TRANSLATION: Do You Remember Love, the Novelization: Part One (Chapters 1-5)

dyrl-ch-5

You’ll notice that the file name for the latest upload is different than the previous ones… rather than “DYRL Ch.1-5,” it’s “DYRL Part One.” There’s a reason for that, and the reason is simply that the Do You Remember Love novelization is divided into several longish parts, and I’ve just finished the first one. So good news: I’ve hit the first big milestone in the novel. Bad news: I want to get halfway through Part Two before I start uploading it, and I haven’t even started yet.

So yeah, this will be the last Do You Remember Love upload for a few months. Part Two is the longest section of the book and will, I’m sure, take the longest time to translate.

Anyway, I’m going to keep my nose to the grindstone on it, so I hope to start uploading it by April or so.

Delta Chapter 3 is coming along as well, so that’ll be up soon, too.

TRANSLATION: Do You Remember Love, Chapter 4

dyrl-ch-4

Sorry it’s been so long since I updated… I planned to write something about Macross World Con a few weeks ago, but the fact I was moving the week after put pretty much all blog activities on hold, as I’m sure you can imagine. Still, here’s Chapter 4 of the official Do You Remember Love novelization.

Moreover, I’m a little behind on translation work, making it ever more likely that I’m going to have to take a month-or-so break from posting the Do You Remember Love translations after Chapter 5 (next month).

Anyway, you’ll note that the book continues to be different from the movie, although the fact that it’s telling the same story should be made clear in this chapter. Enjoy!

TRANSLATION: Do You Remember Love, Chapter 3

dyrl-ch-3

And Sukehiro Tomita’s novelization of Do You Remember Love continues to be a kind of fun-house mirror, telling the same story as the movie, but in a wildly different way. Again, just like in the movie, there’s a Minmay concert, there’s a Zentradi attack, and Skull Team launches to go out and fight… but none of these scenes are presented in the book the way they happen in the movie.

I suppose I should’ve figured something like this would be the case, since Tomita’s story in My Fair Minmay, about the Miss Macross Contest is likewise similar but totally not the same as the TV episode… an episode which he himself wrote (just as he wrote the script for Do You Remember Love).

Anyway, I for one am finding it fascinating, and I hope you do, too.

Forget Everything You Know About “Do You Remember Love”!! (Translation: Chapter 2)

DYRL Ch.2

As I said last week, this is a short chapter (not the shortest in the book, but close). However, it’s also the one that will give you an idea of just how different the book is from the movie. I’ll leave the surprises for you to discover, and just point out again that the book’s author, Sukehiro Tomita, was also the movie’s scriptwriter, so any differences here must be deliberate on his part.

And again, for me, seeing these differences is one of the most interesting things about a book like this. So far, it’s almost like it’s the same story, but re-worked from the ground up. And although the book was initially published in September of 1984 (September Eleventh, no less), it’s a re-working that has, until now, been pretty much unavailable to monolingual English-speaking fans. That’s kind of exciting, right?

As I write this, I’m over halfway through Chapter 4, so I’m a little bit ahead of you, but not by much (fair warning: I may take a month or so off from uploading – not translating – the chapters after I put up Chapter 5, just to get myself a little more breathing room), and yeah… the re-working continues. Not a single line of dialogue is the same, and while some of the same events happen (like here, where Skull Team launches), they happen in a totally different way.

So yeah, exciting!

Also interesting (maybe): visits to this blog took a sudden huge jump a couple of days ago, as someone (and I swear it wasn’t me) posted a link to the Delta novel translation on 4chan. According to the discussion there, it seems like a lot of people found Hayate to be rather creepy, which I’m not sure is the novel’s intent… I mean, sure, he’s ATTRACTED to Freyja, but I don’t think it’s meant to be in a “weird” way. I’m not sure there’s any way to tweak the translation to convey that, though… I dunno. People will read into it what they want to, and I think that my job as the translator is not to editorialize, but just to produce a clear, readable, and most of all faithful version of the book.

One thing that DID kinda bother me, though, was in some discussion on Animesuki, where one person said that I had said that Chapter 2 would be uploaded in two weeks. Not true. What I actually said was that I’ll probably be GETTING TO Chapter 2 in two weeks… that is, I’ll probably be STARTING translating it then. I don’t think it’ll be DONE until the end of this month, and that’s at the VERY EARLIEST. If I can finish it before the series ends, I’ll be (happily) surprised. My goal is to get it uploaded before Macross Con in October, but I’m not totally confident I’ll make it. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’d again like to thank everyone who read it, and especially the people who commented about it, either here or elsewhere. One Anon in particular had some pretty funny observations about certain lines (“Wow, ok. Control your boner, Hayate”), whereas another was certain that translation was fake, because it said that Mirage was beautiful and that her hair was the color of fire. And yeah, that line kinda seemed odd to me, too, but that is indeed what it says.

So yeah, thanks again to all of you, and now I’m heading back to DYRL Chapter 4…

Do You Remember Love – The Novelization (Chapter 1)

DYRL Ch.1

Okay… so here’s my translation of the first chapter of the Do You Remember Love novelization, by movie scriptwriter Sukehiro Tomita. You’ll note that nothing that is related here actually happens in the movie, which is one of the main things that I like about the book. I finished Chapter 3 last week, and so far, NOTHING in the book is a scene from the movie. It’s almost like Tomita used deleted and unused scenes to tell the same story as the film. So far, at least.

And yeah, as I said, I’m only up to Chapter 3. There are twenty-two chapters total in the book, and they vary widely in the length. The shortest is three pages, the longest is twenty-five pages. I will TRY to upload one chapter per month, and more if I get well ahead of the game, but no promises. For one reason or another, I also might not be able to finish the book, so it would probably be best if you viewed each uploaded chapter as my final one. All I can say is that so far, it’s turning out to be a pretty interesting read, and I think it’s worthwhile to do the whole book.

That said, the first Macross Delta novel should be arriving at my place soon, and I’m going to be translating chapters of that between chapters of this. So yeah… this book will take AT LEAST two years to finish, if I even finish it. Me, I’m trying not to look that far ahead. I’m dancing as fast as I can. Really.

If You Hate Lynn Minmay, You’re a Horrible Person

Hate Minmay

There, I said it.

Luckily, Minmay-hate seems to be on the wane, but it’s still way more prevalent than it should be. Now, I can understand the impetus: Misa is the one that everyone wants Hikaru to hook up with, and Minmay’s the one standing in the way of that happening.

Except that she’s not. Or at least, she’s not doing it consciously or deliberately.

The moment between Hikaru and Minmay of course occurs in Episode 4, when they’re trapped in an unused part of the Macross. As time goes on, they eventually think they’re going to die and stage a mock-wedding so that Minmay can at least somewhat fulfill her dream of being a bride. They ALMOST kiss, but a falling dud warhead breaks the ceiling, which leads to them being rescued. At this point, it’s clear that Hikaru REALLY wants to get into Minmay’s pants, but doesn’t quite know how to go about it. Me, I would say that he had his only chance when they were trapped, and the moment has gone and passed him by. And yet, he hangs on to that memory and doesn’t let inconvenient things like “reality” get in his way.

From Episode 5 on, it should be clear to anyone who ISN’T Hikaru that Minmay just doesn’t like him “that way.” She’s friendly and nice, but not especially romantic or flirty, and she continually refers to him as “just a friend.” Now this seems to bother a lot of guys, but I’m not sure why. The only reason I can think of is that they’re identifying pretty closely with Hikaru and HIS romantic failure feels like THEIR romantic failure.

So, yeah. Already, the only moment of romantic tension between them is when they both think they’re going to die, and are lonely and scared. Not really the best start to a long-term relationship. And once things are back to normal, she doesn’t lead him on at all. Not only that, but the book “My Fair Minmay” makes it clear that she’s one of the most popular girls at her school, and that she gets asked out an awful lot, and dates pretty frequently. Which of course she does. You don’t get to win the Miss Macross Contest (especially against a famous actress) by being someone nobody’s ever met or heard of.

And then, yes, the Miss Macross Contest happens a quarter of the way through the series, and the idea of a Hikaru/Minmay romance is sealed shut pretty much for good. After this point, she’s too busy and rarely has time to see Hikaru. Pretty much the only times they do see each other are Episode 15 (when he flies her back to Yokohama) and Episode 18 (when she visits him in the hospital) and in both instances, her two-hours-of-sleep-per-night schedule catches up with her and she falls asleep. Or else Hikaru really IS just that boring, which is always a possibility.

And once Kaifun is on board the ship, then Minmay has her romantic interest for most of the rest of the series. It’s so stunningly obvious that even Hikaru should be able to see it, but no… he doubles down on his infatuation by dedicating his military service to protect Minmay. It doesn’t last long, though, since he comes across Kaifun kissing her, which (again) really shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as it is.

And yeah, all of this changes once we get to the post-war episodes. Even then, though, Minmay is mostly blameless. Hikaru is the one treating Misa like a consolation prize, and he never ever tells Minmay anything about her. As far as Minmay’s knows, Hikaru is single and available, and he does nothing to correct that impression. It isn’t HER fault that he’s not telling her anything.

But anyway, my point here is that pretty much from the beginning, Hikaru’s interest in Minmay is really formed entirely in his imagination. If Minmay knew about it, I’m sure she would have rejected him early on, but he never tells her. And he keeps hanging on to that one moment in Episode 4. For YEARS. Seriously, man… MOVE ON! Again, none of this is Minmay’s fault or responsibility. The entire romance is happening inside Hikaru’s head. So yes, if you hate Minmay for it, you are an awful person. You’re blaming her for his stupidity. Or else you’re blaming her because she’s not sufficiently attracted to Hikaru to go out with him. So yeah, she never does anything to deserve your hate, so put it on Hikaru, where it belongs.

(Of course, if you’re a Robotech fan, then it’s different, since the rewriting there consistently makes Minmei stupid, annoying, selfish, and thoroughly dislikable, with a horrible “hit” song about how great it is to be her. Although that should, by all rights, make you hate “Rick” even MORE for never realizing how awful she is.)

(FURTHER READING ON THIS TOPIC: Episode 6, Point 6 and Episode 19, Point 9.)

TRANSLATION – Macross Vol. V: MACROSS LOVE

Macross Love

This one is probably superfluous, but again, was a “translation” that I started way back in 2009 and picked up and completed a few months ago. It’s (most of) the second disc on Super Dimension Fortress Macross Vol. V: Rhapsody in Love/Macross Love, and was also released later as its own album. It tries to boil down the Macross TV series to forty-five minutes, and is pretty incoherent as a result, seeming more like a collection of unrelated scenes than an actual story.

The process of “translating” it was boring rather than difficult: I figured out where every scene was located in the series, and then pasted the subtitles in to MS Word, and formatted it. There are only two new lines in the whole thing (can YOU figure out where they are…?).

Probably the most interesting part on the album is the CD bonus track: an interview with some of the cast members, but I honestly find commentary tracks like that to be MUCH too difficult to translate, so I didn’t attempt it. Maybe someday, but probably not.

So yeah, with this done now, I’ve finished all of the ’80s material related to the TV series that I’m probably going to do. There is still the novelization trilogy, but as I’ve explained elsewhere, it’s really not very good, and I found the process of working on them pretty unsatisfying. There’s nothing “new” or terribly interesting in them beyond the first chapter, anyway, which I have completed.

So yeah, my next project… I feel pretty indicated by this, since it’s the most ambitious project I’ve yet started, but I began working on the novelization of Do You Remember Love a while back. It’s slow going, but pretty interesting, since (so far, at least) nothing that happens in the book happened in the movie. I’m sure that will change it goes on, but glancing ahead, it seems like there are enough difference between the two versions that I’m really excited about it. We’ll see how it goes.

I tend not to like to upload works until they’re complete, but in order to keep this blog going, I’m probably going to put chapters up as I finish them. These will necessarily be rough drafts, and I’ll continue to revise earlier chapters as I go on. Anyway, expect the first chapter next month.

TRANSLATION – Macross Vol. IV: Distantly Fading Memories

Distantly

So here’s the first translation I’ve finished in a while… and it’s one of the first ones I embarked on. Back in 2009, when I first hit upon my idea of translating ALL the Macross novels, manga, and drama albums (because I was really surprised that even after twenty-five years, no one else had done them), Macross World member Lynn2009 posted her or his translation of the the first four tracks of this album. I asked if I could edit it slightly and use it as springboard for the rest of the album. He or she agreed. So I copied it, made some minor edits, and then… sat on it. Every once in a while, when I got bogged down with the Misa novella, I would pick this up and try to work on it a bit.

Macross Vol. IV – Distantly Fading Memories

The problem is that there’s no transcript of it anywhere, and once the characters start speaking quickly, figuring it all out word for word is HARD (for me, at least). Every once in a while I would hit a wall, where there was a word or a sentence that I simply couldn’t figure out, and I’d have to wait until I could ask a friend to help get me unstuck (my gratitude especially goes out to my friend Mia for transcribing the second half of Track 8, which was moving MUCH too fast for me to catch).

So, yeah, it took a long time. Even more so because not only was it difficult, it was also… a little stupid. Several times over the past few years, I became convinced that it really wasn’t WORTH the trouble of translating. And honestly, I still don’t think it was, but eventually I got so close to the end that I figured I might as well finish it. Honestly, both this and “Miss DJ” seem really superfluous to me. I’d say that they were only for the REAL hardcore fan, but even as a hardcore fan myself, I find them both pretty uninteresting. Good for one embarrassing listen. Maybe.

The music is nice, though.

And like “Miss DJ,” I’m not entirely sure how enthralling it will be to read through the script while listening to the album. I suppose someone could make some kind of subtitled slideshow version of the album, but as the album is still in print (and tends to get reissued every few years), I’d rather that people didn’t do that. At least, not using my translation. And anyway, I’m sure how enthralling THAT would be, either. It’s just not a terribly interesting album.

But anyway, here it is. At least now you KNOW that it’s not very good, and as Isamu always sez, “a hundred travel books aren’t worth a real trip.”

(Oh, and I’ve also added it back into the ’80s “Further Reading” post.)

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – CONCLUSION

Conclusion

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – CONCLUSION

It feels weird to be writing a “conclusion” when the newest series is right in the middle of airing. And yeah, this is more of a long pause than a total wrap-up (it’ll probably be a few years before I do a full Delta rewatch). I’ve still got lots more material for the blog, but for now, the Great Macross Rewatch is done. It’s been an interesting journey to watch, for me at least, as the original series (which was never really an underdog) managed to generate so many years of anime, and stands now as, well, not quite a household name, but very highly-regarded in many circles. Pretty good for a series that was designed as a merchandise-friendly throwaway series so that Studio Nue could then do what they REALLY wanted to do: Genocidas (which of course, they never did).

This last weekend, Shoji Kawamori was, of course, a guest at Anime Expo, and I was lucky enough to help out a bit at the booth for Satelight, which is his animation studio. It was the second time I’d done so, the first being the previous year, when Satelight designer Thomas Romain was one of the guests of honor. I was introduced to him as “a big Macross fan,” and his response, “Ah, yes… Zat is what zhey dragged me away from to come ‘ere,” was the ONLY thing anyone told me about Delta. This time, Kawamori was pretty busy the entire time, and so I only got to meet him once, when he came by the booth Sunday morning. We didn’t talk much; I was introduced to him by the other Satelight employees, and I thanked him for his work.

The previous night, Saturday, July Second, had been his big panel, mostly talking about his childhood and the development of Macross, and in particular the VF-1. Much of the content of the talk would not have been a surprise to anyone who has followed this blog from the start, but one thing that I hadn’t known was that after trying to get Genocidas funded and having no luck, Macross (which he termed a “dummy project”) was basically created in a single night. Of course, it went through many changes during pre-production, but most of the core concepts were decided upon in that one session.

(There was a great bit after the talk, when he came out and posed for a big group photograph with all the cosplayers who were there. The cosplay was mostly Delta (lots of Walküre members, plus a Hayate and a Mirage), but there was also a Minmay, a Basara, a Sheryl, a Ranka, and a Shin Kudo. Only Macross II and Plus were not represented.)

I think it’s indisputable that as far as the history of anime goes, the first series (with Do You Remember Love) is the most important, both at home (as the flagship series produced by the first generation of what would become “otaku”) and abroad (even in somewhat muffled form, as Robotech, the first series retains most of its force and power, and remains popular, despite Harmony Gold’s constant inadvertent attempts to sabotage it). Following that I would say that, for Japan, Frontier is the second-most important, for ushering in the “ani-son boom,” whereas in the west, it’s Macross Plus, for being an absolutely must-see series at a time when anime was first really beginning to take off in the US.

But really, if there’s anything I hope you take away from this Rewatch project, it’s how central the concept of music was even for the first series (although, again, Carl Macek downplayed its importance in Robotech). It fits squarely into the history of idol anime as much as it does mecha anime, and as I said during Episode 12 of the original series, the use of idol music during the space battle was one of the things, apparently, that the fans really went nuts about, since no one had ever tried anything like that before. The music is one of Macross’s signature features, and one of the things that makes it different from other mecha anime.

THE END.

Okay, not quite.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I’ve had A LOT of help on this. The SpeakerPODCast Crew (Adrian, Gwyn, and Renato), VF5SS, and Karice67 have all been extremely generous with their time and knowledge, and generally helped me look a lot smarter than I actually am.

Thanks to the Facebook groups Robits, Macross Fans US, Macross Fans of Malaysia, Macross △ Delta, and Robotech Freedom for putting up with my twice-weekly invasions (and often being kind enough to actually READ the blog post before commenting… well, in Robits, at any rate).

And thanks to CaptainJLS, whose acknowledgment here probably surprises him as much as it does you, for inspiring the whole thing in the first place. Years ago, I stumbled over his wonderful “365 Days of Robotech” blog posts, and thought, “Huh… I wish someone would do something like this for Macross…”

And thanks to YOU for reading this, especially if you’ve actually made it through the entire Rewatch. Your dedication is impressive, especially considering my digressive, self-interrupting, and completely tangled and annoying writing style. I really appreciate it!

Okay, NOW… THE END.

No, wait…

Okay, now that the Rewatch is all nicely wrapped up, there are going to be some changes. First, the updates to the blog will be less frequent, probably once a week (or less) rather than the twice a week I’ve been doing. I’ve got a few topics that spiraled out of control and had to be pruned while I was doing the the Rewatch, and there are other topics that got spread out over many posts that I would like to consolidate. And there’s the post about the  dRobotech/Macross rights issue, which I’ve been working on for a while, and which is getting fearsomely long (It’s looking like it’ll be at least two parts. Maybe three). And also, I’ve got a few translations I’ve finished (or started) and nowhere to put them. So that’s what’s coming up in the next while.

SEE YOU NEXT DECULTURE.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – 25th Anniversary Special

25

MACROSS 25TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL! MACROSS IS COMING BACK!

ICONIC SCENE: “Real Songs! Real Love! Real Transformations!”

BROADCAST DATE: December 23, 2007

Sorry for the doinky picture quality… unlike the previous specials I’ve covered, this one has not been released on home video, and so I got stuck with the YouTube version (which will probably be taken down any moment now).

This is also the first time I’ve seen it since it originally aired, since at that time I was actually in Tokyo and saw it on TV. I had arrived in early November of 2007, initially hoping to find a job as an English teacher. Unfortunately, my timing was disastrous: a week or so before I arrived, the largest chain English school in the country, NOVA, with hundreds of branches all over Japan, has gone out of business quite suddenly, leaving thousands of English teachers out of work and without their final paychecks (I’m not exaggerating; Gaijinpot, the main website for finding work in Japan, has a feature which tells you how many other people have applied for a job, and everything I tried told me that there were over five thousand other people trying for the same job… and of course, most of them, unlike me, had work visas. I had absolutely no chance).

It was a weird, exciting time. I was staying at a cheap but very friendly hotel, Hotel Juyoh in Taito-ku (which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Tokyo. It’s close to the anime district of Akihabara and to Tokyo Sky Tree, although that didn’t exist in 2007. The immediate area around the hotel isn’t as great, although the last time I was in the area, on New Year’s Day, 2012, it had modernized considerably thanks to Sky Tree being close by. And right across the street from the hotel is the best coffee shop I have ever been to, Cafe Bach, where five dollars for a cup does not feel exorbitant. The coffee is THAT good).

Anyway, when I arrived, I was much more in an Evangelion mood, the first of the New Eva movies having opened a couple of months before and still (amazingly) playing in the first-run theaters. At one point at the hotel, a guy I was talking to mentioned Macross F. I had heard that a new Macross series was coming out, but knew nothing about it. He called me over to one of the computers the hotel had and showed me the trailer on YouTube, and yes, it looked stunning.

Still, Macross at this point was virtually dead, even though it was the twenty-fifth anniversary year. Checking Animate, the primary chain shop for anime goods, revealed no merchandise, although I heard “Daybreak’s Bell,” the first opening theme for Gundam 00, so many times that it really got drummed into my head, and still reminds me of those days. The used-goods shops were a little better. In Nakano, I found the second volume of the TV novelization (what? I hadn’t known that there were Macross novels… (see the category “Translations”) and I found a cheap copy (my second… later joined by a third) of the little picture book “Macross Love Story” at a used book store in Jimbocho (the owner, who looked to be about five or six years older than I, chuckled with fondness when I placed the book by the cash register, and said that he used to watch Macross as a kid).

The strangest thing I found, quite early on (and as I’ve said before), was that the original TV series was being rerun. At three AM, Thursday mornings. Since I didn’t have a job, I could catch it if I happened to be awake at that time (which happened a lot at the beginning, and less so as I adjusted to the time change).

But again, Macross just wasn’t really on my radar at the time. It had been three years since Zero ended, and I was collecting (but not building) the Hasegawa kits (which I had been picking up at a place called “Best 1 Hobby” in Alhambra (RIP) that I just happened to come across one day). It was nice to see Macross on TV (even if it was at such an inconvenient hour) and the Macross F trailer looked really good, but, as I said, my mind was on Evangelion, and this was at the point when Gainax (err, I mean “Khara”) had announced three movies, the second of which would be coming out in December (remember that? The first Eva movie was announced for August 2007, the second for December 2007, and the third and fourth, which were each supposed to be 45 minutes long and released as a double feature (and thus, effectively a single film), were supposed to be Spring 2008. THAT schedule got thrown out the window quickly enough, didn’t it…? And indeed, it was clear by this point that no, the second movie wouldn’t be arriving in December).

So it was with virtually no expectations, that, still a little drunk from the birthday party the hotel staff and friends had thrown me, I turned on the TV to see the 25th anniversary special and the “preview” (“Deculture Edition”) of Episode 1 of Macross F.

I’ll talk about Frontier next time. The preceding show is pretty much in line with the “Macross Fastest Liftoff” special which aired a couple of weeks before Macross 7, with one big difference: one of the “celebrity” hosts, Hiroyuki Mayasako (who also appeared in that weird Macross Zero commercial that I linked to before) is actually a Macross fan. The other three know nothing about it and don’t really care. One of them even gives Mayasako a lot of shit for liking it.

(Mayasako, as a kid, apparently saw Do You Remember Love in the theaters in 1984. I kinda envy him that.)

So the hosts sit down and, as often (always) happens on Japanese TV, they watch a video about the history of Macross. It’s nothing that you wouldn’t already know, although I find it interesting that they emphasize that the last battle scene in Do You Remember Love has the song playing over it for its entire seven-minute running time. And even the three who don’t care are impressed that Kawamori directed the movie when he was twenty-three (which, yeah, really IS pretty amazing. I mean, what were YOU doing at twenty-three?), turning twenty-four during production.

Probably the most notable feature of the special is that it spends a lot of time talking about the original series and Do You Remember Love, and then skips over everything else to talk briefly about Aquarion (?!?) before getting to Macross F. And then it ends with talking about the robot dog Aibo, which is something that all the hosts seem to know (and finally, something they all care about).

It does point to an issue that I haven’t really brought up, though, in that the original Macross was absolutely monumental in the history and development of anime, and that that’s something which none of the sequels have really been, except subliminally. Macross Plus probably comes the closest, with its revolutionary use of CGI and the fact that it’s, in the West, at least, one of THE series that it seems like nearly every anime fan has seen (maybe not so much anymore, but certainly in the ’90s when anime was finally really breaking through and finding a western audience). But in Japan, none of the sequels had had anything like the same impact as that first series.

That, however, is about to change, as Frontier really will make history, of a sort.

(NOTE: There was another part to this post, initially, detailing my personal adventures with Robotech during the 2004-2007 period, but that was making this post WAY too long, so I snipped it out and may post it separately after the Rewatch is done. It’s…. not kind.)