Macross Unedited: The Way to Do the Right Things Right
Although there are various series that have introduced Americans to anime throughout the years, it's almost certain that none has had more effect by itself than Robotech, and in particular the portion of it known as Macross. That storyline revolved around a group of humans who survived WWIII and built a community around a spaceship that crashlanded on Earth this very year - 1999. (Watch the skies!) The Zentraedi were the rightful owners of the ship, and 10 years later, they return to reclaim their fortress. Although the mecha battles and action were top-notch, Macross made inroads because its characters seemed real--more real than any other cartoon characters introduced to that point. Besides the love triangle that founded the series, there's also lots of drama, romance, even humor within the show. It was also the first touch of realism to hit American shores in terms of animation--people died, and in great numbers. It was profound for its time. Though Southern Cross and Mospeada were good shows as well, none has had the resonance over time as Macross.
Although Robotech was an exceptional creation in and of itself, its creators tore apart the original Macross episodes in terms of actual plot and (occasionally) continuity to make it fit within Robotech's grand scheme. Fans who watch a subtitled or dubbed version of the Macross movie (which is incredible, by the way) will find that certain plot lines are completely different. Most notably, the concept of Protoculture is completely different, and other character relationships are somewhat changed. The music, which is a major element in the show, is also far superior. For years, however, the original version of the show has been unobtainable. (Although a "Perfect Collection" was released, containing rough translations of the original episodes alongside the Robotech editions, it was never completed. It is also still edited, to my knowledge.)
It was no small thing, then, when AnimEigo announced last week that they were releasing all of Macross to DVD and VHS. The unedited, subtitled version should be available by spring of 2000. The unedited version will include some scenes that were edited for American audiences--primarily a few cheesecake shots and a scene where a character actually bleeds--but it will also include a translation of the dialogue as original written. This is something a lot of fans have been waiting for. AnimEigo is known for listening to the fans, and I am certain they will have us in mind. They have also learned from their mistakes on their original DVD release, Bubblegum Crisis, and so I believe the set will be of incredible quality. This is a set that ought to make DVD worth the purchase.
If so many people are excited about it, then why I am I writing an editorial? It's simple. AnimEigo is planning a box-set release of the series. The more people that sign up, the less the price will be. As you know, we at the Anime Review appreciate a good bargain about as much as anyone. It's good for the anime community to band together and pre-order the set. The entire series of 36 episodes is currently set to run $300. However, if the total preorder count is more than 2000 sets, the price goes down, and continues to go down significantly with more orders. Within the first few days of the announcement, over 500 people have signed up for the set. I strongly encourage you, whether you are an otaku or simply an anime fan, to sign up for this series. Because it will not be released for 6-9 months at the earliest, there is plenty of time to save up for the show. What's more, I don't think you will be disappointed. Macross is one of the finest shows in anime--it deserves to be on your shelf and in your player.