Headscratchers / Carl Macek

  • Why does this guy get so much more flak than, say, the creators of Voltron?
    • Because he Macekred series (Lull Destruction, Dub Induced Plot Holes, etc.) even when he didn't need to cope with television broadcast standards. His company, Streamline, also actively refused to release subtitled versions of shows they licensed. Also, angry Macross fans still bitter about Robotech, especially with the Licensing Hell the sequels are in.
      • I suspected part of it was nobody caring about Golion (which made me wonder in turn about Astro Boy). The "no subs" thing I can understand, though maybe you could make an argument for not wanting to confuse the market. But I can't think of any 1980s dubs that weren't Macekres. And I'm sorry, but the more I read about Macek, the harder I find it to hate him and the easier I find it to think of him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
      • I suspect part of it is that from what little I know he considered himself to be doing "serious" work. Don't ask me to provide logic, though, because I don't think logic applies to hate.
    • His name allows for the obvious pun.
      • Which is a pity, since his dub of Castle of Cagliostro wasn't that bad. The only bit that falls flat is "Fight poison with poison" being changed to "You have a very unusual way of thinking!" Replacing Goemon's Running Gag line of "Once again I've cut a worthless object" with "should have worn an asbestos suit" works, because "Once again I've cut a worthless object" isn't as funny in the USA. And when the assassins show up in the night, changing "the whole gang's here" to "Hey, what is this? A tour group from hell?" is funny.
    • And aside from the pun, there are plenty of titles which were, to put it lightly, heavily altered. However, I do see his position as being a Well-Intentioned Extremist as noted above. These days with the power of the internet and the ease of fansubbing and distribution, not to mention the capability of DVDs, it's easy to level criticism at a man who essentially introduced anime to more than a select few college kids following shows by reading photocopied transcripts. He had a poor budget compared to a lot of modern-day titles (which explains the shoddy voice work) and he essentially had to keep Executive Meddling at a minimum with Harmony Gold USA. His stuff was often a poor translation of the source material, but today's fanbase is not the fanbase it was two decades ago. Put simply, it's not fair to judge the man's initial work based on today's standards. He didn't have the option of releasing a DVD with both the subtitles and the dubbing, and even today some companies simply aren't allowed to release both for fear of the Japanese market importing them (see Bad Export for You for more information). His company had the choice of releasing both (probably for only a marginal increase in sales at the expense of a larger increase in cost), or producing one version which, despite their whining about the debate, most people bought despite the "boycott".
      • Today's anime titles cater to a very narrow and exclusive subculture who have precise expectations. They expect to be entertained and that's it. This is a big change from 20 years ago, when anime was marketed to the mainstream. The mainstream didn't really care that it's anime, they just want to waste some time, as with any other domestic product. Also, anime was serious business back then with the fan community. At the time, your average anime fan was an evangelical preacher. They believed the mainstream adults' acceptance of anime was the key to salvation for the animation medium as a whole, raising it up as a serious art form. As a result, they were willing to make compromises (like dubbing and localization) that would horrify the modern anime fan.
    • I think a lot of people who hate Macek are really only angry about the debacle to Macross's rights. Unfortunately, this has stopped a lot of cool Macross merchandise like games and toys from reaching the United States.
    • As someone who was in High School when Robotech hit the airwaves, I recall that the single largest source of Macek hate seemed to be finally getting to see some of the original material. I remember watching "Do You Remember Love" for the first time, and thinking: "THAT'S what Protoculture is?" Once you started to understand where the parts of Robotech had come from, it went from being this super-cool new thing to a horribly butchered thing that could have been even cooler, of someone who'd known what they were doing had gotten a hold of it instead.
  • You know what bugs this troper? How everyone points the finger at Carl Maceck, as if it was his fault and his fault only that Robotech was what it was. I know people tend to need SOMEONE to blame, but this is as ignorant as blaming Reggis Fils-Aime for having a personal vendetta against Mother3.
  • I don't hate Carl Macek myself. I find the hate to be from ignorance. Macek was not the first to change a story. Gigantor and Astro Boy were before his time. Robotech was released twice, and the fans are split on which is better. The original Macross section was a very faithful translation. The only difference between the 1985 and 2000 version was a few lines and the voice actors. Then, there are licensing issues. You have to get permission from a lot of people for an overseas license. The license can also be limiting. You may be able to get the video, but have a choice between the script or the music. It saddens me that so many people view him so poorly. I see him as a pioneer that pushed the boundaries to give us what we have today. Same as Black comedians like Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson, and Richard Pryor. Without Macek, anime would likely be where it was 20 years ago. We wouldn't have all the choices we have now.