krpalmer: (anime)
At some point, “all the anime I could watch” piled up to where I shrugged and kept going back to see whole series again every once in a while. As last year drew to a close, specific thoughts of what to watch once more were sprouting in me, turning to some of my most foundational series. A decade ago this year was the last time I’d watched all of Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada, 2009 being the year Macross’s space opera mecha action had been said to start. (While the series hadn’t been fully available in its original form over here in 1999, when its prologue had been set, my university’s anime club had shown its first two episodes subtitled, and I remember private satisfaction hearing cheers for the midair rescue scene.) Since then, though, I had happened to think I was coming up on three decades since I’d first seen some of their animation repurposed together as Robotech, but as that year itself had begun I’d decided to “mark an anniversary” by watching different series altogether, even if I’d managed to head back to a particular selection of Robotech episodes as a later indulgence. I suppose the thought did creep up on me that if I didn’t return to the series this year, that might somehow amount to “when again, if ever?”
To 1999 and before )
krpalmer: (apple)
An Apple news site linked to a old photo of Susan Kare, the bitmap artist most associated with shaping the on-screen look of the original Macintosh (although she was also later hired to design icons for Microsoft Windows 3). The link was promoted with the comment the picture was at a high enough resolution you could get a good look at details in the background of Kare's office, so I followed the link to the photo. Taking in the clutter behind Kare (who, sprawled back in her desk chair, did fill most of the frame), I first noted the artwork and design books, then looked at the upper left of the picture. All of a sudden, a different bit of 1980s trivia kicked in. A red toy robot on the shelf looked familiar; I could put a name to it at once as Inferno, the Autobot fire truck from the Transformers.
A feedback loop of history )
krpalmer: (anime)
In acknowledging news of a new and "different" Robotech comic had sharpened a personal interest hardly dulled to oblivion before, I went so far as to say that should I happen to see some of the more amusing alternative covers at a local comic shop, I might go so far as to buy the first issue. It was raining on "new releases day," so I didn't get to the shop until a day later. Once there, I just saw a few of what I gather to be the "regular" cover, perhaps not quite "photorealistic" but a long way from the "anime-esque" variants that had looked more amusing in the previews. I can't say rarer covers hadn't been picked over the day before, but it is easy to suppose there weren't many issues ordered to start with. Even as my previous thoughts bumped against a lack of options, though, with an awareness of disdain from slices of whatever was left of the series-specific fandom and an assumption of unrelieved hostility from the anime fandom just "outside," the thought of buying a copy to form my own independent opinion did wind up unshakeable.
From one comic to another )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
While it may have snowed here last night, making the ground much whiter than I can remember it being for a lot of the winter, one however-skewed sign of "spring" is a new season of anime series starting up. I'm still in that evanescent early stage where I can at least consider watching the series as they stream, hoping they won't be dismissed by everyone else. For one series in particular, I was contemplating going a bit further to take it in; I hadn't quite expected the invitation to go that much further.

Seeing news the Japanese discs for the new Macross Delta series had been listed with English subtitles did remind me how the Macross Frontier movies had been released with them, and how I had gone to the point of ordering the box set from Japan as "I value it that much higher than these other titles" converged with "I'm not just spending money on an object I'd put on a shelf and never actually watch," although I tried not to make a big deal of that afterwards the way a certain number of importing English-language anime fans sometimes seem to do. It is, of course, the "end-run" way around the perpetual licensing enigma some people are very intent on assigning exclusive blame for; it's also going to get very expensive to buy all the discs the series is going to be split up among. I remembered all the times having got my hands on "fansubs" of an anime series would make me buy the licensed release before getting around to seeing the series, just because that was the right thing to do (even if I could suppose some insisting it was that much more righteous to import the Japanese releases). The simple, cheap, and unexciting solution is not to watch the Macross Delta fansubs. That, though, does happen to be a lot like what happens quite often with me.
krpalmer: (smeat)
Over the years, I've put some of my most notable links on a simple HTML page to serve as a "home base," but I don't visit every one of even those links every day. One day not that long ago, I selected one of the links I hadn't gone to in a while just on a whim, only to realise something I'd been sort of anticipating for possibly over fifteen years had happened at last.

One of the first things I'd searched for when I first went online (a few years before reputable search engines, although the first human-curated directories had started up) was information on Robotech, and my idle curiosity turned up several interesting sites. Somewhere off to the side of the arguments over whether the novelizations refined a ramshackle "canon" or let some dubious inventions and forces overshadow what had made the animation interesting to some people, there were some resources devoted to the role-playing game, even if it had come in for its own share of criticism from those who had the series on videotape. Beyond mere criticism, though, one person named Dave Deitrich had created an "RPG supplement" building from one final point of the RPG I had heard about and just sort of shrugged off before. Apparently unwilling to face the possibility campaigns might have to end, the RPG had had the enemies of the "Third Robotech War" turn around and head back to Earth, just perhaps jettisoning any possibility of "lessons learned" with a "take it from here, just the same as before" directive. "Third Invid War," however, invented some actual new equipment and set down a timeline that did eventually conclude, just perhaps managing to "create" without "complaining" in the process. As much as the timeline pointed to things not actually available (the way a great many other "Robotech fan projects" managed to), he'd also worked on a comparable online supplement presenting some of the Macross mecha.

One day in 1998, though, Dave Deitrich added a "sorry I haven't updated; I've been buying a house" note to his site, and that was that. He did keep his site up for long years afterwards, and along the way I found a "site downloader" tool that let me save the files for myself (although I suppose the "Wayback Machine" had more than enough time to archive the site itself), but now that the site's not loading any more I'm that much more conscious of Robotech "fading into the past" even in its anniversary year (as much as I know some other people would have different reactions to that...)
krpalmer: (anime)
I continued to watch a considerable amount of anime in the past three months, but as it seems I always have to find something to be concerned about somewhere with respect to it, I was aware in the first days of April that while new series were being announced for release through official streaming, I would look at those announcements and not feel compelled to watch them. This divergence from "the way things have worked out now" could get to me; for all that I have stacks and stacks of things still to watch I suppose I was projecting ahead to the future when the series now streaming were available for sale on disc over here and wondering. For the moment, however, I didn't seem to be lacking for interest in the things I was watching.
The *other* dose of nostalgia: Dairugger XV )
Hopeful impulses rewarded for once: Haganai )
Not quite out of the loop: Captain Earth and Ace of the Diamond )
Spun off and spinning up: A Certain Scientific Railgun )
On to a sequel: Wagnaria 2 )
The whole thing now: Mardock Scramble )
Preparation: Macross Frontier )
Another whole thing: Gundam Unicorn )
A sequel speedily arrived at: Haganai Next )
Conclusion: the Macross Frontier movies )
krpalmer: (anime)
Constant shrugging thoughts more or less like "of course I'm not utterly opposed to paying a premium to import one of those really nice anime Blu-Ray releases from Japan--it just has to be something that impressed me enough in the first place and have English subtitles so I can do more than just stare at the visuals and try to remember translations I've seen before" came to a sudden head when I heard a new box set of the Macross Frontier movies would indeed have subtitles. The thoughts that started percolating might have something to do with the special case of the whole tangle around the rights to the franchise (although there I may be readier than some to just see suffocating ambiguity than to find a single source of blame over here), but I had liked the movies when I'd taken the karmically unbalancing step of seeing them "fansubbed." My mind was further concentrated when some of the sites offering the set for export closed down their listings after mere days, their initial allocations all sold through; when I heard another site I wasn't quite as familiar with was still offering it, I took what seemed a chance and signed up to put in an order, while back home on Christmas vacation no less.

From there, it was quite a wait. The email request to make the Paypal payment was almost a surprise, but I didn't take long to put it in. Not only the set but also the shipping seemed expensive (although not quite so pricy as one other wincing report on an order at a different site), but perhaps in my own case unfamiliarity helped, and the set was on its way in a hurry according to the online tracking... even if when the parcel made it to my local post office there was one more steep payment for the customs fee.

That might not have helped thoughts beforehand that this "once in an ultraviolet moon" occurrence wouldn't move me far down a stern yet noble path other people in online corners I pay attention to make a big deal of walking, to the point where every season they maximize their contribution to the creators of several anime series, and if the disdain they grow to show for cheaper "domestic" releases merely helps inspire some other people to pirate they're at least obeying their own consciences. I could also suppose this hasn't done much to restore karmic balance with the thought I just might lead off watching the movies by at last getting back to the Macross Frontier television anime series the movies are a sort of alternative version of, contemplating impressions that while the movies may address certain points some seemed to find sticky they still gave a certain feeling of taking some character introductions for granted, but still having to do that through "fansubs." In any case, I had the set.
Unusual claims require unusual proof )
krpalmer: (Default)
Before I had this journal, I had a home page, but even though the journal links to that page I haven't revamped it for quite a while. "Linkrot" is one thing; it's something else to look at things you said you were interested in and wonder if it's quite the same now. After a certain amount of unproductive thought about mere possibilities, I at last scraped together the motivation to start working on the text.

What I'd said about Mystery Science Theater 3000 could stay just about the same, even if it's been that much longer since the general MSTing community closed up. Aware I don't start my text adventure programs or Marathon all that much these days, I rolled them together and added an introductory section about "old computers" in general. I then turned my look at Robotech specifically into a "narrative" from Robotech to anime in general, although my daydream of going from a "Robotech eyecatch" to the "Super Dimension Fortress Macross eyecatch" to one from Macross Frontier with its illustration of the way things changed again seems on hold until the possibility of indeed getting those English-subtitled Blu-Rays of the Macross Frontier movies later this year and perhaps rewatching the TV series that preceded them. My section on Star Wars does stay at the bottom of the page where people might not be as likely to get to, but I did expand it; I also moved the link to my journal up to the top so that someone following a link might be a little more likely to see it.

To brush things up a little, I sorted out a few more basic tricks with CSS (although the style sheet section might be a little chaotic) and changed the look of some sections (although this might amount to the old-fashioned folly of "using every font in the menu just because you can"). I don't know how long it'll be before I work on my home page again, but maybe it might not be as long as the last time.
krpalmer: (anime)
In posting about thoughts of taking a big plunge and importing a Blu-Ray set of the Macross Frontier movies with English subtitles, I suppose I had a sense I was "committing myself" in some fashion to doing that in the end and not just letting the thought lapse. There was an initial difficulty, though, in that the set has a Playstation game included, which means that the Japanese Amazon site won't export it. In overhearing the discussions of fans much more experienced at this sort of thing, I noticed someone saying he would place an order with CD Japan just to be certain, but cancel it once the Japanese HMV site had its entry up with its better discount. I just waited for it to turn up on the HMV site, even as I noticed the number of copies on CD Japan tick downwards...

Then, I was overhearing comments that HMV Japan had sold out of its own allotment seemingly as soon as it had been available. I grappled with thoughts like "well, if they don't want my money..." and how I'm at least hoping the set of figures I ordered will show up (and also worried someone somewhere would attach specific blame for this to the regular denunciations of Harmony Gold), and even began to put words down to sum up the experience. Then, I reminded myself again there was a third site offering the Blu-Ray set for export, and if I wasn't as familiar with it the link had at least been posted to the message board. In a sudden burst of activity, I set up an account and filed my own preorder. Now, I just have to wonder how many other people have resorted to this last choice and if I'm already lost in that rush. Still, I can add a bit more to "at least I thought about it this time" now.
krpalmer: (anime)
For as long as there have been anime fans on this side of the Pacific, some of them have been importing original releases from Japan. When I was watching what my university's anime club showed, an "online magazine" had regular pieces about laserdiscs. When I was starting to buy DVDs, the main message board I was reading had people who imported "R2" DVDs for their region-free players (and complained about the picture quality of releases over here being lower). Nowadays, the same message board (in a continuity-of-community sense) has a vocal group of people who import lots of Blu-Rays and complain about releases over here having interlaced video, lossy sound, and subtitles that can't be turned off. I keep seeming to have to fight the feeling I'm being encouraged to consider myself a second-class citizen for suffering sticker shock whenever I convert the price and being convinced not all of the higher price goes into painstaking encoding, and then remembering the warnings about how animators in Japan scrape to make a living too. Maybe I'm just too eager to conclude there's an element of spite to the way a lot of importers talk and overemphasise the thought of them turning their up noses at domestic releases through conspicuous consumption.
Not a hypothetical case any more? )
krpalmer: (anime)
An awful lot of the initial reactions to the launch of the "official online manga distribution" site Jmanga seems unimpressed with paying prices comparable to buying actual printed volumes (and through a complicated subscription scheme, too) and only being able to read those purchases through the site so long as it's still around. That is sort of unfortunate, but I have to admit the promised catalogue is large enough to catch my attention through the inclusion of just one brand, one that also caught the attention of whoever was writing the blurb for the Anime News Network article.

As with a lot of other people, I suppose I'd grown to more or less conclude that all possibility of any new Macross projects being available for sale in North America (save model kits and the like imported by individual shops, of course) was locked up in a hopeless tangle that had something to do with an over-generous contract that Harmony Gold signed back in the 1980s before Robotech was launched. Unlike some people, I'm uncertain as to whether all the "blame" for that should be dumped on them alone, but I do remember one time before when Tokyopop, in its "throw lots of stuff out there and see what clicks" fashion, announced it was going to publish a Macross 7 spinoff manga via the official Robotech site, only for that news to vanish a few days later. It's easy enough to suspect Harmony Gold was in some way attempting an end run around the licensing tangle, only for it to not work out.

Now, though, some Macross Frontier titles have been listed on Jmanga, with the name of their Japanese publisher Kadokawa mentioned. I do have the suspicion "manga based on anime" are sold to the tightwads unwilling to buy expensive Blu-Rays, much less DVDs, and that you pretty much get what you pay for. Somehow, though, admidst all the uncertainty as to whether the listing or the site itself sticks around, the thought of "making a contribution to the franchise as a whole" comes to mind, as it did during my one-day visit to Japan earlier this year, where I happened to buy a little boxed Macross Frontier figure, which I haven't opened yet to see what I actually got (much less taken it out of the little taped-up bag the clerk wrapped it in for me...)
krpalmer: (anime)
Since starting to rewatch an anime series (at a somewhat higher tempo than I watch them the first time around) every few months, still worrying, perhaps, about how I buy the stuff much faster than I can watch it, but not letting that shape my viewing habits altogether, I don't seem to have lacked for ideas of series to view again. (That seems kind of encouraging in its own way.) It seems, though, that I managed to map out my return viewings for this whole year well in advance through a simple idea: since the calendar shows 2009, and that year was established once upon a time through a time-lapse sequence of iconic significance in my memory as the year the action really started in Robotech, I would rewatch the anime series (released a few years ago with their original Japanese language track subtitled and a strong component of nostalgia associated with them) that were combined to make it. After a little bit of toying with unorthodox ways to approach this, I decided at last to just start with Macross, the series first considered to be brought to North America and the series that started Robotech off. In contemplating how I might say something about that to help keep this journal going, though, I recalled how the last time I rewatched Macross, I was able to post about it here, for all that this time I was going to listen to the original Japanese language track...
A difference between Macross and Robotech )
In any case, I was working my way through the show, handling well enough its wild swings in animation quality as different studios were brought in for different episodes, and secure in what's either a "middle of the road" or a just plain "wishy-washy" belief that, now that I have Macross, I'm more likely to watch it than Robotech but I see no particular reason to get upset over the mere existence of a show from the 1980s (although I suppose I do wonder at times if some seem to apply a "double standards" to "adapted anime" of that time other than Macross)... and then, on what might have been a whim, I started to revisit another part of the "Robotech experience" by starting into its novelizations.
Meditations on novelizations )
krpalmer: (Default)
Even with the Olympics getting under way, it still seems like the "silly season" is well upon us in terms of news. This morning, I saw an article in my Friday paper calmly discussing how a decision has been made that a Megatron toy who transforms into a realistic-looking handgun can now be imported across the border instead of being turned back by customs. I suppose I just feel a mild happiness for the person who had first hoped to import the toy, even if I never had a Megatron Transformer of my own in my youth (or a Darth Vader action figure, for that matter); these days, with the exception of two transforming "Valkyries" from the Macross anime that I got a while back, I guess I'd feel too self-conscious ordering an expensive "toy." On the other hand, when a line of Transformers toys was widely available a little while ago that included a Megatron who transformed into a stylized "zap gun," I indulged myself in getting one of them.
krpalmer: (anime)
In a post reflecting on the anime I had watched in the first four months of this year, I mentioned how I'd made one more try at the experiment of rewatching one episode a day of Zeta Gundam, a "mecha" anime from the 1980s. I got through with no technical hitches this time, but my reactions to the series are still prickly and diffuse, and I wound up saying that the slight aggravation of days where I had to get that episode in to the exclusion of anything else left me uncertain about trying anything similar any time soon... and then, at the beginning of May, I started another experiment. Again, I was rewatching a mecha anime from the 1980s, one that accusations of "replaced music" and "imprecise translation" swirled around the form of it I first saw... and yet, one that's long been a personal favourite. Well before I had run into anything like stern declarations of it being a supreme achievement against which all subsequent works would be found wanting (which don't really show up for it anyway), I had managed to see it myself... more or less. The anime was Macross, in which a gigantic starship crashes to Earth in the distant and futuristic year of 1999 to be rebuilt just in time to face alien invaders also giant but ultimately human, which became the first part of Robotech. What was more, the experience was a little different this time around again. After seeing (all of it at last) "Robotech: The Macross Saga" in English and then watching Macross with its original Japanese music and dialogue subtitled (in a subtitle-only release), I was now experiencing a new English dub of Macross as Macross... in itself, something unusual for me.
Lengthy contemplations on 'dubs' and 'subs'; Macross and Robotech... )

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