Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Macross Island Junkie

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

As you all know I am fan of Robotech. I have enjoyed it for many a year and it has (for me) become far beyond a cartoon with dubious animation at times. I remember it around the first time back in the 80's but I wasn't that into it at the time. I am guessing I was more into G.I. Joe and He-Man than Robotech. It really wasn't until I was a freshman in High school that I got into Robotech. I think what initially happened was that my best friend in High school (Eric) got ahold of the RPG book and I think we launched from there.

Over the next several years it was a search for anything I could lay my hands on. Robotech's hey-day had passed and there was little new product coming out. I scoped out my local comic book shops (Heroes Workshop off West Berry and Lone Star Comics near Hulen) but didn't find too much in thoes early days. I remember that Heroes Workshop had a big cardboard SDF-1 and I was always amazed by it. I did find some issues of the Canadian Robotech Fanzine Protoculture Addicts and ate them up. You can read about it in a blog I did last year.

I got all the RPG books I could afford and the novelizations as well. When money permitted I would go wild at one of Lone Star's sales and stock up on back issues of the comics. Most were good but there were some strange ones too. Me and Eric and some of his friends would play the RPG. This was great fun but for some reason I was almost always the GM. Once I found 2 Peter Pan - Robotech Cassette with book sets at Pic-N-Save (which is now Big Lots). I loved those pieces of shit! They were so patched together and the narrator would constantly get the names wrong and when he read it was like he was reading the story for the first time (he would get inflections all wrong). None of it matter because it was Robotech and I enjoyed them thoroughly.

Through those first few years I got ahold of the F.H.E. version of Robotech. It had six VHS tapes with six episodes mercilessly editing together. They would only show one opening and closing credits and slap six episodes all together (cutting out quite a bit as I later found out). F.H.E. also released a couple of other versions of the series (with fewer episodes on each tape) but it appears my set was the last VHS set they produced. I would take a tape deck and record audio snippets off the show and make a 'mix tape' of audio sound bites. Years later I got the F.H.E. laser disc versions of the series and it was a totally different experience. The episodes were complete and there were scenes that I had never seen before. I gripe about those crappy VHS versions but they did offer some fun years later with the missing scenes I got to see off the laser discs.

Let's take a break with this cute chick giving us one of Minmie's songs...

Through all this I got on this kick to get Robotech Perfect Collection CD (or record it didn't matter to me). I contacted the company only to find out that it was out of print. These were the days before eBay so I was SOL. One day I was browsing something (online or in a magazine, I can't remember) and I ran across something that showed that a new soundtrack called Robotech: Perfect Soundtrack was about to be released... in less and a week! I was so excited. I got my order in ASAP but the production was delayed until early 97 and once I did get it I see why it was delayed. It had 2 discs and they were marked wrong. Disc 1 was Disc 2, etc... It still didn't detract from my utter delight. I got to enjoy songs I had never heard before including the ones I simply didn't remember from the Robotech The Movie soundtrack. As it turns out it wasn't 'perfect' there was another set that came less than 10 years later with even more.

In 1999 I built a website called Robocon.org. I already had a page about Robotech on my webpage so I moved it to the new Robocon.org and added more stuff to it. Robocon was the 10th anniversary of Robotech convention that took place in 1995. It focused on my take on Robotech as well as the voice actors that had attended the convention and so on. I had a couple of phone conversations with Tom Bateman (the organizer and protoge' of Carl Macek. He got me some info and gave me blessings to use it all on the site. He had been planning a Robocon 15 in 2000 but it fell through. In 200? He contacted me again (along with Tommy Yune I believe) about giving Robocon.org to Robotech.com (the official portal for Robotech). so they could use it for the upcoming Robocon 20. I agreed and they supped up my site and integrated it into their own. I still have my site archived here. You can compare the changes they made to it here (their official version). I found it funny that they kept the front page (the one with animation that says: 'Welcome to the Future of the Human Race' from my old site. I basically took that from my existing Front Mission fan site cause it sounded cool (I just changed 'Future of Warfare' to Future of the Human Race'). I also find it cool that the site is still up and intact after all these years.

This brings me to Macross Island. As I stated last week I am getting on a Robotech kick starting now through 2012. As I was rifling through material I found some old maps I had drawn of Macross Island. I was intrigued that I had drawn it with so much detail and fairly accurately. I started looking online at any image of Macross Island (BTW called Ataria Island in the original Japanese show) and saw that I had stuck fairly close to the animation. I added a 'Robotech Academy' thanks to the comics of the same name in the spot it was located in the comic book. It looks pretty cool but it is still 'very general'. I had this brilliant idea to redraw the map in the coming year. Do my best to make it as close to correct as I can. I know it's kind of silly but as you can tell from all the paragraphs preceding this one that I love Robotech so it will be no hard task. When I complete my project (I am still unsure which medium I will use) I will post it online for everyone to see.

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