Macross & Macross Plus

I’m revisiting the second Old School show back in 2004 which was the first hour long program before we broke for JTAF2. Both Jesse and I were working as senior staff for that convention, so we decided we needed to concentrate on our duties and put the anime-watching on hold for a few weeks. Since we were covering Macross, we had none other than Mr. Macross himself, Egan Loo, as our guest on the show.

In the year 1999, an alien spacecraft crash lands on an island in the Pacific known as Alita Island. Over the course of a decade, mankind realizes that he is no longer alone in the universe and is in fact the recipient of advanced technology. They renovate the crashed ship and turn it into the first Super Dimension Fortress and name it Macross. Just as they launch the darned thing, the super-sized aliens return to recover it. Enter the Zentraedi. Somewhere in there, there’s a love triangle between the series’ three protagonists, pilot Hikaru Ichijou, Lieutenant Misa Hayase, and singer Lynn Minmay.

Macross. It's like no other.

Macross holds a special place in my heart. I’ll admit that my first exposure to the animation was none other than Robotech, as back in 1985 I was all of nine years old and one could not possibly expect a nine year old to have the sense to know the difference between Japanese animation and the Super Friends. But I was intrigued by Robotech mostly because it dealt with issues that were pretty unknown in the realm of mindless American animation and that much was impressed upon me. I mean, a cartoon that had kissing and death? Sign me up! By the time I reached high school, my best friend and his brothers were all Robotech nuts, and informed me that my favorite part of the saga, the Macross Saga, was a Japanese series unto itself that lasted thirty-six episodes. One weekend, I stayed over at his place and all of them let me watch all thirty-six episodes in order and with very little in the way of a break. For the record, I stayed up for nearly seventeen hours straight until the crack of dawn, and their father walked into the living room and peered at me oddly. “You’re still awake?” Like a ghost, I pointed weakly at the screen and mumbled, “Macross…”

I’m sure that amused him to no end.

With the original series being what it is, the legendary sequel Macross II had nothing charming about it. In fact, the only good thing that it had was the music. With songs sung by the amazing Kasahara Hiroko, it was hard keeping me from bolting to the computer to find the CD upon which Mou Ichidou Love You was located, because that song was awesome. It was not as awesome as Mari Ijima’s Oboite Imasu Ka or Tenshi no Enogu, but it was good. While the story was a pale comparison to the original and the fact that they literally destroy the massively-huge main character of the series with a single scene, Macross II failed to live up to the hype and in fact, only paved the way for Macross Plus to truly reintroduce us to the idea and concept behind the whole Macross story.

Macross Plus arrived on the scene in 1995, I eagerly embraced this as the true sequel to the series. Not only did it turn itself on its side to retell the classic story of a love triangle involving pilot(s), but it invoked the memory of how amazing the storytelling was for the original by raising the bar a little higher in Plus. Advances in animation and an equally outstanding soundtrack made the presentation stand out from its contemporaries and easily found a place on my ‘must-buy-now’ list of anime. I must have watched the first two episodes of Macross Plus many times over within the first week of having them in my collection. I could not get enough of Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman and their competative antics while trying to advance their respective projects. Plus, seeing the Macross universe evolved some time after the early part of the twenty-first century was interesting as we got to see the UN Spacy in the 2040s with all the advances of their modern technology.

I must admit that I never watched Macross 7 or seen more than two episodes of Macross Zero. I am not lazy, I just have this huge list of anime to watch and Jesse’s cracking the whip.

In summary, Macross awesome. It is a required part of any anime fan’s collection.

What We Didn’t Report: Week of June 15

Hay guise, sorry about the lack of posts in the past week. I had absolutely zero time this past week to write about anything, including last week’s “What We Didn’t Report” segment (which is posted today; “better late than never” as they say.) Anyway, while Joe was holding down the fort, I was scouring through the interwebs during my downtime at work and found quite a few goodies to share with you all. Without further ado, here’s this week’s stuff we didn’t report.

The End of K-On! and The Resurrection of Suzumiya Haruhi

Source: Random Curiosity

She exits the pool before she did.
She exits the pool before she does.

It’s finally over. Time flies when you’re rockin’ out to cute animu girls playing muzak. I’ll certainly miss  Tsumugi’s subtle lesbian fantasies, Ritsu’s bokke antics, Yui’s Rain Man-esque skills, Azusa’s innocent faux-tsundere quality and Mio’s unhealthy fear of barnacles. Okay, this isn’t really newsworthy. What’s newsworthy is the fact that Haruhi and the SOS-dan is really back, and it’s no joke. While the new Haruhi episode was aired a few weeks ago, I thought it was just a one-and-done deal. Coinciding with the final ending of K-On!, a new episode of Haruhi, called “Endless Eight”, broadcasted on Japanese airwaves this week. The entire episode is all about the SOS-dan’s summer activities, which apparently includes fanservice, frog suits and Mikuru being meek the entire time, or so I’ve been told. I haven’t seen the episode yet, so don’t spoil it for me! In any case, I’ll really miss the keionbu, but I’m really glad that the overbearing, uber-selfish, teenage overlord is back, and I certainly welcome her return.

(Postscript: That screencap totally reminds me of Phoebe Cates coming out of the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Is Kyoto Animation referencing 80s teen movies now?)

Bioware Interested in Ninty’s Waggle

Source: Kotaku via Joystiq

According to a Kotaku report that Joystiq reported, Bioware is sorta kinda interested in the Wii. Dr. Ray Muzyka of Bioware said, “If we did a Wii game, I think we’d approach it with the target audience in mind first and the vision of delivering an emotionally powerful narrative and go back to our basics in terms of some of the pillars of gameplay we’d like to bring to bear — exploration, progression, customization, conflict, story, narrative, and characters.” In other words, they’re developing a game where your moral choice is determined by how hard you waggle your Wii-mote.

In all seriousness, anything other than friggin’ party games, and well, more friggin’ party games is more than welcome on the Wii. But as it stands, Dr. Muzyka’s comment should be taken with a grain of salt.

Don’t Believe Everything, Not Even the Head Cheese!

Source: Kotaku

Microsoft CEO pitching for Natal and OxiClean.

On Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, plainly said that a new Xbox will be shipping next year with Natal, Microsoft’s groundbreaking motion sensing peripheral. Of course, everyone was losing their shit when they heard the news. People seem to forget how challenging it is to release a new console; if Microsoft is developing a new console, their partners and the third party publishers, will certainly not be pleased about the prospect. So obviously, the Xbox division had to calm everyone’s fears and confirms that there will be no new Xbox anytime soon. Of course, there are always conspiracy theories abound.

More Cute Japanese Robotic Servants

Source: Danny Choo

And to close off this week’s news, we present to you Hina, the coffee-semi-making-and-preparing roboto:

This tiny robot can grind beans, add hot water (sorta), and serve coffee. Okay, so it’s not perfect, but I can’t create a robot this adorable (or at all for that matter).

That’s it for this week’s edition of stuff we can’t bother to report ourselves. Enjoy the weekend, and don’t forget to tune in to the Unwound show at Japan-A-Radio this Sunday night, 5pm Pacific. We’ll be back bloggin’ next week!

Subtitles Gone Mad!

It seems that in the course of the history of fansubbing, sometimes you have groups that take it a little too far. I remember back in the old days, watching Fushigi Yuugi for the first time fan subbed by a group called Tomodachi Anime. Tomodachi has taken it upon themselves to add to the watching experience by setting the subtitles on fire whenever one of the character spoke with anger, or bouncing them all over the screen if there was dialogue during a scene wherein someone got smacked.

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There is absolutely no need for this kind of extravagance in a fansub.  Fansubbers have to be careful of many things as it is; errors, timing, translations, font, and color. A majority of the groups out there right now have no issue with those priorities, and on the whole, I don’t have any problem with watching fansubs. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Now, I’ve always believed that if you can’t present a solution, you’re part of the problem, and speaking as someone who’s been loosely affiliated with fansubbing (error checking, timing, and translating), allow me to list a few helpful hints to those out there as to what makes a good fansub:

  • Be consistent with your subtitles. This means, keep them the same color(s) and in the same location.  I like how some fansubbers assign colors to characters or inner monologues. Those are cues taken from excellent subbers like AnimEigo or Soulsword Studios.
  • Never place your subtitles in an unreadable position. Don’t align them along the side of the screen or against a similarly colored background. As above, you want to keep them in the same place at all times and of course, you want them to be legible!
  • Try not to put too much information on the screen at the same time. Our eyes are trying to watch the show, and some of us occasionally have to focus on words, while some of us are able to take in the whole picture at once without difficulty. If you have notes from the translator or liner notes that go beyond a single line, then you need to either put your information at the beginning (ala AnimeMPEG) or keep it on the screen long enough for everyone to read it and understand. Do not assume everyone speed-reads.
  • Do not add to the presentation. This means, keep the font/style to something readable and don’t have words explode on or off the screen, bounce around, flaming… just subtitle it and try to keep the vanity/ego to a minimum. If you want to make the words dance around and do all that crap, put it on your logo and then go back to number one.
  • Finally, karaoke should not distract my attention from the opening/ending animation. I don’t mind the color-changing, but I do mind it when words scroll in from off the screen or explode into existence in an eye-catching fashion.  I really don’t care for karaoke; I think it’s unnecessary as a part of the fansub presentation, but I can live with it.

Not following these simple tips makes your production look like an amateur hour. While I realize that fansubbers don’t get paid (having been one), there’s a certain standard to which all fansub groups must follow in order to be considered a reliable group. Those groups that follow these guidelines get it, and this is why they’re popular and downloaded more often than others. In the end, fansubbers have one job: to present an English translation to the audience. Subtitles are a support mechanism; they’re not the whole of the show, so don’t bloat the subs so much that they take away from the awesome artform we love.

Notes

Based on the rant presented in U104: Unusual Girlfriends & Lovers.

Creepy Anime-style Contact Lenses for Sale!

feature_anime-eyes
Uh... hey, how you doin'? Ahhh, my soul's being sucked!

File this under “wait, whut?” Okay, colored contact lenses have been around forever, but these contact lenses takes it to the extreme. These extra-wide pupiled contact lens are from GEOLens, a Korean fashion contact lens maker. You too can scare the bejeebus out of people, by looking more cartoon-like. I don’t know what’s creepier, these lenses or this or this. Warning: All links (except for the source) are not safe for life!

Source

The Frisky

Macross Frontier + Lucky Star = Moe Frontier?

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I see what they did there. Tsukasa as Ranka, Konata as Alto, Kagami as Klan-klan and Miyuki as Sheryl

If you think combining Macross Frontier and K-On! is sweet, you should check out this twisted collaboration concocted by Banpresto. This unholy cross-promotion of moe and mecha is perhaps an attempt to revitalize both franchises, since anime fans consider them OLD news. Too bad Good Smile Company didn’t jump on this, I would like to see a Nendoroid version of this crossover. Oh well, at least I’ll settle with this for now.

Source

Tomopop via ToysDaily