc collectors, Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions, and ics- of lamonae. That has given us access to all sorts of rare shows that never made the transition to DVD. Hi-Speed Jecy has been on my wish list for a long time. Thanks to favorable circumstances, Orphan can bring you the entire series.

Like many Orphan projects, Hi-Speed Jecy has a rather checkered history. Anime Classic Rips (ACR) did the first three episodes and then dropped the show. Erik did four more on his own but ultimately grew dissatisfied with the quality of his initial encodes and stopped. The project lay dormant for three years after that.

Earlier this year, ninjacloud, Orphan's raw-hunter extraordinaire and part-time timer, found a complete set of Jecy raws on the Internet. That led me to reach out to Erik to see if I could use his scripts for episodes one to seven. To my surprise, he had scripts for all twelve episodes. Further, the news that Orphan was restarting the project gave him the impetus to go back and do new encodes of Jecy with an improved setup. Finally, the original translator volunteered to polish up the scripts. So this version of Jecy is translated by Ametuchi, timed or retimed by macros74 and ninjacloud, edited and typeset by me, QCed by Calyrica and konnakude, and encoded by Erik from his own Laserdiscs. Yay!

Hi-Speed Jecy is another OVA set from Studio Pierrot (they also did Dallos and Gosenzosama Banbanzai, among many others). It's based on a series of light novels and has a considerable backstory that the anime doesn't really flesh out. The hero is a young man named Jecy Moore. (It should be Jesse, of course, but the name is hardsubbed in the title.) His parents were killed by the evil Bismarck criminal gang when he was a youngster, and he has vowed revenge. Jecy hates weapons of all kinds. His only advantages are super-human speed and an organic, sentient spaceship named Paolon, which was created by an ancient, long-vanished alien civilization. Paolon can warp faster than light, absorb energy beam attacks (they act as food), beam people in and out, and otherwise dig Jecy out of the numerous scrapes he gets into. Jecy's closest friend is a beautiful young girl, Tiana. She's actually an artificial life form, created by Paolon as a companion. Jecy loves her but treats her more like a little sister.Tiana aspires to rather more than that, like any normal young woman, but Jecy is too guilt-ridden about the events that led to Tiana's creation.

Another major character is Falk Green, a priest of the Heartland Order, which is more fully fleshed out in the source novels than in the series. The Order believes that the universe is actually Hell, and that redemption must come through suffering. Accordingly, the Order's priests go around "saving" criminals by killing them painfully with a specialized weapon called a nerve gun. Falk is a classic "worldly priest" trope. He drinks, smokes, womanizes, fights, and generally enjoys himself, while always staying aligned to his mission. (German in the more recent Garo is another example of this kind of character.) Jecy is much more of a straightarrow and deeply opposes Heartland's murderous ideas, but he recognizes Falk's value in a fight.

The villains are the usual one-dimensonal cartoons. The patriarch, Lou Bismarck, seeks immortality and mastery of the universe. The eldest daughter, Jera, is a murderous strategist who has a yen for Falk. The only son, Cross, is a psychopath who just wants to blow things up and kill people, particularly Jecy. Only the younger daughter, Telaine, shows any depth, caught between family loyalties and her feelings for Jecy, which she never quite acts on. The Bismarck family seems able to run rings around the galactic military and police with ease, so why they act as criminals, rather than buying up politicians wholesale as in current times, is a bit of mystery.

Like many space operas from 25 years ago, Jecy has its weaknesses. Although the opening and ending songs are enjoyable, the background music is one cliche after another. (The "tension" music in episode 11 stands out as particularly hackneyed.) The plot is full of improbable coincidences and devices, many of which serve to get Jecy or Falk out of impossible jams. And Tiana simply doesn't have enough to do. She mostly stands around, looking pretty or being a damsel in distress. The other female characters, in contrast, are bold and active, whether for good or evil.

Despite these issues, Hi-Speed Jecy is a good watch. It provides glimpses of an interesting and rather dark alternate universe, populates it with an action-packed plot, and wraps up conclusively. I'm really puzzled why it was "left behind" on Laserdisc, when so many less deserving shows have been reissued on DVD or even Blu-Ray. It has action, explosions, heroes, villains, and even a little fanservice (equal opportunity, I might add). What more do you need?

Orphan is proud indeed to bring you Hi-Speed Jecy. As Miss Sasako always said, enjoy!









13 comments:

  1. Thanks Collectr, I was so happy to work with you, I like how you appreciate your staff with nice words...
    Man, I feel so energetic atm, I can't stop smiling, I told my family and they were so happy to see me getting praised on this field ^^
    Thanks again Orphan Staff ^^
    ~ninjacloud~

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  2. Many thanks for this! For years I've been wanting to watch these ovas; I went as far as downloading the raws I was able to found just in case it was the only way to watch it at all. I'm a big fan of 80's animes, and it has a special taste when they're this rare. You guys did an amazing job to bring us (and hopefully others) series. I thank you with all my heart and wish you the best of luck.

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  3. So nice to see this project finished after all these years. Like I've said in 4chan in the past, I've been one of the few individuals requesting for this project to be picked up for years (didn't want to start watching it and never getting a proper end), and I feel the need to express my gratitude for the hard work of the whole team. It takes real willpower to finish stuff not too many people showed interest for, and I feel those that did want to see it must show some kind of support.

    Sadly anime series can't escape the phenomenon of the bigger part of its audience mainly interested in newer stuff (that of course gets promptly forgotten when the new season comes), which is a shame cause I've lost count of how many times I gave an old series a shot and was pleasantly surprised.

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  4. Many thanx for this OVAs! We've been waiting for years with a couple of friends to have the oportunity of watching this!

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  5. Thanks so much for this! I first watched Hi Speed Jecy in about 1992 on a VHS from Anime Kyo UK. 23 years later (!) I finally have the opportunity to understand what the plot is about. Great work!

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  6. This is so awesome, I just discovered you guys and appreciate all the work you do bring these old anime titles I've honestly never heard about, thanks!

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  7. After watching this I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you again for the hard work of everyone involved. I was slightly confused by the ending though and would love other people's input on it. I'm aware that here wouldn't be a suitable place to discuss it as I wouldn't want to spoil it for people that haven't seen it yet. Can anyone recommend any forums to discuss the ending? Many thanks.

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    1. You're not alone. The team that worked on it couldn't agree on what happened either.

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    2. Ok I've made a thread on myanimelist.net about the final ep. I would be very keen to hear what other people made of the ending. I hope it's ok to post the link here? http://myanimelist.net/forum/?topicid=1461485

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  8. I thank you immensely for having completed this work.

    I had followed the sub of Anime Classic Rips (ACR) and Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions and I was very disappointed by the fact that they had not completed the series. :(

    It will be twenty years since I saw the pictures of this series on a Japanese magazine, "Animage" I believe, and it is since then that I wanted to see it.

    Thank you, really... thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Glad you liked it.

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