A fistful o'bits.
- Long-time ROBOTECH fan and AnimeOnDVD owner/lead reviewer Chris Beveridge reviews Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and gives it a B+.
- Harmony Gold provides a QuickTime movie preview of their Robotech: The New Generation cell phone shoot-em-up. Reminds me of any number of well-made vertical shooters I spent a quarter and fifteen minutes on back in the early 1990's. I'd probably buy a GameBoy Advance port -- something about the feel and the presentation of it appeals to me, in a nostalgic sort of way -- but playing games on my cell is a pain, so I'll probably have to go without. Ah well, not something I'm gonna lose any sleep over.
Oh, and why's that green Alpha on the title screen red? What's up with that?
- Did you know RDF Underground has been back in business for three weeks running, complete with an all-new video feed filmed in Creepyvision? Well, now you know. Get to watching!
- And finally, your Space Station Liberty schedule update: Chris Meadows and SSL listeners talk to Shadow Chronicles composer Scott Glasgow tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern / 7 p.m. Pacific. Then, on March 5 -- next Monday -- you'll all have the opportunity to listen in as Chris talks to the one, the only Reba "Lynn Minmei" West. I suppose Chris is going to have to moderate the hell out of those callers that night.
Answers to questions!
Anonymous: The difference between the AnimEigo Macross box set and the recent ADV Films release of Macross is that the AnimEigo discs feature fewer episodes per disc and only a single audio track, the original Japanese audio. The AnimEigo release is spread over nine discs. The ADV release is spread over seven discs and features that all-new English dub. In theory, I think this means that the image quality on the AnimEigo release should be a little more pristine-looking, a little less compressed-looking, though in practice I don't think you'll notice too much unless you've got some high end viewing equipment or a really sharp eye for that sort of thing.
Macross really doesn't come off as that different from ROBOTECH, at least to me. There were some issues with the translation on certain episodes of ROBOTECH during the teens where the dialogue was a lot clearer in Macross, a lot more exact and to the point, but the overall story and the character arcs were similar enough that I didn't feel like I had missed much by watching ROBOTECH first in my youth. It's still interesting to see the differences, but they're nowhere near as radical as they are in Mospeada, or especially Southern Cross.
MedMapGuy: There is no comic series set during the events of the novel Before The Invid Storm. However, many of the events of Before The Invid Storm are alluded to and quickly summed up in a few short flashback scenes in the pages of Bill Spangler and Tim Eldred's Invid War comic book series, issue #3 (published four years prior -- Luceno spun his plots out of Spangler & Eldred's more obscure work).
Honestly, Before The Invid Storm felt like a formality to me, one last gap that needed to be filled in the narrative of the McKinney ROBOTECH timeline. And yet, Luceno stops right before Spangler & Eldred's comic book series. Was it so as not to step on Spangler's toes again, as he had done in rewriting large chunks of Spangler's Malcontent Uprisings comic book series in the novel The Zentraedi Rebellion, or was it because he was just done telling the story he set out to tell and figured the events that followed weren't important to the narrative of the ROBOTECH novels? Who knows? Maybe someone should have asked him when he was on Space Station Liberty a few weeks ago. Me, I would have been more interested in a straight adaptation of Spangler & Eldred's Invid War series -- that's practically the only gap left in the McKinney novels' narrative, the time between the Invid Invasion and the arrival of Scott Bernard in Earthspace, and it's only plugged up with those first twelve issues (plus the Firewalkers one-shot) of the Invid War comic book series.
Anyway, hope that answers your questions.
Oh, and for the record, I only finished up two new entries on the comic blog during the past week: Robotech II: The Sentinels Book IV #13, the final Sentinels issue, and Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #2. Both need to have image scans added -- didn't have the time to do any major scanning -- but the text is all there if you're interested. Next on deck is Robotech: The Macross Saga #36, the final issue of Comico's adaptation of the first generation of the ROBOTECH TV series. There's lots of little interesting points in that book where it diverges or adds to the events of the TV episode, and there are certain precedents it sets that the folks working on the comics at DC/WildStorm have been playing with a lot the past few years. It's an interesting piece, as I've pointed out before.
CM's Legioss & TLEAD in video!
Well at least SOMEBODY'S going to give us a Beta.
Roger Harkavy sends along a link to a series of photos at Yaco's Blog from this winter's Wonderfest 2007, where CM's is showing off a Genesis Climber Mospeada Legioss & TLEAD set, an upcoming entry in their Brave Gokin series, which has previously featured robots from GaoGaiGar, Patlabor, and the main robot from GoShogun (which aired here in the States as Macron One).
The two are smaller than their Toynami ROBOTECH counterparts, but the visible moving parts -- and the visible hands on the TLEAD -- seem to indicate full transformability. No price has been set, but previous entries in the Brave Gokin line have been anywhere from about 13,000 to 20,000 yen ($130-200) depending on size and complexity. This is probably going to be at the higher end, I think. Scheduled for release sometime this summer (AWESOME!).
Be sure to follow the link to Yaco's Blog to see ALL the photography. The connection and transformation seem somewhat inelegant, but I think this is the first time CM's has had to deal with a smooth mechanical transformation like this, so I'm willing to cut them a little slack. It's an ambitious looking product, to say the least. Can't wait to see it in full glorious color.
Though, y'know, I think this hurts our chances of seeing Toynami's Beta Fighter released. Anyone who would have been willing to pony up approx. $200 for a Toynami Beta is probably savvy enough to find an import shop from which to pick this baby up and check it out, and if it satisfies their Beta Fighter jones, then that's one less potential customer for Toynami's version.
Ah well. C'est lavie.
Update (4:05 p.m.): Roger e-mails me again to say that Matt Alt has seen the Legioss prototype in person and it's about the same size as the Toynami Alpha Fighter. Well then ... this sucker's going to be expensive, isn't it? *sigh*
"... but you already knew that."
According to Anime News Network, Tommy Yune said today at the New York Comic Con:
"Robotech: Shadow Chronicles has been doing good business at retail and we are currently in production on the sequel."
However, you, the dedicated ROBOTECH fan, already knew that the buzz from Harmony Gold for practically the entire past year has been that there was never any question whether or not there would be a sequel to The Shadow Chronicles; rather, the several-million-dollar question has always been what form will this sequel take? Will it be another direct-to-video feature? Will it be a string of direct-to-video features? Or perhaps will it be a new TV series?
With that said, when they announce what form the sequel will take, then we'll know just how "good" the business has been for sure, now won't we?
Bonus: the first post in the comments thread to the article at ANN reads:
I hope this one doesn't take another 20 years to do.
I think that's the other several million dollar question -- how soon should we expect the sequel? The smart money says "about two years." That would be a reasonable amount of time for them to make us wait, methinks, and honestly, I don't think you'd want to see any sequel that would take less time than that -- not unless all those dodges Tommy and the gang have been making regarding the big sequel question before this announcement were just that, dodging the question, and the sequel has been in serious preproduction ever since they wrapped up The Shadow Chronicles a little over a year ago.
And hey, that's always possible. But we'll see.
According to the Robotech.com forums thread, the major ROBOTECH-related programming for the con -- an hour long panel followed by a screening of The Shadow Chronicles, followed by a Q&A session -- is tomorrow. Tommy, Kevin McKeever, composer Scott Glasgow, and Dan "Roy Fokker/General Reinhardt" Woren are all going to be in attendance. Details here if you're going to be in the area. I wonder what new nuggets of info Tommy and the gang are going to drop then, if anything ...
The week ahead.
Sorry, the vast sea of quiet in the wake of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles coming out on DVD is starting to get to me. I'm planning on dealing with this in the only way I know how. Tomorrow, after work, I'm totally going to start working on ye olde comick site again. Then I'm going to take some time off and get some pancakes -- it is International Pancake Day tomorrow after all -- and once I've had enough syrup and butter to last me 'til the summer, I'm coming back and diving deep again into ROBOTECH continuity hell, where I plan on staying for the rest of the week. Keep your eyes on both blogs, because I'll be updating both places throughout the week with my progress.
I'm also in the middle of considering adding a new weekly feature to this blog. Watch this space to see if I go ahead and do it.
Could this be the straight dope? You decide!
Roger points me to Collection DX's report on Toynami's wares showcased at the New York Toy Fair '07, which submits that the Beta is there just to "gauge interest," explains that the two different color schemes of Skull Squadron Alpha are both being produced, and gives us a third, different lineup of Cyclones (one that includes all four regularly seen models from the TV series, and NO Sue Graham). Also showcased were two additions to the Macross 12" doll line -- the previously mentioned but unseen Max Jenius, and a new Hikaru in DYRL flightsuit.
Click here to take it all in.
Okay, now I'm just not sure what's going on ...
Figures.com's article, after their folks snapped the shots of the Beta Fighters, also states that we'll be seeing the Betas this year. Is this from actual talk with Toynami reps, or is this just speculation based on seeing the Beta on display? In either case, I'd say it's a good sign for those of us who still want to see a proper transformable Beta.
I MUST OWN THESE CARDS.
Oh god, that's another ten dollar fandom tax to Harmony Gold this month. What is with this February?
No sooner has the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles soundtrack come out (released just yesterday, Darkwater points us to composer Scott Glasgow's theme analysis and other written commentary on it here if you're fortunate enough to have a copy), but now Hero Factory's got the two-player Robotech Masters deck out the door for your hard-earned, Southern Cross-loving $9.99. Or my hard-earned Southern Cross-loving $9.99, at least. Maybe this will be the event that pushes me over the edge and gets me to start playing the game. If anything could, it would be good ol' Dana and the 15th Squadron ...
It's at the Robotech.com store. You know where that is. I don't need to link it for you.
Happy Valentine's Day!
This piece of art was released exclusively in a five-pack of ROBOTECH comic books put out by Academy Comics on January 29, 1997, according to my research -- presumably part of a wide-reaching plan to blow out all of Academy's remaining inventory before Antarctic Press started rolling out their ROBOTECH books in March of that year. The pack was five books, originally $2.95 apiece, for $6.95. The piece of art is described in the pack as a "kissy print of Roy Fokker & Claudia," but I think "print" is a bit of an overstatement; in reality, the item sitting on my scanner right now is a small xerox copy of a piece of art drawn, I believe, by Frances and/or Michelle Birchfield. I've long since separated the books, so I'm not entirely sure what issues came in the pack, except that there was a copy of Academy's Robotech Romance #1 anthology in there -- that's how I got my undamaged copy of that issue, so that one kind of sticks in the memory. If you know what issues came in the set, let me know in the comments thread.
Yep, I loves me some minutiae.
Anyway, the real point of the post was to say Happy Valentine's Day to all of you attached folks out there. As for the rest of you, um --
Whoops, there's my girlfriend! Gotta go!
On-site Toy Fair photos of the Masterpieces! What's that Beta Fighter doing here?
And the answer is ... Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Scott Bernard! Note he has two wisps of hair dangling down. Though y'know, they could pull a swappable head thing. I think that'd make it all better, don't you?
(Photo from Figures.com's Toynami Robotech gallery.)
Also, look, they're showing off Scott's transformable Beta Fighter again! I wonder why! (Visit the gallery for photos of docked Fighter mode.)
(P.S. Sorry for reaming you out below, Chris. This illness has been making me extra cranky. How the hell were YOU to know I've been sick as a dog for days?)
Toynami shows off the next two Masterpieces, Chris Meadows kicks a man while he's coughing up phlegm.
Hello, pretty purple-trimmed Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Skull One. (From Raving Toy Maniac's New York Toy Fair 2007 coverage, link via Space Station Liberty show notes.) Interesting that the Battloid images don't have the purple. Somehow I don't think the licensor would approve. Given that Harmony Gold's gallery doesn't include those images, I'm thinking I'm right on that one.
Hello, Scott Bernard w/ transformable Armored Cyclone. (Or should that be "armoured"?) Thank god he doesn't have the creepy blank, unpainted eyes of the old Gakken large Cyclone figure. It looks like he only has the series-proper single dangling mass of bangs and not the tuft he has in The Shadow Chronicles, but I'd really like to get a closer look. Wonder when we'll see some on-site photography as opposed to these publicity stills. (Again, Raving Toy Maniac Toy Fair coverage via Space Station Liberty show notes.)
According to Toynami's press release, the other two Cyclone models that are coming up in the first wave (I'm being charitable with the language given Toynami's release schedules on these suckers) are Lancer's and Sue Graham's Cyclones. Sue Graham over Rook? A one-off character over one of the heroines of Scott Bernard's band of freedom fighters? That's some strange planning right there.
Also odd about that press release is that they mention Cyclone designs "straight from the movie," but fail to mention a one of them. Of course, that can mean only one thing -- Vince Grant's Cyclone, duh. Wonder how far out that's gonna be.
And then there's the fact that they only mention premium stuffage for movie tie-ins. No solid little Alpha Fighter you can nervously reconfigure while you're bored. No little Cyclone rider you can set on top of your desk at work. Nothing you can hand to your kids while you all sit back and watch Shadow Chronicles for the umpteenth time. (And don't go saying it's all "age inappropriate" -- I saw Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in the theater when I was three, dammit. Different kids can handle different things. Also, cool robots are cool robots whether you've seen the show they're attached to or not -- see the 1970's Shogun Warriors line by Mattel.)
I dunno, I'm happy to see these things on their way, but on the other hand, it kind of bothers me to see a few high-dollar items on the way and not stuff at a variety of price points for a variety of fans with a variety of amounts sitting in the ol' pocketbook, y'know?
Speaking of things that bother me ...
Hello, Chris Meadows doing a happy dance of joy and gloating as he sing-songs "I got you, I got you! I got you, I got you!" over a sick man.
No, I'm not in a particularly good mood this afternoon. Why do you ask?
We've Got Movement!
Well! I've been laid out sick for the past day and a half, ever since I got off the line with Meadows & the gang on Space Station Liberty Thursday night, and I was just about to my first solid stretch of shuteye since then, when what did I find in my in-box but sdf1macross letting me know that with their DVD out there in the great wide world, the Harmony Gold gang has gotten around to updating their trivia for the first time in, what, two years? At least? It's an eleven point quiz over Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles. Sign in and clicky-click here to test your recall.
I'd say more, but my typing really, really sucks right now. I feel awful and really need some shuteye. More later, of course.
Space Station Liberty: The Roger Harkavy Interview
(Reminder: click here to see one of the images in Roger's treasure trove, the AFC/R-02 ground combat Legioss.)
Roger suggests that if you're interested in seeing this art eventually published, get on the horn and politely suggest to the guys at Harmony Gold via Robotech.com that this is something you want to see, and go out and buy the artbook for Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles tentatively slated for publication in April to let them know that there is, in fact, a market for ROBOTECH-related artbooks. Good advice. In fact, here's an Amazon link, and not even one that sends me a single cent if you click on it. That's how badly I want that artbook. (Mind you, that's also how badly I want to go to bed at this point, but that's neither here nor there ...)
[Edited to fix a model kit manufacturer mix-up. Thank you, anonymous fact-checker! I'd blame it on the fact that I was coming down with the flu when I typed this up originally, but really, I probably would have made the same mistake if I had been in perfect health at the time ...]
This I gotta hear.
When my friend Levi and I went to snag me a copy of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, he asked me, "What special features are on it? Is there a commentary track?" Alas, there is no such thing on the disc.
Buuuuuut, this is where our good friend Darkwater is here to help us out! Not only has he gifted us with an MP3 commentary track for the film, but he did it while drunk for super bonus entertainment value! You know, I was just saying to Levi the other day that more commentary tracks should involve alcohol, and here comes Darkwater with just such a thing! Fantastic!
Anyway, download that 83.3 meg sucker HERE, pop it onto your iPod, and enjoy. I know I will!
Unless he, like, cusses me out or something on there. Then maybe I might not. Then maybe I might cry.
[Not Robotech] The OTHER big mecha release of the month ...
My copy of the spiffy Aim for the Top! Gunbuster DVD box from Bandai Visual -- which isn't supposed to be out 'til the 20th -- showed up today. You can see good photography of the box set here at the current hideout of Mike Toole, formerly of Anime Jump. It's very a pretty item, and I can't wait to see how pretty the contents of it are on my TV screen. Alas, I'll have to wait 'til tomorrow. Geez, and I haven't even finished watching Shadow Chronicles once all the way through yet ... *sigh*
Too many DVDs, too little time.
The Shadow Chronicles DVD chat | More commercial fun!
Roger Harkavy passes along a Gakken Legioss toy commercial at Google Video -- just what I was looking for last night. Click on over. It's pretty cool.
Meanwhile, you probably already saw this on Darkwater's blog, but Cyc (who uploaded it, ripped from his copy of the Japanese Mospeada DVD set) e-mailed me the link while I was at work, so I feel obligated to post it. Besides, it's AWESOME. You can watch it again -- I know I sure as hell can, over and over ...
I don't think there are too many things better than a toy Ride Armor beautifully reenacting the climactic fight from the first episode of Mospeada against cartoon Inbit. If there are, I can't think of them right now. Damn.
I share my joy with the world.
You know what I learned from this experience?
Clearly I need a new lamp.
But of COURSE they're doing a new Macross show ...
2-5-07 (10:13AM EST)---- Victor Casting For New Macross?
Following up our report (see the January 22nd item) that Victor Entertainment was holding an open audtion to the public to cast a title heroine and themesong performer for a "masterpiece animation", the title of that work may have now come to light. The devil is in the details, and those participating in the audition seem to have spotted the Macross title in a number of areas, ranging from the addresses appearing on postcards to fliers and other items. Monthly Debut magazine also covers the event in its latest issue and information contained in their writeup also seem to lead in the Macross direction.
It will be the 25th anniversary this October, so that only makes sense, no? Here's hoping it doesn't stink up the place.
Thanks to good ol' Tolarin for the tip.
The Joy of YouTubeitude.
That's right. I was actually looking for a Gakken Mospeada toy ad, but this is even better. (Also, kind of weird since I was just talking about the Southern Cross kits below. Hm.) Anyway, check it out.
My Super 7 #15 came in the mail today.
Hey, I'm a nit-picker. This is what I do.
Love the nice big shot of the various-sized Mospeada Ride Armors together -- you really don't see a lot of acknowledgment of those nice-looking but non-transforming small Ride Armor figures, and in this particular image they look like things worth having. I would have liked it if the photos of the mecha in bike mode off to the side were a little bit bigger so you didn't have to squint at them, though.
The brief yet remarkably thorough article provides a clear overview of Southern Cross and Mospeada, their merchandising, and how their inclusion in ROBOTECH spawned further merchandising both for good (Invid!) and ill (crappy action figures!), though photography of the deformed Matchbox action figures is not provided.
I kind of wish there was some more pertinent trivia thrown around, like the fact that the pictured Bioroid Invid Fighter figure is actually of a Bioroid mecha that never appeared in the animation and, before Matchbox brought it into three-dimensional life, only had existed on model sheets. Given the two pages about model sheets of mecha that were never realized in animation that followed the main article, I would've thought that a nice bridging point. Also, while the custom painted Invid Scout on the second page betrays it, he also doesn't point out in his discussion of the Matchbox toys that the so-called Scout is merely a scaled-down Trooper in a non-canonical red color scheme.
In his bit about the model sheets, Roger shows off a black & white version of the piece he provided this blog as an exclusive here, explaining that it was designed while the show was on the air ("Ah, I see."), as well as a cool piece featuring a booster-equipped Legioss diving towards the Earth, a Ride Armor-as-hoverbike design that may predate the two-wheelers we know, and an Inbit mecha that looks like it eventually evolved into the reclamation forces' Condor mecha -- you know, the ones with the weird snout heads that appeared in the Invasion comics. The Southern Cross materials are consistent with some of the model sheets that appeared on the Elements of Robotechnology bonus discs that came with the Legacy Collection box sets and the Protoculture Collection Remastered box set, featuring fancy samurai-style armor from the show's pre-Super Dimension roots, as well as the mechanical horses that would later crop up in Robotech II: The Sentinels materials. Japanese text explains a "warring factions" backstory that would be ditched as the plethora of armor designs would get sci-fied up and their wearers would become united against alien invaders and would pilot giant robots. I think the earlier direction explains why the armor suits got model kits and the robots generally didn't ...
So, if that all sounds cool and interesting, here's the link to buy the issue. Also, on the topic of Southern Cross ... hey, you ever seen this page at Robert Morgenstern's Southern Cross site? Lots and lots of Southern Cross kits that never reached production. Drat.
Thank goodness my computer's back at 100% ...
Anyway, I hung up and wasn't away from the phone for more than five minutes before he called me back and told they wouldn't let him buy it until Tuesday. No street date breaking at Circuit City, no way!
I'm thinking of doing some work on the comics blog later tonight, but right now, you get links.
- Keith Palmer discovers Robotech The Movie: The Untold Story, or as he puts it, The Star Wars Holiday Special of Robotech.
- Chris "Robotech_Master" Meadows gives us a well-played Vince Grant before (Sentinels) & after (Shadow Chronicles) shot and shows us how he lied to the REF about his age.
Actually, if you want to see a lot more comparison shots of the Shadow Chronicles cast of characters, I made this thing around a year ago. It might come in handy on Tuesday, when you're busy speculating about the next ROBOTECH animation after you're done watching the DVD. Of course, you'll have to mark off a couple of extra casualties while you're at it ...
- I point out this "What Robotech Character Are You?" quiz only because my girlfriend just e-mailed the link to me and told me she wound up most like Dana Sterling, of all people. Suddenly I am that much more attracted to her -- my girlfriend, I mean, not Dana. Heh. Meanwhile, I ended up with this:
You scored as Scott Bernard. Born in outer space during the Expeditionary Mission, Scott Bernard is part of the new generation of Earth's defenders. He is a pilot in the Mars Division, one of the advanced battalions trying to reclaim Earth from the Invid. He arrives on his ancestral planet as one of the only few survivors from this advance Robotech fleet. When he recovers from the shock of his disastrous landing, Scott, sets about to fulfill his mission to reach Reflex Point and join Admiral Rick Hunter's new army at all costs.
Which Robotech character are you most like?
created with QuizFarm.com
- Well, sure ...
- For you general mecha-heads, my pal Evan Cass points me to the Live 365 radio station Super Robot Taizen, featuring a constant stream of mecha anime tunes new, old, and really old. (Ore wa Gu-ra-i-to, Gu-raito Mazinga!) I've got almost all of these songs on my computer in MP3 format, but I've still been listening to this all night, and will probably continue to 'til morning.
The issue of Super 7 Magazine featuring Roger Harkavy's article on Southern Cross and Mospeada, featuring rare line art of the sort he provided for me to preview at this very blog, is now available here at the Super 7 website for $7.95 + $4.50 postage. Is it worth it? I'll let you know when my copy comes in.
Oh, and Roger's going to be the guest of our good friend Chris Meadows on Space Station Liberty a week from today (Thursday). Damn you, Meadows, taking up my week! My girlfriend is going to be very cross with you ...
Meanwhile, Diamond Comic Distributors has sent copies of the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles DVD to comic specialty shops across the nation, and there are anecdotal reports at Darkwater's blog of copies popping up at Best Buy stores as well. And still I go without! I will be the last man in on-line ROBOTECH fandom without a Shadow Chronicles DVD. Weep for me.
Fun aside: because of a problem with my hard drive, I'm going to have to wipe the sucker clean in order to install the necessary update to the operating system to run a certain piece of software I'm going to need very shortly. Found this out tonight. Cherry on the top of a crappy day. Ah well, here's to the next twenty-four hours not sucking so bad ...