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REVIEW: Robot Carnival Blu-ray




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Sahmbahdeh



Joined: 05 May 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:04 am Reply with quote
Ah yes, Robot Carnival. I bought the DVD on a whim at a convention one year, and was pretty impressed by what I'd found. While most of the segments were admittedly not exactly my cup of tea, I found the overall charm and audacity of it made up for most of that, and the animation, art design, music, and creativity on display makes up for the rest. It's a bona fide example of art made for art's sake that doesn't get made very often, so when it does it's worth treasuring.
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Zin5ki
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:05 pm Reply with quote
Daryl wrote:
While most consider “Presence” the best, please join me, a truly enlightened scholar, in hailing “Star Light Angel” as the greatest standout of Robot Carnival, for it not only embodies the greatness of the “Take on Me” vibe of the 1980's, but it also reiterates a lesson that 21st century anime fans would do well to remember, which is “never put your trust in Char Aznable lookalikes, for their inherent Char-ness will make them definitely betray you.”

A curious attitude, I have to admit! Not that I wish to sound contrarian here, but when judged as explorations of their unifying theme, the contrast between Presence and everything else made the majority of pieces seem like side-acts. Not to say that the likes of Light Star Angel are lacking in their appeal or craftsmanship—this is hardly the case—though they didn't quite resonate beyond the moment to a comparable extent.
Of course, I'm glad it is possible to re-order each contribution on this release, allowing everyone to save their own personal best for last.
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belvadeer



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:10 pm Reply with quote
Starlight Angel is still my favorite short in Robot Carnival.
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russ869



Joined: 22 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:47 pm Reply with quote
I don't know what you guys are talkin' about. Deprive is the best.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:59 pm Reply with quote
As a US-dub attempt for Carl Macek's Streamline Pictures to desperately and soullessly pimp more Akira-fan money out of anything else Otomo did in his entire career, it was a weird puzzling snore.
(Although Otomo's wraparound title sequence is a core early-90's birth-of-anime classic. Smile )

As a feature-length dialogue-free music video for how many different genre styles Jo Hisaishi can compose in away from Miyazaki's Ghibli movies, it's a great sounding soundtrack.
In which case you're both right, Starlight Angel AND Deprive are the best segments. And I'll throw in A Tale of Two Robots, too.
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GeorgeC



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:09 pm Reply with quote
Some of these old films and OVAs are just getting absolutely gorgeous re-releases.

The Blu rays I own of the original Space Cobra feature film and the 1980s Vampire Hunter D OVA are absolutely the best editions of those that have ever been released on home video. VHD is definitely at its best on the Blu ray (and the first film is still the best VHD anime, IMHO). The audio quality (Japanese) and video are at least 10 times better than that film ever looked on any format before! Unfortunately, they didn't include the original English dub with the last DVD and Blu ray releases and there have been loud complaints about this. For whatever reasons, Section 23/Sentai did a redub of it. I have a feeling they did the redub so that they COULD produce a 5.1 English channel version. That wasn't possible with the original English audio track which is available only as a mix-down as far as I know. They don't usually keep all the audio track sessions which is why you rarely see 5.1 mixes of anything that's not a major feature film pre-1980s. At best, they could have digitally cleaned up all the hiss on the VHD original English dub tapes and produced a cleaner 2-channel stereo dub. Yeah, for whatever reasons, a couple of the Streamline dubs really sound like they were recorded in a bathroom! I can recall the English dub tracks for Lensman, VHD, and the English dialogue sequence of Robot Carnival not being high-quality audio.

Space Cobra (the original feature film) looks miles better than 98% of the anime I've seen in the last 20 years. It's essentially an anime version of Barbarella but with Jane Fonda replaced by a guy -- ie, it's to Barbarella what Tomb Raider (Lara Croft) is to Indiana Jones. It is definitely the best-looking sci-fi anime feature I've seen and that includes the Gundam films and the original Macross feature. Space Cobra is miles and miles past Titan AE which was a colossal joke. (Titan AE is about as badly written as the last Star Wars feature film was. I have not cared to see it again and it had among the WORST composited CG and hand-drawn animation I've witnessed and I've seen a lot of bad CG/hand-drawn compositing in anime, too.) Heck, the original Space Cobra TV series is STILL better than 70-some percent of the anime released since then -- production quality-wise, mileage may vary on what you think of the story but the animation quality is STILL far superior to most that followed over the next 35 years!

I'm not surprised Robot Carnival is finally getting a decent release. The Streamline releases in the 1990s were from very worn masters and not the highest quality but the VHS and LD was all we had for years.

This is still the most memorable compilation OVA anybody's done and I've seen most of the other compilation films.
Like anything, some segments are more memorable than others.
They really don't do films like this in the West anymore... Disney did around 4 of them in the 1940s during and shortly after World War II to cut down on costs and keep animated feature film production active after a series of box office bombs with Pinocchio, Bambi, Fantasia, etc. -- pretty much every film that came after Snow White except for Dumbo lost money. The compilations were nothing to write home about but they probably produced one of the greatest animated chase scenes in the most classic ghost story I've seen animated, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The funny thing is that Robot Carnival has an homage to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow!

There's only one segment of Robot Carnival that has dialogue which was dubbed into English by Streamline. That's "Presence," a story about an inventor living with his android doll creation. It's a story of AI achieving consciousness if I remember correctly. The other big change from the Streamline edition I've heard (besides the restoration but not seen to confirm otherwise) is they altered the order of some segments of Robot Carnival since then. It's unfortunately been one of those films that's had re-edits since the original release.

The most recent, best-known animated compilation film from the West is probably still Heavy Metal. It's uneven but people definitely remember "Harry Canyon" (THE basis for the sci-fi film, The Fifth Element; sorry but the screenwriters of The Fifth Element definitely Harry Canyon into the later film), "Captain Sternn" (the funniest segment of the whole film, best character animation), the B-17 zombie story, and Tarna, the female warrior who rode the winged lizard (the iconic poster image), of course -- the first naked animated woman a lot of people saw! Laughing
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johnmora



Joined: 18 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:16 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
“never put your trust in Char Aznable lookalikes, for their inherent Char-ness will make them definitely betray you.”


Char's never betrayed anyone in his entire life.
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Ouran High School Dropout
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:28 pm Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
The other big change from the Streamline edition I've heard (besides the restoration but not seen to confirm otherwise) is they altered the order of some segments of Robot Carnival since then. It's unfortunately been one of those films that's had re-edits since the original release.

The Discotek release has fixed this. The film is now back in its original Japanese form.
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lemurs



Joined: 01 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:59 pm Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
There's only one segment of Robot Carnival that has dialogue which was dubbed into English by Streamline. That's "Presence," a story about an inventor living with his android doll creation. It's a story of AI achieving consciousness if I remember correctly. The other big change from the Streamline edition I've heard (besides the restoration but not seen to confirm otherwise) is they altered the order of some segments of Robot Carnival since then. It's unfortunately been one of those films that's had re-edits since the original release.

The "Tale of Two Robots" segment also got an English dub, but the faux accent for the Japanese characters is a bit cringeworthy these days. Bits of it were ad-libbed too, as I recall.

Robot Carnival actually did get a R2 DVD release way back in 2000 which I'd held onto for years before the R1 DVD release made it obsolete. It had been so long between when I'd first seen it on TV (on the Sci Fi channel of all places) and when I got the DVD that I'd forgotten the alternate segment order altogether.
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:49 am Reply with quote
lemurs wrote:
Robot Carnival actually did get a R2 DVD release way back in 2000 which I'd held onto for years before the R1 DVD release made it obsolete. It had been so long between when I'd first seen it on TV (on the Sci Fi channel of all places) and when I got the DVD that I'd forgotten the alternate segment order altogether.

I think that R2 DVD is probably what was shown at the first Anime Expo I went to (2004, I think?) - I hunted the screening room listings for things I'd never seen before, and I had not heard of this at the time. Even with what dialogue there was untranslated, it was quite the memorable experience, and I am forever grateful to whoever put together the screening rooms that year. And also to the guy who kicked out the hecklers during Cloud.
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Beatdigga



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:45 am Reply with quote
I think this is one of the releases that cemented my love of anthology works back in the day. Just the takes on the similar themes. I think that nature allows it to hold up very well.
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Actar



Joined: 21 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am Reply with quote
I still listen to the Robot Carnival episode of AWO from time to time and I'm really glad that we've managed to come this far. (^.^)
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FLCLGainax



Joined: 10 May 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:19 am Reply with quote
GeorgeC wrote:
(snip)For whatever reasons, Section 23/Sentai did a redub of it. I have a feeling they did the redub so that they COULD produce a 5.1 English channel version. That wasn't possible with the original English audio track which is available only as a mix-down as far as I know.(snip)
Regarding VHD, the older Urban Vision DVD did have a 5.1 remix of the Streamline dub.
lemurs wrote:
The "Tale of Two Robots" segment also got an English dub, but the faux accent for the Japanese characters is a bit cringeworthy these days. Bits of it were ad-libbed too, as I recall.
It's been speculated the use of the faux accents in the dub was to match the nationalist overtones used in the Japanese version. Presumably, the original dialog was meant to sound like slogans used in Japan during WWII against the Allies. To translate this aspect for a Western audience in the early '90s, the dubbers thus made them sound like stereotypes often associated with American propaganda from the war era.
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jr240483



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:40 pm Reply with quote
johnmora wrote:
Quote:
“never put your trust in Char Aznable lookalikes, for their inherent Char-ness will make them definitely betray you.”


Char's never betrayed anyone in his entire life.


uh actually he did. he betrayed himself which is the WORST KIND OF BETRAYAL , and went off the deep end during the neo zeon wars. his younger self would be disgusted with the older char from the movie.

regardless, if anyone though series like serial experiments lain and boggiepop phantom was downright bizarre, this movie is basically a migrane waiting to happen.
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