Friday, September 29, 2017

Fumoon (Blu-ray)

Orphan and M74 continue their high-definition survey of the Tezuka Osamu "Love Will Save the Earth" 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.



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