Thursday, February 14, 2019

Fukuyama Gekijou - Natsu no Himitsu

Here's a lost charmer from 1990, the all-ages OVA Fukuyama Gekijou - Natsu no Himitsu (Fukuyama Theater - Summer Secret). It's based on manga by Fukuyama Keiko, who also wrote Apfelland Monogatari. This is the first release with English subtitles, and it's a delight.

Fukuyama Gekijou is an anthology of short stories and animated music videos. It uses a framing device of a mouse family looking at bedtime stories to prepare for sleep. The eight chapters are:
  1. The Rabbit's Siblings. A large clan of rabbits sing about the joys of eating carrots and outwitting a silly wolf.
  2. Summer Secret. A young girl at the beach saves a miniature mermaid from a hungry fish and receives a secret reward.
  3. The Mysterious Fairy. Miss Strawberry and her fairy perform a song about the desert.
  4. Henoheno. The longest segment. It tells the story of Henoheno, a struggling caveman artist, who makes a breakthrough thanks to his friends and the accidental intervention of a prehistoric ramen chef.
  5. Kuro. A black dog sings of his wish to be loved.
  6. The Punk Rabbit's Dance. Entertainment at a kindergarten class talent show.
  7. End-of-Semester Cleaning Contest. A slacker grade-school boy is coerced into doing his classroom cleaning chores by a gang of know-it-all mice, with unexpected results.
  8. The Origami Princess. A folded-paper princess floats downstream on a leaf in order to reach the sea, accompanied by a telescope goldfish.
Some of the segments are very silly, like Henoheno, and some are very poignant, like The Origami Princess, but they're all quite entertaining and totally family friendly.

The voice cast consists of veteran seiyuu from the era. In alphabetical order:
  • Amano Yuri played the title role in The Legend of Snow White, Julia in Daddy Long Legs, Kiyone in the Tenchi Muyo franchise, and Moemi in Video Girl Ai. She appeared as Kuzunoha in Akuemon, Angie in Condition Green, Elthena in Eien no Filena, Kitagawa in Nozomi Witches, Noriko in Singles, and Yuko in St. Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki, all Orphan releases. 
  • Fujieda Nariko played featured roles in Miracle Girls and one of the GeGeGe no Kitarou movies. She appeared as the young Lihua in Sangokushi 2 (1986), an Orphan release.
  • Futamata Issei 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, both Orphan releases.
  • Hara Eriko starred as Ranze Etou in Tokimeki Tonight, an Orphan release. She also played numerous featured roles, including Pyonkichi in the Soreike! Anpanman franchise and Hikaru in the Kimagure Orange Road properties.
  • Kikuchi Masami played the okama JonJon in Otaku no Seiza. He went on to star as the male leads in the Tenchi Muyo, Aa! Megami-sama!, and Comic Party franchises. He played the male lead, Makoto, in Doukyuusei 2, an Orphan release.
  • Matsumoto Yasunori starred as Johnny in Starship Troopers, Kaname in Singles, and Tooru in Every Day Is Sunday, all Orphan releases. He was in numerous OVAs in the 1990s, including Seikimatsu: Humane Society and Al Caral no Isan, both Orphan releases. Among his notable roles were Wataru Akiyama in Initial D, Jean Havoc in Fullmetal Alchemist, Gourry Gabriev in Slayers, Ryou in Sonic Soldier Borgman, and a personal favorite, Dick Saucer in Dragon Half.
  • Matsuno Tatsuya played the lead role in the second Kindaichi movie (an Orphan release) and every subsequent show in the franchise.
  • Shimada Bin played Asatori Kurou in Tomoe ga Yuko and also appeared in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou and Sangokushi, all Orphan releases. He played Ken Nakajima in the You're Under Arrest franchise and numerous other roles.
  • Takamori Yoshino played the arch oujo-sama Sayaka in Yawara! and the twin roles of Juliet Douglas and Sloth in Full Metal Alchemist. She also appeared as the romantic rival Shouko in POPS, and in Yousei Ou and the What's Michael? OVAs, all Orphan releases.
  • Totani Kouji has played hundreds of roles. He appeared in Bavi Stock, Haguregumo, Nora, and Mitsume ga Tooru, all Orphan releases.
  • Touma Yumi played the title roles in Emma: A Victorian Romance and Baby Felix. She has appeared in numerous shows, including Boyfriend, Condition Green, and Eguchi Hisashi no Nantoko Nareudesho, all Orphan releases.
The director, Sakurai Michiyo, also did the storyboards, character design, and some key animation.

Moho Kareshi translated. laalg translation checked and redid some of the songs. ninjacloud timed. I edited and typeset. BeeBee and Nemesis QCed. The encode is from Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions, ripped from a Japanese laserdisc that Iri acquired in Japan.

So if you need a break from this dreary world of ours, I highly recommend Fukuyama Gekijou. It's mostly light and airy, with just a touch of Japanese mono no aware. You can find the show on the usual torrent site or download it from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for nice anime. And about ending... I'm probably confused, but did the ending implied that Origami Hime was reborn as miniature mermaid?