Thursday, December 28, 2017

A-Girl v2

It's taken three tries, and fifteen months, but here at last is a complete and listenable version of the 1993 OVA A-Girl.

In 1992, Madhouse and Margaret Comics collaborated on an OVA of the shounen-ai romance Zetsuai 1989. This was successful, and in 1993, Madhouse issued six additional OVAs based on Margaret Comic properties:
  • Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru
  • Singles
  • Pops
  • Oeda wa Nemurenai!
  • Kiss wa Hitomi ni Shite
  • A-Girl
Unfortunately, these additional OVAs were not successful and quickly sank into obscurity. None of them made it to Laserdisc, let alone DVD.

A-Girl is based on a 1984 shoujo romance manga by Fusako Kuramochi. It tells a very simple story: girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy. High-school student Mariko and her elder sister Mayu are forced out of their apartment by a fire and move in with their landlord. Mariko meets the landlord's handsome son, Natsume, who is also a model. They fall in love but break up when Mariko discovers that Natsume is seeing other girls. Eventually, they are reunited, and the end credits roll.



The story of this release, however, is far from simple.

The first raw we found, back in September 2016, was defective: small (512 x 384) and missing the end credits. Apparently, it was stitched together from three pieces on YouTube. The second raw was based on a used VHS tape purchased in Japan.  It wasn't perfect either: tape stretch caused noticeable audio distortion in three places - but at least it was complete. This month, VHS ripper realized that the audio distortion could be overcome. He made a new audio track, and I spliced the new track over the old one in the three chapters that were broken. That brings us, at long last, to this "VHS v2" release.

 
A-Girl was the directorial debut of Kousaka Kitarou. (He also did the character designs.) He later worked for many years as an animation director and key animator on Ghibli films before achieving prominence as the director of the award-winning Nasu: Anadalusia no Natsu. For A-Girl, he chose a novel approach: he made a "silent movie." A-Girl has no dialog and is performed against a background of Japanese pop songs composed by Okada Tooru and sung (in English!) by SEIKA. Dialog placards provide continuity, like in old silent films. It works pretty well and doesn't interrupt the flow of the story.

Iri bought the VHS tape for this release in Japan.He also translated and timed. I edited and typeset, Nemesis and Eternal_Blizzard did QC, gamnark ripped the VHS tape (and the replacement audio track), and M74 encoded it (and the replacement audio track).
 
As usual, you can get this version of A-Girl from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. If you like the music, the soundtrack is available on BakaBT. If you already downloaded the previous version, you can get a patch to v2 here. It's rather large; the entire audio track gets replaced.

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