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.)
krpalmer: (Default)
Once again, I'm trying to craft a post around a video game I've started playing of late. As an unofficial open-source adaptation of a board game (or, at least, a game played with "map boards"), it's not a multimedia extravaganza, but it does give a chance to try out something I've been aware of for a long time. The game's called "MegaMek," and it's a computer version of "Battletech."

I started noticing Battletech game modules in hobby stores not that long after starting to watch Robotech, and as with other people the similarity in names and art left me wondering who was ripping off who. (Maybe it was more complicated than that, but of that a little more later...) With what little I could remember from the backs of those packages about the ravages of future war, I tried sketching out a timeline with the thought it might even turn into a story, one that only ran a few centuries into the future and had two sides facing off on a post-apocalyptic Earth. It was a bit later, the story unwritten, that I learned the game was set a full millennium in the future, and extended my timeline only for it to still end up with two sides facing off on a post-apocalyptic Earth. By then, though, there were Battletech novels on the science fiction shelves of bookstores, and I started learning what the real story was...
tech versus tech )
krpalmer: (smeat)
I got up this morning contemplating posting a thought or two about finally getting to see the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who. (To abbreviate: there were changes in many ways as expected, but also continuity; I'm interested in what's to come but wondering if some of that comes from having followed the opinions of someone able to deal with the various controversies that seem to get whipped up over just how the stories for the various "companions" get wrapped up.) Then, though, I saw news that Carl Macek had died of a sudden heart attack, and that weighed more on me. Some of that unpleasant surprise might have come from his having done a podcast interview with the Anime News Network just a few months ago... but I balanced old thoughts that his different projects through the decades weren't always continued successes with the thought that he did keep working, and remembered that before I was able to "follow up" on Robotech by moving into the larger world of anime, I had been able to stay interested in its story for a decade, and I'm still able to mull over it now.

I was also reminded of when I heard years ago that Brian Daley, one half of the duo who had written the Robotech novels under a pen name, had died. It was on a Robotech mailing list whose members tended to have issues with the differences between the series and the novels, but an effort was made to hold down unpleasant comments. Imagining various people reacting in similar ways to then, I'm recalling again a thought I had that just because hypothetical cases can be stated of how anime fandom could have waxed in North America without Robotech, that can't be made to deny that Robotech did have an impact...
krpalmer: (anime)
After an interview with someone from Geneon sounded interesting enough for me to try an Anime News Network podcast at last, I've listened to a few more of them. I've got to admit that the great majority of the time I skip over the hosts talking to each other and get straight to the latest interview to sound interesting, and so far as that goes an extended discussion with Carl Macek did indeed catch my attention. Having to head off to three twelve-hour night shifts in a row did delay my starting into it, but I was able to get through on my days off.
Carl Macek's revenge, part one! )
There may be problems with 'alternative histories' )
Carl Macek's revenge, part two! )
One unexpected moment )
krpalmer: (anime)
Completing a nostalgic project I set myself to at the start of the year, I've rewatched the third anime series that got turned into a part of Robotech. "Robotech: The New Generation" does sometimes seem to me to be among fans, for lack of a better word, the "connoisseur's segment": it doesn't have anywhere near the baggage both before and after the fact that Macross provides, and its reputation is much better than that of "Robotech: Masters." Even so, it was possible that the odd interest I had in starting Southern Cross wasn't quite there when moving on to Genesis Climber Mospeada, whether through thoughts that this third series was more "episodic," whatever that meant, that it's a little less dubious to pretend that Southern Cross's character designs match up with Macross's than with Mospeada's, or just because Southern Cross's "declared flaws" somehow gave me something to react against in an interesting way the way general approval doesn't...
Pretty much from the moment I started watching the first episode again, though... )
krpalmer: (anime)
I resolved that in 2009, I would take the time I put towards rewatching anime series (always in part to reassure myself I'm not so completely mastered by the large quantity of DVDs I buy that I never get back to anything, thus defeating a purpose of buying rather than at least trying to rent them) and return to the series put together to make Robotech. After viewing Macross at the beginning of the year, deciding to rewatch the Megazone 23 OVAs (which have a more or less tangential connection to Robotech as most know it) seemed to open up a fair-sized pause in my project. Now, though, I've once again seen the anime series put in the middle of Robotech, but also the one most dismissed in a breath both inside and outside that composite series, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross... and yet, both even before starting into that specific anime again and in the process of watching it, I kept thinking that I'm at least interested in Southern Cross "more than I'm supposed to," and at times contrasting that to other mecha anime series from the early 1980s that receive wide praise but, when I have seen them, I've wound up thinking "I'm supposed to like them more..." Maybe it's just a case of "sympathy for a frequent target" carried to bizarre lengths, as opposed to heaps of praise making me elevate my standards in some subconscious way until nothing can meet them. In any case, I can identify "flaws" in Southern Cross, and yet in acknowledging them they don't seem to bother me as much any more; they're just something to be thought about.
Some increasingly disconnected reflections ahead )

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