Sunday, July 5, 2020

Polishing a POS: Twinkle Nora Rock Me v2

Here is exactly what the world doesn't need at this critical moment, a revised version of the 1985 candidate for Worst Anime of All Time™, Twinkle Nora Rock Me! From the excruciatingly awful animation to the idiotic plot to the moronic music, this is an OVA with no redeeming social importance or qualities. So what is heaven's name possessed Orphan to do this show again? And no, "It seemed like a good idea at the time" won't cut it.

Actually, Twinkle Nora Rock Me!, Greed, and Majo Demo Steady are on a list of Orphan laserdisc releases with source problems. Twinkle and Greed are missing part of the ending credits. Majo is missing an audio channel. By sheer coincidence, all three were offered in a bundle of eleven laserdiscs on Yahoo Auctions Japan. I snapped them up in the hope of releasing better versions. And then, all three proved to have serious bit rot issues. Our Intrepid Media Maven managed to get the digital audio track off Majo, but the video was unusable. Twinkle and Greed had their own issues ("cloud rot" and "green rot"), but Intrepid did manage to extract usable encodes with the Domesday Duplicator. And after he put in all that effort to encode the discs, how could I not support his work by putting the old subtitles on the new raws?

I don't want to rehash my original blog post about this wretched show; the less time I spend thinking about it, the better. However, I should mention the voice actors, whose careers somehow survived this debacle:
  • Yamamoto Yuriko (Nora) played Iczer 1 in the Iczer OVAs, Rumy in the Gall Force OVAs, Sally in Mahou Tsukai Sally 2, Sandybell in Hello! Sandybell, Georgie in Lady Georgie, Tomoe in Tomoe's Run!, Rihabi and Sayuri in Stop!! Hibari-kun!, and Telenne in High Speed Jecy. The last three are Orphan releases.
  • Nojima Akio (Max) played Aramis in Dogtanion and the Three Muskehounds, Richard Jones in the Emma properties, and Bernard in The Rose of Versailles.
  • Nagai Ichirou (Fucherou) starred in numerous shows, playing grandfather Jigoro in Yawara!, the off-the-wall narrator in Gosenzosama Banbanzai!, Professor Hajime in Queen Millennia, and Happosai in the Ranma 1/2 franchise. He appeared in Nora, Hidamari no Ki, Yuukan Club, Manxmouse, and Yamato 2520, all Orphan releases.
  • Watabe Takeshi (Touchino) had featured roles in numerous shows, including Condition Green (an Orphan release), Gunparade Orchestra, Maze, Ninku, Oishinbo, Sanctuary (another Orphan release), Wrath of the Ninja, and You're Under Arrest.
Almost all the work involved in this release was squeezing a usable encode out of the rotted source. Our Intrepid Media Maven did yeoman's work on the video, trying out every combination of filters he could think of to deal with the noise. He also had to work through a series of bugs in the Domesday Duplicator software's newly implemented Automatic Gain Control (AGC). Still, it turned out pretty well; as he said, "It's like a well-polished turd." However, the bit rot really distorted the analog audio. I took the audio track from the original release, equalized the volume between original and new audio tracks, and spliced the initial bumper and concluding song into the original track from the new one. Now, Twinkle Nora Rock Me! can be seen and heard in all its glory. As I said about the original release, don't all rush to thank us at once.

Except for the encoding, the staff credits are the same as the original release. In order to spare the staff another immersion in this ordure, I did the retiming and QC myself. There's almost no typesetting; the built-in Engrish signs are more than sufficient:

Of course, it could be a dedicated entrance for Robby the Robot, but... probably not.

So here is Twinkle Nora Rock Me!, complete at last. We're not releasing a revised encode of the accompanying special; the first encode was good enough. You can get this OVA, if you dare, from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Ninku Ninku!

My colleague Eternal-Blizzard has just released the last two episodes of Ninku, thus completing a fansub odyssey that began back in 2004. Ninku was started and dropped by no less than six fansub groups, which must be close to a record among orphan series. The English-speaking anime community owes Eternal-Blizzard a debt of gratitude for persevering and finishing the series - from Blu-rays, no less.

Ninku is a fairly standard shounen story set in a fantasy world. "Ninku" is a martial art combining ninja and karate techniques. Ninku masters are the strongest warriors imaginable. However, in the recent past, the evil forces of the Empire have defeated and dispersed the Ninku and now rule tyrannically over the land. Only former Ninku captain Fuusuke and his tiny band of surviving Ninku warriors now oppose the might of the Empire.

It sort of sounds like a fantasy version of Star Wars, with Ninku power substituting for the Force, but it's not taken anywhere near as seriously. Fuusuke is a total goofball, a chibi who looks even younger than his 12 years. His tongue is always hanging out, and he's interested as much in a good meal as the pursuit of justice. His companions include Touji, who likes to fight in just a fundoshi; Aichou, who pilots a rickety biplane that crashes at the start of many episodes; Rihoko, Touji's sister, who is infatuated with Aichou; and Hiroyuki, a penguin whose explosive farts provide propulsion at critical moments. Together, they meander around the countryside, supposedly in order to rescue Fuusuke's mother from the villains, but mostly as an excuse to have single- or short-arc adventures.

The voice cast includes many well-known seiyuu:
  • Matsumoto Rika (Fuusuke) played Satoshi in the Pokemon franchise, Jim Hawking in Outlaw Star, Satoshi in the Pokemon franchise, Jinno in Bakuen Campus Guardress, Kei in Dirty Pair Flash, Sushi Tori in Let's Nupu Nupu, and Okon in Hidimari no Ki. The last two are Orphan releases.
  • Madono Mitsuaki (Aichou) played Prince Touma in the Ranma 1/2 movie Nihao My Concubine, the hero Takeru in the Dragon Knight h-OVA series, and Marron Glace in the Bakuretsu Hunters series.
  • Kosugi Juurouta (Touji) made his debut at the villainous Eyesman in Bavi Stock I, an Orphan release. He played Lantis in Magic Knight Rayearth, Tooyami in Tales of Seduction, and de Morcerf in Gankuutsuou. He also played Oguma in Fire Emblem, Dr. Bayfarm in Joker: Marginal City, Utsubushi in Amatsuki, Kannou in Okane ga Nai!, and Gisuke in Kage, all Orphan release. 
  • Hayashibara Megumi (Rihoko) was arguably the most famous seiyuu of the 1990s. She starred as Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop, Ayanami Rei in Evangelion, Rune Balot in the Mardock Scramble movies, Rebecca in One Piece, Lina in the Slayers franchise, female Ranma in Ranma 1/2, and Miyokichi in Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. She also played a number of feline roles, including including the title roles in the All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku and Hello Kitty franchises, as well as "lead cat" Iruinedo in Oruorane the Cat Player, an Orphan release. She played Navi in Izumo (1991) and Clair in Hashire Melos!, also Orphan releases.
  • Suzuki Katsume (Hiroyuki) played numerous featured roles, most recently in Brand New Animal.
  • Taniguchi Takashi (Kouchin, the final boss) played God in the Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-san series, among other roles.
  • Hiramatsu Akiko (Mekira an antagonist) played Nene Romanova in Bubblegum Crisis and Bubblegum Crash, Tom Kusanagi in Mikan Enikki, Konoe (the security maid) in Hanaukyo Maid Tai, and Miyuki in the You're Under Arrest franchise. She played Ninomiya, the police chief's reckless daughter, in Every Day Is Sunday, an Orphan release.
  • Ishida Akira (Sekirei) has had a storied career. He starred as Sasuke in Samurai Deeper Kyou, Chrno in Chrno Crusade, Howard in Uninhabited Planet Survive, Rion in Galerians: Rion, Komugi in Hen Zemi, and Arima in Princess Lover. He played Gaara in the Naruto franchise, Shinichi in Nana, Athrun Zala in the Gundam Seed Destiny properties, Cho Hokkai in the Saiyuuki franchise, Xellos in the Slayers franchise, Natori in the Natsume Yuujinchou franchise, Tsukasa in the Shokugei no Souma franchise, and Kuchiki in the Genshiken series. He played brother Oomori in Let's Nupu Nupu and Gordon in Fire Emblem, both Orphan releases.
The director, Abe Noriyuki, is best known for directing Yuu Yuu Hakusho and Flame of Recca.

Eternal-Blizzard and his Soldado-Saizen crew picked up from where Dattebaiyo broke off more than a decade ago. They re-released the DB episodes on a new Blu-ray source and continued on to finish the series. As usual, the staff list draws from across the "back catalog kairetsu" - Soldado, Saizen, Orphan, and more. I got roped into doing QC back around episode 30. Shounen's not my favorite genre, but Eternal-Blizzard has helped Orphan a lot, and I was happy to repay the favor.

The project isn't quite done. There will be batch torrent, to fix up whatever issues have turned up over 55 episodes. The batch will also include a drama CD. Still, the main story is over - in fact, it finished at episode 50 - so you can watch Ninku through and get the whole story. Fuusuke and friends will be waiting for you.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki: Long Distance Call v2

Here's another VHS release that needed a new encode: the 1997 OVA Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki: Long Distance Call (Business Fighter Yamazaki: Long Distance Call). Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki was a successful manga by Tomizaki Jun. It ran from 1992 to 2000 and was collected in twelve tankoban volumes

Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki: Long Distance Call is based on volume 3 of the manga. It tells the story of Yamazaki Takurou, a workaholic salesman whose job eventually kills him. A temp staffing agency (!) rebuilds him as a cyborg business consultant. At the start of the OVA, Yamazaki meets a runaway delinquent teenage girl, Kashima Rinko, and saves her from trouble with the police. Despite his determination to have no human connections, Rinko attaches herself to him as sidekick and observer. Yamazaki's assignment is to help Itsutsuba Electrics develop a new telephone product. The market is already crowded with cell phones, cordless handsets, answering machines, and so on; the planners at Itsutsuba despair of finding a new and compelling product concept. Yamazaki, of course, finds a niche and proposes a wall-mounted LCD panel that acts as a voice-operated telephone. This seems remarkably silly in today's age of smartphones, but then again... hello, Alexa? Before he can finish his work, Rinko runs afoul of another cyborg named Suzuki. Yamazaki then finds that his studiously cultivated emotional detachment is not quite as ironclad as he thought.

I'm not sure quite what to make of Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki. It feels like a satire at times, but I rather suspect it isn't. Yamazaki is portrayed as a hero (and a rather tragic one at that), not as an object of ridicule. Japan's insane workaholic culture is held up as something to emulate, not as a crippling burden on the young leading the country to demographic disaster. And these days, Yamazaki's aphorisms are quoted by business motivational speakers in Japan.

The voice cast includes:

  • Chiba Shigeru (Yamazaki) played Megane in the Urusei Yatsura franchise and Nezumi in later GeGeGe no Kitarou movies. He appeared in Ai no Kusabi, Akai Hayate, Bagi, Condition Green, and Yamato 2520, all Orphan releases. He is still active, appearing in the recent Overlord series.
  • Kawakami Tomoko (Rinko) starred as Akane in the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou properties and as the title roles in Hikaru no Go and Revolutionary Girl Utena. She also did a marvelous comic turn as Elise, the hard-as-nails assistant to the lecherous ojii-san Stresemann in Nodame Cantabile.
  • The peerless Ogata Kenichi (Suzuki) played the put-upon father in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and Maroko, as well as Smee in Peter Pan no Bouken, the crooked casino boss in Okane ga Nai! (an Orphan release), the Hong Kong chef in Yuukan Club (also an Orphan release), and, most recently, Gran Torino in Boku no Hero Academia. However, he's best known to me as the voice of Ranma 1/2's Sataome Gemna, whose alter ego - the grumpy panda - is my avatar on most anime forums.
  • Katsuki Masako (Kirika, Yamazaki's maintenance engineer) played Maroko in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and its movie version, Maroko, Mira in Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet, Queen Bee in Golgo 13: Queen Bee, and Tsunade (Fifth Hokage) in the Naruto franchise. She also played Kenbishi Yuuri in Yuukan Club and Hojo's lover in Sanctuary, both Orphan releases.
Iri picked up a VHS tape of Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki as part of his regular survey of secondhand media sources in Japan. Sunachan translated the dialog, signs, and songs. M74 timed. I edited and typeset (the repeated shots of the wall phone account for the bulk of the script). VigorousJammer and banandoyouwanna QCed; bananadoyouwanna also styled the songs. The original encode, based on a compressed D-VHS tape rip, had lots of blended frames. For this release, our Intrepid Raw Hunter™ made an uncompressed rip with his vintage All-in-Wonder card and then encoded it. It looks considerably better, although the colors are more muted, and the lines haven't been sharpened. For this release, I redid all the typesetting and reparsed a few awkward lines. Nemesis did a release check.

Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki is an interesting show with interesting characters. If you watched it before, you will want to archive this version. If you haven't, I recommend it. You can download the show from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channel #nibl or #news on

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Oedo wa Nemurenai! v2

The uncompressed VHS ripping setup that Orphan's Intrepid Raw Hunter™ uses has been down for a couple of months. A couple of capacitors on the vintage 2004 motherboard went up in smoke (literally), and the unit wouldn't boot. He finally got a soldering iron and some replacement capacitors, and after board-level surgery, the setup is operational again. So Intrepid is now systematically revisiting Orphan's early VHS encodes with the repaired setup and improved encoding techniques. And there are few shows we've released that I'm as happy to revisit as the 1992 shoujo OVA Oedo wa Nemurenai! (Edo Never Sleeps!).

Oedo wa Nemurenai! was the last of the Margaret shoujo OVAs to be finished, and the only one that wasn't a routine modern shoujo romance. Oedo is set in 18th century Edo (old Tokyo), during the prime years of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The story focuses on three principal characters: Usugumo, the "number one girl" at Miura-ya, a Yoshiwara brothel, and still a virgin at 14; Aoto Touichirou, nominally a western doctor but really a secret agent; and Bentenkozou Kikunosuke, a chivalrous thief. Usugumo is actually the daughter of the Shogun and a Christian courtesan; Aoto has been assigned to protect her. Usugomo attracts the unwanted attention of the heir to the Kaga clan, who wants to ravish her, and of court assassins, who want to bury the Shogun's secret forever. The two men in her life must protect her life and future. For more information on the show and the cast, as well as translation notes, see the original blog entry.

For the original release, Sunachan translated, ninjacloud timed, I edited and typeset, and Nemesis and Topper3000 QCed. For this release, Intrepid ripped and encoded the VHS tape and time-shifted the script. The original rip was done on a D-VHS deck; that produced a compressed result. This rip used a vintage All-in-Wonder card to capture the video without compression. Uncompressed capture allows for better software post-processing. The resulting encode was many fewer blended frames, so I was able to add a bit more typesetting. I also cleaned up the timing and a few lines and did a release check.

If you watched the original release of Oedo wa Nemurenai!, then you'll want to archive this version for its improved video. If you missed it the first time around, you're in for a treat. And after you watch the OVA, you can read the complete manga, in English, to get the rest of the story. Oedo wa Nemurenai! is available from the usual torrent site or on IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tezuka Osamu's Tales of the Old Testament, Ep 7-9

It's been more than a year since the previous release, but here at last are the next three episodes of Tezuka Osamu's Tales of the Old Testament. These episodes tell the stories of the descendants of Abraham.

Episode 7 ("Isaac and Ishmael") touches on one of the important themes of the Patriarchal era - the question of succession. Do the father's land, goods, and spiritual inheritance go to the eldest son or the most deserving son? (It was always a son; this was called the Patriarchal era for a reason.) Was the succession determined by God or by more human factors, like schemes and plans? Isaac succeeds Abraham because Isaac's mother Sarah arranges for older brother Ishmael and Ishmael's mother Hagar to be banished. Jacob succeeds Isaac because his mother Rebecca arranges for Isaac to steal his father's blessing from Esau. And Joseph is set on his path to glory because his jealous brothers sell him into slavery.

Although this episode relates the facts of Ishmael's banishment, there's not much tension about or insight into the events. Ishmael's a good and dutiful son; Isaac is still an infant. Sarah is jealous of the younger and prettier Hagar and wants her gone. Abraham agrees because God tells him that everything will work out. Ishmael and Hagar agree to leave for the same reason. Hagar and Ishmael almost perish in the desert but are saved by God' intervention. Ishmael becomes the legendary founder of the Arabs. Rocco the fox puts in his usual cameo. It's all rather anodyne; Bible stories for children.

Episode 8 ("The Sacrifice of Isaac") retells one of the most profound and confounding stories in Genesis, the Binding of Isaac. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham submits. Father and son set off to a distant mountain. When Isaac asks, "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?", Abraham only replies, "God himself will provide the lamb." Abraham binds his son and prepares to kill him. At the last minute, God stays Abraham's hand and provides a ram to be sacrificed in place of the boy.

The account in Genesis is terse, ambiguous, and terrifying. Isaac's feelings about the matter can be surmised from the fact that he never speaks directly to his father again. Here, Isaac is shown as submitting to God's will. In fact, Genesis says nothing about Isaac submitting; that's a later interpolation in Christian and Islamic traditions. Rocco again makes multiple appearances for comic relief. They feel more out of place than usual.

The Binding of Isaac has inspired great art, including some of the greatest paintings of the Renaissance:

In contrast, the artwork here is anime-standard; Isaac seems asleep:

The story has inspired poets and singers, such as Leonard Cohen's haunting Story of Isaac. Here there is pathos, but no poetry.

Scholars of all the western religions have argued about the Binding of Isaac for centuries: Was it a sham? Was it real? Was it a test of Abraham's faith? Of Isaac's submission to God? Here, it's just another anecdote, on par with Rocco's pursuit of a rabbit. One translation note: the episode title is literally "Abraham Sacrifices/Offers/Dedicates Isaac," but I've used the more familiar Western name for the story.

Episode 9 ("Joseph's Dreams") seems more comfortable terrain for the series. Joseph and his brothers has been a staple children's story for years (for example, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), and the series is very comfortable telling it at that level. All the discordant details, such as Potiphar's wife and her attempted seduction, are omitted. Joseph is sold into slavery, becomes known for his dream interpretations, shows Pharoah what the future holds in store for Egypt, and is rewarded with a position of prominence. The stage is set for the story of Moses, the Exodus from Egypt, and the giving of the Ten Commandments, which will occupy the next six episodes.

New voice actors include:
  • Toriumi Katsumi (Ishmael) played the male lead, Wakamatsu, in Miyuki. He appeared as Shigeru in Yume Kakeru Kougen, an Orphan release.
  • Doi Mika (Hagar) played the title roles in Angel Cop and Explorer Woman Ray, Hayase Misa in the Macross franchise, the empress (Lafiel's grandmother) in the Crest of the Stars saga, Tabitha in the Zero no Tsukaima properties, Eclipse in Kiddy Grade, the narrator in Mushishi, and Nanase in Natsume Yuujinchou. She appeared as Yukari in Mikeneko Holmes no Yuurei Joushu, Rosa in Seikima II Humane Society, Captain Deladrier in Starship Troopers, and multiple roles in Kage, all Orphan releases.
  • Iwanaga Tetsuya (Isaac) played the male lead, Mizuhara, in the El Hazard franchise, as well as Aida in the Evangelion franchise. He appeared in Yamato 2520, an Orphan release.
  • Yanaka Hiroshi (Joseph) played Shiba in the recent revival of Piano and Gorou in the Free! franchise. He played Yuurakutei in Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinji and appeared in Noragami, Nanbaka, Terraformars, Wild 7, and Hidamari no Ki. The last two are Orphan releases.
  • Okabe Masaaki (Pharoah) had featured roles in Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Sanctuary, an Orphan release.
The Orphan staff credits are the much the same. Skr did the heavy lifting: translation, timing, and encoding. I edited and also tweaked the typesetting. Nemesis and BeeBee QCed.

I hope it won't be a year until the next set of episodes, but I can understand why Skr is more motivated to work on Crayon Shin-chan than this series: Shin-chan has a lot more laughs. In any case, you can get these three episodes from the usual torrent site or IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Exper Zenon

Does the world really need another version of Exper Zenon, a 1991 one-shot science fiction OVA? Probably not, but here it is anyway.

Piyo Piyo Productions did a first version in 2011 - one of Erik's relatively few ventures into subtitled anime. DOMO modified the script and release its own version, basically uncommenting the interjections. Now, Erik has revisited the show with the Domesday Duplicator and modern encoding techniques. Orphan's version is based on PPP-Raw's new encode and a modified version of the original PPP-Sub scripts.

Exper Zenon tells the story of high school game whiz Zenno Hiroshima. One day, he receives a mysterious offer on his PC to participate in a 3D virtual simulation game, EXPERS. Thanks to a Cat on Keyboard incident, he inadvertently order an Exper suit, which shows up at his school along with a beautiful naked girl named Atover. Before he can be beaten to a pulp by his jealous male friends and outraged female classmates, a kaiju appears outside the school. Atover tells Zenno, now known as Exper Zenon, that he is inside a game and, as the main character, must fight the kaiju. With Atover by his side, Zenon confronts and fights an increasingly strong set of opponents, until he finally faces off with the time-traveling Final Boss who set the whole game in motion.

Exper Zenon seems to lie squarely within the "trapped inside a virtual reality game" genre, but it has other sources as well. For example, the time travelers who use the past for their own selfish ends and cut off any timelines that don't suit them is straight out of Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity. Still, it's an entertaining 90s blend, with lots of action, some shiny explosions, and the occasional glimpse of Atover's bare bod.

The voice actors include:
  • Matsuno Taiki (Zenno Hiroshi) played the lead role in the second Kindaichi movie (an Orphan release) and every subsequent show in the franchise. He appeared in Fukuyama Gekijou, also an Orphan release. He played Kouga in Inuyasha and the title role in The Adventures of the Little Prince.
  • Takada Yumi (Atover) played Yoshinaga-sensei in many of the Crayon Shin-chan movies and Ayeka in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. She appeared as Saya and Monmo in Cosmic Fantasy, Purinpurin in Hoshi Neko Full House, and Yumi the barkeep in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, all Orphan releases.
  • Hayami Shou (Exper Kain) starred as Nanjou in Zetsuai: 1989 and Bronze: Zetsuai since 1989, and Kushinige Hodaka in Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru. He also played an angel in Tezuka Osamu's Tales of the Old Testament, Iason's friend Raoul in Ai no Kusabi, Hojo in Sanctuary, Pat Leivy in Starship Troopers, Junoichi in Blazing Transfer Student, and Seichii in Mikoneko Holmes. All of these shows are Orphan releases.
  • Sasaki Yuko (Exper Shiff) played Sayoko in Aoko Honoo, Yuki in Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, and Akiko in Wolf Guy, all Orphan releases. She also played Gilbert in Kaze to Ki no Uta SANTCUS and Hitomi Nomura in Piano.
  • Yanada Kiyoki (Exper Venom) played Kuroda in Akai Hayate and Ooniwa in Nozomi Witches, both Orphan releases. He also played Black Bear Cat in Chii's Sweet Home.
The director, Moriyami Yuuji, did the character design as well. He filled the same two roles on Project A-ko 2, 3, and 4 and the first All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVAs. He has done animation direction on numerous shows.

For this release, the original PPP-sub script was retimed, given some modest amount of checking, and augmented with signs and the ending song. Iri translated the signs; convexity translated the ending song. Yogicat did the fine timing. I edited and typeset. (There's substantial frame-blending, which throws off the motion tracking in spots.) Nemesis and Topper3000 did QC. The encode, like the translation, is from Piyo Piyo Productions. This is a joint release.

So fasten your seat belts, sit back, and enjoy the ride. You can find Exper Zenon at the usual torrent site or on IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Watt Poe

I've mentioned in the past that the fansub groups working on back catalog shows aren't all that distinct. They're more like an interlocking keiretsu than distinct teams. Orphan, Saizen, Soldado, Live-eviL, and others all share staff. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Saizen's recent release of the 1988 OVA Watt Poe to Bokura no Ohanashi (The Legend of Watt Poe). The project leader, Ayanami-, is part of Saizen, so it's a Saizen release, but the staff comes from across the keiretsu:
  • Translation - Ayanami- (Saizen)
  • Timing - ninjacloud (Orphan and Saizen)
  • Editing - Collectr (Orphan)
  • QC - Kuro Nemesis (Orphan), BeeBee (Orphan and Saizen), sangofe (Saizen)
  • Encoding - tyroz (Anime Fanrips)
  • Raw Acquisition and ripping - Intrepid raw hunter (Orphan)
Yawara! and Laughing Salesman also have staff from Saizen, Live-eviL, Soldado, and Orphan. I guess you could say we're group-fluid.

Watt Poe is a very old-school fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic world. Struggling villagers at the base of a mountain live in fear of the "Birdos", flying armored creatures that live at the top of the mountain. The Birdos have kidnapped a magical narwhal named Watt Poe, whom the villagers worship as a god, and now the villagers' sources of food are drying up. Intrepid youngster Jam decides to climb the mountain and release Watt Poe. He finds the Birdos are actually technologically advanced humans, but their society is dying out. He teams up with the only Birdos child born in the last twenty years, a girl named Selene, to free Watt Poe and prevent a war between the villagers and the Birdos. As Ayanami- wrote, "This is what happens when Free Willy and Lassie join forces in a Japanese anime." And as every old-school Hollywood actor knew, the dog steals the show.

The voice cast includes:
  • Fujita Toshiko (Jam) played the title roles in the Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken properties, Fujiko Fujio no Kiteretsu Daihyakka, Ikkyuu-san, Tomcat's Big Adventure, and Ganbare Genki. She starred as Rui in Cat's Eye and Ryoko in Goku: Midnight Eye. She also played Lulu in Grimm Douwa: Kin no Tori, Takao in Oedo wa Nemurenai!, Cyborg 1019 in Oz, Gordon in Hitomi no Naka no Shounen: 15 Shounen Hyouryuuki, Sharaku in Akuma Tou no Prince: Mitsume ga Tooru, and Princess Iron Fan in Tezuka Osamu Monogatari: I Am Son Goku, all Orphan releases.
  • Hara Eriko (Selene) played Patty in the Gall Force properties, Fana in Gldeen, Hiyami Hikaru in the Kimagure Orange Road properties, and Pyonkichi in the Soreike! Anpanman franchise. She starred as Ranze in Tokimeki Tonight and appeared in Fukuyama Gekijou - Natsu no Himitsu, both Orphan releases.
  • Kawashima Chiyoko (Eva, a villager) played Okiyo in Haguregumo, Fujiko (Yawara's best friend in college) in Yawara!, and Ikou in Greed, an Orphan release.
  • Yara Yuusaku (Regio, a villager) played the destroyer captain in Zipang. He had many featured roles, appearing in Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, Next Senki Ehrgeiz, Eien no Filena, Hidamari no Ki, Nozomi Witches, both Sangokushi OVAs, Prime Rose, and both What's Michael? OVAs, all Orphan releases.
  • Utsumi Kenji (Village chief) is best known for his roles as Roah in Fist of the North Star, Kaioh in Fist of the North Star 2, and Senbei Norimaki in the Dr. Slump and Arale-chan franchise. He appeared in Bavi Stock and 15 Shounen Hyouruuki, both Orphan releases.
  • Miyauchi Kouhei (Birdos mayor) usually played elderly men or authority figures. He appeared in many Orphan releases, including the first two Sangokushi movies, Condition Green (Jack Goldman), Grimm Douwa: Kin no Tori (King Kaiser), Nozomi Witches (Eddie), Stop!! Hibari-kun (Kogorou Shirachi), Tsuki ga Noboru made ni (Grandfather), A Penguin's Memories (the judge), and Techno Police 21C (Brigadier Hamilton). He had a recurring role as Kame Sennin in the Dragon Ball franchise.
The director,  Kageyama Shigenori, also directed Bavi Stock I, Hi-Speed Jecy, and Yamato 2520, all Orphan releases, as well as the Himawari! series. Under the pseudonym Morino Yousei, he directed numerous h-anime shows, including Doukyuusei 2 (an Orphan release), the BL classic Boku no Sexual Harassment, and recent Queen's Blade releases.

It was fun, and not too demanding, to work on an "all ages" OVA, and I always like to build up chits I can call in later (heh heh). If you haven't watched Watt Poe yet, then you can find it on the usual torrent site or on IRC bot Saizen|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on