Thursday, August 18, 2016

Nora


Here's another project with a BakaBT connection, the 1985 sci-fi OVA Nora. I first learned about Nora in the long (and mostly unanswered) thread called "Old Anime for Subbing." It was one of the few shows listed that had a decent and accessible raw, so I downloaded it and eventually persuaded the Orphan translators to work on it. Iri did the bulk of the translation, but both gamnark and skypilot helped out in places. Accordingly, they decided that all three should be listed as translators. ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset (the signs are minimal), and Redac and I did the QC. Rather late in the game, Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions made a new encode from his own LaserDisc, with much better color fidelity than the original raw, and that's what has been used in this release. 

Nora is very much a creature of its time. It is set on a space station named Frontier Spaceport. In the forgotten depths of its service areas, a disgruntled scientist, Professor Dohati (formerly of MIT, natch), programs an AI called Artifiend, or Artie for short, to think of itself as the demon king. He directs it to conquer the world, which it does by infiltrating every computer system on Earth and in space and threatening to set off a nuclear war.  (Is it a coincidence that Artifiend visually resembles WHOPPR, the AI at the heart of 1983's War Games?) Dohati and Artifiend are opposed by another scientist, Professor Zachariasen, and his chance acquaintance, a teenaged girl named Nora Scholar. As might be expected, high-speed computational ability and pure logic prove no match for a teenaged girl's randomness, and the world is saved after suitably hazardous but completely PG adventures. 

Despite its Doomsday sci-fi plot, Nora is essentially a comedy. Nora sees everything that happens – from the freak accidents caused as Artie seizes control of the space station's computers to the booby-trapped journey to find Dohati's basement lair – as a grand adventure. She assumes that Artie is basically a teenaged boy whom she can wrap around her little finger, as she has already done with Professor Zachariasen. And the threat of nuclear Armageddon doesn't faze her in the least; to her it's just the tantrum of a lonely boy who needs some loving. She fixes everything in a breezy and offhand manner, alternating MacGuyver-like ingenuity with adolescent illogic, and then returns home. It's a fun ride and a ringing endorsement of Grrrl Power in an entirely 80s sexist way. 

Nora was played by the voice actress Yamamoto Yuriko, who also had the title roles in Lady Georgie, Mahoutsukai Sally, and Hello Sandybell. She sang the ending song in Nora as well as other shows. (Orphan fans may know her as the voice of Tomoe in Tomoe ga Yuku! or Telenne in Hi-Speed Jecy.) Professor Dohati was played by the late Nagai Ichigrou, a go-to voice actor for elderly, if slightly off-kilter, authority figures. He dubbed the voice of Dumbledore in the Japanese versions of the Harry Potter movies and Yoda in the Star Wars prequels. In anime, he showed a more manic and comic side as Happousai in Ranma ½ and Inokuma Jigoro in Yawara! Orphan fans may know him as the crazed narrator in Maroko/Gosenzosama Banbanzai! or the voice of Shima Togo in Yamato 2520. Professor Zachariasen was played by the late Utsumi Kenji, who also had a highly varied career. He dubbed Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies and Gimli the Dwarf in Lord of the Rings. In anime, he voiced the title role in Don Dracula, Alex Louis Armstrong in Fullmetal Alchemist, and Norimaki Senbei in the Dr. Slump & Arale-chan franchise, as well as many other roles. He appeared in Bavi Stock as well, but I don't know as which character.)

Romanization of the "Engrish" names caused endless problems. Dohati should be Dougherty, but it's spelled out in a sign. Zachariasen is listed in the ANN credits as Zakariasen, and Artifiend as Artifind. Only Nora's name is without controversy. And when Nora calls Artie a "memekurage," it's a fictional jellyfish due to an editor's misreading of xxクラゲ (xx kurage, or random jellyfish) as メメクラゲ (memekurage). 

So enjoy this early OVA, now finally subbed in English. We'll do the sequel, Twinkle Twinkle Nora Rock Me, if the translators feel like taking another dip in the pool.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you everyone involved in the 'Nora' project

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  2. Thanks for the effort everybody put in to this. Really appreciate the work that goes in to these old- er, classic anime.

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  3. Thank you very much for this!! :)

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  4. Thanks for your work! Please, please, do Twinkle Nora Rock Me, because I love showing it to other people.

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