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Old 2011-10-26, 02:28   Link #1
karice67
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Macross "Canon"

Alrightly, I'll start this off since it was my idea.

[MOD EDIT]TVTropes definition of "canon"[/MOD EDIT]

====================

The main point of this thread is to serve as a place where official comments about 'canon' in the Macross universe can be collected.

It should also serve as a place for discussion, and for anyone who wants to ask a question specifically about 'canon'.

====================

Now, my interest in this topic started when I read the interview below, originally posted by Renato on Macross World and first linked by Yot-chan here. The original post was about two years old, so I've had to change the reference to "Chaos Anime Taizen" slightly, but everything else is as Renato posted it, and I'm pretty certain everyone already knows how trustworthy he is, right?

And without further ado, here are the words straight from the horse's mouth (well, through a translator).

====================

The Explanation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renato on MW

This is a transcript of an interview with Shoji Kawamori on September 24th, 1998.

Macross 7 Fun Net is one of those dinosaur fan-sites. Seriously, it needs a cosmetic update. Still, I came across this gem of an article yesterday while reading a quote from it in the mook "Chaos Anime Taizen" [published in 2009]. The book contains a long essay on the mind of the Floating Head himself, but a particular quote from this particular interview caught my eye, so I had to check out the full text.

Basically, the first half of this page introduces an issue which will be recalled again and again throughout the three pages of text.

We all know that Kawamori never likes to do the same thing twice, hence all the Macross series being so vastly different. Well, how Kawamori chooses to address this is by playing the "movie-within-a-movie" card, over and over. Yeah, we know about DYRL being made in 2031, and Macross Zero became "Bird Human" in 2059. But here's the jewel right here:


Spoiler for Original Japanese Text:

Quote:
Next, I’d like to ask about DYRL… The design for Exedore is green all throughout the rest of the Macross shows. How is this explained in terms of the timeline?

You know… This is something I have trouble getting people to understand in magazine interviews. For example, you’ve got World War II, and then you have lots of movies based on that event, right? They are all fictional. They’re all based on a war that actually took place, but they are all different. For example, in period dramas you have Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, but there are so many Oda Nobunagas and Tokugawa Ieyasus. The producers look at the real event and adapt the character according to their wishes. The actors and lines also change, so the character changes. It’s that kind of feeling. OK, so in the timeline you have a movie called DYRL that was released, does that mean that the TV series is the true story? Well, you have the SDF-1 that supposedly fell from the sky, and then a story was made about the subsequent history and was televised. Then that became a movie. Then later, there was a “Macross 7 incident”, and a TV series was made about that. That’s basically how I see it.

So… “Macross 7” is also a TV series broadcast within the Macross timeline?

That’s right, that’s the interpretation. It’s not just the movie, they are ALL works of fiction.

None of them are real?

None of them are real.

In the teaser for DYRL, there is a line that goes, “I am Lynn Minmay, I will be playing the lead in this movie”. It does make you feel that there was a TV show which then became a movie.(perhaps) the movie ended up being a hit, which led to the TV series being made.

Exactly. That’s what I have trouble getting people to understand. The real truth is somewhere else. They studied the history and made the fiction after the fact. While reasoning the facts, they have to make many compromises, like the limitations of a TV format, like the fact they have to sell toys, and so they have to adapt the story that way. So, in that respect, it doesn’t matter if all the productions differ.

The same goes for Macross Plus, too?

Yeah, that too. You have a similar incident that occurred. There may have been some virtual reality character like Sharon. Like, “she probably did exist”.
So there you have it. The rest of the interview is very interesting too, but here is a very clear-as-crystal statement of how much Kawamori cares about continuity, or canon.

Disclaimers: I'm not trying to push any agenda or anything, I just thought I'd share this.

Secondly, since the whole Ohnogi embargo I wonder if people are weary of this kind of interview. Particularly because this one has not been published but on one fansite. Well, as I stated earlier, it was quoted in a book recently, and here is a little shred of proof that Kawamori at least did speak to the fansite admin.
==========

Q: so when did Kawamori / the creators decide
on this 'different representations of history' approach?

Materials that some older Macross fans have found suggest that it was still being ironed out during the development and production of Macross Plus and Macross 7 (see the Q&A thread on MW). However, Kawamori himself seems to have used the 'different representations of history' explanation since at least the late 1980s / early 1990s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yot-chan View Post
To drag this back on topic, there are definitely several ways to look at the issue of canon.

In interviews, as Karice pointed, Kawamori has always maintained that all versions are different but equally valid (and to add to that, there was an interview in English in an issue of Animag magazine from...1988? 1989? Somewhere around there...where he also uses the WWII analogy).

But there is also the official chronology, established originally in edit: 1983 and updated/elaborated on in 1994/1999(?) (see below -karice) (when Plus and 7 came out) stating that the Macross TV series is the REAL story, and that DYRL is the "movie within a movie" made in 2031. This chronology was most recently used for the timeline in Macross Chronicle magazine.
NB: The Animag in question, Animag #11, has this cover, and is 'available' at least in the US, albeit, on ebay. It was apparently published around July 1990 (MW forum).

And from the 1995 Animerica interview (Animerica Vol.3, No.1)
Quote:
It seems many American fans tend to think of the Macross movie as the "official" Macross continuity. What's your opinion?

Kawamori: Consider real history. Many different stories have been created based on the same historical facts, haven't they? For example, there are many stories about World War II. It's the same thing with Macross. The real Macross is out there, somewhere. If I tell the story in the length of a TV series, it looks one way, and if I tell it as a movie-length story, it's organized another way.

==========

There are, of course, other approaches one could take, as Kawamori himself acknowledged in an interview from the first volume of the Sheryl manga (published 13 September 2010).

Spoiler:

==========

p.s. I'm not trying to push a particular agenda, although I do have my own view about 'canon', which will probably become obvious over time if it isn't already. But with all the different versions of most stories in the Macross universe, not to mention the various bits of interviews, information and opinions floating around the forum, all about what exactly 'Macross canon' is, I thought it'd be nice to collect all the important information in one place for reference so that everyone can make an informed decision for themselves.

I will probably have more to add in due time, but please feel free to contribute and I'll link/add it if appropriate. Of course, please remember to include your sources.

Last edited by karice67; 2012-09-02 at 16:19. Reason: edited the point in purple
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Old 2011-10-26, 02:28   Link #2
karice67
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More from the creators (RW pov)

==========

Kodachi Ukyou, author of the Macross Frontier light novels, from the afterword of volume 4, p.293. Published 1 March 2009.
Quote:
Some of you are probably interested in this issue, so I'll say something about it here. All Macross series can be thought of in the following way: as real life events that have been adapted into dramas, short stories and other such works. And just as the depictions of Tokugawa Ieyasu in stories about the Battle of Sekigahara have elements that are the same and others that are different, so it is with the (Frontier) TV series and novels. I would be grateful if you would read the novels with this in mind.
==========

Disclaimer from Variable Fighter Master File: VF-25 Messiah, published 10 May 2011.
Quote:
This book, "Variable Fighter Master File VF-25 Messiah, the new saviour" is not an 'official guidebook'. Rather, it has been written as an encyclopedia, published on Macross Olympia in 2065, about the history and engineering of the VF-25 Messiah that appears in works in the Macross series.
Note also that the credits page of this book, on which this disclaimer appears, is written in both Japanese and what I assume is the Zentradi script. (The disclaimer is in the small box on the bottom right.) The first name in the 2nd column is Kawamori himself - he is credited for supervising the book.

The other Variable Fighter Master Files say similar things in their disclaimers (many thanks to Yot-chan for the info):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yot-chan View Post
The VF-19 book was published in May 2050, from MBS Publishing House, and the VF-1 Space Wings book was March 2030, from Macross Broadcasting Publishing.
Variable Fighter Master File VF-1 Valkyrie, published 14 July 2009.
Variable Fighter Master File VF-19 Excalibur, published 2 June 2010.
Variable Fighter Master File VF-1 Valkyrie Vol.2, Space Wings, published 24 December 2010.

==========

Last edited by karice67; 2012-01-01 at 16:57. Reason: changed the translation for 公式設定 to 'official guidebook'
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Old 2011-10-26, 02:28   Link #3
karice67
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And from the 'in-universe' pov...

==========

Q: So, is there an official history for the Macross Universe?

==========

Based on what Kawamori said about his approach in that 1998 interview (see the first post of this thread), you might expect there to be an official recorded history for the Macross Universe. And there is: in some resources - such as Macross Perfect Memory - it's called the 'chronology' (年表). In Macross Chronicle (which is a publicaton like the Star Wars Fact Files, if you've ever heard of them), on the other hand, it's represented on 'Timeline Sheets'. From what I've been able to tell, a 'complete' chronology has been released at least three times, the second time being in the Macross 7 Memorial Materials Book that came with Macross 7 Box Fire II Box set (1999). Minor updates on Zero and Frontier have been collected by both Japanese and Western fans on various sites (see, in particular, Egan Loo's comments below), and the most recent attempt to elaborate on it has been the Timeline Sheets.

The original chronology published in 1983, is included below (translation by Michael House). I will eventually add at least the chronology collected on the Japanese Macross wikia to this post, and am intending to look at as many of the Timeline Sheets as I can get my hands on as well. It will probably take quite a while, so for the moment, here's the chronology currently on the Macross Compendium...and here's their methodology.

==========
==========

Q: Is this chronology primarily 'taken from' the original work in each story?
i.e. SDFM, the Frontier TV Series etc...


==========

I'm not 100% sure if this applies to the 'chronology' or if some might want to say it's about 'canon' instead, but from someone more knowledgeable about this than me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tak View Post
If prior practices count for something, its usually the blending of both aspects, series and movie. Usually this is more emphasized on the technical and graphical aspect of the verse in question, though.
===========
===========

Macross Chronology Version 1

The very first chronology that I've come across in my searches is this one, written by Kawamori alone and published in "Macross Perfect Memory" (Published Oct 1983 by Minori Library in Japan).

NB: Please don't ask me why the date in the translation/stated by Egan Loo are different - I got the date from the book itself - 昭和58年10月10日.

Spoiler for length:

[NB: I found this on the net some time ago, and am pretty certain I found it in one piece instead of having to remove all the additions that appear in Egan Loo's version on the old Macross Compendium, or on the new one linked above...but I can't find the original site. At any rate, you can check it against the translations in either version of the Compendium - or against the original Japanese text if you have it. (Strangely enough, the contents page says that this starts on page 58, but it actually starts on page 54 as noted.) I've only tweaked some character names in Michael House's version - will check it against the Macross Compendium version when I go over the next one I have on hand (the 1999 update).]


Egan Loo's comments on his sources (site), written sometime during the 2000s:
Spoiler for length:


===========

Macross Chronology Version 2
coming soon...
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Last edited by karice67; 2012-01-11 at 02:08. Reason: Edited blurb about the various chronologies
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Old 2011-10-26, 05:09   Link #4
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If you read the two interviews from Kawamori in the OP, his statements are actually contradictory.

Statement 1: All series are just in-universe fictional depictions of events which happened therein.

Statement 2: The different interpretations of the series are parallel worlds.

Statement two negates statement one. You cannot say that those different interpretations are just fictional in the "real" Macross universe, if you grant them the status of "real" parallel worlds.

IMO, Kawamori is just making it up as he goes. There is no overachieving goal he is trying to push. As such, he is casually indifferent to what "real" canon is and will just take the stuff he likes for the next project he's involved with. We will probably never get a resolution to many of our current questions about Macross Frontier, just as with the older series.

Sorry if this is kind of a downer opening post, but I just don't see Kawamori being all that concerned about the canonicity of events.
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Old 2011-10-26, 05:22   Link #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnuskn View Post
Sorry if this is kind of a downer opening post, but I just don't see Kawamori being all that concerned about the canonicity of events.
*shrugs* I wasn't expecting much different. I'm also not very surprised you've taken this so literally.

Whether Kawamori has his own basic 'canon' or not needs something else that I haven't checked yet, so I'll leave that for the moment.

But I think his comment that "I wouldn't mind if you take them as parallel worlds" is directed at Macross fans, basically implying that it's entirely up to each fan how they want to take it. "Parallel worlds" isn't how HE looks at it.
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Old 2011-10-26, 05:26   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
But I think his comment that "I wouldn't mind if you take them as parallel worlds" is directed at Macross fans, basically implying that it's entirely up to each fan how they want to take it. "Parallel worlds" isn't how HE looks at it.
That sounds like a bit too much like just interpreting things into his words. And, yeah, I normally take people at their word.
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Old 2011-10-26, 05:38   Link #7
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*shrugs* up to you. I mean, they're just different ways of looking at it. Who said the different ways have to be compatible with each other? It's up to each person to choose what works for them. I've certainly chosen what works for me, though I won't be stating it here yet...if ever.

And given what the light novel author said, not to mention all the other references he seems to have made about 'different interpretations' BEFORE the Sheryl manga, I think it's fair to say we know which one Kawamori himself prefers.
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Old 2011-10-26, 05:45   Link #8
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Eh, it's an interpretation. I'm not even saying it is false, I say that Kawamori seems to have changed his mind somewhat on the issue. And it's not as if he did do that from one day to the next, there's a time difference between those two interviews of 12-13 years.

People are allowed to change their mind from time to time. Especially if the timeframe is over a decade.
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Old 2011-10-26, 06:09   Link #9
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Depending on how reliable the english translation is, the two interviews don't seem to contradict each other imo:

In interview 2 he states: When the medium itself changes, I think it's good if it is rearranged here and there even if it's a same work. To be frank, I wouldn't mind if you take them as parallel worlds.

To me this suggests that the animated works are interpretations of events in the main 'Kawamori' universe. While manga, novels, games etc. can be seen as works telling stories about events in parallel universes and Kawamori doesn't mind if they are significantly different from the animated universe.

Even so, I doubt he cares that much about canonicity and only figured this out to get annoying fans of his back. The only Macross canon you can count on is spelled with double 'n'.
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Old 2011-10-26, 06:55   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnuskn View Post
Eh, it's an interpretation. I'm not even saying it is false, I say that Kawamori seems to have changed his mind somewhat on the issue. And it's not as if he did do that from one day to the next, there's a time difference between those two interviews of 12-13 years.

People are allowed to change their mind from time to time. Especially if the timeframe is over a decade.
No, there is actually evidence against the probability of that, though I don't have access to all of it.

But if you can find me enough evidence (i.e. interviews) to show that he's changed his mind, I'll consider myself defeated.

Anyways, this is the last I'll say on this for the moment. I have other things to work on.
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Old 2011-10-26, 07:02   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
No, there is actually evidence against the probability of that, though I don't have access to all of it.

But if you can find me enough evidence (i.e. interviews) to show that he's changed his mind, I'll consider myself defeated.

Anyways, this is the last I'll say on this for the moment. I have other things to work on.
Well, my evidence is that the last interview ( of a grand number of two interviews ) shows a quite different interpretation from his side than the first interview, which happened longer than a decade ago.

I think there is not enough evidence from your side to declare something definite, unless you present that further proof you say there is.
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Old 2011-10-26, 07:05   Link #12
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Aren't you an impatient one.

Did I say I was finished?

And what in the world do you think I'm working on?
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Old 2011-10-26, 07:34   Link #13
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Karice: While we're at it, would you like me to help compile all other interviews floating around the forum and elsewhere? Seiyuu interviews, Kawamori interviews, plus Yot-chan's episode commentaries on the way to being translated, these doesn't quite fit the thread, but they're everywhere at the moment, and I figured a separate section in here would be good.
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Old 2011-10-26, 09:25   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnuskn View Post
If you read the two interviews from Kawamori in the OP, his statements are actually contradictory.

Statement 1: All series are just in-universe fictional depictions of events which happened therein.

Statement 2: The different interpretations of the series are parallel worlds.

Statement two negates statement one. You cannot say that those different interpretations are just fictional in the "real" Macross universe, if you grant them the status of "real" parallel worlds.

IMO, Kawamori is just making it up as he goes. There is no overachieving goal he is trying to push. As such, he is casually indifferent to what "real" canon is and will just take the stuff he likes for the next project he's involved with. We will probably never get a resolution to many of our current questions about Macross Frontier, just as with the older series.

Sorry if this is kind of a downer opening post, but I just don't see Kawamori being all that concerned about the canonicity of events.
Not if you think Macross is metafictional. Shoji KKawamori is essentially runs on the Broad Strokes trope.

Broad strokes is a concept regarding canon where the writers pick and choose what elements of an older story they want to accept into a more recent story. It could be that the overall story is intact but the specific details are changed, or that the story is ignored but the details introduced within are still being worked with. This is most often used when parts of the official canon or even basic continuity cannot be reconciled as they stand.
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Old 2011-10-26, 09:51   Link #15
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Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
Aren't you an impatient one.

Did I say I was finished?

And what in the world do you think I'm working on?
I'm not impatient at all, but it sounded like you wanted to declare your point of view as the definite one. Leave yourself as much time as you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReddyRedWolf View Post
Not if you think Macross is metafictional. Shoji KKawamori is essentially runs on the Broad Strokes trope.

Broad strokes is a concept regarding canon where the writers pick and choose what elements of an older story they want to accept into a more recent story. It could be that the overall story is intact but the specific details are changed, or that the story is ignored but the details introduced within are still being worked with. This is most often used when parts of the official canon or even basic continuity cannot be reconciled as they stand.
Which sounds to me that canon is not very important for that writer. "If it fits, it's good" is what I am reading here and that is just what I have been saying about Kawamoris style.
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Old 2011-10-26, 11:02   Link #16
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Canon is whatever Kawamori & co. feel like, very simple. It had been like that in the beginning, and will be so in the future. Long-winded discussion in the interview was almost unnecessary.

Though the real reason behind the deviation from SDF probably resulted from Kawamori making one too many concessions with his sponsors while making the original. In my opinion, anyway.

Thus it was not enough one Zentradi fleet to have ships in the millions, they needed a death star too in DYRL. And this of course, became canon. That and Meltrans have their own gig going.

Its like Warhammer 40K Codexes. Half-Eldars were fair game in the earlier editions, but by the 3rd edition, they largely disappeared.

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Old 2011-10-26, 12:42   Link #17
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I can understand where he is coming from but it brings up a curious dilemma at least in my mind. Going with his example of WWII, but instead of movies lets go with games. So there are tons a WWII shooters (call of duty, medal of honor, etc.) all tell similar stories yet differently. But then there's a WWII shooter like for example Resistance. Still WWII, but as we all know there were no big ugly monsters running around. Thus making a parallel to the call of duties and such. So going with that logical one can assume Robotech belongs in there too (at there very least the macross saga), right? But I do not think I am alone in saying robotech does not belong (even if I have fond childhood memories of it). I guess what I am saying is its fine going the nothing is real approach, but wouldn't you have to accept robotech as the red headed step child? If that's the case forget all these license problems. Have Global fire up the peace pipe and pass it to the left cuz the right ways wrong! Can't we all just get along.
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Old 2011-10-26, 13:06   Link #18
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Old 2011-10-26, 15:30   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnuskn View Post
I'm not impatient at all, but it sounded like you wanted to declare your point of view as the definite one. Leave yourself as much time as you like.
My 'impatient' comment comes from the fact that you seem to assume that everything that's up so far is all you need to make a judgement on what Kawamori's pov is.

From what I can tell, that hasn't changed since that 1998 interview. For me, the clincher appears in the Master Files - though I only have access to one of them - but this won't be going up for a while.

In other words, neither my pov nor yours matters (either on canon or on what Kawamori actually thinks) - Kawamori's does, and I don't think you have enough information to make a judgement on what that is yet.

It also amazes me that you put so much stock in possible interpretations of what the creators say in interviews, but seemingly refuse to accept interpretation of scenes / incidents in the series that differ from yours.



@Tak
I would actually like to know when he started talking about Macross like this, because it's certainly one of the more interesting stances I've seen a creator take. And I personally like it better than the one that George Lucas takes...(or the one that the RahXephon creators supposedly take wrt the movie and the series...)




Quote:
Originally Posted by t.miller View Post
Thus making a parallel to the call of duties and such. So going with that logical one can assume Robotech belongs in there too (at there very least the macross saga), right? But I do not think I am alone in saying robotech does not belong (even if I have fond childhood memories of it). I guess what I am saying is its fine going the nothing is real approach, but wouldn't you have to accept robotech as the red headed step child? If that's the case forget all these license problems. Have Global fire up the peace pipe and pass it to the left cuz the right ways wrong! Can't we all just get along.
Not necessarily, because - according to the 'different interpretations' idea - what's important are the works (series, movies, novels, Master Files etc) that are supposedly produced in the Macross universe. For example, Macross II isn't considered to be one of those works, and that is reflected in the official chronology. Needless to say, Robotech isn't one either.

For the moment, here's a Westerner's perspective from before 1997.
Here's the chronology compiled on the Macross Compendium. On each page, you can click on the "history" to see where the information has come from. The chronology I'm intending to put up here is more 'bare-bones' than that, for reasons I will state when I put it up.
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Last edited by karice67; 2011-10-26 at 15:49.
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Old 2011-10-26, 16:16   Link #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karice67 View Post
My 'impatient' comment comes from the fact that you seem to assume that everything that's up so far is all you need to make a judgement on what Kawamori's pov is.

From what I can tell, that hasn't changed since that 1998 interview. For me, the clincher appears in the Master Files - though I only have access to one of them - but this won't be going up for a while.

In other words, neither my pov nor yours matters (either on canon or on what Kawamori actually thinks) - Kawamori's does, and I don't think you have enough information to make a judgement on what that is yet.

It also amazes me that you put so much stock in possible interpretations of what the creators say in interviews, but seemingly refuse to accept interpretation of scenes / incidents in the series that differ from yours.
I normally expect creators to not put blatant bullshit into interviews they do. But of course Kawamori seems to be kind of the Joss Whedon of the east and likes to blatantly troll his audience. The problem here is that Japanese interviewers mostly seem to suck. I've very seldomly seen an interview with Kawamori where the guy was asked something substantial ( the two you put up are among those ), so we have very little information at our disposal.

With what we got so far, it seems that Kawamori updated his own opinion over the span of more of a decade. Given that most people evolve themselves in half that timespan in such a way that they think that their former selves were complete retards, I put more credence in the last information we have than in an interview from a decade+ ago.

As to your last paragraph, creator interviews should have more weight than fan interpretations. That doesn't mean that fans can't be right, too, and I think my own interpretation of some characters ( especially Alto ) works much better than what Kawamori and Yoshino themselves think what they've done ( because there have been quite a few cases where a character did not come off like his creators intended... in this case to the advantage of Alto ).

And ultimately, these are my own interpretations and they should not be more relevant to you than ones from other people. I've long accepted that I cannot convince everybody. Although it's fun to try.
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