krpalmer: (anime)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Back in March, I did manage to take note of the thirtieth anniversary of Robotech premiering on television, but I was already thinking ahead from that to a more personal anniversary. The channel I'd seen Robotech on, I'm now quite confident from checking microfilmed newspaper TV guides at the library, didn't start showing it until the fall of 1985, and as I could only see that channel on visits to my grandparents I saw my first episodes just before Canadian Thanksgiving. With that weekend having rolled around again, I did more than just "remember," and watched the episodes a drawn-up schedule matches those old impressions of having seen back then.

Starting all the way into the series up to its ninth episode might have been an unlikely way to become interested in it. While the opening credits have their own enduring charm, I'm conscious now of how they don't have a theme song or opening narration the way a lot of other cartoons did then to set up the general premise. From that point, it was pretty much on to two young people chatting in civilian surroundings, at one point remarking on how there's "now" a blue sky outside. Everything up to the commercial break was about a beauty contest, even the more mysterious characters in space listening in. After the break, though, a giant piloted robot did turn up (although it didn't transform in that episode), and things finally ended on a cliffhanger with the main character wrecked and drifting in space.

However, the channel showed an episode on Saturday and an episode on Sunday, and that following episode might have let me dig in a bit further. It also ended on a cliffhanger (and one I wouldn't see its continuation for), hard on the heels of a giant adversary being flung out into space but surviving to drop back in on one of the heroes' robots. From then on, watching Robotech was a part of the routine on visits for the next two years, as I started to think it was interesting in its own way, distinct from the more immediately available Transformers cartoons and comics. I have tried plotting out what the schedule could have been from there, but know it can only match up with my impressions of around two dozen episodes seen "at the time" as a poetic reconstruction. It's possible all the same I might have jumped straight from that cliffhanger to late in "The Macross Saga," with alliances reconfigured to call back to that very moment, and from there to "Masters" and "The New Generation." That just might have helped me think of Robotech as somehow managing to be a little bit more than "a skewed, and at best 'necessary for the time,' presentation of Macross," although I suppose that just raises the question of whether that's put me outside certain widely accepted opinions.

In any case, one other thing has held up pretty well. When I joined my university's anime club a decade after that, a considerable undercurrent of disdain for English dubs had developed, and I suppose that when I had the chance I started defaulting to the Japanese track, even if I clung to the thought I was doing that not because I shared the disdain, but just because I was worried I might develop it. While I always did seem to find something appealing about people ready to be more positive about "dubs," the crisis at the end of the last decade meant more "Japanese-only releases" (to say nothing of "fansub culture" leading into official streaming), which was something I was capable of coping with. However, once more I did seem quite able to listen to Robotech's old dub, even aware as I was that some bits of it did make more sense in Macross.

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