Monday, March 14, 2016

Samurai Spirits

Samurai Spirits: Haten Gouma no Shou is a 1994 movie-length TV special that, until now, has only been available in English as a dub. While many viewers prefer dubs to subtitles, I am always concerned that the Japanese script has been significantly altered or even completely rewritten. I like to see what the original creators intended, and quite a few members of the Orphan team agree. Hence, this first English subtitled version of Samurai Spirits.

This project is the brainchild of ninjacloud, one of Orphan's timers and its chief detective for finding obscure raws and OSTs. He acted as project leader throughout and recruited colleagues from Orphan and other groups. convexity translated, ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset the signs, Juggen styled the dialog and did the ending karaoke, and Calyrica, Ironman, konnakude, and Juggen did QC. The raw was encoded by an anonymous helper from a DVD ISO provided by BoomerCE.

Samurai Spirits is based on a game. It's yet another quasi-science fiction take on the Shimabara Rebellion and its aftermath. However, unlike Orphan's previous venture into this territory, Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, Samurai Spirits is totally PG-rated. In this retelling, Amakusa Shirou escapes death after the failure of the rebellion in 1638 by allying himself with the "Evil God Ambrosia," who grants him supernatural powers to effectively rule the land. (Why an evil god is named after the mythical drink of the Greek gods is not explained.) He turns on and kills his fellow "Holy Swordsman," who have come to Japan from all over the planet to fight him. (One of them comes from San Francisco, which wasn't founded until 1776.)

Fast forward a hundred years to 1738, and the Holy Swordsmen have been reborn. One of them, Hoahmaru, is living in a small village in Japan, mostly loafing around but occasionally acting as a local hero. When Amakusa's forces attack and destroy Hoahmaru's village (because they are Bad Guys, after all), Hoahmaru is reunited with the other reincarnated Holy Swordsmen, and together they must confront the evil that destroyed them a hundred years previously. The outcome is predictable, of course, but there are lots of good sword fights and secret moves along the way.

Speaking of secret moves, the names (always spoken aloud, of course) have been mostly left in Japanese. Here is a magic decoder ring, for the interested:
  • Kogetsuzan - Crescent Slash
  • Senpuuretsuzan - Whirlwind Slash
  • Bakuen Ryuu - Exploding Fire Dragon
  • Tenpa Fuujinzan  - Heavenly Divine Slash
  • Chobi Jishi - Lion of Jumping Tail
 So enjoy Samurai Spirits in its first English-subtitled release!

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