Satsujin Kippu wa Heart-iro (The Murder Ticket Is Heart-Colored) is a 1990 standalone OVA based on a series of young adult novels for women by Yamaura Hiroyasu. Iri translated the show and did the initial timing. Yogicat did the detailed timing, I edited and typeset, and Redac and Xenath3297 did QC. The raw is an anonymous Internet rip from a Laserdisc and is pretty good, with excellent image stability and relatively little frame-blending.
Satsujin Kippu tells the story of Nagare Seiko, a teenaged girl who has been temporarily suspended from her private high school in Tokyo for defending a friend from bullies. She decides to take advantage of this involuntary vacation by taking a trip to Nagasaki with her black-and-white cat, Gonbei. On the train down, she meets a handsome young man, a guitarist name Takano Kyouichirou, only to learn that he had apparently been murdered days earlier. She also encounters Misora Chuuta, a brash youngster who is clearly interested in her – an interest she doesn't reciprocate – and an older man, unnamed, who helps her when she's in trouble. Seiko repeatedly crosses paths with Chuuta as she tours Nagasaki, despite repeated attempts to give him the brush off. Eventually, Seiko gets involved in a murder mystery concerning a prominent local family, the Totsugawas. Reluctantly accepting Chuuta's help, she works to unravel the twin mysteries of the ghostly guitarist and the Totsugawa family.
Satsujin Kippu is not a particularly deep mystery, and the solution comes out of left field, but it observes the rules of classical mystery fiction. (This allows the viewer to guess who the criminal is long before the main characters do.) Seiko makes a spunky heroine, never falling into tropes such as the maiden in distress or the tsundere. Chuuta is sufficiently eccentric to make him both interesting and suspicious. There's a lot more comedy and ghostly doings than clues and gore, so the result is a pleasant diversion for all ages (one brief nude scene aside). And besides, it has Gonbei, a cat that's rather talented: at one point, he gives Chuuta the traditional Japanese raspberry, the akanbe (pulling down one's lower eyelid and sticking out one's tongue).
The director, Sugiyama Taku, started at Tezuka Osamu's Mushi Productions, where he was Art Director for Sen'ya Ichiya Monogatari. He directed a number of other movies and TV series, including Hi no Tori 2772 and Bosco Daibouken. Toshihiko Seki, who played Misora Chuuta, has an extensive voice acting and stage resume, including Alexander in Reign: The Conquerer and Matsuda Kousaku in the Yawara properties. Matsuoka Miyuki, who played Nagare Seiko, has a more modest resume, including Fa Yuiry in the Gundam franchise.
Some translation notes:
- 3-kyu in Aikido. Aikido has two basic skill levels, kyu and dan. Within each level are grades, expressed by numbers. Kyu and dan are sometimes referred to as white belt and black belt, but other colors are used as well.
- Urakami Cathedral (St. Mary's Cathedral in Urakami) was built in 1895, when the long-standing ban against Christianity in Japan was lifted. It was completely destroyed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945 and rebuilt in 1959 on its original site.
- The Nagasaki Peace Park abuts Urakami Cathedral. It contains a 10-meter tall sculpture, pictured in the anime, by local sculptor Seito Kitamura.
- The Dutch Slope (oranda-zaka) is a hillside residential area of Nagasaki where Dutch merchants settled in the second half of the 19th century.
- Hinoki cypress bath. Hinoki cypress is a slow-growing Japanese tree. Its high quality wood is lemon-scented, light pinkish-brown, with a rich, straight grain, and is highly rot-resistant.
- Sannomaru means "third enclosure."