This time we’re experimenting with different colours for our passing comments: blue for Feez and red for Thaliarchus.
Dave Merrill has a great rundown on the obscure seventies anime Cho Supercar Gattiger which was, by all accounts, a bit of a mess—but a mess that’s amusing to contemplate now. This anime looks very Ginguiser-esque in its absurdity, and interestingly enough they share the same mechanical designer. I see that, even though this show was technically about cars rather than giant robots, its five-driver team is the same traditional five-pilot set: hero, reflective guy, big guy, girl, kid.
AngryJellyfish has a review of the Fancy Lala TV show.
You might remember Tom Winnicki’s fruitful investigation into the 1983 Hollywood Gundam, one of the most interesting new things we learned about old anime last year. He’s now published his bibliography for the project. Really, saying that is kind of underselling it: he’s gotten permission to release the full 117-page first draft script. As always when talking about this thing, it’s worth repeating that the adaptation didn’t progress all that far, so we shouldn’t take the script as an accurate representation of a counterfactual mid-eighties Hollywood film… but it’s a fascinating read nevertheless. Also, I grin whenever it says ‘ZAK’. I remember Tom asking me to take a few pics from the Mead books back when he was doing his investigation… I’m glad I was able to assist a little in what’s become fascinating research brought to life. That fifteen-page storyboard is all sorts of delicious.
Mike Toole’s latest column revolves around Ryousuke Takahashi, the man who’s probably most famous for directing Votoms. Takahashi’s been working in anime since the sixties and he’s done things other than directing well after succeeding in the director’s role, labouring away in writing and supervision jobs. One gets the sense from a few of his things (Flag and especially Gasaraki) that his politics might be eyebrow-raising; Konpeki no Kantai, on which he worked with frequent collaborator Takeyuki Kanda, could be the smoking gun, but as far as I know it’s never been translated—perhaps for fairly obvious reasons given its topic. This is not a comprehensive essay, but it’s a decent introduction to a figure whose English-language reputation probably doesn’t match his significance.
Wrong Every Time has a sustained reflection on FLCL, and on its role in a lot of US anime fans’ adolescences.
Daryl Surat trots through notable titles from 1988 for ANN. I think, apart from anything else, 1988 shows how discussions pitting Anime Now against Anime Then are often comparing profoundly unalike things: the year produced a crushingly good headline row of anime, but they’re pretty much all films or OVAs.
Callum May offers the first part of a primer on Studio Gainax’s history. This seems like a good place to recommend the recent TV version of Kazuhiko Shimamoto’s highly accurate documentary Blue Blazes, which I hear you can find legally on Viki in some parts of the world.
Andrew Osmond’s written a survey of Kenji Kamiyama’s career for AlltheAnime. An educational read. I actually didn’t know that Kamiyama was a protégé of Oshii. It makes sense, in retrospect, as SAC does feel like it has a bit of an Oshii flair, and I believe Oshii himself was involved in the second season.
Dynamite in the Brain has a show dedicated to Venus Wars. DitB also continues its ‘MANV Feud’ series, a journey through Manga Entertainment’s VHS tapes structured, amusingly, by their SKU numbers. This iteration touches on some good anime! And also on Angel Cop.
The new Retro Mecha Podcast spend their first episode covering Zambot 3. I’m pretty fond of Zambot 3. It’s also a yardstick for me when I’m told that such-and-such a new late-night show is ‘courageously dark’. Zambot committed to some pretty grim material in a daytime timeslot, while remaining absolutely a kids’ show, while heavy stuff is already part of late-night anime’s remit.
On the Anime Nostalgia Podcast Dawn’s joined by returning guest Newtypelady to discuss the influential manga artist group CLAMP and some of the anime which adapt CLAMP’s material.
Blade Licking Thieves chat about the fandom of past, from clubs to cons to classic shows with Dave Merrill—yes, that’s the ‘just wrote about Cho Supercar Gattiger’ Dave Merrill you saw above.
The first ever widely-available subtitles for Gusty Frog have emerged courtesy of GutsySubs, who’ve covered episodes 1 and 2 so far. Gutsy Frog adapts a comedy manga and aired 1972–74, and it’s notable for its witty, characterful animation. I’ve watched the first two eps and they feature some strong physical comedy. ibcf has written a good Twitter thread introducing the show.
SES have put out Dr Slump and Arale-chan episode 65.
South Wind have put out Captain Future episodes 45–48.
The delightful Rintaro oddity Down Load (1992), previously only known in English through a VHS rip, can now be found in high-tech, up-to-date laserdisc quality.
SenritsuSubs have put out Gamba no Bouken episode 10.
SquareSubs report that they’ve started subbing Maple Town Monogatari (1986); they’ve also put out Dash! Yonkuro 5–6 and Yume no Crayon Oukoku 6–9.
Finally, though it’s not strictly speaking new or exactly an extensive work of translation, we’d like to note the admission of the oldest known Japanese animation, Katsudou Shashin (Moving Pictures, perhaps before 1912) to Sakugabooru.
What we’re up to
Feez — I’ve started rewatching Aura Battler Dunbine! Keep up with my progress here. Dunbine‘s an anime that has some sentimental value to me, as I watched it before I knew who Tomino was (mid 2007; it wasn’t til later that year that I’d fully engross myself in UC Gundam) and enjoyed it a lot. It’s been really fun revisiting so far, and I’m noticing a lot of Tomino’s usual directorial tics that I hadn’t before. The setting is so damn interesting and totally my thing. Really excited to see it featured in the upcoming Super Robot Wars X, which appears to be taking on a fantasy focus, so Dunbine should fit in quite nicely. Other than that, well, I’m still chugging through Nadia.
Thaliarchus — I’ve been snowed under with work in the last fortnight, and busy preparing to (as it turned out) screw up a job interview. But I did just watch the ninth episode of Gamba no Bouken, which was as good a monster story as you could ask for, pitting the show’s heroes—who’re mice—up against a black fox who’s rendered as a sleek, toothy and terrifying shape of darkness. The episode has a particularly fine denouement which does a lot with just a few spoken lines.