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 been released on Laserdisc but not on DVD. If we can find the Laserdisc, we'll do a second version.) 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

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