mecha movie madness

via AICN I see that there’s a Voltron movie planned, and continued rumblings about Robotech:

MTV Splash Page notes that “The Losers” director Sylvain White has expressed interest in helming an adaptation of the classic “Robotech” animated series.

“Well, [‘Robotech’ is] not a project that’s greenlit,” related White during an appearance at last weekend’s WonderCon (via Sci-Fi Wire). “It’s a great cult series. When it came out, I actually saw it in France, growing up. I saw it in French. It’s a pretty amazing cartoon. And I’m hoping it’s going to come to fruition.”

“I read a draft that’s really good,” continued White. “I’m interested in doing it, but the project is not fast tracked or anything like that, so there’s no official thing. There’s no deal… They sent me a draft. I liked it. It’s a work in progress.”

Robotech was Harmony Gold’s compiled localization of mecha anime “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross,” “The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross” and “Genesis Climber Mospeada.” However, given the level difficulties involved, a movie is more likely to be weighed toward South Cross and Mospeada than the moe popular Macross.
Corona Coming Attractions reports that efforts to make a Voltron movie are back to square one. Neither the Justin Marks script nor the more recent Jeff Davis rewrite will be the shooting script; the production is officially in “reboot mode” and Max Makowski is no longer attached to direct.

neither of these looks to be approaching production status anytime soon. However, there’s a website for a Gurren Lagann movie, which in many ways would be far cooler than either of the others.

What is it with mecha mania? I wonder if the Transformers movies have given a boost to the genre, or whether they are perceived as a separate sub-genre?

Gurren Lagann: piercing the heavens with a drill

I’ve been watching Gurren Lagann on Cartoon Network’s monday night anime block for the past couple of months, and have been really enjoying it. The design of the mecha are truly unique, gigantic faces as torsos, and the story is your classic young boy becomes a man, along with a big brother role model and love triangle on the side. Throw in your all-powerful (sorta) alien threat and scrappy humanity rising from the post-apocalyptic world and you’ve got a pretty solid series that isn’t surprising in any way, but still manages to be a lot of fun – and the technology deus ex machine that the hero Simon uses is just plain cool. There is a surprisingly mature introspection about Simon finding his identity not in being a flashy hero, but actually in the value of his humble profession (mining and digging) that lends the whole opera some serious emotional heft, too.

Actually the whole series is very evocative of Robotech, which seems so blatant at times that I wonder if it is deliberate.

For more substantive analysis, check out Drastic’s review (along with the iconic image of Yoko from the opener that should be a crowd-pleaser).

The Robotech Ummah

According to this caffeinated muslim woman blogger, the Zentraedi from Robotech are meant to be muslim:

The Zentraedi are completely segregated – men and women generally seem to be on different ships. They have no concept of romance and do not have any idea about, y’know, ’stuff’. On one occasion, a Zentraedi ship was able to view a live feed of the the Miss Macross pageant happening on the ship and didn’t know what to make of girls in skimpy outfits. When Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, and Max Sterling were caught by the Zentraedi, Rick and Lisa had to show the Zentraedi what a ‘kiss’ was, which resulted in a disgusted group of Zentraedis. Minmei, the singing sensation of Macross, was their downfall as the soldiers were introduced to an entirely different way of life through her songs. Many Zentraedi wanted to defect to the human ship and, thus, embrace the human way of life because of her.

Of course, that’s how Westerners see the stereotypical muslim. Or political lefties see the stereotypical religious person, for that matter. But if we go with the muslim analogy I guess that makes Khyron the equivalent of Osama bin Laden and Bretai the equivalent of the Mahdi. That’s just awesome. Did I mention that was awesome? Because it’s awesome.

live-action Bebop

Just saw this at AICN:

IF Magazine has learned that producer Erwin Stoff is developing an adaptation of one of America’s favorite anime series…. Cowboy Bebop.

“I’m developing COWBOY BEBOP for Fox, but doing it as a live-action film, so I’m working on that at the moment,” Stoff tells iF. “I’m really excited to be working on it, and it’s in the really early stages. We just signed it the other day.”

“I have such an enormous admiration for its creators, that our first and foremost concern is going to be a real degree of faithfulness to the tone of the movie, to the mix of genres, and so on and so forth,” he says. “When I met with them in Japan, one of the first things that I brought up was the experience that we had on A SCANNER DARKLY, and how hard we worked to remain faithful to Philip K. Dick, and that was our big concern here.”

America’s favorite anime series? I thought that was DragonBall Z… which also is getting the live action treatment, as I noted before. Of course there’s also that live-action Robotech coming up, too.

I’ll get really excited when they start casting for live-action Haibane Renmei. Others may be waiting for live-action Najica Blitz Tactics. To each his own…

Just curious, though. Suppose they were to do a live-action Haibane. Who’d you want to see playing Reki and Rakka?

Robotech through the mirror

Daniel has an awesome “slice” of SDF: Macross – the scene where (Rick) saves (Minmei) in mid-air. The only thing missing from his description is the part where Rick almost falls out of the cockpit himself, but is saved by the canopy glass. Of course, I am completely ruined as far as Macross goes, since that entire scene is firmly in the Robotech context for me. But his description is exactly as I remember it, even though I haven’t seen that scene since (at best guess) 1994.

Where are all the Macross bloggers anyway? Daniel’s sincere appreciation of the series is pretty rare (I’ve yet to go through his archives on it). Almost everyone else seems to look down on it as some proto-anime-culture which everyone has long since grown up for (and yet, Ranma still makes the rounds??). Have we all forgotten just how much cooler 50-foot robots that transform into jet fighters are than silly schoolgirls’ underpants? (ok, I’m treading close to the border of otaku blasphemy here, but I am fearless).

I should read more of that blog. Subscribing now. The title alone is worth extra points.

UPDATE: Legend of the Galactic Heroes? I am intrigued.

live-action Robotech movie

Khyron’s ghost! there’s a live action Robotech movie in the works??


Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire will produce and may star in a film based on the classic SF anime Robotech, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Warner Brothers Pictures picked up the rights to Robotech, which features giant robots known as mechas. Maguire is producing through his Maguire Entertainment banner and is eyeing the lead role in what the studio plans as an SF franchise a la Paramount’s hit Transformers.
Robotech takes place at a time when Earth has developed giant robots from the technology on an alien spacecraft that crashed on a South Pacific isle. Mankind is forced to use the technology to fend off three successive waves of alien invasions. The first invasion concerns a battle with a race of giant warriors who seek to retrieve their flagship’s energy source, known as “protoculture,” and the planet’s survival ends up in the hands of two young pilots.

There was a debate in the Otakusphere recently about why mecha anime suck/don’t suck, so this is timely news. Robotech was always defined by its mecha, but the mecha are as much characters as anyone else. That goes as much Rick’s jet (formerly Roy’s) in Skull Squadron as it does for the grande dame, the SDF-1 herself. And at the same time, they also blended into the background – the drama that made Robotech such a soap opera was always heavily centered on the characters, from the original Bridge Bunnies to Captain Gloval to the ultimate love triangle of Rick-Minmei-Lisa.

It obviously goes without saying that if you’re looking for a good mecha anime, I’d recommend Robotech highly.

Bridge Bunnies

Finally! someone has started a anime blog titled Bridge Bunnies. It’s run by Ubu Roi (of Houblog fame) who has wisely decided to put his anime content on a separateblog from his politics to avoid burnout (precisely why I started, in fact). And the name just rocks – I claim partial credit!

Still, I am disappointed that Kim, Sammie & Vanessa didn’t make the banner image.


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”