Robotech

I just don’t know where to begin when talking about Robotech. I first saw it in college – during final exams week of my first year, in fact. It astounds me that I even passed my exams, let alone maintained a decent GPS, given that I spent all my time that week in the dorm TV lounge with my stack of bootleg VHS tapes. I’d set alarms to go off half an hour before my exams and race across campus to take the exam, and then come straight back like a moth to flame. Food was pizza delivery and cokes from the machine across the hall.

Come to think of it, perhaps my daughter has inherited some of these bad habits…

Anyway, the story was amazing and still holds a unique appeal over my imagination. If you’ll pardon the pun, Robotech was the protoculture for the otaku culture of today, here in America. It legitimized animation as a mature storytelling medium.

And the visuals! the bridge bunnies. Captain Gloval aghast as the antigravity drives tear loose from the ship and go on their merry way. Khyron and all his infinite insanity. The Dadedalus maneuver. Lisa. Roy’s heroism, Rick’s infatuation, and also that other character, M. what’s her name, you know. Whatchamacallit whoever. The return to Earth, the Ontario quadrant disaster. The final assault, and New Macross City. And of course, the SDF-1 – magnificent. Only the Starship Enterprise rivals it for sheer nobility of design.

Of course I am a fan of the first arc most, the Invid arc least. But the character of Dana Sterling is easily my most favorite character in the entire series. And that’s the real point of Robotech – the characters, and the peoples. Many mecha series focus too much on the technology, but Robotech used its technology like a stage and spotlight – mere foils for the chaacters that inhabited and used them. Not to say that some pieces of technology didn’t acquire personality in their own right – SDF-1 being obvious, but also Skull-1 and Dana’s tank. But even if Robotech arose from three rather average anime series as source, the sum was much greater than the parts, and that’s the mark of true anime.

UPDATE: For Steven the bridge bunnies below the fold.

Continue reading “Robotech”

new Earthsea trailer

Studio Ghibli has posted a new trailer for Gedo Senki online. Ged/Sparrow has a lot more screen time in this one. It’s wierd, but his boat is exactly like I imagined it. I still have no idea whether this is going to be a disaster or a masterpiece – possibly neither – but at least it is going to be pretty.

AICN also reports that a special preview of the film will be held July 7-9 in 17 selected cities. 20,000 fans will get invitations to the screening by lottery.

Earthsea synopsis via UKL

via Don, a synopsis of the upcoming anime adaptation of Tales of Earthsea by Studio Ghibli. LeGuin herself was given the synopsis by the director. She writes,

Studio Ghibli and Mr Goro Miyazaki recently sent me the synopsis of their forthcoming film, Gedo Senki (Tales of Ged), which is to be released in Japan in July 2006. I asked if I might post the translation on my website, and was kindly granted permission. Any inquiries should be directed to Studio Ghibli, please, not to me, as I have no further information concerning the film, and of course will not discuss it until I have seen it.

— UKL April 21, 2006.

The film will apparently not be a retelling of how Ged came to be the Lord Archmage, but takes place after he has already become the great wizard of his destiny. There are familiar faces from the early stories, though.

My crazed obsession Totoro

Steven has been watching My Neighbor Totoro, and comments, “I watched it twice, and I’m still not sure what story it was telling. I’m not even sure there was a story. In fact, I’m not even sure there needed to be one.”

Try watching it 50 times!

True story – when I first saw Totoro, my daughter was about two years old. I actually picked the movie up in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. I brought it home thinking she’d like it.

She became a Totoro addict. There is something in this movie that is like crack for little kids. I don’t just mean she wanted to watch it often; I mean she wanted to watch it eight times a day. In succession. Back to back.

After dealing with tantrum after tantrum I finally had enough and sent the damn disc to my parents’ house a thousand miles away across four state lines. As far as my daughter knew, we “lost” it. Somehow we weaned her off Totoro.. though my sister, evil incarnate that she is, suddenly “found” the disc and sent it back.

I hope that it won’t be toddler crack like last time – especially since my daughter is now four and maybe if her reaction to the film is non-insane, I can actually enjoy it myself. I am quite keen to see whether the 4-year old in the film matches up to the four year old on the sofa. When we were watching Sugar, she was kind of indifferent to the Kannnon character who was also her age, but as Steven mentions, in Totoro the four year old actually acts four years old. So, it will be quite interesting indeed to see whether my daughter recognizes a kindred spirit or not.

Gedo Senki: Legend of Earthsea

Studio Ghibli is producing an anime version of Ursula K. LeGuin’s classic science fiction series, The Legend of Earthsea. It is being directed by Moro Miyazaki, son of the legendary Hayao.

For a fan of science fiction alone, this would be incredibly exciting news. As a fledgling otaku my anticipation can now extend along the anime axis as well! Of course there is no guarantee that the junior Miyazaki is as talented as the father, nor is there any guarantee that a piece of literature will survive the transition to film. Bicentennial Man was a real stab in the heart for Asimov purists, and I’ve ranted on the H2G2 movie before. But there are successes – witness the glory that was Blade Runner (an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). I think that the anime format suits the subject matter far better than live-action and have high hopes indeed.

Most of those high hopes being fed by what I’ve already seen of the film, of course. You can view the trailer as a Flash movie at Ghibli.net or at YouTube.

There’s also a production blog (translated by Nausicaa.net).

Haibane fanart

While I am sure there is an infinite supply of this sort of thing out there under the dot-jp domain, this particular Haibane fanart gallery happened to be indexed by google. There are of course the usual obsessions with swimsuits, but what I found much more interesting were the concept art of scenes we never actually saw in the series, such as Reki taking her Flight, and Rakka’s cocoon bursting. And this scene of Raka and Reki in kimonos is just surreal, yet also somehow appropriate…

Of course, the Haibane rock band also, well, rocks. Go, Reki! And I note that the artist has a particular thing for Nemu…