Saturday, December 1, 2018

Nine: Original-ban

Adachi Mitsuru and baseball romcoms go together like ice cream and chocolate sprinkles. For more than three decades, he has written hit manga series focusing on baseball and teenage romantic comedy, and many of them have been adapted into successful television anime. But the granddaddy of them all - Adachi's very first baseball series - was Nine, published from 1978 to 1980 in Monthly Shounen Sunday and collected in five tankoban volumes. In 1983, Nine was adapted into three hour-long TV specials. The first special was also released theatrically, under the title Nine: Original-ban (Nine: Original Version), with some changes: a different voice actor played Coach Nakao, the insert songs were replaced, and the background music was redone.

Nine: Original-ban tells the story of two friends who are just entering Seishuu High School: record-setting middle school sprinter Niimi Katsuya and prefectural middle school judo champion Karasawa Susumu. Dropping by the school's baseball field, they see a beautiful girl staring forlornly at the school team's miserable performance. On impulse, they decide to join the baseball club, in order to cheer her up. She turns out to be Nakao Yuri, the baseball coach's daughter and soon to be team manager. 


They also meet Kurahashi Eiji, a middle school baseball phenom, and persuade him to join the team as well. Thus begins their athletic and romantic odyssey, which will take them from the agony of defeat to the hallowed grounds of Koushien, Japan's high school baseball championships.

Of course, there are complications. Niimi's running skills attract the attention of Yasuda Yumiki from the track club. She thinks Niimi would make a great coach for her and an even better boyfriend. Yuri is being courted by Yamanaka Kentarou, a slightly older rock-star pitcher for rival Bunan High School. And Karasawa would also like to court Yuri, although Niimi, as the designated hero, has the inside track.

If you've read the somewhat later Hiatari Ryouko, this may all sound somewhat familiar. And if you've watched the Hiatari Ryouko anime, this will all look really familiar. That's because Nine and Hiatari Ryouko have a significant number of major staff members in common, including producer, director, character designer, music composer, and planning.

The voice cast includes:
  • Furuya Tohru (Niimi Katsuya) played the lead male roles in Kimagure Orange Road and Sailor Moon, the title roles in Casshern Sins, Utsunomiko, and Kyojin no Hoshi, and recurrent roles in the Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, and Mobile Suit Gundam franchises. He also starred as Kosaku in Stop!! Hibari-kun and Bavi Stock in Bavi Stock, both Orphan releases.
  • Kurata Mariko (Nakao Yuri) was better known as a singer. Nine is her only anime role.
  • The late Tomiyama Kei (Karasawa Susumu) played Kongming in the Sangokushi OVAs, Subaru in Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet, Largo the Donkey in Bremen 4, the witch in Grimm Douwa: Kin no Tori, and CĂș Chulainn in Yousei Ou, all Orphan releases
  • The late Shiozawa Kaneto (Kurahashi Eiji) played Iason in Ai no Kusabi, Rock Holmes in Fumoon, and Shiina in Chameleon (all Orphan releases), as well as the egotistic comic relief Shin in Hiatari Ryouko and numerous other roles.
  • Sakamoto Chika (Yasuda Yumiki) played Campanella in Night on the Galactic Railway, the title role in Tsuruhime, Nonoko in Tobira wo Akete, Tendonman in the Soreike! Anpanman franchise, and Agumon in the Digimon franchise. She appeared as Suzume's erstwhile love interest, Katagiri-kun, in Stop!! Hibari-kun, an Orphan release.
  • Kamiya Akira (Yamanaka Kentarou) is best known for the title roles in the City Hunter properties and the Kinnikuman franchise, as well as the Sayaka's ambivalent boyfriend, Kazamatsuri, in Yawara! He played Sergeant Zim in Starship Troopers and stole the show as the lecherous robot Chiraku in Hoshi Neko Full House, both Orphan releases.
  • The late Kitamura Koichi (Coach Nakao) played Paolon, the intelligent spaceship in Hi-Speed Jecy, Professor, the wise old cat in the Ultra Nyan OVAs, and appeared in Hidamari no Ki and Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, all Orphan releases.
The director, Sugii Gisaburou, has done many outstanding shows, including other Mitsuru Adachi series (Touch and Hiatari Ryouko); Nozomi Witches and Hidamari no Ki (both Orphan projects); and several recent movies.

Moho Kareshi translated the dialog and songs. laalg checked the dialog translation and added many additional signs. Sunachan checked the song translations. ninjacloud timed. I edited and typeset. BeeBee, Topper3000, and VigorousJammer did QC. Erik of Piyo Piyo productions encoded from his Japanese laserdisc box set. Because of all the chain link fences, filtering the show proved unusually difficult and time-consuming; you can read all about it here. Erik also pointed out the strange art style - featureless backgrounds, limited color palette, lack of detail. Budget limitations? Stylistic choice? Hard to say.
So the World Series may be over for now, but we'll always have Koushien. You can too, by getting Nine: Original Ban from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

3 comments:

  1. As a huge Mitsuru Adachi and somone who loved the Nine manga, I can't thank you enough.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey that's amazing thank you very much. I've been waiting for this for a long long time ago, huge Adachi fan.

    ReplyDelete