Sunday, April 3, 2011

State of the Zentard Address, 2011

I forgot to blog about what’s happened in my latest year of Robotech and Macross fandom, for a lot of reasons. Basically, there was almost nothing going on with me that was new, and for a while I quietly imploded in response to the irritations coming from both fandoms.

Right now, all my feelings are still there, but I’ve become more confident about some of them. I’m telling myself to start believing several things:

* That I have not over-idealized the human-allied male Zentradi just because I like them above all else. I am aware of the characters’ place in the SDFM food chain and my desires for them did not overestimate this status.

* I gave every Macross work I tried a fair chance, and just happened not to like them that much. Perhaps my irritation over the fates of my favourite characters means my relationship with Macross is irrevocably broken, leaving me unable to feel that each series really follows from the past, but that’s the way it goes.

* It’s okay to say while I respect the freedom of the Macross’ staff, I don’t like what they’ve done with the place, and admitting this fact outright, instead of dancing around it, is the healthy way to be. You can respect canonicity and disagree with the creators both, and it doesn’t make you an entitled prat if you wish things had gone differently.

* That I have stopped trying to find the redesigned and retconned Zentradi to be appealing, and indeed they’re now a little sickening to look at. Macross 7 Neo-Exsedol is the exception, for vague reasons, but regardless, it’s all no surprise. If your favourite character is Bubba Jo-Jim Bob the accountant, odds are you like more about him than his name or his occupation. And once he’s only got those left, why stick around?

Thanks to the enthusiasm of Zen72, I’ve also become comfortable again with the role the Robotech novels and comics had in shaping the fan I am today. There is no point in trying to hide or deny that I once devoured the post-TV series novels and comics. I might have grown critical thoughts later, and my brain might have simply skimmed delicately over the stupider bits, but the attachment remains.

After passing through my critical but hateless period, what’s now happening is that the old Robotech novels and comics are acquiring a sort of demi-nostalgic charm. I can remember them fondly on principle, never mind the way I’ve cut into them more recently. I also still peck away sometimes at my Robotech fanfic-I’d-write-now-if-I-were-more-self-aware, but it’s largely just for that demi-nostalgia’s sake. It’s still anyone’s guess if I’ll wean myself off that story before finishing it, but a return to Tirol and Lantas feels refreshing sometimes.

At the same time, I’ve slid more towards a Macross state of mind. I find the Macross Romanizations, or the Macross-exclusive names springing to my mind first before the Robotech names, and the related storyline details. Some could attribute it to the inevitable “maturity” that Robotech fans with half a brain are supposed to go through, but for me these things are harder than if I were a fan of Minmay or Valkyries. I can’t become a full Macross fan, because I will not jettison that Robotech stuff entirely, even if it can be pretty awful with the Zentradi too.

If I were to give a better reason for dipping into this Macross-ness, it might be the short Macross AU fanfic I’m writing. It’s true that I feel something like a kid smoking on the porch while her parents are asleep--I’ve always been about the safe canon-fics. But I wanted to try something a little different, and be confident I could keep it all balanced.

I still have to make my own fun, because nothing has changed on the fandom front. The promise of a new Robotech “side story” while the main storyline has remained unfinished for five years  just further throws into light how pathetic the entire thing has gotten. At this point, I do in fact blame the people who believe Robotech is going anywhere. Harmony Gold is being as transparently do-nothing as usual, and anybody who can’t see it by this point…yeahhh…it’s hard to feel sympathy.

(The Toynami Glaug looks nice, though. I have to decide if my Matchbox Glaug and the SD Soft Vinyl I’m getting are enough)

Related to my understandings above, I no longer care that I didn’t grow to love Macross Frontier when everyone else did, but the recent MF film, Wings of Farewell, sounds so visually spectacular, I’ll have to give it a try. I even like the costume and effects for
“Magical Girl” Ranka, and normally I dislike Ranka anyway. I’m still looking forward to Yamato’s soft vinyl figure of Classic Britai, and, jeez, something good for me has to come out this year.

A problem I have right now is that I’ve still got a few ideas for projects, but a lot of apathy has set in. For instance, I would like to finally define what I believe the ethos of the pre-U.N. Spacy Zentradi are, and why I don’t consider them analogous to other warrior races with an ethos of honour. I’d like to elaborate on my take on the notion that Zentradi possess “war urges”. I’d like to refine and define my reasons for disliking Macross 7 (without going back to the series), and point out that even if I were more deeply invested in the main characters of Macross, DYRL still wouldn't be all that fun. The urge to write these things has not entirely disappeared, and it may be a matter of time as much as desire, as I don’t have much time to blog these days.

An SDFM remake and a Robotech reboot are still awful and stupid ideas, for different reasons. Fortunately, neither seems to be happening anywhere but in fans’ heads.

One doesn’t know what this year will bring.

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