12.24.2009

dommah's linked-up top 10 list of the 00's!

Not songs or films, but personal and public events of note:

2000. I left the coolest job in the world to move to LA and get into filmmaking. The ex-job was translation/adaptation editor for a startup comic company doing online English versions of Japanese comics. The whole day was thinking about the best transliteration of "sound of heart thumping" or "sound of head smashing into pavement." Here's the first book of one of the cool titles we did, Tomie by Junji Ito. It really was an excellent gig, but oh well, following dreams, all that, and anyway that company folded with the burst of the dotcom bubble.

2001. Around 9/11, I got a new job as a professional card player and learned about a whole new world of scum and villainry, resulting in some of my more popular blog rants. Oh, and 9/11 happened. That seems like it should be on the list...

2002. I have no notes on this year. I think I spent most of it hanging out with my girlfriend. Girlfriends can be great in that they keep you from knowing what's going on in the rest of the world. Seriously, if there was a nuclear explosion this year, I've forgot about it, 'cause we were probably deciding which Indian restaurant to go to.

2003. There was a special recall election that made Arnold Schwarzenegger the governor of California. I still have difficulty believing that happened.

10 More Things That Seriously Totally Happened This Decade And Now You're Like Over It: Friendster, Facebook, the poker fad, the Tsunami in Thailand, Hurricane Katrina, Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, Bush & his Oil Buddies invade Iraq for why?, same-sex marriages, Ipods, text messages. I just want to say that again 'cos it's funny: TEXT MESSAGES.

2004. I shot an independent science-fiction movie and had a run-in with the Department of Home Security. The short version is: never ever park your unmarked grip truck next to a government property during the Age of Terror, even if you have a filming permit.

2005. The last Star Wars movie came out this year. That was a big deal just because it threw into sharp focus that being 30 was gonna be a lot less fun than being 5. My review here.

10 Best Films of the Decade: Brick, Half Nelson, Iron Man, The Savages, Macross Frontier, Michael Jackson's This Is It, Day Night Day Night, 40-Year Old Virgin, Donnie Darko, Primer. (OK, Macross Frontier isn't quite a movie, but there is a feature version released in Japan, so by a technicality.)

2006. I can't remember much of this year except there was a lot of pining and casino douchebags. Also, somehow this year I got the brilliant idea to buy a condo on an adjustable-rate loan. I spend much of this year and the next sweating through attacks of cold panic and depression.

2007. The Warriors won a playoff series. I mean, if you remember how much the Mavericks killed everyone that year, and how not very good the Warriors generally are, that was pretty awesome.


2008. It's hard to pick out of all the important stuff from this year (getting out of the ill-advised condo, script-doctoring gig, leaving the Bicycle Club, the Olympics in Beijing...) but I think the best thing was we got Obama, and more importantly, got rid of George Bush and the GOP-run Congress. To all the Obama-haters...look, the Justice League couldn't undo all the Bush-era evil shit in a year. The Bush people were titanically evil and lame. I mean, really, everything they did was evil. They couldn't even go on a hunting vacation without shooting a friend with a rifle, that's how dedicated they were to evil. The world is a much better place now.

2009. Newly laid off by jerkoff investor-employers from casino job, I complete my profile as an Economic Collapse Anecdote: bought crappy home, lost crappy home, lost job, check all. But, just in time, the screenwriting projects picks up. I write some scripts I'm very excited about, one of which won a few nice awards from Tribeca and Sundance. Life changes for the better, if not the richer.

2010.  My big resolutions are to make my movie (you can help!), develop my Asian-casino-action screenplay, keep pushing on the "Look For Water" movie, eat more green vegetables, get a better pillow, and watch every Natalie Tran video in existence. As the guy says in the movie, something wonderful is gonna happen.

12.02.2009

ep 85: symphony of light



So this is what happens:

The Invid launch hella shock troopers against the returning RDF fleet.

Corg owns Scott in a dogfight and then takes out a bunch of other Alpha fighters just to drive the point home that he owns people.

The RDF fleet gets ready to fire off Neutron-S missiles to decimate the Earth's surface, because that seems like a really good idea.

The gang hangs out with the Regis and watches the battle in space. They see the Shadow Fighters launching towards Reflex Point. They appeal to the Regis for a peaceful solution. How boring would these series be if they ever came to a peaceful resolution?

Marlene asks Scott if it's possible that he could love her. She plays the "I feel so strange whenever I'm with you" card. I like when aliens use the word "strange" because they don't know the word, "horny."

Rand and Rook get in their Alphas and attack Corg. They are acting all couply now. This is clearly why they get trashed. (Never underestimate the battle prowess of a single unloved Invid simulagent.)

Corg breaks out of Rand's full nelson because Rook doesn't want to shoot him? Because he's cute? Wha? Anyway...

Scott comes back in the Beta Fighter. It's Blue Hair vs. Blue Hair to the death.

Scott beats Corg finally with some arcane mecha-fighting move. It's difficult to explain how, but, big surprise, it involves launching about THREE DOZEN CLUSTER MISSILES AT HIM.

Scott: "All this destruction means nothing." Well, unless you have stock in the Cluster Missile manufacturing companies. Then you're making out like a bandit.

The Regis decides to move on. She speaks of "a world that even now calls to me." No other discussion of what that world might be.

The RDF fleet admiral decides to launch the neutron missiles, like a big military-industrial douchebag would.

Sera and Lancer mecha up and repel the attacking Shadow Fighters. The Shadow Fighter battloids don't have much in the way of heads. Curious aesthetic decision.

The Regis absorbs all of Reflex Point and her entire race into a giant energy phoenix and leaves Earth. No packing boxes or moving trucks for this one. That is when you know you're dealing with advanced technology. The phoenix annihilates the neutron missiles and most of the RDF fleet on its way out. Isn't that convenient?

Lancer does a final concert in a slinky orange dress, singing "We Will Win." At this point, perhaps it should be redone as "We Have Won, Alien Bitches!"

Scott says his goodbyes to the gang, because he'd rather go roam around in space looking for Admiral Hunter then stay and make sweet love to Marlene, who has gotta be tired of wearing that jacket at this point. I Don't Know What's Wrong With That Guy!!!

Lunk announces that he wants a farm.

Rand and Rook talk about their future, which will probably involve babies, fishing, and occasional cleaning of the old arm cannons.

Lancer whips off the dress and reveals himself to be a guy, shocking his amassed fans. (Not only that, he's screwing a green-haired alien fighter pilot....but oh, in this universe, that's more socially acceptable.) Again, this is a pretty great moment of gender-bending to occur in a cartoon aimed at pre-teens in the '80s.

As Scott leaves the planet, Lancer closes with "The Way To Love." In my mind he comes back for an encore of Pat Benetar's "(Stop Using) Protoculture As A Weapon."

Last shot: Lancer's song playing, Scott's Alpha/Beta fighter flying off towards the moon, and somehow Scott ejects Marlene's holo-locket out of the fighter so that it falls back towards Earth. How did he do that? Maybe there is one of those little chutes for disposing waste like in airplanes? I guess that for those long trips in the Veritech they must have some way of getting rid of their poo. Kinda makes you wonder what they did in X-wings, doesn't it? (Do not, in any form, attempt to respond to the question.) Of course in Star Wars they had the astromech droids to clean up all their shit. Anyway, digressing, the closing image leaves it wide open what the hell Scott's doing with his life, as well as what Lunk's gonna do on his farm with a yappy dwarf teenager and a heartbroken hottie unemployed alien double-agent. Perhaps they'll grow tomatoes (that transform into kitties).

Preview of next episode: a return to the beginning of the Macross saga, episode 1, "Booby Trap."

And with that, my childhood ended.

11.16.2009

ep84: dark finale


I never saw this one completely 'cause my own VHS copy back in the day was skagged.

Scott and the real Robotech Army prep to attack Reflex Point. In an interesting coaching decision, Scott leaves Rand, Rook and Annie behind 'cause they're not in the regular military. For some reason, Lancer and Lunk are, although Lunk's major tactical function appears to be the driving of trucks. Anyway, this sets up a wonderful scene of Lancer saying farewell and giving Rook a goodbye kiss. He is a straight player, that Lancer.

Rook and Rand join the battle anyway, so we get some cool Cyclone action vs. the Invid enforcers. Mid-battle, Rand tells Rook "he's fond of her" and she gets all wide-eyed.

LESSON LEARNED FROM ROBOTECH #84.3: fighting aliens at the end of the world offers many hookup opportunities.

So they finally get into Reflex Point, and the Regis (queen of the Invid) gives her big "I-am-the-Alpha-and-Omega-puny-humans-pay-attention-to-me-because-of-my-reverby-voice-and-also-I-am-emanating-energy-tendrils-constantly-so-you-know-I-am-kind-of-the-Big-Deal-around-here" cult-leader/pyramid-marketing-pitch monologue. Booooooring. All-powerful alien monarchs, they all talk the same.

Getting a little verklempt here. One episode left.

11.06.2009

ep83: reflex point


It's on now.

Man, so this is gonna be over in 3 episodes. It's the last month before graduation. For my next trick am considering "V: The TV series" from 1985. Any ideas, as if anyone is listening?

Or I could just start blogging seriously about the movie I'm working on.

Anyway.

LUNK: "I can't believe you're making a movie of this!" The group chastises Sue Graham for standing by and running a camera during a battle. So quaint. These days if someone records a massacre without intervening, they're a hero.

That's kind of all that happens. There's a bit of cool business with Alpha-Beta separation and Rand dogfighting an Invid simulagent who looks like Legolas, and Sue Graham's flowing raven hair as she dies, and the reveal of Marlene's green-bloodedness. But mainly the whole thing just makes me wish I had a life (or a transforming motorycle.)

11.04.2009

ep82: the big apple


This is absolutely one of the best episodes. Why? Because it's about people fighting for their right to PERFORM AT CARNEGIE HALL IN A MUSICAL DANCE NUMBER.

Anyone who is a fan of "Escape From New York" or Marvel Comics can appreciate the fantasy of a post-apocalyptic Manhattan; with close-quarters street battles fought tooth and nail between renegade heroes, alien shock troopers, a transvestite cabaret singer, and his gay dancer friends in leotards.

SERA: "It's that Earth Rebel who causes the disturbance within me!" As Michael Jackson says, it's all for the love, L-O-V-E.

Seriously, the fight between the Battloids and Shock Troopers in what might be the West Village is pretty sick. This is our first glimpse of the Beta Fighter's Battloid mode, which eliminates a key weakness of the humanoid form by having a missile launcher instead of a head.

In the end, the musical theater geeks win. It is implied that the show, alien occupation force notwithstanding, must go on.

11.03.2009

ep81: hired gun

This one's sort of a lame tangent. Dusty Ayres? Captain Harlock is calling, and wants his gruff back.

***Actually this episode has one good part in which Rook and Rand are surrounded by Invid and they have the brilliant idea to "use our combined cluster rockets!" Why, yes, let's! After all, we're so used to firing off all of the Alpha's 226 little rockets to destroy 2 or 3 targets, why not for once we apply a little military efficiency and shoot off all of both Red and Green Alpha's 44 thousand missiles in One Gigantic Wad to eliminate an overwhelming horde of targets?

Sorry, I get a little excited during the cluster rockets scenes. It's something about the knee-missiles....waaah.

10.26.2009

ep80: birthday blues


Well it's been about, what, eight episodes since we had a gratuitous shower scene, hasn't it? So we're totally due. Marlene and Rook and Annie all share a sauna after Annie's birthday party. Rand peeps at them. It's very "Porky's."

I had this memory that Lancer also joined them in the shower, in all his naked hairless hermaphroditic glory, but thankfully that weirdness didn't actually happen.

I like to think that Annie's "ET" cap stands for something, like "Extra-Terrestrial" or "Entertainment Tonight." Or "Eternal Tourist."

This one also features the first listen at Yellow Dancer's cover of "We Will Win" accompanied with what I believe was a popular anime motif of the period: slow motion sepia-toned photos of the characters set to yearbooky sentimental music. What? It's Japanese. You know someone was taking pictures of the whole thing.

ep 79: frostbite


This is it. The last VHS tape in my inherited collection. Apparently we skipped across a few episodes to arrive at ep 79: I did search the previous tape carefully, but found only a Bikini Model Competition from some midwestern state (which was clearly being taped over, just to be clear.)

This is The One Where They Discover Denver and Eat Vienna Sausages.

Scott goes shoe-shopping with Marlene, which means he's really in it for the long haul.

Lancer goes crazy with the chest missiles. You'd think the backblast would fry off his chest hair. Oh wait, chest hair...never mind.

Not so much of note here except that it is another one of those hella romantic post-armageddon fantasies: After the fall of humankind, you can go hang out in a deserted Denver and walk the streets and just take whatever shit you want.

10.22.2009

ep74: annie's wedding


The great thing about anime is there is no Jumping the Shark. Anime has no sense of normal or acceptable boundaries. The Shark can be Jumped in every single episode, or several times in one episode. In anime, major characters can die, people turn into pigs, they switch universes using a magic chunk of tofu, it's All Good.

So in this one the gang meets some kind of jungle tribe that ties them up with thorny ropes and then one of them tries to marry Annie. Well first he tries to marry Lancer by throwing him into a gunny sack. And then Annie takes pity on him (he's named MacGruder, for some reason) because he's such a noob and tries to seduce him with flowers in her hair, and then shock troopers show up and the tribe tries to fight them with arrows and tomahawks, and Lancer swings on a vine, and....oh hell, I'm just gonna take a nap.
priceless bit of dialog from that episode, as the team argues:

ROOK: Oh c'mon you two. I know what, Lancer, sing us something!
LANCER: You think you can just turn me on and off like a music box?

10.21.2009

ep73: sandstorm

WHAT is THIS shit? Rand's on a DRAGON.

I've never been a fan of the dream sequence episodes. I mean do we really need to know that Rand has hero delusions and subconscious lusty fantasies for the nigh-obnoxiously lithe females in his freedom fighter crew? Isn't the whole anime series already an extension of those fantasies for the creators? I just don't think we get much more information here.

Plus, I don't really need any insights into what the Invid eat, or how they breed, or whatever. That backstory is superfluous. They're heavily-armed slug creatures who came to Earth to conquer the crap out of it and use all its natural resources. It's not like that's such a foreign concept to anyone who's been alive in the last two thousand years.

10.19.2009

ep72: the fortress

Rand and Annie attack an Invid hive on skis.

Scott: "If only they weren't so undependable! I'd know if they were in serious trouble or just goofing around!"

Annie, of her cobalt limpet mine: "Hey, I carried it, I think I should be the one to plant it!'

Annie falls down and needs to be saved by Rand like four times, but she does plant the shit out of that mine. It explodes the brain-sensor thing into a cloud of protoplasm that floats around and then slimes our two heroes.

Rand, upon being released: "I've had it and I'm gonna slaughter those animated trash compactors!"

Marlene screams and whines alot as Rand slaughters the animated trash compactors. She takes Annie's crown as Least Useful Member of the squad. Also, technically, she's younger than Annie.

Nothing really awesome happens in this ep except for some cool dogfighting....until the end, when we have a gratuitous scene of Annie and Rook splashing around in a lake and Marlene stripping nekkid to join them, cause she "doesn't understand human ways." If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that.

10.09.2009

ep71: the secret route

OK, this ep is fascinating.

Lancer meets an old flame, and stares deeply into her eyes...while dressed as Yellow Dancer.

We learn the origin of Lancer's cross-dressing, which had something to do with eluding Invid who were coming for wounded male freedom fighters. His old flame came up with the idea of throwing him in the makeup and the dress. How often does THAT happen?

Yellow puts on a really cool Marlene Dietrich-esque outfit and introduces a song as "an old Minmay song," although the song they play is "Look Up The Sky Is Falling." Imagine a fact even LESS cool to know than the fact that one of the songs in "Boogie Nights" is from "Transformers: The Movie." That's what I just wrote.

But the fascinating part is the whole ep concerns a secret route through the mountains which is fraught with much Invid peril...and I like to think, a metaphor for the unparalleled transformation of Lancer to Yellow Dancer and his own "secret passage" towards gender re-identification and his public/secret life as a pop enigma.

Also, they play all 3 big Yellow Dancer songs in this ep. There's a great audio cut to the guitar solo in "Lonely Soldier Boy" as Carla is leaving Yellow, the tranny rock star that she inadvertently created. It's sort of like the "Up Where We Belong" moment from the end of "Officer and a Gentleman," except much, much, much more weirder and Japanese.

Way to go, Yellow. Way to go.

10.08.2009

ep70: enter marlene


you darn tootin, she enters.

also on this VHS tape: original TV ads for the action figure series "Rambo: Force of Freedom."

(How did kids play with the Rambo toys? What were his missions? How did he act as a "Force of Freedom?" Did he always start off captured, or on the run from the U.S. Govt? My point here is that Rambo's opponent was everybody, including mostly all military leaders and representatives of all armed forces in every nation he got dropped in. If Rambo saw the G.I. Joe team, he'd probably find a reason to fight them. And I guess that would be awesome.)

Anyway.

Some fanservice (that's the otakus' polite word for Totally Gratuitous T&A) as Marlene enters, of course naked. With big hair covering her parts. Yawn. OK, OK, you guys win. Little boys' imaginations captured everywhere. Sigh.

They also find the BETA FIGHTER! Which, as discussed below, is basically the Alpha Fighter's knobby bitch.

Not really feeling this ep. In kind of a bad mood. Marlene's screaming freakouts ain't helping any. The problem with Marlene is that just as the gang was starting to cohere as a team, here comes the moody alien spy-girl who's gonna be mysterious and awkward and need all the attention, and constantly get it by being naked at inappropriate times. I guess she's a necessary character to give Scott something to do besides launch 196 cluster missiles at everything he sees. I just don't remember liking her.

10.07.2009

ep 69: the genesis pit

I just think it's cute that Scott and Rand bring Annie along on this important reconnaissance mission when she honestly can do nothing but scream and hang on to the back of the cycle. I mean what's she gonna do if they fall into a Genesis Pit or something? Start ovulating?

...shouldn't have typed that. Should not have typed that. Never let the monster free....

Speaking of beasts that live in dark pits inside of us, I've never been big into dinosaurs. I don't understand what's so awesome about them, and I question their nerdcore cred. That is, geeks who are really into dinosaurs, and science-fiction that involves dinosaurs, just seems wrong to me. I mean, I understand that they were amazing creatures, but the problem is they really existed. I just can't geek out about that.

ep68: eulogy

Colonel Wolff in this one sounds kind of like he's being voiced by Charlton Heston. I know that's not the case, but wouldn't it be great if it was?

10.06.2009

ep67: paper hero

RAND: "I hope you know what you're doing, Lunk."
LUNK: "Hey, when did I ever know what I was doing?"

I love the tough-guy talk coming out of the animated non-racially-specific googly-eyed people.

whoops, i have to kiss you now

Another thing about this ep. Rook cons Rand into kissing her, to save face, or for some convoluted reason. Much like the scenes in Macross where Lisa and Rick snogged for "strategical" situations.

What is it with all the fake non-committal kissing? Is it because the original anime didn't want to show "real" kissing? (The actual couples in Robotech, notably, spend much more time staring deeply into each others' eyes [and blowing things up together] then actually kissing.) Or is it just for tease/fanservice, the titillating suggestiveness of kissing someone for pragmatic reasons, when both of you only sorta kinda want to.

Anyway, it's cute.

HILARIOUS RANDOM LINE PROBABLY ADDED TO COVER SOME JAPANESE-ISM THAT DIDN'T TRANSLATE #67.2:

Rand, as he's driving off, to Rook's family: "Get a job!"

10.05.2009

ep66: hard times


Oh there is some funny ass shit in this one where Annie's pestering Rook to eat some chicken (in her rapid-fire voice-actor-fitting-long-line-to-short-lip-movements-style): "Hey-Rook-it's-time-to-eat-better-hurry-up-or-there-won't-be-any-left-c'mon-doesn't-this-piece-of-meat-smell-good?" Then Rook swats it out of her hand, and the drumstick falls to the ground, and Annie whines, "Now it's all dirty!"

There's no real reason Annie has to say "Now it's all dirty!" Except to iterate that she never ever never stops talking. Which is hilarious. Great job, voice actor. ROTFLMAO.

Also of note: whenever Lancer takes a shower, his persona is totally feminine, up to and including daring/denying the guys (e.g. Rand, Lunk) to "peek" at him/her naked. Which is, I dunno. Kind of Advanced Topics in Gender Studies, if you know what I mean.

9.28.2009

adaptation

So the day after I mused about getting stuck with the Harlequin-romance-novel era of movie adaptations, it comes out that they just gave all 150,000 books in the Sweet Valley High series to Diablo Cody. Ha.

I remember the Sweet Valley High books. I wouldn't feel one twinge of anything if they were made into movies. I know a few girls who might.

ALL the American Anime Adaptions are going to fail HUGE. Probably financially, absolutely artistically and conceptually. Only the Japanese should be live-actioning their own anime. "Akira" isn't even a good movie for chrissake, it just looks so cool because it's drawn cool, ya know?

The only one that has a chance is Robotech, because its story has been fine-tuned into the Western soap opera milieu, and still only if they do a few things exactly right, like Max & Miriya, Yellow Dancer, songs by Kelly Clarkson, and making it a two-parter skipping the Southern Cross.

...Don't get me wrong, it would be great to work on....almost any adaptation project...but getting put on "Connect Four" or "Care Bears: The Movie" would be basically like getting the Beta fighter, pictured here. It's great because it's an amazing space fighter that transforms and has like 188 missiles and you can blow things up with it....but it's not the cool jet-looking one that has sleek lines and transforms into the sexy-looking battloid that, let's face it, has even more missiles and takes the point against shock troopers. The Beta fighter is not that thing; it's useful but kind of lumpy.

9.19.2009


Re-liveblog on hold because I'm in NYC doing meetings for my screenplay "Look For Water." I really wish, though, that I'd brought the Robotech: Battlecry PS2 game I got for $5 with me, 'cause I'm staying in an apt with a PS2.

(I got exactly the wrong PS3, btw: the one that doesn't play PS2 games, but also is not slimmer and more expensive. FML.)

A confessment: My timeline for becoming successful as a writer-director has never been based on outracing death, but rather on wanting to be in the mix before they stop making the nerd-adaptation-movies and move on to, I dunno, Harlequin romance novels. It'll be a pain seeing the Robotech, JLA, West Coast Avengers films if they come out and are directed by some indifferent yokel, knowing that I didn't do enough to avoid the tragedy. We'll see if in a few years I look back on this post and weep while watching the Mike Bay-directed Robotech, in which the Valkyries have their chest missiles replaced with heaving breasticles, as they swoop in and attack, inexplicably, Miami.

9.15.2009

ep65: curtain call


This ep is particularly awesome. I started this liveblog with some idea about reflecting on the big issues via Robotech (e.g. pop culture, Japanese fetishism, war n peace, lost youth, blondes vs. blue-hairs, etc) but now I just sound like a fanboy. I'm cool with it.

Yellow Lancer does a big rock concert to distract the human collaborators while Scott & team sneak into their base and steal some Protoculture, then the requisite fight with Invid Shock Troopers.

The real art of this ep is the soundtracking of the action drama with the pop/rock songs, a skill that I, Kenny Loggins, and perhaps a few other people on the planet really appreciate. The minor-key disco anthem "Look Up The Sky Is Falling" matches Scott & Co.'s underground crisis like a fine wine pairing, while keeping the apocalyptic overtones of the series perfectly in frame. Her next song, the upbeat rocky one, kicks in just as the team escapes the water trap and the good guys officially Start To Win. (For no reason other than my mind being full of crap, I know that that song is called "It Don't Get Any Better.")

Like the guy in "High Fidelity" says, These Things Matter. Yes the songs are stupid. Yes, the whole idea of heroes fighting alien villains is stupid. Yes, I am stupid. Yes, chest missiles are stupid. But you put them all together (for the record: songs, heroes vs. aliens, me, and chest missiles) and you have something really special that will last forever.

P.S. The music in "Tranformers: The Movie", while goofy, helped the story, whereas the music in "Michael Bay's Transformers", while ostensibly hipper, helped you want to kill yourself. Just as an easy illustration of what I'm talking about.

ep64: survival

This one's pretty funny because it has leeches in it.

ep63: lonely soldier boy



What else do ya need to say? Best song in the whole series.

Annie: "Whaddya think they do for fun around here?"
Rand: "Probably sit around and watch their floorboards warp."

Yellow Dancer is a kind of flower, I never knew that. I had thought it was just of those Japlish-isms, like "Jello Fighter." Remember the days before search engines when you couldn't instantly look up anything?

Enough beating around the bush. Yellow Dancer is the GREATEST CHARACTER EVER IN A CARTOON IN AMERICA. She's a guy...with purple hair...who dresses in drag...so he can lead an alternate identity as a famous dead-sexy rock star...to support his other life...as a Highly-Trained Guerilla Freedom Fighter. I mean, did you get all that? The Transformers had to go through like five seasons before they even had a female.

This ep also has a good example of the "fire 167 missiles to hit 2 targets" rule of Robotech warfare, which comes up from time to time.

ep62: the lost city

Scott and Rand meet Annie, and I really want to know what age she's supposed to be...but maybe I don't want to know. She's allegedly 15, but she's about 2 feet tall and functionally pointless on the team (as we know from later, they make plus-size Cyclone armor, but not junior) and is obsessed with boys. Which I guess is fine as long as she stays Completely Non-Sexual. Which, in the series, she doesn't. She's definitely drawn to look like a little kid. Sort of. See, it's a weird area there....

Some nice beauty shots of the Cyclones transforming in this one, and going to town on the Invid Shock Troopers. God this shit is good.

9.14.2009

ep61: the invid invasion


OK, so part III: The New Generation is really my favorite part of the whole saga and I'm glad to start it. Why is it the best? There is one simple reason.

There has never been anything cooler than a motorcycle that transforms into a suit of battle armor while you're riding it, with customizable weapons. Nothing is cooler. Not Gandhi. Not lightsabers. Not solar-powered cars. Cyclone/Mospeda cycles are the COOLEST THING EVER, EVER.

Also, of note:
- In New Generation, the pop idol character is a transvestite with purple hair who signs disco-rock and also kicks ass with his blue armored cycle perfection.
- Protoculture is now just like gas, a thing that you pump into your vehicles to make them go. The metaphor of Robotech as a war over energy resources for the miltary industrial complex is now fully realized. Except that Protoculture is basically bottled sexual tension derived from flowers.
- Rook Bartley.

ep60: catastrophe

My strong memory of this episode, the final one in the Masters arc, is that I was at a friends' house playing D&D in their basement and I forgot to set the VCR to tape it, so I desperately called my Mom and asked her to tape it for me.

So my beautiful Mom actually sat down on the old brown barcalounger and taped Robotech for me. And later I called to check and see what happened, asking with all innocence, "Did anyone die?" And she said yes, so many people died.

Mom also took a whole afternoon once (several years before this Robotech episode) to explain to me the Spider-Man origin story cartoon. My ethically-challenged wee self didn't get why Spiderman was so upset by his uncle dying which wasn't technically his fault. But my Mom took the time to make me understand that with great power also comes great responsibility.

ep57: daydreamer

Miriya in Macross. Musicaa in The Masters. Sera in New Generation. What do they all have in common? That's right: GREEN HAIR.

I just noticed this incredible thematic continuity in Robotech right now, and on my scale it's like discovering the Unified Field Theory.

Note to Alien Armadas Who Want To Conquer Earth: If you have a girl with green hair on your team, DO NOT BRING HER WITH THE INVASION FLEET. She will hook up with one of the human heroes, discover the meaning of love, and undo your whole shit. She knows your weapons and tactics. She may be your ace pilot/chanteuse/whatever, but she has this human fetish that is going to give you headaches and, honestly, get you blown up. All the chicks with blue and purple hair, it's OK to bring them. It's the green-haired overachiever ones that will really make you wish you'd stayed at home.

Also, for the record? Musica? Would not hit that. Why? Because the sound effect on her voice makes her sound like a frakkin preying mantis. Also, she seems to demand a lot of attention.

ep55: dana in wonderland

Going to NYC this week to pitch screenplay. In other news, watching Robotech.

This is one of those spacy acid-trip episodes that makes the Masters the best series for watching stoned and the worst for actually watching.

I will say, though, that whoever designed the interior of the Robotech Masters' giant starship also did a really good job on the Boulevard shopping corridor at Paris Las Vegas.

9.09.2009

ep54: mind game

Actually the fight between Dana's squad and the Invid Fighters is pretty cool in this one. Good use of motion lines.

ep53: the hunters

Louie invents some gaze technology, and the Robotech Masters invent the Invid Fighter, which is...a bioroid, with a different head. The head looks kind of like an inverted Cobra STUN vehicle. Woohoo. That's threatening. Could we get to the Invid already?

ep52: love song


If Nova Satori were a prehistoric animal, she would be a Babe-rtooth tiger. Also, if she were another similarly-drawn anime character, she would be Lum. I was going to put up two images comparing the two, but then realized that it would be completely wrong and creepy. Like the guy at the beginning of "The Brothers Bloom" who tries to pick up Bangbang with the line "I'm really into anime." That kind of creepy. I'm not that. I really AM into anime, not just for the cutely-drawn girls. For the robots, too.

I don't know which of those things I just wrote was worst.

9.07.2009

ep49: a new recruit

REASON WHY THE SOUTHERN CROSS PART IS THE LEAST GOOD PART OF ROBOTECH #49.2

The chanteuse/siren/inspiring pop idol character, called Minmay in part I and Yellow Dancer in part III, in part II is called..."Musica." That's just not as interesting-ica.

ep48: deja vu


Well check that out. Apparently the person originally taping this didn't like the Masters arc either, 'cause I'm missing like 7 episodes here. Hooray! It's like customized content specifically for ME! 10 years before its time!

These VHS tapes are really degrading, too. They used to stand for permanence and ownership. Now they are melty plastic bricks.

In this one, Nova interrogates Zor about his past and starts to get sweet on him. Zor is kind of the lamest character in this whole series. He's like what would've happened if Minmay and Kyle had a child out of incest, and he grew up into into a whiny purple-mulleted elf.

ep40: volunteers

It's Labor Day. If I still worked at the casino we'd be fighting over who has to stay with the shoeshiners and who gets to go to a BBQ. But screw all that noise, now I'm on the dole and I watch Robotech for a living.

MARIE: Oh! I've never seen anything this big before!
DANA: Uh, 'scuse me, what was that, Lieutenant?
MARIE: Ah! Paying complete attention to practically nothing today, aren't we, Lieutenant?

Honestly, the Masters arc is rapidly losing my interest, because the animation is getting shoddier and the mecha just isn't that cool. I'm not looking forward to the floofy part with the Flowers of Life and the harp music and the Protoculture Incest Matrix of Shroominess or whatever it is. I'm just keeping with it for the occasional glimpses of Nova, and that nerdy instinct to be absolutely completist in whatever ridiculous collecting endeavor you start. It's the desire to be made whole, really.

9.02.2009

ep39: southern cross

If Nova Satori were a Biblical reference she would be the Tower of Babe-l. If she were a set of children's stories she'd be Aesop's Babe-les.

Nice catty exchange between Nova and Dana before Dana gets promoted to first lieutenant. Nova is so BITTER! She needs Love! (I'm not sure if this fascination is gross yet.)

8.27.2009

"Dying under the command of a ditzy teenager isn't exactly how I hoped I would go out."

ep38: false start

I'm rooting for the Masters arc, because it's the one I remember the least. So far it's AWESOME. This ep has the tank squad brawling with the air squad...an unexplained Mutant Dog...Dana pulls a sweet jump on a hover bike that takes out this Gort-looking MP robot...AND Nova Satori. If she assured my right to a speedy trial, she would be a writ of Babe-us Corpus.
Lesson Learned From Robotech #37.2:

Right after a knife fight that you both survive, if your opponent is a woman, it's a good time to propose marriage to her.

ep37: dana's story


"Robotech Masters" aka "Southern Cross" was like the 3rd Voltron series that never came out, but people vaguely remembered that there should be one because of some toy packaging images. Southern Cross is like Magical Mystery Tour. It's no one's favorite and kind of hard to get into because there's a lot of hippie stuff with flowers and clones, the Robotech Masters are basically three old dudes in a room grumbling and they're on screen a lot, and also the aliens' mecha just aren't very cool in this one.

However, it has a lot to recommend it, such as:

* The human heroes wear really cool warrior armor which apparently comes in 800 different styles despite the fact we only really follow one team around for the whole series. Someone was a stud and really designed the shit out all those armors in Centurion, Samurai, Knight, and Looks-Really-Hard-To-See-Out-Of fashions.
* Nova Satori. If she were the Spanish word for "library," she would be a babe-lioteca.
* After you absorbed the concept of "this is a new series but it's the same series," the yoking itself became novel and raised all sorts of questions to stimulate the young mind, e.g: How is this possible? Are all Japanese cartoons about the same thing? How can both series have 3-in-1 robots AND siren pop singers involved? Will this go on forever (please)? Is Carl Macek some sort of mental genius? Why is Dana blonde? If I coupled with an alien, would my child also have a chance to be blonde, and have an afro, and ESP?

Anyway, this 1st episode is pretty much just a recap of the fight in "Farewell Big Brother," and Miriya being sultry. With my grownup knowledge of editing, I can appreciate what an elegant mashup it is of two shows that AFAIK originally had nothing to do with each other.

ep36: to the stars


The fourth-most heartwrenching ep of the Macross series, after "Farewell Big Brother," "The Big Escape," and "Force of Arms." 'Cause it's the end, and a whole lotta people die, and by that time, you knew that was just how this series rolled. You understood that you have to get people to sign your yearbook, in case something happens.

This was a weird one because as a kid I didn't know what was going on with this series. Its unprecedented merging of 3 original series meant NO ONE knew what was going on. I looked breathlessly forward to the "In the next episode..." segment as any devoted TV watcher does. In the next episode, we were going to start a WHOLE NEW EPIC. What? With a chick with a blonde afro? Mom, I don't get it. Is it over?

Since most series I'd followed up to now were episodic and non-teleological (I think that's a word), it was a big shock. That is, Spider-Man, G.I. Joe, Ultraman, et al., didn't really go anywhere. They were self-contained and predictable with no long-running storylines. Spider-Man doesn't even experience time, when you get down to it, that guy has been 23 for 40 years. But digressing...Robotech was my first experience with a long-running story where you learned and changed with the characters, and then the world utterly transformed, and you learned to go with that new world too. So it was a lot like...growing up.

***This I reconstructed all from memory because this VHS tape doesn't even HAVE episode 36 on it. Someone had a real life to tend to that day, I suppose.

ep35: season's greetings

Minmay makes a Christmas booty call on Rick. Or it seems like a booty call, and then it's just blah blah blah, my fame, my career, everybody wants me, "my life is a song," my cousin wants to marry me, me me me. Jesus, Minmay! Get a blog why don't you?

I also just wanna point out that the news agency on the TV Rick watches is called "N.W.A." Nippon Hoso Kyokai With Attitude?

ep34: private time

Piano instrumental of Yellow Dancer's closing song for the series, playing BG at Rick and Minmay's date. Never knew that.

8.26.2009

ep33: rainy night

Rick asks Vanessa the nerdy bridge officer girl out, spontaneously, to prove to Lisa that his personal life is personal. Vanessa spills the beans, telling Rick that Lisa's crushed out on her, and Rick doesn't believe it. I forgot about that scene. It's great.
Also, Khyron and Azonia get drunk and make out while eerie music plays. Something creepy about that too.

Also, there's a weird scene where a battloid lights a Zentraedi's cigarette with his rifle. Just too much going on in this one.

ep32: broken heart

This one gave/gives me that icked-out feeling. Something about the way Khyron plays with Minmay and Kyle when they're his captives. It's just sick. Like he's gonna dip them in honey mustard sauce, while she's still singing. Maybe it's because Khyron kinda reminds me of a foppish, predatory Brad Pitt. Oh wait, Brad Pitt wasn't invented until the 90's. That's not possible.

ep31: khyron's revenge

This episode is too political for me. A lot of debating over the Protoculture chamber. I liked it better when Protoculture was this ethereal concept, like the Force, or the Birds & the Bees.

The fight where Khyron steals the chamber is pretty sick, though. His mono-boob battle armors take those Destroids to town. Damn! Sucks to be you brown Veritech! I'm Khyron, Micronian Bitches!

ep30: viva miriya


MIRIYA: Max, do you think there's any chance Rick won't consent to touch lips with Lisa?
MAX: Don't worry, Miriya. Rick's a professional.

I can't stand it....I just can't stand it...

This is also the ep where Miriya takes her BABY in her JETPLANE and uses it as a shock-and-awe weapon against the enemy, as part of a three-pronged attack involving kiss, disco song, and cute Hapa baby! Aiiiighhh! There will be no survivors!

ep29: Robotech Masters

NARRATOR: "What a change this is! From ruthless warlord to somewhat uncomfortable host? This mission is getting stranger all the time!"

...as is your narration, dude.
I think they were stoned while dubbing this one.
GUY IN CAFE (leering at Lisa): Ooh, check this out Fred! Oooh. Boy, the women were dealt all the aces. They can have anybody they wanna have.
LISA (V.O.): That's all you know about it, my fat friend. Here's one woman who would trade every ace in the deck for one Rick Hunter.

Oh, Lisa. Lisa Lisa.

You are going to be played by Laura Linney in the movie and there's nothing you can do about it, you stoic angsty willow of a woman you.

ep28: reconstruction blues

Lisa: "Why does his bedroom always look like someone's been sleeping in it?"

I dunno, Mr. Macek. Why does my bathroom always look like someone's been bathing in it? That was either a brilliant line or a not-thought-out one...or, like most of my pickup lines, BOTH in ONE!
Lesson Learned From Robotech #27.1:

Planetwide devastation sets a romantic mood.

"You can do it Minmay, remember today you're singing for everyone!"
"Yes I know but I just want you to understand I'm really singing for you!"

Although this dialogue sounds like something Gwen Stefani probably says backstage all the time, if there is a just God, Minmay will be played in the movie by Kelly Clarkson.

ep27: force of arms


It's on. This episode has the unbelievable awesome that makes you want to shed tears of geekiness.

It's so awesome it has an Orguss in it.

It's so awesome, it has a Minmay song that is not "Stagefright."

It's so awesome, I forget my problems and prance around the house going, "We WILL win. We ARE all stars and we see that! I am a fucking HERO. I am footloose AND in the danger zone. Yeah!"

It's awesome because in the end it's all about love.

ep26: the messenger

All of Minmay's songs sound like a slow jam by Surface.

This ep is pretty hilarious.
Breetai: "This woman has a voice that can make a man feel sorrow."

DELIVERY SO FUNNY GOING TO DIE LAFFING. Auugh.

Max is majorly my hero.

ep25: wedding bells

The narrator SNICKERS in the opening: "But now Max faces a different problem. After all...heh heh...what do you say to a girl you met just a few hours ago." Are narrators supposed to be dirty old men? Or have a sense of humor?

Miriya girls up pretty quick, with the pink dress, losing most of her appeal.

ep24: showdown


Armored Veritech! Sooooo cool.

Max challenges Miriya in the arcade, because THAT'S how you get the cool chicks.

The voice actor for Miriya really knows how to bring the sexy.

Kyle lets the press know he want to propose to Minmay. GOD that guy is a douche.

Claudia prods Rick in the direction of Lisa. I'm just summarizing now. This liveblog is a big career move, honest.

ep23: reckless


Rick and Lisa have this cute scene of taking care of Minmay's folks' Chinese restaurant amidst wreckage.

I wonder if the Battlestar Galactica people watch Robotech? The formula of space battles with the emotional beats of soap operas seems distinctly similar.

The dialogue is really sharp in this one. The scene of granting the three spies political asylum. Rick, to the attacking battlepods: "Go Home! Sorry, Commander, that didn't work."

God this show is good. I wish my Prius transformed into something.
These VHS tapes are missing a few episodes (as my own hand-taped collection did...aww!) such as the one where Ben Dixon gets killed by the overloading defense shield. The shot where Rick crosses himself in his cockpit...almost gave me religion.

8.25.2009

Minmay shows some class in this one.

ep20: paradise lost

SAMMIE: Maybe they come in peace this time?
SDF BRIDGE CREW: Hnnnh?
SAMMIE: Right. Probably not.
:)

Lesson Learned From Robotech #18.5: (There were a lot of them in this episode)

Re: Minmei's visit to Rick in the hospital....

Sometimes the girl doesn't want to kiss you. Sometimes they just want to fall asleep on the edge of your bed.
"It has never been a game, Claudia. Maybe someday you'll understand that."
-- Roy Fokker's last words

Lesson Learned From Robotech #18.3
Sometimes The Good Guy Dies.

Tranformers the Movie wasn't quite out yet, so this was probably the first time I saw a major hero in a cartoon die. And anyway the Transformers are all freakin' robots. This was a guy dying of bullet wounds. Without even getting to eat his favorite pineapple salad. I mean, that was huge I was like what? The fact that you have a plane that turns into a robot and also an armed goose doesn't make you invincible? Holy....I lost my shit right there.

Here it is. Best duel in the whole series. Max vs. Miriya.

Their ret-conned fight in "Do You Remember Love" was one of the best mecha-on-mecha tussles ever. And ended with huge heartbreak. Are you listening, Robotech movie people? Think of this as your ONE CHANCE to do some good in this world, Robotech movie people. Blue vs. Green.
Lesson Learned From Robotech #18.2: (re: Lynn Kyle)
Peaceniks can be dicks too.
Claudia's thought balloon: "Sure, Commander Fokker. Dinner tonight...and if we're lucky, breakfast."

Again, never happened in Transformers.
TMI ABOUT ROBOTECH AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO MY PUBERTY #18.1:
I remember going, "Lisa's in love with Rick? Really? Really, Lisa?"

I guess I so strongly identified with Rick as a dorky mop-headed Asian dude I couldn't understand two girls being interested in him. The fighter jock thing notwithstanding. I think I will feel the same way about Tobey Maguire if he plays Rick. Yes I realize Tobey Maguire's not Asian. But masculinity-wise, he's close.

ep18: Farewell, Big Brother

Oh, this one's gonna hurt.
Max is such a stud in the Chinese restaurant fracas.

Robotech as a mumblecore film:

RICK: I dunno, it kind of seems like, I dunno, the aliens are maybe attracted to you and stuff?
MINMAY: Yeah, I dunno. Uh. Uh. I'm a star, or something.
RICK: Uh, I should go, the Zentraedi are attacking, and, I dunno, I have a plane that transforms into, y'know, a guy, so...
MINMAY: Do you like, y'know, uh, Lisa?
RICK: I guess. I dunno. I have to go, I've got some Protoculture, on the stove, and stuff. I dunno.
MINMAY: I dunno, we will, like, I guess, win, and stuff.
RICK: Sayonara! And stuff. I dunno.

ep15: homecoming

So Minmay's Chinese, and grew up in Yokohama Chinatown. This trivia will be useful for embarrassing myself at some later date.

ep13: blue wind


Minmay's music is all pretty shitty. And I like shitty music, usually.

What I've heard of the Japanese originals was shitty in a similar way. I wonder if it was popular?

Can't wait for Yellow Dancer. S/he's dreamy...

8.24.2009

It's also kind of great that at the end of the episode after Max flies his plane through the big monitor, there's a closeup of a Zentraedi soldier using a BROOM and DUSTPAN to sweep up the shattered glass. I mean, has there ever been another scene in an alien battleship involving a dustpan? (They can't use a vacuum cleaner because, obviously, they're in space.)

This scene with Rick and Lisa talking about their dating life and giving coy looks to each other in the bowels of the alien battleship....did not exist in the GI Joe or Transformers cartoons, which were on right after Robotech (4-5 PM). I'm just saying. Emotional content.

Oh, and now Miriya shows up. The alien female fighter jock. Great.

And Minmay sings her song, and things blow up! The perfect episode!

ep12: the big escape

"Sometimes women don't make any sense even if they ARE officers, now can we GO?"

Rick is such a hero.
I can't believe I never got the Zentraedi gay thing until now.

DOLZA (to Rick and Ben): "Why don't we see right now by having you kiss each other?"
RICK: "What? You can't be serious! There's no way I'm gonna kiss him!"
DOLZA: "DEMONSTRATE THIS KISSING OR I'LL CRUSH ALL OF YOU."
LISA: "Wait! Wait. I'll be the one to demonstrate."

SO HOT.

I mean the Zentraedi are basically gigantic sailors in this big green fleet that prohibits male-female relations, but kinda skims over the question of male-male relations. And they all have a repressed love for a pop diva. It's So Clear Now.
Breetai: "I like nothing better than aggression! Exedore, I think we should discuss this matter further, in my quarters."

WHOA.
I am kind of a big nerd for writing all this, huh?
I should learn more about cars.

ep11: first contact


I found this quick episode summary: "The Zentraedi are terrorized by human affection." No shit.

TMI ABOUT ROBOTECH AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO MY PUBERTY #11.1:

I didn't even think about Lisa as a sexual being until this episode. (I mean, insofar as you're supposed to think about any cartoon character as a sexual being.) But I definitely didn't believe she would be anyone's love interest. Then she orders Rick to kiss her and it's like, Whoa! My heart! Something weird is happening! And what's wrong with my hands?
"But why would they give her such skimpy armor that protects only a small portion of her body?"

Lesson Learned From Robotech #9.1:

Sometimes when the shit gets real it's necessary to fire EVERY SINGLE MISSILE YOU'VE GOT. Even if it's like 116 missiles. And you STILL miss that fucker.

(That armored Valkyrie is the coolest.)

(Also in this one Minmay uses the phrase, "....just like a brother to me." ARGH.)

ep9: Miss Macross

The first instance of the Minmay Effect, and the show's ascent into psychosexual awesomeness.

The start of a lifelong love affair with tech-y action scenes soundtracked with sugary pop music.

We prepubescent kids were the aliens, watching the display of romance, trying to figure out what it meant.

ep8: sweet 16

* Rick gets his wingmen, Max and Ben.
* Minmay's china-doll outfit is bizarre. What is she anyway? Vietnamese-Chinese? Minh Mei? That would figure.
* Max and Minmay have a flirty thing at first. I forgot about that.
* Khyron's pod has a lot of...protrusions. What a dick. At home he has a yellow sports pod.
* The original airdate of this series probably coincided exactly with the onset of my puberty, now that I think about it.

I figured out why it's boring at first. In the first story arc they're just showing off the transforming robots (admittedly, the best jet-into-humanoid design ever). But it's basically a space opera with some teens.

They haven't gotten to the part yet where they discover that their secret weapon against the aliens is a POP STAR who sings trite disco-fluff and PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF MALE-FEMALE AFFECTION. The most powerful armada in the galaxy. Undone by music and love.

As we, humans, especially little teenaged boy humans, are also undone.

When the "Minmay Effect" first appears is when the show really gets genius.

ep7: bye bye mars

Note: Minmay's eyes turn ALL BLACK when she gets really excited. Could we get a stronger hint that she's the devil?

ep4: the long wait

The space tuna scene really is magnificent, a ballad of courtship about young love's survival in time of hunger, with mythic significance added by the incongruous appearance of that....really, really big fish. Whut? I always took it to mean that in the near future Japan has super-mutated sedan-sized fish, but later I heard that fish of preposterous size are really caught, now and then. Also, Rick's scarf-ninja spacewalk suit is, though unbelievable, totally sexy.
It's embarrassing the number of things I learned about life from this show.
It's actually a bit boring until Rick becomes a pilot, but by that time the animation quality is dropping off as well.
God I love this show. The original mash-up.
For one thing, and I've said this before, that Minmei voice actress in "Do You Remember Love" is much less grating then this chick who does the American version. Robotech Minmei sounds like the buffet cashier in "Fargo."

Micronian Marathon


Doing it. Found all of the Robotech VHS tapes (probably inherited from Reuben, thanks man!). And a VCR to play them. Watching all of it. The whole series. Not fuckin around. Considering liveblogging it.

4.27.2009

news


I haven't posted for a while because I have literally been on another planet where they have a different version of the internet, but I wanted to throw this up because it's the first time I've ever been involved in a photograph next to a giant-sized check. (It is an award for a screenplay I'm co-adapting based on my play.)