Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoka Narudesho!

As I've said before, 80s and 90s OVAs are like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to find. Some are good, some are great, and a few are outright stinkers. (Yes, I mean you, Bavi Stock II and Twinkle Nora Rock Me.) But never has a project pissed me off as much as Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoka Narudesho! (Eguchi Hisachi's It'll All Work Out!), the second anthology from Eguchi Hisashi, creator of Stop!! Hibari-kun!

Most people know that Japanese anime has its dark corners of racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. For example, The Anime Encyclopedia characterizes The Chocolate Panic Picture Show as a "jaw-droppingly racist musical in which grossly caricatured Africans Manbo, Chinbo, and Chonbo causes chaos in civilization despite the efforts of their pretty tour guide/bedmate to tame their zany, grass-skirted cannibal ways." The anti-semitism in Angel Cop was so bad that the last episodes were more or less completely rewritten for its U.S. release. And offensive stereotypes of LGBTQ characters are rife, not least in Eguchi Hisashi's own works (see, for example, episode 22 of Stop!! Hibari-kun or all of Otako no Seiza). But neither I nor the staff were prepared for this. The translation checker summed it up best: "I thought I was being trolled."

Like Kotobuki Gorou Show, Nantoka Narudesho! is based on a manga and is a series of unrelated sketches, supposedly humorous. Some of them involve live actors:
  • A Manga with Chapters (live action). A bashful young actress, told to perform, does a striptease.
  • Uncle Jamilla's Nightmare. A young woman's dreams are tormented by an old man who tells truly awful jokes, making her fear she will die of laughter. A parody of Nightmare on Elm Street crossed with Ai to Makoto.
  • The Thomas Brothers Appear. Gay-bashing at its worst.
  • Attack of Love (live action). A girl keeps falling for men she literally runs into.
  • The Thomas Brothers Again Appear. The gay-bashing continues, taken to new lows.
  • Extreme Journey's Ends. Various characters' lives are described, with an emphasis on their unexpected demises.
  • She Always Took the Tozai Line in the Morning. A (mostly) silent and (mostly) serious segment about a young man transfixed by a girl on the subway.
  • Let There Be Light for Every Youth! A blind teenager's vision is restored, with unfortunate consequences.
  • Ushimitsu-kun. "Hell Boy" Ushimitsu versus a sea otter at the aquarium.
  • Compression (live action). Kaiju Umera the Glutton gets a lesson from its auntie about the proper way to roast and eat subway cars full of humans.
  • Switch off. The end, mercifully, including the end of the world.
In addition to being tasteless and offensive, Nantoka Narudesho has another strike against it: it's not very funny. Uncle Jamilla's nightmare has some truly awful Japanese puns, but they don't render well in English. Compression's take on kaiju movies from the monster's point of view is okay. The rest of the sketches are obvious, stupid, or worse. Even the striptease is spoiled by a bad punchline.

The voice credits only included the actors' names, not which roles they played.
  • Kamiya Akira 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 Kentarou in Nine: Original-ban, and he stole the show as the lecherous robot Chiraku in Hoshi Neko Full House, all Orphan releases.
  • Mitsuya Yuuji played the leads in Hi-Speed Jecy and Yousei Ou, both Orphan releases. He's also appeared in many other shows, including Oz, Ranma 1/2, and the Stitch! franchise.
  • Yara Yuusaku 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.
  • Nishimura Tomomichi played the rot-loving Professor Itsuki in Moyashimon and Richard Mardukis in the Full Metal Panic franchise. He has had hundreds of featured roles, including Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, Aoki Honoo, Bremen 4, Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, Fumoon, Starship Troopers, Wild 7, and Wolf Guy, all Orphan releases. He is still active, appearing in this year's Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai.
  • Mukaidono Asami appeared in the Project A-ko properties, Starship Troopers, and Yousei Ou. The last two are Orphan releases.
  • Touma Yumi played the title roles in Emma: A Victorian Romance and Baby Felix. She has appeared in numerous shows, including Boyfriend and Condition Green, both Orphan releases.
  • Suzuki Reiko played Megabaa, the "fairy godmother" character in Dennou Coil. She appeared in the first Sangokushi OVA, an Orphan release, Yawara!, and many other shows, usually playing a grandmotherly character.
Very little is known of the actors in the "live action" segments; Eguchi himself made a brief appearance in the Compression segment. There were multiple directors, all of whom should have known better.

Maho Kareshi translated. The translation checker refuses to be identified. ninjacloud timed. I edited and typeset, for my sins, and BeeBee and VigorousJammer somehow managed to QC. You can blame ics- for the laserdisc rip, which M74 encoded, probably without looking at it.

So why did we do this show? A simple mistake, really - I didn't bother to look at the raw before starting the project. After all, it was Eguchi Hisashi, author of Stop!! Hibari-kun! How bad could it be? The translator said nothing either. By the time the translation checker raised the alarm, the project was mostly done, and I wasn't (quite) willing to smother it before birth. In the future, I'll vet raws more carefully.

Fortunately, this is the last of Eguchi Hisashi's untranslated anime works. If this blog post hasn't put you off, you can get Nantoka Narudesho! from the usual torrent site or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net. However, don't say you haven't been warned.

Postscript: There's a stupid typo in the first live action segment. A patch to create a v2 can be found here, if you care.

1 comment:

  1. This really was a piece of shit. I watched the whole thing and I was glad when it was over.