Friday, August 16, 2019

Tomoe's Run! - A New Version

Orphan has already released two versions of the 1991 OVA Tomoe's Run! (Tomoe ga Yuku!) - the original and a patch to fix a timing problem - so this is technically v3, but who's counting? Erik at Piyo Piyo Productions and I have both wanted to redo the show, because the original encode was done at 29.97 fps rather than 23.976 fps, and its color correction wasn't all that great. The availability of the Domesday Duplicator provided the perfect excuse to revisit Tomoe, so here's a new version, at the proper frame rate and with improved color. The show is a hoot, and I recommend it highly, despite a plot that will not withstand even the slightest scrutiny.

Our heroine, Tomoe Ojima, is a seventeen-year-old roller-skating j.d. She liked to play peek-a-boo and tag with speeding trucks on Tokyo's crowded highways, until her best friend was run over and killed during an outing. On the rebound, Tomoe joins a training school for stuntmen called Green Day. There she launches a torrid love affair with Kazusa Himuro, one of the "managers". Little Does She Know, however, that Green Day is actually the Tojo yakuza group's assassin training school, and Kazusa is the group's chief enforcer. Informed of the truth by an undercover policewoman whom Kazusa then ruthlessly executes, Tomoe makes her escape on skates and flees to the arms of Iori Tojo, the alienated son of Tojo's leader. Together, they fight to foil Kazusa's nefarious plots, take down Green Day, and restore Iori to his rightful position as heir to the group. Tomoe and Iori fall in love, but they realize that Their Love Is Not To Be.

Along the way, many parallels are drawn between Tomoe Ojima and Tomoe Gozen, the legendary twelfth century female samurai. Tomoe Gozen fought in the Genpei War at the side of her liege lord and lover Minamoto no Yoshinaka (identified in the anime by his original clan name, Kiso Yoshinaka), surviving both the war and him. Tomoe's Run! hypothesizes that Yoshinaka did not marry Tomoe because their difference in rank was too great. Iori cannot marry Tomoe Oujima for the same reason. At the end, They Must Part for their different destinies, he to rule a prominent Japanese corporation/yakuza group, she to roam the roads on her roller skates...

Even if the plot follows well-worn tracks, the show's a treat. Tomoe is a spunky heroine who makes her own decisions in life and love; for example, it's clear that her relationship with Kazusa is an adult's love affair, both emotionally and physically. The supporting characters are interesting and not just the usual wingmen (and women). And the ending is bittersweet.

The voice cast includes:
  • Yamamoto Yuriko (Tomoe) played Iczer 1 in the Iczer OVAs, Rumy in the Gall Force OVAs, Sally in Mahou Tsukai Sally 2, Sandybell in Hello! Sandybell, Georgie in Lady Georgie, Nora Scholar in Nora, Rihabi and Sayuri in Stop!! Hibari-kun!, and Telenne in High Speed Jecy. The last three are Orphan releases.
  • Hironaka Masashi (Kazusa) played Siegfried in Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Ihika in Yousei-ou, an Orphan release.
  • Inoue Kazuhiko (Iori) starred as Yamaoka Shirou in Oishinbo, Yuki Eiri in Gravitation, and the title role in Cyborg 009, but I know and love him best as the irascible, sake-swilling Nyanko-sensei in the Natsume Yuujichou properties. He also played Kanuma Hayate in Akai Hayate, Ryousuke in Daishizen no Majuu Bagi, Kitten Smith in Starship Troopers, Liu Bei Xuande in both Sangokushi OVAs, and Nakatsugawa in Boyfriend, all Orphan releases.
  • Shimada Bin (Kuro) appeared in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, Fukyukayama Theater, and Sangokushi, all Orphan releases. He played Ken Nakajima in the You're Under Arrest franchise and numerous other roles. He is currently appearing as Konaki Jijii and Wally Wall in GeGeGe no Kitarou.
  • Tsuru Hiromi (Shizuka, Tomoe's older sister) debuted as Perrine in Perrine Monogatari. She 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 Nozomi in Nozomi Witches, Jill in A Penguin's Memories, and UFO-chan in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou, all Orphan releases.
The director, Ishiyama Takaaki, also directed Viewtiful Joe, MapleStory, 18if, and a couple of Happy Science movies. (Well, a guy's gotta earn a living.) The camera work is visually interesting, featuring lots of shadow and angle shots, as well as clever use of both foreground and background within a scene. The show features a number of good songs, particular the second ending, Sixteen's Revolution, and the soundtrack is now available online.

Moho Kareshi did the original translation (he prefers to convert long vowels to their English counterparts directly). convexity translation checked the dialog and translated the songs. ninjacloud timed the scripts, and Juggen supplied nice karaokes for the two ending songs. I edited and typeset, and Calyrica, konnakude, and Saji did the original QC. For this version, ninjacloud tweaked the timing, I reset the signs and did some minor cleanup on the dialog, and VigorousJammer did a release check. The new raws are from Piyo Piyo Productions and were ripped with Erik's Domesday Duplicator. Audio decoding is still a work in progress, so the audio is an analog capture.

So join our heroine for some high adventure and doomed romance in this new version of Tomoe's Run! You can get the show from the usual torrent sites or from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on


  1. Thank you very much, Tomoe is one of my favorite releases of Orphan, glad to see a full version of it.

  2. I don't suppose you have an email I could contact? I wanted to ask you something regarding one of your LD releases.

    1. Hey, Marty, we've talked in the past. Might take me a day or two to answer, but I will.

    2. Erik will put you in touch with me. You can also send me a PM on ffshrine (to archivisth).

  3. Of course, there will probably be yet ANOTHER version of Tomoe, once the Domesday software gets its audio act together. We'll see, I guess.

  4. when you will release Chameleon ?