Mad about Macross

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One of the biggest news in classic anime that came about at the end of last year was ADV's new licensing of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. I'm not ashamed to admit it, I bought AnimEigo's release of the TV series, released for the first time in North America in its entirety without the name Robotech attached to it. The company went through tremendous legal struggles to bring the set here and I applaud them for that. However, if there is anything that I believe was wrong with AnimEigo's release, it had to be the lack of extras.

ADV's release makes up for that with plenty of extras. However, they're not all the extras I normally look forward to. There were two things I was looking forward to about this release - one of the special features was the original Macross dub by Harmony Gold (where the animation caught Carl Macek's attention as a means to finance Robotech) and the new dub cast. Typically, the dub cast doesn't excite me - it's very rare I'll even check out a dub track; however this dub has one thing many other dubs do not. Lynn Minmei, one of the most notable characters not only of the time period but probably in all of anime's history, has a returning role - Iijima Mari who did a wonderful job in the original Japanese version is making her appearance in the English dub as well. What amazing possibilities for bilingual seiyuu.

Iijima's portrayal of Minmei in English is as I expected it to be - accented but not beyond comprehension. Her English is absolutely amazing. With her being the third English voice actress for this character (an unknown girl in HG's dub and Reba West's infamous portrayal in Robotech counted before), I think it is safe to say that there is only one Lynn Minmei; though, this may be all to Iijima-san's chagrin. What's best about this dub is that Iijima-san is able to make Minmei sound just as young and innocent as she did in the original Macross back in 1982.

So, the verdict is this: If you do not already own a Macross DVD set, I highly suggest buying ADV's release. It has extras, dual audio tracks, and the magnificently remastered video and audio that was present in AnimEigo's release. If you do already own an AnimEigo release, then this is a hard buy to push. Unless you're hard pressed and driven to own absolutely every Macross release in North America, then there are probably many other things one would choose to spend their money on. I was excited about it and planned on buying a complete set of ADV's releases, and I will be keeping an eye out for the extras on the subsequent discs, but at this point right now, I cannot see myself rushing out for another complete DVD set.


Holy Crap!

Wow, this came out of left field. I was surprised when they released the manga a couple of years ago, but today Anime News Network [animenewsnetwork.com] reported this:

"Funimation Licenses Crayon Shin-Chan (2006-02-14 01:56:47)
According to parent company Navarre, Funimation has licensed Crayon Shin-chan and is expecting to release the series in late 2007. Thanks to Steve Finkle for this info."

It's an awful long time away before we'll see anything actually hit the market place. Hopefully though, this will get a better release than Meitantei Conan did. Hopefully the seemingly minor, yet crucial mistakes that really hurt Conan's marketability have been learned and Crayon Shin-chan will get a great release.

Reading through some of the forum posts attached to the ANN article, it looks like the show is already getting mixed reviews; some of it I find objectionable because it is based solely on the appearence of the artwork and not on an actual viewing of the show. I don't want to put too much speculation or insinuation into this as I've not recevied comment proving just that.

Either way, surprise surprise.

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First Quarter Excitement

Hot on the heels of ADV's new re-release of Super Dimension Fortress Macross and the upcoming DVD debut of Central Park Media's Armored Trooper Votoms OAVs, Media Blasters announced the licensing and an ETA release of Uchuu no Kishi Tekkaman Blade and its dub counterpart Teknoman. These, coupled with new releases like the Hokuto no Ken movies and the Wings of Rean ONA as a return to 1980s and 1990s franchises in the anime industry. The release of Votoms (which was previously released on VHS by CPM in the late 1990s under Bandai's Anime Village label) is a welcome breath of fresh air to Japanese mecha subculture - mecha series that are popular in mecha groups but outside of the Gundam and Macross storylines, it seems. Most people who have watched Votoms end up liking it, but I found a lot of the problem is that getting the word out. I for one will be replacing my old VHS set with the DVDs and hopefully an attractive DVD set will bring in more viewers. Since these are only the Votoms OAVs being released, high sales and fan support of the seris could lead to the Votoms TV series also being released in North America.

The news that's had me really stoked since last week (partly because my last week was personally horible) was Media Blaster's announcement on 2006. Feb. 08 of the release of Tekkaman Blade and Teknoman. The initial reports have been murky, so wading through information has been rough (hence partly why it has taken me so long to get something together); however, this is what best I can confirm:

Teknoman and Tekkaman Blade will be released in two different units. Teknoman will have a similar dub to what ran syndicated in the US. The US version ran for 26 episodes, Teknoman DVDs will run 43 episodes over three box sets.

Tekkaman Blade will be a sub-only, uncut translation of the entire 49 episode TV series. The number of boxsets has not been determined. Tekkaman Blade will be released later in 2006; Teknoman is expected to hit street around 2006. May 30.

I really expect some good stuff out of Media Blasters. I absolutely love their release of Giant Robo: The Animation and the moment it becomes financially viable for me I plan on pikcing up their releases of Master of Mosquitionand Izcer-1.

It's really looking up for the Bubble Economy titles and we're barely through the first quarter. With con season coming up here in a few months, I hopefully will have more releases to talk about, review, and perhaps even grab an interview or two. Please look forward to it!

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The Times, They Are A Changin'?

This will probably be a short entry.

Over the past couple of years, one of the major trends in anime has been the 'Harem' genre, but I think starting in 2006 we're going to be seeing a return some of the more classic titles. Being a fan of classical anime, this is exciting to me. However, I really cannot predict where this sort of trend will go, or even if it will become a trend throughout the industry.

Two of the titles I am looking forward to right now are Wings of Rean 『リーンの翼』 and Hokuto no Ken - Raoh-den Jun'ai no Shou 『北斗の拳 ラオウ伝 - 殉愛の章』.

Image hosting by Photobucket Wings of Rean is a continuation of the Legend of Byston Well. Byston Well is the fictional setting created by Tomino Yoshiyuki for his cult-classic Aura Battler Dunbine. Dunbine, while only recently become known to American fandom (thanks to ADV's well done releases), has become a cult classic amongst Japanese fandom. The original TV series ran from 1982~83; the series featured a couple of OAV sequels in the late 1980s and a movie in the Nineties, Garzey's Wing 『ガージーの翼』.

What's more interesting, while Dunbine carried many of Tomino's mature 'Real Robot' (Though, there is a unique twist that Dunbine is a mecha series in a fantasy setting; you know, unicorns and knights) that were cliche throughout the 1980s, Sunrise is pursuing a new streaming format for the release of Wings of Rean. While many people think of the OAV as a mainstaple of the Otaku diet, it is a very recent invention. Afterall, modern anime have been appearing in movie theaters and on telvision since the 1960s, the OAV did not arise until the middle 1980s. Sunrise is releasing the new Wings of Rean as an ONA - Original Net Animation. Hopefully this will branch out into more releases in this format.

The next big news, reported last week, was the new Hokuto no Ken movies. The movies are based off of the new OAV series (featuring much of the same artwork) Raoh-den Jun'ai no Shou. The website's trailers look great and I am looking forward to this trilogy starting this Spring.Image hosting by Photobucket

Though, speaking of Hokuto No Ken, there was some recent news from Manga Video here in the United States. Manga has had some licenses discontinued recently, most notable are the Hokuto no Ken TV series and Mobile Police Patlabor. More to come on this as time develops. However, with companies now losing licenses, I think this goes to show how saturated the North American anime market has become over the past couple of years.