View Full Version : Rumiko Takahashi Anthology Discussion Thread
10-17-2008, 01:04 AM
I'm a fan of Rumiko Takahashi. The Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku manga were some of the very first I ever read. I was recently reminded of just how good Rumiko Takahashi Theater was, so I've decided to rewatch it. This is a beautiful collection of short stories about life in modern-day Japan, and how people try to maintain their dignity in the face of the absurdity of every day life. I thought that the episodic nature of the show would make for a good discussion thread.
Also, I recently posted in my blog that I'm going to be watching more of my anime in Japanese. I used to be a purist about watching my anime only in Japanese, but I swung 180 degrees and have been watching my anime only in English for several years now. This is a good series to get back into it in it's original language. I am not very familiar with some of the more modern seiyuu, but some of my old school favorites are in this title, like Megumi Hayashibara, Kappei Yamaguchi, Kikuko Inoue and Satsuki Yukino. So I'll be posting the names of the actors in the root posts, too.
As usual, please try to follow these three easy forum courtesy habits when replying:
1) If you're the first person to post about an episode, please respond to the root post (this post) and indicate in the subject line which episode you're posting about.
2) If someone has already posted about an episode before you, please respond to that post (or a relevant reply to that post). Keep in the right subthread.
3) Don't use the blue "Post Reply" button because it causes your reply not to correctly inherit the subject line of the post you're replying to. Just click "Quote" to the post you want to reply to.
10-17-2008, 01:35 AM
Yuko Haga: Sakiko Tamagawa/Wendee Lee
Mrs. Kakei: Megumi Hayashibara/Sally Dana
Hiroshi: Junko Hori/Adam Gordon
Kota: Omi Minami/J.D. Stone
Yuko's Husband: Wataru Takagi/Patrick Seitz
Mitsue: Haruna Ikezawa/Carrie Savage
Mrs. Haga is a young woman who lives in an apartment building with her husband and her son Kota. Mrs. Kakei is a humorless woman who lives downstairs and strictly enforces the rules of the building, especially "No pets." Unfortunately, Mrs. Haga's husband brings home a penguin to babysit for a client of his. Kota starts bringing kids over to play with the penguin, including Mrs. Kakei's son Hiroshi. Mrs. Haga is at her wit's end trying to keep the penguin a secret from Mrs. Kakei while trying to care for the penguin as best she can.
Like a lot of Takahashi stories, this one has a bit of a twist at the end. There's a beautiful scene when Mrs. Haga takes the penguin (in disguise) out for a walk late at night and has a revelation about the nature of pets in the big city. It's unusual (well, for me, anyway) to hear Megumi Hayashibara in such a restrained and humorless role, but it's also a nice change of pace. I thought Sakiko Tamagawa did a great job of conveying both how much she came to adore the penguin, and how stressed she was trying to keep it under wraps. Part of the problem for her was her own son Kota, played with innocent denseness by Omi Minami. And I loved Wataru Takagi's American accent as he parodied his American client.
On the English side, the show was dubbed by New Generation Pictures which means an excellent dub. Interestingly, each episode had a different director. This one was directed by Jonathan Klein, the owner of NGP and the director of Haibane Renmei and Paranoia Agent. Wendee Lee is wonderful as the harried Mrs. Haga. I can only think of one other role by Sally Dana off the top of my head, which is the female Hibiki Amawa from I, My, Me Strawberry Eggs. She's very good as the stern Mrs. Kakei. Adam Gordon as the perceptive Hiroshi and J.D. Stone as the clueless Kota continue New Gen's well-known policy of using children (who can act) to voice children. I also enjoyed getting to hear Carrie Savage as an adult for once.
10-17-2008, 02:02 AM
Yukari: Satsuki Yukino/Michelle Ruff
Betto: Kappei Yamaguchi/William Markham
Pops: Joji Yanami/William Frederick
Auntie: Minami Takayama/Jody Jaress
Old Gentleman: Yosuke Akimoto/Michael McConnohie
Old Lady: Natsumi Sakura/Barbara Goodson
Yukari is a young divorcée running a failing marriage hall left to her by her late father. After several years of operating in the red, she decides to shut the business down after one final wedding. An older gentleman who used to work for her father is getting married. After working for her father, he moved to America where he's lived for the last 30 years. While there, he met a woman and has been living with her for all this time. Now, in the wedding hall where he got his start, he wants to marry her. After having already let everyone else go, Yukari only has Betto, a grumpy young man about her age with an obvious crush on her, Pops, a drunken ex-priest, and Auntie, a cynical old woman to help her pull off one more marriage. Meanwhile, she still has to deal with her ex-husband and her unresolved feelings toward him.
Anything Satsuki Yukino does is a treat to listen to. Her Yukari does her best to hide her depression, but it's never far from the surface. A scene during the wedding, when she faces up to the failure of her own marriage even as the old couple are being married is heartbreaking. Kappei Yamaguchi's Betto shares something with Ranma, another well-known Rumiko Takahashi character he's voiced: neither one know how to say what they're really thinking.
This episode's dub is directed by Liam O'Brien. Michelle Ruff is one of the very best VAs in the business, and her Yukari is a good reason why. Just like Satsuki, she gives depth to Yukari's depression, but leavens it with humor and hopefulness. William Markham also delivers with the gruff, frustrated Betto, contantly trying to say the right thing and constantly missing by a mile.
10-17-2008, 02:22 AM
Toshio: Akira Kamiya/Doug Stone
Kazuko: Kazuko Sugiyama/Jonja S. Fox
Minoru: Kappei Yamaguchi/Kevin Hatcher
Emiri: Satsuki Yukino/Jennifer Sekiguchi
Toshio is a middle-aged salaryman who has finally gotten a promotion to branch manager. It means a transfer to Hokkaido, which his wife Kazuko and son Minoru flatly refuse. After his promotion party, he gets drunk, falls and hits his head. When he awakes, he suffers from anmesia. The only thing he knows is his name is Toshio and he's 13 years old. His wife and son think he's faking, and get suspicious when they discover some print club stickers of him and a cute high school girl in his wallet, but no money or credit card.
Akira Kamiya is clearly having fun playing a 13 year old boy in a middle-aged man. Kazuko Sugiyama is wonderful as his somewhat selfish wife who goes from confident in her hasband's fidelity to suspicious to concerned to hreatbroken. Kappei Yamaguchi returns to the youthful voice he's best know for, frustrated by his dad, yet jealous of him for hanging out with such a cute girl, too. Satsuki Yukino gives the mysterious high-school girl just enough edge to make her interesting. She does a great job showing she really doesn't want to be bothered with this crazy man, yet she's got enough compassion in her to not walk away when she sees how troubled he is.
The dub for this episode is directed by Reiko Matsuo, who also directed the dubs for Ikki-Tousen and the first half of The Melody of Oblivion. Doug Stone is Toshio. He's a great versatile actor who does both drama and comedy with equal skill. His childish demeanor as the 13 year old Toshio is well balanced by the miserable middle-aged Toshio. Sonja S. Fox plays his henpeckish wife. The climactic scene with her berating her husband for never expressing his feelings is beautifully acted. Kevin Hatcher is solid as always as the son. Jennifer Sekiguchi is perfect as Emiri, walking the fine line between wanting nothing to do with this weird family, and yet concerned for the husband who is clearly not happy.
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.