Memorial Day Weekend Froth

*Ah, it's a vacation! And an unusually cultural one for me - I actually went down to Washington, D.C. with Chris Mautner (of Newsarama's blog) to see the Saul Steinberg exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and I'll have a rundown of that sometime tomorrow.

*Silly Old Anime Dept: Very nice thing to run into on YouTube the other day - both the new parts for the 1987 OVA (deep breath) Super Dimensional Fortress Macross Flash Back 2012. A fitting find, since it's recently been announced that a new Macross television series will be going into production to celebrate the franchise's 25th anniversary. In case you don't know, the original Macross television series is something of an icon of '80s anime, loaded with J-pop kitsch and booming economy splendor, and lots of transforming robots fighting shit and saving humanity with songs. It's got the NES game to prove its eventual popularity. It later got merged with two other series and presented in the US under the title of Robotech, a franchise that's gone on to develop its own extensive, separate continuity, although it ought to be noted that the Macross bits were left largely intact in terms of English re-writing.

Sadly, legal struggles surrounding the US rights for further Macross properties have ensured that large chunks of the franchise are Japan-only, most notably the 1984 movie version Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?, and the above-linked OVA project, both of which relate directly to the original series. Do You Remember Love? has the interesting distinction of acting as a movie that 'exists' in the Macross universe as a docudrama (thus coyly brushing away the bits that don't match up with continuity). Flash Back 2012, meanwhile, is a collection of musical numbers, much of it set to recycled footage from the television series and movie. However, the two bits linked above were actually new animation (hence the 'new parts' mentioned above), bringing to live a segment meant for the ending of the movie, which was never completed in time. Oddly, I do believe Flash Back 2012 is considered proper canon (while the film is not), or at least it hasn't been explicitly set aside from such, so it really winds up serving as an extended epilogue to the television series, while cannily folding some of the movie designs into the Macross universe proper - now that's continuity management.

Er, all of that's a long way of saying that Flash Back 2012 is a nice little capsule of a certain brand of glittering '80s cartoon, more than a little visually 'arty' while still high on big robots and melodramatic romance and cheesy pop music. The storytelling is almost certainly incomprehensible to anyone who hasn't seen a lot of Macross (and let's not shit around - absolutely nobody who wasn't already a hardcore fan would have gone out and bought this thing, so clearly no effort was made toward easy access), but I think the superficial qualities please on their own. It'd almost have to be that way for a show like this.