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Baltimoron



Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Posts: 43
Location: Charm City

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:50 am Reply with quote
A career-spanning retrospective over two hours in length and the man admits not even one mistake, misstep, or failure. That says a lot about Macek's personality. He's a fun guy to listen to, but I get the feeling everything he says should be taken with a tablespoon of salt and compared to others' perspectives on whatever topic is at hand. And I'm saying this as someone who doesn't care about Robotech or its source material.

Some of what he says is obviously misleading (or outright false) to anybody with a memory or basic research aptitude. Early in the interview he talked about his involvement in the production of the first Heavy Metal movie as a preface to discussing his supposedly extensive role in the creation of the sequel. His name does not appear in IMDB's full cast and crew list for the former. He also made out Streamline's "money-making" theatrical releases as bigtime, mainstream, affairs. This is beyond laughable. I remember when Akira was in theatres. There was one complete set of reels touring the country and the only way to find out about showings was in the back of Marvel's colorized reprint/serialization of the manga. And, at least in my area, the screenings were at run-down off the beaten path movie houses. The release/tour only made money because virtually nothing was invested in it. As for Lady Death, well, ask anyone into Western comics who's seen the source material if they think that project was going to go anywhere but the shitter. I simply refuse to believe he wrote some sort of great screenplay for that movie. Granted, the fact that the property sucks is not his fault. However, his version of events wherein the movie would have been great had ADV listened to him is pretty obviously self-serving.

Really, Macek's notions on how to fix the industry were almost all dependent on the licensing/release/market environment magically reverting back to how it was back in his day. Licenses for decent properties are expensive these days and illegal downloading has completely changed how people choose to actually buy media. Really, the only good idea he had was international simultaneous release (this was a huge contributor to Cameron's out of control success with Avatar)--but it remains to be seen if this can be applied in the context of anime. International coproductions/releases could very well tarnish the "Japaneseness" of a product, and that is no small part of what people are looking for in anime. That also speaks to his ideas about localization. While localizing may have been vital back when he was a young man, that era in pop culture is pretty well dead. Globalization has advanced now to the point of where international media products are often expected to retain their authenticity to a more savvy audience.


Last edited by Baltimoron on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Bored_Ming



Joined: 17 Jun 2009
Posts: 239
Location: The Edge of ......

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:13 am Reply with quote
I was finally able to set aside a couple hours to listen to this podcast in it's entirety.

WOW!

Another great interview guys! This podcast has quickly become my favorite thing on ANN. I've only been watching Anime for about 2 years, so the history discussed over the past few weeks has been wonderful. Thanks Zac and Justin for the hard work you have been putting into this. It is appreciated.
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ABetterTimeandPlace



Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:08 am Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:
ABetterTimeandPlace wrote:
Is there a non-biased reason to dismiss Funimation and Viz's hard-won success this way, when the same is no less true of Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures?


Ad Hominem won't get you anywhere. I explained my valid reasoning but I shall explain it again in greater detail. I would hardly call either company's success 'hard won'. Funimation and Viz are reasonably competent companies. Viz is largely unremarkable though. They pick up only the biggest of big name properties that are guaranteed to turn a profit. They do a competent job releasing them. That's about it. There's really not much more to be said on the matter. Funimation is also reasonably competent but only the major player they are today because of the incompetence of the competition. By simply being half decent (and having access to the massive revenues from DBZ) they were able to pick up the pieces after ADV and Geneon went down in flames. Look, don't get me wrong here. I don't dislike these companies. I just don't feel like they really deserve to be congratulated as if they're so great. Despite their respective positions they haven't really done that much to improve the mainstream appeal of anime.
Although, I'll give them major credit for their recent moves toward streaming video.


May you point out the reason for the ad hominem charge? And again, just about everything you said about Funimation and Viz can be applied to Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures. Again, Is there a non-biased reason to dismiss Funimation and Viz's hard-won success this way, when the same is no less true of Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures?


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And yet, Funimation and Viz's sucess demonstrates that we don't have treat anime the way Macek did. The biggest irony? Macek has been working for Viz's contractor on Bleach. So arguably, Macek is one of many who had to adapt to the new market conditions.


Arguably their only show to achieve the same fame as Robotech or Akria is DBZ which did get the chop treatment. In any case, their success demonstrates nothing more than that times change. It's easy for Viz to pump out Bleach or Naruto now that there's a decent established fanbase for anime. You're mistaken if you think the same tactic would have worked in the past.


There's also Naruto, Pokemon, and Afro Samurai. I don't think anyone argued that today's business practices would have worked in the past. I was pointing out that Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures' tactics won't work now. Viz should know--it's nearly a quarter of a century old and older than Streamline Pictures. Why keep dismissing Viz as a company of today when it did the same trench work bringing manga and anime into America in the 1980s and 1990s?
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Baltimoron



Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Posts: 43
Location: Charm City

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:30 pm Reply with quote
I don't think it's appropriate to characterize Funimation's track record as "hard won success."

Funimation was able to become a major player in today's anime market because they were bought out during the boom by a large corporation. That gave them a lot of capital with which to license titles and weather the then oncoming storm.

But don't forget that Navarre in total today is worth less than they paid for Funimation alone a few years ago. It takes a whole lot of red entries on a balance sheet for numbers like that to result. Funimation has survived the bust so, in that sense (and that sense alone), they're successful. But nobody is really going to call an enormous overall corporate contraction a success.

It's like being the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust. Can you really say you rule the world just because you're king of the cinder?
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ABetterTimeandPlace



Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Baltimoron wrote:
I don't think it's appropriate to characterize Funimation's track record as "hard won success."

Funimation was able to become a major player in today's anime market because they were bought out during the boom by a large corporation. That gave them a lot of capital with which to license titles and weather the then oncoming storm.

But don't forget that Navarre in total today is worth less than they paid for Funimation alone a few years ago. It takes a whole lot of red entries on a balance sheet for numbers like that to result. Funimation has survived the bust so, in that sense (and that sense alone), they're successful. But nobody is really going to call an enormous overall corporate contraction a success.

It's like being the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust. Can you really say you rule the world just because you're king of the cinder?


Wait, so Funimation's success is supposedly due to capital from a large corporation--the same corporation which is now worth less than Funimation's bidding price, and which credits Funimation for being profitable and pulling the rest of the company up. Doesn't the last part indicate that Funimation is pulling its own weight and some of the parent company's, not the other way around?

No one is saying that Funimation is the sole survivor (there's still Viz and Media Blasters) or is doing everything in a vacuum. But, people are saying that Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures are uniquely successful...in doing what other companies were also doing--and unlike those two, are still doing. Remember, Viz predates Streamline Pictures, and Streamline Pictures tried to get a similar capital infusion by folding itself into Orion Pictures.
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FaytLein
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Joined: 21 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:56 pm Reply with quote
Baltimoron wrote:
I don't think it's appropriate to characterize Funimation's track record as "hard won success."

Funimation was able to become a major player in today's anime market because they were bought out during the boom by a large corporation. That gave them a lot of capital with which to license titles and weather the then oncoming storm.

But don't forget that Navarre in total today is worth less than they paid for Funimation alone a few years ago. It takes a whole lot of red entries on a balance sheet for numbers like that to result. Funimation has survived the bust so, in that sense (and that sense alone), they're successful. But nobody is really going to call an enormous overall corporate contraction a success.

It's like being the sole survivor of a nuclear holocaust. Can you really say you rule the world just because you're king of the cinder?


I might be totally be off base, but hasn't Funi posted positive numbers if not the entire time it was bought by Navarre, or at least in the last few years? In a business sense, the bottom line is the most important thing, and even if you are a part of the corporate scene, if you make money, thats all that really matters. And they are the last ones standing to a point, so they are a successful company.
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tuxedocat
He started itHe started it


Joined: 14 Dec 2009
Posts: 2135

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:57 pm Reply with quote
I found this show quite fascinating. It is interesting to see how much the business model and marketing has changed over time.

A lot of questions I always had about Macross were explained here. re: NBC's order for more episodes of a show that didn't exist, causing him to splice together 3 shows to fulfill the order - and turn it into a show for children.

Also interesting how he was able to get around the licensing restrictions by selling the product in comics shops, and the distribution to independent theaters. Very clever. I remember independent theaters. There were a lot more of them a while back, -comics shops as well. So much of the brick-and-mortar business has disappeared. Comics shops to the online mail order business model, and independent theater swallowed up by homogeneous multiplexes.

-and I really loved the story about Sony. Hilarious. Good job guys! I really look forward to the podcast every week. You guys are turning out quality stuff.

Very Happy
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Kakugo



Joined: 29 Nov 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:10 pm Reply with quote
ABetterTimeandPlace wrote:
Remember, Viz predates Streamline Pictures, and Streamline Pictures tried to get a similar capital infusion by folding itself into Orion Pictures.


But that wasn't a merger to grow Macek's company, like FUNi becoming a part of Navarre. Quite the opposite, really: Macek wanted out of distributing other people's cartoons, and sold off Streamline's entire catalog to a film company that was in desperate need of content. Streamline never released a new product after that.
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ABetterTimeandPlace



Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:19 pm Reply with quote
Kakugo wrote:
ABetterTimeandPlace wrote:
Remember, Viz predates Streamline Pictures, and Streamline Pictures tried to get a similar capital infusion by folding itself into Orion Pictures.


But that wasn't a merger to grow Macek's company, like FUNi becoming a part of Navarre. Quite the opposite, really: Macek wanted out of distributing other people's cartoons, and sold off Streamline's entire catalog to a film company that was in desperate need of content. Streamline never released a new product after that.


Not quite true--Orion Pictures released 3x3 Eyes Seima Densetsu in 1997 after Streamline Pictures was folded into it. It was Orion's folding into MGM that sealed it.
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Kakugo



Joined: 29 Nov 2007
Posts: 163

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Hum, I never realized 3x3 Eyes 2 was post-Orion. I guess the real question is was the dub in the works before, or after the company was sold?
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wandering-dreamer



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 1715

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:53 pm Reply with quote
4 drawings a second for Lady Death? Holy, I remember my friends doing stop motion animation a few years back and they had tons more pictures per second, I hate to think of what the quality was like there. *shudder*
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Treiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:50 pm Reply with quote
excellent interview. I had the pleasure of speaking to Mr Macek at length at a convention (was surprised he wasn't wearing a vest), not too long ago.

He is very interesting, quite willing to share, and so far as I could tell honest. I enjoyed his stories about the all night sessions when they were doing Robotech, and how he got involve in the field. I definately learned some new things from this interview.

One interesting tidbit that I learned from him was that after Robotech he attempted to bring over Legend of Galactic Heroes, but by then the licensing price had shot up too high. >.<b
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Myaow



Joined: 20 Dec 2007
Posts: 1059

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:25 pm Reply with quote
Wow, I had no idea that Macek had worked on Aura Battler Dunbine- I'm watching that one right now and having a fun time with it. I'm watching it with the dub, and after reading this thread (seriously the ONLY time I've seen a live human being acknowledge that the show exists!) I've gotten curious- what are the big huge differences between the two versions that completely ruined and destroyed the show here? I'm interested in finding out.
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FaytLein
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Joined: 21 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:48 pm Reply with quote
Well, the reason why everyone rags on his treatment of Dunbine is pretty much exactly how he said in the interview. He added accents to various characters, altered names and so on, usual fanboy rage enducing material. But Macek isn't the reason for Dunbine tanking. An early 80's anime being released in 2003? Of course it was going to bomb.
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GATSU



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 12719

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:37 pm Reply with quote
ABTAP:
Quote:
Now we know that you didn't watch the original Macross as you claimed. The daughter appeared in several episodes of the original Macross series. One of the episodes was named after the daughter.


No, it's just that it's been a while since I saw it, so I wiki'ed it, and you were right. But Macek still deserves credit for the whole concept of revolving a sequel around their kid.

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Number of episodes in 1984: 125 episodes (40 more than Robotech, and one year earlier)


That's only because the American company over-paid for 'em. And no one's willing to buy that sequel, either. People might be a bit more ambivalent about Southern Cross and Mospeada and Macross, but those things still sell.

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Television sequel with toy tie-in: 26 episodes in 1998 (Robotech never got another television series)


And that sequel bombed just as bad as the original sequel. Even Beast Wars kicked its ass, and Beast Wars is basically Transformers for furry fans.

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Live-action film deal: 2005 (two years before Robotech)


A deal of questionable legality, but that doesn't matter. Rolling Eyes

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Comics in 1985, 2002, and 2008: Yes
Cartoon Network airing in 2006: Yes


Robotech has more comics, CN airings, and a video game franchise.

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Toys by Toynami now: Yes
DVDs now: Yes
Game, t-shirts, bookends, figures, cards now: Yes


The DVDs don't appear to be helping MBs bottom line, if we're getting the episodes for free. The assorted merchandise doesn't seem to be in demand, either.

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So only third-rate licensors would have brought non-Robotech-related anime over?


Given that that was the norm, yes.

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The 2000 lawsuit mentioned nothing about "home video rights in association with DVD."


But that's obviously a sticking point.

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AnimEigo, U.S. Renditions, and Pioneer were releasing subtitled anime without the problems that Streamline's subs had.


You look at Animeigo's history, it took them a while to get the sub thing down. And Geneon censored the cussing in Bastard. As for U.S. Renditions, the company generally only subbed the openings and endings for most of its properties.

[quote]Macross Plus and Macross II were released before 1999. Then Harmony Gold demanded everything with the name Macross on it outside Japan in 1999. That's why no more new Macross anime were released in the United States after 1999. [/qute]

If that were the case, then HG would release all the recent Macross anime on its own.

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Changing the motivation of the enemy is minor?
Changing the fate of characters of who lived or died is minor?
Changing the series finale from peaceful colonization to preemptive strike is minor?


The enemies still want to destroy Earth, because they're born war-mongers. The characters who lived or died still did so for the sake of defending the planet. And the show never ended with a peaceful colonization, just an uneasy truce.

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Macek has been working for Viz's contractor on Bleach. So arguably, Macek is one of many who had to adapt to the new market conditions.


What new market conditions? Bleach proves his point about how you have to build an audience for the anime, in order to justify selling it. Again, look what happened with Hikaru No Go, Mar and PoT.

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Is there a non-biased reason to dismiss Funimation and Viz's hard-won success this way, when the same is no less true of Harmony Gold and Streamline Pictures?


FUNimation's success wasn't hard-won. Their efforts to promote DB were a failure, and Z's the only reason they're on the map today. HG and Macek, OTOH, were doing alright before RT came along. Viz, otoh, was barely getting by until the Shueisha deal.

Baltimoron: He does commentary for Heavty Metal's DVD.

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And, at least in my area, the screenings were at run-down off the beaten path movie houses. The release/tour only made money because virtually nothing was invested in it.


You're not taking into account the success of an animted film which had edgier content than was the norm for its time. [At least in the U.S.-unless you want to go back and count the Bakshi stuff. But that wasn't for a "general" audience. ]

Kakugo: One of the 3x3 Eyes OVAs made it state-side on tape, butthat was about it.


Last edited by GATSU on Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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