From 1978 to 1989, NHK's annual 24-hour telethon, "Love Will Save the World," frequently featured an animated special from Tezuka Productions. Over the next decade, eight of them were broadcast:
- 1978 - Hyakumannen Chikyuu no Tabi Bander Book (One Million Year Trip: Bander Book)
- 1979 - Marine Express
- 1980 - Fumoon
- 1981 - Bremen 4: Jigoku no Naka no Tenshi-tachi (Bremen 4: Angels in Hell)
- 1983 - Time Slip Ichimannen Prime Rose (A Time Slip of 10,000 Years: Prime Rose)
- 1984 - Daishizen no Majuu Bagi (Baggy)
- 1986 - Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet (Galaxy Investigation 2100: Border Planet)
- 1989 - Tezuka Osamu Monogatari: Boku wa Son Gokuu (Tezuka Osamu Story: I Am Son Goku)
All eight special have, at various times, been released on DVD and translated, the last two by Orphan. Recently, all of them have been collected in a pair of Blu-Ray box sets. M74 has now released a 720p high-definition encode of the fifth, Time Slip Ichimannen Prime Rose.
After the failure of Mushi Production's attempts to create "anime for adults" (as opposed to adult or h-anime), Osamu repaired his reputation by returning to manga. Eventually, he started Tezuka Productions and began working on feature length anime again. Unlike the ill-fated Anirama series, Tezuka Production's feature length films were intended to appeal to a broader viewing demographic, although there were certainly some elements not intended for children.
Prime Rose is pretty typical of the group. The story begins with a present-day catastrophe. A giant space fortress, shaped like a death mask, breaks apart, and the pieces crash into Kujikuri Beach in Japan and Dallas in the United States. Both cities are thrown 10,000 years into the future. Sometime later, time patroller Tanbara Gai is sent to discover what happened. He encounters a future where one future city (Groman) has enslaved the other (Kukritt). Aided by a runaway noblewomen, Emiya, who is actually the princess of Kukritt, Prime Rose; and hindered by the inconvenient presence of his little brother, Bunretsu; Gai must coach the Kukritten slaves into rebellion, defeat the Groman army, and confront the sinister force behind it all - the secret hidden within the original Death Mask space fortress. This is done with a maximum of action and humor and a minimum of common sense, as a hard sci-fi story evolves into a sword-and-sorcery fantasy.
Prime Rose is not all-ages entertainment. The show includes a fair amount of bloodshed and violence, including an on-screen execution and a flogging. There's also lots of fanservice:
(This doesn't strike me as the most practical costume for a swordswoman, but what do I know? And a later bathing scene poses interesting questions about how Prime Rose manages to fit in this outfit at all.) But mostly it's comedy and zany touches; for example, Tanbara Gai's superior officer is a dead ringer for Mr. Spock. In the end, good triumphs, the bad guys (and space fortresses) get their comeuppance, and the hero and heroine are ready for new adventures.
The basic script is a professional translation and has not been checked. M74 timed and encoded. I edited and QCed. Beatrice Raws provided the BDMV (thank you!). I hope that more of these specials can be released in high-definition in the future.