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About Lexomatic

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  1. It's not a reboot -- the project was mischaracterized in the title of the initial story at Hollywood Reporter (17 Sep 6:00 am. PT). Mr. Esmail quickly clarified via Twitter (17 Sep 8:49 am, no TZ) that this is a spinoff, a new story set in the "mythology" -- that tweet actually appears in the story, as its fourth paragraph.
  2. So, based on my own inklings and Seto Kaiba's summary of ... off-screen setting materials, I surmise ... I suspect this is one of those things that started with "rule of cool" for which the Macross brain trust subsequently had to invent a plausible-sounding explanation for the techies in the audience and their own satisfaction. I imagine a story meeting, possibly during the phase when SDFM was still a Gundam parody: "We need to confront our protagonists with impossible, disheartening, paralyzing odds. How about fifty thousand enemy ships?" "Nah, go big or go home. Let's make it five million. For the drama!" The Protoculture might have spanned the galaxy and satellite clusters, but that's not the same as colonizing any significant fraction of the 400 billion stars. And if they did, that's the kind of demographic growth that in serious SF takes millennia. And what fraction was already claimed by the Vajra? --If "claimed" is even the right characterization. The two species may have coexisted amicably, with a preference for different kinds of worlds or stars. Several of the screen projects have encountered Protoculture remnants, but not in a way amenable to answering deep cultural questions. I'm assuming that most information supplied to fans is, therefore, ex-cathedra. Logically, even the humans in-universe would be stymied. Zentraedi records are eroded, and no doubt omitted irrelevant detail ("was there a religious motivation to create sub-Protoculture races?") and a lot of strategic detail. Planet-bound remains are so ancient that investigation is more paleontology than archaeology. They have to tiptoe between Zentraedi patrols. A Macross story in the vein of Stargate Atlantis would be gratifying (following something like the 117th Long-Distance Research Fleet alluded to in Frontier), but probably not what the powers-that-be are interested in bankrolling. Even a magazine-based project like Macross the Ride is an excuse to play with model kits, and I don't expect a lot of interest in "type-3 inflatable research shelter" or "arctic-terrain gravitometer van".
  3. On the non-diegetic side -- Were the writers of SDFM enamored of absurdly big fleets, Lensman-style? Does "five million ships!" sound impressive in Japanese, more so than other numbers? ("Gohyaku man-hai fune yo", I guess.) The diegetic reason -- Did the Protoculture occupy that many star systems? Did they prefer overwhelming numerical domination? Did their civil war start out that large, or was it an escalation related to the creation of the Supervision Army, or have the factory satellites been cancerously self-replicating for the past 500 millennia? (Millions of ships in each of thousands of fleets, if DYRL is to be believed.) (The Iain M. Banks coinage "aggressive hegemonizing swarm" seems apropos here.) This may be a matter of magnitudes for which there is no good answer. (As a question, it doesn't IMHO fit the "newbie and short questions" or "mecha fun time" threads.) (This happened to occur to me (a) while perusing the "Robotech by Titan Comics" thread. and (b) for thematic similarity with a Quora question, "why isn't the Imperial fleet in Star Wars bigger?" The size of the Tirolian empire, as depicted in the Sentinels novels, doesn't seem to justify a subjugation-fleet of that size. If Carl Macek had balked at the number and opted to downsize it in the Robotech dub script, it's not like anybody would actually count the number of dots onscreen -- a fleet of 50,000 ships would be less insane but still seemingly-unbeatable.)
  4. As a professional macroeconomic librarian, I agree. Of course, I'm also the kind of fan who when reading "Dragonriders of Pern" wants more colonized-planet geology and agriculture and fewer dragons, and is disappointed that on-screen "Star Trek" has never provided a clear explanation of how legal authority is divided between the federal government and individual planets or planetary alliances.
  5. Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972) got two different English-language adaptations: Battle of the Planets (1978), by Sandy Frank Entertainment, which used 85 of 105 episodes and replaced the most controversial segments with the "7-Zark-7" narrator interludes. The title, the modified premise ("travel through space to fight Spectra on other planets"), and 7-Zark-7 (his shape and name, anyway) were all riding on the coattails of Star Wars. It also got a new score by Hoyt Curtin (you'll notice cues similar to his contemporaneous work on the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends shows). The name "G-Force" was assigned to the team. G-Force: Guardians of Space (1986) by Turner Program Services, which restored most of the footage, but had new names and a new voice dub. The later sequels, Gatchaman II (1978) and Gatchaman Fighter (1979), would be adapted by Saban as Eagle Riders (1996). When the alien Sosai X recruited humans to form the Galactor terrorist organization (called "the Luminous One" and "Spectra" in Battle of the Planets), it always intended to destroy Earth in the end (this was quite the shock to chief catspaw Berg Katse). I suspect it got some jollies by seeing how far its minions would debase themselves in pursuit of personal gain. ("Humans like masks, but are embarrassed by funny masks, eh?")
  6. Re: Faithfulness of the adaptation -- From the get-go, Disney's fairy tale movies have been more "inspired by" than "adaptation of", so "take a dump on" is a misplaced characterization; also, IMHO, hyperbolic -- the Disney film doesn't parody the HCA 1837 story, or attempt to supplant it. It should be thought of as "Disney's The Little Mermaid" and not "Disney presents Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid". The world of ideas can accommodate more than one version of a story (*), although admittedly, Disney's market power gives it unprecedented mindshare. 1968, Russian, animated 1975, Japanese, animated 1976, Bulgaria-USSR, live action 1977, Finnish, animated (Possibly another version, from some kind of "classics animated" anthology series of the early '80s) 1989, Disney 1992, USA (Golden Films), animated 2016, USA, live action 2018, USA, live action Re: Ariel's skin tone -- As conventionally pictured, nothing about mer-person anatomy and physiology makes sense (why so much hair? where are the gills?) and skin pigmentation is the least of it. Assuming natural selection is even pertinent, maybe they haven't lived in a low-UV environment long enough to lose said pigment. Maybe it's random, like the coloration of a litter of tabby kittens, and Ariel's sisters will be various shades of brown (or blue, or striped, or ...). For alternate takes, see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), or the Fisher Kingdom in Aquaman (2018). Me, I'm wondering how they'll re-interpret the "seashell bra" trope. Consider that in the current live-action Aladdin, Princess Jasmine's wardrobe has rather more midriff coverage than in the 1992 animated film. (*) The world can accommodate multiple versions, but it's possible a single brain can't. From their complaints, some people seem resistant to the whole notion of alternatives and nuance; if two ideas are even slightly similar, they get conflated. This might reflect a real neurological difference, or simply a lack of effort. The tendency has become particularly apparent in 20/21-cen pop culture where a mythos gets repeatedly reinterpreted within a single person's lifetime.
  7. <skims the proposal> Interesting. The crowdfunding model was successful for Bee and PuppyCat by Natasha Allegri (an alum of Adventure Time) (Kickstarter from 2013 hey wait that was six years ago yikes) with a target budget of $100,000 per episode, each 5 to 10 minutes. Has it been successful for anything else? There's a TV Tropes page for Kickstarter, listing ... lessee ... new seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (oh, right), Reading Rainbow, English dubs for Vision of Escaflowne and Wakfu ... but a market analysis also requires: how often has the model failed? Indeed. The Answerman columns are what I usually cite when somebody newly discovers this dirty truth of the Japanese animation industry. That species of complaint would probably be from producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki. This might be addressed on fan site Cosmo DNA, which is a tremendous resource of translated vintage news coverage, but difficult to search for specific questions.
  8. One feature of Siege Jetfire I can't figure from pictures I've seen: There seem to be a pair of doors on the "underside" of the red backpack, behind his head, with helical springs. What's their purpose?
  9. Whether you enjoy Star Trek: Discovery (ST:DSC if you follow the established pattern of abbreviations, STD if you're feeling malicious) depends very much on what you're looking for in (a) a product with the "Star Trek" name, and (b) modern SFTV. Internet discussion implies that both correlate strongly with age and experience with prior iterations of the franchise. Objections to the show fall into this hierarchy: It's paywalled instead of airing on a free broadcast network. The look doesn't resemble the era, as depicted in TOS. The technological capabilities don't match TOS, and often exceed TNG. Many of the Starfleet characters aren't laudable. The structure is main character not ensemble, long-arc not episodic. The writing and photography are often bad ("why did the characters do this?" and "I can't see what's happening"). The themes are neither aspirational (humanity can improve itself) nor inspirational ("I want to be an astronaut / I want to invent that gadget"). If you're a fan of Macross you've probably made peace with inconsistent "visual canon", and with a little practice you can discard "fanon" and "head canon" that restrict what you believe things "should be". Point (5) gets into Macross Delta territory. Why the mess? CBS and the production crew haven't broken ranks, but reading between the lines, there has been a lot of instability -- repeated changes in the showrunners and their vision, people who don't "get" what's distinctive about Trek as opposed to adventure-SF, "change for the sake of change", clumsy attempts to reverse direction, and writers with limited SF and long-arc experience. TNG-DS9-VGR-ENT started to get "samey" because the same people had been running the franchise for 15 years, but by the same token, they were a well-oiled machine. Conversely, The Orville on Fox is unapologetically a TNG homage: space exploration, first contact, cultural conflict, allegorical morality plays, impossible decisions; in an episodic-with-callbacks structure. The characters are more overtly human and imperfect than the paragons of TNG. The main objections are "ew, you got Seth McFarlane humor in my Trek" (an element that has been gradually reduced from the start of the series) and "ew, you put Seth McFarlane in the literal captain's seat" (more an objection to his acting skills than to his everyman personality, which is directly addressed by an admiral in the first ep: "let's face it, you're nobody's first choice for a captain, but we've got 3000 ships to crew").
  10. I haven't bought any of these third-party boutique figures, even after seeing them in person at TFcon USA 2017 -- very nicely done, but too rich for my blood (*). What I have is a spreadsheet (because I'm all about the analytics) with 500 molds and 600 characters (counting re-decos) from a dozen makers (GigaPower, Iron Factory, KFC, Planet X, etc.). What I'm really curious about is: WHO is making them, and HOW? I presume they're leveraging modern CAD/CAM and China's low-cost manufacturing expertise, honed on official Transformers and other Japanese robot toys -- but are they true amateurs, or former employees of Hasbro, Takara, Bandai, etc.? The few official websites I've found have not been particularly enlightening. Anybody aware of any interviews or designer profiles -- or are the specific personages still keeping a low profile, even if their products aren't? (*) The Iron Factory "Wing of Tyrant" figures are particularly enticing, because I was a big fan of the scale and detail of the G2 Cyberjets in the mid-'90s -- but $30 to $45 for four inches of plastic feels wrong. FWIW, after filling my basement with LEGO bricks, I've drifted very much into the "pay for experiences, not things" camp.
  11. G-Saviour (1999, 92 minutes) is, if not strictly anime, anime-adjacent -- a hybrid of Sunrise-owned Universal Century with the late-'90s film industry of Vancouver, with a script obviously designed to appeal to viewers of the era's serious live-action NorAm English-language TV SF like Babylon 5 and seaQuest DSV. Viz., most of Gundam's tropes have been omitted: bad guys aren't cackling psychopaths, the good guys aren't merely less-bad guys, the macguffin is almost scientifically plausible, the names are normal -- and there's nary a teenager to be seen, in or out of the cockpit of a mobile suit. To unpack the plot: It's UC 223 (AD 2268) and a faction in the military of the Congress of Settlement Nations ("CONSENT") is suppressing the discovery of a method of undersea agriculture (viz., mass production of a bioluminescent enzyme that produces light and heat) because (as noted by their catspaw in a moment of epiphany) "there's too much power in selective starvation". Mark Curran, a former mobile suit pilot and now director of the Hydro-Gen subsea experimental facility, falls in with Dr. Cynthia Graves of the Side Eight "Gaia" settlement, co-developer of the enzyme, and is recruited to pilot the G-Saviour, an advanced suit developed by "the Illuminati", a well-funded clandestine movement in the settlements opposed to recent developments in CONSENT. The classic names Minovski particle, Gundam, Zeon and Earth Federation aren't used, although the CONSENT uniforms evoke those of the EF (viz., braid outlines a shoulder yoke). It's 140 years after Mobile Suit Gundam, so a political realignment is plausible. The "settlements" are the classic O'Neill "Island III" shape. The mobile suits have beam sabers and field-bucklers, but the combat could be replaced with Starfuries with no change to the drama. Set design, costumes and acting are all quite passable for a TV movie. The CGI quality is more 1995 than 1999.
  12. "Greetings, local sophont! We are members of Symbol Table Entry One, engaged in armed conflict with members of Symbol Table Entry Two, with whom we have a long-standing disagreement over the political organization of our homeworld, Symbol Table Entry Three." "Symbol table ...? Forget it. If you lot can't be arsed to come up with sensible names, I'll just call you Simwunnites and Simtoonians. That copacetic with you?" "This entire mode of communication, with the linear packaging of concepts and emotional modulations, delivered through narrow-band vibrations in a gaseous fluid medium, is arbitrary to us. So, yes." Tune in next time for thrilling adventure with the altruistic Simwunnites versus the self-aggrandizing Simtoonians! On "The Combative Space-Aliens Who Intriguingly Change Shape".
  13. Lessee, I tuned out when the Klingons and Kelpians arrived and skipped forward to the denouement and epilogue. Vis-a-vis the repeated moments during the season that can be interpreted as "trying to dig ourselves out of a hole / placate the fanbase", it feels significant that: Spock's proposal to the interviewing (admiral? all the shots were over his shoulder) was essentially "and let us never speak of this again". We see Discovery vanish into Burnham's wormhole, but the final scene is the launch of the repaired Enterprise. The end-title music intercuts the DSC and Alexander Courage TOS themes. During the battle, Enterprise deploys a crew of repair bots ("D-O-T-sevens") from several ports on the saucer, confirming what I had suspected re: "is some of the maintenance automatic?" Also, it's a lot like the scene with Amidala's yacht and astromech droids from The Phantom Menace -- the bots are even white with blue trim. When Spock and Burnham are ready to launch from Discovery's docking bay to open the escape wormhole, during the battle, there is once again gratuitous "worker bee moving crates" action in the background. Pike flubs a line ("the calvary has arrived" -- i.e., cal-va-ry, not cav-al-ry) and it's inexcusable that nobody noticed and fixed it, at worst by looping. This isn't a spoonerism on a made-up name like "Taralians" vs. "Talarians".
  14. Be careful what you wish for -- visual SF is replete with entities that are more interesting the less you know, until later showrunners or tie-in novelists plunge their grubby mitts into the sandbox and spoil the soup by evaporating the veneer of mystery. According to its Memory Beta entry, the Guardian of Forever has appeared in many stories, including: In Imzadi (Peter David, 1992), future-Riker uses the Guardian of Forever to save Troi, thereby also explicating whatever mystery we'd had about their early relationship. (Also features a female Orion scientist going by the name "Mary Mac" who has to dress down to get other species to take her brain seriously.) In The Devil's Heart (Carmen Carter, 1993), the titular artifact, coveted by one ruler after another, is implied to be a seed that will eventually grow into another Guardian, elsewhere. (Ob the topic of this thread, we should count ourselves lucky that DSC has trotted out only a limited number of TOS icons. We did encounter the Sarek family, redesigned Klingons, Andorians and Tellarites, Harry Mudd and android copies thereof, the Pike-era Enterprise, and Talosians; but thankfully haven't seen Romulans, Tholians, Garth of Izar, Organians, Gary 7, the Guardian, or Antares-class freighters.)
  15. The pattern of offerings implies that the bulk of existing fans remain more interested in merch associated with older shows, and the new show hasn't drawn a mass of new fans who are principally interested in new stuff. (When redesigning everything, it seems "new fans won't like the old-fangled style" is an excuse for "we want to exert our own creative vision".) Contrast with Macross (which continues to produce updated plamo of VF-1 alongside redecos of VF-31s) or Hasbro, which produces the same Transformers character in six different forms and price-points for different customers. It's not just that the merch selection (casualwear, drinkware) is generally low-priced, but also a low time investment (models take time to build, novels take time to read). Star Trek is certainly not a modern anime (whose priority is to be a late-night infomercial for tie-in soundtrack, light novel, character goods, papercraft, plamo, etc.), but where it could promote, it has done so poorly. Potential products are either impossible to see (murk-toned space battles), rarely seen (few beauty shots of ships not numbered NCC-1031), or ugly (Klingon ships). If you're accustomed to picking a uniform that's yellow or red or mostly-black to suit your skin tone, sorry, you're limited to blue with metallic accents (or, I guess, white-for-Medical). Characters rarely carry props, and when they do, it's a weapon (too bad if you want to accessorize with a nonviolent tricorder or medical kit). (The uniforms of ENT were also mostly-blue, but (a) jumpsuits are more flattering to different physiques, (b) they look like a reasonable extrapolation of submarine and NASA wear, and (c) they have plenty of pockets.) We're 19 months into the series (premiered September 2017) and we've had only four novels. True, we're not in the 1990s heyday of Pocket publishing a TNG and DS9 title every other month, but still disappointing. And what happened to the kid-oriented heyday of role play items from Playmates sold at Toys "R" Us? What kid is going to be inspired to re-enact these adventures? Any parent who wants to recapture the magic is going to stick to TNG or DS9. (To be fair, Hasbro also has no idea what to do with that segment -- it's always "arm-gun" or "Optimus Prime mask".) There are no constructible toys, but that's probably a mercy after Bayverse KRE-O and Game of Thrones in brick form. (I'm skeptical of the mindset that seems to be "my favorite property hasn't arrived until it gets a big-budget movie and LEGO sets", but MEGA Brands-now-Mattel has been successful for years with its Halo theme.)
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