Saturday, March 13, 2010

Macross VS Robotech

Hey there! I know its been an uber long time since I've posted and I'm sorry. With everything I've got going on some things have had to suffer. But today I come to you with an age old debate and I hope to bring a final resolution to it. Or at least shed some light on my perspective.

Though the title of the post is Macross VS Robotech it really fits with just about any media imported from another culture.

For some reason, if you put two fans of the same show in a room you will no doubt end up with this argument. For those of you who are not in the "know", Robotech is an american animated tv show popular in the early 80's that was a re-edit of several japanese shows. One of which was Macross. In a similar vein as Voltron which was a re-edit of the japanese show Golion. The trend of importing and re-editing cartoons from japan was extremely popular back in the day. And still is in fact. The difference you see is that back then the shows were altered to have english dialog and to remove anything that would have tipped off the viewer that the show was from japan. Tons of shows hit american shores in this way.

The argument comes in when you have people who like the american re-edit clashing with people who like the original japanese show better. In my experience these arguments come from two different classes of people. The first group is made up of people who honestly got exposed to the original show before they realized there was an american version of it. I can relate to these people, but more on that later. The second group is a group I like to call "Anime snobs". These people are the ones who never like anything unless it is in the form it originally came in. So to them if an anime was based on a manga, the anime most definitely ruined something. Be it the story, a character or even a single event or line of dialog. These are the people who try to learn japanese so they don't have to dirty themselves with translations.

Now don't get me wrong. Sometimes things can change from one medium to another or lose some things in translation. For instance, I myself have been disappointed with live action movies based on things I grew up with. The live action Super Mario Bros. movie comes to mind. But again, I played the game before I saw the movie. If I had never played the game and for some unholy reason really loved the movie I might have later played the game and been upset it was nothing like the movie at all. The snobs instead research things they have already seen or that their friends are watching and find the original format. They do this because they want to feel more knowledgeable, cooler or simply purer than other people.

Back to the other group now. These people I can relate with. I have met people who's only exposure to the X-Men was from the movies. I get into legitimate debates with these people because I read the comics when I was younger. Personally, I didn't like the first X-Men film. I felt it changed too much. Later on, I began to try to view it simply as a film and not a film based on the comic I knew and loved. In this way, I began to appreciate the movies for what they were. In the same way, the people who had no connection to the comics might grow to love them.

You may now see were I'm going with this. I usually tend to enjoy finishing something the way I am first exposed to it. If my first exposure to an anime is to its dubbed version. I like to finish watching it in the dubbed version. If the first time I see something is in its subtitled form. I like to continue with the subtitled form. Some things, like Godzilla and bad kung fu films, are better dubbed in my opinion. For humors sake. But when it comes to Robotech, Voltron, Speed Racer or any other japanese show brought over in the days when they tried to make us believe they were american shows I feel that both the american versions and the original versions have great merits. You have to remember that todays anime fans are quite spoiled. Anime is on regular tv now all the time. You can watch it online or rent it at Blockbuster. It wasn't always that way. Those who are old enough to remember a time before the term anime even existed know that these shows, altered as they may have been, were pioneers. They deserve to be appreciated for what they were and what they did. Heck, Voltron was more popular in america than Golion ever was in japan. Way more popular. Golion bombed in japan but was all the rave here in the states.

To boil it all down, not everything that is altered for a new market sucks and people who like those altered versions aren't stupid for liking something that was changed for our market. Both versions should be appreciated. That, and you have to remember that those "bastard" versions of shows were peddled as american originals and people who grew up watching them formed great nostalgic memories of them.

Moral of the story: Being a snob doesn't make you cool, it makes you a douche. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle...

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