ROBOBLOG III Archives

1.01.2008

It's a new day.


First off, apologies for my absence from this blog for the past few weeks. Right before the holidays, an ice storm knocked out power to the better part of Southeast Kansas (as well as Southwest Missouri and most of Oklahoma) for a few days. Up 'til then I was at least posting the tidbits people sent me -- podcast reminders, notes from Roger about the movement on the toy front. Stuff like that. But even at that point nothing going on had really excited me. I mean, at this point I still haven't bought the Shadow Chronicles Whoop-Dee-Doo Edition. If I have thirty dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I'm gonna spend it on that one DVD of Paradise Kiss I don't have, not a movie I spent the better part of two years eagerly anticipating, traveled across the entire state of Missouri to watch in a theatrical presentation, and purchased the midnight it was released. That was the endpoint right there -- buying it in a store. That's where the overwhelming excitement stopped. It's gone. You can't get it back. Not without something new. Probably the only way I'll buy the Shadow Chronicles: We Want All Your Money edition is if I can find it cheap. Or if the Sam Goody Exclusive Lenticular version puts me in some kind of trance. One or the other.

Likewise, it just hasn't been in the budget to pick up any of the new Mospeada> toys, or I'd at least be able to talk about them -- though man, it does sound like I dodged a bullet there. Toys so crappy they felled the Beta Fighter. Or is that still going on? You know, I almost as a rule don't listen to podcasts, so I didn't listen to that episode of Chris Meadows's Space Station Liberty where Tommy Yune talked about all that. It doesn't actually matter, since as our good friend Roger Harkavy let me know a little while back, CM's is releasing their version (in Japan) in February, for about three hundred bucks. The thing that makes me think I need to save my pennies for that is that it looks solid -- the antithesis of the Toynami Alpha, whose plastic feels like it's going to break eight ways to Sunday with every transformation. Oh, it's got all the fiddly little details right, but it is not a playable thing, and at this point in my life that's the one thing I value in a toy above all. Do I want to take it off the shelf and play with it? I look at those photographs of the CM's Legioss, and I just want to reach into the screen, grab it, and go "ZOOM, ZOOM!" with it, it looks so durable, solid and playable. And they have a pretty damn good track record, unlike our pals at Toynami, who have been making mecha fans shake their heads gravely for over half a decade now.


Speaking of podcasts, well ... the Destroy All Podcasts guys wrapped up their "Robotech Trilogy of Pain" with Robotech The Movie: The Untold Story, and then for Christmas gave an extra-long go at Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Now, I usually listen to Destroy All Podcasts, because they like what I like -- creaky old '80s mecha shows, and they've been on kind of a ROBOTECH-related kick. But much in the same way that I missed posting their last two links -- which they kindly sent me -- I missed listening to 'em as well. So I wake up this morning (late, after a long night of watching anime and making up terrible new Power Ranger shows and bitching about Marvel and DC Comics with my friend Levi) to get this text message on my phone from pal and co-conspirator Evan:

*sigh* The DX boys diss u & ur RT blog in their latest ep, & refer 2 countless women as "bitch"es... I'm through w/ them.


I thought this was about some sort of brand-new release, and they were turning on me after not posting those last two links -- yes, I assumed such a small slight would earn me some trash talk, how they really feel now that I was apparently no longer supporting them -- but given that the only reason Evan listens to the show is the ROBOTECH-related content and nothing new popped up on the Collection DX site when I looked at it, I could only figure that Evan just finally turned on the Macross show, about which I noticed Jeremy wrote to me:

We actually mention you in this podcast. Andrew tries to talk shit and I yell at him. :)


You know, I have such a thin skin, I think I'm not gonna give that one a listen. Probably better that way.

As for the comment about all the times women are called bitches ... yeah, that sounds like Destroy All Podcasts. I enjoy it most of the time, but I do have to admit, there's a streak of (hopefully) unthinking Harry Knowles-like casual "boys' club" frat house misogyny going on there.

(And then Jeremy says, "Okay guys, I'm sorry, you were right -- that guy sucks.")

I'm sure some of you are curious what I think of the new Macross show that premiered over the Christmas holiday, Macross Frontier. Well, here's what I wrote to my pal James "Tolarin Skylar" Pickens over the break:

Two words: TOO FAMILIAR. It's a very pretty show with some neat bits to it (love the exo-gauntlets and boots, esp. the way they integrate into the Valkyrie cockpit), but unless it really winds up throwing us for a loop within the first few episodes, based on the first half hour I doubt it'll have anything to say that wasn't well stated and developed in the original Macross TV series twenty-five years ago. I couldn't help but notice all the parallels between Frontier and all the other Macross animation (good on 'em for integrating the best parts of Macross Plus's setting; it does an excellent job giving the show, despite its own farther-in-the-future setting, a modern approximation of the not-too-distant future feel of the original series) -- including Macross II (Wendy Ryder + brain = this show's singing star). It was cute for a while, but I rolled my eyes when I saw the exo-gauntlets against the sky in that familiar hand-as-plane-flying gesture Isamu always did. The "we knew this was coming" idiotic military commander nonsense was grating -- SUCH A DAMNABLE CLICHE -- and honestly, the moment when the non-military pilot leapt into the Gerwalk and started rapid-firing at the enemy mecha/creature/whatever to save the girl was the moment I decided once and for all that I just didn't care. The last three Macross shows were so much their own things -- based on what I've seen, this is nothing more than a well-polished echo.

My pal Levi tells me I should give it four or five episodes. Personally, I'd rather not bother with it. Clearly it is not for me.


Moving along ...

Regarding the comic contest, the new deadline to get your entries in (since I know some of you are still scribbling away, or scrambling to find artists, or whatnot) is ...

January 23, 2008

Mark your calendars.

Let's see, what else to mention before I wrap this thing up ... the issue of Protoculture Addicts magazine with my article on the history of the ROBOTECH franchise is currently available, so if you have six bucks sitting around (plus shipping), you can buy that. Or not. I really don't care either way. It's not like I'm seeing a nickel of that.


I'm going to end this by answering a few questions shot my way by Tariq Mohsen, whose name I goofed up on a Roboblog Chronicles video once, the poor guy. He sent these along about half a month ago, so I gotta apologize to him again. What can I say, hypothetical Jeremy is right: I suck.

Since the McKinney novels (sentinels) have been relegated to secondary canon now with the new plans with Shadow Chronicles/Rising, what is known about Janice Em? Due to the her self-sacrifice to eliminate Edwards in the Genesis Pit, has her memory been damaged to the point that she doesn't recall the REF adventures? Was she created solely by humans, a.k.a Dr. Lang, or is she part Haydonite? It seems some of the main characters, particularly Vince Grant, do not remember her. I'm not sure whether that is a further indication that she was a later creation than that suggested in the Sentinels' novels and comics. Have any thoughts?


In Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, the original purple-haired Janice Em -- the one that was Minmei's singing partner -- drags T.R. Edwards into a Genesis Pit vat, where he mutates into a giant Regent-like beast that very nearly transfigures and ascends to a higher plane like the Invid Regess at the end of New Generation. Torn in half during the battle, Janice survives long enough to send the SDF-3 a homing pulse that they can lock onto to fire their twin-barreled synchro-cannon and destroy Edwards once and for all. Just before the cannon fires, Janice manages a long-distance upload of some of her memory banks to a new body -- the one seen in The Shadow Chronicles -- built by Lang in cooperation with the Haydonites.

Now, the temporal cues in Prelude suck because they were kept intentionally vague. But everyone acts like the end of the mess with Edwards wasn't that long ago during the epilogue scenes, maybe a week or so, so the Janice we see in The Shadow Chronicles hasn't been operational for very long at all. She also doesn't really look or act like the old Janice, so when someone like Vince Grant is getting all in her face about being a tool of the Haydonites, I don't think he realizes that there's any of the old Janice -- who he actually watched valiantly sacrifice herself on Optera -- in there. He probably thinks this is a separate android out of Lang's lab that just happens to have the same name. And seriously, given the fact that she's missing that tactless sarcastic edge of the old Janice, replaced with a wholly generic innocent "oh, humans are so interesting!" riff, I don't blame him one bit.

According to the novels and some evidence in macross-related anime (particularly Macross Plus), the mechamorphosis (and subsequent control) of Alphas and other mecha into battloid and guardian modes is atleast partially done through 'thinking-caps' that the pilots possess. This was not the case in SC, and certainly not seen in the NG tv series. Are we to assume that the thinking-caps have been "de-canonized" from Robotech lore, then?


As numerous fans have pointed out over the years, the "thinking cap" element of mechamorphosis really isn't supported by the show footage -- characters in all three generations are seen to pilot and transform Robotech mecha sans helmet on occasion (the one that jumps out at me is Scott Bernard piloting his Alpha sans armor in "Enter Marlene" -- that's actually the moment when I went "Waiiiiiit a sec!" as regards the whole "thinking cap" thing, back when I was in junior high). In Macross Plus it was only the YF-21 that had any sort of thought control, and well, you saw how well THAT went down -- there's a reason they took it out for the production run of YF-22's (seen in Macross 7), and I don't think it was expense. Thought control is a tricky thing -- a stray thought can screw up the works, hence the phrase repeated throughout the novels, "nothing extraneous in mind and body." I don't think there's anything the "thinking cap" offers that can't be put into more reliable effect with some computer algorithms to smooth out the mecha's movement -- except that McKinney wanted the transformational aspect of the Veritech to be somehow tethered to the "magical" properties of Protoculture, and attaching that to the human mind does that on some level.

In short, though, yeah, I think "thinking caps" are out.

Do you think Lynn Minmei will make an appearance in the next film/series? I know that the last time she was mentioned was in the last of the Prelude comic books, and she's being taken to Tirol by Jack Baker. Did she really have a relationship with Rem, or are we to consider that nulled until further notice from Yune and co. ? The same question about Miriya Sterling...Rick mentions that there is more than one Sterling that can lead the Skull: does he just mean Maia? For Dana is more closely associated with the Hovertanks. That leaves only Miriya. I hope the reason Dana not talking to Maia isn't because Miriya possibly passed in childbirth...? That would be a shame. I haven't read the Sentinels novels all through yet, I am still halfway through World Killers.


Tommy Yune has gone on record as saying that Lynn Minmei's story is over. The only reason she even appeared in the Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles comic book series is because T.R. Edwards' capture of her was set up in the original Sentinels storyline it was based on. The comics spent just enough time on it to wrap it all up with the minimum amount of the character -- she doesn't even get a chance to say good bye. Whether it's out of respect for the original Macross character or because he secretly hates her, I have no clue, but in any case as long as Yune is running ROBOTECH I doubt we'll see her again.

Taking that into account, consider the fact that Rem appears in the last issue of Prelude in a scene that seems to exist only to set up certain characters to use later -- him, Cabell, and Dana Sterling. If Minmei isn't going to appear and Rem is being put on deck for Shadow Rising, obviously the whole Rem & Minmei thing isn't going to happen.

You know what? That idea you had there, Miriya dying in childbirth explaining why Dana and Maia don't talk, isn't half bad. But Maia says at the end of The Shadow Chronicles that her family is on-board the SDF-3, and with Dana -- I assume, based on Prelude -- joining the action in Shadow Rising, I think she's referring to Max and Miriya.

I still think that Max and Miriya haven't show up because Harmony Gold wants to leave open the possibility of using Macross 7 as a part of ROBOTECH (as ridiculous an idea as it might be) so they don't want to commit themselves to a different set of character designs for Max and Miriya, but given the age of that show and the legal wrangling that still seems to be going on in Japan, that ship has probably sailed.

Rick's reference to more than one Sterling being able to lead the Skull is, at this point, pretty obviously just a reference to Maia, designed to make sense only after you've watched The Shadow Chronicles since Maia's last name is never given in Prelude.

We know that the Wolff alpha-beta teams are integral in the SC. But what happened to his hovertank legions? Or does the SC Wolf team have nothing to do with the original"Wolff" Pack? And now that Vince is captain aboard the Icarus (or is it the Arch Angel? I can't remember!), where is the GMU and who is in charge of it? Its a pity the hovertanks have not made an appearance yet. Then again, there hasn't been any ground-based battles in SC to begin with, so....


Remember, there was a Veritech Wolf Team referred to in the early episodes of The Macross Saga -- the same one that, in the Battlecry video game, Jack Archer served with and later took command of (or was he in command in the beginning? It's been a while since I played that game ...). I think the Wolf Squadron under Daryl Taylor was more a nod to that than a reference to Jonathan Wolfe. Though I don't think it's outside of the realm of possibility that Sentinels mainstay Jack Baker took command of the Wolf Squadron from Jonathan Wolfe himself when Wolfe took off to fight the Masters or the Invid or whatever they said in "Eulogy" ...

Vince commanded the Tokugawa in Prelude for one mission. It was destroyed, then he took command of Edwards's Icarus and led THAT ship for all of a couple days at most before trading up to the Ark Angel, which he's commanding at the end of The Shadow Chronicles. The GMU, if you're going by the Sentinels novels and comics, was lost in the destruction of the planet Praxis; who knows if it even exists in the new timeline since it was basically a G.I. Joe vehicle added to Sentinels as a concession to toy manufacturer Matchbox (at least, that's what Macek said in Robotech Art 3, IIRC).

Maybe I need to do better research, but...when the SDF-3 left Earth in 2020 (or 2022?), did it take with it the only working protoculture matrix? If so, what are the three mounds we see in Southern Cross that contain the Flowers of Life? How does SC make connection with Carl Macek's work in this regard? Could it be that when the SDF-1 was destroyed during Khyron's final attack, Zor's protoculture matrix was dispersed in the vicinity of Lake Gloval, and what remains of it is seen in Southern Cross? Then what could be aboard the SDF-3? Or did Rem help make another one later during the Sentinels expedition? I am a little confused. Please help de-mystify.


2020 according to the novels, 2022 by every other source. Remember, the timelines don't exactly match up, especially given that Harmony Gold pushed New Generation forward about eight years when they devised the timeline at Robotech.com.

The SDF-3 didn't have any Protoculture Matrix -- or maybe I should say Protoculture Factory -- when they left for Tirol. The one that's discussed in Shadow Chronicles aboard the SDF-3 is assumed to basically be the one Rem made in the novels following the Sentinels Campaign. That's the only thing that makes sense. Otherwise, well ...

One thing that always frustrated me about the early Sentinels comics and the actual TV series scripts presented in the Malibu Graphics script books is the way the characters talk like the SDF-3 is basically the SDF-1 restored. If it's the SDF-1 restored, then yeah, it would have the Protoculture Factory on-board, so when the Masters arrived, they'd find NOTHING. It contradicts the original TV show. If you just sent the SDF-1 back into space, and the Masters come to Earth, they go, "Oh shit! We just missed what we were looking for!" and double back. But no, when they see the mounds and check their readings, they know they've found the ruins of the SDF-1, and within, the lost Protoculture Factory/Matrix. So it cannot be aboard the SDF-3.

So yes, Rem probably made it. After all, he's around and we'll probably be seeing him in Shadow Rising, if the scene in Prelude meant anything.


And so I skulk back into the darkness for the time being. If you want some reliable ROBOTECH blogging in the interim, there's always Evan Cass's protoCULTURE blog. Don't worry, I'll be back. After all, I've still got a contest to wrap up ...

Later.

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10 Comments:

  • No updates, I was beginning to worry. How is it that your not getting anything (money) for the Protoculture Addicts article and interview?

    Oh...and thanks for the art contest update. We'll have it in by the dead-line.

    -adc-

    By Blogger aaron@digitalcole, at 01 January, 2008 22:50  

  • Glad to hear that you're okay despite the recent winter storm that struck your neck of the woods.

    BTW, Happy New Year!! :D

    By Blogger Callie, at 01 January, 2008 23:24  

  • Great Post man, sorry to hear about the bad weather you been having. I download the Destroy All Podcasts probable because of you, I kinda look at them the same way, But as they pick on alot of people i dont think they realy picked on you. But you have to play that show for yourself to make sure.

    And I just ordered me a copy of the Protoculture Addicts. Thanks

    Happy New Year man...

    By Blogger Rick, at 02 January, 2008 11:37  

  • For the record, Andrew just complained about a Robotech blog linking to us because he hates Robotech and I said I liked you linking us and that you are a cool guy. That's all there was to it. It wasn't really a diss. That's why I had a smiley face there.

    Andrew is just what you would call a Macross purist. Remember that Feddy is pro-Robotech (he loves the novels), Mike is neutral, and while I can't really handle the original show any more due to its cheesy dialogue, acting, and music, I still really enjoy the novels, have a big fat Robotech comic collection, toys, DVDs, et cetera. I saw Shadow Chronicles in a theatre. I post on Robotech.com.

    As for our "frat boy" atmosphere, don't take us so seriously. We are not a dry, academic podcast. We are a snarky, sarcastic podcast. I am prone to hyperbole and exaggeration -- I think it's funny. And I don't really feel the need to apologize for calling Minmay a whiney brat or whatever I said. Destroy All Podcasts is intended to be irreverant. Yes, we sometimes say ridiculous things, but who else is talking about Space Warriors Baldios?

    I think most people can tell when we are being silly.

    Sure, we can be over the top, as in our Dallos episode. I don't really hate Mamoru Oshii -- I hate Dallos, Red Spectacles, and Stray Dog. :)

    Sorry if Evan does not appreciate our humor, but the only people we really diss are filmmakers when they make gross missteps (like Dallos), or our friends. The diss episode was a joke, and I've even been a guest host on one of the podcasts we were making fun of. It was done with affection.

    People like to characterize us as serial "haters", but come on, we gave Darkwing Duck a good review.

    Seriously, don't take us so seriously.

    -Jeremy from Destroy All Podcasts DX

    By Blogger Karaoke, at 02 January, 2008 15:34  

  • Oh, I should also mention that I intentionally try to have people on the podcast who disagree with me because it makes for better conversation and multiple viewpoints.

    -Jeremy

    By Blogger Karaoke, at 02 January, 2008 15:36  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Karaoke, at 02 January, 2008 15:43  

  • Found your answers to some of those questions to be interesting and at the same time frustrating. Not because of your answers. But because of the screwed-up nature of "Robotech." I've ordered that issue of "Protoculture Addicts." It's ashame that they didn't pay you for your work.

    By Blogger Shawno, at 03 January, 2008 04:01  

  • Just want to point out that it is also possible that the Matrix in the SDF3 in Shadow Chronicles might be the same one that was in the SDF1, removed and transported to the REF prior to the Invid's invasion.

    By Blogger Treiz, at 05 January, 2008 00:07  

  • Hi treiz,

    About the Matrix...
    The original Matrix was hidden inside the reflex engines/furnace of the original SDF-1. When the SDF-1 eventually crashed and was split apart by Khyron's last chance for vengeance, the Matrix actually "broken open", releasing it's contents and sprouted a crop of the Flowers of Life which we see during the Southern Cross saga.

    The matrix that the SDF-3 carries is the Fascimille Matrix which Rem, a clone of Zor created by Zor's teacher Cambell, was able to make by tapping into his memories of the original Zor. Rem only made one Fascimille Matrix.

    Sam

    By Blogger yu_samson, at 07 January, 2008 21:52  

  • Sam,

    You know, I really like that explanation. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it articulated in such a way before, but it is a great way of accounting for the presence of the flowers in SC and it would also explain why the Matrix wasn’t located during the clean up. IIRC, the novels, which I tend to dismiss anyway (at least as far as counting as canon – I enjoyed reading them though), had the Matrix hidden in such a way that it avoided detection. I can’t remember if this was due to some type of dimensional phase shift or simply the will of the “shapings” or some such.

    By Blogger Niff, at 08 January, 2008 16:26  

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