Tuesday, August 12, 2008

East Vs. West: Lensman

Few people argue against the idea that E.E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series is one of the most defining, most imitated, and most influential science fiction series of all time. Green Lanterns, Star Wars, and dozens that are on the tip of my tongue but not quite coming all draw from concepts first pioneered in the adventures of the Lensmen.

Ironically, despite my love of and familiarity with the variety of space opera most heavily influenced by Lensman, my first encounter with it was something decidedly different:

(NOTE: This dub of it is a very different dub from the one I'm familiar with. Apparently, somebody disliked this dub so much they destroyed it and remade it in their own dark image. The dub I'm familiar with, and have been since childhood, had characters making swears, and I seriously doubt this one does. It also had significantly better soundtrack and voice acting.)

As un-Lensmanlike as the anime movie is, the concepts explored in Lensman are about as anime-like as anime get, and those elements that carry over do so seamlessly. And it's one of the most beautiful pieces of animation ever produced. (Of course, I could be biased-I tend to think that the best anime stylistically was early-to-mid-'80s era.)

My sister, a few years ago, went on a wild crusade to obtain a copy of this movie, as it is one of the greatest influences upon her love of anime in general. (Hovering over my shoulder, she says "It was my sweet sixteen gift.") She did in fact obtain the same version we knew and loved as children, with completely unedited violence, swearing, and galactic warfare between good and evil on a grand scale. A lot like Star Wars, only prettier and much more surreal.

Considering the quality of the film, it is unsurprising that it spawned a series, although the series seems to be much more obscure and difficult to obtain information on.

Aha. Here's more information, courtesy of somebody on YouTube:

This is the openning of a not completed anime series dubbing, Harmony Gold Dubbed this compilation of 4 episodes from an original 25 episode series. The other episodes were never dubbed. there was also a movie with the title Lensman - Secret of The Lens also dubbed by Harmony Gold, the more popular version of this movie was dubbed later by Streamline. Based upon the all time novels by E. E. Doc Smith

(This has been cut and pasted, so yes, the original text lacked the final period.)

That's not that helpful for general purposes, but at least other people know it exists, I guess.

Here's the "openning" this text is associated with.

As kind of an aside, what in the world was up with the music in old dubbed anime? Voltron had some pretty decent music, but almost every other dubbed anime from that era sounded like its soundtrack was created with a possessed ambient theremin or something.

Eh, whatever.

1 comment:

De said...

Hi there,

Found you from Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep.

I have to agree about the '80s being a great period for anime. One of my prized possessions is the laserdisc for Lensman, which I still haven't watched. It took a bit of hunting but I was able to snag it for $15 and change before shipping.

Now that I know there's a series, I'll have to hunt that down. Perhaps there's a Japanese laserdisc out there to be had.