Boy, am I happy to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror. Pandemic, protests, political polarization... Millions dead world-wide... It can't end soon enough. Despite that, Orphan Fansubs had a pretty good year. Some new staffers joined, and some old friends came back. As a result, the team released a lot of projects in 2020.In preparing this retrospective, I've changed the way I count releases. I'm no longer distinguishing between new versions of prior projects and totally new projects. They each take the same amount of time, and I've revised the project roll call accordingly.Orphan FansubsOrphan's projects for 2020 were: Cleopatra Blu-ray. This Tezuka Osamu Animerama classic finally got a Blu-ray release. The commentary and extras showed that the movie was more intended as an erotic romp that I had thought.Hiatari Ryoukou! Kasumi:Yume no Naka ni Kimi ga Ita. The companion movie to Hiatari Ryoukou and a bit of a disappointment: it's a side-story rather than a conclusion to the main series.Senya Ichiya Monogatari Blu-ray. I'm not sure that the Blu-ray is a huge improvement on prior releases, but it's worth it for the commentary track alone. Hitomi no Naka no Shounen: 15 Shounen Hyouryuuki. This shounen adventure, based on a Jules Verne children's novel, defines the "thrilling boys' adventure" genre.Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band. Evil neo-Nazis versus Japanese (and English) punk rockers? You betcha!Mikeneko Holmes no Yuurei Joushu. Dirty doings among an acting troupe in a sealed castle. The cat cracks the case, natch.Exper Zenon. Finally, a Domesday Duplicator rip of this OVA.Oedo ga Nemurenai! v2. This is the best of the Margaret shoujo OVAs, and this encode, made with an uncompressed capture setup, is a vast improvement on the prior raw. Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki Long Distance Call v2. Again, an enormous jump in video quality. Twinkle Nora Rock Me v2. The original rip was made from a defective laserdisc and was incomplete. This one is complete. It's still a candidate for WAOAT.Greed v2. It too was incomplete due to a defective laserdisc. This version is complete. The show remains a bit of a train-wreck, but it's a decent watch. Shin Dousei Jidai: Hawaiian Breeze. A drama for adults, about a couple trying to work through some thorny issues from the past and present.Chiisana Koi no Monogatari: Chitchi to Sally Hatsukoi no Shiki. A charming slice-of-life about a chibi girl who falls for a very tall boy in her class.Jikuu Bouken Nuumamonjaa (aka the Chrono Trigger OVA). No idea what this was about, but it was fun anyway.Yakeato no, Okashi no Ki (The Cake Tree in the Ruins). The first Orphan release in the Sensou Douwa (War Fables) series. It will tear your heart out.Umigame to Shounen (The Boy and the Sea Turtle). The second release, and just as affecting.Amon Saga. Sword and sorcery; fairly generic but not terrible.Elf 17. A light-hearted comedy about a winged-elf and a mecha-clad guy cruising the galaxy and getting into trouble.Eiyuu Banka Koush-den. A very rare show, a straightforward biography of Confucius.Waza no Tabibito. A CGI fantasy that falls right into the Uncanny Valley.Nagasaki 1945: Angelus no Kane.This historical movie focuses on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, which has rarely been treated in anime.Sweet Spot. An almost unknown Sugii Gisaburou comedy about a golf-crazy office lady and her equally crazy (although not about golf) office mates.Saiyuuki HD. A Toei movie from 1960, based on Tezuka Osamu's manga, in a much better-looking release. Makoto-chan. An ecchi movie about "perfect boy" Makoto-chan, who shows more interest in adult matters than he probably should.Tako ni Natta Okaasan (The Mother Who Became a Kite). Orphan's third release in the Sensou Douwa series.Cool Cool Bye. A fantasy OVA that's sort of a companion piece to Greed.Botchan. A comedy about a young Tokyo teacher who accepts an assignment in rural Shikoku, only to run afoul of his colleagues and his students.Ipponboucho Mantarou. A cooking seinen (shounen) show about a young man seeking to master his craft as he travels around Japan.Majo Demo Steady v3. An utterly goofy sci-fi fantasy, with the most dramatic Sudden Girlfriend Appearance ever. A new encode, with better video and actual stereo sound.Apfelland Monogatari. A counterfactual historical romance, in which a ragtag crew of children and adults save a small European country from invasion by its massive neighbor. Amatsuki. A new version of the Bakumatsu-era historical fantasy that is one of my favorite series of all time.Yume kara Samenai. A problematic career choice gets in the way of burgeoning love between two high school students. A big shout-out to Intrepid for his ongoing work in media acquisition, transcription, and encoding, and to Erik of Piyo Piyo Productions, for his continual help and support. I also want to thank the Arutha foundation, which has hosted all of Orphan's releases on IRC. On a more somber note, we haven't heard from Erik in several months. We all hope he's okay.The Audio SideOrphan released additional music this year. Unless otherwise indicated, the sources were CDs and were ripped by Orphan's Intrepid.Oruorane the Cat Player original soundtrack. Ripper unknown.Yamato 2520 music collection.Purple Eyes in the Dark image album.Purple Eyes in the Dark part 2 image album. Ripper unknown.Elf 17 image soundtrack. Waza no Tabibito original soundtrack.Megami Paradise original soundtrack. Work for Other GroupsMuch the same.Frozen-EviL. I continued to edit the Blu-Ray version of Yawara!Saizen. I continued to edit and typeset Laughing Salesman. The team finished the main sequence, but a lot of specials remain. I also helped with Watt Poe.Soldado. I finished my work on Ninku last year, but it still isn't quite released.M74. I typeset a few shows.FFF. I took the incomplete Petit Gargantia specials, did my best to typeset the last episode, and published the lot.Laughing Salesman continues to be a useful diversion; I find its exceedingly dark humor appropriate for the times. Yawara! continues to be fun, and I'm getting to see all the episodes I missed by coming in at the middle of the story in the DVD project. And I'm really glad that M74 is back in action.Favorites of 2020I'm not an anime critic, so I no longer try to compile a "best of" list for the anime year. These days, I don't watch enough anime, outside of the genres I like (slice-of-life, comedy, sci-fi, seinen, josei, cats), to be knowledgeable enough to make a "Top 10" list. Further, shows with lots of violence never get on my watch list, so no Golden Kamuy, Shingeki no Kyojin, or Boku no Hero Academia. Instead, I'm listing my favorites of the year and why they kept me interested all the way through.In alphabetical order: Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasuna! I loved the visual energy and the interplay between the three principal characters as they attempted to establish an anime (drawing) club at their school.Fugou Keiji - Balance:Unlimited. A detective show in which not a frame or a plot thread could be believed, but it was lots of fun.GeGeGe no Kitarou (2018). After a wonderful two-year run, the GeGeGe gang went back into the vaults until the next incarnation. This show was my Sunday staple.(The) Great Pretender. I admired this show more than I liked it. Excellent production values and very good plotting, but a cold heart.Housekishou Richard-shi no Nazo Kantei. Nominally a detective show, but much more a character study.Jiboku Shounen Hanako-kun. A quirky supernatural adventure that barely got started in its (hopefully) first cour.Maou-jou de Oyasaumi. I really liked the deadpan humor of this show, as a captive princess ran over and through her erstwhile captors, all in the name of getting a good night's sleep.Mairimashita! Iruma-kun. A fine comedy that improved throughout its run. Even the dreaded Serious Development at the end didn't impair my enjoyment.Nami yo Kiitekuri. A rare bird, a josei, about an aimless young woman who became a late-night talk radio host. It featured a breakthrough performance by the lead seiyuu.Tonikaku Kawaii. A wonderful romcom about a young married couple slowly puzzling out what married life means.Short series favorites included Inu to Neko Docchimo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii (even though the cat is portrayed as a near demon) and, of course, Fireball Gebaude-Baude, the long overdue (for me) return of the Fireball franchise. And my guilty pleasure of the year? Ishuzoku Reviewers, of course, easily the ecchiest, sketchiest anime series ever broadcast. It's no surprise that Funimation dropped it like a ticking bomb; the surprise is that they ever picked it up in the first place.Looking AheadAlmost half of Orphan's 2020 releases are resubs, either of our own shows or of other groups' work. Two factors account for this. First, Orphan is short of translators and, in particular, translation checkers. That hampers the team's ability to do original projects. Second, new, higher quality source material keeps appearing. That makes it tempting to revisit past projects that suffered from second- or third-rate video sources. I hope Orphan can do more original projects next year, but the availability of resources is the ultimate determiner.Regardless, Orphan Fansubs will continue to work on The Shows That Time Forgot™, with a focus on movies, OVAs, and short series. (I'm too old now to commit to a long series.) There's no shortage of good material, and interesting raws are more abundant than ever; but qualified staff is in short supply. If you're a translator, encoder, editor, typesetter, or QC with an interest in the back catalog, please get in touch on irc.rizon.net. We're a harmonious group of cats, if a bit old-fashioned; a team without Discord, so to speak.Thanks, everyone - both team members and fans. Have a happy and safe 2021. Better times are coming.
Dec 31, 2020 • Subscribe