Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cleopatra (HD)

As promised, here's the HD version of Tezuka Osamu's 1970 Animerama film, Cleopatra. I've already written extensively about this film and its companion "adult" anime, Senya Ichiya Monogatari. See the original blog entry for more information, particularly translation notes.

Cleopatra is not as good as Senya Ichiya Monogatari, and unlike the latter, it was a commercial failure in Japan. There are multiple problems: an unnecessary sci-fi framing story featuring anime heads superimposed on live-action bodies; a heavy-handed satire of American involvement in Vietnam; and a variety of set pieces that just don't come off, such as staging Caesar's assassination as kabuki theater. Cleopatra's actions and motivation are contradictory, changing to suit the needs of the plot. And the whole film is simply too long.

The film does have some rewards for its viewers. It abounds in references and easter eggs. For example, the characters from the original Osomatsu-kun series (1967) show up as bystanders during the Romans' entry into Alexandria:

Astroboy puts in an appearance too. Caesar's triumphal entry into Rome with Cleopatra has numerous parodies and references to famous artworks, including the Mona Lisa, Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People, Degas' ballerinas, and so on. Mark Anthony channels Napoleon:

The gags are endless. So is the mount of female flesh on display. Despite that, the sex scenes are very discrete. As in Senya Ichiya Monogatari, sex is sometimes portrayed by line drawings of sinuous curves intertwining and morphing, but there's nothing explicit. Butts (male as well as female) and boobs are as far as the film goes.

The voice actors are from a previous generation and don't have many modern anime credits. Nakayama Chinatsu (Cleopatra) played the lead in the Jaranko Chie TV series; she also narrated Kanashimi no Belladonna, the last Animerama film. Hana Hajime (Caesar) appeared on "live" TV shows. Nabe Osami (Anthony) played the lead character, Pero, in Puss 'n Boots Around the World in 80 Days. Nozawa Nachi (Octavian) has a much more extensive resume, including Black Jack in Bremen 4 and Marine Express and the lead character in the Space Adventure Cobra properties.

The music for both Senya Ichiya Monogatari and Cleopatra is by Tomita Isao, who scored many of Tezuka Osamu's early works. The soundtracks for these two movies are devilishly hard to find. The soundtrack for Senya is included in a five-CD box set of early Tezuka Osamu scores issued by Nippon Columbia in 2016. However, all I've been able to find of Cleopatra is a reissue of the EP single that included the insert song (Cleopatra no Namida) and the ending. If you have digital copies of either or both, please let me know.

The script has been updated only modestly from the original DVD release - a few more line breaks, improved credit typesetting, and that's about it. Yogicat timed to the new raw, I did the editing and typesetting updates, and VigorousJammer did a release check. Skr found the raw on a streaming site. It is a "720p" raw, but with the extreme aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the actual resolution is 1280x544.

So here's an HD version of Cleopatra, warts, or more accurately, boobs and all. You can get it from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

1 comment:

  1. You got me at Isao Tomita, I remember one of his casettes among my childhood favourites.