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Cannon Fodder

Cannon Fodder (1/15)



  1. As we board the hype train leading up to Kazutaka Miyatake's exhibition of original artworks, let us look at a recent interview with him conducted earlier this year for the "SDF-1 Macross: Thorough Dissection" book -- you know, the one which also doubles as an enormous 1/2400 scale papercraft model of the Fortress Exceeding Space and Time itself (the cover of the book stoically assures us that it is genuine "Deculture Scale", no less). The translation starts right after the jump! (I tried to be as accurate as possible, and that is why the four in-text notes are oddly numbered: there are two #3's, and there is no #1. ) “Working on Macross was nothing but fun!†Interview with Kazutaka Miyatake, from the "SDF-1 Macross: Thorough Dissection" book. [Translated by Renato] The beginnings of “Super Dimension Fortress Macrossâ€:  Shortly after the establishment of Studio Nue, we were doing settings work for toy companies, but (scriptwriter, Kenichi) Matsuzaki said that we should make our own project. So we got together with an advertising agency, and (designer, planner, director Shoji) Kawamori and I decided to brew a few ideas over the new year holiday, and when we presented them to each other at the beginning of the year, we both ended up with the same “reverse knee-joint†design. So we put that design in the project called “Genocidusâ€. We conceived the Gerwalk as a design that would surpass the MS from Mobile Suit Gundam. The name GERWALK was thought up by Matsuzaki. He made it up of some technical jargon. It seemed like the model kit manufacturers liked the Gerwalk concept, but the toy makers said, “A reverse knee-joint mecha is too much of a risk for us, so please make it into a humanoid robot, even if all it does is just stand there.†The advertising agency Big West also liked our idea and they tried to get it approved, but there was no convincing the toy companies. At that point, Big West’s Onishi-san took us to see a preview screening of the movie “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back†(1980 release). In the opening battle on planet Hoth, I saw these chicken walkers (AT-STs) walking around and I felt so gutted (that there was already a reverse knee-joint mecha). The conceptualization was either at around the same time, or we were first. On the train back home, I decided that we had to concentrate on getting our plan sold and made into some visual media even if we had to throw out the concept for Genocidus. We decided that it would be too much work and too tough to plan out and realize hardcore sci-fi, so we approached it as a comedy, which would be lighter work and easier to do. Before “Macrossâ€, we submitted a project plan called “Megaload†(meaning a “heavy loadâ€). So from that point on, Megaload progressed towards realization more smoothly than Genocidus. The Birth of the Macross The approach we had was basically, “Anyway, let’s just do something weird!â€, so we took made a giant ship. And we wanted to make it so that [in the story] it just so happens to turn into a robot because of various circumstances. We didn’t want it to look like a lie even if it was made visually, so to keep the audience from saying “There’s no way it can be that bigâ€, we decided to keep the size limit to around 1km. It’s more realistic to have fractions in the number, so we made the setting out to be 1.2km. Since it’s so huge, we made it so that it was actually a ship that fell from outer space and was modified by humans, and even in the early planning stage we had the story setting that when the Macross (at the time it was still the Megaload) moves out, it fails to make the fold above ground and takes the surrounding area with it into space. So then the displaced citizens put pressure on Captain Global to “recover all of the houses and shops, everything that has been flung into space,†and Global uses the military to recover it all and bring it inside the ship, since he doesn’t want to anger the public. Aside from the propulsion section, there’s a lot of open space in the ship, so the citizens build their city there. We figured that if we had 1.2km that would be enough for a single block of a shopping street. The reason why the two arms of the Macross were naval vessels. Originally the idea of the UN Spacy was that firstly a space barge would be modified and used as a space carrier loaded with fighter jets, which was the ARMD-01. However, that ended up getting destroyed by the Zentradi. So instead, the attack carrier Prometheus and amphibious assault ship Daedalus, which were brought over in the space fold, ended up being placed as the arms where the 01 and 02 would have been. The Macross is 1.2km, but the fighters that the characters ride in are only around 10m. That means that when we see them launch, the Macross is too huge to really take in the sense of scale. In other words, a frame of reference is needed – so if we put the fighters on top of a regular aircraft carrier, we can then use it as a stepping stone to compare with the size of the Macross and understand the difference. Additionally, at the time of broadcast, the typical aircraft carrier had two prongs at the front (Note 2: Newer aircraft carriers from the 1970s had “bridle retrievers†at the front of the flight deck, that would retrieve the “bridlesâ€, which where the clips that would pull the aircraft along the catapult), which, when combined with the rounded front, almost seemed like three fingers, and because the bridge is on the right, we made that the left hand. With regards to the right hand, we figured that having two aircraft carriers would be boring, so we thought to make it like a punching fist, and the Daedalus was designed to have a giant gantry hatch at the front, which would also serve as a Destroid hangar. The idea of the Daedalus Attack In the show, we made it so there is a malfunction with the barrier (Note 3: In any case, a regular pattern of the show is that when each of the various functions of the Macross are used, they break and then cannot be used again), and the operator girls are left screaming as they try to control the pinpoint barrier. So in the pinpoint barrier we had come up with an original shield concept, but then Kawamori suddenly said “Hey, we can use this to attack!†He explained, “By using the pinpoint barrier – which is much stronger than Earth physics – to shield the front of the ship, you can ram the enemy ship as in a ramming attack (as a type of naval attack strategy during the age of sail, people used to put some protrusions onto the front of their ships to ram the enemies), open the hatch and deploy reaction missiles, and it’ll be cool.†What I like about the Macross ship In the first episode, in the scene where the Buster Cannon is fired, the bow turns as it opens up [separates], as it would in the normal firing sequence. I like that (Note 4: Aside from the opening, it is the only time we see the main gun being fired in cruiser mode). Apart from that, from a design point of view, the specific placement of the Buster Cannon is a bit difficult to understand in Storm Attacker mode. It’s difficult to see, but when in the firing position, the main section of the bow [the “barrel†of the main gun] lowers a bit. I think that is also an interesting point of the design. Working on “Super Dimension Fortress Macross†During the initial broadcast, there was supposed to be another show afterwards, but they couldn’t make the broadcast deadline, so suddenly we had to run our first two episodes one after the other. Because of that, our schedule became much tighter overall. It was bad enough that the show especially took a lot of work to animate [compared to others] as it was, but now we were in a no-win situation. Even without that, for Studio Nue it was a whole new ball game anyway. Looking back now, it’s quite embarrassing just how amateurish the show feels, but I guess we were at the very frontlines of otaku culture then. What Kawamori and I were very particular about, was that “Macross†be grounded in Navy themes. Even though it looks more like it’s about planes, I want people to realize that it is not just about the air force. I don’t know how truthful this is, but apparently, during the filming of Top Gun (1986), the director showed the pilots some scenes from the Macross movie, and asked, “Can you fly like this?†And the pilots responded, “Yeah, we can do that same stuffâ€, and that’s how you got those scenes. So it’s not just that Macross is influential, it’s also that people are actually replicating it visually. In any case, working on Macross was honestly nothing but fun, and it was great. (January 2015, at Yokosuka) Read the full story here
  2. MW member and Macross SpeakerPODcast partner-in-crime Gubaba has provided us with another new translation! I'll leave it to him to introduce it... Download link at the bottom! The Plundering Fleet is one of two short stories included in the Macross Perfect Memory book from 1983, in the section "Macross Outside Story" (by which, they mean "side stories"). It was written by Kenichi Matsuzaki, who was the script editor for the series and also wrote plenty of episodes, including the first three and "Love Drifts Away." You may remember that in Episode 15 of the series, Global tells Misa a story about her father pulling off some wild scheme involving pretending to be Anti-Unification Forces and raiding a UN storehouse. That's what this story is about, but really, only partially. I've always been kind of curious about the story. MW member Roycommi posted a version over a decade ago, but since that was only two pages long, and the story in Japanese covers four pages of extremely small, dense text, there was clearly a lot missing. I started the translation in late 2011, while still working on the Misa novel. I did most of the first section, and then put it away for a few years, picking it up a little less than a year ago. I worked on it sporadically this year, and finally finished it yesterday (mostly... There will be a slightly revised version coming later). Honestly, I found it a real slog. Fun to read, I hope, but really difficult to translate. Neil Nadelman and Frank Reynolds helped with the submarine terminology, and my old housemate in Tokyo, Irina, helped confirm that the "Russian" names in the story aren't actually Russian, and okayed my spelling of them. Any errors that remain, however, are my own. Download HERE: The Plundering Fleet  Read the full story here
  3. We've all thought about it, some of us more vocally than others, and on Thursday last week, the mysterious Mr. K from Arcadia -- previously Yamato -- took some time to publish a long blog post on the topic of why Arcadia's products are so highly priced. The really high quality transforming Macross toys have never been cheap. No, not even the Takatoku 1/55. But Arcadia's recent offerings have finally broken the 30,000 yen barrier. Some of us in the forums felt that Arcadia had gone insane. Well, this here is a unique opportunity to peek at what actually goes into producing a Valkyrie toy and give a bit more context to the figures. Original article: http://ameblo.jp/arcadiaac/entry-12066413053.html Feel free to discuss this in the MW forums! Why are Arcadia toys so expensive? By Mr. K (Translated by Renato) Why are Arcadia toys so expensive? Our Macross items are currently on a Macross Zero boom (according to myself). We’re putting out several UN Spacy birds in turn, but I (personally) want to do Anti-UN ones as well. However, there is a growing difference between the way things are today and years ago, so the truth is that we cannot do things like in the old days. “How can we make these products a reality…?†I’m constantly struggling with that thought. Of course, the same goes for other projects, too, but it is a constant, everyday struggle. Hello. My name is Mr. K, the struggling project developer of this company. For years now the Chinese factories have been raising their fees and we have seen that influence the price of our products. This is not just a hit on our company, but also on the manufacturing industry as a whole. So yeah, of course it’s a struggle!! So I thought I would take some time to think about the reason for that struggle, which is the issue of high price point products, and how that relates to profit margins. That said, it’s not like I can actually talk about the profit bottom line or anything, so let’s just think about it in the following way… I will call it: “Why do people say our products are expensive…?†(And yes, as I write this my heart can’t help but feel heavy). OK, well, so there are obviously going to be differences in standards depending on the users, but it’s true that many are saying that comparatively speaking, they are expensive and huge. Right, so, since I don’t really know much about marketing and sales, I am going to look at the issue of “Why are our products said to be oh, so expensive?†from the perspective of the project planner. The price is decided based on profit for the company. That much is obvious. But then if so, the higher the costs, the higher the price, right? OK, so what costs are we talking about? The costs needed to manage our company… Like salaries. Those are important. Other costs factor in development and production. Design, prototyping, steel mold plates, manufacturing, etc. etc. OK, that’s all normal. However, production costs at Chinese factories are increasing. Domestic costs have not really increased (neither have salaries… *cries*). As a result, the retail price goes up. ……So that’s why they’re expensive!! Or rather, that’s why we have to make them expensive!! (In order to live!) (And I can hear you going, “Well, then, just find some other factory in another country!â€, but of course proper training is needed. Even before that, we need to consider the idiosyncrasies of that country’s people and culture. Some other larger makers are actually moving that way, but for a small-mid-size company like us, we cannot easily afford such an up-front investment. So we are staying put with the current factory.) …It seems I just rushed to the conclusion, doesn’t it… Ah, well, as the project planner, let me change the focus to, “how to make a product that people would buy even at this price?†If we approach the issue with the understanding that because of global issues the price is going to go up, and that just cannot be helped, so we need to think in terms of how to develop and produce a product that is going to feel worth that price. Well, this is all just my view, so… you know… just use it as reference… please be kind… OK, so the Chinese factories raising their fees is not only an issue for this company, so we’ll leave that out from this analysis. Regarding production numbers, too, they vary from item to item, and the scale of our company is different to that of our competitors’, so we’ll leave that out also. (The reason I bring it up is because the more we produce, the cheaper the cost, [economies of scale].) OK, so let’s begin. As the planner, I believe the following points are factors in the high pricing of the products. (Maybe in you should read these with a “Considering the small scale of our company…†at the start of each one of these). ①:Firstly, mecha have lots of parts. ②:Thus, there are numerous molds. ③:For every project, my working hours are long. In other words, personnel expenses. Oh, by the way, don’t think I get a particularly high salary. ④:The more parts you have, the more paintwork that needs to be done. ⑤:The more parts you have , the more building work that needs to be done. ⑥:Our quality standards for building work are high. Is that it? Can’t think of any more… OK so, with regards to â‘ , we have many “real mecha†which incorporate a transformation gimmick, so part counts are just going to end up being high. The easiest way to put it is that even for products of the same size, whether or not the thing transforms ends up completely changing the parts count. With increased parts count, comes increased complexity and tolerances. So I ask the sculptor to take great care and eventually we reach a stage where we are both satisfied. Having said that, we are not trying to raise the parts count wastefully. Our motto has been to not have something transform just for the sake of having it transform. We (meaning, the sculptor) stick carefully to the official transformation settings while keeping the sculpt as free from complexities as possible. So, if you’ve ever handled any of our products you know that you can quite easily transform them, right? (Actually, there may be a problem in how detailed the instructions are…) In general, our users tend to say that once that first transformation is out of the way, then it’s all hand candy! Ah, I seem to have gone off on a tangent. The point is that while we are trying to keep parts count to a minimum, the necessities of mecha and transformation require that they increase. Next. Regarding â‘¡, that’s simply it. More parts means more mold sheets. Though it depends on the mold size, with one sheet you can buy a car (a new car on the more affordable side). [n.b. Buying a car in Japan is more expensive than in America. -Renato] I’ve hardly built any plastic models, so I don’t really know, but it’s not like when you see all these parts so close together on the runner [sprue] of a plamodel. It’s mostly because of the materials, but “completed items†are harder/tougher than plamodel plastic, right? At least, ours are. I mean, they have to be, you want to play with them roughly, so they have to be built robustly... So this relates to the efficiency in the factory. They try to minimize the number of “gates†(the bits that connect the pieces to the runner). Probably. (I imagine so, I haven’t checked.) The idea is that to cut the work done at the factory. Off-topic again… The point is the difference between having parts the size of a 10 yen coin and lining them up so that the area taken totals 100 yen as opposed to 1000 yen (What a reckless example). Of course, in our case, we have them lined up to total 1000 yen. That said, we do try to lower mold costs by re-using the same parts in a single product when we can, so we can get the most out of a single mold. â‘¢. This is simply personnel expenses. Mine. I often hear that in terms of the proportion of company costs, “staff costs are expensiveâ€, and that made me a little concerned so I put this down. Well, this topic is sort of a small break within this article. However, I want to write a little about it. (Looking back, it was more than “a littleâ€) When development begins for a project, I really dig deep and try to shape it thoroughly. First of all, what kind of product is it going to be. “For this mecha, I want to reproduce this featureâ€; “I want to add this optionâ€, etc. Regarding the gimmicks, I say I’m thinking I want this or that, and consult with the sculptor. Most of the details regarding the sculpt I leave to the sculptor. Thank you always. While the sculptor sculpts, I am busy with other things. I use this time to think of other projects. After the sculpt is done, we send it over for checks and comments. Then we go back and make corrections and put out a prototype. We send that over for more checks, then do more corrections. At the same time, we start to think about colouring and similarly get that checked and corrected as well. At the same time, I prepare materials for the production at the factory (part guides, building manuals, colouring instructions). At this point we start to make the molds at the factory. Once the mold layouts are done I check them. We start marketing at that point. Mostly photographing, going over to the different media outlets and getting them to produce articles, etc. Next, designing packaging and instructions…. By that time the molds are done. Then we put out a test-shot. Once I receive that, I check every inch of it and send my comments over to the factory. The comments number over 200 every time. Incidentally, the first test-shot is called T-1. We then we move through T-2, T-3, until T-END. At the END stage, all problems with the mold have been cleared. At around the T-3 point, I use the test-shot to check for parts-fitting and colouring. Basically, this is all to test the tolerances of the mold itself, really. It just so happens that it also allows me to check parts-fit and colouring. It’s a very important process. (It also means this is the point where I start to get home late at night.) Also, I start writing the blog around this point. After that, the factory goes into production. We ask them to check the products during the production run. I get some of them sent over so that I, too can check them myself. So once the run is finished, that’s when the final check is done. I take out several dozen random ones from a crate of completed products (including the packaging and instructions) and check them. I’m basically inspecting if they are finalized as products. I used to go over to the factory to do this. Once they pass this inspection, they finally are shipped over to Japan. So for my own project-planned items, I struggle with all of the above for a year to a year and a half. It sounds long, but there are even more really detailed Parts to the work, so I don’t goof off often (according to myself). * Of course, this is all within the context of transforming mecha, so with other projects the project time is shorter, or the processes would be different, etc.. So, in order to do all that, my salary is one of the costs. I’m sorry… Well, this was supposed to be my break, but it’s the most tiring thing… (laughs) On to â‘£. The more parts there are, the more paint work there is. For example, if we have one part which does not move, it only takes one pass to apply colour. In order to make the same part move, it needs to be split into two parts, and each part would need to be painted individually, thus you need to make two passes at the paint application. Simply put, if you increase the number of paint application passes, your production costs go up. ⑤. This is the same as the paint apps. For example, a product that has 20 pieces in one arm has twice the building process as one with 10 pieces. As the amount of building work changes, so does the cost. By the way, as for our products, they have 20. Everything thus far are reasons for all the labour costs. So let’s talk about â‘¥ -- this is about high quality standards. Actually I don’t know about the quality standards of other companies, so I can’t say anything about them. In fact, in my opinion, this is all just normal, so here I will just directly ask the people at the factory for their pure opinions! Mister K: “Our products are said to be expensive, what do you in the manufacturing process at the factory think are the main factors in this (barring the global issues)?" Head of the Factory:  “Expensive? That’s unthinkable! We are sincerely and strictly following the orders of Arcadia!!" Mister K “Yeah, no, I mean… OK, I’m sorry. Um… That’s not what I.." (I then try to explain the main topic.) … "From the perspective of the factory processes, are there specific steps which take a lot of effort or are time-consuming, etc.? If so, what are they? Please explain." Head of Factory   "Firstly, considering the production numbers, your orders concerning quality are detailed and numerous! That’s a lot of pressure on the factory. There’s also many parts involved, so the actual building work itself is tough and the proportion of scrap is very high, so the cost ends up going up." Mister K "I’m sorry." Head of Factory:  "It’s problematic to even try to explain everything in detail so I will just give some examples." (Below are some comments from the different divisions). Injection specialist: "The thing we are most careful about is the cutting of the gates (in other words, trimming off the connectors to the sprues). Normally, all of the gate cuts leave a whitish mark. However, your company has added an extra step in the process to remove the white mark, so we take care in that." Mister K "Oh, thank you very much. That really helps us out." Injection  "Also, there are high standards regarding mold deformities (shrinkage, warping, etc.). Especially in the wing parts." Mister K  "Yes, because in fighter jets, the width and curvature of the wings are important." Injection "Also the checks regarding mold colours are so strict!! We have to make sure that all of the parts are molded in the exact same shade of colour. In particular, white is the most difficult." Mister K  "That’s absolutely necessary. The form and colour are what shape the image of the character, so please understand the importance of this." Spray and Pad (paint apps) Specialists "There are no allowances for colour bleeding, not even a little bit…" Mister K  "Of course not..!" Paint  "All of the positions of the pads (colour masks) have to be perfect. Then on top of that, there are many colour patterns, so if you are off by just a little bit, that’s it, it’s unusable. It’s such a waste!" Mister K  “Yes, it’s a waste, but we want to make good products, so please yoroshiku ne…!" Builders:  "The building is the toughest process in a transformable item! You know what your standards are like, right?" (Gaps, roughness, etc..) Mister K  "Wow… I’m sorry to hear it’s so tough." Die-cast specialist: "Even a tiny bubble is unforgivable. When you paint, it’s normal to have bubbles…" Mister K:  "..........." Die-cast specialist: "Also, the parts trimming. And making the surfaces clean. We use a special file for the finish… We only use it on your products." Mister K  "Yes, it’s a special process." Die-cast specialist "By the way, for every type of product, the scrap proportion of die-cast is around 36%." Mister K  "So you can’t use a third of it…. *cries*" Injection and paint apps:  "If we’re talking about scrap, when you factor in plastic molding and the painting processes, it’s around 65-78%." Mister K  "So more than half of the entire production are parts we can’t use!!!" As you can see, when you make products with such high standards, you end up with mostly parts that you cannot use. In fact, even I was shocked. That said, let me put it another way – we check each individual part in great detail and make sure there is no unevenness in the building and painting processes, thanks to the love between me and the factory! (Not that that’s down in writing anywhere…) This all comes from a feeling of wanting to make good products for you to play with! (Sure, sounds really cheesy, but it’s genuinely heartfelt.) Thanks to this, we get few calls to the customer center (I think), so I believe this is the correct way to look at things (as far as the company is concerned). So what it comes down to is, my work and the processes in it, and the procedures at the factory and waste output. We talked about a lot of things, but I feel that my qualms have been put to rest. I should note, however, that I don’t know about the production processes of other companies, so please just look at this as Arcadia, and in particular, Mr. K’s case. Conclusion. I think you all have your own ideas, so there’re people who think “Mr. K’s standards are too high so that’s why releases are delayed and the price is highâ€, or “I never knew about those hardships… no wonder they cost so muchâ€. I leave it all up to you. Even so, I hope that you can feel that “Yes, Mr. K’s products are expensive, but they’re good!!†(Though writing that myself is embarrassing…) The rising costs will probably keep on rising, but even with that, I aim to continue to do this, so "yoroshiku"! Thank you so much for reading this long piece! Kind regards, -Mister K Read the full story here
  4. "Macrosshare Radio" (more like a podcast) presents one more episode in an ongoing series of interviews with creative Macross fans ! In this 1 hour 3 minute episode, John Moscato also known as Captain America on the Macross World forum: Shares his experiences about his latest completed modeling work on the "Pinky Crab Answers some questions from his "fans" Reveals his thoughts on the modeling design process for the 1/32 Legioss Discusses the pro's and con's on hobby modeling for the Wonderfest modeling conventions. A production model diary .pdf file has been compiled to chronicle John's recently completed and sold out 1/48 Inbit Gurab resin model kit. A 1/32 Legioss resion production model diary is also available for reading, so you can see what parts of the Legioss model John is talking about. [audio mp3=http://www.macrossworld.com/macrosswp/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2014-03-08-time-13_08_17-Outgoing-Peer-to-Peer-Call-admiraltyjurisdiction.mp3][/audio] (download – right click & ‘save as’) You can also listen to the previous three John Moscato interview episodes on the Mixlr Macrosshare Show Reel by clicking here. Read the full story here
  5. Saturday, November 2, 2013 at noon / 1200 hours Central Standard Time on the Macross World forum, a live interview will be held on the Macross World forum with John Moscato / Captain America, model maker extraordinaire! The John Moscato online interview will be presented both as a forum interview with questions / comments / pictures posted here on the Macross World forum and as a live podcast on the Macrosshare Radio Mixlr account. Initially, I will be posting 28 interview questions on the forum from a recent email interview with John. One interview question / answer will be posted every 3-5 minutes, so that you can share comments, pictures and pose questions to John about his modeling projects during the interview. Every 15 minutes, a new segment of the ongoing live interview will be posted through the "Macrosshare Radio" Mixlr account. I will be posting weblinks to the interview segments on the forum as the podcasts become available. The live audio interview podcast will be presented as 3-4 parts of 10 minutes each. Next week, I will present a final edition of the John Moscato audio interview podcast. For this afternoon, John will answer as many questions as he can before he heads out for a Halloween party. There will also be made available on bittorrent the "Moscato Model Retrospective Collection"! It will include a a large collection of completed model pictures contributed by the many talented model builders from the Macross World forum as well as Model Production Diairies in PDF format that show John's model work in progress. ***************************************************** For many years, John Moscato has hand-crafted many Mospeada and Macross models that can be seen in the models section on the Macross World forum. The idea for conducting this interview started out by creating a model production diary for John's model version of the 1/32 scale Genesis Climber MOSPEADA Legioss mecha. But then I saw that John had made many more model progress threads on the forum and that I could put together a few more model production diaries. I had already collected quite a few of completed Macross models pictures including models made by John for my Macross picture collection. So, I started putting together a whole package of the completed model pictures and model production diaries into a cool collection for sharing. I just wanted learn a little more about John's modeling work,the completed Legioss project and how he has acquired his mad modeling skills. And then I just mentioned to John that we could do an interview. He said 'okay'. So, the project just kept getting bigger. ***************************************************** Thanks to Acroray, Cool8or, Derex3592, GundamHead, Mslz22, Myersjessee, Neptunesurvey, PetarB, Sean Brannin, Shinagami, Thegunny, Varitechs, and WMCheng for sharing their completed Moscato models! A special thank you to robokochan,administrator of the defunct Samurai Monkey modeling website, who was generous to share a lot of John's model build-up pictures, but I was not able to access the sql forum back of the Samurai Monkey forum to recover more of John's model build-ups. And thanks to Jess, a friend of John Moscato, who was the technical support for finding the Skype recorder software for the audio interview. ****************************************** You are invited to join in on the interview thread on the Macross World forum! Read the full story here
  6. Oh yeah. In my excitement over the Orguss Blu-Ray announcement, I didn't notice this little thing hidden inside the Macross Plus boxset. I'll just put this here and let you guys in the Toy Forum discuss and speculate for about a year or so. Read the full story here
  7. Back in February, MW resident May'n fans Vanpang and VF25-F traveled all the way to Japan to see the Macross Frontier Diva herself live on stage. What follows is their story. A Malaysian fan at MIC-A-MANIA concert, Budokan The four of us, Macross / May'n fans, VF25-F, Darren WK, Pamela and vanpang decided to make a trip to Japan late in February for some sightseeing and to attend May'n's Mic-A-Mania concert on 2nd March 2013. After much difficulties in trying to obtain tickets to the concert (thanks to all parties who tried to lend a helping hand) we finally managed to get them at a general sale on the 28th, just 2 days before the actual concert. What a relief it was when we could finally achieve our objective. On the day itself, 2nd March 2013, we reached Budokan at around 4.00pm (advised by the lady at the ticket counter). Already the fans had gather and making their way to their respective gates. Many more lined up to get their hands on the merchandise, the line was really long and slow as the fans scanned the items to decide which to buy. By the time we got to our seats which was in the highest 2nd last block, 2nd tier of the West wing, it was around 5.30pm. Probably everyone from our block and the last block including the ones across to the East had bought the tickets through the General sale. From our point of view, there were some odd single empty seats in almost every block and a row of 8 empty seats right across on the East wing. The other block which was only half full was (immediately I recognized after watching all her BIG concerts) the MEDIA block which is located directly opposite of the stage. The stage was rectangle (2 tier) and in the middle part of the 2nd tier was covered by a big rectangle piece of black cloth, a flight of steps comes running down to the Arena area. There were two tall pole like structure on each side of the black box which has like shiny beads dangling from the top. In the middle of the arena area was a hexagonal stage, surrounded by barriers. Clearly something will happen here at some point of the concert. By 6.13pm the whole place was full, fans who had came late and those outside lining up for the merchandise were all in. As far as we can see, it's a full house. Boy, she can really pack them! Suddenly, the whole place went dark! The fans got excited and soon the darkness were filled with glowing light sticks. Then a spot light shone down where, for a minute ago was an empty space, but now stood the very person that everyone was waiting for! The whole place erupted with excitement, and immediately died down to a whisper as the music began to play. First up was 'Ao Zora' (ED from BTOOOOOM!). Ok, after this point, things are a little blurry(sorry, but I was floating on cloud 9), so it may not be accurate when you compare this with the Blu-ray/DVD of this concert. Once she had finished the first song, May'n turned and the black curtains on the rectangle went up. Revealing the 4 piece band, a 20 piece string orchestra and an unknown number of choir standing shoulder to shoulder in the back of the stage. There was even a giant chandelier in the middle. She stood further up the stage and welcomed everyone. The sound system was fantastic!, it's as if you're hearing every note delivered to your ears through an ear piece and there was no echo except when the band played a little too loud. There was however one instance, where there was something wrong with the mike, its as if the mike went off and on when she was singing 'Hero'-'my H ___roooo!' By now weve noticed that whenever the song is slow, the light sticks would turn BLUE and turn YELLOW when the song is fast. The choir and string section would go off and come back between songs and at times I've didnt even noticed when they had left. Just before she had to change her clothes, she stood between the string section and delivered 'Moshimo Kimi Ga Negau No Nara' (If you wished for it..). There was a brief break and the crowd was shouting her name and later 'Bucho'. A few moments later she came back with 'Northern Cross' which she delivered from the top of the stage, unfortunately for us and some of the audience were blocked by the audio equipment suspended in the air. I could only see her hands making all the gestures. But for her fans, its already ingrained in their memory, all the movements for this song. Luckily, for the next song, she walked down back to the lower stage, but still I suspect some audience sitting further left of us is still blocked by the audio equipment. She then introduces her new and only song for this concert (lyrics by May'n) and got everyone to practice shouting 'Rock Your Beats!'. Later, its time for the audience to get into the act. Everyone took out their towel and danced to the 'Abc' and the 'XYZ'. Another round of towel spinning with 'Dolce' (it was fun and funny to watch). These are some of the things that make her concert fun. The audience becomes part of the concert and that gives you a sense of belonging. All of a sudden, she sang something familiar but at the same time you can't place the name of the song. It was very grand and I was very sure it was from the 2nd movie 'Sayonara no Tsubasa' and then it ended, a pause and then the everlasting 'Lion' came on. (Upon my return to my country, Ive checked up 'Sayonara no Tsubasa' but it wasn't. It was 'Nyan nyan final attack, frontier greatest hits!' she used the opening of the song and stopped just before Ranka (Megumi)'s part.) Nice. Time for another break. Everyone was shouting 'Encore! Encore!' This time the break was slightly longer as you can see the staff setting up something on the hexagonal stage in the middle of the arena and the arena crowd began to turn their attention to it.. Finally it was ready and 'Bucho' walked in from the East side of the arena and was wearing a stunning red dress which looked like a Chinese cheongsam high slits on both sides. She sat down in the middle and the 4 piece band was surrounding her. She sang 2 songs (Koi and Aenai Toki) In my opinion the mini stage was too small as she has to see where she was walking because of the cables going up the stage when she did the acoustic version of 'Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare' (Thou shall not die) Can't do Macross speed songs here. She goes off again and the crowd called for another 'Encore!' A short while later, they got their answer! 'Bucho' came back dressed in an elegant 'beige' evening gown! The full compliment of the orchestra is back together with the choir. The song is 'Love, like the falling stars' . Everyone joined in singing chorus part. As usual, each tier would get their chance to be heard, the males vocals, the females and not to forget, the MEDIA's! which everyone erupted in laughter. This song has an epic feel to it, I suppose it is befitting for this be the final song for an enchanting evening. Though we wished that it would go on just a little bit longer but we know at some point it would have to end. Two hours plus past but it felt like a mere 45 minutes. It was time to say farewell, and May'n introduced the orchestra (once again) and thank them. Next up was her regular 4 piece band plus the 'Manipulator'; whom does their own antics and finally 'Bucho' herself, which in turn, she felt a little shy when her musicians got on one knee and present her. Everyone then held their hands together for one last bow and May'n shouted at the top her voice (without the mike) 'Arigato!!!' This is probably where the Blu-ray/DVD version will cut off and go on to show the next chapter which is the 'Making of.....' (from seeing all the previous ones) So for those that want the official ending, stop reading right here. : ) THE END Your right, I'm being silly, after all you've made it all the way here already. So here's what you won't get to see. Everyone left the stage except May'n who stayed back to thank her fans. She tried to run (as she always did) and suddendly remembered she's wearing this outfit and so quickly tip-toe to the West wing first. As she got closer to the 1st tier, she disappeared from our view. For ahwhile, we thought she had forgotten about us and suddenly she backed up to where she can see the 2nd tier and waved to everyone. It took sometime to go around as she honestly tried to look at all her fans faces and thank them for coming. Finally its has ended and as she walked to the exit on the west wing, one last desperate call by her fans from the 1st tier caught her attention and she waved back with a big smile. A really thoughtful gesture indeed. CONCLUSION If this was an anime, then this is the episode where you have a flashback of what had happened since episode 1. That explains why there was no new album, apparently in the music industry, every eight year is a flashback episode (heard that the same goes for other artists). Happy, also to report that her raspy/coarse voice has gone (which was with her throughout the entire 2012 though slight trace of it when she gets excited while talking) Though this unexpected chance to attend the concert has stretched our budget somewhat, but it left us with an even bigger sense of satisfaction. Song list 1. Ao zora 2. Jewels 3. Welcome to My Fanclubs Night (Styles ver.) 4. Scarlet Ballet 5. Giant Step 6. Anemone 7. Hero 8. Brain Diver 9. Rock Your Beats 10. Forbidden Elixir 11. If You Wished For It. Break 12. Northern Cross 13. Iteza Gogo Kuji Dont Be Late 14. XYZ 15. Dolce 16. Paranoia 17. Lion 18. My Teen, My Tears 19. Mr Super Future Star 20. Chase the World Encore 21. Koi 22. Aenai Toki 23. Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare Encore 24. Love, Like The Falling Stars Thanks to Vanpang for such a comprehensive report! Comments? Questions? Want to just sing along? Sound off in the FORUMS! Read the full story here
  8. It has been revealed that a special Macross-themed mini live event featuring Haruka Chisuga (winner of the real-life Miss Macross contest and singer of the Macross 30 PS3 game theme song) and Yoshiki "Basara" Fukuyama will be held at Winter Wonderfest 2013. If you can't attend, not to worry, because it will be streamed online, courtesy of Max Factory and Good Smile Company! As well as this, Miss Chisuga will appear alongside May'n (Sheryl Nome) for a special talk show, also to be streamed online. Details: Chigusa/Fukuyama gig here: http://www.whl4u.jp/stage.html And Chigusa/May'n talk here: http://www.whl4u.jp/stage_yoru.html Read the full story here
  9. Friday September 7th, 2012 saw a special gathering of high-profile Japanese animation industry guests to pay their respects for the late Noboru Ishiguro, director of "Super Dimension Fortress Macross", just one among many, many of his works of anime spanning the entire near-50-year history of the industry. The locale was a conference hall in Kichijoji's newly-refurbished Daiiichi Hotel, and featured a standing buffet, an entire wall of gift flowers and some memorabilia. Throughout the evening video clips were played and guests stepped onstage to share their anecdotes and reminiscences of Ishiguro. Of particular relevance to Macross World would be the attendance of Haruhiko Mikimoto (character designer), Mika Doi (voice of Misa Hayase), Noriko Ohara (voice of Claudia LaSalle) and Ichiro Itano (mecha animation director), but more general anime fans would no doubt also be interested to learn that other anime legends such as Gisaburo Sugii, Leiji Matsumoto, Yutaka Izubuchi and Hideaki Anno amongst many others were also present (if you do not know who these people are, please take the time now to Google them -- seriously, you will thank me). I will write up more details when I have a bit more time, but think of this as a small news bit for now. Read the full story here
  10. An oldie but a goodie. As we await anxiously the release of Macross Do You Remember Love on Blu-Ray -- and with all the, er, controversy that surrounds this -- let us take the time to recall some words from co-director Shoji Kawamori, which he shared with the editorial of Animage just a few months after the original release of the film in Japan. To fans, the findings may seem a touch interesting... Note: The title of the feature is "Macross Seminar".  There is one more installment in a later booklet that I may eventually translate also. This should not be confused with the "Super Dimension Seminar" currently airing on Tokyo MX television, there is no relation whatsoever. "Macross Seminar: Exceeding the limits of the prototype" Interview with Shoji Kawamori -- from "Minmay: Ai Miemashita ka Book", supplement to October 1984 issue of Animage; translated by Renato Rivera. The significance of "no explanations" AM: What was the intention behind the outright omission of elements like the launch of the Macross, or Minmay's debut, etc.? It seems like there are many people who did not understand the overall situation. Kawamori: It's because those things have no bearing on the plot; at the very least, they are not connected with the themes in the narrative. For example, if we explain the background of the war, there is a danger of it looking as if it is "a story about war", which it isn't -- it is a story centred on human drama. AM: Even so, I think there could have been some brief on-screen text describing the events up until this point. SK: Those types of "explanatory text" scenes have become a cliche and I didn't want to do anything that had become orthodox. I wanted to go against this trend in recent anime of over-explaining things. It may seem "unkind", and in a way, I suppose it did end up being an "unkind" film. However, one doesn't make movies to explain everything. If people want explanations you can write the themes or stories on a piece of paper and just hand them to someone. I believe that movies are, at the end of the day, meant for "feeling" the drama which is being expressed. Also, as far as those who watched the TV series are concerned, the more situational explanations you put in, the more they will be conscious that "oh the story is different to the TV show". Due to that, they will gradually lose focus of the essence of the story. That was what was most worrisome for me. You could say that in order to get people to concentrate on the parts which I wanted them to see, I needed to discard the unnecessary parts. AM: In making this movie, where did you place the point of view? Was it centred on Minmay or was it Misa, I think that part is not very clear. SK: I focused on Hikaru, Misa and Minmay equally. The lead character, that is, the main thematic focal point, is Minmay, but she is not the main focal point in terms of viewpoints. If this was a hero-style story, then you would need to put the viewpoint on one single character, but this is not the only way to tell a story. For instance, does "2001: A Space Odyssey" take only one point of view? No, it doesn't -- rather, the "monolith" is carrying the story thread along. In this movie, the relations between the three characters itself, plus the music, are what carry the story, and thus it is constructed so that the points of view are equal between all three characters. Questions regarding the last scene AM: In the scene just before the song, "Do You Remember Love", Hikaru slaps Minmay. He was angry at Minmay's line that "I don't care if everyone apart from us dies!" But if one thinks about it, that is a typical way of thinking for a girl in love. In the storyboard, we can see the word "selfish", but is it really so? SK: The premise is that Minmay became a singer even against the will of her parents. For this, I believe she has to take some responsibility. If she cannot do that, then she is nothing but a child. By singing here, Minmay is taking one more step towards becoming an adult. AM: What were Minmay's feelings as she sang "Do You Remember Love"? From the format, we assume that she has cast aside her feelings for Hikaru and has awoken to living as a singer... SK: Her independence as a singer is certainly a big part. Without that, I think she would not have sung. But I doubt she could so easily cast aside her feelings for Hikaru. It's best to think of it as her trying to cast them aside. I think she was singing with a combination of a feeling of parting with her fascination with the world that Hikaru represented, feelings of regret, and obviously feelings of sadness due to her loss of Hikaru. AM: In the final scene, Minmay and Misa exchange smiles. Do two women who have fought over the same man really end up all smiles like this? SK: If Minmay didn't have the song, then it would not have been that way. Essentially, she loved song as much as she did Hikaru. This is where Minmay and Misa realized that they both live in separate worlds. AM: Even though you say they understood each other in the end, I am still left with the sense of pity for Minmay. SK: The flipside of that sense of pity is that without it, she could never have become a star. If we think about it as a typical love triangle, maybe Minmay is pitiable.ãBut if we think about it from the perspective of a singer, she has now moved onto a higher level, so that is not pitiful at all. AM: So, in the end, were Minmay's feelings for Hikaru actually love? SK: Rather than Hikaru, what Minmay was fascinated with was her own everyday life itself. Like being infatuated with infatuation. After they were separated, and later reunited, she misunderstood her own feelings towards Hikaru as love. AM: As director, how would you describe the theme of this movie? SK: If you are born in a different environment, then your growth process will also be different. When many young people from such different backgrounds come together, can they manage to overcome those differences and come together as one? You may be fascinated by some aspects of another person's world, while at the same time wanting to rebel against other parts of it -- it is by using this growth from Minmay's idol status to star status as the main thread that I intended to depict the relationship between Minmay, Misa and Hikaru. The worlds which individual people inhabit are not as close as one may think. Even if people speak Japanese as a common language, there are still breakdowns in communication. In order to get past this, firstly we must start by acknowledging that our worlds are different. Basically, Minmay and Misa have just taken their first step towards that. So I don't think Minmay should be pitied. The three of them now understood each other on a level other than love. AM: There is one thing I really wanted to ask for a while. Can we infer that Misa and Hikaru "got together" when on Earth? SK: If I hadn't shown it that way, then afterwards when Hikaru, Minmay and Misa meet again, Hikaru would not have picked Misa. After that, when they return to the Macross, and Hikaru hears Minmay's song on the street, that's when he makes up his mind. The Lost Ending AM: Before the ending credits, there is a scene where Minmay is counting "One, two, three, four..." and I thought it strange that it felt a little too long. SK: That impression can probably be put down to the limits of the animation medium. Basically, it was too much to put into an animated screen. That length was, in terms of "enshutsu" ["performance" -- Japanese animation industry lingo for the way the characters and objects act, to give the desired emotional effect in the viewer -Renato] the minimum number of seconds needed to render that scene. It's meant to be cathartic. Then there is the scene where she smiles at Misa -- in that case is it 100 percent catharsisï¼ No, it's not. In that scene, she realizes that her world is one where she must continue to live as a singer, and in order to depict that realization across, I decided that that was the amount of time the movie needed. Perhaps there is not enough on screen to back that up. AM: Is it the stage of the Macross where Minmay is counting? SK: Rather than a specific place, the scene is supposed to convey one step inside her own heart. The galaxy-like lights that you see in the background represent the infinite possibilities in her future. Her counting is her way of preparing for that, getting her heart ready. The length is representative of the long journey ahead for her to reach that, so if you feel it is long, it's because I purposely wanted it to feel a little long. If you didn't interpret it that way, then that is just down to my lack of skill. AM: If there had been something like a representation of Minmay's future during the ending credits then the intention behind the scene would have been better understood. SK: Actually, in the storyboarding stage, I did intend to put images during the ending. It was a Minmay concert on Earth two years later. Hikaru and Misa are there, watching over, as well as humans and Zentradi and Meltrandi. It was ultimately cut due to budget and time constraints. AM: I'm sure that if that scene had appeared, then the waiting, or rather, the impression that the counting scene was too long would have been less strong. SK: But there is one danger there: that you end up limiting Minmay's possible futures to just one. In that sense, I think it is better left as it is. "Hmmm.... 40% + alpha" AM: Now, having finished making the movie, how would you rate yourself? SK: If you're talking about my rating towards my own skill rather than the movie itself, then I would say 40/100, plus alpha. I am confident I pushed the limits of the prototype. But there are parts where it is clear that I failed, so I cannot give a better than average score. AM: Will there ever be a "Macross 2"? SK: No, I don't want to be concerned with Macross forever, plus in my mind, the story is done. I am not sure what kind of work I will be involved in from here on in, but I would like to continue working in animation, and I would like to put my true effort into it. The "enshutsu" ["performances"] within animation have become somewhat formulaic and I want to break all that down. AM: Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to those who watched the movie? SK: Movies are things which last, so I would like for people to re-watch the movie again in a few years. I would be happy if they discover some new things about it when they do. (Incidentally, the version of Minmay in the included poster is supposed to be the image of her, two years later, as drawn by Haruhiko Mikimoto.) Read the full story here
  11. Anime News Network has confirmed with Namco Bandai that certain shots in the upcoming Do You Remember Love Bluray remaster will be 'altered'. It is unconfirmed at this time exactly which shots these will be or whether they are the same ones that were observed in the recent theatrical screenings. The DYRL BD discussion thread can be found here. Read the full story here
  12. As we count down the days to the release of the greatest animated movie ever, "Macross: Do You Remember Love" on Blu-Ray Disc, I thought I would give people a bunch of homework to do in preparation for the big party. "BS Anime Yawa" ("BS Anime Night Talk") is a series of TV specials hosted by Gainax/General Products founder Toshio "Otaking" Okada on the NHK BS-2 satellite broadcasting service. The programmes focus on classic and/or famous anime shows and act as retrospectives to contextualize these shows within the bigger picture of the evolution of Japanese animation, as well as providing some insight into the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the productions. This particular episode, airing on June 29th, 2005, focused on "Macross: Do You Remember Love", and featured Ichiro Itano, anime director Hiroyuki Kitakubo (keyframe artist on the original "Macross" TV series and movie), movie director Tomoyuki Furumaya and voice actress Rica Fukami (Myung in "Macross Plus") as guest panelists. Details and image gallery follows. Topics covered included people's memories of working on/watching "Macross" on television, co-director Shoji Kawamori's virginity smearing the entire work with a "virginal scent", Kazutaka Miyatake's pioneering concept (for the medium of anime) of "production design", the concept behind the "Itano Circus" and Itano's youthful adventures playing with home-made rocket launchers strapped to motorcycles, from which he noticed that missiles never fly in a straight line. The show concludes on the note that "Macross" was the first generation of anime made by fans who ended up working within the industry. The young staff, Kawamori and company, were doing what they liked, and the show is a culmination of their passion and energy, yet a fleeting spark of youth, which could/would never again be replicated. "Macross" and by extension, "DYRL", was a boys' club, and an adolescent one as such -- thus a lot of aspects may have been inaccessible to women. In fact, "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind", released in the same year, was probably where the female animation fans flocked to. The show posits that we can see now that this marked the beginning of the split between male- and female-oriented anime. However, looking back from the viewpoint of 2012 now, seven years after the original airing of this special, we can certainly see that "Macross Frontier" is helping to bring in a new generation of both male and female fans to the property, and many are discovering "DYRL" for the first time -- finally opening up the "boys-only club" to all. [gallery link=file] Unfortunately the show was never released on DVD, and it has long since taken down from the online streaming video sites, but luckily for all who missed it, a series of books was published of the more interesting episodes of the show. Volume 4 of these books is the "DYRL" special. Within this book you can find not only the entire transcript of the show, but also plenty of dialogue which was cut from the original recording. The pages conveniently feature text with different colours to indicate which parts of the discussion were deleted from the broadcast. It also goes one step further and includes a new interview with Shoji Kawamori which was not in the programme. Click here to see the book on Amazon JP Read the full story here
  13. An hour-long TV special documentary aired on July 8th at 8pm on the Tokyo MX station as part of the Macross 30th Anniversary celebrations and to promote the upcoming "Macross: Do You Remember Love?" Blu-Ray release. The show was well made, with plenty of interesting information about the production of the original TV series from the first "Battle City Megaroad" concept, to the production of the "DYRL" feature film, all straight from the mouths of Shoji Kawamori, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Ichiro Itano, Kazutaka Miyatake and Yasunori Honda (sound director) as they reminisce their younger days. Some screencaps for your viewing pleasure, and more info, follow after the jump. Of personal interest was a brief segment where Honda-san describes their aims with the new 5.1 sound mix of DYRL. Some of you may have read this post of mine on the forums yesterday: Renato's forum post on DYRL BD screening Honda-san actually explicitly states that the particular scene which I describe within the spoiler tags was changed on purpose, with that particular piece of BGM omitted to maximize the effect of the intro to the title song. Obviously, I personally disagree and believe that it does more harm than good, but it was still interesting to hear that this was in fact a very conscious decision, and not a case of "dropping the ball" or any sort of carelessness at all. Read the full story here
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