NOTE: it has been pointed out in the comments that some of these episodes were numbered incorrectly. This was my error, dougo13 sent me the correct episodes, somehow I bungled the numbers at the encoding stage. I’ve fixed all of the links, and also added a bunch of new episodes that dougo13 provided.
Here’s a batch of the first 30 episodes of the third series of Kitaro, as shown on Nippon Golden Network, a Hawaiian pay cable channel with mostly acceptable English subtitles cued live with a Chyron character generator. Thanks to Laurine for episodes 1-5, and dougo13 for episodes 6 and up. As before, I have left in any commercials, promos and station IDs that were recorded before and after each episode, for extra old-school sauce.
I decided to change to a three digit numbering system for third and fourth season Kitaro, since both series do make it past the 100 episode mark.
Get them from Nyaa, Anidex, or Userscloud: 001 002 003 004 005 006 007 008 009 010 011 012 013 014 015 016 017 018 019 020 021 022 023 024 025 026 027 028 029 030 033 034 035 036 037 038 039
Someone pointed out that the CRC for episode 008 is incorrect on the Nyaa and Anidex batches. This won’t affect playback of the file of course. The correct CRC is 0CE9B2B8.
More Kitaro & Yonimo episodes in the near future, as dougo13 continues to make progress finding and digitizing rare old tapes from his collection. And of course several subtitling projects of my own are still moving forward…
Okay, here are two more episodes of the Fuji-TV anthology series, “The Strangest Story I Have Ever Heard,” which were shown with English subtitles on the Nippon Golden Network in Hawaii. Thanks again to dougo13 for providing these rare episodes from his mountain of cool old videotapes!
Get the episodes from Nyaa.si, Anidex, or Mega.
That story where the kid can stop time by sneezing (!) features a couple of US music cues. “Camilla, the Old, Old Story” by Art of Noise is playing near the end, and the time-stopper theme contains a sample of “Kiss” by Prince.
Just as Maurice Sendak’s beloved terrier Jennie made cameos in many of his works, eventually getting a book of her own (Higglety Pigglety Pop), legendary mangaka Leiji Matsumoto often drew cats inspired by his own faithful companion, Mii-kun. In 1978 Matsumoto created a manga devoted to Mii-kun, and in 1999 it was presented as a two part anime micro-series, featured as bonuses on the DVD releases of Queen Emeraldas OAVs 3 and 4.
Mii-kun is a feisty female tabby, adopted by Toshiro (not to be confused with Tochiro) Oyama and his family. “Mii” is the Japanese onomatopoeic equivalent of “mew,” and it’s also a not uncommon cat name in Japan. Toshiro refers to her as “Mii-kun” (rather than Mii-chan) because he claims the tiger-like stripes of a tabby are more common on male cats. I haven’t found any evidence online to support this belief, but the dude also claims to understand everything cats say, and perhaps in the Matsumotoverse, he actually can.
Despite the fact that these are cute cat adventures in a tranquil domestic setting, with no fighter planes or spaceships or robots, familiar Matsumoto themes of life, death, and love are woven into the storytelling. This appears to be a fairly low budget effort, with that late 90s digital ink & paint look, but for me at least, I thought the story was charming enough to overlook its technical shortcomings.
Get it from Nyaa.si, Anidex, or Userscloud: 01 02.
Okay, here’s another insanely rare find courtesy of dougo13’s massive collection of old videotapes. This should please some of the J-Drama fans out there, as well as anybody who likes watching incredibly weird Japanese TV.
Yonimo Kimyona Monogatari (“The Strangest Story I Have Ever Heard”) is a thriller anthology that aired on Fuji-TV sporadically from 1990 to 2003. One could describe it as a low-budget, shot on videotape Japanese version of The Twilight Zone or Tales of the Unexpected, but this doesn’t get across how off-the charts bizarre this show is. Enjoy!
Get the episodes from Nyaa, Anidex, or Mega.
The Hawaiian pay cable channel Nippon Golden Network showed a bunch of these in the early 1990s. Their notoriously shoddy subtitling was at least getting a little better by the time these were shown, the subs are about as good as the ones they did for series 3 of GeGeGe no Kitaro. As with Kitaro, there are a few abbreviated or even skipped lines of dialogue, but the subtitles do provide enough information for English speaking viewers to follow the story. In any case, we owe dougo13 a lot of thanks for rescuing these rare, subtitled episodes from his archive, and sharing them with all of us.
Another thing worth mentioning is the early 1990s J-Pop songs used in the soundtrack. The English language songs in the above pictures segment for example, have to be heard to be believed. Here’s one that gives new meaning to the term “cheesy pop song:”
The Wolf Revolution has been put down by the Ryozan Alliance, but Ranmaru has stolen the iron mask, and it is now in the hands of Kyoshiro (aka Kage no Soto, the Shadow President.) Soto cannot figure out what the secret of the iron mask might be, but there is someone who does know: A mysterious old man held prisoner for years by Kamakura in the Black Rose Mansion. Using intelligence gained from a captured member of Seiroukai, Saki, Yukino, and Okyo storm the “Young Wolf Alliance” headquarters, but the place appears to have been deserted. All that remains is a cryptic message from Kyoshiro, telling Shiori (Saki) about the prisoner at the Black Rose Mansion…
Get it from Nyaa.si or Userscloud.
Whew, these last few episodes really push the story forward at a frantic pace. This is actually the very first episode of the Sukeban Deka shows that I ever saw, thanks to a VHS trade with Laurine over 20 years ago. She sent me the last 6 episodes of SDII and the first episode of SDIII. This led to a search for more episodes via VHS trading, and I eventually bought some of the laser-discs when I started fan subtitling in the late 1990s.
Special thanks to Phillip S. and Aardvark!
So, somewhere around 2010 or so I was uploading a lot of GeGeGe no Kitaro episodes from different seasons to YouTube. This included episodes I was subtitling myself, as well as episodes of the 1985 series that aired with English subtitles on Nippon Golden Network (a Hawaiian pay-cable channel) in the early 1990s. There was another user named dougo13 who was also uploading subtitled Kitaro episodes from NGN to YouTube, and when we exchanged some PMs I discovered that he was a mutual friend of some other people that I used to trade tapes with (shout out to Laurine and George!) back in the day. Then Toei shut down both of our YT channels, and with that private message channel cut off, I had no way of contacting him for several years.
Anyway, thanks to some helpful friends, I’m finally back in contact with dougo13, and holy crap does he have a lot of rare tapes that he’s eager to share with the anime fan community! So here’s the first of many batches of the 1985 edition of GeGeGe no Kitaro. Nippon Golden Network was infamous for their rudimentary and sloppy subtitles, even by the very low standards of subtitled anime shown in a few American television markets (see Let’s Anime article here.) But their subtitles for Kitaro are actually pretty decent, not as good as a fan-subtitle but quite watchable. They refer to Yokai as “Goblins,” but that makes sense if you’re showing it to a 1992 American audience not as familiar with Japanese folklore as we are in the days of teh interwebs.
A lot of the episodes have little snippets of news, commercials, promos, and station IDs at the beginning or end. I decided to leave these little clips in to add more nostalgic flavor in the vein of watching old VHS tapes. Apologies if anyone finds these extra bits annoying. The quality varies from episode to episode due to reception quality, the Hawaiian cable company that carried NGN used that old fashioned sine-wave scrambling system for their pay channels. Episodes 1-5 and 18 are from VHS dubs that I got in a tape trade with Laurine some 20-odd years ago. Episodes 6-17 are from dougo13’s master VHS recordings, so they are somewhat better quality.
[Links replaced with newer batch, you can find that here.]
The owner of the Nyaa.eu site (little known fact: this person also goes by the screen name Nyaa) was spooked by a recent EU court decision, and decided to shut the site down permanently. That’s a personal decision that I’m not going to criticize. Much thanks to Nyaa for years of devoted service to fandom.
Some of the former staff members of Nyaa have created a new version of the site, at nyaa.si. My torrents have been migrated and can be found here, much thanks to the people who are seeding many of them. I’ll also be posting stuff of Anidex, Userscloud, and possibly elsewhere.
This is an inconvenience, but these type of things have happened before, and they will again. As a kid, I used to get bummed when my favorite TV shows would disappear from the schedule, which is why I started putting an audio cassette recorder next to the television to make poor quality audio recordings of a few episodes. Fortunately that isn’t the world we live in today, where a myriad of ever-changing options has replaced the tyranny of a single digit number of television channels and the $27 blank videocassette. I have fond memories of the past, but I really enjoy living in the future.
Slow and steady progress continues on my projects, with a few things getting very close to release. I try to get a bit of subtitling work done just about every day, even on days when I don’t have a lot of free time to spare.