Newtype Flash Article Encore No. 2: Macross – Remembering The Melodies

(Author’s notes: The following is a reprint of a short article I wrote on Hero TV Forum Version 4’s Original Content Section, under the byline Newtype Flash. I’m posting it here for reference to everyone reading my site. I will be posting all my other OCS articles here on this blog as well in the next few days. Hopefully I can repost all of them on HTVF when the forum returns.)

Newtype Flash
By Ultimate Coordinator

The Macross Saga: Remembering the Melodies

Do you remember when your eyes first appreciated an anime that has flourished and inspired you thru the years? I do.

It was in 1986, when I first really saw an anime I had really gotten hooked to. How can you not appreciate a show that not only had the mecha toys I was playing with then, but also dazzled you with high-flying battle scenes in outer space, with fighter planes transforming into big, bad mecha toting big, bad cannons firing link machine guns at big, bad giant aliens, dancing a zero-gravity ballet while crisscrossing a storm cloud of missiles all gunning for him, and titanic space battleships fighting for the survival of the Human and Zentraedi races, all to the grand music and melodies of a raven-haired teen pop idol with the most powerful singing voice in the universe?

This was anime at its finest. This was anime of the most epic of proportions.

This was Macross.

For me, watching the Macross anime always brings out the kid in me, more than any other anime that I watched – Gundam included. Like many others who have watched the different series this saga has spawned, you can feel your spirits lifted by the masterpiece work of combining hard-charging mecha action, an epic space opera, love themes and love triangles, and inspiring and merry melodies sang by some of the best pop idols and singers of its day.

The story of the Macross saga is that of an epic space opera, so much inspired by George Lucas’ Star Wars. The first and most important series in Macross is Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (Chō Jikū Yōsai Makurosu), first shown on Japanese TV on October 3, 1982, and was created by the legendary Shoji Kawamori (also the creator of The Vision of Escaflowne, Earth Girl Arjuna and Eureka 7. It is the first anime under Big West’s “Super Dimensional” Anime series produced by Studio Nue (the other two are Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Super Dimensional Century Orguss).

According to the story’s history, the Earth was engulfed in a Global Civil War in 1999, when an alien spaceship crash-landed on an isolated island in the Pacific Ocean, and eventually scared everyone to unite and embrace world peace. Humankind salvaged and rebuilt the gigantic space fortress, coined the SDF-1 Macross, to be the flagship of its fledging space fleet.

The SDF-1 Macross.

New technologies were discovered inside the ship, including the science to create and power giant mecha. But from deep space, an alien race of giant humanoids called the Zentraedi was looking for the ship, and ten years later in 2009, the giants invaded the Earth during the SDF-1’s launch celebrations, and plunged the Earth into an intergalactic war. The SDF-1 (and in a freak accident, the citizens of South Ataria Island) is transported to the end of our solar system, and began its slow, lonely and dangerous trek home to Earth and its salvation.

At first watch, Macross looks to be a straightforward “I-am-a-mecha-shooter-killing-aliens-show” and may sound boring to a lot of people, but I strongly disagree with that. Macross is a deep story with deeply human emotions and plots – it is a story of family, friendships, survival, hope, music and love, interspersed with the cataclysmic Armageddon of war and death.

So much for the story of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, but there are so many more things I’ll talk about this excellent anime tale.

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross has three main characters: Hikaru Ichijyo, Misa Hayase and Lynn Minmay.

The lead characters of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Hikaru Ichijyo, Misa Hayase and Lynn Minmay.

Hikaru Ichijyo (Rick Hunter in the English Robotech dub) is the main male lead in the story, 16-year old orphan-turned-stunt pilot, who after being invited by his good friend and mentor to the SDF-1 Macross launch celebrations, was pulled into the war with the Zentraedi and forced to become a pilot in the military. Hikaru first rebels at the bleak reality he was facing and avoids joining the military, but his desire to protect the refugees on the SDF-1 Macross leads him to become a Valkyrie Fighter Pilot, and he grows up to be a kind and responsible man and courageous and just warrior.

Misa Hayase (Lisa Hayes in the English Robotech dub) is the 19-year old first officer of the SDF-1 Macross, and she was destined to be much like here stern father, a high-ranking military officer, had not she encountered and came to know people like Hikaru and the SDF-1 crew who changed her life and humanity. She accepts that she can be who she wants to be, and fall in love with the person she never knew she longed for.

And the beautiful Lynn Minmay (Lynn Minmei in the English Robotech dub)is the innocent 15-year old teenager from South Ataria Island, who became a beacon of hope for the people inside the SDF-1 with her songs, while keeping inside those dark desires she wished for herself and for her love. Her songs are the opposite mirror of her soul, as she struggles between her choice of fame and career over the growing and unconditional love offered to her by a certain Valkyrie Fighter Pilot.

The conflicting desires and the personal connections of these three different individuals carry the story of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross to the heights of anime legend. Their love triangle was played as a focal point in the struggles of the SDF-1 against the terrifying strength of the alien invaders, and the discrimination of the rest of the Human race, in its lonely quest as the protector of Earth.

Aside from these main heroes, a plethora of excellent supporting characters populated the anime. From the father-like Bruno Gloval, the commander of the SDF-1 Macross, to Roy Focker, the dashing and womanizing ace commander of the legendary Skull Squadron, to Claudia La Salle and the lollicon Bridge Bunnies, to the stern yet just commander of the Zentraedi forces, Vrlitwhai Kridanik (don’t ask me to pronounce that XD) and his loyal advisor Exedol Folmo, to the civilians living inside Macross City (the city inside the SDF-1 Macross for the refugees of South Ataria Island) and even the grunt soldiers of the Zentraedi – all were giving even the smallest measure of characterization by Kawamori and his crew, making Macross to be one of the best anime in terms of character development ever.

There is a plethora of well-developed characters that populate Macross.

Another integral part of the Macross experience is in its mecha. The main robots used by both the heroes and villains alike are not the Super Robots like Voltes V, but mass-produced, easily damaged real robots that serve as the grunts in the intergalactic war, from the slow-plodding and heavily armed Tomahawks of Earth to the numerous Regult Battlepods of the Zentraedi, and of course the VF-1 Variable Fighter, a transformable mecha that changes from a jet fighter to a bipedal soldier and a hybrid bird-of-prey form, which started the trend of transformable robot toys in Japan two years before the Transformers, another famous line of transforming robot toys, ever came to the markets. The Variable Fighter has become the signature mecha of the Macross saga, and has evolved with the new sequels to Super Dimensional Fortress Macross thru the years.

The evolution of the Variable Fighter thru the years.

Together with its mecha, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross introduced art and animation techniques for action anime still used up to this day, such as coordinated and choreographed movements of the mecha in combat, swarms of dozens of missiles converging on a target in random and dizzying movements, elfin-like character designs and concepts, and panoramic environmental views for their massive spaceships and terrains.

And of course, I cannot talk about Macross without talking about its music, and therefore talk about Lynn Minmay once more. It’s Minmay’s voice, thru her songs, that lifts up the spirits of the beleaguered humans inside the SDF-1 Macross during their darkest times, as she acts out her role as Miss Macross and therefore the ship’s pop idol, hiding her own tears and fears behind the smile that captivated not only the humans, but aliens as well.

Lynn Minmay – live at the Macross Bowl

For the Zentraedi, Lynn Minmay was the personification of culture – a concept as alien to them as they were alien to Earth’s humans. It is thru Minmay’s songs that the Zentraedi learn what culture is, eventually teaching them who they really are, eventually breaking them free from their slavery to war and showing them their true humanity as well. It is thru Minmay’s song, specially Do You Remember Love?, that the galactic war was ended and the survivors accepted each other in peace.

As the decades passed in the Macross universe, the memory of Minmay and her contributions to the galaxy lived on and prospered. She was the inspiration for Myung Fang Lone of Macross Plus and Basara Nekki of Macross 7 to pursue a career as singers in the near Macross future. Thru its many incarnations, Minmay will always be the iconic anime character for the Macross saga.

Lynn Minmay represents the Macross saga more than the mecha would ever would.

Minmay was voiced by Mari Iijima, who in 1982 landed role and, thru her voicing the character and singer her songs, catapulted her to the status as a singing superstar in Japan, coinciding to Minmay’s rise as the very first anime pop idol in history. Songs like Shao Pai Long (Little White Dragon), My Boyfriend Is A Pilot, Sunset Beach and Do You Remember Love? have graced the radio airwaves in the 80s until the 90s, and brought critical international attention to Macross and Iijima, making them legendary names in both households and otaku circles worldwide.

Several well-known singers followed Iijima and notched their place in Macross music history, such as Yoko Kanno (singing voice of Myung Fang Lone in Macross 7), Yoshiki Fukuyuma (Basara Nekki of Macross 7 and a member of JAM Project) and Minmay started the trend of anime characters as pop idols, such as Meer Campbell and Lacus Clyne of the Gundam SEED series. Minmay and Iijima also inspired more singers to cut songs for anime and share their talents as voice actors, such as Maaya Sakamoto (Hitomi Kanzaki of Vision of Escaflowne) and Rie Tanaka (Chi of Chobits, Meer Campbell and Lacus Clyne of Gundam SEED).

Iijima, after fighting a depression over her inability to come to terms of being stereotyped as Lynn Minmay, has come to accept Minmay’s influence in her life, and is enjoying a Grammy-nominated career in the USA, and has happily reprised her role as Lynn Minmay in the new American re-dubbing of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.

With the success of the original series, numerous sequels to Super Dimensional Fortress Macross were produced. The first was the movie Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love?, an 1984 adaptation of the original TV series, and the movie is credited for introducing Macross to the USA. This is also one of the best made – artistically and cinematographically – animated movies I have ever watched, and I strongly recommend that kids today watch it.

Do You Remember Love? is a classic movie adaptation of the original Macross anime.

Following close at the heels of the movie was Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Flashback 2012, a short series of music videos of Lynn Minmay’s songs and her departure on the SDF-2 Megaroad into the universe and history, released in 1987.

Macross Plus came in next in 1994 – a four part OVA with a movie adaptation, which at the time was the most expensive anime ever made, being one of the first anime to use a combination of cel and CGI animation, and was hailed as a pinnacle of anime production, chronicling another love triangle of simple folks living in Eden, a newly colonized world where Humans and Zentraedi lived in harmony thirty years after the events of Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. Macross Plus was a story of friendship between three people, and forgiveness for the dark secret they suppressed for seven years.

Macross Plus is one of the first anime to use both cel and CGI animation in the production of this anime classic.

Macross 7, a 50-episode series also released in 1994, tells of the story of Basara Nekki, the singer of the rock band Fire Bomber, who sees himself as a reincarnation of Lynn Minmay, as he traveled deep into space with the Macross 7 Colony Fleet, and fights off new alien races with his own brand of music. This anime has spawned several albums and OVAs with great rock music and excellent guitar riffs, as well as the return of some heroes from the orginal Super Dimensional Fortress Macross show in more elderly roles.

Macross Zero, a four-part prequel to Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, was released in 2002 as the 20th Anniversary series for the Macross saga, relates of secret events a few years prior to the launch of the SDF-1 Macross from South Ataria Island, and brings back Roy Focker to the tale as well as several new characters.

And in 2008, the new Macross F (or Macross Frontier) anime, a 50-part series, will continue the Macross saga, as the Macross 11 Fleet travels deeper into space looking for the SDF-2 Megaroad, taking with them tales of love, war and music.

Macross has touched the entire world, not just the otaku scene. It is probably the most famous of all anime, having touched such areas as the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico in the Americas, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and even Russia in Europe, to China, Thailand, Indonesia and even the Philippines here in Asia. It has arguably the most prolific number of websites all over the World Wide Web, and its reference sites are extensive and informative.

The Macross robot toys are a staple of toy collectors all over the world, including myself. A classic Valkyrie toy is an important part of a anime toy collector’s hoard, and is highly prized for its history and quality.

Macross has spawned several adaptations and clones, all drawing inspiration from the original series. In the USA, Harmony Gold has adapted Super Dimensional Fortress Macross as the first part of a alternate universe saga (the other parts being Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospaeda, another Macross clone) to form Robotech, a staple of Saturday children’s shows in the late 80s and early 90s (this was before Harmony Gold got into trouble with Big West over copyright issues about Macross).

Harmony Gold also produced the short-lived Robotech Sentinels anime and Robotech novels, as well as the Robotech Shadow Chronicles movie in 2004, to celebrate the United Nations 60th Anniversary.

Macross II: Lovers Again, is another four-part OVA, created by some artists of the original series, but isn’t produced by Studio Nue. Thus Macross II may have a similar storyline (80 years after Super Dimensional Fortress Macross) but considered as not part of the canon Macross universe.

A Macross role playing game was created in the early 90’s and this has flourished into a internet forum role playing community in the thousands for the last ten years of so (I am a proud member of this community). And Macross has directly influenced the otaku community as well – including introducing anime pop idols, as well as giving the term “otaku” (which was a favorite word spoken by one of Macross’ early characters) a respected and accepted reputation.

Macross Frontier is the future of Macross, coming in 2008.

So this is Macross for me – the greatest of all anime I have been privileged to watch and experience in my life. The songs of this anime will live with me, as I dream of the stars, listening to the angelic voice of Lynn Minmay, as the eternal Muse to my anime dreams. And with the arrival of Macross Frontiers, for the saga’s 25th anniversary, I hope to live the dream once more, and hear her songs whisper thru the universe…

Hikaru and Minmay meeting at the Macross City Park.

Author’s Note:
Macross is a trademark and copyright of Big West and Studio Nue.
Robotech is a copyright of Harmony Gold.

Newtype Flash Article Encore No. 1: Anime Sa Ating Panahon

(Author’s notes: The following is a reprint of a short article I wrote on Hero TV Forum Version 4’s Original Content Section, under the byline Newtype Flash, which Azrael Coladilla was kind enough to rescue and post on his site, before HTVF crashed this month. I’m posting it here for reference to everyone reading my site. I will be posting all my other OCS articles here on this blog as well in the next few days. Hopefully I can repost all of them on HTVF when the forum returns.)

Newtype Flash
By Ultimate Coordinator

Anime Sa Ating Panahon
Evolution and History of Anime and Otaku Culture in the Modern Philippines.

Yesterday, as I logged into the HERO TV Forum for the afternoon, I nibbled on a stick of Pocky I bought from the neighborhood convenience store. Browsing the sub-forums, I picked up interesting tidbits with the latest stuff about the anime I follow – that Mobile Suit Gundam 00 would have a second season next October, and that Eureka 7 was now showing on everyone’s favorite Tagalog anime cable channel.

But my reverie was broken by the ringing of “Anna ni Issho Datta no ni” from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED from my mobile phone, and I picked it up from where it was nestled on the shelves, right beside where the gunpla of the RX-93v Nu Gundam stood lazily like a drunk man due to the weight of its backpack.

As I spoke to the person on the other line, I took good notice of my room, which I cleaned and vacuumed early that Sunday morning, and found, contrary to my intent all those years to stick to being “minimalist” in interior design and content, that it was now brimming with stuff on my shelves over my room’s study table. And the unique thing is that besides my law and history books, novels, work documents and folders, more than half my shelves were brimming with Japanese modern novelty items and collectibles.

That made me stop – in both wonder and thought.

Early in the evening, I was setting up my bed for the night, and took a look around my room once more. Inspiration came upon me at that moment, and it spurred me to raid my collection of DVDs, and scrounge up my copy of Genshiken and pop it into my player. Running through the first episode, I watched intently how the fictional otaku club room of the anime’s characters looked like.

And lo and behold, it looked like my own room.

I whistled softly in awe, and the comprehension of what I was dawned upon me.

Like those characters in Genshiken, I was an otaku. And I loved anime.

I sat back on my chair with a grin plastered on my face, as I took in the different things that populated my room that were influenced by that magical make-believe world we all know and love as anime. I wondered how anime grew up here in our beloved country, and after some research and study, I realized anime matured in the same time I did. The intertwining of our histories greatly encouraged me to write down this column to share to you all. Even at my age, I still accepted the fact that the blood of otaku ran through my veins.

I was born in 1973, right smack in the height of the dark years of Martial Law – where civil liberties in our country was curtailed and the mass media and information in general was tightly controlled to favor the misguided philosophies of a charismatic but eventually corrupted strongman. It was a time for conservatism and being practical, as people were encouraged to tighten belts and be discipline, all in the name of a new social order based on strict old traditions.

But according to a study and research made by Azrael Coladilla, a local Otaku blogger, that he published on his blog Azrael’s Merryland, the 1970’s was also the time when anime first sprang here in the archipelago. Regardless of the political state we were in, the youth of then were beginning to stow away the perceived anti-Japanese sentiments the older generation grew up on Post-World War II, and a general atmosphere of openness was giving modern Japanese culture a chance to prove themselves in the eyes of the average Pinoy.

While it was slow going for them, Pinoys were now accepting that Japan was a country to look up to, with its scientific and technical achievements necessary for us to progress, as was the beauty of traditional Japanese culture and arts that were inspiring our own social lifestyles. Anime came through this medium, and slowly entered Philippine pop culture.

Coladilla said shows like Gigantor (Iron Man 28 ) were the first anime broadcast on public and private TV, all in its black-and-white splendor, sometime in early ‘70s. The show brought to the imagination of the public science fiction entertainment, specifically of the early mecha genre. I don’t really recall this particular show, but my cousins who are older than me remember it well and enjoyed it. I was maybe to young to remember watching this show, but I do remember the next part of the story of anime’s evolution here.

Enter Voltes V (Chōdenji Machine Voltes V) , which, together with classic super robot shows as Mekanda Robot (Gasshin Sentai Mechander Robo), Mazinger Z (Majingā Zetto), UFO Grandizer (UFO Robo Gurendaizā), and Daimos (Tosho Daimos), formed the Big Five Robots of GMA 7 during 1978-1979, and proved a boon for kids and adults alike, as kids from my age to the teens were buying up die-cast toys of these robots to play with. It was a like a breath of fresh air for children of that age – we had a chance to experience a show that not only entertained us, but spurred us to seek greater freedoms for the youth, and eventually, the whole country as well. Young Pinays also tasted their first bite on the anime scene during this time as well, with the release of classic bishojo shows like Candy Candy, Ron Ron The Flower Girl, and classic stories turned into anime like Heidi or The Sound Of Music.

Voltes V led the real first wave of the anime revolution here in the Islands in 1978.

While then President Ferdinand Marcos banned the broadcasting of Voltes V and other similar anime shows from the airwaves in 1979, on the pretense that these shows were a bad influence to the traditional values of our youth, I believe this act contributed to his downfall and the reemergence of democracy, because of the youth of the late ‘70s became the young adults of the mid ‘80s, and the spearhead of the People Power Revolution of 1986, which toppled the strongman and brought the light of freedom back to our lands. The release of restrictions to the airwaves announced the arrival of high quality TV programming not just from local networks, but from international companies as well, and from Japan came the return of anime genre, in stronger force.

The first two anime that attracted me in the Post-People Power days were the classic Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu) and the legendary mecha epic Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (Chō Jikū Yōsai Makurosu), both started being shown on local TV late1986 to early 1987.

Astro Boy is the old-time favorite story of the robot boy seeking his own kind of humanity, as he protects the Earth and the humans he had come to love, even though prejudice still came from some sectors of his society.

Macross was the innovative show that reintroduced the love for robots and robot toys to the youth, as well as a great space opera and real robot genre in the same league as its equally legendary contemporary, Mobile Suit Gundam (Kidou Senshi Gundam) . I also read that Macross greatly influenced the use and acceptance of the term “otaku” in the international pop culture scene, removing the derogatory taint the term first endured from more traditional and conservative circles. Macross also started the trend of transformable robots, as well as singing pop idols as characters, complete with original songs, in Lynn Mimay.

A classic space opera, Macross introduced Pinoys to collectible toys, animated love triangles, and a cute songstress in Lyn Minmay who sang her way to our hearts.

Behind Astro Boy and Macross, the second wave of anime began showing in our shores. While not truly anime, the Transformers and G.I. Joe – Real American Hero cartoons of the late 80’s were of a scope similar to anime, and generally accepted by the otaku culture as such. Voltes V and its contemporaries made a well-received and anticipated return to Philippine TV as well. Shows from Japan like Voltron, Dragonball Z (Doragon Bōru Zetto), and Sailor Moon (Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn) were catapulted into our screens, helped along by the availability of VHS and Betamax copies of these animes, even in a limited level of reach of the mass media. Sailor Moon also helped introduce anime to a Pinay youth fanbase, since before its broadcast here, anime was considered the exclusive domain of the male TV viewer.

Sailor Moon introduced the magical princess genre to Philippine TV, and opened the way for young girls here to fall in love with anime.

The 1990s gave rise to the modern generation of anime, with the release of such classics as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tenchi Muyo, Yu Yu Hakusho, After War Gundam Wing, Pokemon, Slam Dunk, You’re Under Arrest and Samurai X (Ruruoni Kenshin) , but while shows were seen here, anime was still slight limited in scope in our pop culture. But the movement for fully embracing the anime wave with the local youth was now starting to move with a force unknown like before, and it was catapulted to the mainstream with explosion of two new outlets of media and entertainment – cable television and the Internet.

The arrival of cable television brought anime out of the sub-culture that was secretly flourishing and slowly introduced it to the Filipino homes of the ‘90s. Several international channels began showing cartoons and anime shows on a regular basis, and the youth (and young adults like me) were being more exposed to the media and coming to accept them. The free nature of the Internet opened anime more to us, giving us an outlet not only to watch the shows from Japan on a quick and cheaper basis, but also the means to comment and critique these shows as well. Truly no other two media has helped bring anime to the acceptance of local pop culture.

Samurai X (Ruruoni Kenshin) was a staple anime of Philippine cable television in the mid- to late-90’s.

The new millennium heralded the arrival of anime to the mainstream, beginning with the introduction of newer anime, anime merchandising, anime conventions, and all-anime channels on cable TV. Year 2000 also signaled the beginning of the Wireless Generation, where tech gadgets, first thought of as the exclusive domain of geeks and nerds, became mainstream, and being a techie was a badge of pride among the youth’s peers. The Otaku was now an accepted part of pop culture here in the Philippines.

There was also a boom in anime toys entering the market – toys connected with a specific show and their characters. Merchandise from shows such as Pokemon, Digimon, Let’s Go, Zoids, Beyblade and super sentai shows filled stores and put smiles on the face of Pinoy kids during their birthdays or holidays. And not only the kids enjoy these toys – even grown-ups got hooked with these wondrous little figures and curious items the young were playing with.

The Pokemon revolution started a new anime toy revolution during the start of the new millennium.

The arrival of HERO TV, the first Tagalog-dubbed anime cable channel in the Philippines, marked the current high point of anime and otaku culture in our land, as well as a easy alternative programming for locals from the other established anime and cartoon channels. Back by an established institution filled with experience and integrity in the realm of mass media, HERO TV was firmly positioned to win the hearts of Pinoy otakus young and old alike, with the use of the language we all know and love to bring the stories alive in front of our eyes.

The interest in media of anime encouraged other otaku interests, such as toy collecting, manga, cosplay and the like to flourish in our free media. Excellent animes like Naruto, Mirumo De Pon (Wagamama Fearī Mirumo de Pon!) and Yakitate Japan were now available to the general public to view, and more and more animes of high quality, like Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Code Geass, School Rumble, Lucky Star and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya are easily watched on other mediums.

Kids now openly shout out with pride that they are in a love affair with anime and are true otakus, whether, according to sci-fi author William Gibson, in his article about the modern otaku in The Observer Magazine from the United Kingdom, the Modern Boy who takes pride in being an otaku or imitate the cool traits of bishounen characters in the anime shows, or the Mobile Girl whose interest in all things techie gives her access and entertainment to things normally reserved for the most reserved of men.

The showing of anime such as Naruto heralded the start of the Golden Age of Anime here in the Philippines.

I consider myself a Modern Boy Otaku – even if I come from a career path that’s steep with tradition and conservative values, I accept my reality that the Otaku inside me is someone I am proud to be. While it might seem strange for some of you that a thirty-something like me is an otaku and love anime like you, don’t judge me as the only one and a rarity. There are a lot of grown men like me that have come to accept anime and the otaku lifestyle in general, and still be responsible fathers, brothers and friends to young kids like you. We all like to enjoy our anime as well.

Once, being considered as an otaku was degrading for someone, including the youth of a generation ago in Japan. An otaku was considered someone without the drive to succeed in the accepted world, yet obsessed with things considered shadowy and perverse in some societies. Indeed, being an otaku was once considered criminal, but thanks to the open minded free thinking of the past few generations, the revolution in information technology and its progressive impact to our daily lives and the critical acclaim recent anime productions and their acceptance in mainstream media, the life of the otaku has changed for the better. Clearly, we who embrace this lifestyle, even here in the Philippines, carry this social existence with pride and a smile.

We are currently living in arguably the Golden Age of Anime and otakus here in the Philippines, and I envy all of you young ones – you have all the time and chances in the world to enjoy your youth to the fullest in this day and age. But I am thankful that in my thirty-something years of my life, I grew up in the same time that anime grew up here in the Philippines. And I see anime likes a pretty and intelligent lady going thru the rigors of her young life – from its humble beginnings and troubled youth, to its grand debut and full maturity into Pinoy mainstream society.

Author’s Notes

Azrael Coladilla is a self-proclaimed artist/techie from Pasig City. You can read his research on the history of anime shows here in the Philippines at his blog.

William Gibson is a science fiction author, who contributed an article about the modern otaku youth in Japan and the whole world in The Observer Magazine.

All the research materials I used from their sites are their own work and I take no credit for them.

For questions, topic suggestions and rants, please feel free to comment after this post.

Where the “F” is HTVF? … and Gundam Astraea Type F

Woke this morning to a shock…

HERO TV Forums has gone AWOL!

My favorite forum – gone!

Every time I tried going to the site, I always get this error message:

“Notice: This domain name expired on 01/07/08 and is pending renewal or deletion”

So WTF – what the fuck happened to HTVF and where the fuck did it go? Did somebody forget to pay the server? And why weren’t there any notices?

I’ll try contacting my forum friends and Admods to find out more about this catastrophe, and I’m bringing GSR up to speed to take in stragglers.

{Author’s Note: HTVF came back a few hours after I posted this article. Hopefully it was only a minor problem on its server, but it looks like its not back at 100% and still has some glitches.}

In lighter Gundam news, the crazy kids at Dengeki Hobby just released pictures a nice looking Gunpla of the Gundam Astraea Type F from Mobile Suit Gundam 00F. I really liked its red-orange colored armor on a faded-gold frame – thinking Sazabi on a Strike Freedom frame.

Also something I found interesting, Pink Tentacle summarized a Science Portal article about how much it would cost to build a real Gundam. The estimate to build a close-combat Mobile Suit prototype, barring the humongous labor costs, fictional special alloys for construction, and any kind of flight capabilities and weaponry: a whopping SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLARS ($725,000,000). And the Gundam won’t be able to do those stunts and moves we’re all familiar with it – all it would do is walk.

But still, its a Gundam. I better start saving then.

1/100 Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version One Year War TV Colors

Some pics of the 1/100 Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version One Year War TV Colors Gunpla I completed over the New Year holidays.

Again I didn’t paint it, since I don’t really do that. But I had a great time doing sumi re (panel inking) using gray BANDAI fine Gunpla marker.

The Gunpla had so many panels to ink but it was so nicely detailed that I enjoyed every second of its work.

Overall the 1/100 Master Grade RX-78-2 Gundam Version OYW is now my favorite Gunpla in my current collection. Even with its simple design, it is well made and detailed as well as having nice articulation.

Nothing beats the original Gundam.