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ANNCast Classic: Macek Training


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DRWii



Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 394

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:07 pm Reply with quote
Ah, a rerun. Guess I won't be listening this week, but I definitely recommend this episode to newcomers. Really interesting stuff.
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mdo7



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 3652
Location: Maryland, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:10 pm Reply with quote
DRWii wrote:
Ah, a rerun. Guess I won't be listening this week, but I definitely recommend this episode to newcomers. Really interesting stuff.


Yep, me too, any new anime fan please listen to this podcast. Also please be open-minded when hearing this podcast.
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ActionJacksin



Joined: 16 Dec 2012
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:05 pm Reply with quote
No shame in admitting that I used this podcast as a reference in a paper I wrote for university (specifically, the part about Goemon's catchphrase in Cagliostro and how it related to the balancing act of localization). And I'll also reiterate that this episode is absolutely essential for anyone curious about this industry, be it on the Japanese or American side.

And of course, it was very sad to hear Carl passing away only a few months after this interview, at just 58 years old no less.
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 230

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:39 pm Reply with quote
mdo7 wrote:
DRWii wrote:
Ah, a rerun. Guess I won't be listening this week, but I definitely recommend this episode to newcomers. Really interesting stuff.


Yep, me too, any new anime fan please listen to this podcast. Also please be open-minded when hearing this podcast.



"Open-minded" being the operative word here.
There has definitely been an element of elitism at work in anime fandom for as long as I can remember. It runs the gamut from people who know nothing but put on airs to try and impress everyone else to people who are very well-informed but just completely inept socially.
As bad as it can be at some cons, it's far, far worse online...

Carl Macek had some of the worst slander directed at him while he was alive -- including death threats.
There were things Carl did I didn't much care for, either, but so much of the criticism directed at him is over-the-top and just plain ugly.

The first Anime Expo I ever went to was nearly the last anime con I went to. The snobbery was pretty bad. Obviously, a lot of people are sheltered from the realities of trying to sell foreign TV shows and movies in the US. I want accurate translations and adaptations, too, but literalism sometimes doesn't work out so well and *SOME* localization shouldn't always be dismissed so handily. Even some of the earlier anime fans I've run across seriously need to grow up -- and these are guys in their late 40's and 50's on up!

What Carl Macek accomplished at Harmony Gold and later at Streamline Pictures was in some senses ahead of its time. Yes, I wish they had done more subtitled releases... To my knowledge, they only subtitled Akira (much later VHS release) and episodes of the series that make up Robotech. I wish more episodes of Zillion and Lupin III (first series) had been released by Streamline, too. Streamline had an ugly tendency to license TV series and do maybe do video releases of 4-5 episodes!
I was very disappointed that there were very few LD releases from Streamline back in the day, too, and am disappointed that some dubs have been dropped or haven't been considered for later DVD/Blu ray re-releases in the States, too. These were not all bad efforts. The original dub for "My Neighbor Totoro" was not a bad one at all. I sometimes wonder why re-dubs are done when most later efforts hardly seem to be that much different from the first dubs. Why did it take so long for the original Akira dub to re-surface on home video in the US??? I've heard both dubs and frankly Johnny Yong Bosch wasn't better than Cam Clarke. The voices of Tetsuo are virtual twins! Why ISN'T the Streamline dub for "Castle of Cagliostro" available in the US????

There is no question what Macek did deserves reconsideration by a huge chunk of fandom IF they're actually serious about learning about the realities of anime and marketing these shows and movies in North America. I don't think that's going to happen so much because fandom in general is very fleet and faddish. Fandom isn't the deepest thing. Some of it can VERY fanatical and purist but most people (I think fortunately!) do not fall into that category.

So far Macek has been right in one sense --
At least some localized anime sells better. It certainly endures better over the decades than many literally-translated works. I'm sorry but I just don't see the original Mach Go Go or Macross ever being as popular as Speed Racer or Robotech were and continue to be...
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
Posts: 5819
Location: Penguinopolis

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:36 pm Reply with quote
I stand by most of the things I said the first time (though perhaps not to the same degree).

He definitely contributed to the spread of anime fandom into the US, but he's no "storyteller".
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MaxSterling



Joined: 19 Apr 2011
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:24 pm Reply with quote
Great interview, love it when the forerunners come on the show. Plus bring back the intro music.
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getchman
Space CowboySpace Cowboy


Joined: 07 Apr 2012
Posts: 6009
Location: Cheshire, CT

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:28 pm Reply with quote
MaxSterling wrote:
Plus bring back the intro music.


it didn't go anywhere. this is an older interview dug up from the archives
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Zump



Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Great to see this episode re-posted. This is still my favorite episode of ANNCast, mainly because of Macek's anecdotes of his work both in and outside of the anime industry. I still enjoy a lot of those old Streamline dubs, including the Castle of Cagliostro dub, which aside from a few odd casting choices (Goemon's voice in particular) and the heavily altered script is an enjoyable dub IMO.
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KabaKabaFruit



Joined: 20 Sep 2007
Posts: 1282
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:39 am Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
Carl Macek had some of the worst slander directed at him while he was alive -- including death threats.
There were things Carl did I didn't much care for, either, but so much of the criticism directed at him is over-the-top and just plain ugly

Anime fans to this day still pin the blame squarely on Macek for sabotaging Captain Harlock! They strongly believe that the reason why Harlock never got a bigger reputation on this side of the Pacific is because Macek couldn't figure out how to properly market the character.
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PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 1191

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:08 am Reply with quote
I still admire Carl with what he did to get anime recognized in the states. While I haven't seen a whole lot of flack directed toward him now, he really didn't deserve what he got back in the day.

Streamline was ahead of it's time, and I find their dubs to be very successful at what they were trying to do: bring the product to the US with no edits. I find the Streamline dubs of the Dirty Pair movies far more watchable than the ADV ones. While many of them sound cheesy by today's standards, the dubs were still well done. I enjoyed the 90s Lupin III dubs too, as well as Doomed Megalopolis and Space Adventure Cobra. It's a shame they didn't do more series. I'm curious how a Streamline dub of Bubblegum Crisis would have been. Most likely better than AnimEigo at the least.

I do understand a lot of Macek's philosophy when it comes to script-adapting ADR. The writer SHOULD have a good understanding of the material. Their job is to take that and make it accessible to a local audience with respect to the original writing. Many anime dubs just translate the script verbatim and re-write it to fit the lip flaps as best they can without having a true grasp or understanding of the original material. In this respect, you do, in a way, have to be something of a story-teller, just not in the traditional sense. You still have to convey the original messages and meanings, as well as... tell the story. It's just not YOUR story. That's what I think he meant.

The stuff about Captain Harlock is very interesting. It would have been nicer had they been able to license the other Harlock show so they could truly market the franchise in the US. The Queen of a Thousand Years stuff was silly. I've never seen it, but it sounds weird.
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mdo7



Joined: 23 May 2007
Posts: 3652
Location: Maryland, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:10 am Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
mdo7 wrote:
DRWii wrote:
Ah, a rerun. Guess I won't be listening this week, but I definitely recommend this episode to newcomers. Really interesting stuff.


Yep, me too, any new anime fan please listen to this podcast. Also please be open-minded when hearing this podcast.



"Open-minded" being the operative word here.
There has definitely been an element of elitism at work in anime fandom for as long as I can remember. It runs the gamut from people who know nothing but put on airs to try and impress everyone else to people who are very well-informed but just completely inept socially.
As bad as it can be at some cons, it's far, far worse online...

Carl Macek had some of the worst slander directed at him while he was alive -- including death threats.
There were things Carl did I didn't much care for, either, but so much of the criticism directed at him is over-the-top and just plain ugly.

The first Anime Expo I ever went to was nearly the last anime con I went to. The snobbery was pretty bad. Obviously, a lot of people are sheltered from the realities of trying to sell foreign TV shows and movies in the US. I want accurate translations and adaptations, too, but literalism sometimes doesn't work out so well and *SOME* localization shouldn't always be dismissed so handily. Even some of the earlier anime fans I've run across seriously need to grow up -- and these are guys in their late 40's and 50's on up!

What Carl Macek accomplished at Harmony Gold and later at Streamline Pictures was in some senses ahead of its time. Yes, I wish they had done more subtitled releases... To my knowledge, they only subtitled Akira (much later VHS release) and episodes of the series that make up Robotech. I wish more episodes of Zillion and Lupin III (first series) had been released by Streamline, too. Streamline had an ugly tendency to license TV series and do maybe do video releases of 4-5 episodes!
I was very disappointed that there were very few LD releases from Streamline back in the day, too, and am disappointed that some dubs have been dropped or haven't been considered for later DVD/Blu ray re-releases in the States, too. These were not all bad efforts. The original dub for "My Neighbor Totoro" was not a bad one at all. I sometimes wonder why re-dubs are done when most later efforts hardly seem to be that much different from the first dubs. Why did it take so long for the original Akira dub to re-surface on home video in the US??? I've heard both dubs and frankly Johnny Yong Bosch wasn't better than Cam Clarke. The voices of Tetsuo are virtual twins! Why ISN'T the Streamline dub for "Castle of Cagliostro" available in the US????

There is no question what Macek did deserves reconsideration by a huge chunk of fandom IF they're actually serious about learning about the realities of anime and marketing these shows and movies in North America. I don't think that's going to happen so much because fandom in general is very fleet and faddish. Fandom isn't the deepest thing. Some of it can VERY fanatical and purist but most people (I think fortunately!) do not fall into that category.

So far Macek has been right in one sense --
At least some localized anime sells better. It certainly endures better over the decades than many literally-translated works. I'm sorry but I just don't see the original Mach Go Go or Macross ever being as popular as Speed Racer or Robotech were and continue to be...


Well true, GeorgeC, but remember back then bringing in anime isn't like what it is now and budget to dub and localize these for US release can get really expensive and dubbing productions will face budget cut hence why only few episodes get released back then not all of it where today we can release all episodes on DVDs and streaming sites. We didn't have streaming sites like Youtube, Hulu, and Crunchyroll back then. DVDs and Blu-ray didn't exist back in the 80's and early 90's, so dubbing and putting episodes out is pretty much hard to do, so I can understand anime fans frustration back then. But thank goodness we have those tech today, that's why past mistake like what happen back in the 80's don't happen often today. So a lot of people second and part of 3rd generation that bring anime to US didn't understand how to market those, so it's regrettable.

Let me put it this way: I'm thankful for DVDs/Blu-rays, and current streaming sites like Hulu, Youtube, and Crunchyroll. If we were still on VHS right now, releasing anime would be like what it was back in the 80's and early 90's. I'm very happy for tech we have today to release anime unedited and with both dub and sub option.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 1781

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:40 am Reply with quote
I think this is about where I left off listening to ANNCast regularly, and the backlog soon piled up to the point where I never really got back into it. It's a fantastic episode, though; I remember listening to it while on a 6-hour drive, and it was a great way to pass the time. Mr. Macek's work in the industry was well before my own fandom, so I don't have any personal opinions on it, but he came across as someone who was passionate about what he worked on and had a deep understanding of how to best market it to American audiences. It was a shame that he passed away so soon after this was recorded, but I definitely think this interview serves as a fitting swan song.
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EricJ



Joined: 03 Sep 2009
Posts: 876

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:43 pm Reply with quote
KabaKabaFruit wrote:

Anime fans to this day still pin the blame squarely on Macek for sabotaging Captain Harlock! They strongly believe that the reason why Harlock never got a bigger reputation on this side of the Pacific is because Macek couldn't figure out how to properly market the character.


Um, they DO? I was there, and I don't even remember Harlock getting a decent syndication in the US. So, it actually got one, then? Confused

Robotech issues aside (and it was a reasonably good dub for its "Hide the ethnicity" syndication days), most people still have grudges against Macek for the days of Streamline Pictures' attempts to bring anime to the masses, and scaring, boring or puzzling them to death in the process.
He'd had his two big cult-audience hits bringing Akira and Fist of the North Star to college-theater audiences, and like any good incompetent showman...beat his two shticks into the ground until it got just plain sad. Since Akira had gotten all the headlines, we got EVERY SINGLE movie Otomo had ever attached his name to (what, you think he brought over Robot Carnival, Neo Tokyo and Roujin Z because they were good?)--And while his attempt to give us the entire film canon of Toyou Ashida, to cash in on FoNS, brought us Vampire Hunter D, it also helped set and seal the 90's stereotype that anime was probably "weird" and "ultraviolent".
Macek was the ORIGINAL equivalent of the overly hyped fanboy who shoves copies of Eva and Alchemist into the hands of innocent normal folk, hoping that they'll have their doors of perception opened by how "DIFFERENT!" it is. The reaction of the public at the time to most of Streamline's arthouse titles was, well, it is that. Oh, and then he paired it with a Speed Racer revival, to remind us how culty "Japanimation", unquote, was.

(We used to have a sci-fi festival that showed Akira one year back in the early 90's, and puzzled the crap out of most of the mainstream audience. The 90's proto-otaku kept asking for another Streamline every year after that, as that was the only anime you could get fans hooked on, and after Neo Tokyo and Silent Moebius, nobody in our festival audience thought they ever wanted to hear the dreaded A-word again for the rest of their lives. That's the "evangelizing" that Macek was responsible for. To some anime fans, you can conjure up an entire era just by saying "Twilight of the Cockroaches".)
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KabaKabaFruit



Joined: 20 Sep 2007
Posts: 1282
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:05 pm Reply with quote
EricJ wrote:
Um, they DO? I was there, and I don't even remember Harlock getting a decent syndication in the US. So, it actually got one, then? Confused

Macek failed to convince U.S. broadcasters with his first attempt at marketing Harlock under the VZI International brand. Harlock was depicted as some kind of cheesy superhero rather than the tall, proud and serious hero that fans remember him for. Four episodes were made and they were really bad. Then there was Captain Harlock and The Queen of a Thousand Years which did air on T.V. during the mid 80's but was so badly inconsistent that people had a hard time wondering what was really going on in the show. Any other attempts to bring back Harlock ended up being low key through distributors like Malibu Graphics and AnimEigo and Corn Pone Flicks is the only group that I know of that worked to keep the Harlock flame alive despite being known in cult circles as editors of bizarre fan films.

So, Harlock, despite his better followings in Japan, just couldn't cut the mustard here in the U.S. and U.S. Harlock fans still insist on pinning the blame squarely on Macek.
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EricJ



Joined: 03 Sep 2009
Posts: 876

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:38 pm Reply with quote
KabaKabaFruit wrote:
EricJ wrote:
Um, they DO? I was there, and I don't even remember Harlock getting a decent syndication in the US. So, it actually got one, then? Confused

Macek failed to convince U.S. broadcasters with his first attempt at marketing Harlock under the VZI International brand. Harlock was depicted as some kind of cheesy superhero rather than the tall, proud and serious hero that fans remember him for. Four episodes were made and they were really bad. Then there was Captain Harlock and The Queen of a Thousand Years which did air on T.V. during the mid 80's but was so badly inconsistent that people had a hard time wondering what was really going on in the show.


"Take to the skies!"
Er, yes, come to think on it, I DO remember... Confused
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