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…
…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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And be sure check out our partner group, Grown Ups in Spandex. Without their help, this project would probably never have gotten off the ground, much less be nearing the halfway mark.
Also, remember how I mentioned a while back that Big Nova Subs was working on the superb action series Shoujo Commando IZUMI? Well, in December they completed subtitling all 15 episodes, and I highly recommend them. It’s quite not as well known as the Sukeban Deka shows, but shares some of the same writers, directors, and other production staff. I think early on in development Toei might have been considering calling it Sukeban Deka IV, but I’m glad they didn’t. IZUMI has a similar vibe but is also very much its own thing, and not just because the protagonist has a rocket launcher instead of a steel yo-yo. You can get the whole series from Big Nova Subs here.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Here’s the Dr. Slump Christmas episode from 1982. It’s a story that is almost, but not entirely, unlike Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Match Girl.” If you’re watching a marathon of heart-warming Christmas specials, this should provide the perfect palette cleanser.
In order to get Shinobu to return home to the Daimaru mansion, Pastor Wakayama convinces Gozo that it’s finally tell her the full truth about the kidnapping, and about her mother’s attempted suicide. Plans to come clean with Chizuko won’t be necessary, since she is eavesdropping at a window when Gozo reveals all of the details…
Tezuka’s Mighty Atom manga was a big hit in Shonen Magazine, which led to this loose adaptation for television. The first 13 episode story arc concerned an evil organization called the ZZZ Gang, who kidnap prominent world peace activist Albert Leon and his daughter Michelle. As with many of the earliest Japanese superhero shows, American Saturday matinee serials are an obvious influence, but this formula is filtered through such a uniquely Japanese viewpoint; it’s also hard to understate how eerie and just downright weird this adaptation is. Case in point: that scene halfway through episode 5 where the ZZZ comic relief goons hold an impromptu jam session on the secret poison gas island.
Back in 2015, XeoZ translated a Spanish-language version of episode 1. Obtenga la versión subtitulada en español de Mega.
Here are a few selected episodes of the black and white anime, a monster hit that put Japanese cartoons on the map worldwide. Astute viewers may have noticed that the ZZZ goons from the 1959 series appear in the opening titles of the anime. Episode 30 (included in this batch) is the one in which they actually appear, and it sticks closer to the ZZZ story from Tezuka’s manga than the live-action version does.
Finally, Dougo13 comes through for us again, with an original Japanese broadcast of the very first episode of the color anime, recorded on a 1/2″ Betamax cassette by his friend in Nagasaki on October 1, 1980. Atom himself even features in an ad for a high-end boombox, the Hitachi Stereo Perdisco 8800.