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Posts Tagged ‘anime’

06 Armor of Righteousness

The Annihilators graphic comic

06 Armor of Righteousness

Action and astounding rounds abound! It’s a rapid wrap of rounds. We reach the prerequisite requiem for a rampaging robot. Team Annihilator digs in and digs out. It’s The Hammer of God and the Anvil of Saints. Drew Spence’s graphic comic Force Six, The Annihilators continues with the Redder Coltrane arc.     READ IT NOW!


 

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Super Dimension Fortress Macross verse Robotech the Macross Saga

February 17, 2014 1 comment

Robotech Verse Macross

The differences and what a difference they made to a long-time viewer.

 

 

Macross artwork

Seeing the anime in its original form…

After, who knows how many years, I found a resource to watch Robotech: The Macross Saga in its original form; Super Dimension Fortress Macross. In 1985, three separate animated Japanese television series were translated, adapted and combined into a single franchise called Robotech. There are subtle changes and drastic, sweeping additions (and subtractions) that left me with the feeling that the true story is somewhere in the middle. I don’t care to debate which one is better, because I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to these things, but I see improvements in several areas for the American Robotech version. Since this discusses a few plot differences, prepare for spoilers if you’ve never seen either show or series.

 

Character Caricatures

 

Of course, all the names are switched and the main change is in the race/nationality of central characters Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes. Seeing him as Hikaru Ichijyo gives hints to a mixed-race make up. Some of the other names come as direct translations so no harm, no foul. Some prefer the original Roy Fokker and some see the latter’s version as more humane and understanding. Small changes in script can have a huge impact. In Robotech, there’s a scene (I’m assuming you’ve seen one of these stories already, if not SPOILER ALERT!) after Roy’s death that it’s noted Rick Hunter is going to be piloting Focker’s Skull Leader jet fighter. Claudia (his ‘widowed’ love interest) remarks that Roy would have liked that…. In the Macross subtitle her reaction reads simply as a questioning “that boy?” as if to question Rick Hunter’s worthiness or at its most subtle, lost-in-translation meaning, isn’t the same positive sentiment.

 

Lisa Hayes from Macross

Just say it.

Japanese culture gives us love unrequited as the most common and fundamental state. Hey, characters never seem able to express their feelings, so you hang on and hang on hoping someone figures it out before it’s too late. Westerners love happy endings and Robotech takes the liberty of adding a few I LOVE YOU exclamations to lead to the happily ever after endings. In Macross, it’s more of a suggested ‘next’ and you are left to imagine where this thing is headed.

 

 

The Music, Mayhem and the Minmei Effect

 

Music plays a huge part in the saga and numerous scenes (action and dramatic) are heavily altered and changed in tone by the addition or subtraction of incidental music and thematic cues. Many scenes lost impact and fell short in Macross (that were thrilling and exciting in Robotech) due to silence or use of ambient music. The grand theme song for Robotech is a powerful symphonic piece that is used throughout the series to accent the action and I consider it a huge part of Robotech’s personality.

 

My western sensibilities also lean towards the Robotech version’s of Minmei’s songs. The rousing “We Will Win” by Reba West is simply incredible and the combination of music and action blend together seamlessly in the late episode “Force of Arms”. I just find that the wide range of moods are better captured with the newer material.

 

Cuts to the Chase

What about the diminished violence, sexual overtures and eliminated partial nudity? Censors went to work on Robotech- removing many scenes of death and animated violence. It is a show about war, isn’t it? A huge deal? No, not really. I already thought there was a lot of darkness and loss in Robotech so seeing a few extended clips in Macross doesn’t change the story for me. I do admit, seeing Macross certainly did smooth out some scenes, which felt a little clunky, as they repeated clips to fill in the gaps of the edited edgy material.  There is some admission of sexual attraction in Macross, which I wish could have stayed as it added a more human-dimension to some of the proto-culture shock and seemed like more realistic urgings for the Zentradi soldiers to be responding to.

 

Rendering Endings

And finally is the finale. Robotech gave us this big letdown as the bridge crew of the SDF-1 is killed in the final attack of Khyron. Even as a kid, I wasn’t feeling that. It’s explained that Admiral Gloval pushed Lisa Hayes into an ejection module right before impact. I understand the reasoning as you’d have to explain where everybody went once Dana’s Story starts the next Robotech Saga arc, but really, you could have said EVERYBODY left in the SDF-2. I still think that’s a bad writing move and it’s a joy to watch the original Macross and see everyone live.

 

Like I said in my opening paragraph, I feel like the true experience of Macross/Robotech is an imagined combination of both versions. I think no matter which one you feel is better, they are both important to the franchise and have done a great deal to spread and share the world of Macross. Mostly I wrote this for those who have only seen Robotech and I am urging them to go back and watch Macross.

 

Links of note:

KissAnime, where the original Macross can be streamed for free

http://kissanime.com/Anime/Macross/Episode-001?id=35455

 

 

 

Dynamics Plus Track Spotlight Chaos Legion “Iron Fortress”

July 24, 2010 1 comment

Dynamics Plus Chaos Legion I "Iron Fortress"

Iron Fortress from the Dynamics Plus album Chaos Legion I

Back Story

“Iron Fortress” was a tough one to get going because I knew the first album needed an anchor song to end with. The subtitle for Chaos Legion album was originally Siege Machines and I wanted to create something really epic and grand. It was going to be the vision of the two forces, separated by a huge chasm, hurling all manner of ordinance at each other. In the set up interlude “Siege Machines” you get the sense that Dynamics Plus is wary of the whole idea and dislikes the ‘devil’s technology’. His officers tell him the machines will bring them victory. He asks “At what cost?” meaning in men and to their warror’s code for using such powerful weapons that kill from afar.

Lyric Study

“Battlelord Korrin-Ferrin, this is your last chance. Swing open the gates of the Iron Fortress or be destroyed by the Dynamics Plus and his Chaos Legion! – The sky lit up — looking like fireworks…”

One of my favorite touches is the announcement before the battle starts. The Chaos Legion attempted to intimidate Lord Praxis into giving up the siege machines in “The Liberators”. He answered back on his own system and countered the challenge. In this case, Ferrin never replies; he just starts firing his weapons. I like the fact that in each case, it didn’t have the desired effect. And of course, we’ll try this again in “One Stands Against Many” in Chaos Legion II

“The skies in twilights, her face shone bright
Grips my arm tight, it implodes and ignites
Overcome by the hum and buzz
I noticed how striking she was…”

This notes a key moment where you can argue Dynamics Plus begins to fall for his Amazon bodyguard Alanis. It’s a thrilling moment for both of them as she forgets herself while enjoying the lightshow and he remembers she’s a woman – even if she is off limits.

“Bring out Doctor Atomics! –
Machines turned on as he waved a wand
In his open hand marching band baton…”

Yes, it’s Doctor Atomics with a central role in this universe too. In Dynamic Universe Volume Six (Doctor Atomics and the Fortress of Solitude) he does double duty as both Fallout Shelter administrative task master and the head of my intelligence department in STACI: The Garden of Eden.

“I wiped my lens and took sight again
with signs he offends and his wall defends
His shields persists and the bombs resist
He stood on a lift and pumped his fist…
More bombs dropped, then his arms dropped
He looked to the heavens, prays his arms raised
looked this way, then saluted a grade
then was blown away -off the wall in a blaze….”

We’re watching each other through binoculars and earlier he spelled out a message along with an obscene gesture. He feels he has the upper hand and is almost celebrating on the high walls of his fortress. As his shield gives out, he realizes it’s over and actually salutes me before being blown off the wall.

Production Notes

As a child I watched Battle of the Planets (Gatchaman) and I was always inspired by the action music and theme songs. There was a horn riff that always signals ‘the bad guys are building stuff’ and I wanted that sound in this track. The Korg Kaossilator (partially chosen because of its name- yes, I’m weird like that) did the whole track except for the drums. The explosion sound effects were dropped live as the track ran. It took forever since I needed to have them drop in-between words and I kept blowing it. Mixing was another problem since I didn’t want the basic track to be drowned by the bombing sounds. The jazzy horn riffs originally filled the whole track, but the track began to get cluttered and overpower the vocals. Since the song was written in two parts, it made sense to save the live horn work for the latter half of the track.

Video Vision

Unreal Tournament is on my gaming top ten list so it was very cool to be able to use sampled clips for one of my videos. That’s Unreal Tournament 3 and I was stuck on whether or not I should use still frames or video clips. I went in-between with flipping frames. Clips from the horrible Quake: Enemy Territory were also used. Hey, I needed to get my money’s worth somehow.

UT is a very close approximation for what the actual Chaos Legion Universe looks like. Although the album artwork accentuates the more Spartan aspects of my army, it is still a futuristic force powered by electronics. So we are talking something in-between ancient Greek armor and futuristic battle armor.

Thanks for checking out my music.

-Dynamics Plus

http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com

Robotica; a still-frame-animated series based in the Battlestrux Universe

June 16, 2010 1 comment

Robotica: Still-frame animated movie featuring music by Lenzmen Dynamics Plus.  It happens in the Battlestrux Universe. Basically it’s about the robots that followed in the footsteps of long extinct humanity verse the aliens who wiped humankind out.

http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com

Thanks for checking this out. I’m been toying with idea of reviving this series or converting it into a straight comic book series.