krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I've just about watched my way through the list of Robotech episodes I'm convinced I saw on TV in the mid-1980s. That they fit into the weekends of one-quarter of a year does point out how little of the series I was able to see on holiday visits to my grandparents back then, but also how even that got me hooked to the point of staying interested in its story until I got to university and joined the anime club there, and perhaps that also ties into my still watching considerable quantities of anime to this day (although I do have to admit that at a crucial point there might have been other factors holding me back from the more conventional forms of "the fantastic"...) I did skip a few episodes I think I saw but which just happened to be some of the more poorly animated instalments of Macross, infamous for wobbly animation quality, and I suppose my fragmentary impressions of what I saw are stronger in some cases than others. However, I do have hard proof of having seen one episode. Two years after the first Thanksgiving weekend I saw Robotech, we packed our VCR over to my grandmother's, and I spent that weekend taping shows. As luck would have it, the episode of Robotech I taped (by that point, the UHF channel was only airing the show on Saturday mornings) was one of the better-animated ones, and not that far removed in the course of the series from the very first one I saw. It made "something to remember the show by" even as I started collecting and reading the novelizations to know what the story was and picking up volumes of the RPG just to know what the machinery looked like.

However, a few years after I had fallen in with a remaining knot of online fans who were forever critiquing the novels and RPGs for assorted added themes and justifications or imprecise technical readouts, the series was released on DVD right when I could afford to buy it, except that the lone episode I'd taped had been a "first audio mix version." It seems the original music editor hadn't matched the various tracks well enough to the action and moods to suit Carl Macek, and had wound up being replaced. For the episodes I could only remember having seen, this didn't matter, but it did seem to "sound off" for that episode on a videotape that wouldn't last forever, or at least as long as the DVDs. That I moved on in short order to the releases of the original anime series only made something of a difference.

After quite a while of only thinking about it, though, I did turn to an audio file I'd made of the videotape (which had a lot of "ghosting" to it even to start with) and a "ripped" copy of the episode, and with a fair bit of fussing with a sound editor and some simple video tools I managed to synch the two different sources together to create an episode that "sounds the way I remember." It had also happened by that point, however, that I'd watched a bonus feature included on a particular DVD release of the very first episodes with their first audio mix, and for all that the "wall of sound" that includes a narrator infamously describing the action and dialogue in moments where there weren't any in the anime was a bit less looming with some sequences left without music, I was starting to get a better sense of why the first music editor's work might have seemed unsatisfying. Still, it was an entertaining project.

August 2017

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