Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What's Michael? OVA 2

Michael the orange tiger cat returns for another 40+ minutes of vignettes and parodies in the 1988 sequel, What's Michael? OVA 2. This OVA actually came out in the middle of the What's Michael? TV series but is apparently unrelated: the OVAs use a different voice actor for Michael than the series.

The sketches this time include a three-part sendup of The Fugitive, the famous 1960's TV show (the movie didn't come out until 1993).


Richard Kimble is now a veterinarian on the lam (lamb?), running from a false conviction for a murder committed by "a man with overbite." Despite the omnipresent danger, he must stoop and intervene whenever he sees a cat (always Michael) suffering; after treating the patient, he plays a trick on the cat and runs away. (He's a fugitive, after all.) Another sketch draws parallels between wandering husbands and wandering housecats, who seem to have similar proclivities. Two more point out what happens when a cat's instincts run up against the requirements of baseball or pro wrestling. (You can guess which side loses.) Once again, there's no continuity or plot, but the skits are pretty funny.

Iri translated, Yogicat timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded from his own Japanese laserdisc. As with the first OVA, there were a fiendishly large number of signs, many requiring seemingly endless hand clipping and typesetting. (There's one sign I couldn't do. You'll know why when you see it.) Still, the quality of the laserdisc was better this time around, and the encode clearly demonstrates that.

So this ends our cat-centric endeavors, at least for a while. If you want to see more of Michael, he's hanging around on the usual torrent sites. He can also be downloaded from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hoshi Neko Full House

Here's an example of what might be called the "Wide Screen Baroque" school of sci-fi, the 1989 four-episode OVA Hoshi Neko Full House (Star Cat Full House). This comedy-adventure is filled with colorful characters, improbable coincidences, and unbelievable developments, all presented with a straight face and considerable aplomb. It's a hoot from start to finish.

As the show opens, young space smuggler Seitarou Yaoi, captain of the Iron Goblin, is idling along, listening to a dirty story told by his lecherous robot companion, Chiraku. Seitarou is leading a lonely and boring existence, smuggling porn and sex toys to desperate men on the frontiers of the solar system, when suddenly the all-powerful Earth supercomputer Eterna (shades of Bander Books's Mother) shuts down power to everything that lacks independent means of propulsion. Seitarou's smuggling ship was never registered officially, so it is one of the few vessels that can still move.

He receives a desperate call for help from three schoolgirls, who are stranded in space. They are from the Moon's Lunar Ferris Academy and are daughters of Earth's elite. Seitarou comes to their aid and finds he's picked up a lot more than he bargained for: Mayfa is the daughter of Eterna's designer; Jojo is the daughter of the CEO of a large aerospace company; and Lyla is the daughter of Earth's president! The four humans and Chiraku, aided by an alien lizard-creature and a winged star cat, must then figure out how to get to Earth, defeat Eterna, and save mankind, while having a rollicking good time in the bargain.


Hoshi Neko Full House was the brainchild of the late Ishiguro Noboru, who also directed the show. An industry veteran, Ishiguro directed Aoki Honoo (an Orphan project) as well as such science-fiction classics as Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Megazone 23, and Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. He also directed several episodes of the Anime Classics of Japanese Literature series. His last directing project was Tytania.

Seki Toshihiko, who played the nominal hero, Seitarou, should be a familiar name to readers of this blog, having appeared as fighter Nagase Jun in Akai Hayate, as well as Riki in Ai no Kusabi, Sanzo in all the Saiyuuki TV series, and the title roles in Alexander (Reign the Conqueror) and Kaiketsu Zorro. Takada Yumi, who voiced Seitarou's virtual girlfriend Purinpurin, played Saya and Monmo in Cosmic Fantasy, Yoshinaga-sensei in many of the Crayon Shin-chan movies, and Ayeka in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. She has also appeared in many classic h-animes, including Karakuri Ninja Girl, one of my favorites. But in my opinion, Kamiya Akira, in the supporting role of Chiraku the robot, steals the show. He's had many other major roles, including the lecherous judo coach Kazamatsuri in Yawara!, the lead characters in the City Hunter and Kinnikuman franchises, and featured roles in the Case Closed and Urusei Yatsura franchises. Demonstrating his versatility, he even played the seductive temptress Indra in Otaku no Seiza.

Curiously, the actresses who played the three schoolgirls have no other credits to their names and no biographical details. They are probably the members of the singing group LISP, which did the vocals for the songs. (This LISP should not be confused with the current seiryuu singing group LISP, which was formed in 2010. Its members were babies when Hoshi Neko Full House was released.) LISP gets a musical number in each episode, for no particularly good reason, but that's true of most musical numbers in anime.

Iri found the raws, which are fairly good and claim to be laserdisc rips. He convinced Sunachan to take on the translation. Yogicat timed (it has cats, after all), I edited and typeset, and Calyrica and VigorousJammer did QC. The translation is straightforward, but Chiraku's grammar is often strange or broken, which we've tried to convey in his English dialog as well.

So if you like the idea of saving the Earth in the company of a bunch of teenagers, a pervy robot, an alien, and a star cat, you can pick up Hoshi Neko Full House from the usual torrent sites or download it from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Happy Holidays from Orphan Fansubs

On behalf of all the dogs and cats and other critters of Orphan Fansubs...



Here's wishing you a joyous, and safe, holiday season.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Haguregumo

In spite of the torrid pace of Orphan releases this year, I do find time to work on other projects, usually within the back-catalog space. Here's one that's been gestating for a while: Toei's 1982 movie Haguregumo, from Soldado and Saizen (aka SolZen). It's been in the works for more than 18 months, starting as a DVD encode and finishing as a 1080p release encoded from an HDTV broadcast.

Haguregumo is set in the Bakumatsu, the turbulent period at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, after the "opening" of Japan in 1854. The country was being torn apart by competing factions - modernizers trying to apply Western technology and ideas to Japanese society; Imperial loyalists, trying to reassert to the ascendancy of the Emperor; and the forces of the Shogunate, trying to defend the military bureaucracy (bakufu) against all comers. The bakufu organized special police squads, notably the Shinsengumi and the Mimawarigumi, to "defend public order" and assassinate opponents. (In popular culture, they are all lumped together as the Shinsengumi.) Covert violence and even open warfare were commonplace.

The movie covers 1866 and 1867. It tells the story of a retired samurai, Kumosuke (or Kumo, for short), who is living quietly, not to say idly, in Edo (old Tokyo) with his wife and two children, a young boy named Shinnosuke and an infant girl, Ohana. While he nominally runs a courier business to earn a living, he seems to spend most of his time smoking his pipe, drinking sake, and chasing women. The arrival of a Shinsengumi squad led by a young swordswman, Ichimonji Hyougo, disrupts this peaceful routine. Kumo is forced to use his still-sharp sword skills to defend himself, but he'd basically prefer to stay out of the treacherous political currents. Nonetheless, he ends up saving Ryouma Sakamoto (a famous Westernizer) from the Shinsengumi and teaching Ichimonji the futility of the warrior way.

Despite the overlay of dramatic historical events, Haguregumo is basically a comedy about family. The central theme is the struggle of Kumo's son, Shinnosuke, to understand what it means to grow up and be a man in such a turbulent world. Kumo seems like an odd and neglectful father - cheating at chess, letting his son take a real samurai sword to a kids' fight - but in fact, he's trying to steer Shinnosuke through the crises of childhood without being overly constraining or prescriptive. He wants Shinnosuke to define his own path in life. Interactions with friends, a confrontation with bullies, a chance meeting with Ryouma, Ryouma's eventual assassination - all these mundane and extraordinary events help Shinnosuke understand the possibilities and perils of the future, as well as the need to be a child for a while longer.

The comedy often takes a bawdy turn. Aside from Kumo's womanizing (he's an inveterate butt-groper), there's an ongoing gag about his wife Okiyo's desire for a share of his amorous attentions:


Kumo is willing enough, but their trysts are perpetually interrupted by everyday life: children in crisis, children wanting attention, nosy friends, and so on. At one point, when Okiyo suggests a daytime "date," Kumo casually asks if they can try matsubakuzushi (translated as "the cross"), one of the classic 48 sex positions. This did not get an onscreen translation note...

The voice cast of Haguregumo belongs to an earlier era. Yamashiro Shingo, who played Kumo, has few modern credits. Kawashima Chiyoko, who played his wife, is best known to me as the ballet-dancer-turned-judo-practitioner Fujiko in Yawara! from the late 1980s. On the other hand, Furuya Tohru, who had the supporting role of Ichimonji, should be well known to Orphan's fans as Kosaku in Stop!! Hibari-kun and Bavi Stock in Bavi Stock. He's better known, of course, for playing the lead male roles in Kimagure Orange Road and Sailor Moon. Inoue Makio, who had a supporting role as Ryouma, went on to play Captain Harlock in many of the Galaxy Express properties and Goemon in the Lupin III movies and the first two TV series. The director, Masaki Mori, was a veteran of Tezuka Osamu's Mushi Productions. He also directed Barefoot Gen and Toki no Tabibito: Time Stranger.

I quite enjoyed Haguregumo. You can get it from the usual torrent sources and, eventually, from the Saizen IRC bot on irc.rizon.net.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rainbow Signal: Hi-Fi Set

Here's a rarity: 1985's Rainbow Signal: Hi-Fi Set. These are six or seven loosely-related anime/live-action music videos from the Japanese singing group Hi-Fi Set. This show was released in 1985, right in the middle of Hi-Fi Set's career (1974-1994), and features songs from their 1984 and 1985 albums Pasadena Park and Indigo. (Information summarized from MyAnimeList.) It was never released on DVD and did not appear in either AniDB or AnimeNewsNetwork until we added it.

The story revolves around two cute dragons in a future high-tech city.


The plot doesn't venture any deeper than boy (dragon) meets girl (dragon), boy (dragon) loses girl (dragon), boy (dragon) gets girl (dragon), but it's hard to fashion a complex plot without dialog. (Actually, there is one line of dialog, or at least we think there is. It might be just a random exclamation.) Hi-Fi Set's song are harmonious ballads and pop songs - no angsty rock or heavy metal. And all ends happily.

Maho Kareshi, finally done with translating the entire Oishinbo TV series (136 episodes!), translated the songs from official lyrics, and Sunachan checked the translation. Yogicat timed, I edited and styled (no signs), and Nemesis and Calyrica did QC. Nemesis also corrected the romaji and added the background lines in the songs. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded from the Japanese laserdisc. We hope to subtitle other AMV rarities from Erik's collection sometime in the future.

So settle in to listen to some Japanese pop from the mid-80s and watch Ms. Red Dragon and Mr. Green Dragon find their way to reptilian happiness. You can get Rainbow Signal from the usual torrent sources or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.



White Fang (100th Release)

After a run of cat-themed shows (Neko Neko Fantasia, Neko Nanka Yondemo Nakai, Space Neko Theater, What's Michael? etc), Orphan Fansubs is going to the dogs, following up our earlier release of Wan Wan Chuushingura with the 1982 TV special, Shiroi Kiba: White Fang Monogatari (White Fang). Based on Jack London's 1906 adventure novel, White Fang tells the story of an Alaskan wolf-dog adopted by an Inuit boy, Mit-sah. After encountering and surviving all kinds of hardships, some natural and some man-made, White Fang eventually finds peace, contentment, and warm weather with the family of wealthy mine-owner Weedon Scott in northern California. This is Orphan's 100th release, counting by titles rather than files.

White Fang was a kind of sequel to London's 1903 book, Call of the Wild. The latter told the story of a domesticated dog that is forced into the wilderness and has to get in touch with its inner wolf in order to survive. White Fang told the reverse tale: a wild wolf-dog is gradually tamed and brought into civilized society by the power of friendship and love. (London thought of it as an allegory of his own life's arc, from teen-aged hoodlum to middle-class successful writer.) Both books were wildly popular in their day and have remained in print ever since. Although accused of portraying the natural world in an overly sentimental light by President Theodore Roosevelt, no less, London studiously avoided attributing thought and motivation to his animals, and he included the seamy and violent side of life on the frontier in the books.

The anime adaptation of White Fang is more overtly intended for a younger audience and provides more character continuity to simplify the plot. For example, the young Inuit who first finds White Fang, Mit-sah, remains the central character throughout the story. In the book, he drops out part way through. The villainous dog trainer Beauty Smith, who tries to turn White Fang into a fighting machine, follows Weedon Scott to California to provide the antagonist for the final segment. In the book, it's an entirely different character. Mit-sah's father, Grey Beaver, is almost a parody of the noble native. In the book, he's more rough-hewn, losing White Fang in a drunken gambling game. Nonetheless, the anime is reasonably faithful to the structure and major incidents of the book. Although White Fang has a few too many facial expressions for my taste, he's never portrayed as a Disney-esque anthropomorphic hero.



The movie isn't a sanitized G-rated adventure, either. It has graphic scenes of fighting, bloodshed, death, and animal abuse.

Tanaka Mayumi provided the voice of Mit-sah. She made her debut at age 10 in Kimba the White Lion. She's probably best known for her roles as Pazu in Castle in the Sky, Giovanni in Night on the Galactic Railway, and of course, Monkey D. Luffy in every incarnation of One Piece. She also played Son Gokuu in Tezuka Osamu Monogatari, an Orphan project. The late Naya Goro (Weedon Scott) played Inspector Zenigata in the Lupin III properties prior to this death. The director, Yoshikawa Souji, has a number of other credits, including Garon and Space Oz no Bouken.

Iri was inspired to translate White Fang after finding a 576p raw of a hi-def TV broadcast. (The TV logos are not intrusive.) M74 timed, I edited and typeset (very few signs), and bananadoyouwanna and Nemesis did QC. The encode is from heponeko. Given its age, White Fang must be cel-based and is thus a candidate for a true HD remaster, but it's probably not popular enough for that.

So let's go "North to Alaska" with Mit-sah, White Fang, and London's other colorful characters. You can get White Fang from the usual torrent sources or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #new on irc.rizon.net.




Friday, November 17, 2017

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo movie 2

Kindaichi Hajime, teen detective, returns for his second big-screen adventure in 1999's Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo 2: Satsuriku no Deep Blue (The Young Kindaichi's Case Files: Massacre at Deep Blue). Unlike the first movie, which harked back to the locked room mysteries of the 1920s and 1930s, this one seems much more prescient, with terrorists recruited through the Internet holding innocent people hostage and threatening a massacre.

The movie is set at the Aizawa Group's brand new resort hotel, Hotel Deep Blue, on Konpeki Island. Its main attraction is a mysterious undersea ruined city that is just visible through the clear water. The chairman of the Aizawa Group, Aizawa Shuuchirou, has invited his executives and family to the opening of the hotel, despite an anonymous letter threatening destruction. His daughter Akane is worried and invites Kindaichi to the hotel through their mutual friend Miyuki. Just as Kindaichi's group is arriving, the Tokyo and Hakata offices of the Aizawa group are bombed, and the second Aizawa son is killed. Shortly thereafter, a group of five terrorists, who claim allegiance to an unknown "King Caesar," take over the hotel and announce their intention to kill everyone inside. While Kindaichi tries desperately to figure out an escape route, more members of the Aizawa group are killed, under mysterious or impossible circumstances. The young detective must figure out what is going on, who this "King Caesar" is, and how to stop the terrorists. Eventually, "all of the mysteries are solved," although it requires the usual twenty minutes of non-stop exposition to explain everything.


Meanwhile, there are lots of shiny explosions, traded accusations among desperate hostages, and state-of-the-art computer hacking using a blue PowerMac G4 with a Zip drive. Woohoo!
 
Starting with this movie, Matsuno Taiki took over the role of Kindaichi Hajime and played the character in all subsequent versions, including both TV series. The other characters from the first movie were unchanged, but several new characters were introduced who became regulars in the TV series. Morikawa Toshiyuki, who played Superintendent Akechi Kengo, was of course Panda Mama in Polar Bear Cafe, as well as Inugami Akira in Wolf Guy and Nanjou in Nozomi Witches, all Orphan projects. Ikezawa Haruna (Fumi) appeared in Gravitation, Daa! Daa! Daa!, and numerous other shows. The director, Nishio Daisuke, also did the first movie.

The movie is a laserdisc encode, one of many that various team members purchased in Japan. The translation was started by Iri and finished by Sunachan. M74 timed; I edited and typeset; bananadoyouwanna, Nemesis, and VigorousJammer did QC. The raw was encoded by Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions from his own Japanese laserdisc. 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.

The movie has a large number of moving signs, but unfortunately, the laserdisc was poorly mastered and is a mess of blended frames. Therefore, some of the signs couldn't be tracked, and motion had to be approximated using linear moves. This looks rather blah. There's a 90-second promotion for the movie at the beginning of the laserdisc. (It required 1/3 of all the typesetting in the script.) I've used ordered chapters to move it to the end. If your player doesn't support ordered chapters, the promo will play first.

In any case, Kindaichi is on the job again, cracking a complex case under enormous pressure, with his life, and the lives of his friends, on the line. If you'd like to see how it all turns out, 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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What's Michael? OVA 1

More cats. (Yay!)

This time, it's the first What's Michael? OVA, from 1985. Michael is a male orange tiger cat who lives in Japan. The show consists of short humorous vignettes depicting Michael, his mate Popo-chan, and various humans who think they are Michael's owners. (They apparently never heard the aphorism, "Dogs have owners; cats have staff.") There's no continuity between skits. Michael's owner is sometimes single, sometimes married; sometimes a professional, sometimes a Yakuza. Michael is sometimes an outdoor cat, sometimes an apartment cat. Regardless, the series is well-observed and very funny, particularly if the viewer has lived with a cat. I particularly like the "Day in the Park" sketch, contrasting what it's like to play outside with a dog versus a cat.




Michael's look says it all.

Michael was played by Ootake Hiroshi, a veteran voice actor with numerous featured roles to his credit. (In the TV series, Michael was played by the legendary Tomiyama Kei, who voiced the wicked witch in Grim Douwa: Kin no Tori.) Popo was played by Masako Nozawa, who also provided the title character's meow in Midori no Neko. However, she's far better known as Son Goku in the Dragonball franchise. Recent roles include Madame Curie in Marie & Gali and Obaba in Ping Pong the Animation. The director was Nagao Shuku; he also directed Dream Hunter Rem.

Iri translated the show; Yogicat timed; I edited and typeset; and Calyrica and Nemesis did QC. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded from his own Japanese laserdisc. It's not a great raw; there's a lot of film burn at scene boundaries. We'll do the second OVA One of These Days™, but we won't be doing the TV series; it's too long.

So enjoy this romp with Michael, Popo-chan, and various other humans and creatures, including the terrifying Nyaajira (aka Catzilla). You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.


Update: there's a minor styling error. The fonts are set up for an anamorphic encode and are thus 12% too wide. If this bothers you, you can download a patch from here. We won't be releasing a formal v2.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bander Book

Orphan and M74 continue their high-definition survey of the Tezuka Osamu "Love Will Save the World" TV specials with the very first, 1979's Hyakumannen Chikyuu no Tabi: Bander Book (Million-Year Trip: Bander Book). This was the first two-hour (with commercials) anime movie made for TV in Japan, and it shows many of the themes, strengths, and weaknesses of the specials that would follow annually for a decade.

Bander Book starts with a bang, literally. A robot terrorist blows up a space liner with Bander's parents on board. In desperation, they put baby Bander in an escape capsule and send him off into space, hoping he will find a home. He drifts to a peaceful planet inhabited by intelligent shape-shifters and is adopted by the Queen. (Superman, anyone? Or maybe Exodus.) Fast forward seventeen years, and Bander is the heir to the throne and the object of unrequited affection from his step-sister Mimiru. However, Bander knows he is different; unlike everyone else, he can't transform. At last, the truth is revealed. He is from Earth, the planet feared throughout the galaxy for its greed and aggressiveness. Bander makes up his mind to leave his home and go to Earth, in order to find out the truth of his origins.

At that very moment, his peaceful home is invaded by "space gangsters," led by... Black Jack! (Yes, the Tezuka Star System is in full swing in this show.) While the rest of the population transforms into animals and flees, Bander attempts to fight off the pirates with just his sword. He is captured, along with Mimiru, who has unwisely decided to stay behind. Black Jack carries them off and maroons them on a desert planet, which will lead to a series of spoofs on Westerns. There he rescues Princess Marina of planet Sirius 8 from the Silicon Family of outlaw robots and returns her to her home world. And this is just the beginning. It's ODTAA (one damned thing after another) for 90 minutes until Good triumphs, at significant cost, over Evil, and Bander and Mimiru can be united in True Love.

Black Jack is just the first of the familiar characters repurposed on the show. Ban Shuunsaku, the detective, shows up as Ed the bartender on the desert planet. The leader of the evil Silicon Family is Don Dracula. The henchman to the evil Earth diplomat Dokudami is Hamegg. When Bander is imprisoned by evil Earthmen, his fellow prisoner, Dr. Sharaku, is the "three-eyed boy." Even Kimba the lion and Tezuka Osamu himself have brief cameos:



While the plot meanders towards the inevitable confrontation between Bander and the malignancy controlling Earth (a giant supercomputer, natch), there's time for numerous references, parodies, and gags. The ride to the Silicon Family's hideout includes a spoof of Forbidden Planet and a reference to The Exorcist, for example. The show never drags, but it does meander quite a bit, as Tezuka liked his anime to do. There's also a heavily-sped up, sketchily drawn time-line of Earth history that includes scenes of rape, dismemberment, and cannibalism. It's a kid-friendly show, after all.

Mizushima Yuu, who voiced Bander, played the male lead in another Tezuka special, Prime Rose. He also played the male lead in Tokimeki Tonight, Natsu e Tobira, and the God Mars properties. Koyama Mami (Mimiru) played the female lead in another Tezuka special, I Am Son Gokuu. She also played Arale in the Doctor Slump & Arale-chan franchise, the mature version of the title character in Millenium Actress, and the title role in the Minky Momo franchise. Oka Masako (Princess Marina) has a fairly thin resume, but she did appear as the phoenix in the first Hi no Tori movie. Ibu Masatou (Black Jack) played the same role in another of the Hi no Tori movies but not in the later TV series and OVAs. He appeared in almost all the Yamato properties, including the ill-fated Yamato 2520 (an Orphan project), where he played the evil Emperor Brone.

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

Despite its meanderings, Bander Book is an entertaining ride, and it's fun trying to spot the references and cameos. 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.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cathexis

Zetsuai (Desperate Love) was a shounen-ai (boy's love) manga that started its run in 1989. It was adapted into an OVA in 1992. Although it was not the first shounen-ai anime by any means, it was very influential. Its operatic plot, tragic characters, and strange character designs defined the genre for years afterwards. The manga and OVA both received sequels (Bronze: Zetsuai since 1989). In addition, the Zetsuai OVA was followed in 1994 by an anime music video, Bronze Kouji Nanjo Cathexis (or Cathexis for short), supposedly a set of music videos by one of Zetsuai's protagonist, musician Kouji Nanjo. Cathexis has not been available with English subtitles since the VHS fansub era... until now.

As a compilation of music videos, Cathexis has no plot. Instead, it's a fever dream of five rock songs:
  1. Bad Blood
  2. Jesus Christ Love for You
  3. Katuai
  4. 20XX Zetsu-ai
  5. Moonlight Eternal Mobius
The songs are sung by Hayami Shou, who played Kouji Nanjo in the OVAs. The lyrics are by Shou or by the mangaka, Ozaki Minami. The animation is a delirous cornucopia of homoerotic imagery, mostly featuring protagonist Kouji Nanjo and his love interest, Izumi Takato, as angels, soldiers, cyborgs, and so on. 


Some of the images are moderately NSFW, but it's all fairly tame by current standards. Following the music videos, there's a still image gallery of drawings by the manga author, Ozaki Minami.

The subtitles are from Lupin Gang Anime and have not been checked. Yogicat timed the songs, I edited and styled them, and M74 did QC. Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions encoded from his own Japanese laserdisc. For a while, I thought the audio in the encode was defective, because in the second song, the music is interrupted for one second by a test tone. Apparently, this is deliberate; the same tone appears on the original soundtrack.

So, love it or hate it, here's the first digital version of Cathexis with English subtitles. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Status (and yes, Recruiting Again)

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 QC.
  • Hoshineko Full House. Internet raw. Translated. In QC.
  • Oishinbo special 1 (Ultimate vs Supreme). BD encode done. Using Yoroshiku's fansub. Timing, editing, typesetting done. In QC
  • White Fang. HDTV encode. Translation, timing, editing, typesetting done. In QC
  • Cathexis AMV. Laserdisc encode, translation, timing, editing, styling done. In QC.
  • What's Michael? OVAs. Laserdisc encodes done. Episode 1 translated and timed. In typesetting. Episode 2 awaiting translation.
  • Rainbow Signal, Borgman Madnight Gags, Nadia AMVs. Laserdisc encode and translation done. In timing.
In addition, there are a number of resub projects pending, including Blue Sonnet and Kashou no Tsuki. Finally, we have two gigantic jigsaw puzzle to do: putting together a script for the Dallos movie from the TV series, and assembling scripts for AWOL Compression Remix from the VHS tapes of the original AWOL TV series.

As you can see, translation/translation checking and QC 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. Lack of QC is holding up completion of several shows, and projects using pre-existing scripts (resubs, summary movies, etc) will only make the problem worse

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

[Updated 05-Nov-2017]
 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A-Girl v1

When I wrote the blog post about the original, incomplete release of A-Girl in September, 2016, I said that if we ever found a complete raw, we'd release a new version. We did, and we have.

A-Girl is one of six shoujo OVAs based on properties from Margaret Magazine and animated by Madhouse. The others are POPS, Singles, Kiss wa Me ni Shite, Oeda wa Nemurenai, and Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru. None of them was very successful apparently, because none were ever released on Laserdisc, let alone DVD. Orphan's previous version of A-Girl used a web 384p encode derived from a YouTube rip. It stopped after 25 minutes. Because the story seemed wrapped up, I assumed that only the end credits were missing. I was wrong.

The last segment of A-Girl, which lasts six minutes and is based on the song The Magic of Your Sight, brings the story of Mariko (the A-Girl of the title) and Natsume (the playboy brought low by her charms) to a real conclusion. It includes the end credits too, but it also includes actual dialog, a whopping six lines of it. (It also includes an additional 250 lines of typesetting just for a "Whipped Cream" label, but who's counting?) With the last segment, the OVA is now 31 minutes long and makes more sense.

Iri obtained the new raw by buying a used VHS tape in Japan. gamnark transcribed it, and M74 encoded it. It's still not perfect - tape stretch causes noticeable audio distortion in three places - but at least it's complete. Iri translated and timed the additional signs and dialog, I did the additional editing and typesetting, and Nemesis and Eternal_Blizzard did QC. This tape, imperfect though it was, was quite expensive, so I don't think Orphan will invest further in A-Girl media. Perhaps it will show up on DVD someday, in some sort of Madhouse retrospective.

As usual, you can get the complete version of A-Girl from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Al Caral no Isan

Al Caral no Isan (The Legacy of Al Caral) is a 1992 science-fiction OVA based on a manga by Michihara Katsumi, who also wrote Joker: Marginal City. It has been on my wish list for a long time, and thanks to the efforts of a new translator, Sunachan, Orphan is finally able to bring you this intriguing show.

Al Caral no Isan is set in a familiar science-fiction setting of ubiquitous interstellar travel, and it explores an equally familiar theme: first contact with aliens. However, the story is very different. For 180 years prior to the beginning of the show, the Harz Bougen Corporation has been discovering and secretively exploiting relics of a vanished interstellar civilization. As the story opens, they discover an alien race, with golden, cat-like eyes, dark skin, and blonde hair, who call themselves the Sanaan. A young Sanaan boy named Toryune is captured and taken away to the Harz Bougen laboratories for "research."



Meanwhile, a small documentary film crew gets wind of the discovery and sets out to expose the truth. Part of the team is a mysterious girl named Shana T, who has a unique ability to unlock the alien relics and retrieve artifacts. Shana also wants to meet the "golden-eyes," as the aliens are called, but for an entirely different reason than the Harz Bougen team. She believes that she is not a real human and that the aliens hold the key to her identity and her future.

The Harz Bougen overseers, led by future president Zach Isedo, seem to be motivated by simple rapaciousness. They believe that the alien civilization which built the relics must have left untold treasures of knowledge or precious substances. They regard the Sanaan as unrelated, inferior "humanoids" with no rights or value. However, the truth is far more complicated. The Sanaan have inherited the power of their mystical creator, Al Caral, who was "the ruler of words." They have no need for weapons; they are far more dangerous than that.

The voice cast is stellar. Hisakawa Aya (Shana) has had a prolific career. She played Skuld in the Ah! My Goddess franchise, Sailor Mercury in the Sailor Moon franchise, Mishima Misako in Yume Tsukai (an Orphan project), and Koneko in Ear of the Golden Dragon (another Orphan project). Recent series include WWW.Working and Kyousogiga. Tanaka Hideyuki (Harmer) also has had a long career, including featured roles as Terryman in the Kinnikuman franchise, Rayearth in Magic Knight Rayearth, Sammy in Bavi Stock (an Orphan project), and Sawamura in Nozomi Witches (another Orphan project). Orikasa Ai (Toryune) made her debut in Shoukoushi Cedie. She also played Sara in Eien no Filena (an Orphan project), Seguchi Touma (the record company president) in Gravitation, Quatre in Gundam Wing, and Ryouko in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. The music, by synthesizer player Kotaki Mitsuru, is repetitive and hypnotic.

Orphan's release of Al Caral no Isan marks the debut of a new translator, Sunachan, who went over the script multiple times to make sure the nuances and complexities came through the process intact. Yogicat timed, I edited and typeset, and bananadoyouwanna, Nemesis, and Vigorousjammer all did QC. The raw is from the Internet and could be better. If anyone has an original Japanese laserdisc (Al Caral was never released on DVD), please let us know.

I don't think Al Caral no Isan was very successful. The director has few other credits to his name. The show was never released in digital form. It has rather average ratings on the various animation databases. But personally, I really enjoyed it. The background world-building is well done, although some details are never really explained. (What, exactly, are the small dragons that live symbiotically with the aliens?) The human characters include the usual black-and-white heroes and villains but also characters whose motives and actions are quite ambiguous. And finally, the gradual revelation of the true legacy of Al Caral and the power of words is an interesting twist. (I was reminded of the climax of Dune, when the protagonist, Paul Atriedes, says, "I can kill you with a word!") There is no clear-cut victory of good over evil or vice-versa. Humanity stands on the verge of first contact with aliens, and after a gruesome series of missteps, it is ready to pick up the pieces and meet the Other.

If you would like to take that step as well, you can get Al Caral no Isan from the usual torrent sources or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The End of the Road: Kakyuusei (1999)

So here, at long last, is the end of the "-uusei" franchise: 1999's non-hentai TV series, Kakyuusei (1999). With the release of this show, all eleven titles in the series are now available with English subtitles:
  1. Doukyuusei: Natsu no Owari ni (1994); released in the US on DVD; rips available.
  2. Doukyuusei Climax (1995-96); subtitled by Orphan.
  3. Kakyuusei: My Petty Class Student (1995); subtitled by Orphan.
  4. Doukyuusei 2 (1996-98); subtitled by Orphan.
  5. Tenkousei (1996-97); subtitled by Orphan.
  6. Doukyuusei 2 special: Sotsugyousei (1999-2000); subtitled by Orphan.
  7. Elf ban Kakyuusei: Anata Dake o Mitsumete... (1998); subtitled by IY-F.
  8. Kakyuusei (1999); subtitled by C1.
  9. Kakyuusei 2 (2004); subtitled by Lunar.
  10. Kakyuusei 2: Anthology (2006); subtitled by Erobeat.
  11. Kakyuusei 2: Sketchbook (2007); subtitled by Erobeat.
The first five are borderline hentai; the last two are real hentai; and the middle four are PG-rated. Doukyuusei 2 (shorn of its sex scenes), Kakyuusei (1999), and Kakyuusei 2 were broadcast on TV. All the others were OVAs. All of them, except Kakyuusei (1995), were released on DVD; that one only never got past laserdisc.

Kakyuusei (1999) has the same plot structure as all the rest. The happy-go-lucky but undistinguished protagonist, Yamaguchi Tsuyoshi, a third-year high-school student, discovers the girl of his dreams, in this case a demure first-year student named Minamizato Ai. Before they can find their stumbling way to true love, Tsuyoshi is distracted by other girls. Eventually, the series settles down to a final rivalry for Tsuyoshi's affections between Ai and her best friend Iijima Miyuki. Tsuyoshi is aided, sort of, by his comical wingman, Gotu Minoru, who has a hopeless crush on their homeroom teacher, and opposed by the rich school playboy, Haruhiko Satake, who believes he is God's gift to women. Eventually, true love triumphs. What a surprise! The show is entirely innocuous, with nothing more serious than a kiss. The fourteenth episode isn't really part of the series. It provides a bit more fanservice, but nothing like the famous extra episode in Maze.

This series has been a long time coming. It began three years ago, when C1, an old line fansubbing group, suddenly revived after a four-year coma. Progress was slow, because the group leader had real life commitments, and the project almost died twice. As result, the credits are a bit complicated:
  • Translation: EmptySoul (1-7), Moho Kareshi (8-14).
  • Translation Check: Meiko (1-7), EmptySoul (8-12), kokujin_kun (13-14).
  • Timing: EmptySoul (1-12), Eternal_Blizzard (13-14).
  • Karaokes: EmptySoul (OP, ED1); Eternal_Blizzard (ED2, ED3)
  • Editing: Collectr (all).
  • Typesetting: EmptySoul (1-8), Collectr (9-14).
  • QC: Calyrica, Eternal_Blizzard, Xanth.
  • Encoding: anonymous.
The source is an R2J DVD set, but it's a mess of interlaced and blended frames, just like most of the other shows in the series. Perhaps a more labor-intensive encoding process could have done better, but the series isn't worth it.

Toochika Kouichi, who voiced Tsuyoshi, played the lead in the Comic Party shows and has had an ongoing role in all the Naruto properties. Sango Minako (Ai) played the same role in Elf Ban Kakyuusei and appeared in Tenkousei and other h-anime shows. Sonozaki Mie (Miyuki) played the same role in Elf Ban Kakyuusei and had featured roles in Kingdom, Strike Witches, and the Happy Lesson properties. The director, Kashima Norio, has a few other directing credits, including Elf Ban Kakyuusei and Refrain Blue.

There's nothing that really distinguishes Kakyuusei (1999) from any of its siblings. Its content is tame but otherwise follows the same plot line. If you aren't totally jaded by harem anime derived from eroge, you might like it; but to me, it seems fairly generic.

A batch torrent will be forthcoming for ease of downloading. There won't be any changes.

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.

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.