Redshift #9

Tsurikichi Sanpei

Here’s the latest index of attention to older anime! This week we’ve various meaty posts and podcasts to highlight, plus news of a whole bunch of new translation work. As usual, remarks from Feez are in blue and those from Thaliarchus are in red.

Blogging

Mike Toole’s latest column is a useful Ashita no Joe primer, perhaps particularly of interest for anyone who’s been enjoying the currently-airing Megalobox and wants to know more about its ancestry.

Animehead’s Retroworld wraps up a four-part treatment of the various Casshern titles with an assessment of Casshern Sins.

Cries in Newtype carries a translation of an interview with the director of Mobile Suit Gundam, Yoshiyuki Tomino, discussing the show in the light of its legacy and its coming fortieth anniversary. I love humble Tomino! I really like the fact that he can look back on his works with such pride and sincerity. I also find it amusing that it was Yasuhiko who added in Char’s mask, considering that the masked-man archetype ended up becoming a thing. I should rewatch MSG some day.

ANN have another Gundam interview, with Hideyuki Tomioka, executive producer of Gundam Wing. I was amused by Tomioka’s report that the powers that be didn’t intervene much to steer the show’s plot or content beyond insisting on some very specific merchandising goals! There’s a weird honesty in the commercialism of toy anime, and, paradoxically, it sounds like it sometimes winds up being rather freeing. Wow, this is an interesting read. In retrospect, Wing was very successful in advertising its five main mobile suits, as they’ve gone on to be fan favorites in both Japan and the West. I actually attended a Wing panel featuring Tomioka last year at Otakon. He’s clearly passionate about his time and work on the show.

We’ve two articles on Princess Tutu to report this time: B0bduh’s episodic treatment of the show reaches episode 7, and Stephanie Gertsch discusses Tutu’s rival, Rue.

Cytrus has written an amusing list of quirks in old Polish translations of anime.

And, speaking of translations, the ‘Is this a pigeon?’ meme that’s been garnering attention recently originated in fansubs of Fighbird (1991), the second in the long-running succession of ‘Brave’ mecha anime which were a super robot mainstay in the nineties. As a result we’ve been treated to the bizarre sight of a bunch of fairly mainstream publications briefly mentioning an anime that’s almost unknown to the English-speaking world! One of the fansubbers responsible, Kara Dennison, wrote a short piece about the scene, and Ollie Barder has an article up putting Fighbird in a bit more context. Meme culture is a peculiar thing. I watched ~12 episodes of Fighbird years ago, and I only barely remember the ‘is the pigeon?’ scene. The show is an out-of-context-screenshot goldmine, to be honest, and the same could be said for many other Brave anime.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, ibcf recently had cause to outline some of the traits which make the animation of Lupin the Third Part III (or ‘pink jacket Lupin’!) stand out in a couple of threads. I think these tweets implicitly touch on one of the big, long-running values divisions among anime fans, between those who value precise but staid consistency and those who value unfettered expression.

Podcasts

Dynamite in the Brain has an episode on anime ‘blind spots’, specifically Star of the Giants, Dr Slump, Touch, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Slam Dunk and Kochikame. And if that isn’t a great, varied sampler platter of older things worth at least knowing of, I don’t know what is.

The Chinese Cartoon Podcast convenes to discuss Belladonna of Sadness.

Anime Feminist’s set of podcasts devoted to Michiko and Hatchin wraps up with instalments devoted to episodes 13–17 and to 18–24.

Warui Deshou has put out a fairly personal chat about of Angel’s Egg.

Translation

I took the release of the last item listed, the start of Sanpei, as a good chance to sample the show. It seems to be (yet) another extended story about a boy getting better and better at a particular activity, but it’s delivered with a lot of brio: I enjoyed watching the show work hard to make fishing interesting and to make fish seem like terrifying opponents. It has some lovely pastoral backgrounds, too!

What we’re up to

Feez — A lot. Work’s been keeping me busy, and events in my personal life have been as well. I said last week that I’d share further thoughts on Super Robot Wars X in the following post, so: I enjoyed it! I’ve been playing SRW games for many years, but V was actually the first crossover title I’d played in English. So it’s nice that the follow-up game’s English-translated as well. I think I enjoyed X more than V; it carries a more coherent plot in my opinion, and the original characters feel much more involved. My biggest complaint is that I was not convinced with how they handled Nadia‘s debut. I feel that if they’re going to include an atypical series, they need to be given extra time and care – such as Yamato in V. That said, I hope this streak of translated SRWs continues. Elsewhere, I have a few anime lined up to begin watching… plus, I’ve started playing Twilight Princess.

Thaliarchus — I’m now about to fly home from the US—I’m writing this from a hotel room in Seattle—so I’ve been busy taking time off. I’ve watched a few episodes of Shingu, which seems to be an alien contact story told in a very gentle, semi-comic style. I’m enjoying it a lot so far! I’ve finished off Fire Emblem: Echoes, which wound up swallowing about fifty-five hours of my life—it’s characterful and great-looking, and I thought the dungeons were a neat addition to the series. I’ve also been reading a lot, which tends to happen when I’m on holiday: I’m currently on my sixth book of the fortnight, Henry James’s Washington Square. So far, it’s a family disaster story told with a lot of gentle humour and some fantastic sentences, pushing their way through thickets of litotes to hit on the emotions of some extremely buttoned-up characters.

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