Friday, July 30, 2010

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, ANN Article
Video [Free]: Hulu, Anime News Network

When the Fourth of July came about, I originally was aiming to select the Stan Lee/BONES-produced HEROMAN as a patriotic nod to the holiday and month. Yet, time passed by and I decided against it, since the show already seems to have a good following going. Having already spotlighted other popular shows in Gundam and Haruhi Suzumiya, I decided to turn the shine onto another franchise that, while it has its fans, isn't quite as up there as the other two, most notably when concerning its first series.

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982) may be better known as one of the three unrelated shows that were spliced together to make Robotech, a landmark title in early U.S. anime fandom, but even titles from the franchise it would spawn have outshined it in some degree. Macross Plus, a standalone 1994 OVA sequel, was another influential, more well-known work and a big hit across the Pacific, as was the recent Macross Frontier (2008), which celebrated the series' 25th anniversary. Even SDF Macross' film adaptation, Do You Remember Love? (1984), has rivaled its progenitor's legendary status. Yet, Frontier's great success has helped increase the series' awareness, and though it is much more popular in Japan, it still possesses a dedicated fanbase here. Its unique blend of realistically-designed transforming robots, pop music, and love triangles, along with impressive production values for its time, have made this tale of humans and alien giants at war an important classic, both industry- and fandom-wise, in Japan and abroad, regardless of form.

Of course, SDF Macross' streaming debut just happened to land close to the same date that the show's final battle takes place on (February 11, 2010). Fireworks International posted the now-defunct ADV Films' dub of the 36-episode series onto Hulu (also accessible at Anime News Network), which was most notable for seiyuu and musician Mari Iijima reprising her role as Lynn Minmei for the English version--the first time any Japanese VA had done so. Not only did the role launch her substantial singing and idol career, it has also been her one and only role in anime (reprised in the Flash Back 2012 OVA (1987) and DYRL).

As a bonus, I'll also throw in the first three episodes to GR -Giant Robo- (2007), the 40th anniversary work commemorating Mitsuteru Yokoyama's pioneer work (featuring the first giant robot to have a human operator). Animators Softgarage were pumped to show it off on a global scale, going as far as to offer the first episode for free on their site to English-speaking fans (and offering instructions on how to navigate and register on their Japanese pages...though the video itself was untranslated). However, things didn't pan out in Japan or elsewhere and the show fell into obscurity, never reaching the level of recognition that its more well-known counterpart, Giant Robo (1992) (more broad homage to Yokoyama's work than GR adaptation), had achieved. However, Softgarage doesn't seem to have given up on their aspirations, and last year, quietly posted the first three episodes of GR--this time with English subtitles--onto their YouTube channel. No additional ones have been posted since then.

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