Sunday, October 15, 2017

Okane ga nai! Extras

So here's an orphan series, sort of: the four omake or extras from the Okane ga nai! OVA set. They are technically orphans because aarinfantasy only did the first three, and Nosmas omitted them from its R1 DVD rip altogether. Here are all four, from the R1 DVDs, softsubbed.

If you're not familiar with Okane ga nai! (No Money!), it's a yaoi OVA about a college student (Ayase) forced to pay off his debt to a loan shark (Kanou) by selling his body:


That's probably enough information for most people. If you need more, read the Wikipedia article.


These omake emphasize comedy rather than drama, so they're a showcase for the voice actors to display their comic talents. Ayase is played by the incomparable Fukuyama Jun, who has starred as Panda in Shirokuma Cafe, Geass in Code Geass, and Kuro-sensei in Assassination Classroom, among numerous other major roles. Kanou is voiced by Kosugi Juurouta, who has had many featured roles, including Touji in Ninku and Gisuke in Kage. The amateur AV photographer, Gion, is played by Okiayu Ryoutarou, whose 30-year career recently included the title role in Keppeki Danshi Aoyama-kun.


M74 encoded and timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis QCed. I haven't done much to the subtitles, other than restore Japanese name order and honorifics. On the other hand, the typesetting was an effort. For example, episode 2 has 27 lines of dialog and 7600+ lines of typesetting. Enough said.

You can get these mini-episodes from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Status

Here's a status report on current projects:
  • Stop!! Hibari-kun. All episodes encoded, translated, timed, typeset, and through QC. Episodes 1-6 released. This project desperately needs a dedicated translation checker. Awaiting translation check on episodes 9+.
  • Kasei Yakyoku. A joint project with Iquix. Episodes 1-4 in translation. We have new VHS raws for episodes 1-2, and laserdisc raws for episodes 3-4. We would really like to find a laserdisc of episodes 1-2. Awaiting translation.
  • Kindaichi movie 2. Laserdisc encode done. Translated, typeset. In fine timing.
  • Al Caral no Isan. Internet raw. Translated. In editing.  
  • Hoshineko Full House. Internet raw. Translated. In timing.
In addition, there are a number of resub projects pending, including Blue Sonnet and Kashou no Tsuki. Finally, we have a gigantic jigsaw puzzle to do: putting together scripts for AWOL Compression Remix from the VHS tapes of the original AWOL TV series.

As you can see, translation and translation checking are the bottlenecks. Lack of translation resources has led to putting a number of projects on the shelf for now, including Boyfriend, Chameleon, Condition Green, Dokushin Apartment, Every Day Is Sunday, Greed, MapleStory, Marginal Prince, Sanada 10, Smash Hit,and Techno Police 21C. New, interesting raws are arriving all the time.

If you'd like to help with translation, typesetting, QC, or even editing (I'll share, really), please let me know.

[Updated 08-Oct-2017]
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Seikima II - Humane Society

If you've followed Orphan's releases, you should know that many OVAs of the 80s and 90s were made as promotions for other media, like manga (Yuukan Club, Nozomi Witches), light novels (Eien no Filena), and video games (Cosmic Fantasy). 1992's Seikimatsu - Humane Society (Seikima II - Humane Society) was a promotion for a rock-and-roll band. It wasn't the first of its kind; it was preceded by 1991's Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band, for example. But it may be the strangest.

Seikima II was a Japanese death-metal band, of the kind parodied so lovingly in Detroit Metal City: kabuki makeup, songs about rape, murder, and satanic destruction, and a public persona of devilish evil. The OVA purports to tell the backstory of the band, which, according to its publicity, was composed of actual demons (akuma) from the parallel dimension Makai. In the OVA, five vicious demons (the five band members), led by Demon Kogure (the lead singer), are plotting the destruction of humanity. The only effective opposition comes from the saintly Rosa, who is actually the reformed war goddess Freyja in disguise. The demons attempt to activate their ultimate weapon, the Tower of Babel, before Rosa can complete her counterweapon, the Tower of Cain. The demons {spoiler alert} triumph and are on the verge on destroying the world when their leader suddenly decides that they should, instead, form a rock-and-roll band in order to convert people everywhere into demon worshipers. End of story.

For some reason, I am irresistibly reminded of the Monty Python sketch "Hell's Grannies." At the end, a pompous British colonel stops the sketch with: "Started off with a nice little idea about grannies attacking fit young men, but now it's got silly." Seikima II - Humane Society starts out as a nice little fantasy about demons versus gods, but then it gets silly. The demons themselves are goofy; for example, Sgt Luke is deathly afraid of celery, and Prof. Ishikawa uses his clairvoyance mostly to peek at women. The ending credits include a live performance by the band, replete with bad makeup, bad hairdos, and cheesy special effects, emphasizing just how silly it all is.



As befits a death-metal band, normal speech played backwards is used for various incantations. Where we could make them out, these lines are set reversed, in a different font and color, as "spells."

A few translation notes:
  • "Its name was... maneki neko." The famous beckoning cat figurine of Japanese commerce.
  • Odr (or Óðr) is a warrior from Norse mythology associated with the goddess Freyja.
  • The giant water bugs in Ishikawa's plague are native to east Asia but are now considered endangered in Japan.
  • A daisangen hand is an easily completed hand in Mahjong.
  • The Japanese dialog uses akuma for generic demons and the English loan word Demon as Kogure's first name.
The five band members played themselves, and the lead "demon" (Kogure) is quite good; his opening English monologue is a treat. Doi Mika, who voiced Rosa, played the lead in Explorer Woman Ray and provided the wonderful narration in all the Mushishi properties. Matsumoto Yasunori, who voiced Odr, Rosa's foremost soldier, played the lead in action shows Armor Hunter Mellowlink, Hard the Bounty Hunter, Starship Troopers, and Oz. He also showed his flare for comedy as Tohru the magician in Every Day Is Sunday and Dick Saucer in Dragon Half. The director, Kamiya Jun, worked on many projects, including Blue Seed and its sequel, Girl from Phantasia, and the first Kingdom series.

Seikima II performed from 1982 to 1999, with occasional reunion concerts after that. They continued their association with anime as well (thanks to the anonymous commenter for this information). Demon Kogure appeared in Wanna-Bes and Urotsukidoji II. The group did the theme song for Maze in 2001, and just last year they did the openings for Terra Formars Revenge. Because their activities and popularity continued well into the digital era, this OVA was released on DVD. Iri found the disc and translated it. ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. M74 encoded from the R2J DVD. Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band is also available on DVD, but no promises about that show.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that this genre of music is not aimed at my demographic. (I stopped listening to rock-and-roll in the early 1970s.) Accordingly, I'm not the best authority to consult on the merits of the band or the OVA. But whether you find it all entertaining or silly - or both - you can get Seikma II - Humane Society from the typical torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wan Wan Chuushingura

Wan Wan Chuushingura (The Doggie March) is a 1963 Toei Douga feature-length cartoon (they weren't called anime in those days). Starting in 1960 with Saiyuuki, Toei put out a feature-length color cartoon every year. These movies were aimed at children and have been characterized sometimes as faux Disney, with G-rated plots, lots of sidekicks and hijinks, and interpolated songs. In the hands of a master, like Takahata Isao, the formula worked brilliantly (1968's Horus no Daibouken); in less inspired hands, it produced mediocre results. Wan Wan Chuushingura is better than most. It is one of just two Toei productions from the 1960s that has not been translated into English. (The other is Andersen Monogatari.) It is best known for two things: first, it's based on a manga by Tezuka Osamu; and second, it was Miyazaki Hayao's first film as an animator (he did in-between animation).

Wan Wan Chuushingura tells the story of Rock, a country pup who lives in a mountain forest. His mother, Shiro, is a fierce defender of the local fauna from the depredations of Killer the tiger and his evil but clever sidekick, Akamimi the fox. (Never mind that tigers live in jungles, not on mountains, and are solitary except when mating.) When Akemimi lures Shiro into a fatal encounter with Killer, Rock vows revenge. However, he is too young and small to achieve much. He sets out for the city to recruit allies and falls in with a rough but lovable gang of street mutts. After many adventures, Rock eventually leads the city dogs into battle against Killer and Akamimi, with predictable results, if not exactly in a predictable way.

In the title, "wan wan" is Japanese onomatopoeta for a dog's bark, as "nyan nyan" is for a cat's meow. "Chuushingura"  (Treasury of Loyal Retainers) refers to a famous Japanese historical episode, the 47 Ronin, which is frequently dramatized in Japanese movies and plays. Except for the dogs seeking revenge against Killer, the anime doesn't draw on any part of the actual incident. (There aren't even 47 dogs.)

The animation in Wan Wan is fluid, and the action sequences are both exciting and good-looking. The movie is mercifully free of the soulful and romantic songs that periodically wrecked the pace of 1960's Saiyuuki. Aside from the opening and ending, the only other song is a lullaby that Shiro sings to Rock, and it's entirely appropriate in the context. On the other hand, there are a couple of "poetic" dream sequences that seem to be padding. Perhaps they were intended to give younger viewers time to calm down before the next thrill ride.

Because Wan Wan was made more than 60 years ago, the voice actors belong to a different era and are little known to modern audiences. Hori Junko, who played young Rock, had an amazing career, starting in the 1960s and appearing as recently as the last decade. The late Kamo Yoshihisa, who did a great comic turn as the clever but craven Akamichi, worked mostly in the 1960s. The fluid and engaging animation was directed by the late Daikuhara Akira, who worked on several Toei Douga features. He received a Lifetime Achievement Prize in 2006. The musical score is functional, but the catchy opening and closing song, The Doggie March, is a total earworm.

Iri translated the show, and M74 timed it. I edited and typeset (not much to do there), Nemesis and bananadoyouwanna did QC, and Skr encoded from a high-definition stream. The video is full of grain, which led to a large encode; of course, it might just be dirt on a non-remastered print rather than true film grain:


Maybe we'll get a real Blu-Ray someday.

So fall in line with the 47 (well, 31 or so) doggies and march, march, march to see this entertaining story. You can get it from the usual torrent sites and from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Akai Hayate

So here's another OVA stranded on the wrong side of the Digital Divide: Akai Hayate (Red Hayate), a four-parter from 1991. As far as I can tell, it is based on an original story by Yamasaki Osamu, who is better known as a director. His directing efforts include Gallery Fake, Yotoden (OVA and movie), Hakkenden (both series), and Hakuoki (all versions). Akai Hayate was licensed by the now-defunct Central Park Media and released in English on VHS tape; a rip of those tapes was released by ARR, minus seven minutes of episode 2. This is a new version, based on the Japanese laserdiscs, and complete.

Akai Hayate tells the tale of a secret ninja organization called Shinagara which has controlled Japan for "thousands of years." Its strongest warriors use "Shadow Armor"(mecha-like suits constructed from magic and shadows) and named attacks to fight:


As the story begins, Kanuma Hayate, the son of Shinogara's leader, Kanuma Tanzou, suddenly and inexplicably assassinates his father. As a result, Shinogara splits into warring factions, with three of its six Shadow Warriors (Sanezuna, Miyabi, and Genbu) supporting the new leader, Ranotei, and the other three (Hayate, Date Ikkaku, and Satomi Shuri) in rebellion. The Shinogara loyalists hunt down and mortally wound Hayate. To survive, he transfers his spirit into the body of his sister, Shiori. She must now evade Shinogara's myriad assassins and unravel the mystery behind her father's death, with the intermittent help of the other rebel warriors. The show has a very somber tone, with lots of violence and violent deaths. (There's a bit of nudity and sex too, typical of an OVA from that era.) As might be expected in a civil war, there are no winners and no happy ending.
 
The cast consists of stellar character actors. The gravelly-voiced narrator was played by Tesshou Genda, who played Moloch in the Azazel-san franchise, Colonel Muto in Joker Game, the narrator in Kyoukai no Rinne, and the title role in New Laughing Salesman. Kantou faction leader Date Ikkaku was played by Yao Kazuki, best known for his lead role as Dark Schneider in Bastard!! and his recurring role as Franky in One Piece. Nansou faction leader Satomi Shuri was voiced by Gouda Hozumi, who played one of the leads in the Sengoku-era Sanada 10 series.  Seki Toshihiko, who voiced the fighter Nagase Jun in the first episode, played Riki in Ai no Kusabi, Sanzo in all the Saiyuuki TV series, and the title roles in Alexander (Reign the Conqueror) and Kaiketsu Zorro. The director, Tsuruyama Osamu, is better known as an animator; he did the character designs for Wolf Guy, for example.

Because the ARR rip was incomplete and subsize, M74 and I had long wanted to do a new version. We enlisted Zalis of ReDone Subs, who transcribed the existing subtitles and filled in the missing seven minutes. He also did a cursory check of the translation, which is quite liberal. We haven't tried to correct the usual R1 compressions and omissions, beyond the obvious clunkers. Iri filled in a couple of missing lines of the episode 1 insert song; M74 timed; I edited and typeset; Juggen styled the songs; and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. M74 encoded from laserdisc images provided by an anonymous benefactor. This is an Orphan-M74-ReDone joint release. (Sorry, AniDB mods, but all three groups really did do significant work on it.)

While Akai Hayate feels like it consists of recycled elements, that may just be a modern perspective. I'm sure it felt much fresher when first released in 1991. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fumoon

Orphan and M74 continue their high-definition survey of the Tezuka Osamu "Love Will Save the World" TV specials with 1980's Fumoon. Based on Tezuka's manga "Next World," Fumoon is a passionate plea for humanity to treat its only world better and to save it from the scourges of war and environmental devastation.

Fumoon takes place in a world dominated by the rivalry between the Uran Union (USSR) and the Star Nation (USA). One of the worst victims of this rivalry is Horseshoe Island. Once beautiful, it is totally polluted and barren, except for oversized insects and centipedes. Out of this disaster has arisen a new intelligent species, the Fumoon. These "new humans" have supernatural powers and control of anti-gravity, among other capabilities, not to mention lovely feminine eyelashes:


The Fumoon are discovered by Dr. Yamadano, who captures one, takes it back to Japan, and shows it to his detective friend, Ban Shunsaku, and Ban's nephew and apprentice, Kenichi. The captured Fumoon, named Rococo, awakens and escapes in a flying saucer, taking Ban along. Keniichi vows to rescue his uncle and sets off for Horseshow Island with his little sister, Peach. There, they are captured by the Fumoon and learn the secret of the Fumoon's seemingly random activities: Earth is about to be enveloped by a cloud of deadly glass. The Fumoon are planning to escape, taking with them a cross-section of Earth's plant and animal life, but no humans, to seed a new homeworld.

This is only the beginning of the complications, which include, among other things, machinations by a Japanese industrialist to use the Fumoon in a reality TV show, mindless crowds destroying mankind's only hope for fending off the gas cloud, and all-out war between the Uran Union and the Star Nation. Ultimately, love does save the world, but not human love. I think Fumoon is a bit overstuffed with twists, turns, and incidents, but the show moves along at a brisk and entertaining clip, gliding over the plot holes.

Fumoon makes extensive use of Tezuka Osamu's "Star System," in which familiar characters are reused in new plots and often in new roles. For example, Ban Shunsaku appears in many Tezuka manga and anime, including Metropolis and Midori no Neko. (He had cameos in Bagi and Ginga Tansa 2100-nen too.) Keniichi's younger sister Peach is better known as Pinoko in Black Jack. The leader of the Uran Union is Duke Red. Although this can be distracting, Tezuka drew his manga that way, and the anime shows adapted from them follow his conventions. The use of the Star System was toned down after Fumoon.

Tomita Kousei played Ban Shunsaku throughout his career, including the recent Young Black Jack TV series. He also played Okocho in Ear of the Golden Dragon, which Orphan translated. Matsushima Minori played Peach (Pinoko) just this once. She had many other roles, including the lead in Akane-chan. Okamoto Mari (Rococo) played Emiya in Ginga-Tansa 2100-nen. She appeared most recently in this year's Little Witch Academia. The late Takiguchi Junpei (Yamadano) is probably best known as the voice of the Millenium Earl in the original D.gray-man series. The late Utsumi Kenji, who played the industrialist Gamata, played Ham Egg in the original Astro Boy, Dracula in Don Dracula, and many other Tezuka Osamu characters.

Yogicat transcribed the subtitles, which were professionally done, and M74 timed them. I edited and typeset, and M74 and Nemesis did QC. M74 encoded from a BDMV graciously provided by Beatrice Raws. This is a joint Orphan-M74 release.

While I prefer Tezuka's more tightly plotted specials, like Ginga Tansa 2100-nen, Fumoon is very entertaining, and its critique of environmental devastation, not to mention the threat of nuclear war, looks remarkably prescient. Unfortunately, nothing like the Fumoon has appeared (so far) to save us from ourselves. You can get the release from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.



Clearance Sale, continued

As I wrote in this blog post, Orphan will be releasing backlogged unique raws for which there is no translator. Our second release under this policy is a pair of anime OVAs from the fertile mind of Eguchi Hisashi, the creator of Stop!! Hibari-kun! (which is stalled, as always, at translation checking).  The first is 1990's Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoka Narudesho!; the second is 1991's Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show. Both are anthologies of short segments; some of the segments in Nantoka Narudesho! are live action. M74 encoded these raws from a laserdisc rip provided by ics-. 

This release is available from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Aoki Honoo (Blue Flames)

Aoki Honoo is a one-shot OVA from 1989, based on a six-volume manga by Yanagasawa Kimio, a prolific mangaka who is almost unknown in the West. It was translated by Random Masters and released by ACR (Anime Classics Review), but the encode was hardsubbed and subsized (240p), which made it difficult to watch. Because Orphan has recently acquired the ability to encode VHS tapes, M74 and I decided to do a new version at full resolution (480p), with softsubs.

Aoki Honoo makes for uncomfortable viewing, at least for me. It is the story of a heel (viewed kindly) or a sociopath (viewed clinically) who claws his way toward the top over the bodies of his friends, particularly his girlfriends. The main character, Kaizu Ryuuichi, is a high-school senior determined to escape from his small-town upbringing and achieve independence from his family. He systematically seduces and extorts money from a series of women, starting with a local hostess, Sayuka, and then the local rich girl, Naito Emi. However, he promptly abandons or two-times his current girlfriend, whoever she is, when a more promising opportunity appears. Because Ryuuichi is so cold and calculating, it's difficult to understand why women fall under his spell. Perhaps this screencap offers an explanation:


He has big hands, too.

Ryuiichi was voiced by Horuichi Kenyu, who played Nest in Eien no Filena, and Emi was voiced by Andou Arisa, who played Filena herself. Another of Ryuuichi's victims, Kuroeda Keiko, was voiced by Ikura Kazue, who had leading roles in the City Hunter and All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku-Nuku franchises. The director, the late Ishikuro Noboru, had an extensive resume with a focus on sci-fi. His projects included Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Megazone 23, and Tytania.

The original script was by Random Masters and has not been checked, although a few obvious issues have been fixed. M74 transcribed and timed the subtitles from the ACR release. I edited and typeset. bananadoyouwanna and M74 did QC. M74 encoded from gamnark's uncompressed VHS rip. (The show has never been released on Laserdisc, let alone DVD.) This is a joint Orphan-M74 release.

Aoki Honoo is competently made and focuses on a character type that is rare in modern anime. There's a lot of nudity and sex, so it's definitely NSFW. If you're interested in spite of that (or because of that), you can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Best of Times, Worst of Times

Streaming has transformed the hobby of fansubbing. Traditional fansubbing, that is, the creation of amateur translations for current series, has almost completely disappeared, because almost all series are streamed with professional (or near professional) English translations. The most active and popular "fansubbing" group is HorribleSubs, which uses automated processing to package up anime streams for computer playback. For most people, that's good enough.

At the same time, interest in the anime back catalog has increased, but nowhere near as much as traditional fansubbing has declined. Orphan has been able to increase its output substantially (from a low starting point), but that is precariously balanced on the availability of a small number of contributors, particularly translators. The community of back-catalog enthusiasts, split across groups like Orphan, Soldado, Saizen, Live-eviL, etc., is pretty much the same as it was a few years ago. And I see no evidence that the fan base for old shows is getting much bigger.

That's a shame, really, because for back-catalog enthusiasts, this is the Best of Times. More and more material is becoming available. There are a number of factors at work:
  1. Used laserdiscs and VHS tapes are flowing into the second-hand markets, particularly in Japan, as owners and collectors age and try to dispose of bulky physical artifacts. This has been Orphan's best source for material that was stranded on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. We've occasionally found shows that have never appeared in Western online references like AniDB, ANN, and MAL.
  2. Japanese media companies are remastering and releasing Blu-Ray editions of shows that were hits when shown. Most of these are from the 21st century and are awful-looking upscales from the 480p digital animation era. However, a few are beloved shows from the cel-animation era, like Yawara!, Oishinbo, and the Tezuka Osamu "Love Will Save the World" specials; and after remastering, they look wonderful. I'm hard pressed to understand the market for a $1000 complete edition of Yawara! in hi-def, but I'm grateful nonetheless that it exists.
  3. Most recently, Japanese streaming companies are putting older anime online to beef up their offerings. Amazon Japan is the leader, but NetFlix Japan, Hulu Japan, and UNEXT all have substantial catalogs of older shows and movies.
This third development is relatively recent and rather unexpected, but it makes economic sense for the media companies. Digitization of cel-based animation is only one step, and not necessarily the most expensive step, in preparing a physical release. Blu-Rays typically require remastering as well as creation of extra content to entice buyers. After digitization, Blu-Ray production requires mastering of physical media, design and manufacture of a physical enclosure, creation of marketing campaigns and material, predicting and managing inventory, and so on. In contrast, streaming only requires digitization and a licensing agreement with a streaming company. While a few of the streaming offerings have clearly been remastered, most have not.

So if you love older anime and you live in Japan, this is a Golden Era. But as Arthur Clarke pointed out in Childhood's End, gold is the color of autumn, and winter will follow. The analog-only releases will become unreadable as tapes and discs age and playback equipment breaks. It's a race against time to get VHS tapes and laserdiscs digitized, and success depends on the continuing efforts of a handful of collectors. Remastering old show as Blu-Rays is a hit-or-miss proposition economically. Once the major hits are done, the media companies will have little incentive to continue. And finally, the streaming model has unproven payback and longevity. Content disappears as licenses expire or streaming companies need to reclaim storage space. And if you don't live in Japan, you're SOOL.
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dragon Fist, Take 2

When Orphan released Dragon Fist last year, we used an Internet raw based on a VHS tape; it was the only raw available at the time. Subsequently, the team's ongoing shopping spree for second-hand Japanese laserdiscs turned up a copy of Dragon Fist. After some delay, it was shipped to Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions; after further delay, he released a new encode; and after even further delay, we retrofited the original script to the Erik's encode, producing a new version of the show.

The new encode is a significant improvement in video quality over the original; however, the show is the same old Dragon Fist - mystical Chinese martial arts crossed with high-school drama crossed with sci-fi cloning experiments. You can read the original blog entry for more details and the original credits. For this version, ninjacloud tweaked the timing, I tweaked the typesetting, and banandoyouwanna did a release check.

This new version supercedes the previous version, which will be deleted. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Alice in Dreamland

Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland has inspired several Japanese anime projects, including a 1983 World Masterpiece Theater adaptation and the more modern Heart no Kuni no Alice. Alice in Dreamland is the latest, a 2015 independent anime movie by Kentaro Hachisuka. It appears to be be his first movie (he's done three more since), and it's quite strange: a stop-motion animation done with dolls created by Mari Shimizu. The dolls perform against backdrops that are part Hieronymus Bosch and part Yellow Submarine:



The expressionless dolls and the strange backgrounds impart a nightmare-like feeling to the movie, which is probably what the director intended.

The plot is suitably meta, as befits a modern retelling. Alice is summoned by the White Rabbit to save Wonderland from spreading Darkness. However, she knows Alice in Wonderland is a story and that this must be a dream. And so it proves, but at the end, the now grown-up Alice sees the events of her dream begin to unfold for real. Shades of 1953's Invaders from Mars, a sci-fi movie that colored my nightmares for years. (There's also a little homage to a famous scene from The Seventh Seal; see if you can spot it.)

The two leads are played by well known seiyuu:
  • Uchida Aya (Alice) has had featured roles in many recent series, including Ai Mai Mi, Izetta the Last Witch, Kemono Friends, and Trinity Seven. She played Ascoeur, one of the co-leads, in Kiddy Girl And.
  • Shimono Hiro (White Rabbit) burst on the anime scene as the lead in RahXephon and has had major roles ever since, including the leads in 30-sai no Hoken Taiku, ACCA, the BakaTest franchise, The World God Only Knows properties, and my personal favorite, Nagasarete Airantou.
The other voice actors are less famous. The songs are by a group called Black Violets and are suitably weird.

So how did the thoroughly modern production end up as an Orphan release? Sometimes, projects are the result of long, painstaking planning; and sometimes, they just fall on you unexpectedly. A BakaBT member who goes by the handle of Champstice messaged me out of the blue. He had commissioned a script of Alice in Dreamland and done preliminary work on it, but he needed help in making it a finished production, so off we went. Heatmetal, who usually works in J-drama, did the translation. Champstice did the preliminary timing, editing, and styling. Yogicat did fine timing, I did final editing and typesetting, and Calyrica and Nemesis QCed. M74 encoded from the R2J DVD. (There's a Blu-Ray release too, but we haven't found it.) Alice in Dreamland is a joint release between Orphan and Champstice's J-drama group MegaBeast Empire (MBE).

So let me invite you to another trip down the rabbit hole. You may not find it to be your cup of tea, but if you're interested in leaving the well-trodden paths of typical anime, take the Cheshire Cat's advice and "Follow me." You can get Alice in Dreamland from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. Because of a mistake in the credits, the files have been updated to v2. A patch to go from the v1 files to the v2 files can be found here.

By coincidence, today (September 8) is the second anniversary of the passing of our wonderful colleague, CP, QC extraordinaire and passionate anime devotee. A lot of time has passed, but our loss remains undiminished.
 

 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nozomi Witches

Nozomi Witches is 1992 three-part OVA about the astonishing rise of Shiba Ryoutarou from happy-go-lucky first-year high school student to championship boxer. It is based on a 48-volume (!) manga by Nobe Toshio and was released before the mid-point of the manga's ten year run. Drawing on the early volumes, the OVA tells a complete story, through the conclusion of the Olympic tryouts. It's not just a teaser for the manga.

When Shiba moves into a new housing development, his next door neighbor is another high-school student, Egawa Nozomi, who has just returned to Japan from New Zealand. She spots potential in Shiba that no one else, including Shiba himself, sees and tricks him into taking up boxing. Before long, Shiba is winning fights, always by a knock-out, and attracting the attention of professional trainers and scouts. His rise is so fast and so unexpected that he half-believes Nozomi has bewitched him. In a way she has; before every fight, she gives Shiba her "good luck charm" in the form of a classic shounen mantra: "Don't worry. Have confidence. If you set your mind to it, you can do anything." Shiba fights for her and her dream as much as anything else.

The title, Nozomi Witches, is an unfortunate bit of Engrish. At first glance, it appears to be an adjective and a plural noun, but that can't be right, because Nozomi is a name. Actually, "witches" is being used as a verb, in the archaic meaning of "casts a spell." Modern English would use "bewitches," and indeed, the first translator of the show titled it Bewitching Nozomi. I've stayed with the usual title because the show is listed as Nozomi Witches in all the anime databases.

When I started on the show, I thought Nozomi was an Adachi Mitsuri work, because of the similarity of the character designs to Hiatari Ryoukou:


This is not a coincidence. Nozomi Witches has the same director, composer, character designer, art designer, and production company as Hiatari Ryoukou.

Although Nozomi adheres closely to classic sports shounen tropes, it's a very enjoyable show, with appealing characters, a lot of comedy, and some modest rom-com undertones. I'm rather skeptical about Shiba's ability to "power up" and find some new punch or counter just when he needs it, but shounen is shounen. Also, many of Shiba's opponents look too big and heavily muscled. In 1992, the weight spread in the Olympic lightweight boxing division was only four kilograms (nine pounds). However, these are minor quibbles.

Shiba was played by Hayashi Nobutoshi, whose best known role was Guts in Berserk. He also played the title role in Generator Gawl and the antagonist Nanbara in Hand Maid May. Nozomi was played by Tsuru Hiromi, whose storied career includes the title roles in Ghost Sweeper Mikami and Perrine Monogatari, Kajima Miyuki in Miyuki and Keiko in Hiatari Ryoukou (both Adachi Mitsuri shows), as well as Madoka in Kimagure Orange Road. Morikawa Toshiyuki (Nanjou) played the lead role in Gallery Fake and Inugami Akira in Wolf Guy, which Orphan translated. He has also appeared in hundreds of video games. The late Miyauchi Kohei (Eddie) played the grandfather in Tsuki ga Noboru made ni, which Orphan translated. The director, Sugii Gisaburou, started as an animator on the first color Japanese cartoon, Hakujaden, worked on all of Tezuka Osamu's Anirama movies, and went on to direct such classics as Night on the Galactic Railway.

The impetus for the project came from Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions. Back in the VHS-fansubbing era, Erik had worked on one of the early subtitled version of Nozomi Witches, created by Lupin Gang Anime. He had always hankered for a better version. Fortunately, he had the original scripts, the laserdiscs, and the Orphan team. Iri checked the dialog, and convexity translated the songs from official lyrics. ninjacloud retimed the dialog, and Yogicat did the songs. I edited and typeset, and Juggen styled the OP and ED, which are terrific. banandoyouwanna and Nemesis did QC. Erik encoded from his own laserdiscs.

Orphan is quite proud to present this version of Nozomi Witches. Sports anime is not my thing, and neither is shounen, but I enjoyed the show from start to finish. I hope you will too. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. We'll be uploading the original soundtrack as well.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Orphan Fansubs Labor Day Clearance!

Yes, our inventory is overflowing here at Orphan Fansubs, so it's time for a big back-to-school sale to clear the backlog. We're literally giving things away here, folks, so don't hesitate to pick something up for your PC or Mac. Everything must go!

Seriously, the team has been accumulating materials far beyond its limited bandwidth for translation and translation checking. Accordingly, we'll be doing two things:
  1. Torrenting unique raws for which there is no translator, in hopes of inspiring a Japanese translator to help. (Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions has always torrented his raws, so those are already available.)
  2. Releasing shows that need translation checking but have no resources as "works in progress," again in hopes of inspiring a translator.
So let's get the party rolling!

Our first release under this policy is the raws of Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, a 1989 three-part ecchi OVA. (Finding translators for ecchi materials is even harder than normal shows.) It has languished in our raw archive for close to two years. M74 encoded these raws from a laserdisc rip provided by ics-. The only other raws available are VHS rips, so this is a noticeable improvement.

This release is available from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Stay tuned for more bargains from Orphan Fansubs!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Yuukan Club (The Leisure Club)

The 1991 OVA Yuukan Club (The Leisure Club) is about six high school students who are the sons and daughters of the elite and powerful. Together, they run the Student Council at their private high school and still have time for adventures as The Leisure Club.



Clockwise from the top left corner:
  • Bidou Granmarnier, son of the Swedish Ambassador. He's a playboy with lovers around the world.
  • Kenbishi Yuuri, daughter of the Kenbishi conglomerate. She has inhuman appetite and stamina.
  • Shouchikubai Miroku, son of Superintendent General, Metropolitan Police. A mechanical genius.
  • Kizakura Karen, daughter of a jeweler. She's primarily characterized by her adult sex appeal.
  • Kikumasamune Seishirou, son of a major hospital's director. An an intellectual martial arts master.
  • Hakushika Noriko, daughter of a tea ceremony master. She is a Go master.
All of the Japanese characters are named for brands of sake; the one westerner is named for a French orange liqueur. The Chinese characters in episode 2 are named for Chinese alcoholic beverages.

The OVAs consist of two standalone episodes. In the first, the Leisure Club must contend with a nefarious petnapper. In the second, they get entangled with the Hong Kong mafia after impulsively flying there (in the Kenbishi private jet) to eat and shop. The episodes are random arcs from Ichigo Yukari's Yuukan Club manga, which ran to 19 volumes. In both, the emphasis is on comedy and madcap adventures. The franchise also includes a 2007 live-action TV series, which seems to have more of a mystery focus.

The voice cast is like a Who's Who of Japanese voice actors from the last 30 years:
  • Tsujitani Kouji (Kikumasamune Seishirou) played the lead in 3x3 Eyes, Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and Otaku no Video, as well as Miroku in the Inuyasha franchise.
  • Katsuki Masako (Kenbishi Yuuri) played Maroko in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and its movie version, Maroko, Mira in Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet, and Tsunade (Fifth Hokage) in the Naruto franchise.
  • Tominaga Miina (Kizakura Karen) played Persia in Magical Fairy Persia, Hikaru in episodes 2-6 of Chameleon, Karen in DNA^2, and Kamiya (the antagonist) in Tokimeki Tonight.
  • Hidaki Noriko (Hakushika Noriko) played Satsuke in My Neighbor Totoro, Akane (the female lead) in Ranma 1/2, Peter in Peter Pan no Bouken, Mrs. Yamada (the mother) in the first two Chii anime series, Near in Death Note, and Kikyo in the Inuyasha franchise, among others. She is still active and recently appeared in Little Witch Academia.
  • Koyasu Takehito (Bidou Granmarnier) has appeared in hundreds of video games. He played Izumi in Zetsuai and Bronze, Doujima Gin in Shokugeki no Souma, Thirteen in Grimoire of Zero, Dio in Jojo's Bizarre Adventures, the title role in Master of Mosquitron, and Lennon O'Sullivan in Yamato 2520. He's currently appearing in 18if and Elegant Yokai Apartment Life.
  • Seki Toshihiko (Shouchikubai Miroku) played Sanzo in all iterations of the Saiyuki franchise (including the current one), Matsuda in the Yawara! properties, Riki in the original Ai no Kusabi, Zorro in Kaiketsu Zorro, and Mousse in Ranma 1/2.
  • Nagai Ichiro (the Hong Kong mafia leader) provided the off-the-wall narration in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and Maroko. He also played Professor Doherty in Nora, Togo in Yamata 2520, and, of course, Happosai in the Ranma 1/2 franchise.
  • Ogata Kenichi (the Hong Kong chef) played the put-upon father in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and Maroko, as well as Smee in Peter Pan no Bouken and, most recently, Gran Torino in Boku no Hero Academia. However, he's best known to me as the voice of Ranma 1/2's Sataome Gemna, whose alter ego - the grumpy panda - is my avatar on most anime forums.
  • Oobayashi Ryousuke (Miroku's father) played Tendo Soun, Akane's father, in Ranma 1/2.
  • Yokoo Mari (Yuuri's mother) appeared in Oz, Outlanders, and, most recently, Gangsta.
Most of them have also done h-anime work. (A voice actor's gotta earn a living, you know.) The director, Shibuichi Setsuko, is a veteran animator. She also directed Damekko Dobutsu (Useless Animals), one of my favorite short series. The songs are by Toy Boys and are typical 90s hard rock.

Iri translated the show, Yogicat timed it, I edited and typeset, and bananadoyouwanna and Nemesis did QC. The raws are from laserdiscs, encoded by Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions. The first episode includes a recorded performance of Toy Boys' Psychedelic Beat, which is used as an insert song in the episode. gamnark bought the CD single of the song, which facilitated translating the lyrics. The names of the Chinese dishes in episode 2 are a bit problematic; they are a mangled mixture of Mandarin and Cantonese spoken by a Japanese actor with a faux Chinese accent. gu niang (姑娘), also used in episode 2, is a Chinese word meaning a young girl or maiden.

So enjoy Yuukan Club. It is, as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says of Earth, Mostly Harmless. There's little onscreen violence and no nudity. (This can be seen as a plus or a minus, depending on your point of view.) You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. This episode 1 CD single (Psychedelic Beat, Shake Dance) is also available.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Eien no Filena

Eien no Filena (Eternal Filena) is a 1992 OVA series with six episodes. It's based on a series of light novels written by Takeshi Shudou and illustrated by Takada Akemi. In 1995, it was made into a role-playing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Although the game was only released in Japan, patches and walk-throughs are available in English.

Eien no Filena is set in a fantasy empire vaguely similar to the Roman Empire, but with most mod cons - TVs, telephones, and cars, but not airplanes. Like Rome, this Empire has gladiatorial contests, between slaves called Battlers. Unlike Rome, the contests are scripted, sort of a lethal version of today's professional wrestling bouts. (The opening episodes' gladiatorial combat scenes contain graphic violence.)

The protagonist of the story, Filena, is the surviving princess of a kingdom called Filosena, which is wiped out by the Empire in the opening moments of the story. Raised as a boy, Filena fights as a Battler, using her wits and speed to compensate for her small stature and lack of strength. With the help of friends, including her "wife" Lila - another slave - Filena must outwit and outlast her enemies in order to reclaim her destiny and her throne. The show is, after all, "the story of a hero," as the opening narration repeatedly proclaims. Except... the show never gets there. Rather like Wolf Guy, it gets to the Big Reveal of the Big Bad and then stops.

Perhaps the OVAs were just a teaser for the novels. Also, they were released before the light novel series was finished. Either way, the inconclusive ending make the show a bit of a disappointment. In addition, the possibilities of Filena's gender switch and her "marriage" to Lila are never explored. Filena's disguise as a man is thin: she has a nice figure, and it shows.


 Nonetheless, the male characters don't seem to catch on.

This project started in Stardust Fansubs. At Stardust's request, konnakude brought it to Orphan to be reworked and completed as a joint project. Exode of Stardust did the original translation, and Mitsora of Stardust translation checked episodes 1-3. tenkenX6 checked the last three episodes. Yogicat timed, I edited and styled, and Calyrica,  konnakude, and VigorousJammer did QC. The raws are Laserdisc rips from the Internet and are fairly good.

Filosena was played by Andou Arisa, a veteran voice actor with many roles to her credit, including a number of h-animes. For example, she appeared in Doukyuusei Climax, which Orphan translated. Lila was played by Mizutani Yuko. She too has many normal and h- credits, including Pinoko in all the Black Jack properties and Rika in Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, another Orphan project. Horiuchi Kenyuu (Nest) has an extensive resume, including Jin Akira in Wolf Guy and the title role in Guin Saga. Hori Hideyuki (Baraba) also had a lengthy career. The background music and ending song, by guitarist Jinmo, are spare and very effective. The character designs by Koizumi Kenzo, based on Takada Akemi's original illustrations, are unusual, featuring normal noses and eyes rather than the usual anime conventions.

I'd really like to know how Eien no Filena turns out. Everything on the web seems to reflect the game. If anyone has read the light novels, feel free to post an extensive spoiler in the comments. Meanwhile, you can get the OVA at the usual torrent sites, from bot Orphan|Arutha in IRC channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. You can also get the original soundtrack on the usual torrent sites.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Daishizen no Majuu Bagi

Orphan and M74 are proud to bring you a new version of Tezuka Osamu's 1984 TV special Daishizen no Majuu Bagi (usually translated as Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature). This release features a high-resolution, 720p encode and, for the first time, a professional translation. With this show, we've reached the halfway point in our collaboration with Beatrice Raws to release all of Osamu's NHK TV specials in high-definition.

Bagi tells the story of a human-cougar hybrid created in a super-secret government lab. Bagi escapes and is adopted as a normal kitten by a boy named Ryousuke, whose mother actually created Bagi as an experiment. As Bagi grows up, she starts to exhibit human traits, including the ability to stand on two legs and to write. Realizing that she is attracting suspicion, Bagi runs away. The devestated Ryousuke turns rebellious and joins a biker gang. Nine years later, the gang encounters the now fully grown Bagi. She tears everyone to pieces except Ryousuke, whom she recognizes. Together, they set out to discover the secret of Bagi's origin and to find Ryousuke's mother. Many wild adventures ensue.

The show is filled with nice touches. While the young Bagi looks like a normal kitten, the grown Bagi is a full anime cat-girl, complete with (fur-covered) breasts. This allows for some fanservice interludes, but they're not over the top. Bagi is very loyal to Ryousuke, a trait not normally associated with cats, particularly big cats, and she has the perplexing habit of sometimes dressing up in clothes and sometimes going bare, without any particular rationale for the choice. At one point, Ryousuke is guarded by Cerem Bond, a sort-of James Bond parody, at least if the background music can be taken as a clue. Bond leaves every decision to chance, kind of like Two-Face (Harvey Dent) in Batman. And various members of Osamu's "star system" show up as bit players.

According to Wikipedia, Bagi was Tezuka Osamu's protest against the Japanese government's decision to allow research on recombinant DNA. Today, the furor over gene manipulation has only grown, with large companies creating genetically modified organisms (GMO) for commercial profit, and a growing segment of consumers demanding clear labeling (fiercely resisted by agribusiness) and GMO-free food. The advent of inexpensive techniques for DNA manipulation, such as CRISPR/Cas9, means that recombinant DNA research will become ever more widespread - and potentially ever more dangerous.

I've chosen to use the literal translation of Bagi's name (バギ) rather than Baggy, which appeared in previous English translations. (Baggy would be バギー.) There's no reason to alter the Japanese title. For this release, M74 transcribed and timed the subtitles and encoded the BD source. I edited and typeset. We both did QC, along with Nemesis.

The adult Ryousuke was played by veteran seiyuu Inoue Kazuhiko. He has had starring roles in many shows, playing Yuki Eiri (the seme) in Gravitation, Saruwatari Gotou (co-lead) in Moonlight Mile, Tojo Iori (the noble gangster) in Tomoe ga Yuku, and Hatake Kikashi in the Naruto franchise. However, he's best known to me as the glorious comic voice behind Nyanko-sensei (and its alter ego, Madara) in all six seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou. Shimazu Saeko, the voice of Bagi, has also had a fine career, playing Yuri, one half of the eponymous Dirty Pair, as well as featured roles in the Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura franchises. Haneda Kentarou, who composed the music, has worked on many shows, including Barefoot Gen 1 and 2, Odin: Starlight Mutiny, Sherlock Hound, and the original Macross TV series and movies. Tezuka Osamu co-directed; he needs no introduction.

So enjoy this Tezuka Osamu classic. You can get it from the usual torrent sources or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kidaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 1 ("full 480p")

When Orphan released its LD-based version of Kidaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 1, there was viewer pushback on the 640x480-with-letterboxing format that the encoder chose. Some viewers thought it should have been cropped to 640x352 (or thereabouts). Personally, I liked the letterboxing, as it minimized the subtitles' impingement on the limited viewing area, but that was just IMHO.

Shortly after movie 1 was released, a team member noticed that both movies had been broadcast on HDTV in Japan. We were too late to capture the first movie, but someone did encode it. Unfortunately, the encode featured horrible blocking and wasn't usable. Skr downscaled it to 480p and filtered it to produce a usable raw. We're rereleasing movie 1 using this raw for viewers who want a larger, clearer imaging without letterboxing.

This version does have its drawbacks. First, it has a bad video glitch at 35:20.


It was probably caused by signal dropout, a common problem with satellite broadcast channels. Second, it doesn't have the wonderfully hokey preview for the second movie that was on the laserdisc. Accordingly, I don't regard this version as definitive and have labeled it as "v0." It's possible that the HDTV broadcast means a DVD or even BD version of these movies is in the offing. It's equally possible that these movies will not see the light of day again for a long time.

Meanwhile, if anyone does find a better raw or has an uncorrupted transport stream, we'll do a true v1.

I won't repeat the original credits. For this release, Yogicat shifted and aligned the script to the new raw, I restyled the dialog and redid all the signs, and Skr did the encode and the release check. You can get the release from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news.



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 1

The Japanese anime-watching public seems to love mystery stories. Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan), a show about a teenage detective with the physical appearance of a primary school student, has run for more than 850 episodes, 15 OVAs, and 15 feature-length movies - longer than Naruto or One Piece. Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo (The Young Kindaichi's Case Files) hasn't been quite as successful, but it ran for 148 episodes in its first TV apperance in 1996, with two movies and two OVAs. It was subsequently revived for another 47 episodes recently.

Kindaichi retells the crime-solving adventures of Kindaichi Hajime, a high school student who is the grandson of a famous (fictional) detective, Kindaichi Kousuke. The plots often involve supernatural elements or locked room mysteries. In some ways, the show seems like a deliberate throwback to the "Golden Age" mysteries of the 1920s and 1930s, when the murder or murders were committed in an isolated location (a country house, a snowbound train, an ocean liner) among a small, self-contained group of suspects, and the amateur detective solved the crime by pure deductive logic.

In particular, the first Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie reminds me of the pre-World War II stories of John Dickson Carr, who wrote locked room murder mysteries almost exclusively. It has all the virtues and defects of Carr's stories: ingenious (or overly ingenious) plotting, a complex, seemingly insolvable puzzle, and too many interchangeable straw characters. Carr is generally credited with the "best" locked room mystery ever written, The Three Coffins (in the UK, The Hollow Man). The trick in the Kindaichi movie kind of reminds me of Carr's book. More I dare not say, but you might want to peruse chapter 17, "The Locked Room Lecture," after you've watched the show.

In this movie, Kindaichi and his not-quite-girlfriend Miyuki return to an isolated island hotel/theater, where the Illusion Theater Company is going to present a non-musical production of The Phantom of the Opera. ("Return" because the TV show has a Phantom of the Opera arc that supposedly happened first, even though the TV show aired after the movie was released.) The actors are at each others' throats, and pretty soon there's a murder in a locked room, apparently committed by the Phantom himself. Things spiral out of control from there, and it ultimately takes twenty minutes of pure exposition for Kindaichi to explain what happened. Not one word of it is believable, but Golden Age mysteries were rarely meant to be realistic. The puzzle was everything. Still, the movie plays fair, as the "rules" of the Golden Age mystery required. All the clues are in plain sight, and the solution follows logically from the clues... sort of.

For this movie only, Kindaichi was played by Yamaguchi Kappei, who jumped ship to the rival Detective Conan/Case Closed franchise. His prolific career includes leading roles in properties as diverse as Gravitation, Kiki's Delivery Service, Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, and the currently running Kyoukai no Rinne. Nakagawa Akiko (Miyuki) stayed with the franchise, and it remains her best known role. The director, Nishio Daisuke, helmed both the original TV series and the more recent reincarnations. He has a good feeling for building suspense through camera angles and cutting; in one sequence, he even riffs on (or rips off) the famous shower sequence in Psycho.

The movie is a laserdisc encode, one of many that various team members purchased in Japan. Iri translated, M74 timed, I edited and typeset, and bananadoyouwanna, M74, Nemesis, and VigorousJammer did QC. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded. The movie is widescreen, a format laserdisc doesn't support. Therefore, the release was letterboxed. Erik chose to leave the horizontal bars in. This keeps the subtitles out of the limited viewing area, but some viewers may find it distracting. You can always encode your own version.😋 Erik also kept the production company logos at the start, providing fine example of "state of the art" CGI circa 1996.

While this release is not the first English version of the first Kindaichi movie, it's the first with accurate subtitles and a laserdisc (rather than VHS) raw. You can get it from the usual torrent sources or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. The second movie is in a second batch of laserdiscs and will get done Sometime Real Soon™.



Saturday, July 15, 2017

"I am Son Gokuu"

Orphan is proud to announce a new high-definition release of the 1989 TV special Tezuka Osamu Monogatari: Boku wa Songoku, or in English, The Tezuka Osamu Story: I Am Son Gokuu. This was the last of eight Tezuka Production specials broadcast by NHK between 1979 and 1989 during its annual telethon. This TV special is half a sort-of autobiography, and half a science-fiction retelling of Journey to the West (Saiyuuki), a classic tale that was, according to this film, an obsession of Osamu's from his childhood.

Like a number of other Orphan Fansub projects, this one started with a request on BakaBT for complete and accurate subs. For the original DVD release, laalg and convexity worked on the translation sequentially, archdeco did the timing, I edited, convexity provided the styling and typesetting, and CP and I did the QC. For the BD release, M74 tweaked the timing, I reset the signs, and M74 did a final round of QC. M74 also encoded from a BDMV graciously provided by Beatrice Raws.

The autobiographical half of the show embroiders on the known facts of Osamu's life (for more details, see this fan web site.) Osamu showed an early interest, indeed obsession with both insects and drawing. As a result, he was teased as a child. Too young, fortunately, to serve in the Japanese military, in 1944 he was drafted as a factory worker in Osaka and harassed by his bosses for being more interested in drawing than in working. He was present when Osaka was firebombed, and it gave him a lifelong hatred of war and violence.

After the war, he started drawing manga while finishing his training as a doctor, and by the early 1950s he was a well-known mangaka. However, his interest in creating anime (or as they were known back then, manga films) had to wait until the end of the decade, when his financial success as a manga artist enabled his to form Mushi Productions. In 1963, his studio began producing Astro Boy, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The film is not a strict autobiography. Some of the scenes play fast and loose with chronology. In the film, Osamu goes to see, and is profoundly influenced by, the Wan Brothers Princess Iron Fan. Because Princess Iron Fan was produced in Shanghai and was released early in 1941, during the Japanese occupation, it's conceivable that it was shown in Japan and that Osamu saw it before the outbreak of war with the US. However, the film shows him as very young, whereas he was 13 years old in 1941. Further, he and Son Gokuu talk about a war breaking out soon, but in 1941 the Sino-Japanese war had been going on for almost four years.

The second half of the show is a science-fiction retelling of Journey to the West. It's partly a comedy and partly a moral parable about the value of good in the face of violence and evil. If it seems a little rushed - Son Gokuu the monkey is converted from egotistical bully to galactic savior inside of 15 minutes - that's only to be expected when the entire tale has to be compressed into half an hour. It's very standard Osamu fare, aimed at youngsters and young adults as they make the transition from self-centered behavior to societally-grounded adults.

Some notes on the translation, courtesy of convexity:
  • "It's the weirdo Osamushi!" Osamushi = Osamu (his name) + mushi (bug). Osamu (spelled 治) is his real name. Osamu (spelled 治虫) later became his pen name; a character meaning "bug" (mushi, 虫) was added to make the name a reference to "osamushi," or "ground beetle." (In fact, at first his pen name was pronounced "Tezuka Osamushi" rather than "Tezuka Osamu.") Ground beetles were his favorite insects, in part because their name resembled his. In this scene, "Osamushi" is being used as a derogatory nickname, probably as a portmanteau of "Osamu" and "mushi"; an English equivalent might be "Bug-sama."
  • "And accompanied by Hakkai, Sagojou, and Son Gokuu..." Hakkai (八戒 Zhu Bajie) means eight precepts in Chinsese, Sagojou (沙悟浄 Shā Wùjìng) means "sand aware of purity", and Son Gokuu (孫悟空 Sūn Wùkōng) in Chinese means "monkey king."
  • "Sanzou-houshi continued on his long, long journey to India." Sanzou-houshi (三蔵法師 Sānzāng fǎshī) means "priest who knows the tri-pi Taka"), while Tenjiku (天竺) is old Chinese for India.
  • "A monkey kicks some serious ass in this manga film!" The term "anime" had not been invented; cartoons were called manga films.
  • "Frogs are croaking, we are going! We're going home!" Kaeru (蛙 かえる) means frog, while kaeru (帰る) means go home; in short, a Japanese pun.
For more on Son Gokuu's and his accessories, Kintoun and Nyoibou, consult any of the Wikipedia articles on Journey to the West or Saiyuuki.

So enjoy some more Tezuka Osamu goodness, now in glorious high-definition! You can get it from the usual torrent sites, from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net, or via this magnet link.