A Love Letter to 2016, part 3: my pick for Macross Delta’s best girl!

When there’s at least one show every season that you’re watching the moment it’s available, you know it’s been a good year. For me, that was obviously Yuri!!! on ICE this past Fall season, Rakugo Shinjuu back in Winter and 91 Days in the Summer. As for Spring, that belonged to Macross Delta.

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I suspect that many of my newer followers wouldn’t know that, however, as it was only in the Fall season that I got a bit more exposure in the fandom. I never really advertised it myself, so for those of you who missed it, I appeared on more than half of the SpeakerPodcast Gertalk episodes during the second half of the show (^^;;). But even before that, I translated the Delta half of director Yasuda Kenji’s Bandai Channel Creator’s Selection Interview, by which time I had also been summarising the “Gori Gori Radio” show for a few weeks. My apologies for falling off that bandwagon—as I’m sure you know, I’ve been quite distracted over the past 12 weeks ^^;

Some of you might surmise that I lost interest in the radio because the show itself kind of lost its way in the second cour. And you’d be partially right…but the real reason is YOI, sorry! Since then, however, I’ve regained a bit of positivity about my Macross experience this year. And there’s only one character to thank for that:

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The Flying Maiden: Freyja Wion

Given that most people in the West take pride in backing ‘the more mature girl’ in Macross triangles, my preference for Freyja had me feeling pretty lonely for a lot of Delta’s run. The great irony of this was that, in the end, I found Mirage to be a far more interesting character than most of her former fans did! But even then, she was not able to knock Freyja off the top of my list.

And so, my third love letter to anime in 2016 is for the little goddess that stole my heart in summer.

Kawamori Shōji: The Making of Macross F the Movie

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“When I’m in the studio, I find myself coming up with new ideas.”

Macross Frontier the Movie: The False Songstress was released in Japan on November 21, 2009, just over a year after the controversial ending of the TV series aired on broadcast television. This interview with Kawamori Shōji, who is credited as director, screenwriter and for the original story, comes from the film’s Perfect Triangle guidebook, which was published on December 18, 2009. In it, he talks about the changes and adjustments the film’s staff made and had to make to bring the story of the Vajra war to the screen in this shorter but more elaborate format. Read more of this post

Kikuchi Yasuhito on making Macross F: The False Diva

Interview with Kikuchi Yasuhito (Technical Director1), from The Macross F The Movie Official Guidebook: Perfect Triangle.

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“Turning those strange ideas into reality is what my work is all about.”

Profile
A director and episode director, Kikuchi Yasuhito’s association with the Macross series began with The Super Dimensional Force Macross Flash Back 2012, where he was an in-betweener. As a director, he’s worked on titles like El-Hazard: The Alternative World and The Legend of Black Heaven.

Putting together all the materials to produce new visuals

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Kawamori Shōji on writing Frontier, from 2059: Memories

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Sorry to have kept you waiting! Amidst all the Yuri!!! madness, I’ve finally made it back to my project on Anime ‘Writing’, with the bonus entry I promised over a month ago. This time, let’s take a look at Kawamori Shōji’s comments on each and every Macross Frontier episode, from the TV series guidebook 2059: Memories. The first five entries are revised versions of what Gubaba posted years ago on a discussion forum…and I must say, I think I understand why he didn’t continue. The text is smaller than that of the main interview, so these were a lot longer than I thought they were at first glance. So please pardon any strange sounding expressions…by the time I finished it, I really didn’t want to give it another run through! Read more of this post

Kawamori Shoji talks ‘story’ in Macross Frontier

This is Kawamori’s interview from 2059: Memories, which was published in October 2008. (Which means that I should really have tackled this interview before I did the fan book ones…oh well…) The interview was accompanied by a short commentary on each Frontier episode. I’d originally planned to dig up a friend’s old translations…and then I found out he only did five of them, after which I realised that there’s a heck of a lot more text than I originally thought.1 All of which is to say…I wasn’t able to finish them this week, so they’ll be in a follow-up post. Until then, here’s the last of the interviews that I’ll be doing for the Frontier TV series.

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KAWAMORI Shōji
Born in 1960, and hailing from Toyama Prefecture. A visionary creator active in a wide variety of roles, ranging from developing original works, scriptwriting and directing to mecha design. He’s produced work not only for the screen, but also toys, games and various publications. Most representative of his anime oeuvre are the many entries in the Macross series. As a director, he’s also worked on shows like Genesis of Aquarion (2005) and Earth Girl Arjuna (2001).

Is there anything that happened during production for Macross Frontier that has left a deep impression on you?

There are many things like that, but first and foremost, we actually wanted to have it on air one year earlier. Read more of this post

Kikuchi Yasuhito: Remembering Love via Macross Frontier

From the Macross F Official Fanbook.

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“Basically, we just go at it right from that first chord.
If there’s a problem somewhere, we’ll think about it later.”

The vivacious and rhythmic scenes unfolding on the screen, which words cannot describe. Be it the battles or the concerts, the life in the imagery is unmistakable! We speak with series director KIKUCHI Yasuhito, who has brought us this extravagance, about the ideas behind the direction of Macross Frontier.

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The inner strength of Mirage Farina Jenius

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As many people would know, Macross Delta is the show that I’ve been following most fervently these past two seasons. The vibe on the show has been somewhat mixed, though relatively positive until the show took a quiet and information-heavy turn over the last few weeks.1 Relatively positive, that is, except with regards to Mirage. Many of the fans who declared for her in the early episodes have become increasingly disillusioned with her character and story arc. Unlike Sheryl from Frontier and Misa from SDFM, the word is that she does not have the qualities that a main character deserves. In a word, she just isn’t anything “special.”

It took me quite a while, but I can now confidently say that I completely disagree with that reading of Mirage. Disclaimer: I’m a Freyja fan, and even now, she’s still my favourite character. Hence, even though I was also amongst the crowd wondering out loud if Mirage was ever going to step up and do something interesting, it never really bothered me that she hadn’t. That is, until the last month or so, when disappointed fans really started ranting about her online, particularly after episode 20 seemingly cemented her place as the ‘support role’ in the triangle. But I found something more in that episode’s key scene, in which Mirage declared that she would protect Hayate and Freyja. I saw a rather unusual character arc for her, one that is grounded completely in the notion that she isn’t special. In fact, that is precisely what makes Mirage so inspirational.

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Kawamori Shōji on conceptualising Frontier: gut feelings and cyborgs

Continuing my exploration of the creation of Macross Frontier, this week, I bring to you Kawamori Shōji’s interview from the official fan book. Here, the director delves into the real-life concepts that he drew upon, including some surprising elements of scientific research and the complex ecological systems of the Amazon. He also discusses the fold bacteria that are now featuring in Macross ∆, and how they are relevant to the core theme of communication and discommunication in Macross.

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“What matters when you want to change something is
whether you can come at it from a different angle.”

Love triangles, singing and variable fighters. Along with the Vajra and implant network that support these three elements from the ground up. These are the background settings that give rise to the immense depth of the story before us. In this interview, we probe into the origins of this fantastic world. Read more of this post

Yoshino on the Frontier TV series: triangles, loli characters and working with Kawamori

This is the interview that Yoshino Hiroyuki (Series Composition / Episode Script) gave for the Macross F Official Fan Book, which was released in January 2009. In it, he elaborates on the controlled madness through which he worked with Kawamori and the various producers to create the story and scripts for the Macross Frontier TV series.

I wish I’d translated this interview in full years ago. The first third—which is about the all-important question of the love triangle—was translated by Gubaba around the time the fan book was released, and updated by me a few years later. But what I was really interested in was Yoshino’s detailed description of who was involved in the script meetings and what each of them contributed to the scripts that he was in charge of putting together. It probably wouldn’t have stopped the viewers who were ranting at Kawamori and/or Yoshino over the ending, but at least it would have clarified what went on behind-the-scenes for the rest of us. In any case, I hope you all find it as informative and amusing as I did!

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“Won’t the viewers be angry?”
“Probably. But that’s fine, I’m prepared for that”

Frontier, the show that has entertained us with a myriad of triangles—it’s not just Alto, Ranka and Sheryl! We also have the magnificent curiosity that is Grace, Mishima and Birler. Here, we speak to the person behind the colourful relationships that form the basis of our tale.

If we’d settled the triangle, the concert at the Budoukan would have been…

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Masterpost: On Anime ‘Writing’ Project

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Since I’ve managed to pick up all the interviews I was looking for, it’s probably time I set up a Masterpost for this On Anime ‘Writing’ project of mine.

As many of you will already know, I’m currently carrying out a blog project about the role that anime screenwriters—such as Okada Mari, Urobuchi Gen and Yoshino Hiroyuki—play in the anime production process. All related posts can be found under the tag, but this is where I’ll keep a record of all the editorials and translations that I’ve published as part of it, along with links to any other relevant translations I’ve done in the past.

If you’re new to this project, I recommend starting with my first editorial, where I compared the ‘writing’ stages of the typical anime production with that of Avatar: The Legend of Korra. A more comprehensive collection of links to behind-the-scenes resources can also be found on ‘White Box’ Treasure. I hope you find this project interesting and informative, and that you will join in the discussion on anime production here and elsewhere! Read more of this post