Sunday, July 22, 2018

Techno Police 21C

I've wanted to do a subtitled version of 1982's Techno Police 21C for quite a while, although not since 1982. A dubbed version has been available for several years, but it's a VHS source, and I had my doubts about the accuracy of the English script. Fortunately, Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions had the Japanese laserdisc, so off we went.

Techno Police 21C (the 21C stands for 21st century) is a sci-fi action flick about crooks and police. Centinel (sic) City has been overrun by criminals who use giant machines to commit crimes. To counter them, the police form a unit called the Techno Police, which uses advanced robots (called Techroids) in partnership with human officers. Kyousuke Mibu, a Highway Patrol officer best known for destroying his motorcycles, is drafted into this new force. His partner is a flying, skating Techroid called Blader. His colleagues include Kaoru Kousaka, partnered with a brute strength Techroid called Vigorous (and mispelled as Vigorus in the bonus section), and Elena Fubuki, partnered with a scanning and analysis Techroid called Scanny. (Scanny has a shapely female form, because, why not?) Together, they must combat a criminal gang that first robs an impregnable bank and then hijacks an advanced heavy tank with a mind of its own. Kyousuke's best weapon is his instinct, but will that keep him alive in the face of heavy weaponry, dastardly villains, military intervention, and general mayhem?


In short, Techno Police 21C is good fun. It starts fast and keeps the pedal to the metal almost all the time. The story was the debut work of Suzuki Toshimitsu, who went on to create other sci-fi and action shows such as Bubblegum Crisis, Bubblegum Crash, and A.D. Police. (The script itself is credited to five different people.) The voice cast includes:
  • Yasuhara Yoshito (Kyousuke) played Scarecrow in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (TV), Ranze's father in Tokimeki Tonight (which Orphan finished), and Louis XVI in The Rose of Versailles.
  • The late Utsumi Kenji (chief of Techno Police) played the title role in Don Dracula and again in Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned, Norimaki Senbei in the Dr. Slump franchise, Alex Louis Armstrong in all the Fullmetal Alchemist properties, Dr. Zachariasen in Nora, an Orphan release, and numerous other roles.
  • Takizawa Kumiko (Elena) played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz (movie). She also appeared in Scoopers, an Orphan release.
  • Ikeda Masaru (Kaoru) got his start in the 1970s and had numerous lead and featured roles, usually as father or authority figures. He played the police chief in Every Day Is Sunday, an Orphan release.
  • The late Takiguchi Junpei (Scratch, the criminal with the distinctive voice) played the villainous king of Kanemacchi Castle in Grim Douwa: Kin no Tori and the Mouse Thief in Stop!! Hibari-kun!, both Orphan releases.
  • The late Aono Takeshi (Crime, the other criminal) played Masaki Katsuhiko in the Techni Muyo franchise, Bookman in the original D.grayman, and the leader of the Crazy Group in Stop!! Hibari-kun!, an Orphan release.
  • Oobayashi Ryuusuke (Blader) played Ranma's father in the Ranma 1/2 franchise. He also appeared in Yuukan Club, an Orphan release.
Moho Kareshi translated the dialog, and Sunachan translated the songs. laalg checked the translations and filled in some of the military and naval jargon. ninjacloud timed; I edited and typeset. Nemesis and VigorousJammer did QC. Erik encoded from his own Japanese laserdisc. The encode includes a ten-minute bonus showing the "state of the art" 1985 CGI used in designing the Techroids and providing detailed technical specs. It's a hoot.

The show is not set in Japan, despite the Japanese names for the police officers. All the signs are in English, for example, and the crooks and the military baddie have western names or nicknames. Accordingly, western name order has been used and honorifics  removed. This presents some problems. "Kaoru" is an androgynous name, and Kousaka is reluctant to say it, often trailing off his introductory sentences. That doesn't work as well if Kaoru comes first. Kyousuke responds by calling Kousaka "Kaoru-chan," rendered as "little Kaoru," to try to convey the joke. Kyousuke also calls Elena "Elena-chan," rendered as "Elena baby," a mark of condescension that Blader (who is still learning how to speak) mimics. Kyousuke calls Blader "Blader-san," rendered as "Mr. Blader," until he learns that Blader is a robot; after that, it's plain "Blader." All "-kun" honorifics are dropped.

Even if you've watched the English dub, you'll enjoy this subtitled version; and if you haven't, go get Techno Police 21C from your usual torrent site. You can also get it from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Update: just as we released Techno Police 21C, a Blu-ray edition went on sale in Japan. It's insanely expensive ($130) because it includes a Blader action figure. However, if any fan really wants to see this movie with much better video, it's only a matter of money...

5 comments:

  1. Nice to see this one get translated! I remember watching the Toho dub many years ago when I just started getting into watching old OVAs from the 80's/90's. I know a few people who've been wanting a subtitled version of this movie for a long time as well.

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  2. Just as an FYI, the bonus section at the end was done in early 80s CG, and really did not come out well. It was a bit of a mess on the original LD, and the best I could do with filtering was to trade off one set of problems for another, so I just rolled with the same filter chain I used for the main feature. Maybe the Bluray fixes it, maybe not.

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  3. This was AWESOME. I miss anime movies like this :-) Too many touchy-feely movies these days and too much CG

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