Halloween with GeGeGe no Kitaro

Celebrate the spooky season with episodes from different eras of GeGeGe no Kitaro, subtitled by TSHS and our partners at Hokuto no Gun. Check out the HnG site for some additional horror-themed manga releases here.

GeGeGe no Kitaro (1968) – episode 23

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

GeGeGe no Kitaro (1971) – episode 04

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

GeGeGe no Kitaro (1996) – episodes 11-12

Get them from Nyaa or Mega.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Review: Urusei Yatsura (2022) – episode 1

This is not a release post. As followers of this site know, I generally subtitle shows that are decades old and not already available with to watch with English subtitles. This show is available to stream legally on HiDive, and the first episode has been released in both Japan and the US.

Apologies to everyone for my underwhelming output this year; as mentioned in a previous post, I have been very busy with family stuff and haven’t had as much free time for my video collecting hobbies lately. Nevertheless, I’m still very much in the game, with my own projects and various collaborations with other subtitlers. Lots of stuff is in various stages of completion in the pipeline, including the last few episodes of Lensman, some GeGeGe no Kitaro in time for Halloween, and much more.

TSHS hasn’t always been one nerd cranking out English subtitles for Japanese shows that don’t have them. In the mid-1980s, we were two nerds showing anime and rare British shows at monthly club meetings at a local public library. One of the anime shows that usually got a good reaction from club members was Urusei Yatsura (or “Obnoxious Aliens” as US fans called it then), Rumiko Takahashi’s monster hit that aired on Fuji-TV from 1981-86. We watched the show from faded, hissy multi-generation tapes in Japanese with no translation (apart from various fan-made synopses where available), as fan subtitles were a very new and rare phenomenon in the 80s. The superbly subtitled VHS releases from Animeigo wouldn’t happen for another decade, when they would be eagerly and repeatedly rented from Blockbuster Video by my younger brother and his friends.

The only fan I’ve known personally with a stronger Urusei Yatsura obsession than my younger brother is DeTroyes, the co-founder of TSHS. So when I heard that this long awaited reboot had finally premiered, I reached out to DeTroyes to ask if he had any opinions about the new version. His response:

Oh boy do I have opinions!

The Good:

  • I like the voices they picked for Ataru, Lum, and Shinobu. Gonna take a little getting used to, tho; Ataru keeps sounding to me like Araragi Koyomi, and since I’m also a big Monogatari fan, it’s a little jarring. I also like that they kept the original VA’s in the cast (Original Ataru is now playing Ataru’s dad, and original Lum is now playing Lum’s mom), which I think is exactly how it should be.
  • Animation looks good and appears top-notch. I was a little worried because David Productions has a bit of an uneven reputation among some anime fans, but it appears for the first episode at least they are doing quite a good job.
  • Art direction is likewise good. I approve of the decision to keep closer to the manga styling, and the general direction to keep the new series basically in the original series setting (i.e., 1980s Japan).

The Bad:

  • The pacing is janky. At times they seemed to cram in a lot and move the story along fast, other times it draws to a slow crawl.
  • It sometimes feels like they are trying to play it a little too safe with the series content. They clearly toned down Ataru’s ultimate solution to defeating Lum, among other things. While I can understand why they might choose to do that in the current broadcasting climate, one of the reasons I think the original series worked was because it had a feeling of anarchy to its storytelling, a no-holds barred “anything can happen” approach that really worked. You often just didn’t know what was going to happen next, and that was something that helped make the series fun. I don’t get that feeling with this new first episode. Perhaps its because I’ve watched the original series several times and read the manga, but the new first episode still felt to me entirely too basic and formulaic. Still, it is only the first episode, so things are not quite set production-wise. But it is concerning to me.
  • One of the joys of the original series were the sight gags and little details. In the first episode of the original series, how Ataru finds out he’s been chosen to be Earth’s representative is hilarious: a car drives up to him out of the blue, a thug gets out, tosses him into the vehicle, and it drives away. The sequence is only a couple of seconds long, but it’s a great gag that perfectly sets the bizarre tone of the series. Later on in the episode there is this long montage of Ataru’s failed (and hilarious) attempts to defeat Lum. Throughout the first story of the new series, there was never any sequence that came close to these kind of sight gag slapstick; I would have thought that an updated version of the “Ataru tries and fails” montage should have been there at the very least, but nothing. There really wasn’t anything that even closely resembled that (tho Lum taking the time out from the tag game to treat herself to a waffle cone was cute).

The Meh:

  • I miss the old background music cues. The new series feels really odd without them. If Lupin III can get away with doing variations on the same themes its had since the 1970s, the new series should be able to get away with re-orchestrating the Music Box Collection with modern instrumentation. I was almost tempted to try my hand at just remixing them back in myself.

Overall, while I did enjoy the first outing of the new series, I do think I prefer the original series first episode to this one.

DeTroyes also sent me a link to this article, about how anime fans in Japan are breaking out their old Betamax, VHS, and even compact cassette recorders to record the new series 1980s-style:

Anime fans go old-school, record new Urusei Yatsura anime on Beta and period-appropriate media

Urusei Yatsura is back on TV, and tape media is back on fans’ minds.
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Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episode 21

This has been a hectic year so far, but I’m trying to finally get back on track with completing and releasing episodes of various projects. Here’s the first episode in the final story arc of the rare Lensman TV series, written by Matsuru Majima. The Brittania crew investigates the destruction of a ship on patrol, and they discover that Boskone is in the final stages of development on a new super-weapon using tech stolen from planet Albit.

Get the softsub from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega

If you want to watch it on a Smart TV, a video player like Roku, or other playback devices that don’t support softsubs, the hardsubbed version can be found at Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

This is a joint project with our friends in the /m/subs crew. Thanks to sky79 for the translation, starseeker for translation QC, and MartyMcFlies for final checks. And of course special thanks to Dougo13 for sharing his ancient Betamax recording of the episode, taped by his friend in Nagasaki on March 2, 1985.

There were some problems with the links when I posted this, but I think I’ve got them all fixed now.

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Sabu and Ichi’s Detective Tales (1968) – Episode 32

Here’s the latest episode in this joint project with Hokuto no Gun. There has been a series of murderous robberies carried out against rice merchants by a blind masseur with a backhanded quick-draw sword cane. Even in a widely populated area like Edo there aren’t that many suspects who fit that precise description. And to make things worse, Sabu learns that Ichi has been desperately trying to raise money in a hurry for some reason…

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

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King Fang (1978 TV Special) – improved 480p video source

Taki’s father was a Sakhalin Husky, and his mother was a wolf who escaped from the circus. Severely injured as a puppy, Taki was taken in by a hunter’s daughter named Sanae (similar to the way Fern rescues Wilbur in E.B. White’s classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web.) But despite the strong bond between Sanae and Taki, his wolf-like nature makes it impossible for him to fit in with the other hunting dogs in Sanae’s village. Eventually, Taki’s mix of dog and wolf instincts ends up coming in handy when the village is threatened by a man-eating bear…

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

This is a project that owes its origins to my dear old friend and fellow collector of obsolete media formats, Gou no Ken. In addition to a large collection of vinyl anime soundtrack albums, many of which have never never released on CD, he also has quite a few old pre-recorded VHS tapes from Japan of material not yet available on DVD. Check out his site, The Old School Anime & Retro Cave, for old media he has preserved to share with fellow fans.

Our release of King Fang last year came from one of Gou no Ken’s old VHS tapes, and he was also the one who reached out to legendary archivist Collectr, to see if he would be interested in subtitling it as a joint project between TSHS and Orphan Fansubs. I’ve long respected the preservation work Orphan has done with previously neglected classics, so finally getting to work with them on a joint project was a real honor. Check out Collectr’s Blog here.

This mini-epic TV special has a similar feel to anime I’ve seen adapted from classic European or American children’s books, but it was actually based on “King Fang’s Story,” a manga by Yukio Togawa. Produced by Nippon Animation and sponsored by the Nippon Life Insurance Company, it first aired in 1978 (see Cap’n Dave’s article about that year in anime here), as part of the Fuji TV “Saturday Special” anthology. It was rerun again in 1980, released on home video (VHS & Betamax) in the 1980s, but it has never been released on DVD. However, it was popular enough at the time that Nippon Life ended up commissioning the “Nissei Family Special,” a series of animated TV specials made from 1979-1986. Many of these other specials are also quite rare, including Toei’s “Lupin vs. Holmes,” which to my knowledge has never been released on home video in any format, not even VHS. If anyone has a home recording of Lupin vs. Holmes, please get in touch!

Contributors to this project include Moho Kareshi for the translation, laalg for translation checks, Collectr for typesetting & QC, and drmecha for help translating the cast & staff credits. The new video source for this is a webrip done by Fabre-RAW, released as part of a collection called “Rare Material Batch 01,” which can still be found on Nyaa. Collectr did some additional typesetting on the new version, and re-timing the script to the new raw was handled by ninjacloud. Thanks to everyone involved, especially to Gou no Ken for discovering this lost classic and getting the project off the ground.

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Quick update post

Since I didn’t get any episodes released in March, I just wanted to make a quick post to let people know that I’m still very much in the game, just currently busier than usual with family stuff. Current works in progress include the final story arc of Lensman, a new version of last year’s rare King Fang TV special (using the Fabre-RAW release as a video source and with some spiffy new typesetting courtesy of Collectr), and another pack of anime original broadcasts with subtitled commercials. As usual there are lots of other projects in various states of completion, those listed above are ones currently nearing the end of the workflow.

Those of you who are fans of Akira Toriyama’s Dr. Slump might know that I help out bubbinman with an extra layer of Nanto polish on his releases. More of those are coming soon as well. I try to do two episodes a month, but I don’t always meet that goal.

As the legendary Stan Lee would say, “Stay tuned, true believers!”

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Stepsisters (1985) – Episode 15

Okay, time for G.U.I.S. and TSHS to kick off the second half of Stepsisters with our subtitled version of episode 15: “Two Delinquent Girls.”

Get the softsubbed mkv from Nyaa or Mega

…or the hardsubed mp4 from Nyaa or Mega.

More episodes to come, on this as well as several other pending projects.

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[RAW] Hokuto no Ken Digests 1-3 (VHS HiFi stereo) plus original broadcasts (HiFi mono)

Kenshiro vs. Shin
Volume 2: Rei vs. Yuda
Volume 3: Kenshiro vs. Raoh

Last year I received a message from someone who goes by the screen name Banana Man, who managed to obtain this three-volume set of the Hokuto no Ken stereo compilations. I used to own these tapes myself, but my VHS collection thinned out considerably when I moved across the country several years back. I had a vague memory of them being included as a DVD bonus on the Japanese box set; later I discovered that they are included with the 25th anniversary box, but at the time mistakenly thought I was confusing it with the Votoms box set. So Banana Man mailed me the VHS tapes and I digitized them.

In the 1980s, the idea of releasing an entire anime series on home video was a long way off. Early releases on VHS, Betamax & LaserDisc tended to be compilation videos, or perhaps a few episodes. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the ball really got rolling on full anime series being released on video in Japan. By the 2000s they finally got around to long overdue massive box sets of popular long-running series such as Dragonball, Hokuto no Ken, and Dr. Slump.

A lot has been said about the fact that the current audio on most Toei series rerun or released on DVD is taken from the optical track on film prints, and that most of their higher-quality audio files long since been junked after airing. But this is an even more interesting oddity, since these compilations not only used the higher-quality broadcast audio, but were remixed into stereo.

The compilations themselves are fairly well done, although in my opinion they should have been done as a four volume set. Cutting the series down to three volumes means they simply skip the third story arc entirely.

Get the VHS stereo digests from Archive.org. The DVD version was uploaded by someone anonymously to Nyaa last year, although it’s not always seeded.

For the past few years Dougo13 has been kindly providing me with excellent rips of original broadcasts of many classic anime & tokusatsu series from his Betamax and VHS collection, complete with original Japanese commercials. I’ve long been a collector of original broadcast recordings (from the US, UK and Japan) because the old commercials make for a very interesting time warp into whatever era the tape was recorded in. Many of the Hokuto no Ken episodes he has sent have been shared on Nyaa by my friend bubibinman of shiteatersubs (who I also help out with Dr. Slump releases), and several of them have been shared on Reddit as well. This is my attempt to put together a mega-pack of all the original broadcasts that Dougo13 has shared with me, along with some from an unknown source provided to me by Banana Man. As long as I was doing this, I decided to index mark the commercial breaks, which is one of the reasons this took longer to complete than I intended.

Get it from Archive.org.

A user named ColaCola2000 has posted a similar pack of audio-only tracks from these broadcasts to Nyaa.

So far this year I’ve made progress on several of my subtitling projects, should have some cool stuff to release soon. The Lensman TV project got delayed a bit due to real life issues, but will be moving forward again in the near future. Thanks to everyone who watches my releases, and especially those who watch my releases with their friends and families! More stuff to come…

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GeGeGe no Kitaro (2007) – Episode 46

Every decade Toei reboots the GeGeGe franchise, and every iteration has had its own distinct visual style. Here’s another episode of our joint project with Skeweds Translations on the 2007 version. It’s still kinda weird for me to wrap my head around the fact that the 2000s were kind of a long time ago, but here we are.

The way we’re collaborating this time is a bit different than how we’ve worked in the past. Skeweds will be releasing only scripts going forward (the raw media to go with the scripts can be found in various other places on the internet.)

A couple weeks (or however long it takes, depending on what else I’m working on) after Skeweds drops a new Kitaro script, I will release my own “Nanto style” version of the episode, with dialogue edits and credit translations. It’s kind of fun working on this kind of collaboration, as both groups can indulge our own stylistic preferences. For example, the Skeweds version uses the English translations of the main character names (Rat Man, Catgirl, etc.), while the TSHS edit uses the Japanese names like my subtitles of the earlier Kitaro series, among other differences.

Get the Skeweds-TSHS softsubbed version of episode 46 from Nyaa or Mega

…or the Skeweds-TSHS hardsubbed version from Mega

…and the script of the original Skeweds version can be found here. Thanks to everyone from Skeweds for their work on this episode!

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TechnoVoyager/Thunderbirds 2086 (1982) episode 01 (with bonus original broadcast versions)

Some of you may be familiar with the work of Gerry Anderson, creator of many Supermarionation puppet series for Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment such as Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet. Anderson also later produced live action SF series for ITC, like UFO and Space:1999.

Anderson’s puppet shows were a huge hit in the UK, but never quite managed to achieve the same success in North America, despite building a devoted cult following here. However they were very popular in Japan, dubbed into Japanese. I used to own a Japanese LaserDisc with their collected opening titles, both the originals and the Japanese versions with their different theme songs. I imagine this is probably available on YouTube somewhere.

Gerry Anderson’s most iconic and well remembered creation was the 1965 puppet series Thunderbirds. This show, set in the futuristic world of 2065, featured the adventures of International Rescue, a secret organization that used high-tech land, sea, air and space vehicles in their rescue operations.

TechnoVoyager’s version of the Thunderbirds shout of “F.A.B.!”

In 1982, Jin Productions (the company behind X Bomber in 1980) came up with an anime series heavily inspired by Thunderbirds. There were many differences: the TechnoVoyager team isn’t a literal family like the Tracy clan, and there’s no real espionage equivalent to Lady Penelope & Parker. There are also deliberate similarities: just as the original Thunderbirds used to respond to commands with the iconic: “F.A.B.!”, the TechnoVoyager team shouts out: “I.R.O.S.!”, the acronym for their international rescue organization.

I’ve subtitled the first episode, big thanks to drmecha for providing the DVD source. Probably a one-off, but I might get around to subtitling more eventually.

I’ve also included a couple of original broadcasts of the same episode with this release…

Thanks to Dougo13 for providing his original off-air Betamax recording of episode 1, taped by his friend in Nagasaki on April 17, 1982. If people enjoy these “original broadcasts with subtitled commercials” releases and want to see more, let me know in the comments.

This promo contains a reference to one of my all-time favorite tokusatsu shows…
Who shot J.R.?

Because of the show’s many similarities to the original Thunderbirds, the English-language rights to series ended up getting bought by ITC and rebranded as a sort of reboot to the franchise. TechnoVoyager was set in the year 2066, right around the same time as the original series, so the dubbed version was moved 20 years further into the future. It’s not generally considered to be Thunderbirds canon by Gerry Anderson fans, but more like a fun re-imagining of the show.

English scripts for the dubbed version were written by Owen Lock and Robert Mandell. Like much dubbed anime of this era, there’s little evidence that the writers made any use of actual translated scripts as a reference, although they would occasionally make a lucky guess based on the visuals. These English scripts also tended to contain jokes and references to various movies and TV series, such as A Clockwork Orange, or (in the case of this episode) The Honeymooners. The dubbing supervisor was Peter Fernandez, best known as the voice of Speed Racer, as well as being the English dubbing director for that show and many other classic anime series.

I first became aware of Thunderbirds 2086 around 1983 or 1984, when several 3-episode compilation “movies” aired on cable TV and were available in video rental stores. Does anyone else remember the “IRO Data Cube” that linked these episodes?

The full series started airing in the Chicago area on WGBO-66 in 1986, and here is a Betamax recording of the same episode dubbed in English. TechnoVoyager #1 was actually shown as episode #11 of TB2086, but since this one was a self-contained rescue story that doesn’t touch the show’s loose story arc, it really doesn’t matter what order it was slotted in.

Get all three versions of TechnoVoyager #1 from Nyaa or Mega.

Several years ago I subtitled the first couple of episodes of X Bomber, the Go Nagai series from Jin Productions that was heavily inspired by Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation shows. I removed those from my site when the entire series became available in both English-dubbed and English subtitled versions on a single SD-BD from Discotek. I bought this myself and highly recommend it, still available from online retailers. I would be very happy if eventually Discotek ended up buying the rights and doing the same type of dual release of TechnoVoyager and Thunderbirds 2086. I don’t know how complicated the rights situation is with the different versions, but I can dream…

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