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: (kill la d'oh)
An “Answerman” column on Anime News Network explained where the money so many people these days see as having gone into OVAs and movies of the 1980s had first come from. Its discussion thread then spun along to the point of mentioning a book about American reactions to Japan in that decade, said to include a chapter about anime fandom then. That did get my attention, inclined as I am to reflect on having been around for that decade without really managing to pick up on just where some of the syndicated cartoons I’d taken quite an interest in had first come from until the decade following. I started looking up the electronic version of Andrew McKevitt’s Consuming Japan, then went to the point of signing up for Kobo when the title wasn’t available in the Apple Books store in my country; now, I’m wondering if the “bonus points” Kobo gives with purchase outweigh the differences and complications in its reading program from the standard Books.
From book to 'zine' )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
Reactions unfolded one after the other for me off a bit of news that a Kickstarter-funded project to make miniature Robotech models for an RPG wargame had run out of all the money I remembered seeing it had raised and wouldn't ship everything promised. First of all, of course, it was unfortunate for the people who'd paid into it. In the context I'd seen the news in, though, the added piece of information the sublicense for the Robotech RPG had expired with the project seemed most of all to have a lot of people looking ahead and reminding each other of a revelation from just a little while ago. The license that had made "Robotech" in the first place wasn't "in perpetuity" the way it had seemed when it was being assigned all the blame for official Macross products not getting outside Japan with any ease, but had an expiry date some time in the next decade. Something about that gloating anticipation does seem unfortunate to me. I do have to admit that after so long and so little, the thought of "cutting a Gordian knot" can seem to have some appeal; at the same time, though, I have come to think "blowing everything up" might not work either. I know that once, years ago, an effort to import transformable Valkyrie toys was derailed because of Harmony Gold's Robotech contract; hard reports of further efforts to bring anything else Macross-related out of Japan being squashed the same "if we can't make money off it, nobody will" way have always seemed elusive, though, and there are murmurs too part of the problem seems to involve the original overseas rights being sold to a subcontractor in Japan back when the original anime was being made (which I understand is also tangled up with some of the more infamously off-model episodes).
Thoughts beyond that )
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: (kill la d'oh)
Two years ago, I made a fair deal out of three decades having passed since I happened on Robotech. Sometimes, though, I do wonder if I've mythologized just what I made of that show back then as compared to any other science fiction-flavoured Saturday morning action cartoon I also watched visiting my grandparents, who had cable, or even to the episodes of Transformers and Thunder Sub my family had taped off our own TV and not recorded over soon after. I'm at least conscious of the suggestions of risk in letting personal identies get tangled up with inconsequential popular culture consumed, especially the stuff seen when young and impressionable. There is one bit of hard evidence left from back then, however, in a comic I drew to put together and in some small way preserve the serialized story I was taking in one disconnected bit at a time, even if I have to sum it up as the sort of thing a pre-teen could manage. It didn't wind up my only record, though, and the next part of a line that does trace between then and one of my leisure interests now picked up a bit over two years after my first viewing, which means it took place three decades ago right around now.
In the leadup to Christmas... )
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)
Not quite two years ago, I watched a "poetic reconstruction" of the scattered episodes of Robotech I'd managed to see "the first time around" three decades before to start me off down a path both long and perhaps a little strange. As I finished that project by at last getting through a parody-sequel video I'd long heard amusing rumours of and had available to watch for a while, though, I did wonder a bit if it might, to stretch the metaphor, either let or just make me step off a path now trailing off into lonely weeds.

After just a little while, though, it didn't seem to matter too much that the remnant of discussions "inside" seemed bitter in a "terrible food, and such small portions" way and the references from just "outside" go through a filter of fixed hostility, because there had been a time when my interest in Robotech had seemed to make me "a fandom of one." Some people can regale younger generations with tales of the days when "fandom" was carried out through the postal service, but even if I'd managed to hear about that before everything turned electronic I hadn't got to the point of trying it myself. After all those days with just one episode on tape, the novelizations, and the drawings in the first volume of the role-playing game, I did find myself still spending some idle moments contemplating the thoughts I'd had back then, and sometimes the reasons why I'd had them, back before everything had got a lot more complicated.
Some things that have happened since then )
krpalmer: (anime)
There was time as the year just past came to a close to put a capstone of sorts on a small personal plan, but I had been wondering if it would turn out "ironic." The episodes of Robotech I had an impression of having seen in the 1980s had more or less fit into the weekends of the last three months of the year. As I'd worked through them, I'd got around to taking a soundtrack recording of the single episode I had taped all those years ago, and managed to synch it to better video (but had perhaps managed to step a bit beyond "I just can't cope with anything that sounds unlike what I first heard"). I'd then stretched the project a bit and watched an important episode I'd only learned about by reading the first Robotech novelization I happened to buy (even there, it had made an impact on me); I had happened on it in a furniture store's video-rental section years before I had discovered other people still remembered Robotech online only to run into how a lot of them were very indignant the novels had introduced some fanciful technologies and powers as easy answers to questions that might not have been asked by anyone other than the authors. With all of that, though, I was thinking about something I'd also heard about in those first days online.
The long chase )
krpalmer: (anime)
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.
A few years later, and years after that )
krpalmer: (anime)
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.
The unlikely starting point )
krpalmer: (anime)
The "official Robotech site" shut down a little while ago; I at least got an email from them saying this was a security measure in the face of hacking. (It might well have been a "nothing personal; we're out for money" exploit, but I suppose I did think, just a little, of the Macross fans whose constant condemnation of Harmony Gold can seem to overshadow their interest in the actual anime, and imagined, with a full awareness of the risk of making "dark hints," them reacting with some form of approval.) That this happened right when there seems to have been a tiny bit of movement towards the long-fabled "live-action movie" (and not that long after the rights-holders had seemed to decide they at last had to put a bit of effort into coming up with "new story product" themselves) did seem unfortunate. Eventually, links to Twitter and Facebook accounts did get posted; I wondered a bit about assumptions that there's no need to set up "independent platforms" these days, and anyway even "official" discussion forms just provide excuses for criticism. It did mean that when another bit of news about the movie was passed around to get me setting down thoughts about this whole matter, I was aware what discussion there might be of it was more likely to just be dismissive.

Even with all of that, though, I do appreciate that Jonathan L. Switzer, who I have sometimes thought of as the last "independent Robotech commentator" (although I shouldn't forget that artwork keeps being added to the "Robotech Visions" page on Facebook), has been posting sample pages from the numerous Robotech comics in "story order" on his Tumblr. It seemed for a while that he had ground to a halt with the penultimate issue of one series he had seemed positive towards, short of getting into the original adaptation of "The Macross Saga" with its early efforts to reproduce "anime style" and the stranger attempts in the three decades since to work in "additional stories," but then he picked up again. I suppose I was conscious of how I kept coming across sites he'd started to chronicle the Robotech comics but ground to a halt on; that there's relatively little commentary being added in the apparent style of Tumblr (although it is sort of interesting to notice posts with more "notes" and wonder just what lucky accident resulted in that) may help.
krpalmer: (anime)
I was starting to wonder what I could post about next, and even toying with a thing or two I'd heard but without much enthusiasm about how it seemed it would turn out, when a genuine surprise showed up. After years with the rights for a live-action Robotech movie held by Warner Brothers, the rights had now been transferred to Sony Pictures.

That did, though, get me remembering how I'd taken particular note of the first announcement and even kept track of script writers being replaced for a while before the whole thing just sort of faded into the background. I had got to wondering if the people who'd actually produced a bit of new animation after long years (and not a few of them years of holding out promises) had reacted with glee to the thought of a bigger company responding to that by promising to "do things for them," and the attempt last year to raise crowd-sourced money to make a bit more animation could then even be seen as "realising they'd have to do something themselves"; unfortunately, the attempt didn't work out, and I had really got to thinking Robotech really ought to be filed away as something that could be thought well of so long as it was kept in the past. After all, there had been a full-fledged Macross anime series (with some theatrical movies included) in the years since the live-action movie announcement, and there's supposed to be another new Macross anime coming up in the near future.

However, something about this news also got me thinking that if the live-action movie announcement had just preceded several of the North American anime-releasing companies being shut down or at least hitting the skids among apocalyptic fan comments that what was being made in Japan was intended to only sell to a minuscule group of people, these days some new series may be attracting somewhat more positive attention over here. I also contemplated comments overheard that if Warner Brothers has the DC Comics movies and the promise of Harry Potter spinoffs (and they even also made Pacific Rim), Sony Pictures may be a bit more ready to try and build up something new and "big." Thoughts about "don't let your expectations creep into areas where they might not pay off" come to mind, of course, but at least I can keep up a bit of idle interest yet.
krpalmer: (anime)
I just happened to see today that Robotech started airing in syndication exactly thirty years ago. Although that had been something I'd been more or less aware of, it didn't start airing in every market on the same date; I happened to see my first episodes of it on WUTV-29 from Buffalo on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, and by going to the library and checking microfilmed newspaper TV guides I'm now more or less certain it didn't start airing the series until the fall season. (I haven't yet looked far enough into that microfilm to confirm reports that CHCH-11 from Hamilton also aired the show back then; I wasn't as inclined to tune to that channel when I was visiting my grandparents and didn't see the show on it then. Perhaps I don't want to acknowledge a missed chance, even if I keep telling myself I'm not wondering if I might have wound up more interested in "that anime stuff" if only I'd seen a few more episodes of Robotech years ago...) As I'm always wondering about topics to post about, though, a few thoughts did happen to fall together right now.
The thoughts )
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: (mst3k)
A while ago, I commemorated the tenth anniversary of a notable MSTing and then took the opportunity not that much later to mark the same anniversary for the first "solo MSTing" I'd written. I did write a few more MSTings after "Undocumented Features," but marking each of their tenth anniversaries did seem a bit grandiose. Now, though, it's been ten years since the last MSTing I completed going by the date stamp on my personal file of it, which does feel a bit more significant in its own if somewhat dowmbeat way. In accepting the opportunity, though, I did get to thinking I could say something brief about each of my solo MSTings preceding it anyway.
'When military schedules meet the MTV generation, something's got to give.' )
'The miracle acrylic bubble locks his hysterical sobs away.' )
'He's not even going to dignify that with a putdown, I see.' )
'Something of a war poodle cut, then.' )
'Abstract is this season's post-minimalist.' )
krpalmer: (anime)
I noticed the announcement of a Kickstarter intent on raising almost six hundred thousand dollars to make a "pilot episode" for a science fiction anime series and wondered how close it would get to its goal, then perhaps didn't dwell too much on it until, in an aside to a related discussion, I noticed someone talking about how the rate of donations had picked up in the final days and the project was getting pretty close to being funded. All of a sudden, the thought of contributing and getting to see just how this latest experiment in "crowd-funding" would turn out got to me despite the reproachful awareness of "only pitching in now," and I went and added a pledge. Later that day, "Under the Dog" reached its funding goal with time to spare.

One just-earlier Kickstarter with a similar intention but different results was sticking in my mind, though; it might have played a small role in my wondering about just what would happen and holding back. Of the two large anime discussion communities I delve some depth into, I did notice some people on The Fandom Post's message board being quicker than anyone in the Anime News Network talkback thread to gloat about how the "Robotech Academy" Kickstarter had ground to a halt and was shut down well before its actual deadline. There were, however, also people on the official Robotech site forum dwelling on how Under the Dog showed more, and more interesting, preliminary work. I do just wonder a bit about whether for some people Under the Dog was more appealing because its creative team didn't bring as much of a "track record" to mind.

How the episode's worth of animation now crowd-funded will turn out is something I'll have to wait to see. How much further crowd-funding can be stretched is a question I continue to wonder about; at some point, the compromises of seeking funding from deeper pockets may have to be made. As much as promises of the show being "old-fashioned" in a good way appealed to people, I can think that if they want to see three anime movies that feel that way to me right now, they might try Mardock Scramble. Nevertheless, the accomplishment does seem something.
krpalmer: (smeat)
When trying to think of what to post about next in this journal, there are times I begin shaping ideas in my mind but think they need to wait for what they're built around to be finished first, such that they don't quite help the feeling I "ought" to post "every so often." In one recent case, though, the denouement came a few days sooner than I'd expected it to, and it only increased the sense of melancholia that had already pervaded what I'd been expecting.
The kickless Kickstarter )
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: (Default)
A little while ago, I bought an official collection of PDF-formatted issues of twenty-nine years of the "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine. (This inclination, perhaps towards "counter-counterarguments" in general, seems to come from when I was a kid and my grandmother kept getting me books about "the unexplained"; instead of being intrigued by intimations of "things I wasn't mean to know," though, I was just terrified by the pictures.) Working my way through them, I happened to notice an approving book review in an issue from 1989 of a book called "High Weirdness by Mail" by the Reverend Ivan Stang, cofounder of the Church of the SubGenius, which offered mailing addresses and capsule descriptions of "strange organizations." Among promises of "Weird Science," "UFO Contactees," "Jesus Contactees," and "New Age Saps," the review also mentioned the book covering "creativity outside the mainstream" and tossed "Japanese animation" right in the middle of that subsection. I admit that caught my attention. Wondering if used copies of the book could be bought online, I started looking into it, and noticed another brief review mention the book covered the perhaps unfortunately named author of a conspiracy I'd written a MSTing of. That added fillip was enough to make me place an order.
Weirdness within )
krpalmer: (europa)
At the start of the week, I made some joking comments about an "unofficial" sort of blurring between Star Wars and Star Trek. By the end of the week, that sort of thing had become official...

I suppose it's possible that J.J. Abrams has foolishly been given (or will appropriate for himself) too much creative control over the Star Wars movie to be made, and things will wind up playing to the tastemakers enough that the movie will get positive reviews that just happen to be another opportunity to gloatingly put down the work George Lucas did himself. It's also possible that with a story and script already provided, the questions won't be as extreme. (For that matter, a relentless minute-by-minute criticism of Abrams's Star Trek, a suggestion perhaps that enthusiasm can be brief and negativity can lurk instead of loom, became rather less appealing to me once the writer started throwing in random yet tediously predictable complaints about the new Star Wars movies...) My problem, though, may just be that in not having been that invested in the thought of "another Star Wars movie" yet, I'll be fine with the thought of not paying attention to it, just as I stopped paying attention to the novels telling their own "what happened next" story... It might even be possible that a few (more) people wind up wondering if "a tale has already been told to completion." (Of course, there were some people happy to think that three movies back.)

(As it turned out, this week also had some reports of a director being considered for the long-fabled live-action Robotech movie. I had almost stopped thinking about it, but it is at least a change from mere talk of scripts being written.)

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