Earth! Magnificent World of our Future!

So, going on some of my family's advice and using a bit of birthday money for my own pleasure, I stopped and picked up the first two volumes of Giant Robo The Animation: The Night the Earth Stood Still 『ジャイアントロボ THE ANIMATION 地球が静止する日』 OAV. This digital remaster of the mid-1990s OAV was done by Anime Works/Media Blasters; the original licensed production was done by Manga Entertainment.

One thing I was not aware of at purchase was the addition of a new dub track. Well, the box hinted at it when it said "New Remastered English Track" but also the fact I did not know that AW/MB had put this new version out left me slightly more puzzled. When I got home and put the DVD in to view, I decided to check out the special features. I usually go here first with all of my DVDs; odds are by the time I actually get a chance to put the disc in, there is very little time I have to actually watch it.

When looking over the special features, it's nothing I was really excited about. I generally am not one to care about production sketches or image galleries most of the time. However, exciting for me, was the addition of Manga's original dub track in the special features of the disc. Finally, I was struck by a wave of relief.

I really don't consider myself a dub fan. In fact, 99.9% of the time, I prefer the Japanese dialogue and with my busy schedule, I generally don't have/take the time to view all of the dub tracks. But I was introduced to GR through Manga's dub track. In fact, I didn't even hear the Japanese voices until I happened a fansub of the GR Ginrei Special months after I saw the OAV. But Manga's dub, while still kinda hokey, had a good feel behind it and the acting, as in skill of being able to act, was well done. Because of its own unique personality, that dub holds a special place in my heart and I was happy to see (and more happy to hear) that it was present. Which made me wonder, what does the new dub sound like?

The only other AW/MB work I am familiar with is that of probably hands down my favorite single anime series of all time, Rurouni Kenshin - Meiji Kenkaku Romantan - 『るろうに剣心 -明治剣客浪漫譚-』 and I have checked out the dub of it once or twice via the DVDs as well as the Cartoon Network broadcasts. I wasn't pleased with it at all. It seemed to me that there was a real lack of emotion from all of the characters and a feeling that really set it apart from the dramatics of the story. I think it might also be said that I didn't like a lot of the scriptwriting behind it because I was never a fan of the translations that they did with the series. AW/MB's work on GR's translation has improved drastically. The subtitles are really closer to the actual script of the dialogue than compared to RurouKen. However, the dub acting has not improved at all. What's worse than that is instead of going out and trying to get thier own feel for how the voices should be rendered, or comparing their own performance against the Japanese actors/resses, but rather they decided to play off on the original Manga Entertainment dub of the series. Thier souless act drove me harder to watch more of the original dubbing or the Japanese dialogue, despite that both of those are still in the 2.0 surround rather than the new English work in the 5.1.

!Post Thought Commentary! There are parts of the original script they didn't even bother to dub over, most notable is the radio while Ivan is driving at the beginning of episode one. Just another moment when the new dub, while remastered, seems half-assed on the production side of things.

Which brings me to another point - the sound issue. There is a remastered 5.1 track in English and Japanese; however, the English is the new dub track which I think should have been left out entirely. The Japanese track, is the audio commentary track. Audio commentary is one of those extras I've never been a fan of - too distracting from the actual film for me - (though I like seperate staff interviews a lot); but for the "uninterrupted" version (no commentary) of the Japanese dialogue, it was left as the old 2.0 surround, just as the old English dub was. I really think someone either dropped the ball in planning or didn't write a clear enough note to the production staff because I think that the two Japanese tracks should have been switched.

Also, it might have been because I was switching the audio so much or that my remote has been taking a lot of wear and tear, but I found that the subtitles were hard to bring up at certain moments. I think this is a very minor note, though, because at portions I was comparing English dialogues against the subs. Just seems that after I took them off, it was hard for them to come back.

All in all, I am glad that AW/MB took up the effort to bring GR to us on DVD. I think though that I am upset with the finished product because of proper management of the property and definately a case of too-much-information (TMI). I must commend them on the addition/requisition of the Japanese audio. They did a fine job translating it, even better than their work on RurouKen. At least they even went after the Japanese audio; I don't think Manga Entertainment even went that far (though, I don't think Manga went after the subtitle markets before they began producing DVDs).

Also going through my DVDs the other day I got through the tenth episode of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. No notable people to add to the body count after this, but we've seen the introduction of Sirocco "The Man from Jupiter" Paptymus. He is probably the most bad-ass villain right behind Char Aznable. We also saw the meeting between Bright and Char (though Char did not reveal himself as such, so I don't think Bright knows yet) but in the next episode the AEUG forces are supposed to land on Earth following Reccoa Londe and I think soon after Amuro reluctantly joins the fighting forces of AEUG. The reunion with Char Aznable is coming soon and I am excited.

That's it for now; I'm gonna try to watch through and episode or two of Zeta Gundam and try to get a little more studying done before I head to bed tonight.



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