20:00:00.27 Greenwich Mean Time,
July 23, 2001.
It's 'Game On' for El Diablo. Discounting the fact there are hockey teams in such excellent winter sports villas of Miami, Dallas, Phoenix and Anaheim; it's still hard to imagine (call me Mr.) Satan is lacing up the blades and pulling over the '666' sweater (New Jersey Devils, natch ). Hell hath frozen over, Mobile Suit Gundam is on US Television.
Sunrise (company responsible for MS Gundam and other classic anime, now owned by Bandai Japan), you see, had long been the subject of snickering anime fanboy inside jokes and stories (read: not really 'funny'), mostly involving monkeys and asses of some kind. Classic example was the story going around was that 'Sunrise wants $1,000,000 for Crusher Joe/Dirty Pair, so no way you'll ever see Gundam.' It was all ha-ha, snicker-snicker in the early 90s sitting at conventions when 'newbie' fans would ask AnimEigo or ADV or CPM/USMC: "Why don't you bring over Gundam?" because of *course* we knew better. Oh how silly fanboys can be.
What's closer to the truth is, of course Sunrise/Bandai were very protective about Gundam, because it was *the* cash cow of all the cash cows in anime. Sunrise (rightly so) was willing to do nothing with the property because of the immense financial institution that was Gundam, and because the 'podunk' stature of the anime industry in the US at the time. Why 'give away' a franchise for a meager return now, when there's no financial harm in staying put until they felt the time was right? Signs began to trickle out later when Sunrise/Bandai owned items began appearing here and there (Dirty Pair, Votoms, various others) that showed those old rumors were just that, rumors.
Since about three years ago, when Bandai Entertainment began its AnimeVillage.com venture, perhaps it's been an forgone conclusion Gundam would be officially released here. However, people now thought that the *original* Gundam series would never be seen here, with its outmoded animation and (in some opinions) old soundtrack. Now, lo and behold, it's sharing the same stomping grounds as Space Ghost and Scooby Doo. Whether I'm proud or scared of that fact, I'm still not certain. What I do know is that Frau Bow could whip Velma's ass seven days from Sunday.
Mobile Suit Gundam was dubbed by The Ocean Group, under the auspices of Sunrise and Gundam creator Tomino himself. While many Gundam fans feel Tomino went insane, oh about 1986 or so (post-Zeta Gundam), with his lackluster additions to the franchise (ZZ, X, Wing, Turn-A among others), he's back to ride herd over the translation effort of his baby, and for better or for worse, I guess he's earned at least that much.
As for myself, I put the dubbing effort into the 'ok' category. Many voice characterizations are decent to good, especially Char Aznable voiced by David Kaye (Treize In Gundam Wing, Megatron In BeastWars); and Amuro Rey voiced by Brad Swaile (Quatre In Gundam Wing). Many people don't seem to like Amuro's voice and feel he's too whiney and such. Well, at this point of the story, Amuro's supposed to be a whiney bitch ^^. When Bright Noah punches him in episode 10, I literally shouted 'about time!'.
There are issues with some too literal translations and a couple of unbelieveable gaffes (Two locations being 'translated' as 'Great Canyon' and 'Mid Lake', when it's obviously the locations are the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead). Generally it's not really annoying, as the overall story is gripping and the action is paced well. (Something that Gundam Wing failed at miserably) While the scripts don't have as earthy a feel to them as the Gundam MS 08th Team dub does, they're good enough. (And I did actually hear a reference to a 'feddie' in episode 10, so maybe things loosen up).
Definitely needed more of a Nadelman/Kanemitsu/Fleming touch to the ADR script. One thing for sure, though, I'm still glued to this thing, something I can't say about Gundam Wing which bored and disinterested me away after a couple weeks.
Gavv's Quick Bites:
Robotech Legacy, Part 1:
In June, ADVision began releasing the "anime" "classic" Robotech on DVD, starting with The Macross Saga episodes. Not to be confused with the soon-to-be-released DVD box set of Macross from AnimEigo (which features entirely remastered video of the original series), Robotech Legacy is essentially tossing out Robotech as aired onto DVD, 6 episodes a serving. What makes the set interesting (2 discs/12 episodes plus a 'bonus' disc in each set, or the each of the 2 discs are available separately) beyond the kitsch and nostalgia value, is the bonus third disc.
The bonus (or extras) disc contains production sketches, video clip examples of a scene from Robotech in various international languages, and the main feature, Codename: Robotech. A feature-length video compiled of footage of the first 8 or so episodes, Codename: Robotech was originally a 'gift' given by Harmony Gold to TV stations which had agreed to air Robotech. The movie (which aired but once) was essentially a lead-in to the ideas, characters, and themes of the show; whose serial nature and more serious concept compared to many previous examples of cartoon series. In addition, Carl Macek adds an audio commentary track to CN:R, in which you learn some interesting tidbits about the making of the show, including some hows and whys surrounding edits, choices involving music, cast, and recording techniques. Amazing that (no matter what you think of the quality) they actually managed to produce all 85 episodes in a matter of 4 months.