Joseph Riggs (josephriggs@earthlink.net)
Sat, 19 Aug 2000 19:29:44 -0700


fsjmk wrote:

> As someone else said, there's no excuse for the hack job. If they wanted to
> show something on the air, why waste money & time butchering an existing work?
> Might as well simply buy a show that already meets Saturday morning airwave
> standards, save money not editing the hell out of it, and then just put it on
> the air. It may sound like a cliche but I'll say it: the original Vision Of
> Escaflowne is so much better than the hacked-up, edited, American version it's
> not even funny. The easiest way to see the contrast in tone between the
> Japanese and American versions of Escaflowne is to compare the opening
> sequences. It's like night and day.

I imagine what happened behind the scenes went something like this. An executive,
who may or may not be a fan of anime, decided that since it was hip (if this
person was an anime fan, then he or she probably had ulterior motives), that they
ought to bring over one of the better shows from Japan. He or she knew that
Escaflowne was a great series, told his or her superiors, went to Japan and
negotiated the American television rights, and brought it back home.
Unfortunately, since this executive was in the acquisions department, and not the
"adapt it for American TV" department (or whatever the official title is), the
original person had absolutely no input on what the final product would have.
Instead, the marketing executives looked at what they now had the rights for, and
since it was a cartoon, completely ignored the fact that there was a good story
behind it all (I've often wondered how many people would think to list The
Simpsons if they were asked to identify their five favorite cartoons?). They
focused on the parts that are considered the highlights of American cartoons (i.e.
lots of action with sanitized violence) and set to work figuring out how to show
as little of the rest as possible. Since the opening always sets the tone for the
whole show (and the opening made it look more like a "chick flick"), that had to
go. I'm also convinced that after the advertisements were removed, there was less
than twenty minutes of runtime in the episode (three ad breaks!!??), and since
they basically compressed two episodes (kinda since the missing first episode is
only there in passing) into one, this meant that even more had to be cut.

On the upside, I suspect that there is only so much that will happen to the plot.
IF Fox refrains from any more of this two-in-one compression with the episodes,
then I think things will get better. And as long as none of the villians sound
like Team Rocket (ever notice how the bad guys in American animated shows always
happen to sound like that?), then maybe Fox will leave enough of their personality
intact to allow for some definitely Un-American Cartoon plot development (what?
complex villians? What's this world coming to!!??).
We'll also need to see what happens in the less action-packed episodes. What
happens to those will play a large part in the overall impressions that the show
ends up leaving to the American audiences.
You know, for all of the problems with Robotech, at least there was the occasional
episode where no combat occurred. I wonder what great feat it would take to
attempt to pull that off nowadays?

junior

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