Saturday, February 28, 2009

Space Pirate Mito Revisited - Final Thoughts

Yeah, I meant to get this written up and posted a couple of weeks ago, but better late than never, I suppose.  After blasting through the series and then not quite blasting through editing all the screencaps I took (more than I meant to, but worth it), the seeds of what I wanted to say here were sown, but I just kept putting it off.  And there are definitely things I want to talk about, so here goes.
I have to admit, I'm very glad that I went back and rewatched Space Pirate Mito.  It turns out I'd forgotten way more than I actually remembered, like Mito getting captured, the whole 'everyone's memory got erased' thing, not to mention I incorrectly remembered Ranban's backstory happening in one episode, not two (or three, depending on how you look at it).  I'd also forgotten how quickly the whole series moves.  I mean, yeah, it's only 13 episodes, so they don't really have time to sit around, but still.

Now, you should know by now that I'm a VA wonk, so trust me when I tell you that both the original Japanese and the English dub have great casts.  For one thing, Mito is voiced by Tomoko Kawakami, best known for her role as Utena.  Aoi is voiced by Souichiro Hoshi, who has had a good number of roles (including Oojirou in Angelic Layer), but is best known to me as Matsutake from Mirumo de Pon! (and thus I was much more amused than I should have been).  There are plenty of recognizable roles for almost everyone in the cast, but I'm not going to list them all here, except to point out that Mutsuki's voice actress was also Martina from Slayers Next, and Masatsuki is voiced by Yumiko Kobayashi, who went on to voice Poemi in Puni Puni Poemi! and Zucchini (a very similar role to Masatsuki) in Magical Play (which, by the way, has character designs by Kiyohiko Azuma, of Azumanga Daioh and Yostuba&! fame).
As for the dub, while not perfect by a long shot, it still manages to be enjoyable.  In particular, Lisa Ortiz does some of her best work as Mail-Suited Ranban, in my opinion, and does a fine interpretation of Mito in and out of the mail suit.  And I enjoyed Michelle Newman as Masatsuki (called Matsuki in the dub), although I'm not quite sure why she started delivering her lines like William Shatner after the first few episodes.  The dub script takes some a lot of liberties with the script, but often for the better.  As I mentioned before, I only really understood what happened in episode eight when the dub explained it, and Ranban's dialogue is much better in the dub.Not to mention the added joke that occurs because Kaizou-kun is called Mr. Roboto (since in the Japanese version, Masatsuki always says, "Arigatou, Kaizou-kun!" after it transforms, the dub took the opportunity to make a "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto" joke).  However, there are a few strange changes: the mail suits are referred to as exo suits, and the seal became the key.  Granted, neither really changes the story, but they do kind of stand out, whereas I didn't notice a lot of the differences in the dialogue without watching the dub with the subtitles on.

One last thing: not too many people know about this series is (very) loosely based on the stories of Mito Komon, who was an actual person back in the 1600's.  His name was Tokugawa Mitsukuni, and he was the Chunagon (also called Komon), a kind of lord in a feudal system, of the Mito province.  He was popular enough that eventually a play was written about him called Mito Mitsukuni Man'yuki.  There were more versions, but the most well-known is a live action TV series that aired in 1969, where a couple of injokes for the anime originate.  For example, in episode two, Mito introduces Sabu and Shin by their full names, Sukesaburou and Kakunoshin, which are the names of Mitsukuni's two retainers (shortened in the show to Suke-san and Kaku-san).  And the whole bit about Aoi being the seal comes from the seal that Mitsukuni carried, which he used to reveal his identity towards the end of each episode.  Also, Kagerou is the name of a ninja who was popular enough to get his own spinoff series.

All in all, Space Pirate Mito is a very enjoyable series.  I don't really do justice to the kinda of show it is in my summaries (I left out most of the jokes, for one thing), so please, check it out for yourself. 

No comments: