Here’s an episode of the OG Saint Seiya anime, as it was originally broadcast on Japanese television complete with commercial breaks. This is near the end of the third story arc of the Sanctuary chapter, where Dragon Shiryu battles Gold Saint Cancer Deathmask.
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 stories. 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.
This Spectreman two-parter was written by Haruya Yamazaki, the same person who wrote the Kiriland episodes of Lensman. 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.
I released the first of these episodes in 2021, and finally got around to finishing the conclusion this year. I found a formatting error in one line of the ED lyrics of episode 48, which I have now corrected.
Many 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 the Chicago Tribune’s TV listings from January 8, 1979.
Also a big thank-you to KiyanShahab for providing the DVD source. He has also completed a restoration project of the English dub, with that amazing theme song. Check out his archive.org page here, or his YouTube channel here.
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 9, 1985.
Here’s a release in honor of the late, great Leiji Matsumoto (January 25, 1938-February 13, 2023). Thanks to Dougo13 for providing the rare old recording from his collection. Get it from Nyaa or Mega.
It’s hard to put into words just how important this man’s work has been to me for nearly 40 years. In 1984, a friend of mine returned from a visit to Canada with episodes of the French dubbed “Albator, le corsaire de l’espace.” Thanks to video rental stores I was able to watch a competently dubbed tape of Captain Harlock episodes 1 and 9, and a heavily edited version of the first Galaxy Express movie. A crackly, faded multi-generation VHS copy of Arcadia of My Youth with burnt-in English subtitles solidified my obsession with the Matsumoto universe. Years later I would discover that Dougo13 owned the original Arcadia tape that spawned those myriad lower quality copies that were going around the collectors circuit in the 1980s, recorded by a friend of his from a Vancouver cable station. Cap’n Dave recently discussed this movie on his excellent Let’s Anime site, you can read that here.
The fictional universe Matsumoto created will live on in all the wonderful works he gave us. Rather than wishing that he rest in peace, I prefer to imagine his soul now traveling eternally among the sea of stars. Be Forever, Matsumoto-sensei.
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.
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!
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 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).
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:
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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!”