Friday, December 23, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #29

Jun meets an elementary school boy with a shocking understanding of technology and computers and gives him a tour of Solbrain. But this young man has his sights set on one thing: reverse engineering the GigaStreamer and using its fearsome power to overthrow grown ups and become the ruler of Japan! Can Solbrain stop this young terror without harming him?


Someone asked me earlier if Solbrain had any episodes that matched the shocking scenes in the episode with the boy with the bomb in Winspector. I had forgotten a scene at the end of this one. This episode by Takashi Yamada has a handful of shocking moments, including one where Daiki is firing (though intending to miss) at a vehicle carrying a child. In his defense, he's returning fire and never aims at the car. The mini GigaStreamer that appears in this episode is, amusingly, the actual toy used as a prop.
Well, I didn't vote for you.
Another scene I thought was interesting in this episode was how SolDozer greets Akira, and is completely ignored. Perhaps mirroring childrens' responses to SolDozer? I don't know.

Lastly, the name Akira is almost certainly chosen in reference to the original psychic experimental child from the legendary Akira manga series and anime film.

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #28

Episode 28: Hurry! Lifesaving Mothership

The SS-1 is hijacked by a desperate criminal during his getaway. When he takes a hostage, only Daiki and Reiko are left on board, forced to fly him to Hong Kong. But when an attempt to subdue the criminal goes awry, the hostage is injured and the SS-1 damaged in the chaos. Barely able to fly and with the hostage dying, this could be a mission that no one returns alive from.


Main writer Sugimura writes this intense episode about the mothership SS-1 being hijacked. They use the "rare blood type" story element once again as they've done already once in this series, and once in Winspector, but you know what -- it works. Also like Winspector, once again, we get an amazing scene of the main hero doing a Standing Death of Benkei scene, where Daiki pushes himself so hard that he ends up unconscious while standing, which in Japanese culture is one of those story tropes that is heroic beyond heroic: where you're so devoted to your mission that you will die before you will fall down.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #27

A little girl accidentally takes a potentially deadly genetically engineered organism out of her father's 
laboratory, but discovers that the organism is capable of speech and thought! Now, a group of men who have broken in to steal the research for profit will stop at nothing to get it back... unless Solbrain stops them first!

Sagiyama's favorite stuff: little girls and magical creatures, only she does stick to science this time instead of magic, and she doesn't have a heartbreaking ending, though maybe she wanted to, because they certainly set up for that. That being said, it's not a bad episode. I enjoyed translating this one, even though the premise is a little silly. I do notice that Sagiyama seems to enjoy writing for Jun, and he certainly is probably the main character in this one. It's a goofy episode but well written and fairly enjoyable.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #26

Episode 26: The Detective's Trap

When a notorious corporate bomber is struck by a car near a police station and loses his memory, the detective from Public Safety responsible for his interrogation shifts his tactics into high gear. His intense and cruel interrogation methods put him at odds with Solbrain. As the detective attempts to use the injured man as a trap to lure the other bombers out of hiding, Solbrain is forced to confront not the bombers, but the concept of brutality among the police force.

Notes: A fantastic Ogizawa episode, and one of the most amazing of the series. Solbrain is forced to confront the ideas of excessive force and brutality among the police. In today's modern society where headlines are frequently dominated by questions about how much policing is too much, and what constitutes torture, this is an interesting character piece that asks how far does one go -- how far CAN one go before what they do is worse than what the criminals themselves do, and is it worth going that far if it saves others?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #25

An atmospheric compression device, capable of immense destruction is stolen by a criminal. Threatening the destruction of an oil refinery in distant Iwate Prefecture, the only hope to reach it in time is to have the professor that built the device accompany the Solbrain team aboard the SS-1. But when bombings begin to occur, will the team make it in time to stop the oil refinery from going up? Daiki makes a risky gambit that could very well lead to his own death!

Notes: Main writer Sugimura wrote this episode. When I'm translating and localizing, I can tell you that the best episodes to translate are always Sugimura or Ogizawa episodes. They love technical jargon, checklists, and other things that really make the show feel like a police show. So whenever I see one of their episodes, I know it's going to be a joy to write for, and this is no exception.

I really feel like you are going to like this episode. Sugimura writes a perfect mystery here with a ticking clock element, and Daiki's gambit is nothing short of inspired. This episode is the perfect heroic counterbalance to the previous Takaku episode which showed him threatening people who were of no real threat to him with the GigaStreamer one episode after Ryoma gave him the GigaStreamer for refusing to use it when he had the chance. This episode will make you forget the bird episode, and will actually make the SS-1 cool again.

You know, I think if they had an hour to do a Rescue Police episodes, I really think they could do some amazing crime storylines. When I see things like recent shows such as Arrow or even older shows like 24, it's obvious that having time to set up a crime can be a really effective storytelling technique. Ah well. Maybe if we buy enough Winspector Figuarts they'll think about doing that Winspector Prime Amazon Streaming series I had a dream about, where Ryoma is the Commander and there are cameos by Masaki and Daiki and the others. I can dream, can't I?

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #24

Episode 24: Save the Goshawk!

In his off time, Daiki spends time with members of a local birdwatching society. By chance, he encounters a young misfit in whom he hopes he can help instill the values of life. But poachers are afoot, attempting to catch and smuggle an endangered goshawk. Can Daiki stop them before the poaching endangers human lives as well as bird lives?

Notes: Susumu Takaku once again writes another environmental episode about giant birds, only this time without hilarious puppets. You surely remember the giant bird episode of Winspector, and the one with the giant bat monster and witch that somehow hypnotized Bikel in Winspector. Now we have a more realistic but no less absurd episode of Solbrain. When Daiki has time off he's trying to pick up some girl from the birdwatching society. He has time to counsel some asshole kid about the meaning of life and then that kid runs into some poachers who are after an endangered goshawk. Things happen and then DAIKI THREATENS HUMAN BEINGS WITH THE GIGASTREAMER. That seems like an incredible escalation of force. Also, why is Solbrain even investigating bird poaching? Isn't that a job for the prefectural police, or the equivalent of Fish & Wildlife?

That's what I want to know.

On the other hand, the things Keiko says about the Tama River pollution is true, and it is also true that in the 1990s, it rebounded and now much of the damage has been reversed thanks to conservation laws.

I am afraid I do not like this episode because I don't see how Solbrain should be investigating poaching. But I guess that's why they are heroic. Even the smallest crimes matter to them. And on TV, there's no such thing as "jurisdiction".

Thursday, December 15, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #23

The rift between Ryoma and Daiki grows as the deadly shapeshifting spy robot, Messiah, escapes. With no way to stop it from self destructing, the Winspector and Solbrain teams learn a horrifying truth about the robot's self aware behavior. Now, both teams must work together to prevent as many civilian casualties as possible.

Notes: A really good episode, a great conclusion to the three parter. The writing is slick and the characterization is believable. Though somehow, I feel like the ends-justify-the-means characterization of Ryoma is a bit out of character, unless being in Europe really has taught him that behavior. Luckily, things do change when he comes back later in the series. I guess they also needed a way to sell off the stocks of leftover GigaStreamer toys, so they brought it back into the series! Enjoy this excellent, well written episode. And unfortunately, Bikel and Walter's final non-flashback appearance. :(

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #22

Winspector's Ryoma Kagawa, Walter, and Bikel have shown up in Tokyo! However, Ryoma's actions are baffling: he indiscriminately attacks individuals including a child while claiming to be on a top secret mission. And even the ICPO in Paris, the organization that governs Winspector's international activities, claims to have no knowledge of Ryoma's presence in Japan. When Bikel becomes worried and contacts Commander Masaki, the awful truth will begin to unravel!

There is a scene in here that takes place in a house with a bound and gagged couple that is a mashup of two scenes from Terminator 2: the one where the T-1000 is disguised as a man's wife and stabs him through the mouth, and the scene where Sarah repairs the T-800 in a garage. Appropriate given the gimmick in this episode. However, the Terminator comparisons end there: the story takes its own route afterwards. There is a disappointing quantity of stock footage in this episode. You will notice some scenes of the Winspector team saving people from Winspector (remember that scene of Bikel lifting the people up from Winspector Episode 1?), and some of the Solbrain team from Solbrain Episode 1. That being said, it's actually a very fun episode, and seeing Ryoma Suit Up again (even though he's not in his badass Camaro) was really satisfying.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #21

Buckle up, because this is the one you've been waiting for! When the GigaStreamer, Winspector's most powerful weapon, is sent back to Japan to be overhauled and tested by Braver, Commander Masaki reminisces about his irreplaceable first team. But something strange is going on: Winspector can't be reached at the ICPO headquarters in France. Even more troubling are the sightings of Bikel and Walter within the city... and finally, Ryoma himself attempting to murder a child! What's going on here? Has the legendary Ryoma Kagawa become a criminal?!

Notes: This is a clip show, pure and simple. Just like American shows that reminisce about past episodes and seasons, this episode is primarily made of clips from Winspector and music from the show. But if you love Winspector, that won't be a bad thing, will it? Very little story in this episode, but what it sets up for is a fantastic three part team-up. Junko and Koyama won't be back though, unfortunately. Enjoy this slickly written feel-good episode that leads into an amazing Terminator 2 ripoff!

Torrent Link:

Monday, December 12, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #20

When an American girl studying abroad is killed in a hit and run accident, one by one, the perpetrators begin to die at the hands of a shadowy commando who evades all attempts at capture. As Solbrain investigates, Daiki is forced to confront the shocking truth that his former instructor when he trained with the FBI may be behind the killings. But with Daiki incredibly close to this case, will he be able to do what's necessary when the time comes?

Veteran writer Takashi Yamada writes this action packed story with slick writing. We get Rambo like revenge, drama, political scheming, car chases, Daiki's backstory, and a critical crisis of conscience. The action starts and just doesn't stop, leading to an emotional ending. It's an excellent episode, and probably would be considered even more excellent, if not for the teaser that shows what's coming in the next episode.

Yes, that's right. You loved them. You missed them. Ryoma, Bikel, and Walter are BACK!
Torrent Link:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #19

An engineer contracted out to work with Solbrain is murdered. Shortly after, a cute girl claiming to be a detective fiction author begins approaching Kamekichi and asking questions about the case. Could she have done it? Or is she after something else?

An Ogisawa episode, one of my favorite writers for the series. This is one of the cutest episodes in the series, and the funniest too. Considering that it is about Kamekichi, who only occasionally gets screen time, it's all the more entertaining. Both of the male characters in this series get paired with characters who would make good girlfriends for them, but of course, you can't pair them off without diverging from the main storyline, and I guess kids didn't come here to see relationship stories, so this is as close as you're going to get.

Kame-kins, as you might guess, was "Kame-chan". I needed something cutesy for her to call him, since she does it from the very first meeting. Note that there's one time that the Commander calls him it as a joke!
Considering that Oogisawa ended up writing for Detective Conan, this is pretty meta.
This is not a good thing to tell children watching the show.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

WEEABOO SHOGUN PRESENTS: Super Rescue Solbrain #18

A group of land speculators aggressively drive cyclists out of a local private park, claiming that they are about to build a factory there. When their deed on the land checks out, the local community rallies around Mr. Tsuruoka, the local bike shop owner, and his son Hiroshi, a longtime friend of Solbrain. The campaign against the land speculators seems to be going well, until Mr. Tsuruoka suddenly drops his support. Tsuruoka has a shocking secret in his past, and it may be something that ruins both him and the community.


But surprisingly, this episode doesn't have any magical psychic girls, talking stuffed animals, or other unthematic elements. This is a rather dramatic episode about the cycle shop owner, Mr. Tsuruoka, who appears in the ending credits and a handful of episodes throughout the series (I believe this is actually his last). He's grown a beard in this episode. Turns out that he has a secret past that led him to open his cycling shop.

I actually really like this episode all things considered. I think that even though it's a low-threat episode, it's a good piece about human beings. The writing was sharp and fun to translate. For a Sagiyama episode it's by far one of her most interesting. Hope you enjoy.

Torrent Link: