Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sotsugyousei Revisited

Back in the airly days (2013), Orphan did a number of projects based on the -uusei eroge franchise, starting with a three episode OVA from the turn of the century, Sotsugyousei (The Graduate). By itself, Sotsugyousei didn't make much sense, so that led us to translate its parent series, Doukyuusei 2; and then on to Doukyuusei Climax, Kakyuusei (1995), and Tenkousei. At that point, I fully expected never to see these shows again.

I reckoned without the determination of an Internet pen pal, ProxyMan. He went on a buying spree to find R2J sources for all of Orphan's hentai (or near hentai) shows that had used Internet raws. Using his sources, Orphan released better versions of Lunatic Night 3 and Beast City 3, a new version of Doukyuusei: Climax, and the first DVD-based version of Kakyuusei (1995). Now, Orphan is releasing a new version of Sotsugyousei, using a modern encode made from the R2Js.

When Orphan released the show, I didn't even attempt a synopsis, because the events and characters were so closely intertwined with the parent series, Doukyuusei 2. For those disinclined to watch or rewatch all twelve episodes of that show, here is a crib for the characters:

  • The hero, Sanshirou is a recent graduate of Yasohachi Academy, He now attends Imperial University.
  • He is tutoring Mizuno Tomomi, a girl at Yasohachi Academy, but he loves
  • Sakakibara Miyuki. She is piano tutor to
  • Maijima Karen, an idol who attends Yasohachi Academy. She seems to have a yuri yen for
  • Narusawa Yui, a girl at Yasohachi Academy, who has a crush on
  • Kondou Makoto, who is not a relative but lives at her house. (His name is changed to Ryuunosuke in this sequel, and he never speaks.)
  • Narusawa Misako, Yui's mother.
  • Minamikawa Youko, a red-headed girl.
  • Yasuda Azumi, a girl at Karen's racquet club.
  • Yousuke, a "yankee" who is Miyuki's former boyfriend.
  • "Affection Points Teller", a costumed girl who forecasts Sanshirou's future and gives him relationship advice at key turning points

Sanshirou returns to his hometown on break and promptly falls into the middle of all these relationships and crosscurrents. His interactions with the girls, the girls' interactions with each other, and Yui's propensity for getting herself and other girls into compromising positions, provide frequent excuses for boob, butt, and panty shots, but there is no actual sex. 

Eventually, Sanshirou gets together with Miyuki and true love triumphs, as in all the other -uusei series.

Sotsugyousei has basically the same cast as Doukyuusei 2:

  • Kishio Daisuke (Sanshirou) played Ryou in Final Approach, Tsukune in Rosario to Vampire, Jouslain in Tytania, Komatsu in Toriko, Teshima Junta in the Yowamushi Pedal franchise, and Kanamori (Venus) in Heaven's Design Team.
  • Kumagaya Niina (Mizuno Tomomi) had featured roles in Demon Warrior Koji, Heli-tako Pu-chan, and New Dominion Tank Police.
  • Mizusawa Jun (Sakakibara Miyuki) appeared in Android Ana Maico 2010.
  • Yajima Akiko (Maijima Karen) played the title role in Idol Densetu Eriko, Lemon in VS Knight Ramune & 40 Fresh, Takami in Geobreeders, Dorothy in The Big O, Pino in Ergo Proxy, Kogitsune in Natsume Yuujinchou, Mipple in the Futari wa Precure franchise, and the title roles in Shin-men and of course Crayon Shin-chan. She played Lesser Panda (Red Panda) in Shirokuma Cafe and Hikari in Kakyuusei (1995), both Orphan releases.
  • Murai Kazusa (Narusawa Yui) had featured roles in Boys Be..., Devil Lady, and the Hamtaro franchise.
  • Yamada Miho (Narusawa Misako) played Melmo's mother in Fushigi na Melmo, Atosuryua in the Banner of the Stars series, and Minami in Comic Party. She appeared in Sanctuary, an Orphan release.
  • Kitou Satoko (Minamikawa Youko) appeared in Attacker You!, Vampire Hunter D, and Tobira o Akete, an Orphan release.
  • Kikuchi Izumi (Yasuda Azumi) appeared in Goal FH and Mirmo Zibang!
  • Sekai Tatsuya (Yousuke) had small parts in various series and movies.
  • Koyama Kimiko (Affection Points Teller) played Oushi in the Lime-Iro Ryuukitan series, Uzuki in the Happy Lesson franchise, Hifumi in Koi Koi 7, Fuuka in the Mahou Sensei Negima franchise, Komoe in the Toaru no Index franchise, and Wakaba in Yume Tsukai, an Orphan release.

The director, Sakai Akio, mostly did character design and animation.

The original Sotsugyousei script bristles with names from Orphan's past. ElyasRay translated. laalg checked the scripts. I timed, edited, and typeset. CP and Saji did QC. The raws came off the Internet. For this release, Yogicat and I retimed the scripts. I updated the styling and typesetting. Rezo encoded from ProxyMan's R2Js and did a release check. The DVDs are a mess of blended frames and bleeds, but this encode looks cleaner than the original DivX5 raws.

So here's an improved version of Sotsugyousei, but the improvement is relative to an atrocious-looking original. The show is still very hackneyed, but it has lots of eye candy and no sex, if that's the mix you're looking for. You can get the show from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Doukyuusei: Climax v2

And now for something completely different. Orphan's next release is a revised version of the 1995 OVA Doukyuusei: Climax. The original release, done nearly ten years ago, used random Internet raws that were just terrible. This release is based on the R2J DVDs, provided once again by ProxyMan. It's still an interlaced and blended mess, but at least there's no video corruption.

Doukyuusei (Classmates) Climax is a sequel to the first Doukyuusei OVA, Doukyuusei: Natsu no Owari ni (Classmates: The End of Summer). For those who haven't watched or prefer to skip the original, here's a list of the key players as they appear in Climax.

  • Mooroka Wataru, the horny protagonist.
  • Suzuki Miho, "infatuated and juvenile".
  • Tanaka Misa, "tomboy".
  • Kurokawa Satomi, "sarcastic". She works with Wataru at a coffee shop
  • Nishina Kurumi, "naive".
  • Shimamoto Kyouko, chairwomen of the Cultural Festival. She wears glasses and is very serious.
  • Aihara Kenji, a rich snob.
  • Sakagami Kazuya, Wataru's best friend.

The OVA continues the story of Wataru and his harem of girls (Miho, Misa, Satomi, Kurumi). 

Wataru still pursues everything in a skirt, including Narusawa Yui, the heroine of Doukyuusei 2, who makes a cameo appearance. The girls in his harem all know about each other and don't seem terribly bothered about his antics. Meanwhile, Kazuya continues his seemingly fruitless pursuit of love, trying to escape from his stereotyped role as a "fun guy" and permanent resident of everyone's friend zone. 

Like all the Doukyuuseis, Climax is a soft-core h-anime, with sex scenes that require no censoring due to careful camera angles and conveniently placed sheets and blanket.

This release includes an AMV of the ED song, Wake Up to Your Love; it's basically a compilation of sex scenes from The End of Summer and Climax. It also includes two unsubtitled extras: a preview for Doukyuusei 2, and a strangely animated short subject.

The voice cast is fairly distinguished for a routine h-anime:

  • Iwata Mitsuo (Wataru) starred as Tetsuya in Outlanders, Shoutarou in Akira, Kintarou in Golden Boy, and Jay in Next Senki Ehrgeiz, an Orphan release.
  • Asami Junko (Suzuki Miho) appeared in numerous classic h-anime, including 1+2 = Paradise, Adventure Kid, Battle Team Lakers EX, Countdown Akira, Demon Beast Invasion, Dragon Knight, Midnight Panther, Nightmare Campus, Rance, Twin Angels, Twin Dolls, Urotsukidoji II, and Venus 5. She also appeared in Every Day Is Sunday, Gude Crest, and Eien no Filena, all Orphan releases.
  • Koorogi Satomi (Tanaka Misa) played Chi in all versions of Chii's Sweet Home, Himawari (the baby sister) in Crayon Shin-chan, Menchi (the food pooch) in Excel Saga, and Kuki-sama in the Limeiro properties. She also played Yahoi in Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki and Keiko in Sensou Douwa: Tako ni Natta Okaasan, both Orphan releases.
  • Takada Yumi (Kurokawa Satomi) played Yoshinaga-sensei in many of the Crayon Shin-chan movies and Ayeka in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. She played Saya and Monmo in Cosmic Fantasy, Purinpurin in Hoshi Neko Full House, Atover in Exper Zenon, Yumi the barkeep in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, Kumaba in Body Jack, and bit parts in Cool Cool Bye and Nora, all Orphan releases. She appeared in many classic h-anime, including Adventure Kid, Angels in the Court, Balthus: Tia's Radiance, Bizarre Cage, Black Widow, La Blue Girl, Countdown, the Demon Beast and Darkness series, Dragon Knight, F3, Fencer of Minerva, Lyon Flare, Trouble Evocation, Twin Dolls, and Venus 5.
  • Oikawa Hitomi (Nishina Kurumi) played Ami in the Cream Lemon franchise, Katri in Katri the Cow Girl, and Yasuko in Miyuki.
  • Yamaguchi Yuriko (Shimamoto Kyouko) played Ritsuko Akagi in the Evangelion franchise, Nico Robin the One Piece franchise, and Yuarisia in Dragon Pink. She also appeared in many classic h-anime, including  La Blue Girl, Beast City, Cool Devices, Countdown, Masquerade, Midnight Panther, Tournament of the Gods, and Variable Geo.
  • Futamata Issei (Sakagami Kazuya) is best known for his roles as Godai Yuusaku in Maison Ikkoku, Akira (Chibi) in Urusei Yatsura, and Saburo in Sazae-san. He played the main character, Yoshio, in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou and the psychopathic brother, Cross, in Hi-Speed Jecy, and he appeared in Fukuyama Gekijou, all Orphan releases.
  • Hayami Shou (Aihara Kenji) 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, Aji in Hayou no Tsurugi, Exper Kain in Exper Zenon, Iason's friend Raoul in Ai no Kusabi, Hojo in Sanctuary, Pat Leivy in Starship Troopers, Junoichi in Blazing Transfer Student, Shargan in Gude Crest, and Seichii in Mikoneko Holmes. All of these shows are Orphan releases.

Kobayashi Takashi directed episode 1. He later directed the original JoJo's Bizarre Adventures. Fukumoto Kan directed episode 2. He also directed Kakyuusei (1995), Advancer Tina, Yesterday Once More, Enbo, and other h-anime.

For the original release, the translator preferred to remain anonymous (who can blame him/her?). archdeco timed. I edited and typeset. CP and Saji QCed. For this release, I styled and typeset the show again, with many more signs properly set and actually tracked. Rezo encoded and did a a release check. ProxyMan provided the R2J ISO.

So here's a new version of Doukyuusei: Climax for your viewing(?) pleasure. You can get the show from the other usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Tengai Makyou

Our 300th release, or at least that's what is says on the release page.

Orphan starts out 2023 on the right note with the first English-subtitled release of Tengai Makyou: Ziria Oboro Hen (Far East of Eden: Ziria's Dreamlike Chapter). This two episode OVA from 1990 is based on the first of the popular Tengai Makyou RPG and fighting games, published by Red Company. The games were extremely popular in Japan but were never published in the US. The OVA tells a standalone story but was clearly intended as a promotion for the video games.

Tengai Makyou is set in a fantasy Japan, Zipang (Marco Polo's term for Japan). It is loosely based on the folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari; the hero's name has been deliberately misspelled, in line with the fantasy setting. Our protagonist, Ziria, is a former ninja and an accomplished thief, so good at his trade that he wants to find newer and bigger challenges (i.e., more loot). Ziria tells his boss, Kumokiri, that he's going to Hidaka, where the two castles of Shirotaka and Kurotaka offer the prospect of bigger treasures. Kumokiri warns Ziria not to go after the treasure known as Hiruko. Their argument is interrupted by a police raid. Kumokiri, Ziria, and their head goon Daiboke all try to escape in a contraption built by eccentric inventor Koboke. When it inevitably breaks down, Ziria uses his ninja skills to fly away. And this is just the opening act!

Meanwhile, nefarious doings are afoot in Hidaka. The villainous demon lord, Jashinsai, has infiltrated Kurotaka Castle and taken over the body and soul of its lord, Mikage Taizen. Now disguised, he tries to persuade Princess Yurihime of Shirotaka Castle to marry his "nephew" (actually his disciple), the devious Tsukimaru. She refuses. As a gesture of conciliation, they all go to see a performance by the kabuki actor Orochimaru, who is More Than He Seems™.. Ziria also sneaks into the performance, where he encounters "Lord" Orochimaru's greatest fangirl, Tsunade, who is also More Than She Seems™. When Taizen's henchmen break into the theater to kidnap Yukihime, Ziria spirits her away with Orochimaru's help. But Ziria's (and Orochimaru's) interest in Hirako disgusts her, and she returns home. She is almost kidnapped again, but Ziria and Orochimaru, now allies, rescue her and escape underwater on another of Koboke's inventions, a submersible, where they encounter the ruins of another castle, the original Shirotaka.

Hirako, it turns out, is the propulsive force underlying the machines and weapons of war of the ancient but now supposedly extinct Fire Clan. Jashinsai wants to use Hirako to reanimate an ancient machine soldier, which will then lay waste to all of Zipang. (Well, he is a demon lord.) Ziria, Orochimaru, Tsunade,and the rest of the gang must now stop Jashinsai's plans from coming to fruition, which will requird delightfully preposterous chases, fights, coincidences (Ziria, Orochimaru, Tsunade, and Yukihime are all member of the "extinct" Fire Clan), and deus ex machina. It's no spoiler to say that everything turns out fine; the journey is all the fun.

The voice cast is excellent:

  • Mitsuo Iwata (Ziria) starred as Tetsuya in Outlanders, Shoutarou in Akira, Wataru in Doukyuusei and Doukyuusei Climax, Kintarou in Golden Boy, and Keshikaru in Keshikaru-kun. He also played Jay in Next Senki Ehrgeiz, an Orphan release.
  • Sakuma Rei (Yukihime) played Batako in Soreike! Appanman, April in Sol Bianca, Peorth in Ah! My Goddess, the title role in Aika, Shampoo in Ranma 1/2, Vena in Dragon Half, Kitty White in Hello Kitty, and Mii in Muumin. She also played Naru in Blue Sonnet, Carmencita in Starship Troopers, and Belga the pirate in Cosmic Fantasy, all Orphan releases.
  • Shiozawa Kaneto (Orochimaru) played the title role in To-Y, Shin in Hiatari Ryoukou, Iason in Ai no Kusabi, Rock Holmes in Fumoon, Shiina in Chameleon, Sanzou in I am Son Goku, Kouhei in Karuizawa Syndrome, and Kurahashi Eiji in Nine, all Orphan releases. He also played Joe in Tokimeki Tonight, Yoshio in Miyuki, Takeshi in Touch, D in Vampire Hunter D, Narsus in the Arslan Senki OVA, Rosario in Dragon Half, and Abriel senior in Crest of the Stars.
  • Emori Hiroko (Tsunade) played Chaozu in the Dragonball franchise, Slightly in Peter Pan no Bouken, Mika in B.B,. and Meichan in the second Sangokushi special. The last two are Orphan releases.
  • Katou Seizou (Jashinsai) played Admiral Putyatin in Bakumatsu Spasibo, Ii Naosuke in Hidamari no Ki, Abraham in Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, Norbert in Apfelland Monogatari, Hatsutori Juuzou in Kage, Billy Bones in Shin Takarajima, the old stationmaster in Sotsugyou: Graduation, and Jeigan in Fire Emblem, all Orphan releases. He had many other featured roles in the span of a 50 year career.
  • Horikawa Ryou (Tsukimaru) played Shutendou in Shuten Douji, Vegeta in Dragon Ball, Naoto in Slow Step, Anthony Brown in Candy Candy, Reinhard in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Tadao in Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Kai in Kizuna, Shinya in Okama Report, and Andromeda in Saint Seiya. He also played Naoto in Kimama ni Idol and appeared in Nana Toshi Monogatari, Chameleon, Hi-Speed Jecy, Lunn Flies into the Wind, and the first two Sangokushi movies, all Orphan releases.
  • Nagai Ichirou (Kumokiri) 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 Rain Boy, Manxmouse, Nora, Hidamari no Ki, Yuukan Club, Amon Saga, Botchan, Ipponbouchou Mantaraou, and Yamato 2520, all Orphan releases.
  • Tanonaka Isamu (Koboke, the inventor) was best known for voicing the character Medama Oyaji (Daddy Eyeball) in the first five GeGeGe no Kitarou anime, as well as Sindbook in the original Magical Princess Minky Momo and Igor in the Persona franchise. He played Nodaiko in Botchan, an Orphan release.
  • Sugawara Masashi (Daiboke, the bruiser) played Jean Valjean in Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette, Hanazono in Yawara!, and Ray Lovelock in the Macross 7 franchise. He appeared in B.B.Fish, an Orphan release.
  • Kitamura Koichi (Karo, the princess's chief minister) played Coach Nakao in the Nine OVAs, Paolon, the intelligent spaceship, in Hi-Speed Jecy, Professor, the wise old cat, in the Ultra Nyan OVAs, Professor Lenholm in Apfelland Monogatari, and appeared in Hidamari no Ki, Lunn Flies into the Wind, and Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou. All are Orphan releases.
  • Hirose Masashi (Tsume) appeared in Al Caral no Isan, Dallos, Nora, Kage, Wolf Guy, Junkers Come Here: Memories of You, and Kageyama Tamio's Double Fantasy, all Orphan releases.
  • Shoya Yoku (Denji, a police informer) played Yuzuru in Laughing Target, Mickey in Milky Passion: Dougenzaka - Ai no Shiro, and Zhuge Jun in the first Sangokushi movie, all Orphan releases. He also played Triton in the Umi no Triton TV series and movies, Ryouta in Slam Dunk, Jinpei the Swallow in Gatchaman, Cosmo Yuki in Space Runaway Ideon, and the title role in Kariage-kun. He also . He was a sound director for many series.

The director, Takeuchi Yoshio, helmed many shows, including Cat's Eye, Space Cobra, Oishinbo and its two specials, Ipponbouchou Mantarou, and The Mother Who Became a Kite.

tenkenX6 translated. ninjacloud timed. I edited and typeset (very few signs). Nemesis, Uchuu, and VigorousJammer all QCed. Intrepid encoded from an R2J DVD that was included with a limited edition re-release of the game in Japan. I don't know how the DVD came into our hands, but it's readily available on second-hand media sites in Japan.

So here is Tengai Makyou, is all its hare-brained glory. You'll probably have a smile on your face as you watch it through; I certainly did. You can get the show from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 in Review

2022 winds down as catastrophically as most other recent years. The war in Ukraine grinds on. A "tripledemic" rages in the US. Covid has returned to claim its due in China and elsewhere. (Three of our staff members caught Covid this fall.) Pestilence, war, famine, and death ride unchecked. So what else is new?

Orphan Fansubs

Orphan's projects this year included a lot of retreads: rerips of previous releases; dubs added to previous releases; resubs of other groups' hardsubbed projects. I wish we could do more original subs, but translators and other resources are scarce. One stalled project, Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, was successfully restarted, releasing a further four volumes.
  1. A-Girl v3. A new version of the Margaret OVA, featuring much improved video.
  2. Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, episodes 10-12. The start of the Exodus story, from the enslavement of the Israelites to Moses' encounter with the burning bush.
  3. Cherry no Manma. A short OVA, telling a tiny portion of a much larger story.
  4. Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, episodes 13-15.  The Exodus story continues with the plagues, the miracle at the Red Sea, and the journey to Mt. Sinai.
  5. Baby Love. A shoujo romance featuring a very large age gap.
  6. Choujikuu Romanesque Samy: MISSING 99. A sci-fantasy that makes as little sense as its title.
  7. The Kitten's Doodles. An early black-and-white Toei cartoon, featuring a mischievous kitten and his even more mischievous mouse friends.
  8. The Kitten's Studio. Another Toei cartoon, in color, featuring the kitten, his mouse friends, and an automated/robotic movie studio.
  9. Tezuka Osamu: The Secret of Creation. A documentary about Tezuka Osamu, filmed in his last years. It was included as a bonus in the wonderful art book, "The Art of Osamu Tezuka."
  10. Kosuke-sama Rikimaru-sama: Konpeitou no Ryuu. A DragonBall ripoff, but fun nonetheless. Kosuke and his younger brother Rikimaru must defend the nearly extinct dragons of Dragon Island from a ruthless collector and his mercenaries.
  11. Junkers Come Here: Memories of You. A sentimental tale about an adorable talking Schnauzer that can work miracles, and his impact on a distressed family.
  12. Kakyuusei (1995) v3. A DVD version of the softcore h-anime, which Orphan previously released from a laserdisc source.
  13. Sotsugyou: Graduation. Five girls who are about to graduate from high school ponder their future plans. Should they do what they want, or what is expected of them?
  14. King Fang v2. The shounen tale about a wild dog-wolf hybrid and his attempts to find freedom in the wild of Hokkaido. The video, from a streaming source, is a substantial improvement over the first version, which was ripped from a VHS tape.
  15. Hayou no Tsurugi. A sword-and-sorcery tale about a young half-demon swordswoman battling evil demons, including her brother.
  16. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 2: Shiroki Ryuu no Miko v2. This OVA, based on the second game in the Haruka Naru Toki franchise, is a somewhat anemic tale that seems to end before it properly gets off the ground.
  17. Chameleon ep5. Pint-sized wannabe hood Yazawa Eisaku must fend of challenges from precociously violent middle-school students.
  18. Nana Toshi Monogatari. Sci-fi set in a post-apocalyptic earth where naval warfare dominates because air warfare is not possible.. 
  19. Arisa Good Luck. A one-shot OVA about a normal high-school girl, her siscon brother, and an Evil Organization bent on Ruling the World™.. 
  20. Shiratori Reiko de Gozaimasu! A shoujo romantic comedy about a rich girl who is completely tsundere about her love interest.
  21. Kimama ni Idol. Two high school girls from the country win a big lottery prize and come to Tokyo basically to goof off and have fun. They team up with another girl and try to break into the music business.
  22. Don Dracula. Tezuka Osamu's incomplete comedy series about the legendary vampire, who inadvertently ends up in Japan when his castle is bought up by a local developer.
  23. Ai no Kusabi (1992) DVD Extras. Short features from a pioneering BL title.
  24. Chameleon ep6. The end of the road (thank goodness) for Yazawa Eisaku and his gang of friends and enemies.
  25. Sugata Sanshirou. A well-loved story about the early days of judo, featuring a happy-go-lucky hero out to learn the secrets of martial arts from masters in Tokyo.
  26. Nemure Omoigo, Sora no Shitone ni. A sci-fi yarn abut a young teenager's unexpected encounter with a replica of her mother.
  27. Cat-Eyed Boy (1976), episode 2. The second episode of Umezz Kazuo's horror series.
  28. Nemure Omoigo, Sora no Shitone ni HD. HD version of the show.
  29. Wolf Guy v2. A sci-fi story about immortal wolf-men fighting to keep their secrets safe from secret societies, governments, and intelligence services alike.
  30. Kaitei 3-man Mile SD. This was M74's original encode for this Toei movie, which was released last year in HD.
  31. Hameln no Violin Hiki. A send-up of the "noble band of heroes" trope; a complete riot.
  32. Maris the Choujo, dual audio. Dub added to last year's release.
  33. Fire Tripper, single- and dual-audio. Another Rumic World OVA, about a young girl who can teleport through time when faced with danger from fire.
  34. Laughing Target, single- and dual-audio. Another Rumic World OVA, about a disturbed girl who is determined to claim her place as the fiancee of a typical high school student.
  35. Amon Saga, dual audio. Dub added to the 2020 release.
  36. Fire Emblem, dual audio. Dub added to the 2017 release.
  37. Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, episodes 16-18. The Exodus story ends with Moses' death and Joshua's conquest of Canaan.
  38. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki. The Haruka Naru Toki formula applied to the Genpei wars. This part covers up to the battle of Ichi-no-Tani.
  39. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Owarinaki Unmei. The second part of the story, covering the battle of Dan-no-Ura and the aftermath. This version is 50% longer than any previously released version of the show and includes ten alternate endings.
  40. Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament, episodes 19-21. The glory days of the United Kingdom of Israel: the reigns of Kings Saul and David.
  41. Star Dust. A sci-fi OVA that's an uneasy mixture of great spaceship action and a clumsy lesson about racism.
A personal highlight was Sugata Sanshirou, a wonderfully picaresque saga of late Meiji Japan. Other personal favorites included Toei's Kitten, Nana Toshi Monogatari, Fire Tripper, and Laughing Target. Plus, I was really pleased to be done with Chameleon, at long last, and the Haruka Naru Toki franchise.

A big shout-out to Intrepid and Rezo for their ongoing work in media acquisition, transcription, and encoding. I also want to thank the Arutha foundation, which has hosted all of Orphan's releases on IRC. The timing regulars, ninjacloud and Yogicat, and the QC regulars, Nemesis and Uchuu, continue to carry the bulk of the group's projects in their respective fields. And last, but not least, Iri, tenkenX6, and kokujin-kun keep the group's original translation efforts afloat. But all the staffers, whether called out here or not, have made valuable contributions to the group's work.

The Audio Side

Orphan released some additional music this year. Except as indicated, the source is a CD, ripped by Intrepid.
  1. Nana Toshi Monogatari OST (FLAC) 
  2. Kyouryuu Daisensou Izenborg Music Collection (FLAC) - LP source
  3. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki OST (FLAC)
  4. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki Vocal Collection (FLAC)
  5. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Owarinaki Unmei OST (FLAC)
  6. Haruka Naru Toki no Nake de 3: Owarinaki Unmei Vocal Collection (FLAC)
Work for Other Groups

Much the same.
  • Frozen-EviL. I continued to edit the slow-moving Blu-Ray version of Yawara!
  • Saizen. I continued to edit and typeset the slow-moving Laughing Salesman specials. I also started working on the slow-moving series Baby and Me.
  • Soldado. Eternal_Blizzard has retired from fansubbing, alas.
  • Inka. I typeset a few shows, to thank that team for their help on our joint projects.
With Saizen and Live-EviL involved in several of these projects, is "slow-moving" redundant?

Favorites of 2022

I'm not an anime critic, so I don't try to compile a "best of" list for the anime year. Instead, I'm listing my favorites of the year and why they kept me interested all the way through.

In alphabetical order:
  • Aharen-san wa Hakarenai. This deadpan comedy really ticked my funny bone.
  • Baraou no Suretsu. History rewritten as shoujo psychodrama. Despite terrible animation and plot twists that could not be believed, I couldn't turn awa; I'm a history major, after all.
  • Dance Dance Danseur. A wonderful character study of a teenage boy wrestling with the conflicting demands of talent and conformity.
  • Koukyuu no Karasu. Prolix to the max, but the (fictional) historical setting and characters were very engaging.
  • Kumichou Musume to Segakawari. Yeah, it's sentimental pap, but I'm a grandad, so a show about a young child softening the heart of a closed-off adult is in my sweet spot.
  • Mob Psycho 100 S3. Shounen is not normally a genre I like, but this season of Mob Psycho 100 was very good, and the series really stuck the landing.
  • Ryman's Club. A seinen! And about badminton, the only sport I ever played competitively! I loved the character dynamics and the split emphasis on business as well as sports. However, negi soda... don't think so.
  • Sabikui Bisco. A fine example of the Wide-Screen Baroque School of sci-fi. Killer 'shrooms! Heroes riding giant crabs! Improbable action and even more improbable coincidences! What more do you need?
  • Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Sura. It pandered to its audience's fantasies, but the technical details about cosplay, and the interplay between the characters, worked.
  • Summertime Render. At last, a mystery series that stayed mysterious (and consistent) right until the end.
  • Yofukashi no Uta. A fascinating character study of introversion masquerading as a vampire story.
Isekai Oji-san would have made the list too, if it hadn't been delayed by production problems, as would Mairimashita! Iruma-kun S3, if it didn't continue into next year. I found the second half of Ousama Ranking disappointing.
I've really enjoyed two short series, Sekai no Owari no Shiba Inu to and Nights with a Cat. The former has some of the sharp writing that I liked in the Fireball series. The latter has a cat; 'nuff said.

Looking Ahead

In 2023, I intend to complete Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament. In all likelihood, this will be Orphan's last lengthy series. I'd like to do Ambassador Magma and finish up Sanada 10. There are still lots of OVAs and movies stranded on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. It's a race against time - to find, buy, and transcribe analog media before they decay irretrievably, and to get them translated, shaped up, and released before the same happens to me.

So Orphan Fansubs will continue to work on The Shows That Time Forgot. There's no shortage of good material, and interesting raws are more abundant than ever; but qualified staff is in short supply. If you're a translator, encoder, editor, typesetter, or QC with an interest in the back catalog, please get in touch with me on irc.rizon.net. I even show up on Discord occasionally, under duress.

Thanks, everyone - both team members and fans. Have a happy and safe 2023.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Star Dust

Orphan's last release for 2022.

The 1992 sci-fi OVA Star Dust is the brainchild of Itano Ichirou, a well-known action director who worked on Megazone 23, Macross, and other famous series. Most recently, he developed the creatures in the SSSS.* series. It's an odd duck. I wonder if the pitch meeting went something like this:

Itano: Let's do an environmentally-themed sci-fi show set in space, with lots of action.
Producer: Okay:
Itano: And to spice it up, I'll include a heaping side-order of racism!
Producer: Tasty!

Well, maybe not exactly like that, but it's hard to explain Star Dust's mixture of straight-up sci-fi spaceship action with racism in both the dialog and the character designs. Maybe it made more sense 30 years ago.

Star Dust is set in the "distant" future: 2022 (that is, now). The Earth has been totally polluted by its increasing amounts of waste. As Bill Steele's 1971 song said,

Garbage (garbage, garbage, garbage) Garbage!
We're filling up the sea with garbage (garbage...)
What will we do when there's no place left
To put all the garbage? (garbage...)

The solution, according to the show, is to shoot the waste into space via a giant catapult and then transport it to the Sun for incineration (if it's harmless) or to Jupiter (if it's hazardous). Let's ignore the slight problem in orbital mechanics that makes this impractical or impossible and accept the premise. The UN sets up an enforcement mechanism, Cosmo Ecology, to make sure that companies don't cheat and dump hazardous waste in the Sun. Star Dust is about one encounter between a Cosmo Ecology patrol ship and a waste-contraband runner trying to dump radioactive waste into the Sun.

Star Dust opens with two disposal trucks, one filthy and driven by a brown-skinned man, and one immaculate, driven by a Japanese man and a white man, stop at a "filling station" to refuel on water. The Japanese character is drawn like a World War II caricature:

The Japanese man disparages the other truck (and by implication, its driver) as dirty and disgusting. The brown-skin man replies that the yellow and white men are responsible for polluting the Earth. It almost ends in a brawl, but a garbage container launch on the catapult requires everyone to shelter in place. The action transitions to space.

An unarmed space tug is wrestling the garbage container into place on a tanker, the Sandy T. The pilot of the tug is our hero, Saki. Based on data from his homemade sensor, he believes the container is full of radioactive waste. His white female supervisor, Lt. Cresson, berates him for slowing down the transfer. To get more evidence, he scrapes the container and shows his captain that it is a special coating designed to conceal radiation. Cresson dismisses his evidence in racist terms before her superior, Captain Fox, tells her to pipe down. He also doesn't feel the evidence is compelling, but his superior on Earth does and tells them to investigate the tanker.

The tanker is indeed running contraband and refuses to stop when ordered. Captain Fox scrambles his fighters to intercept, led by the all-American team leader, Robert Ryan. Ryan doesn't give a damn about the mission; he's only interested in getting back in time for his date with Lt. Cresson. Ryan calls Saki a "four-eyed, buck-toothed, yellow shrimp" for triggering this incident and beats him up. Saki, who is also drawn like a World War II caricature, then points out the obvious.

Ryan and his team are suckered into an encounter with the tanker's secret weapon, a stealth fighter. Their ships are blown up or disabled. Saki is the only pilot left, and his unarmed tug the only craft still able to fly. Despite the way he's been mistreated, Saki flies out to save the day, with only his wits and his homemade sensor to aid him. He succeeds, Ryan and Cresson learn their lesson (and still get their date), everyone pledges to behave better, and the OVA ends.

I don't have a problem with a Japanese anime portraying Western racism in savagely negative terms while ignoring Japan's own blemished record on the subject. I don't have a problem with the portrayal of Saki as having both superior intellect and superior principles (he's against lethal violence). I do have a problem with the visual caricatures employed - of the Japanese characters, the brown-skinned truck driver, and the impossibly good-looking western spaceship officers. Perhaps, as the translator suggested, the only thing to do is to let that part of the anime just sit there and enjoy the space action sequences, which were Itano's specialty.

I only have a small fraction of the voice cast, because the characters named in the credits are, by and large, never called by name during the show:

  • Matsuno Taiki (Saki) played the title role in the second Kindaichi movie (an Orphan release) and every subsequent show in the franchise. He starred in Exper Zenon and appeared in Fukuyama Gekijou and Chameleon, all Orphan releases. He played Kouga in Inuyasha and the title role in The Adventures of the Little Prince.
  • Nakamura Hidetoshi (Captain Fox) appeared in Ai no Kusabi, Nana Toshi Monogatari, and Exper Zenon, all Orphan releases.
  • Yao Kazuki (Ryan) played Franky in One Piece, the lead in Makyou Gaiden Le Deus, the title role in Rance, Dark Schneider in Bastard!!, Chivas in Sorcerer on the Rocks, and Yoki in Fullmetal Alchemist (both versions). He also played the title role in Hameln no Violin Hiki,  Morbridge Jr in Nana Toshi Monogatari, K.K. in Elf 17, Date Ikkaku in Akai Hayate, Ryougaku in Wild 7, and Sofue Akira in Boyfriend, all Orphan releases.
  • Tominaga Miina (Cresson) played Ritsu in Fruits Basket (2002), Persia in Magical Fairy Persia, Rollpanna in the Anpanman franchise, Misaki in Tsuritama, Muuma in Bavi Stock, Kamiya in Tokimeki Tonight, Hikaru in Chameleon, Karen in Yuukan Club, and Eri in Karuizawa Syndrome. The last five are Orphan releases.
  • Umezu Hideyuki (Saddam, weapons officer on the tanker) played Akadama-sensei in Uchouten Kazoku and Uranos Corsica in Gangsta. He had featured roles in Apfelland Monogatari, Blue Sonnet, Hashire Melos, Hi-Speed Jecy, Hidamari no Ki, Nana Toshi Monogatari, Neko Neko Fantasia, Singles, the What's Michael? OVAs, Yamato 2520, and Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band, all Orphan releases.
  • Sasaki Nozomu (Mars, another fighter pilot) starred as Tetsuo in Akira, Ebata in Genji Part 1, Ushio in the original Ushio to Tora, Urameshi in the Yu Yu Hakusho franchise, and Mello in Death Note. He played Dekiru in Izumo, Taiga in Nagasarete Airantou, Hal in Next Senki Ehrgeiz, Wataru in Blue Sonnet, and Ling Fei-Long in Dragon Fist, all Orphan releases.

Who are Jimmy Dean, Terence Young, Dennis Brown, Giancarlo Nini, as identified in the credits? Only the director, Itano Ichirou, who also wrote the story, knows.

Iri translated the show. ninjacloud timed. I edited and styled (no typesetting). Topper3000 and Uchuu QCed; Uchuu provided the link about orbital mechanics. Interpid encoded from a Japanese VHS tape. The show was never released on laserdisc or digital media. One can understand why.

So here's Star Dust. Like the curate's egg, it's good in parts. You can get the show from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #new on irc.rizon.net.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament Ep19-21

The seventh volume of Tezuka Osamu's Tales from the Old Testament is the pivot point between the mythic and "historical" parts of the Bible. (Quotes needed, because little of the history of the United Kingdom of Israel can be verified archaeologically.) The Israelites were competing for space in a crowded land and were under increasing pressure from larger political entities. They came to believe they needed more than just God's strength to protect them. Instead of decentralized tribes governed by charismatic local leaders ("judges"), they wanted a centralized kingdom and all that went with it. It worked - for a while.

This is also the point, in my view, where the series' G-rated, "greatest hits" approach to the Bible breaks down. These episodes present the highlights - Gideon's victory over Midian, Saul's selection and subsequent madness, David and Goliath - but they fail to do justice to the highly complex characters in this story. David is presented simplistically as a faithful servant of God. None of the dark notes - Absalom, Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite - are mentioned. His deep friendship with Saul's son Jonathan, so carefully delineated in the Bible, is  ignored; Jonathan's role in saving David's life is given to Saul's daughter, Michal. David succeeds Saul, conquers Jerusalem, composes songs of praise to God, dies. This is not the compelling figure who captured the imagination of western artists from Michelangelo to Leonard Cohen. But... "you don't really care for music, do ya?"

Episode 19 ("King Saul") relates a few stories from the Book of Judges, specifically Deborah leading the people to victory over the Canaanites, and Gideon leading the chosen 300 (This is Sparta!) to victory over the Midianites. The main narrative tells how the prophet Samuel selected and anointed Saul as Israel's first king. Rocco has a catalytic role in bringing Saul into contact with Samuel.

The Book of Judges is actually far more schematic than this episode indicates. It contains six "cycles." In each of them, the people lapse into idolatry and are threatened by external enemies as God's punishment. A charismatic leader arises to bring the people back to their faith and earn God's forgiveness. The leader, with God's power, defeats the enemy, and the people enjoy forty years of peace. Rinse and repeat. This theme - God punishing the Israelites for lapses of faith via external enemies - will occur again.

Episode 20 ("Saul's Defeat") recounts the downfall of Saul. The king's initial run of victories make him arrogant, and he usurps the priests' role in rituals. He loses God's favor and becomes increasingly morose. Samuel seeks out the house of Jesse and secretly anoints his youngest son, the musically-talent shepherd David, as the future king. Later, Saul's servants send for David to play for the king and soothe his troubled soul. When the Philistines, led by their giant Goliath, challenge the Israelites, David volunteers to face Goliath and brings him down with his slingshot. David becomes instantly famous and wildly popular, and he marries Saul's daughter Michal. However, David's fame excites Saul's jealousy, and the king tries to have his rival killed. David is protected by God's favor. Saul is killed fighting the Philistines, along with his son Jonathan. Rocco is the young David's pet and companion.

At the end, David sings a song of mourning for Saul and Jonathan, but it is very generic compared to David's impassioned words in the Book of Samuel:

Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
very pleasant have you been to me;
your love to me was extraordinary,
surpassing the love of women.

Not likely to make it into this series. How the mighty have fallen, indeed.
This episode has an unusually high number of director Dezaki Osamu's trademark detailed still frames or "postcard memories":

Episode 21 ("King David") starts with David's conquest of the Jebusite fortress of Jerusalem, located on Mount Zion. He calls Jerusalem "the city of David" and begins a massive reconstruction project to make it a beautiful center for his kingdom. He brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and dances in joy, celebrating the Lord. He also starts to build a temple to hold the Ark of the Covenant, but the prophet Nathan, relating God's words, tells David to leave that task to his successor.

This episode illustrates one incident that shows David's humanity. He dances before the Ark of the Covenant, wearing just an ephod (a priestly apron). This causes his wife, Michal, Saul's daughter, to rebuke him for dishonoring the dignity of a king. David disagrees, saying that to praise God, he would make himself even more of a mountebank, if need be. The episode omits, of course, the aftermath: David takes wives and concubines in Jerusalem and fathers eleven more children; he shuns Michal, who remains childless.

Rocco causes his usual fox-like chaos in the marketplace during David's celebration.

These episodes introduce new characters and new voice actors:

  • Yoshida Rihoko (Deborah) played Megu-chan in Majokko Megu-chan, Monsley in Future Boy Conan, Maria Grace Fleed in UFO Robo Grendizer, Michiru in Getter Robo, Clara Sesemann in Alps no Shoujo Heidi, Rosalie Lamorliere in The Rose of Versailles, Kurama in Urusei Yatsura, and Machiko in Maicchingu Machiko-sensei. She appeared in numerous other World Masterpiece Theater series, including  Anne of Green Gables, Honoo no Alpen Rose, Katry the Cow Girl, Shoukoushi Cedie, Lucy May of the Southern Rainbow, Marco: 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, Perrine, and Pollyanna. She played Holy Mother in Gude Crest, Takako in Sugata Sanshiro, and Diaochan in the first Sangokushi movie, all Orphan releases.
  • Yamanouchi Masato (Samuel) appeared in Casshan, Future Boy Conan, Hell Liner-0011, Racoon Rascal, and Shounen Santa no Daibouken
  • Yuuki Hiro (Young David) played the title role in Arc the Lad, Marcel in the Angelique franchise, and Masuo in Yume de Aetera. He also appeared in Neko Neko Fantasia, Nozomi Witches, and Yamato 2520, all Orphan releases.
  • Ishizuka Unsho (David) played the title role in a Violence Jack OVA, Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop, Hongou in Rescue Wings, van Hohenheim in the original Fullmetal Alchemist, Dina in Banana Fish, and Bunta in the Initial D franchise.
  • Shimaka Yuu (Goliath) played Katagiri in Yawara! He appeared in Bagi, Kosuke-sama & Rikimaru-sama: Konpeitou no Ryuu, Kasei Yakyoku, and Apfelland Monogatari, all Orphan releases.
  • Hashi Takaya (Saul) appeared in Sanctuary, Oedo ga Nemurenai!, and Yuukan Club, all Orphan releases. He had featured roles in Blade Runner: Black Lotus, D.grayman, the Fafner franchise, Fire Force, and the Garo offerings.
For this set of episodes, both Moho Kareshi and Skr contributed to the translations. ninjacloud timed. I edited and transposed the typesetting. Nemesis and Uchuu QCed. Skr encoded from R2J DVDs.

You can pick up this batch of episodes from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

What's in a Name?

Today, in honor of the anniversary of the passing of our late colleague, CP, QC extraordinaire for many groups, we have a mass release of ongoing shows: three episodes of the Yawara! Blu-ray series, and no less than six specials from the Laughing Salesman high-definition series. And great episodes they are too. Yawara! is in the heart of the arc about Mitsuba's first judo tournament, where Fujiko finds her footing as a serious competitor (and finds romance as well). The Laughing Salesman specials delve even deeper into the series' dark and sometimes nightmarish humor.

Yawara! is a FroZen-Evil project; Laughing Salesman is a Evil-Saizen project. The hybrid group names obviously meant something back when the projects started - mid-2011 for Yawara!, late 2013 for Laughing Salesman. But what about today? "FroZen-Evil" stood for Frostii, Saizen, and Live-EviL. Frostii shut down shortly after the project started, but the name never changed. Laughing Salesman got started after the Yawara! DVD project finished and had pretty much the same staff. However, Frostii was long gone, so the joint name was shortened to Evil-Saizen.

The decade since then has seen many changes. CP has died; Juggen, Eternal_Blizzard, sangofe, and many others have mostly left fansubbing. Saizen is a shell of its former self. The projects are now staffed by a smorgasbord of people from the back catalog "kairetsu", including Orphan, Saizen, Inka, Live-Evil, and others. But the original project team names remain, as momento mori.

I find it quite sobering that I've been working on Yawara! for almost twelve years, and Laughing Salesman for almost nine. When I started, the prospect of a really lengthy series didn't seem all that daunting. I had all the time in the world. Now, I no longer feel that way, and the leisurely pace of these series is serious problem. In a world threatened by pandemic and war, with friends far younger than me removed from the scene by illness or other circumstances, the prospect of taking another six or seven years to finish these shows seems out of the question. The teams have made tentative steps towards a faster pace. I hope these steps lead to a more rapid cadence for both shows. If Yawara! could release weekly, like the original series team did, it would be done for CP day in 2023. Laughing Salesman needs a 3-4 week cadence. We'll see.

Meanwhile, enjoy watching Fujiko release her Ouchi Gari on unsuspecting rivals

while Fukuzo lures more victims into his increasingly sinister traps:

Happy holidays!