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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Happy Halloween with GeGeGe no Kitaro & Dororon Enma-kun

GeGeGe no Kitaro – episodes 01-22

Because I watch every episode many times to check for typos and such before releasing it, batch releases can be a real challenge in terms of the time commitment involved. But I somehow managed to get this batch completed in time for Halloween, plus it also includes a newly subtitled two-part episode where the Earth is overrun by Tanuki.

While my attempts to subtitle the 1968 series date back to the late 1990s (back when there were only a handful of selected episodes available in Japan on pre-recorded VHS tapes), I actually didn’t get around to releasing any episodes until 2008. In 2011, I was contacted by fellow subtitlers Hokuto no Gun, who ended up partnering with us on this and several other joint projects for the past decade. Now the earlier episodes that I subtitled on my own have had a more through translation check by the HnG team. Here’s to ten years of Hokuto and Nanto joining forces, and working together to make these classic shows finally available with English subtitles!

Get 1-22 from Nyaa or Mega.

Dororon Enma-kun (1973) – episode 06

And here’s another episode of Go Nagai’s Yokai series, Dororon Enma-kun. Remember, if that late-night taxi-driver seems too polite, they just might be a Yokai…

Get it from Nyaa or Mega.

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Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episode 20

The four-part story of Wolf (aka Bob Muhn) comes to a climax, as Boskone test out their super-weapon created with beryllium stolen from Galactic Patrol. There are several things in this episode that seem like an “homage” to the original Star Wars trilogy, but it’s important to remember that the Star Wars films (and most other modern SF where the adventures don’t all take place within our solar system) also owe a debt to E.E. “Doc” Smith’s original Lensman novels.

Softserve from from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega

…or hardwired from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.

Well, that’s 20 episodes down and 5 left to go in this joint project with /m/subs. All of the initial scripts are completed, and the last of the raw files are encoded (thanks to some help from RetroAwesome and drmecha). There’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done, but it feels good to be heading towards the final lap. I’m hoping we can release a complete batch of all 25 episodes in early 2022, plus a new encode of the movie and various additional bonus goodies.

Thanks to sky79 for the initial translations and timing. Thanks to starseeker for translation QC, and for reading the Lensman novels (which comes in handy when names and terms from the books pop up.) Thanks to Marty Mcflies for the final checks, and also for inspiring this project in the first place with his work on the movie. And of course we never would never have gotten this far without the help of legendary old school anime video collectors, massive thanks to Dougo13 (for off-air Betamax recordings) and Laurine (for VHS).

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King Fang (1978 TV Special)

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.

Based on “King Fang’s Story,” a manga by Yukio Togawa, this mini-epic TV special was 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. (Kaisertron might have a multi-gen VHS from a home recording, but I haven’t been in touch with him for many years.)

This is a joint project with Orphan Fansubs, a unique fan subtitling operation run by Collectr that has been releasing rare, often forgotten gems of anime for over a decade. Be sure to check out Collectr’s Blog here.

Thanks to everyone involved in this project, including Moho Kareshi for the translation, laalg for translation checks, Collectr for typesetting & QC, drmecha for help translating the cast & staff credits, and M74 for encoding. And of course a special thanks to my dear friend of many years, Gou no Ken, for getting his hands on this rare old pre-recorded VHS tape and sharing it with us. Check out his site, The Old School Anime & Retro Cave here, for lots of rips of rare classic anime vinyl soundtrack albums and VHS tapes.

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Stepsisters (1985) – Episode 14

In this episode, Gozo is still reeling from the shock of both Chizuko and Shinobu running away from home. Shinobu’s attempts to find a new job are blocked by Teshima, who sends Daimaru Corporation thugs to scare off potential employers. And of course as usual the episode ends on a crazy-ass cliffhanger that raises the stakes of the story yet again.

Soft-boiled to watch on your computer from: Nyaa Mega

Or hard-boiled for your SmartTV, Roku, Apple TV, etc.: Nyaa Mega

It had long been an ambition of mine to subtitle one of those wonderfully over the top 1980s Daiei-TV J-Dramas. Grown Ups In Spandex is a group that specializes in subtitling 1980s Super Sentai series, and Stepsisters features Megumi Mori from Jetman playing the supporting character Taeko. I was a fan of their previous subtitling work (especially Liveman and Jetman), therefore I was thrilled when they reached out to me about subtitling Stepsisters as a joint project. With the release of this episode, we’ve finally reached the halfway point of this 28 episode series. More to come…

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Lensman: Galactic Patrol (1984) – Episode 19

Desperate to stop Boskone’s new super-weapon, the crew of the Brittania heads off with a plan to lure Wolf out of his hiding place.

Get it the hardsub from Nyaa or Mega

…or the softsub from Nyaa or Mega.

One more episode to go on the Wolf story, and then we’ll be on the final story near the end of the series. Thanks to our friends from /m/subs for all of their help on this joint project: particularly sky79 for translation, starseeker for translation QC, and Marty McFlies for final checks. And of course we can’t forget to thank Dougo13 for providing us with his rare original Betamax recording of this episode, taped by his friend in Nagasaki on February 16, 1985.

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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.

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.

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.

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. Also, someone pointed out in the comments that Amazon Prime members can stream 1980 Tetsujin for free. I’ll make a guess that this even works on one o’ them sci-fi future phones that shoots video and takes your blood pressure. Advertising keeps telling me I need one, but it feels like most times when I see someone staring at their little Star Trek radio, they don’t look quite as happy as the people in the ads.

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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.

Posted in subtitled video release | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments