Sunday, December 16, 2018

Nine: Kanketsuhen

The Nine saga comes to a close with the third installment, 1984's Nine: Kanketsuhen (Nine: Final). Niimi Katsuya, Karasawa Susumu, and Kurahashi Eiji are all third-years, as are Nakao Yuri and Yasuda Yukimi. The principal romantic relationships are set. Katsuya is paired off with Yuri, and Jirou-kun (a second-year) with Yasuda Yukimi. Katsuya's former romantic rival, Jirou's older brother Kentarou, has gone on to college or pro baseball and is out of the picture. Thus, Nine: Kanketsuhen focuses on some of the side characters, as well as the climax of Coach Nakao's decades-long quest to get to the holy of holies, the high school baseball championships at Koushien.

In the first vignette, Coach Nakao (Yuri's father) uses a minor hospital stay to motivate the happy-go-lucky third-years to buckle down and try for Koushien. In the second, Susumu, who has mostly been a comic wingman to Katsuya, takes center stage, as a prolonged batting slump draws the attention (and eventually, the affection) of budding manga artist Takagi Youko. In the third, a mixup about a bottle of shampoo causes the ever-doubting Katsuya to wonder if Eiji is a romantic rival for Yuri's affections. And finally, the team reaches the hallowed halls of Koushien, fulfilling the coach's dream and providing an appropriate climax to the series.

There was two major changes in the voice cast for this episode. Kurata Mariko dropped out of the project, so the role of Nakao Yuri was recast with another singer, Narumi Yasuda. She was best known for the songs in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. She had no other voice-acting credits. In addition, the late Hiromi Tsuru played Takagi Youko. She debuted as Perrine in Perrine Monogatari and went on to play Kashima Miyuki in Miyuki, Madoka in Kimagure Orange Road, Barge in Blue Sonnet, and Mikami Reiko in Ghost Sweeper Mikami. She also played Iyo in Izumi, Nozomi in Nozomi Witches, Jill in A Penguin's Memories, and UFO-chan in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, all Orphan releases.

As a consequence of Kurata Mariko's departure, Serizawa Hiraoki did all the songs in Nine: Kanketsuhen himself. Perhaps for that reason, this episode has the fewest number of songs of the three episodes.

The Orphan staff is unchanged. Moho translated; laalg checked the dialog and signs; and Sunachan checked the songs. ninjacloud timed. I edited and typeset. BeeBee, Topper3000, and VigorousJammer did QC. The raw is a laserdisc encode from Piyo Piyo Productions.

Two translation notes:
  • Takagi Youko pokes fun at Karasawa's weight by calling him Karabuta literally, "Kara-pig." I've localized the insult as a pun with "Kawa-sow-a," even though a "sow" is actually a female pig, because she caricatured him as a pig in Nine 2.
  • Omaeda, the monster pitcher on Seishuu's Koushien rivals, mistakes "Seishuu" for "Seishu," a brand of sake. That's the key reason I added the "u" for long Japanese vowels (Seishuu, Kentarou, Jirou) throughout the show, even though Seishuu's team uniforms say "Seishu" in Roman letters.
Typesetting this episode was a PITA. All three episodes of Nine are rather sign-heavy, but this one was ridiculous, with background signs (advertisements) in practically every long-shot at Koushien. Many of the signs are parodies of real Japanese brands and companies. For example, KDY 電話 (KDY Telephone) is a joke on a real telecommunications company, Kddi. These signs don't add much, but laalg took the trouble to translate them, so I've set as many as I could.

Looking back, it seems clear that Nine is not a traditional sports shounen; rather, it's a romcom with a baseball foreground. Nine lacks the typical shounen hero's determined rise to the top in the face of adversity and the humorless focus on building the team and achieving victory. Here, getting to Koushien is just another incident in high school life, and the boys are much more interested in having a good time, and in girls, than in becoming champions. For Niimi, Karasawa, and Eiji, baseball is fun; it's not an obsession.

Nine set the pattern for Adachi Mitsuru's baseball manga series, and he continues to ring changes on the theme even today. (His current manga, Mix, is getting an anime adaptation in the spring of 2019.) Now English-speaking viewers can see where it all began. Except for Hiatari Ryouko, which remains incomplete, all of Adachi-sensei's anime series are available in English. As for Hiatari Ryouko... one never knows, do one? It's an orphan series, after all.

You can get Nine: Kanketsuhen (and the other two episodes) from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, I remember watching this raw in potato quality on Youtube many years ago. The first real 'Adachi manga'.