Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Mikeneko Holmes no Yuurei Joushu

Another purrfect adventure from Orphan Fansubs, the 1992 OVA Mikeneko Holmes no Yuurei Joushu (Calico Cat Holmes and the Lord of the Haunted Castle). It has mystery, adventure, hints of perverse doings, and, of course, a problem-solving calico cat. What more could you want?


Mikeneko Holmes is based on Akagawa Jirou's popular book series about a hapless detective named Katayama Yoshitarou. He lives with his sister Harumi, an aspiring actress, and their cat Holmes, which has a sixth sense when it comes to solving mysteries. Harumi has just appeared in a lurid melodrama about an incestuous brother and sister who come to a tragic end. At the after party, the acting troupe's vamp, Minako, turns up dead. Whodunit? Was it the director, Yasaka Yukari, or her imperious brother and troupe underwriter, Yasaka Seiichi? Was it the lead actor, Udagawa Kazuto, or the seemingly naive friend, Mizuta Mako? Could it even have been Yoshitarou's colleague (and Harumi's wannabe boyfriend), Ishizu? No one seems to be able to unravel the mystery until Holmes takes matters into his own paws and leads Yoshitarou and Harumi to the solution.

Like most mystery short stories, characterization takes a back seat to plot mechanics. The major players are briefly sketched, but there's no serious character development or exploration. Overly devoted brothers and sisters are a recurring theme, but that's mostly for atmospherics. The explanation doesn't hold water, but then again, neither can Holmes.

The voice cast includes:
  • Seki Toshihiko (Yoshitarou) was one of the leading male seiyuu in this period. He played the title role in Izumo, Riki in Ai no Kusabi, the hero Seitarou in Hoshi Neko Full House, the gang leader Hiba in Wild 7, Miroku in Yuukan Club, Chuuta in Satsujin Kippu wa Heart-iro, the fighter Nagase Jun in Akai Hayate, the unnamed protagonist of Oruorane the Cat Player, and Sara's younger brother Junichiro in Kasei Yakyoku, all Orphan releases. He also played Matsuda in the Yawara! properties, Sanzo in the Saiyuuki TV series, and the title roles in Alexander (Reign the Conqueror) and Kaiketsu Zorro.
  • Hidaka Noriko (Harumi) played Satsuke in My Neighbor Totoro, Akane (the female lead) in Ranma 1/2, Peter in Peter Pan no Bouken, Mrs. Yamada (the mother) in the first two Chi anime series, Near in Death Note, and Kikyo in the Inuyasha franchise. She also played Yuuki in Boyfriend and Noriko in Yuukan Club, both Orphan releases.
  • Nakamura Daiki (Udagawa) played Keith Winter in Condition Green and Chris Sheldon in AWOL Compression Remix, both Orphan releases. He also played the title roles in Dangerous Jii-san Ja and Demon Beast Resurrection, Dayakka in Gurren Lagann, Seiji Date in Ronin Warriors, and Liu Bei in Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi.
  • Ebara Masashi (Ishizu) played Might Guy in Naruto, Bolt Crank in Eat-Man, Alastor in Shakugan no Shana, Sebastian Viera in Nodame Cantabile, and Hamegg in Metropolis. He also played the referee in Blazing Transfer Student and Tanzou in Akai Hayate, both Orphan releases.
  • Hayami Shou (Seiichi) starred as Nanjou in Zetsuai: 1989 and Bronze: Zetsuai since 1989, and Kushinige Hodaka in Oshare Kozou wa Hanamaru. He also played an angel in Tezuka Osamu's Tales of the Old Testament, Iason's friend Raoul in Ai no Kusabi, Hojo in Sanctuary, Pat Leivy in Starship Troopers, and Junoichi in Blazing Transfer Student. All these shows are Orphan release.
  • Doi Mika (Yukari) played the title roles in Angel Cop and Explorer Woman Ray, Hayase Misa in the Macross franchise, the empress (Lafiel's grandmother) in the Crest of the Stars saga, Tabitha in the Zero no Tsukaima properties, Eclipse in Kiddy Grade, the narrator in Mushishi, and Nanase in Natsume Yuujinchou. She appeared as Rosa in Seikima II Humane Society, Captain Deladrier in Starship Troopers, and multiple roles in Kage, all Orphan releases. 
  • Adachi Shinobu (Mako) played Rabi in Madou King Granzort, the title roles in Calimero and Jagainu, Tom (Sawyer) in Huckleberry Finn, Kayra Su in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, and Chou of Benten in Usagi-chan de Cue. She also played Amanda Kessler in AWOL Compression Remix, an Orphan release.
The director, Kitajima Noboyuki, had a long career at AIC as a character designer and animation director.

Once again, Mikeneko Holmes is Iri's brainchild. He found a VHS tape on the second-hand market and translated the show. Yogicat (of course) did the timing. I edited and typeset. Nemesis and BeeBee QCed. Our intrepid raw hunter make an uncompressed rip of the tape and encoded the result. It looks quite decent. Special thanks to Puto, who translated the last verse of the ending song, which was in Brazilian Portuguese. I took a bit of editorial license with his wording, to make it fit the Japanese verses better, but I hope he'll forgive m.

So here's a diversion for all you ailurophiles in these dark times, Mikeneko Holmes no Yuurei Joushu. You can find it on the usual torrent source or download it from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.

Update: I missed an obvious typo during release checking. There will be a v2 release, but in the meantime, you can get a patch here.

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