19 CommentsEditorials / By Scamp /

The forgotten case of the Platinumhugen Ordian subs

I’ve been picking out some awfully obscure anime from 2000 thanks to that Favourite and Forgotten post series I’m doing, one of which is Platinumhugen Ordian. It’s one of the many Evangelion clones that populated anime back then, and appeared to die out once Gurren Lagann was made (although the latest episode of Eureka Seven Ao certainly had a lot of Eva to it). It doesn’t have a good reputation. Well, actually it has no reputation at all since barely anyone has even heard of it, let alone watched it, but those that have are nearly universally down on the series. However I thought the first episode was all right. A bit confusing and it had some weird dialogue, but there was some interesting directing and ideas. So I did a bit of reading to figure out why people thought it was crap.

The complaints directed towards Ordian are nearly entirely about how confusing and nonsensical it is. It fails to justify its characters’ actions, plot points come out of nowhere, and the ending ends awfully abruptly and nothing is properly resolved. There were one or two people who were positive about the series, all of whom were people who could understand Japanese. They said the subs were utterly terrible. One in particular that stood out to me was translating ‘coup d’etat‘ as ‘chocolate cake‘ or something completely ridiculous like that. Considering the difference between saying that the army were overthrowing their general and, say, enjoying some oishii cakiee with their general would have on the plot, that’s pretty damning. Even worse is the original subbers didn’t include the epilogue, which explains why the ending completely fails.

So watching Platinumhugen Ordian without knowing Japanese is a hopeless task. What I found strangely depressing was the idea that no english speaker will ever be able to properly experience this show. I thought we were beyond that in the digital age. You no longer have the instance where a Japanese VHS tape is brought into a screening room and some dude with knowledge of Japanese trying to explain what was going on to the audience over the microphone as the crowd watched the pretty pictures. We were gone beyond the stage where you had to beg for VHS tapes to trade only to discover that it had been played so much that the video quality was now unwatchable. Back when I was a young ‘un, before I knew how to download anime, or even knew that it was available to be bought, I would scour shady streaming sites, picking up god only knows how many viruses. If the anime I wanted to watch had been taken down (as they frequently were), I wouldn’t know how to watch it. But with sites like BakaBT keeping copies of every anime ever seeded, I figured there would never be an anime I wouldn’t be able to find.

Obviously though, this is not the case. Certainly when it comes to older stuff, the files may be lost and gone forever. For example there’s the stories of the earliest television programmes being lost forever, including some of the earliest episodes of Dr. Who, because it wasn’t common practice to keep copies of everything you broadcast. When it comes to english-speaking anime fans, you’ve got the double barrier of first finding the original copies of the anime, and then getting someone to sub the thing. It might not matter for most anime that are long forgotten, but there are plenty of anime with huge cultural relevance that haven’t been subbed. Saizen subs are still working away on Ashita no Joe, which is easily one of the most important anime ever made, particularly when it comes to animation techniques.Yet here we are in 2012 and there is still somehow no subs for that hugely significant scene in the final episode that has apparently been copied and parodied time and time again in anime even today.

The thing is, who is going to care? If you can’t watch Platinumhugen Ordian due to shitty subtitles, there are literally thousands of other anime you can watch if you want. Maybe if you’re a fan of the director of Platinumhugen Ordian, Masami Obari, you’d want to watch it (and why wouldn’t you be a fan of the director of Angel Blade and Viper GTS). Maybe you’re on some sort of mission to watch every Evangelion clone to see what sort of similar themes emerge from them, you’d be disappointed that you can’t figure out what’s going on here. Or maybe, like me, you’re trying to get an idea of what kind of anime were made in 2000. In that case, I’m probably never going to know what Platinumhugen Ordian is really like. And, for some reason, that made me a bit sad.

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  1. dolan
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    no need to be roundabout about joe’s death. everyone knows about it. and btw making everything green won’t make ireland play any better. just so you know.

  2. Posted June 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m almost convinced that E7 Ao is basically the result of when the writer saw Guilty Crown and said, “No, this is how you do an Evangelion rip-off/tribute/whatever it actually is”.

    Love the new format of your blog by the way.

    • Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

      I have yet to finger exactly why (save maybe that the supporting characters just aren’t as loud, colourful, and immediately interesting), but I just don’t find myself enjoying Ao as much as the original Eureka Seven.

      Maybe it’s the episodic plotting? The huge shift in focus from world building and character development to simple monster of the week planet-saving? I don’t hate the series by any means, but I could swear it’s just got less of what I like.

  3. Posted June 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    First I wanted to skip this text because Evangelion and its clones don’t interest me (no hate, just no love either). But then I thought that I should compliment the new layout, so I’ll read it fast.
    And then it made me sad as well. Not for Ordian, for which I still don’t care about, but for other gems that I actually know. That I watched in TV and there are no raws or rips (Polish dubbing of Superpig was actually better than the original – of which there are only four episodes subbed), or that I only heard about and just wanted to check.
    So: your blog looks very nice now and I like it, but this particular entry made me sad.

  4. fathomlessblue
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I had a similar experience several months back, when listening the best of 80’s edition of ANNcast. A show was mentioned called Round Vernian Vifam, which was described as a precursor to Infinite Ryvius. Obviously I tried to search for it, but while the tv series & third ova (the first two being recap compilations) were available, the final epilogue movie had never been subbed. Seeing as it had been years since anyone had last worked on the franchise I had pretty much given up hope. Thankfully, someone must have heard that podcast as I’ve just discovered it was finally subbed a month back.

    Errr… so yeah, in conclusion never give up hope. Either that or good things just happen to me alone.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      That guy on the ANNCast mentioned a whole bunch of anime that haven’t been subbed yet. I’d be interested in that series too, considering its a Ryvius precurser

    • luffyluffy
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      A friend of mine who watches a lot of 70’s robits watched Vifam recently, and according to him, it’s one of the best he’s seen.

      I struck gold though, because Daitarn 3 is fully subtitled and is really just perfect. Scamp, go and watch it right now okay, it’s 40 episodes of Happy Tomino and HOLY SHIT IS THAT HIROTAKA SUZUOKI IN HIS FIRST ROLE and then Banjo who looks like he’s 35 but he’s only 18 and then oh my god i love this show so much i always find myself smiling during the final move (Sun Attack!) and even I’m stuck humming along to the opening which is really catchy (WAN TOO TSUREE! DAITAAN TSUREE!!) and omg i’m sorry i’m gushing over this show but just GO AND WATCH IT THE ANIMATUION IS REALLY NICE FOR THE 70’S TOO


      • Scamp
        Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        tbh from what little I’ve seen of old-school mecha anime, I’m not sure it’s my sort of thing. It’s neither FAAAAABULOUS nor dark, gritty and depressing enough. Although I do mean to try out the Votoms franchise. I saw the first episode of the TV series a while back and thought it was pretty good.

        On the other hand, I’m busy with 2000 anime so eh 70s and 80s isn’t my priority now

      • luffyluffy
        Posted June 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Daitarn isn’t any of those. It’s… well, it’s Tomino. That’s the only way I can describe it.

        Anyway yes good WATCH VOTOMS I’m really excited to watch Votoms too cuz of Chirico Cutie er I mean Cuvie

        Scopedogs are cool too yeah.

  5. Anca
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, you’ve just convinced me to download it, at least… I’ve learned enough Japanese from anime that I can understand raws as long as the dialogue doesn’t get too technical or outdated.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Not sure if that’s a good idea, I don’t think it’s meant to be that great even if you do understand what’s going on

  6. Mr. Anon
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Man, those green computers pleasantly remind me of LOGH. In which they painted whole ships in that appalling color, apparently.

  7. ahelo
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    This is just sad. H2 was the same. I’d love to watch more of it but the subs were goddamn terrible.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 24, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Wait, the H2 subs are terrible? Damnit, I was planning on watching that sometime

  8. ZabiLegacy
    Posted June 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Are you kidding? I still can’t watch some currently airing anime. I couldn’t watch Brain Base’s show about the edo era tea master because no one was subbing it, and that came out in the past year.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      The tea anime? People are still subbing that, it will be finished eventually.

  9. 3242
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    There are plenty of shows that don’t get subbed,
    but really they are extremely unpopular (or poorly advertised)
    (or something)
    such as
    The Twin Princesses of The Mysterious Star Gyu!
    second season of the show by the same name. (-Gyu!)
    finished airing in 2007 and I STILL can’t find any subs past episode 6! (and they are extremely literal and hard to understand as well, I get more watching the raws..)
    That’s just one example.
    I’m sure there are others.

  10. Posted June 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Do you plan on continuing through the following years once you finish 2000?

    • Scamp
      Posted June 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Not sure how long I’ll last, but yes

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