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.