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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lather's Blather Episode #08: Sorayama Bikini Robots Couldn't Make This More '80s

Gcast accepted the upload successfully this morning ,so everyone who subscribes via iTunes or other similar software ought to be receiving the file today.

The podcast's episodes will be moving to a new, generously offered hosting space. I will fix the show titles and ID3 tags so that they're all consistent, and it ought to be a more reliable way to upload new episodes than Gcast.

I'm pretty sure that I'll have to set up a new feed, meaning the current one for iTunes will be broken. But in the meantime I'll use Gcast for this one.

What I also need to do is listen to this entire beast myself to make sure I didn't screw something up in Audacity during the arduous editing process.

Episode 8 is here. Huzzah.

Show notes begin hither.

My Steam nickname is [LLJK] RichLather, because I am after all a loyal SomethingAwful forums goon, and almost invariably goon-related gaming activities are a good thing.

Carnage and chaos ensue...

...while the band plays on.

Franken's Gears
The eccentric Dr. Franken...

...and his dark, dark lab. I think I'll need to treat this and a couple others in Photoshop.

Gaze upon the awesomeness of Space Hard Gay.

"Am I not...the shit?"

Burning justice knows no boundaries of animal, vegetable or mineral.

If you've never seen soccer before, this is not what is known as a "header".

Like a virgin... touched for the very first time...

A glimpse of the curiously disposable high technology in this story.

1980s fashion is where it's at.

I know I promised you pathetic perverts that magazine link, so here you go:
(It's in Japanese, of course)

Now imagine every tiny fragment and droplet...and more...fully animated.

Starlight Angel
Our erstwhile robot and the lost necklace he tries to return.

And our nameless heroine, who lost the necklace.

You can see why I called this guy Char Aznable.

Spot the reference #1: Tetsuooooooo!

Spot the reference #2: "Men, we're going to the Olympics!"

"It's a small world after aaaaaaaaiiieee!"

This would be a pretty awesome poster, if you ask me.

As would this.

And so would--you know what? Cloud as a whole is equally pretty.

Strange Tale of Meiji Machines
(aka A Tale of Two Robots)
The always hysterical John Jack Volkerson III

Introducing first, the challenger...

...and his opponent!

This is a perfect visualization of "starting off on the wrong foot".


Our heroes, steadfast in the face of danger.

And the crowd goes wild!
It's this kind of character design that endears me to this story.

This is why they fight: for the glory of the rising sun.

Even if it's really the setting sun.

Chicken Man and Red Neck (aka Nightmare)
I should probably lighten these up in Photoshop.

No really, I need to lighten these up a tad.

When the humans are away, the machines come out to play.

That's good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.

The salaryman Ichabod Crane.

And his adversary, the robot demon lord's herald.
This is where bricked Xbox 360s go when they die.

The Robot Carnival in happier days.

Another of the missing pictures that Streamline
unceremoniously dumped from the US release of Robot Carnival.


M. A. Wright said...

Really great episode as always, it was definitely worth the wait. Hearing you and the AWO talk about Robot Carnival fills me with a sense of despair for you see I was never ever able to see the the full movie. The only time I actually ever got to see any part of the movie was on late night TBS after watching Vampire Hunter D, of course I was so tired from watching D that I was barely able to stay awake to see the full movie. Thus my memories of Robot Carnival are nothing more but bits and pieces of each vignette of the movie. It is only through listening and reading about it am I able to even put a narrative to these thoughts. Great review on the movie and very informative. Very interesting to hear your thoughts on the movie.

Dane Scaysbrook said...

I caught that Casey Kasem line. Love it!

Fanastic review, it was worth the wait. As a child of the 80's, Deprive certainly occupies a sizable chunk of my heart. Despite it's flaws, or perhaps more accurately, because of them.

Chris Sobieniak said...

All right, it's been SO LONG since the last episode, and I felt I have plenty to say here in the meanwhile!

Unlike M.A. Wright's memory, I personally hadn't seen Robot Carnival first on TBS myself, but on Cartoon Network of all places. It was around the summer or fall of '94, and Cartoon Network did some kind of month-long showing of several anime titles on Saturday nights they called "Saturday Japanime". Most of the titles covered then were those from Streamline Pictures library, but the three I can only remember seeing on there was RC, Vampire Hunter D and Twilight of the Cockroaches.

I've heard from a Canadian pal of mine how another channel a few years earlier, Network One, had also aired a number of Streamline titles on it's channel though I had never seen or heard of it before. Of course a couple years later, RC would appear as one of many movies and OVA's in SciFi Channel's "Saturday Anime" fodder.

I was impressed with RC the first time I saw it 12-13 years ago, so I could say I might be a devotee of it, if not, a mutral interest in the film itself.

The opening/closing sequences themselves often felt very Monty Python-y in their presence of the mammoth robot itself, and I never thought about the terror that occurs in it's path as it destroyed the village in the opening.

I can tell you're pretty pissed about the Streamline version, but I'll get to that later.

Although you couldn't find anything else done by Hidetoshi Omori of "Deprive" segment, it was mentioned by the AWO crew that he had directed a recent anime entitled (and bear wit me on the length of this show's title) "Government Crime Investigation Agent Zaizen Jotaro" (the show itself is pretty silly according to AWO's review of it). Here's at least an entry for "Oomori"...

Interesting to hear your thought on the ending to "Presence", as I sorta had a different opinion of what has happened there. I felt the guy didn't rebuild the robot, and it's the robot's spirit or whatever that takes him to anther place he is gong to, leaving his world (and wife) behind. And it was interesting we don't get to see the wife until the very end of this segment. Seems like a bunch of decades have past greatly in the story to make it seem like the toymaker was in his 70-80's by the end of it.

Like the names you do give these characters in "Starlight Angel" just so we can relate to them (rather you call Mary Sue's friend Joanne after my late mother).

"Cloud" is one of those that probably worked better as the kind of film you'd expect to find n a regular animation film fest compilation rather than in something that could be called "anime" as in here (in much the same way Osamu Tezuka's experimental shorts like "Jumping" are called 'anime' too). At least you don't give out the ending!

Find it funny it would be "Episode of the Red-Haired Man's Invasion", though I wasn't sure if it was referring to Volkerson's outfit as his hair (or what's left of it) is a dark gray). One big in it that came to mind I only noticed in watching it in Japanese was to see a subtitle underneath a book the camera zooms over at near Volkerson that had wording on it that was illegible, but the Japanese subs stating that it was "The Travels of Marco Polo" or some book on him. It only made sense after I looked up on what that was, though the way it had appeared in the Streamline version (which had the professor's lines in English without the need for the Japanese subs that were superimposed on the right side of the screen), it was never made clear at all. The dubbing of course in the Streamline version is playing off the stereotyping a bit too far, but I could see how they wanted to go on this in getting it shown to an unfamiliar public in '91.

Sorta wonder who in the title is the "Chicken Man" and "Red Neck", "Nightmare" probably is a more fitting, if not generic wording to best describe this segment that I favored along with most others in this compilation.

Now in bringing up the Closing itself, while I don't know how it might've looked in the theatrical release Streamline gave this (in Japan, this was released as an OAV anyway), the version I've seen of it way back when had the "epilogue" edited right into the end of the Closing before the end credits appeared (the generic ones Streamline had, but at least they bothered to translate most of the production staff and studios responsible for this). I never really thought of anything being missing out of this until I saw it years later. I personally wasn't sure if Streamline had a textless version to work with of that or did their copy contain the Japanese text they often didn't like to keep on the screen at all?

While I don't like to knock the Streamline version as being terrible, I can see where you were coming from out of having saw it previously in Japanese, though I personally didn't have a problem with the reshuffling of segments that happened otherwise, though I get the feeling Macek & Co. perhaps took a note from Fantasia and tried to follow it in that pattern of putting all the light-hearted, easy stuff first (especially Starlight Angel), and having the intensive stuff come afterwords, it's like having an appetizer and main course in one.

Aside from it's obscure VHS release (actually two, as there was one Streamline released themselves, and one they licensed to a cheap company called "Best Film & Video" that was recorded in EP mode), I'm a proud owner of the Lumivision LD release that does contain the Japanese audio for Presence and A Tale of Two Robots, including a theatrical trailer (Streamline's own device) and the original Japanese ending sequence that looked more like it came from Carl's own personal 2nd gen copy).

One note of the R2 DVD release was that it contained the English track for the two segments mentioned above as well (not sure why personally, but I guess A.P.P.P. didn't have much else to do but stuck it on as they own it). Somehow a Korea release came out some years later that looked almost similar in quality. The only complaint I could give for that is it's use of an non-anamorphic widescreen transfer that wouldn't look too good on an HD monitor today. If it may get a Hi-Def transfer someday, it might look real cool on Blu-Ray. For now, I'm quite content with a few copies I have of it, and some cels of particular characters therein.

Daryl Surat said...

I would object to the fact that you said in the podcast that you'd put up pictures/links but didn't actually do so, were it not for the fact that I do the very same thing on a regular basis on AWO. Therefore, you get a pass...except for the Steam ID thing. Get to letting me know what that is, since I just bought Orange Box for PC myself and have yet to install it. I'll be needing Team Fortress 2 pals, though currently I'm spending all my FPS time on Call of Duty 4 for the PC.

...and also my podcast editing time.

Anyway, great to hear that those darned equestrian pursuits didn't do you in.

Cameron Probert said...

Oh come on you can't totally blame the whole creepy doll thing on anime, I mean there was alway Pygmalion :)

Anyways, just wanted to write in to say it was a good show. I can't say I'm really that interested in watching the movie (mostly because of my feelings on vignettes rather than your review), but you did make it sound interesting.

Anyways, glad to see the podcast didn't die. So keep up the good work.

Karaoke said...

Uh, I think you mean Saturday Anime on Sci-Fi Channel, not Saturday Japanime on Cartoon Network.

James Leung said...

I first saw this on Sci-fi Channel's Saturday anime programming.

Last year, I found a DVD bootleg copy of the Region 2 version, but the English subtitles didn't seem to match the audio. I guess it doesn't really matter since there is very little dialogue.

I think Robot Carnival really showcases the great potential of hand drawn cel animation. The intricate robot designs and the hundreds of moving pieces in each frame is an amazing accomplishment.

"Presence" is my favorite part of Robot Carnival. It really ties the connection between human emotion and the potential ascendence of AI sentience. I compare it frequently to Blade Runner.

The inventor is a creepy prev, but I find his character flaws to be very interesting. I think the robot's rejection of the inventor's expectations prevented it from being completely creepy and sick.

Great review.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Because I noticed posts showed up here after mine, one in particular went...

Karaoke said...

Uh, I think you mean Saturday Anime on Sci-Fi Channel, not Saturday Japanime on Cartoon Network.

Nope, I am right in what I said as this was a couple years before SciFi began their Saturday Anime block. I only wish I had a video copy of it or I would've proved the world what that was.

Huxlhey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Sobieniak said...

Last time I was confronted with...
Karaoke said...
Uh, I think you mean Saturday Anime on Sci-Fi Channel, not Saturday Japanime on Cartoon Network.

Then I shouted back...
Nope, I am right in what I said as this was a couple years before SciFi began their Saturday Anime block. I only wish I had a video copy of it or I would've proved the world what that was.

Well now here's the proof (since I just thought about it right now and figured I might as well post it here for posterity, unless it's taken down on a later date)...

Bye! ^_^

M. A. Wright said...

God that brings back memories. The days before Adult Swim when all you had was late night TBS, Sci-Fi Channel and your local Blockbuster. God I need another podcast. It's been way to long since my last hit and I'm starting to go into withdrawl. Ouendan!

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