Tetsujin #28 in three flavors. Happy Birthday, Mitsuteru Yokoyama!

Tetsujin #28 statue at Wakamatsu Park in Kobe
I used to own a PS2 with mod chip, but I never saw this game…

Today we celebrate the birthday of legendary manga artist Mitsuteru Yokoyama (Giant Robo, Mahou Tsukai Sally, Babel II, God Mars, etc.) with a release celebrating his most successful character, Tetsujin #28 (known in the US as Gigantor).

Regular followers of my blog may notice that this release is quite similar to the way I celebrated Osamu Tezuka’s birthday last year, with Tetsuwan Atom episodes from different eras.

Here are the first two episodes of the live-action version, which debuted the year after the successful adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atom. I particularly like the actor they chose for Chief Otsuka; his acting, costume, and makeup are all very faithful to the way the character looks and acts in the manga.

Get them from Nyaa or Mega (links soon).

Next, three of the later episodes of the first anime adaptation. The show ended a very successful 83 episode run of in late May of 1965, with Tetsujin being locked away in the Peace Memorial Museum after vanquishing all of the evil on Earth. But as we all know, evil never sleeps. Just over three months later the series returned with 13 new episodes. These are the first three of those episodes, featuring Magna X, a new robot antagonist from outer space. These episodes begin with Tetsujin being taken out of retirement and souped up by Professor Shikishima so that it can fly through space (obviously a hot topic in the midst of the space race era.)

Get them from Nyaa or Mega (links soon).

And finally, an original broadcast of the first episode of the 1980 series revival, complete with subtitled commercials. Major thanks goes to Dougo13 for providing this from his amazing collection of old videotapes. The episode was recorded on Betamax by his friend in Nagasaki on October 3, 1980, two days after the first color episode of Tetsuwan Atom.

While I’ll always prefer the original anime, the 1980 color remake does have its strong points. I like Yasuaki Shimizu’s BGM soundtrack, which often has a jazzy and funky style. The show’s animation was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, one of my favorite studios. TMS is well known for its work on countless anime series (Lupin III, Orguss, Space Adventure Cobra, Famous Detective Holmes, Adventures of Gamba, Glass no Kamen, etc.) They’ve also carved out a niche for their work sub-contracting animation for American cartoons, such as Mighty Orbots, Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, and some of the best episodes of Batman: the Animated Series.

Get the episode from Nyaa or Mega (links soon).

Some people may remember seeing the edited English dubbed version (“The New Adventures of Gigantor”) on Cartoon Network in the 1990s. But I just discovered that the entire original, uncut version is available from Discotek in a Bluray box set, in Japanese with English subtitles. I still can’t believe how much amazing classic anime that company has released in the last several years, usually at a fairly reasonable price per episode.

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Sabu and Ichi’s Detective Tales (1968) – Episode 31

It’s time for another Sabu & Ichi episode, along with new encodes of the last two episodes (I used the wrong de-interlace filter when I encoded those two previously).

This is a joint project with our friends at Hokuto no Gun. When the forces of Hokuto and Nanto are combined, we are unstoppable!

The new episode involves the artificial island of Odaiba, which was built offshore of Shinagawa to defend Edo from attacks by sea. The corrupt official in charge of the island has been using it for a human trafficking operation: kidnapping young women from Edo, and holding them on the island while waiting to be shipped overseas.

Get the episodes from Nyaa, or from Mega: 29 30 31

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Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episode 18

In this episode, we find out more about Wolf’s true identity. Apparently years ago he was an Earth government soldier romantically involved with Chris’ late grandmother Catherine, and both of them were also close friends with Haynes.

Get the softsub for Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega

Or the hardsub from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

Thanks to the folks from /m/subs, including sky79 for the translation, starseeker for translation QC, and Marty McFlies for final checks. Check out Marty’s site, Lonely Chaser Fansubs, for some cool stuff including the hilarious mecha comedy Galatt, now subtitled through episode 7.

And of course massive thanks to Dougo13, for providing us with his original broadcast recording of this episode, taped on a 1/2″ Betamax cassette by his friend in Nagasaki on February 9, 1985.

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Golden Bat (1967) – Episodes 01-04

Some of my favorite anime series come from the 1960s. Domestically made cartoons on Japanese television were still a new phenomenon, and the way they were still working out how to put together weekly animation on a limited budget made for some very unique shows.

The character of Ogon Bat is generally considered to be the first Japanese superhero, created by Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931 for the “kamishibai” paper theater. If you’ve never heard of kamishibai, there’s a very helpful review of this book on the Let’s Anime site, you can read that review here.

Get the episodes from Nyaa or Mega.

Thanks to Hailey for providing the source material, doing a lot of the encoding work and sponsoring the translations for episodes 2 and 3. Thanks to Garrett for help in setting up the encoding workflow, and encoding some of the early episodes. Thanks to Kingmenu for allowing me to use their script for episode 1, translated by my long-time collaborator Tetris no Miko. And thanks to Nightrocket for sponsoring the translation of episode 4.

And don’t forget about the groovy Golden Bat live action movie, subtitled as a joint production between TSHS and Love & Care. Filmed in widescreen Toeiscope, this low-budget gem manages to cram approximately 2.4 metric tons of fun into a 73 minute bag. It even stars Sonny Chiba, years before he became known as a cinematic badass with movies like the Street Fighter series.

Get the movie from Nyaa or Mega.

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Stepsisters (1985) – Episode 13

As we rejoin the Daimaru family, the characters are still dealing with the fallout of Chizuko trashing her own engagement party in the previous episode. Gozo reveals that he had been planning to announce Masato as the heir to the Daimaru Corporation at the party, and the businessmen and politicians he invited to witness the event were not impressed by Chizuko’s behavior. In order to satisfy these offended power players who are key to the future expansion plans of the Daimaru Corporation, Gozo decides that it is necessary to publicly reject and disown his now delinquent daughter.

As Masato and Shinobu desperately search for the runaway Chizuko, Pastor Wakayama tries to convince Gozo to accept her back into the Daimaru family. Unfortunately Gozo’s right-hand man Teshima has other ideas…

Creamy softsub goodness from Nyaa or Mega

…or crunchy hardsubs for the player of your choice, via Nyaa or Mega.

We’ve almost reached the halfway point of the series, and like so many of the J-Drama series produced by Daiei TV in the 1980s, the bonkers level seems to increase with every episode. Stay tuned, more episodes are in the works!

And as always, this is a joint production with our friends at Grown Ups In Spandex.

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Dokincho! Nemurin (1984) – Episodes 01-04,16,19-20

I suppose you could call Shotaro Ishinomori the Stan Lee of Japan, if you were the sort of person that likes those types of comparisons. Both men created a vast number of popular characters, which have been adapted into numerous successful TV and movie projects. You know that popular “team of five superheroes” trope that’s been used in countless anime and tokusatsu shows? Ishinomori came up with that in the 1963 manga Rainbow Sentai Robin. He is the holder of the Guinness World Record for most comics published by a single author. He created the incredibly popular Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises for Toei in the 1970s, both of which are still thriving on Japanese television to this day. Cyborg 009, Sabu & Ichi, Kikaida, Flying Phantom Ship, Robot Detective, Inazuman, Genshi Shonen Ryu…seriously, anyone who who hasn’t seen the Ryu anime would be well advised to do so, and the entire series has been subtitled by Hokuto no Gun. In 1992 he did the manga adaptation of the popular Legend of Zelda video-games, which more recently would be translated and published in the US, becoming the highest-selling manga on Diamond’s ranking of 2015 graphic novels.

But here’s an oddity that a lot of people have never heard of: the Toei Fushigi Comedy Series, a string of 14 different shows created by Ishinomori from 1981-1993. All of these featured young protagonists, some had puppety oddball sidekicks, some were Magical Girl series, and all of them were weird beyond belief.

Dokincho! Nemurin was the fourth show in the series. It stars child actress Sayuri Uchida, who seven years later would portray Ako Hayasaka (the Blue Swallow) in Jetman. The show is about three fairies (one puppet and two suit actors) who awaken from an 800 million year nap and move in with a unbelievably average Japanese family, causing much disruption in their lives.

I first became aware of this bizarre show when several episodes were subtitled by Dead Fish Fansubs in 2009-2010. DFF was a one-man subtitling army that appeared out of nowhere, started cranking out tons of older tokusastu shows that none of the other subtitling groups would touch, and then just as suddenly retired from subtitling to join a rock band.

This year I decided to put together a batch of all the Nemurin episodes that have been subtitled so far. There are a couple of insert songs missing or incomplete, and one of the next episode previews is missing a couple of lines, but I decided to just get all of these out there so people could enjoy them. Hopefully I can fix these few missing bits at some point in the future, and maybe even subtitle some more episodes.

Get them from Mega or Nyaa.

Thanks go to Sinistar of Dead Fish Fansubs, who originally subtitled episodes 3,4,16 and the first half of 19 (I finally got the second half translated 12 years later). Also thanks to Champstice and Pundercracker of MegaBeast Empire Fansubs for their invaluable help with several episodes. MegaBeast Empre also subtitled the first episode of Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine, which you can get here.

I just discovered (in the comments) that Bistrot Jurer Subs has been subtitling the second of the Fushigi Comedy Series, Batten Robomaru, which is freaking hilarious. Be sure to check out their site here.

Posted in remaster from other group, subtitled video release | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

SF Saiyuki Starzinger (1978) – Episode 16

Okay, Leiji Matsumoto fans! Apologies that we only got one Starzinger episode released in 2020, I’m hoping to be a bit more productive with this series in 2021.

As always, thanks to my good friend Gou no Ken, who helped me rescue this project after the dissolution of the group that was originally working on it, ILA Fansubs. Be sure to check out Gou no Ken’s website, The Old School Anime & Retro Cave, for lots of rare soundtrack rips from vinyl LP as well as rare OVA rips from VHS.

And of course thanks to all of the original members of ILA (I Love Anime) Fansubs for all the work they did on this series, especially GXseries for the translations, and FreekieDee for providing me with their script files after the group disbanded.

We’re making our comeback releasing this series with a particularly good episode, one of Gou no Ken’s favorites and one of mine as well. This one was written by the show’s head writer Tatsuo Tamura and directed by its chief director Yugo Serikawa. The tragic hero is not only a great example of Matsumoto-style anguish and regret, he’s also portrayed by one of my favorite voice actors, Makio Inoue. With a prolific resume that includes characters like Goemon from Lupin the Third and Zabitan from Akumaizer 3, Inoue is probably best known for his work as one of Leiji Matsumoto’s most famous characters, Space Pirate Captain Harlock.

Get it from Mega.

More episodes of Starzinger in the coming months, not to mention quite a few other treats for Leiji Matsumoto fans…

Posted in subtitled video release | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episode 17

Wait a minute, didn’t Gigi (the floating bleepy red thing) get burnt to a crisp in the previous episode?

Okay, /m/subs and TSHS keep the party rockin’ with another subtitled episode of the Lensman TV series, aired once on Japanese television and then consigned to obscurity for decades.

This episode kicks off the series’ penultimate story arc. When a load of beryllium (an element necessary for the production of neutron bombs) is stolen from Galactic Patrol base, Admiral Haynes fears that it will be used to develop a new super-weapon. Kim and Buskirk are sent on an undercover mission to Hormuz, a satellite frequented by the criminal underworld, hoping to discover the identity of the beryllium thief.

We’re also treated to one of the Lensman TV series’ very occasional nods to the books. Kim’s undercover space pirate identity is named Cartiff, the same assumed name Kim uses pretending to be a a shady gem merchant on an undercover mission in Second Stage Lensman.

Get the softsubbed version from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega

…or hardsubbed from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

Thanks as usual to the team that makes the magic happen: sky79 for the translation, starseeker for translation QC, and Marty Mcflies for final checks. And of course we can’t forget old-school anime collector Dougo13 for providing the rare off-air Betamax recording of this episode, taped by his friend in Nagasaki on February 2, 1985. That was around the same time that rumors were flying through US anime fandom about an upcoming syndicated series that would combine English dubbed episodes of Macross, Southern Cross and Orguss, from the same company that produced the dubbed VHS release of the first three episodes of Macross.

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Spectreman (1971) – Episode 48

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite tokusatsu series. When I was growing up in the 1970s, afternoons on the UHF airwaves of the Chicago area were full of cool Japanese superhero shows and cartoons, particularly on WSNS TV-44. Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot (Giant Robo live-action), Ultraman, Space Giants (Ambassador Magma), as well as anime like Speed Racer (Mach GoGoGo!) and Prince Planet (Yusei Shonen Papi) all got me hooked on the Japanese style of storytelling that seemed so excitingly different from what I was used to from US television.

Spectreman was probably my favorite of these shows at the time, and this is one of my favorite episodes. The plot owes a debt to “Flowers for Algernon,” the Hugo-award winning story by Daniel Keyes about a developmentally disabled adult who volunteers as a test subject for an experimental intelligence-enhancing surgery.

In Spectreman’s version of the story, Charlie Gordon becomes soba shop delivery boy Sankichi, Algernon the mouse is replaced by a dog named Bobby, and the process only goes awry when evil space ape Dr. Gori gets involved. Tragedy ensues, and as per usual for this show said tragedy involves groovy giant monster suits. I love those P Productions monster suits.

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

Like most Spectreman stories this one is a two-parter, so look forward to the exciting conclusion in the near future. The incredibly catchy US theme song (which always reminded me of “Pinball Wizard” by The Who) is not included here, but you can find it (along with many full episodes of the English dub) on YouTube.

By the way, this Spectreman two-parter was written by Haruya Yamazaki, the same person who wrote the Kiriland episodes of Lensman: Galactic Patrol. He was a prolific scriptwriter for anime & tokusatsu series for many years, and wrote about half the episodes of 1978’s Space Pirate Captain Harlock, one of my all-time favorite anime series.

Special thanks to August Ragone for letting me use his translated lyrics to the opening and ending theme songs, and for much needed assistance with the end credits. August also provided that cool scan from a 1979 issue of TV Week, the Sunday Chicago Tribune’s listings magazine.

If you enjoy this episode, you might also enjoy the rare P Productions Leopardman and Jaguarman pilots that I subtitled as a joint project with Hi No Tori Fansubs in 2013. You get those from Nyaa or Mega.

More good news from the comments for fans of P Productions. Check out Kiyan Shahab’s YouTube channel here for some subtitled episodes of the classic 1972 series Kaiketsu Lion Maru, as well as remastered episodes of the Spectreman & Space Giants English dubs.

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Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episodes 15-16

The wait is over, Lensman fans. Behold, /m/subs and TSHS present a double episode release, taking us to the end of the Kiriland storyline.

Get the softsubs from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

Or if you’re watching on a Roku or Smart TV, the hardsubs from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

Apologies for the video quality of episode 15. We were unable to locate an off-air original recording of this episode, so I had to use a multi-gen VHS recording that I got in a trade years ago. The first two screenshots are from this episode. In the world of 1980s anime tape trading this was actually considered a pretty decent copy, minus the subtitles of course. In those days, with a mix of perseverance and luck a tiny number of anime collectors were able to establish contact with pen-pals in Japan who would record and send them VHS or Betamax tapes of anime and tokusatsu series directly from broadcast television. For the rest of us, we’d be lucky to trade for 2nd gen copies from someone who had original 1st gen broadcast tapes. More likely these traded tapes could be several generations down from the master recordings, depending on who you knew and what you had available in your collection to trade.

In any case, I’m still holding out hope that we will be able to locate a better copy of episode 15 in the future, at which point I will re-release an upgraded version.

Big thanks to Laurine for the 1st gen off-air VHS source for episode 16, recorded by a fan in Okinawa on January 26th, 1985. Thanks also to sky79 for the translation, starseeker for translation QC, and Marty Mcflies for final checks.

Be sure to check out the /m/subs site here, for subtitled mecha goodness like the classic OG Getter Robo (1974), Brave Raideen (1975), and Metal Armor Dragonar (1987), Nippon Sunrise’s post-Gundam series that took over the timeslot formerly held by Zeta and Double Zeta.

Posted in joint project, subtitled video release | Tagged , , | 9 Comments