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Monday, November 19, 2012

"Twelve +2" Anime I Would License -Mecha Month Edition- Part 1

My absolutely made-up, 150% non-existent anime licensing company has now, hypothetically, survived an onslaught of licenses including the likes of Ring ni Kakero 1, Akagi, Mononoke, YamiBou, Air Master, Slam Dunk, and even Zaizen Jotaro... So why not continue this journey into absurdity? At least I'm honest in that every title I list I would honestly consider licensing, so I'm not just tossing random things out. Anyway, the last two lists of this type has had mech anime in them (List 1 featured the likes of Bokurano & List 2 had Gaiking [2005]), but this time the list will be nothing but mech anime! So let's not waste anymore time and get straight into a list than can, possibly, crush the competition under the sheer weight of these giant robots... Don't like my pun? Too bad.

I've used so many B't X covers that I'm down to the OSTs

B't X & B't X Neo
All right, so this isn't exactly a "mech anime", but I wouldn't count Tekkaman Blade or Detonator Orgun as that either, yet those two have appeared in SRW titles... So there. Anyway, I tend to try to avoid listing stuff that I already put in my license rescue lists, but much like how the Eat-Man anime appeared in both types of lists I really do feel that B't X deserves more attention. Sure, Saint Seiya & Ring ni Kakero 1 both surpass it, but that doesn't mean that B't X is bad or simply average by any means. Masami Kurumada's crazy action-oriented style just meshes well with mechanical beasts of destruction, and Illumitoon's aborted attempt at a release, combined with the fact that they couldn't even fully dub the original TV series, just stings & annoys me to no end, especially since this was my first Kurumada series, so there's some sense of nostalgia there, too. I'd either release it across three sets (split 14/11/13 so that all of the dubbed episodes can be on one set, also making that set dual-audio) or maybe even just two sets, with the TV series set being dual-audio for the first half only.

[2/2017 ADDENDUM: I forgot how many times I featured B't X in lists like these, because I only updated the original rescue list inclusion back then. Anyway, Anime Midstream will be giving this series the proper release it never received... Eventually. Yeah, it's Midstream, but at least that means that it should be a solid release in general, if a slow one.]

Metal Armor Dragonar
This series is one of those truly underrated mech anime, and the seeming curse it has on it so that fansubs can't go beyond five episodes certainly doesn't help. I had Dragonar on my Top 3 80s anime list when it was read on ANNCast's Revenge of the 80s show, and even Daryl Surat of AWO wondered why I listed it over any Gundam of that decade. Well, to put it simply, Dragonar had the advantage of coming after the very serious Zeta Gundam & the mostly comical Gundam ZZ, both of which have their detractors, primarily because of their respective narrative tones. Because of that, Sunrise was able to give Dragonar an excellent mix of seriousness & comedy that really worked in its favor. Sure, the show is essentially, as I put in my review, "Gundam without Gundams", but that's not a knock against it in any way. As for how I'd release it, even though the original R2 DVD release included a booklet I'd probably just give it a simple sub-only release, likely across two or three sets. At least then it would have the proper English translation that I feel it always deserved.

Makyou Densetsu Acrobunch
I'll be honest here and say that I was actually planning on watching Acrobunch this week & reviewing it for Mecha Month... But I found some indication that there is a new fansub group out there that plans on subbing this show, so I decided to hold off on seeing this show and hope that it can be fully subbed. Still, with a concept like the one this show has ("Indiana Jones with a giant, combining robot") it's hard to continually hold off on watching this show, even raw. Pioneer Japan gave the show a nice release, first the boxset release you see above, followed by a singles release. I'd love to give it a release like that, complete with that booklet, but this would likely be another simple-yet-deserving sub-only release. Hopefully Enoki Films USA is still surviving on its seemingly sole employee (Mr. Yoshi Enoki himself), because he'd have an interested party in me... Yeah, not exactly helpful for the man right now, but at least the thought is there.

Blue Comet SPT Layzner
Here's a title that really got shafted, what with it being licensed by Bandai Entertainment back 10 years ago or so, only to never get released, though the translation work was apparently fully completed and, according to Mike Toole, is likely still with Neil Nadelman himself. With Bandai Entertainment now a non-factor in the industry, plus the 10 years that have passed since the R2 DVD release, I would hope that Sunrise would be more willing to hand over actual good-quality masters so that this title can finally start its never-happened release. I would pay Nadelman the money he was owed by Bandai, if he was never payed for the translation in the first place, and then release Layzner across two or three sub-only sets. And, yes, I would also license the three OVAs that came out after the TV series was canceled and include them in the release. The story is essentially unfinished without that last OVA, after all.

Dancougar - Super Bestial Machine God
Yeah, it's another one of those titles that was on a license rescue list, but at the same time this just deserves a re-release. Dancougar (or Dancouga, if you prefer) is just such an interesting title to watch, and in North America it's mostly a relic of the VHS era nowadays. I mentioned the issues with CPM's old release back in the first license rescue list, but I'll give a quick recap: Cramming five episodes on each VHS tape resulted in episode previews being cut from all but every fifth episode, at least 60% of the episodes featured the wrong opening & ending themes (and only one VHS, in the middle, had the first OP & ED!), and the Requiem for Victims OVA had all of the recap footage cut out so that it could act as a 39th, & final, episode. Still, at least there are subs to go off of because of that release, & Western Connection's UK release of God Bless Dancougar gives that OVA some (extremely rough) subs as well, which essentially leaves only the Blazing Epilgoue OVA series & Jyusenki-tai Songs OVA left to sub. Plus, the show received a Blu-Ray release in Japan which likely looks amazing since this was all hand-animated on cels; sure, it likely also makes any & all errors blatantly obvious, but to some that's part of the appeal.

I know that John Sirabella & Media Blasters will never do Dancougar due to Sirabella's hatred of it from working on the first half of CPM's release, but I would certainly release it. Sure, it would be sub-only, likely two or three sets, but if BD production costs would go down enough I would give it a BD release as well. But, hey, at least the DVDs would also look great, right? Also, I would make sure that the version of God Bless Dancougar I get is not what WC got. I can't find the site I saw those pics at, but essentially WC's release featured un-cropped video, so you could see exactly where the cels ended & the backgrounds continued. Needless to say, it looked horrible, and I would make sure that it wouldn't happen on my release.

[2/2018 ADDENDUM: Another highly belated update, but Discotek Media has since re-released the TV series, under the Dancouga name, on a single DVD boxset. Hopefully the OVAs will eventually see release one day, too.]

After War Gundam X
Many fans are lamenting the fact that with Bandai Entertainment's going away the future of the Gundam franchise here in North America is in question. There's no doubt that we'll still be getting releases of newer properties in some way sooner or later, but what of the older stuff? Turn-A Gundam was already taken away from us before we could even get it, so what about Gundam ZZ? What about Victory Gundam? What about Gundam X? Well, if I was able to get just one Gundam series it would be X, which is yet another underrated mech anime. Unlike most Gundam series, X is about what happens after a devastating war ends, and how people live their lives in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Tossing in a fun & neat way at explaining the idea of Newtypes, and even being able to tell a satisfying ending when faced with cancellation, the first time since the original Gundam aired, Gundam X is a personal favorite entry in the franchise, and I would absolutely give it a release. Now, yes, Gundam tended to receive a dub, usually Ocean-produced, but even Bandai realized that Turn-A had to be sub-only when they were planning the release, so I'd have to go sub-only for Gundam X. Plus, if you've heard how Ocean cast Garrod in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 then you probably wouldn't want a dub, either.

[3/2016 ADDENDUM: Right Stuf has been working with Sunrise to release various Gundam anime, & just this month announced a Summer 2016 release for Gundam X's first ever DVD release!]

Megas XLR
Am I cheating? Yeah, sure, whatever you say... But, damn it, this is Mecha Month and it would seem silly if I didn't bring up the ultimate American-made love-letter to mech anime & simply anime in general: Megas XLR. Reveling in the absurd & then turning it all up to 11, the creators of Megas, Jody Schaeffer & George Krstic, both made fun of and celebrated anime as many fans know it, or at least knew it, as. From a future filled with war in space to a super-hero group that looks like Gatchaman but has a Voltron/GoLion-esque giant robot to an absolutely blatant Captain Harlock parody, Megas XLR was amazingly funny and entertaining. Really, Cartoon Network didn't know what they had with this show, and the fact there still isn't a DVD release shows; sure, you can get it digitally over at Xbox Live & iTunes, but it's just not the same. If there was any way that I could get Time Warner (the company that owns Turner Broadcasting, which in turn owns Cartoon Network) to let me release Megas I would do so in a heartbeat and give it the best possible release I could do. All 26 episodes, the original Lowbrow pilot, a retrospective on the series, cast & crew commentary featuring Schaeffer, Krstic, & even voice actors David DeLuise (Coop), Wendee Lee (Kiva), Steven Blum (Jamie)... I know that this show would sell well enough to make this kind of effort worth it.
And there's Part 1 of this special Mecha Month edition of the good-old "12 Anime" list... Wait, did I put a "+2" in the title? Why yes I did, and if you didn't notice I had seven entries in this half, and I guarantee that Part 2 won't disappoint. You want a hint? Well, there's two reboots (one highly-loved, the other obscure), some more license rescues, & a three-in-one... Come on, at this point you should know that I don't know the definition of the number twelve.


  1. A new fansub group planning to do Acrobunch? Who!? Where!? O_O

    That being said, those are some great choices overall. Particularly since I heard that Gundam X could appeal very well to an American audience.

    - KudosForce

    1. But seriously, I do wish that this possible new group will start subbing Acrobunch soon, whoever they are.


    2. There's a group out there right now that's doing Iron Leaguer from the start, and apparently they want to do other mech anime that's been only available via raws for a while, like Acrobunch & GR -Giant Robo-. Here's hoping they actually do something with that.

    3. I also hope so.

      It doesn't hurt that their name is a Super Robot Wars reference, to boot. :D