Yuuko (manga vol. 4) Mizuiro-Jidai written in rainbow kanji.

"The Blue-Green Years"

The Technogirls

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"Karen" -- an introduction to another manga by Yuu Yabuuchi ("Mizuirojidai" aka "BlueGreen Years" aka "Aqua Age")


Introduction     Our fansubs of "The BlueGreen Years"     Sponsorships      Script Sample      The show in Japan     The Title      Reviews      Episode Information      Comments    News    The Animedia Article     The Animint Article      Her other manga, "Karen"

   This show is something like a younger-girl's Marmalade Boy, without as much hysteria, but with lots of nostalgia and coming-of-age drama. Like Miyazaki's Kiki (of Kiki's Delivery Service ), Yuuko is a young girl you can't help but like, and sympathize with, and remember how you went through the exact same traumas at her age. This reminds me of the American TV series, "The Wonder Years," another splendid nostalgic look at childhood, dating, and friendships.

   Manga translations by Barbara Chambers.

   Important: if you love her characters, you might want to see Yuu Yabuuchi's other manga series, "Karen".  Our Karen web page is here .

Exciting News -- DVD Release!  Then, Disappointment...

   Around the beginning of January 2002, I discovered that some fans in Japan were talking about the rumored release of Mizuirojidai on DVD. There are two main fan websites in Japan, and they both put up notes to inform others of the rumors. Later, a fan put more information in a dummy auction on Yahoo-Japan, and that got copied onto the Japanese websites. About that time, I put a notice on our main page, and continued waiting.

   We ordered the set from AMOTOKYO and it arrived!  To celebrate the new video source, we plan to move volume 4 of "The BlueGreen Years" to highest priority (after BDB 33-36) and release its fansub next. Then we'll open volume 5 up to sponsorship and begin translation of it. Between fansubs, we'll remaster the first 3 volumes. The second box set will be needed before we can work on volume 6.

    Even though it's wonderful to see a real video release of Mizuirojidai finally, I must say that I'm a bit disappointed.  The video quality isn't as good as I expected from a Pioneer release. From the titles, it looks like Pioneer only functioned as the distributor for this.  The producer was "MMI" -- "Marvelous Music".   I had to check the disks on both a DVD player and directly grabbing frames to see what was going on.  Here's what I found...

    (1) Noise, 29.97fps, and double telecine.  There is a fair amount of video noise present, more than other comparable DVD releases, such as Bandai's "Ace wo Nerae" which is two decades older.  They used some low quality equipment to do the digitization.  Furthermore, they acquired the video at NTSC framerate (29.97 fps) instead of the native 24fps.  This is a glaring indication of something very wrong.   Then, they did the editing at that framerate, and re-exported the video with telecine. This resulted in large scale ugliness in the frame progression.  A typical non-interlaced frame pattern I saw in the source was 11100010001110001000... instead of the normal 10100101001010010100... which is a telltale sign of a double telecine.  This accentuates the noise in the image and means that the DVD release contains 29.97 non-pulldown MPEG2 instead of the preferred 24 fps 3:2 pulldown NTSC which is used by professionals for animation and film.  

    (2) No frame stabilization was used anywhere in the digital mastering process. This is a serious oversight, because Mizuirojidai was a low budget production which used old equipment, and the camera wobbled during photography -- mostly in a left-right direction.  The annoying wobble is very visible and distracting. I'll be using a frame stabilizer to fix this problem wherever possible.  In this sense, the fansub might end up looking nicer than the original.

    (3) Cable reflection shadow.  This is the most amazing defect of all.  The frames seem to show a faint shadow, offset by about 15 pixels to the right, of the video image.  This is equivalent to a cable whose length is about 6 meters. During the conversion from film to video, a long and imperfectly terminated cable must have been used for the video signal.  This is totally inexcusable, and is a mark of unprofessional work.

    So altogether, it was a cheaply done, quite amateurish DVD that still leaves me  wishing I had a good quality video source!  This is certainly an order of magnitude better than the tapes I had archived, but it is quite a disappointment.  I hate to say it, but it reminds me of American anime DVD's -- or even more, Taiwan or Hong Kong unlicensed DVD's. Who did this, really?  And why? I'm very happy to have the DVD's, and I'll buy the second set, but there's no other choice.  I am forced to advise videophile anime collectors that they should be prepared for a shock if they buy these DVD's.  They are (I am not kidding) the WORST anime DVD's I have ever seen coming from a Japanese company.

    In general, though... it took a long time for the DVD's to be announced -- 5 years. Our first 3 volumes had to be made from some carefully-prepared SVHS source tapes of the show made from rental copies in Japanese video stores in Northern California.

   This was a perfect example of a shoujo show which receives little or no aftermarket activity.  In fact, the final eight episodes shown on TV appear to have been intended to be OAV's originally.  This implies that the poor ratings of the show caused plans for the OAV's to be cancelled.  The 8 weeks occupied by the former OAV's were time spent in preparing the show's replacement, "Kero Kero Chaimu".

Our fansub of Eps. 1-4
Yuuko and Hiroshi     In volume 1, We meet the 3 main characters Yuuko, Takako, and Hiroshi. Takako has an enormous crush on Hiroshi -- but romance is never simple in Junior High School, as you will see! A terrible conflict threatens the friendship between Takako and Yuuko, and the unfolding events sweep them all away during the school camping trip. Meanwhile, Yuuko finds herself on her school's softball team, and is suffering through the frustrating torment of having NO athletic talent whatsoever (as she puts it, "I don't have athletic bones.") You'll enjoy the script -- Anna Exter's lively and vernacular translation style perfectly suits the show. This volume was made from a TAPE source, though our method of processing the tape gives very good results -- the laserdisks have not even been announced yet, and in fact may never be released at all.
    We have remastered this show on 12-29-97.  This is revision 4.  Volume 1 still contains the original commercials (not subtitled) but they are all moved to end of the tape, so the episodes themselves are not interrupted.  We made other improvements to the script, and upgraded it to our current font standard.  The video is slightly better, but is still from a tape source.
   If you ask someone for a copy of this tape, you might inquire whether it is revision 3 or 4.  (or heaven forbid, revision 2, which was pretty bad...)  You can tell by looking at the introductory part of the tape.  We recommend revision 4.

   Translation was done expressly for the Techno-Girls by Anna Exter, of Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada. [Current Revision: 4]  Contents: 1. THE NEW TERM; 2. FRIENDSHIP; 3. THE SCHOOL CAMP; 4. THE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT; plus additional fan notes and comments.

Our fansub of Eps. 5-8

   In volume 2, we kept the original commercials, but moved them to the end of the tape.  Translation was by Chiyoko Ishikawa (5, 7, 8) and Keiko Noui (6).

Takako gives feminine hygiene advice to Yuuko. (Manga ep. 5) 5. "Out of Sync" -- brought to you by Anime Fanatics Fanzine
   Biology takes a terrible toll on poor 13-year old Yuuko, as IT finally happens!  Hiroshi is not especially graceful in handling the situation, either.  However, Takako shows herself to be surprisingly understanding and helpful.   Though perhaps a tiny bit condescending once or twice.

Yuuko and Hiroshi gazing at each other. 6.  "Big Sister" -- brought to you by Jan! Anime
   Yuuko's sister, Toshiko, becomes the key as Yuuko gets the worst case of writer's block she's ever had -- just when she's drafted to write the screenplay to a school festival video!  Is there any way to back out of this without causing a catastrophe?  Hiroshi is counting on her too!

Takako accidentally knocks the cake onto the floor. (Manga ep. 4, anime ep. 7) 7."Christmas Party" -- brought to you by Leta & Eleanor Davis
    Oh no -- Takako learned of the Christmas party, and intends to crash it!  The girls pressure Yuuko to keep Takako from attending.  What happens when the Unstoppable Force is opposed by the Limp Noodle?  The Force attends the party, that's what...!  (From the manga, episode 4.)

8. "Valentine's Day!" -- brought to you by Lawrence Wan
    Finally, Yuuko has someone almost like a boyfriend (Hiroshi) so she has someone for whom she can make "special chocolate" this Valentine's Day.  But her plans seem to be falling apart due to an unending string of disasters.  Could this be "Bad Luck Day" instead?  Who is that other girl who is giving chocolate to Hiroshi?

Our fansub of Eps. 9-12
   Volume 3 was translated for us by Anna Exter, recently turned to doing professional translation for Bandai USA.  Instead of stripping out ALL of the commercials, we kept 3 of them in, because they were fun and related to manga and Ciao magazine.  Revision 1 is dated 10-9-98.  Revision 2 is dated 10-10-98.

Yuuko    9. "The Final Exam" -- brought to you by Tim Woodard
   It's time for Yuuko to take the final exam for first year middle school students (8th grade).  But her grades seem to be going DOWN instead of up!  While Hiroshi is near the top of his class, Yuuko finds she is near the bottom, and the academic distance between the two of them becomes a real, tangible distance in their relationship as well.  How can a flunk-out date a valedictorian?  The whole situation is just impossible!

  10. "New Classes" -- brought to you by David Seid
   As the second year of middle school starts, Yuuko finds herself in a new homeroom, separated from all her classmates of last year.  No one will talk to her, no one knows her, no one is her friend.  Now she's stuck in a lonely, gloomy mood, waiting for someone else to make the first move.
  10a.   A funny "Tokyo Juliette" edition Flower Comics commercial at the A/B break in ep. 10.
  10b.  Jun Yoneya's single "Mizuiro-jidai" (The OP song) commercial at the B/ED break of ep. 10.

Takako's new boyfriend?    11. "Takako's Sweetheart" -- brought to you by Daniel Harrison
   What kind of boy would get a crush on Takako?  None of her friends can even imagine such a thing!  But that seems indeed to be what has happened.  Takako isn't particularly tactful about making it clear that she isn't interested.  In fact she's downright blunt about it all.  But suddenly, maybe she IS interested -- or has she just decided it's more important to be a good friend?  And then... the worst possible thing... and the best possible thing... both happen at once.  Don't miss this episode.
   11a.  "Ciao in the Summer" commercial with "Koukan Nooto" (exchange notebooks).  Set as a "rich fair maiden with her servants" skit.  (This part was translated by Tomoko Motooka.)

   12. "Pulling Rank" -- brought to you by Paulo Ricardo Cruz
   Japanese middle schools have two grades, and the second-year students (9th graders) are "sempai" (senior) to the first-year students (8th graders) who are "kouhai" (junior).   This is a system of seniority and rank (and sometimes bullying too) which is found everywhere in Japanese society and students just have to get used to it.
   Now Yuuko and Takako are both "sempai" and in charge of training the first-year students in their Band Club.  But Yuuko is too tenderhearted to maintain proper discipline, and Takako is too domineering to handle the job without resorting to bullying.  Between the two of them, they make a real mess of sempai/kouhai relations in the club!

    As you know, we only do long series by sponsorship.  In fact, the TechnoGirls were the first (and for a long time the only) group to operate in this way.  This is partly because we are always too poor to afford everything ourselves!  But we're willing to do the work, if the fansub community is willing to help us afford it.  Your sponsorship pledge is $50 per episode, and pays most of the costs for translation.  We pay for all other materials.  Your name appears as the sponsor of the episode you are assigned to.  And anime fans forever will be grateful to you!  They will whisper your name reverently at anime conventions!  They will scatter flower petals in your path wherever you go!  They will...  well, ok, maybe this won't bring you everlasting glory, but it will help to subtitle a deserving show so that fans can finally see it in English... and that's important, and worthwhile.  Please help us out.

   Volume 4 is fully sponsored now.  We aren't taking additional sponsors for the next volume yet.  Thank you to all our sponsors, who make continuing work on BGY possible!  You are all the best fans in the world!

The Animedia Article
Chart from Animedia article    The Japanese fan magazine Animedia ran an introductory article on Mizuirojidai in 1996 (I don't have the date, sorry) as the show's first episodes were showing.  This was a series of spotlights on shows picked by their viewers as among the ten best new animes of 1996.  Mizuirojidai placed number 9 in the poll. About 3/5ths of those who voted the show their favorite were male viewers, surprisingly.  (Bear in mind that though Animedia has a large female readership, perhaps more than any other fan magazine, the majority of its readers are still male, which swings the statistics.)  Number one was Escaflowne, of course.

Questions 1-2 and cast list   Additional sidebar, and questions 3-4   Taka picture, more text.
   The full text of the article appears here.  Later, I hope to take the time to do a decent translation of the text and will place it here as well.  These thumbnail pictures each link to large full-size scans of the article.

Hiroshi and Yuuko picture      Previously, I noticed that most of the sites on the Internet with information on Mizuirojidai were using scans and graphics taken from our site here.  I expressed a wish that those sites would be courteous enough to leave a link back to the site they took the graphics from, or to otherwise mention this page. However, new sites from 1998 on seem to have taken a clue from reading my comment in the page here. But instead of giving any credit, some of them just made sure to take their images from somewhere else. An aside: you know how you can easily tell a commercial site from a courteous amateur site? The amateur site will have a list of links. The commercial site won't, because the LAST thing they want to do is to give you any reason to depart their site. So when they take something from another site, they generally will not give any credit or links or mention of any sort. (There are a few rare exceptions.)

The Title

    People who haven't seen the fansub are always emailing us and asking "Isn't the correct translation of "Mizuirojidai" given as "Aqua Age"? I'll put the answer here, to save having to write the same answer over and over.  The explanation involves the reason that the show got called "Mizuiro jidai" in the first place. It's a long explanation involving kanji puns so if you don't get excited by ideograms, you probably should skip ahead.

   There is a common word in Japanese called "seishun". It means "youth" or "teenage years". It gets used a lot when one is explaining those crazy "days of youth." For instance, if you wanted to say "I was just being a typical teenager." you would say something like "Seishun shite ita nan desu." (Pardon if that isn't perfectly grammatical...) [As a side note, there was a college group in the US named "Seishun Shitemasu" that once did some naughty anime parodies. I wonder what happened to them.]

   Well, a very very common phrase with "seishun" is "seishun jidai" which means "days of youth". The "jidai" is the same one as in "Mizuiro Jidai" and it means "period of time."  Youthfullness has the color blue associated with it in Japanese, just like we might associate the color green with "jealousy" or purple with "royal." Apparently the reason for this is (and I don't really know which is the cause and which is the effect) because of the kanji which are used to write "seishun". If you pronounce those kanji using the Chinese readings, you get the correct reading of "sei" & "shun" but if you use the alternate Japanese readings, you get "aoi" & "haru". Those words mean "blue" and "spring."  The Chinese usage is possibly based on the idea that the "spring of life" is one's "youth".

   So, all Japanese speaking persons who read the word "seishun" meaning "youth" also see "blue spring" when they look at the word. Not only that, the "aoi" (blue) kanji sometimes means "green." So, we have "blue-green spring". The only other word in Japanese which means "blue-green" is "mizuiro". What the author did is to transform the phrase "seishun jidai" into "mizuiro jidai". When she did that, EVERYONE in Japan knew exactly what she meant, because they all knew it was a "blue-green spring" pun on "seishun." There is a name for this type of "wrong-reading kanji pun" but I forgot it at the moment. Take my word for it, this type of game in manga titles is REALLY common.

   This wasn't the only part of the pun she intended, though.  She poetically meant to express the difference between a young adult and a pre-adolescent using the difference in the colors "Aoi" (blue) and "Mizuiro" (pale blue, or perhaps greenish not-quite-blue).  In this sense, she reasoned, "Aoi" is a more "ripened" or "matured" color compared to "mizuiro".  (It should be pointed out that there is no consistency in the Japanese or Chinese perception of the color "Aoi" which  historically meant "green" more than "blue" anyway -- this is reflected in the "seishun" word and explains why we are talking about "blue spring" instead of  the more reasonable "green spring".)  Anyway, she needed a cute English version for her "blue-green period of time" title, so she probably picked the shortest English words which corresponded in her dictionary to Mizuiro and Jidai, and those short words are "Aqua" and "Age." So that became her cute English equivalent. Small is cute. Small fits in the margins. Why did Ciao Magazine need an English title in the first place?  Not for the anime, that's for sure... this was years earlier than the anime.  It was for their merchandise.  The tiny plastic purses, the stationery... things that need a small title, not a long one.  "Aqua" was the shortest English word they could find for "mizuiro".  It didn't need to make much sense.

   When it came time for us to pick a fansub title, there was a big problem because kanji puns just don't translate. But by a cosmic coincidence, the word "blue" in English can mean "moody" and "green" can mean "inexperienced" and the two words seemed to me to be the perfect way to describe the teen years, and since they were so close to "blue-green spring." I thought they were a great choice and Anna liked it too, so that was that.

   So then, a lot of criticism was heard from US anime fans who knew that the phrase "Aqua Age" had appeared in the manga margins and even popped up at one point on a sign in the manga. They all assumed that it was the correct translation for "Mizuiro Jidai". To me, it was obvious that it wasn't, but explaining didn't do anything to slow down the talk in the newsgroups where those fans who "really knew the whole story" always made sure they referred to the anime (and the fansub!) as "Aqua Age."

   But there was more. Anime fans always are learning Japanese, and a lot of them knew that "mizu" meant "water". They didn't understand why "mizuiro" was in the title, so they started looking for translations that stressed the "water" aspect, like "watercolor". But the idea of "water" was never part of the original kanji pun. Attempts to twist the title in that direction were WAY off track.

   Aren't kanji puns fun?

   So that's the story of the title.   I honestly feel that of all the possible translations, "Aqua Age" loses all of the original connotations, and is in fact almost completely meaningless in English. It doesn't work!  There may be other possibilities than "Blue-Green Years"  (our second choice was "Our Blue Years") but "Aqua Age" is NOT one of them.

  The only word that is really indeterminate is the "jidai".  If we had wanted to make the fansub with a TOTALLY literal title, we would have used "BlueGreen Spring".  If we had done that, the Japanese speaking fans would have said "Aha, you understood the pun." but the American fans would have said, "You arrogant fansubbers have no idea what the title really means and we resent you making up your own stupid title."  So Anna and I settled on "BlueGreen Years" as being reasonable, though still as literal as possible.  And we thought it added an extra level to the pun in English.  Using "Age" for "jidai" doesn't work because it doesn't relate to the nostalgia theme.  In English, one needs to express it in a nostalgic way, like "Those days" or "Back then" or "old times".  "Age", "epoch", "dynasty" etc are all dictionary words for "jidai" that don't fit.  That's a different usage of jidai, more like in a historical sense. There are other translations for "jidai" which work better.  I think the best expression of the feeling of the title is in the lyrics of the closing song, "Ano Koro no You ni".  ("Just like way back then" or "The way it was then" or maybe "Those were the days".)  In the song, one sees that "jidai" is in the sense of "ano koro".  So one has to use the personal way of translating it, like "years" "days" or "times".

   If you prefer to think of the manga title as meaning "Aqua Age" that's OK.  However, the English title we gave for the English-subtitled fansub we made from it was "The Blue-Green Years".   We'd prefer that you use that title when talking about our fansub or listing it.

Episode Information

--------- Volume 1 --------------
1. THE NEW TERM -- brought to you by Eugene Liang (paid)
2. FRIENDSHIP -- brought to you by Celia Liang (paid)
3. THE SCHOOL CAMP -- brought to you by Jeff Gaskell (paid)
4. THE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT -- brought to you by Allen Hastings (paid)

Hiroshi wants to know but Yuuko doesn't want to tell him! --------- Volume 2 --------------
5. "Out of Sync" -- brought to you by Anime Fanatics Fanzine (paid)
6.  "Big Sister" -- brought to you by Jan! Anime (paid)
7."Christmas Party" -- brought to you by Ed Davis (paid) as "Leta & Eleanor Davis"
8. "Valentine's Day!" -- brought to you by Lawrence Wan (paid)

--------- Volume 3 --------------
9.  "The Final Exam" -- brought to you by Tim Woodard (paid)
10.  "New Classes" -- brought to you by David Seid (paid)
11.  "Takako's Sweetheart" -- brought to you by Daniel Harrison (paid)
12.  "Pulling Rank" -- brought to you by Paulo Ricardo Cruz (paid)

Our deepest gratitude to sponsors of volume 3.  You all are very generous.  Thanks to you, this wonderful story will continue!  Because of your help, Anna Exter translated volume 3 and we are editing/timing/subbing it now!

--------- Volume 4 --------------
13.  "Jealousy" -- brought to you by Yolanda Lee (paid)
14.  "Diet" -- brought to you by Io LaCleve (paid)
15.  "Natsu Yasumi" ("Summer Vacation") -- brought to you by David Seid (paid)
16.  "Arashi no Kisetsu" -- brought to you by Daniel Harrison (paid)
Yuko, from the opening credits.


Following are some notes on episodes Barbara took while making source tapes for the future fansubs.  (Warning: these are crude notes and they contain many mistakes and typographical errors.  Barbara's translation of some titles may be off.)

---------------- Source tape 3 ---------------
9. Yuuko's grades are awful!  Hiroshi tries to help -- but not very gracefully, unfortunately...  -- brought to you by Tim Woodard (paid)
10. A new year.  Yuuko is in a new "gumi".   She doesn't know ANYONE -- brought to you by David Seid (paid)
   Flower Comics commercial at A/B break.
   Mizuirojidai single commercial at B/ed break.
11. "Taka's Romance"  Someone has his eyes on Takako.  What on earth will Taka do? -- brought to you by Daniel Harrison (paid)
   Ciao commercial with notebooks -- at A/B break.
   First time: complete op played during show.
12. "Sempai Kohai" ("Seniors and Underclassmen") Finally, Yuuko and Taka are no longer "kohai".  Remember Taka's promise in episode 1? brought to you by Paulo Ricardo Cruz (paid)
   (a tape glitch in this episode)
13.  "Jealousy" New character, Kugayama-san.    This kohai wants Hiroshi as her friend.  Sparks fly. (no sponsor yet)
------------- Source tape 4 ----------------------
14.  "Diet"  Yuuko suddenly realizes she's eating too much, and even Taka has a better figure than her! (No sponsor yet)
   Ciao commercial with promotional cards at A/B break.
15.  "Natsu Yasumi" ("Summer Vacation")  New song appears during show.  Does Hiroshi "count" as a "real" boyfriend? Something romantic happens. (no sponsor yet)
16.  "Arashi no Kisetsu"  Yuuko has to back off quick.  And she feels terrible about it.  (no sponsor yet)
17.  "Futsu"  ("Normal")  Ton-chan has a secret.  Is she "normal"?  Big-time gossip. Yuuko's new braids look cute. Another excerpt of a new song during the show.  (no sponsor yet)
18.  "San Kaku Kankei"  A look at Hiroshi's sense of determination, even when he is injured.  (no sponsor yet)
   Ciao commercial at op/A break.
----------------- Source tape 5 ---------------------
19.  "Koi to Yuujou" ("Love and Friendship")  The Classic shoujo Christmas story. (no sponsor yet)
---black screen 7 secs---
20.  "Hatsu Hi no De"  ("New Year's Day Sunrise") The number 35 in the I-Ching brings bad luck to Yuuko, who is totally demoralized by it all... (no sponsor yet)
---black screen 7 secs---
21.  "Jyuuku" ("Cram school")  Yuuko's grades still suck!  It's time to try cram school.  But a sticky situation ensues. A fun episode. (no sponsor yet)
   commercial: "Komiku" manga op/A break.
---black screen 7 secs---
22. "Koibito Doushi" ("Boyfriend Comrade" [?]) new song excerpt emerges.  Things get pretty tense here. Does Yuuko have a date with someone else?  (no sponsor yet)
---black screen 7 secs---
23. "Nakata Gai" More diaries! And a new friend! Taka upset!! Big trouble.
Wacky Ciao commercial A/B break
New song (good one)
New end theme, and end animation (SD characters dancing, it's cute.)
----------------- Source tape 6 ---------------------
24. "Juugaku Ryokou" ("Working together in school" ?) Key episode for Taka. New song clip.
25. "Oitekebori" Decision time for Yuuko? Dream sequences.  New song excerpt. Is Yuuko ill?
26. "Karui Yamadakun" ("Gossipy Yamada-Kun") Trouble between Yuuko and Hiroshi.  Yuuko should know better than to do what she does.
27. "Konkuuru" ("Contest")  Big time band melodrama.  "Cafe no Ciao" commercial at Op/A break.
28. ("Uarawanai Daibaba")  This episode is very tense and involves a suicidal teacher.

----------------- Source tape 7 ---------------------
29 "Uburetaa" Memories, Yuuko's mom, nice story.
30. "Yume to Genjitsu" ("Dreams versus Reality") Taka episode.
31. "Hiroshi no Natsu" (Hiroshi's Summertime) Soccer story, and loneliness. The Ciao Christmas commercial at Op/A break.
32. "Bun Kasai Zen Ya" A mystery. New song excerpt.
33. "Ichiban Boshi" A new character enters.
----------------- Source tape 8 ---------------------
34. "Shingaku Mondai" Hiroshi is big news. A key episode. Commercials: Sailor Moon mchdse at Op/A, Ciao Christmas Commercial at A/B
35. "Present" It's "Chocolate Day" -- this starts out as a fun episode but gets grim. What happened?
36. "Sotsugyou" (Graduation) Not quite a happy time. Commercial: Happy New Ciao at Op/A; Angels (Shogakukan) at A/B.
37. "Tabidachi no Hi" ("Day of Departure from Tokyo") A tearful parting... "Zutto isshouni darou?"
38. "Ano Kou no You Ni" The Last episode. Finally, Taka's hair is long again. That's all I'm going to say about this episode.
----------------- Source tape 9 ---------------------
39. "Mizuiro no Kisetsu-tachi" ("The seasons of Mizuiro") This is the review episode, with mostly music videos.  Good songs.
40. "Renai Miman" Memory Album 1 vignette, Marinin.
41. "Growing Up" Memory Album 2 vignette, Hajimo
42. (missed title) Memory Album 3 vignette.  A thrilling return to the very first episode, as seen through someone else's eyes.  There was more happening than you thought!
43. "Hajimete no Tomodachi" ("Getting a Friend") Memory Album 4 vignette, Tsukino.
----------------- Source tape 10 ---------------------
44. "Ocaasan no Koibito" ("Mom's Boyfriend") Memory Album 5 vignette.
45. "Naisho no Natsu Monogatari" Memory Album 6 vignette, Taka.  Ciao watch offer commercial at Op/A.
46. "Otoko-tachi no Shuugaku Riyokou" ("The Boy's Field Trip") The boys decide to learn about girls, manhood and life. And they learn a lot, too. Memory Album 7 vignette.
47. "Tenshi kara Rafou Yuu" Yuuko.  The final moments give a glimpse, possibly, of the far future.

This is all there is.  The show ends here.   Barbara watched the last episode with tears streaming down.  It's such a wonderful series.

Script Sample
   These samples are slightly edited and with additional commentary.

[Yuuko is forced to play softball on her section's coed team.  She's notoriously bad at sports.]
Boy Teammate 1: "We got ALL the top players!"
Boy Teammate 2: "We just might win this!"
Hashimo: "Hold up! There's one other on the list..."
[All eyes turn to stare at Yuuko, who visibly shrinks...]
Yuuko [to herself]: "Why're they looking at me like that??"
[Hashimo walks over to talk to the other team.]
Hashimo: "Hey you guys!  Wanna swap Seika or Nakanaora for Kawai?"
Other team: "You gotta be outta your gourd!  We don't wanna LOSE!"
Yuuko [to herself]:  "Hmph to you!   I know I'm no good at softball.  I'm happy if I just get to play with Hiroshi."
[After a few minutes, Hiroshi comes over to talk with Yuuko.  He's concerned about her.  He can tell she's upset.]
Hiroshi: "Don't let what Hashimo said get to you!   Like Miss Daitabashi said, the tournament's supposed to stimulate friendship.  It's nothin' to get bent outta shape over."
[Now Yuuko looks even more upset.]
Hiroshi: "What's wrong, Yuuko?"
Yuuko: "They're saying I'd only slow them down."
[Hiroshi looks offended.]
Hiroshi: "DID I SAY THAT?   I just thought I'd get you to try your best.  In your usual clumsy fashion..."
[A tiny spark of anger now is added to Yuuko's look of misery.]
Yuuko: "That's mean!  You don't know how I feel!"
[Yuuko turns and runs off in a huff.]
[Hiroshi scratches his head, bewildered.]
Hiroshi [to himself]: "Aw, poop...!"
[Fade out.]
(Script by Barbara Chambers based on the translation by Anna Exter.)

Comments We've Received

    Barbara, I would just like to thank you and the rest of the Techno Girls gang for a job much more than well done.   I absolutely LOVED The Blue-Green Years (as soon as you need sponsors for future episodes, just let me know ---this one certainly deserves my support).  I fell in love with it after the first three minutes.  It took me back to when I was that age.  I have to say that this is one of my top 5 favorite anime series.   (D.S.)

    I definitely want to see this series subbed and I thank you so much for doing it :)  (D.S.)
    I just watched those Mizuiro #5-8 you gave me, and I must say that they're AWESOME...   I would love to get more from you.  (A.E.)
    First of all, I would like to thank the Techno-Girls for subbing The Blue Green Years (Mizuiro Jidai).  It's an excellent title that I would like to see more of.  (V.C.)
    I thought I'd write and give you my input now that I've seen your subs of it.  From its looks, I was expecting a wild "kawaii" show and so I was taken off-guard at its methodical pace and unusually serious mood (for such young kids).  It took me until about the 4th episode to really warm up to this show, but now that I have I would really like to see more.  I liked your large fonts and the way you provide transcriptions of the original japanese and the translations during the songs.  Thanks very much for all your work!  (S.F.)
    I've finally seen it yesterday, and I am very happy to have contributed to the translation.  It's very charming.  I was a little wary after the first two episodes, but was hooked by the time the camping trip and softball friendship episodes came on.  I must also congratulate you on how well the grocery store tapes transferred over (due to the great VCR you were using)  I am now extremely interested in the Panasonic AG-1980 and have started budgeting for it.  Anyway, thanks for the shows and keep up the good work.  (J.G.)
    We finally got a copy of Blue Green Years 1-4 and wanted to tell you how much we like it. We like it an awful lot actually. The art style gave an initial impression that the series would be trivial and lightweight, but by the end of the 2nd ep. it becomes clear that the writing is very sensitively done, very "right". We are looking forward to seeing the characters unfold, it seems like they will be interesting and not just stereotypes. Thank you so much for doing 1-4. If you ever feel that you might like to try to do further fansubbing of this series we would like to send a donation to help. In any case thank you for all the work you have done so far on all your projects. It has benefited all of us anime fans.  (E.D.)
     I've just received my copies of Blue-Green Years and would like to comment on it.  This is my first "serious" drama anime and I loved it!!!  Everything that is said about the show in your webpage is true.  It's a show about friendship and about growing up.  It's unfortunate that this show isn't that popular in Japan.  I've seen anime that is so awful that I'm surprised that they were able to spawn several LDs or even reach to the North American shores!!!  And to have a beautiful story like Blue-Green Years go out unnoticed.... I consider it a sin!!  I'm glad that Techno Girls are handling this project.  Thank you for the job well done.  (A.C.)

Reviews Reviewed

   The Sci-Fi Channel created the web entity "Animecolony" and reviewed our fansubs of the show. They "rated" it as a "D+". A single reviewer does not make a consensus thankfully, especially this one. Zac Bertschy obviously did not like the show. If he actually did watch all of episodes 1-12, then I have to give him credit. But his review is mindful of the confused mumblings one sees when the reviewer did not like the show but can't give convincing reasons why. Such a review often descends into a cataloguing exercise. You've seen such reviews before: they explain that the movie (making up an example here) lacked (1) any murders, (2) sex, (3) chase scenes, (4) big explosions, etc. etc. Then they try to make the reader believe that the show suffers from what it lacks. This is what we see in negative reviews of many great films, such as "Glengarry Glen Ross" -- the reader is left with the impression that the feature is dull and a complete waste of time, whereas in fact the feature is a masterpiece with a narrow focus. Now I'm the first to admit that some of Zac's points were fairly put, but his complete disconnection from the CHARM of the show has to disqualify him from an ability to appreciate the show's positive aspects. Yes, there are no robot girls, no aliens, no magic, no violence, no spaceships, no martial arts... and that's the whole point. This is the story of the girl next door, and it is meant to be nostalgic and remind us of our own youth. This reviewer is too used to escapist anime, and can't relate to natsukashii (nostalgic) anime. Like "The Wonder Years" which got variable reviews too, "The BlueGreen Years" is an intimate and low key look at the memories of our youth. It is crafted to draw us into its narrative and make us love the characters, and identify with them. For those that the show succeeds in doing so, the show is a precious masterpiece that we wish there were more of; for those that the show fails in doing so, the show is a waste of time. This reviewer should have sensed that he fell into the latter group. It would habe been better to give the review to a different person to do instead of trying to make sense of his own negative feelings in a logical way. When will the "anime experts" realize that there are great animes which appeal to a small audience? Is it an American foible that we feel that quality is only measured by mass appeal?

   At a key point in his explanation of the things he felt were lacking from Mizuirojidai, Zac begins listing shoujo shows, saying: "But even To Heart had a robot girl..." Does he he consider "To Heart" to be a shoujo show? "To Heart" is a shounen dating-romance anime based on an outright hentai (porn) simulation game. It's about as far from "shoujo" as one can get. Another clue that he might have done better to hand these tapes to Danielle Perreault or Shu-Chun Lin to review. There's more, though. Look at the genre category on the Sci-Fi website. They mistakenly listed these shows as shoujo: (1) "Bewitching Nozomi" (except they mispelled it as "Nazomi" on their website AND in the listing they put on Anipike.), and (2) "Graduation". Neither of them are shoujo anime. Those are fairly embarrassing mistakes for a website which wants to become a fan resource.

    The Sci-Fi channel doesn't give any links off their site, of course. They want you to stay and watch their banner advertisements, so it would be an economic mistake for them to put a link to someone else's site. If you're looking for a place to get information about anime shows, start at Anipike instead.

   The thing I liked best about the review was that the anime was listed by all of the titles it is known by: "Mizuirojidai", "The BlueGreen Years", and "Aqua Age". The thing I liked least is that it didn't provide much incentive to those who would love the show to take a chance and watch it. Read the positive comments on this page to see the other side of the story.

   There have been other reviews. "Otaku Fanzine" reviewed the existing fansubs and gave it a favorable rating. In this review, the reviewer notices and comments on the unique aspects of the series. He comments on the layout and content of the fansub, which is unusual. And he even tries to express the "feeling" of each song. This is a splendid approach to an anime review. Please take a look.

   In yet another review , at Anime Mikomi, the series is once again compared to the shounen romance "To Heart". Unfortunately, this sort of comparison will sometimes occur when the reviewer hasn't seen a great deal of anime. This reviewer thought that something from "To Heart" was related to "Mizuirojidai" because of the opening scene, one in which a pan accross Yuuko's bedroom ends with a closeup of her at the moment her alarm clock goes off on the first day of the new school year. But this is a classic and formulaic shoujo introduction, so much so that it has been parodied thoroughly -- even to the extent of including the identical scene in "Project A-Ko", for instance. Volume 1 issue 1 of many shoujo manga use such a scene as the perfect place to start, because the first day of school is one that most people remember as they grow older, and so it is a nostalgic point. It certainly doesn't mean that "Mizuirojidai" has anything to do with "To Heart." The rest of the review, however, is detailed, written with care, and useful to the reader.

The Animint Site Article
   The Animint web site in France has a lovely analysis and summary of the show -- written solely in French.  Barbara decided to translate the original text, and her translation of the "critique" section appears below, with apologies for the clumsiness of the translation.  There are a few spoilers in the text below, but due to the introspective nature of the show, they do little harm to the suspense.  (Barbara's comments are in parentheses. And in a few cases, general terms are replaced with specific ones, as permitted by the original text.):
   "Mizuirojidai" is pure soap opera, and a very pleasant one if you are not allergic to the genre. One is reminded of "Kimagure Orange Road" or even "Maison Ikkoku" -- but this time, it is the girl in the role of the anti-hero, while the boy is idealized.  "Mizuirojidai" retains a serious tone throughout: it has no magic powers nor any malevolent villains.  This anime does not need any.  A lighthearted tone is adopted, such as is common to shoujo manga, with a  good amount of humor but without falling to the level of a burlesque.
   The story begins with very simple topics, suggested by special events like Christmas, New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, summer vacation, festivals, and graduation day.  It not only deals with the relation between Yuuko and Hiroshi but also with all of Yuuko's relationships, beginning with herself alone, and then with her teachers, friends, and family.  More than one third of the episodes relate to problems of her friends such as Takako and Miyuki.
   The development of Hiroshi and Yuuko as a couple is rather unusual.  At the beginning, the situation is similar to that between Ami and Junta in DNA2.  The windows of the two characters' rooms are opposite one another.  Instead of using it to heighten the suspense later, Hiroshi's declaration of love occurs at the very beginning of the series.  There is still suspense though, due to the other girls around Hiroshi.  The essence of the show is the evolution of the various characters and the development of their feelings.  Although love triangles do appear, they don't seem to endure.  Takako does not interfere except as a friend once Hiroshi has declared his feelings for Yuuko and we do not know about Natsumi yet.
   Since everything is shown from the viewpoint of Yuuko herself, we see only her assumptions and worries.  Yuuko seldom speaks to Natsumi and never has a direct confrontation: its only a matter of her own jealousy.  Once the diplomas are given out, Natsumi greets Hiroshi and Yuuko, then does not reappear again in the series. This is rather surprising.  At the same time, other boys are interested in Yuuko but she hardly pays any attention to them, though they remain in her circle of friends.
    The series covers a little more than three years in the life of Yuuko. It deals with her middle school years as well as her first steps in high school, before accelerating the pace in order to end with admission to a university.  Only the first episodes are connected to each other; the others being independent stories for various keymoments of the year such as festivals or holidays.  The ending of the anime is less abrupt than that of the manga. At the end of middle school, Hiroshi chooses a distant high school -- which of course causes quite a problem for Yuuko.  In themanga, once Hiroshi goes to his high school, the story jumps to the point of attending the university.  On the other hand, there are severalchapters in the manga covering years that Yuuko and Hiroshi passed together in elementary school which are not referred to in the anime at all.. The anime devotes extra time to the first weeks of separation, when Yuuko and Hiroshi are attending two different high schools. The main story line, interestingly, finally stops at the thirty ninth episode. (BC: actually, episode 38)  The last chapters consist of retrospectives on each character. They are as much reviews as they are new material, especially with regard to Miyuki's birthday.  They areinteresting for those who missed some episodes but aren't adequate to completely reconstruct the story.
   With respect to the animation and drawing, Mizuirojidai is properly done, homogeneous, and with beautiful artwork, despite the lack of fantasy.  In fact, it surpasses the first series of Sailormoon (and not only the first series, either! ^_^).  The style of the series is faithful to the manga but the stories are better developed in the anime.  As for the first ending theme, "Ano Koro No You Ni", it comes across very well. It is interesting to note that the transitional episode between the two parts of the series (BC: episode 39), consists entirely of music clips.  These songs are available on the CD "Present - Character Song Collection" along with the credits. Our only regret is being unable to obtain the series.  Unlike the other animes which were running concurrently at that time such as "Saint Tail", "Akachan to Boku" or "Hamelin No Violin-hiki", no episodes of Mizuirojidai were released on video.  Lacking them, one might be persuaded to resort to the manga itself, which is very easy to understand, even for beginning students of Japanese.
(Copyright (c) the original author and The French Animint Server. Tous droits réservés. Quoted on the TechnoGirls Website by permission.)

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