Saturday, January 14, 2012

Macross: Ai Oboete Imasuka (Do You Remember Love?) (1984)

For those like me who have plumbed the history of anime and its great classics few films have stood as high and shined as brightly as the 1984 Macross film Do You Remember Love?.  Made as a follow up to the immensely successful and superb TV show, this film was a theatrical event and advance sale tickets sold for 1,100 yen.  The film was one of the top Japanese films of the year (the #1 film in the country being Ghostbusters) and the now famous titular song from the film was the first song from an anime to reach #1 on the charts.
 The animation is some of the most gorgeous to look at ever produced within that fruitful era in Japan's film industry.  Kentaro Haneda's score elevates the film's effect even more with an ever amazing succession of fantastic cues.  For all the film's prestige in its native land it is almost unknown to the film community in America, mostly due to it being animated but especially due to a legal dispute which is ongoing.
Pictured: The relationship between the fans and the rights holders.

In short, Big West and Studio Nue, the producers of the original TV show, were settled with the rights to the design of the series.  While Tatsunoko, which helped produce the original series was given production rights.  This would be complicated enough if it weren't for an American company called Harmony Gold, which distributed the Macross series as Robotech in the U.S., would most likely want something out of any effort to distribute the film officially.  One official release was made, but it is so lackluster its hardly worth mention except in a manner of irony.  Toho produced a licensed dub to be released in the U.S., yet the voice acting turned out to be, unintentionally, the funniest dub I've ever seen.  To add injury to insult, 30 minutes were then cut from the film to make it "family friendly" and utterly incoherent as it was sold under a "Kids Only" label as Clash of the Bionoids.

The amount of stupid being spoken right now is incommunicable.  

Despite it not being officially available over here, fans have not been stopped from making fan subs and even fan dubs.  The only way I've seen the film is through YouTube!  I've since included in my list of favorite films and I pray for the much scoffed at day when it sees an American release.  However,  I do hold out hope that a company like Criterion (whenever they start releasing animation) could settle the rights disputes and get a proper edition sold over here since there are always more fans of it being made.

There is no reason you shouldn't see it.

However, the fun doesn't end there.  I had a personal experience with Harmony Gold, with DYRL? in question.  In 2010 I went to my first anime convention, AnimeNext in Somerset, New Jersey.  I was thrilled that there was a Robotech panel.  At this panel they had a representative from Harmony Gold, Kevin McKeever.

This guy.

He discussed the history of Robotech and how Macross was brought over to America.  After his lecture he gave a Q and A with prizes for interesting questions.  I then saw my opportunity to strike one for the fans.  I raised my hand, was called upon and said this: "There was a theatrical film called Macross: Do You Remember Love? did Harmony Gold ever have any plans to release it?"  I saw him taken slightly aback and I had obviously hit a nerve.  "Well," he replied with a bull crap answer and then proceeded to give me the shut-up present of the year for my probing question: A limited (1/1000 units) edition figure of one of the Valkyrie fighters from the show.  Mouth agape I accepted this gift.

You can't blame a fan for trying.... 

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