Monday, July 23, 2018

Bronze: Zetsuai ~ Since 1989

Bronze: Zetsuai ~ Since 1989 is the 1996 sequel to the pioneering BL OVA Zetsuai 1989, which Orphan released earlier this year. It brings the story of singer Nanjou Kouji and soccer prodigy Izumi Takuto to some sort of stopping point, although the manga goes on for another twelve volumes without reaching much of a conclusion. The release of Bronze concludes Orphan's project to "spruce up" the classic BL OVAs with modern encodes, checked translations, and softsubs.

Like Zetsuai, the tone of Bronze is emotionally overwrought and operatic. As the OVA opens, Izumi is going off to Italy to try his soccer skills against better players. Nanjou, in despair, gets into a near-fatal motorcycle accident and is hospitalized in a coma. When Izumi returns, his rage goads Nanjou back to consciousness, but the latter has lost his voice from the trauma. Deprived of his career, Nanjou is carried off to his family to become the heir to his late father's martial arts school. Nanjou's friend and manager, Shibuya, conspires to bring the two lovers back together again, in the hope of shocking Nanjou out of his silent state. And then... As I said, operatic, although rather more soap opera than grand opera.

Unlike Zetsuai, Bronze was released on DVD. The aspect ratio (700 x 527) is narrower than standard 4:3, because there were substantial black margins on each side. Although the voice cast is the same for the two OVAs, almost everything else changed - the animation house (Madhouse to Production I.G.), the director (Endou Takuji to Kawasaki Itsurou), the music composer (Kawai Kenji to Ootani Kou),and the character designer (Aoki Tetsurou to Kise Kazuchika). The most noticeable difference is that the characters look even taller, thinner, and more elongated.

Continuing the tradition of Cathexis - a set of Zetsuai anime music videos that Orphan released last year - Bronze includes its own AMV, Cliff. It's yet another emotional ballad set to homoerotic imagery. It  includes shots of the manga author, Minami Ozaki, looking pensive or yearning, along with some heavy breathing (whose is not specified). This is the first time the AMV has been released as part of a fansub.

For Bronze itself, the original script is by Lupin Gang Anime. Sunachan went over it with a fine-tooth comb and marked it up extensively. M74 timed; I edited and typeset; Calyrica and VigorousJammer QCed. M74 encoded from an R2J DVD. The AMV has the same credits, except that the translation is from the Internet, credited to Evol Siren.

At a distance of more than twenty years, it's easy to dwell on the faults of Zetsuai and Bronze and hard to remember the impact they had when they were first released. You can get Bronze from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

1 comment:

  1. The character design, and elongation, is actually more faithful to the original manga's style. You get some idea of this in the artreel at the end of Cathexis. Cathexis also has a more interesting version of Koji's crash in its final video.