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  Macron 1
 
1987 | Saban Entertainment Inc.
Macron 1 video gems

Of the companies producing kiddified anime Saban was at the forefront. Before they hit it big with Power Rangers, Saban were constantly working with far eastern studios creating many well known re branded series including Cities of Gold, Samurai Pizza Cats and this; Macron 1

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The component parts of Macron 1 are the 1982 TV series Sengoku Maijin Goshogun (Warring Demon God Goshogun) and brilliantly titled Aku Daisakusen Srungle (Space War Srungle). Both shows were produced by Kokusai Eiga-sha but are otherwise unconnected. The Goshogun footage makes up the vast majority of Macron 1 with Srungle's donation comprising a sub-plot added in a later series, and missing entirely from the 'international version' seen outside the USA and found on this tape.

The Goshogun of the title is a giant robot piloted by a team of three young soldier's lead by Sabalas, a scientist and Telly Savalas look-a-like. The robot is powered by a new energy source found in meteorites, Beamler which an evil Crime Syndicate (is there any other kind of Crime Syndicate?) called Docougar wants, no doubt for evil means, as well as the heroic team's teleporting fortress Good Thunder.

While Macron 1 was shown primarily on TV in the US and Europe (where it was actually a direct translation of Goshogun) in the UK like so many of it's contemporaries it found it's way straight onto the video shelves where it's prey were unattentive mothers sent to the video store for Transformers or Thundercats.

 

Macron 1 is surprisingly well made, annoyingly so considering I just planned to make fun of it. Although Goshogun has been distilled through the Video Transition-a-tron 2000 -the fictitious 1980's computer that single handedly gave the decade it's look through the creation of 'star wipes', 'image flipping', 'tiles' and other futuristic effects- it still works quite well as a straight translation of the source, albeit one aimed solely at kids.

The dubbing and script writing was handled by Gregg Snegoff a now well established name in the American Anime world who would go on to form an important part of the company Streamline, themselves responsible for the translation of many of the west's biggest Anime hits such as Vampire Hunter D, Golgo 13 and the now legendary Akira. Snegoff assembled an impressive collection of voice actors from the instantly recognisable Cam Clark, a man who counts Leonardo of the Ninja Turtles, Liquid Snake and even He Man amongst his long list of credits, and most of the cast of Robotech (another of Snegoff's later works).

The Voltron-esque introduction sets up the plot, even employing Peter (Optimus Prime) Cullen as the narrator, and the tune is fairly catchy, constantly ordering that you "feel the powerrrrr!!!" of "mah, mah, mah, Macron 1". It was of course composed by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban themselves, two men who together created virtually every kids cartoon theme of the 80's.

There are three episodes on this tape...

 
Srungle...
 
and Goshogun
 

Episode 1...

Following much the same plot as Goshogun's premier the story unfolds of Dr William Bridger a brilliant scientist. Leaving a ceremony where he has just been award a Nobel Prize for his work with 'matter structures' the Doctor has just enough time for a humorously stilted conversation with a science groupie before jumping into a hover taxi headed to the airport. Little does he realise this is no ordinary hover taxi as it is being driven by henchmen of lead bad guy Darkstar, a mysterious man, possibly from space who wants Bridger captured for the secrets in his briefcase. Unfortunately for Darkstar, and the Doctor's son who he talks about at length to nobody in particular seconds before his sudden capture, that very same briefcase can be used as a bomb and it does as Bridger heroically gives his life to protect his secrets. There is a silver lining for him however as he does get to deliver a pretty smooth final line: "You leave me no choice. I'll have to let you have it!" Not bad for a stiff scientist/absentee father.

At the funeral of his father Nathan is having trouble getting over his loss. He has little time for grief though as insensitive Skeletrons attempt to kill him. Luckily he is saved from death, but probably not future mental trauma, by a shifty looking man who introduces himself as a friend of his father's. With the 80's being a more innocent time the ten year-old happily leaves with this stranger, who could have easily staged this whole attack just to gain his trust, rather than the two nice men who he arrived with. I suppose he did have a cool umbrella gun...

Nathan wakes in the Macron Base where the stranger man introduces himself as Dr Shegall and informs the boy that this is his new home and the Macron Team are his new family and it's ok because Nathan's dead dad said so. The Scientist sure has it all worked out, he even found a robot called Andy2, C3PO's equally camp brother, to be the boy's tutor. The team members, three extraordinary youngsters with three extremely ordinary names, have little time for introductions before Darkstar attacks. Stock animation depicts their exciting journey to the controls of their respective jets. A voice over the intercom calls "Attention Macron 1 team; your fighters are ready for launch... SO BEAT!" and, as if on cue, a cover of the Michael Jackson hit scores the ensuing skirmish. The use of covers of popular songs was all the rage for a short period in American action shows and it always gets a laugh, especially where a connection to the action is attempted via tenuous, unnatural dialog!

The battle over, Dr Shegall explains to Nathan his Dad's revolutionary invention. Dr Bridger discovered a new form of energy from Meteorites and used to create a teleporting super ship! Shegall reveals that they toiled on it for precisely one long year and seven back-breaking months! Considering this agonizingly long construction period it's incredible they found the time to come up with a snappy name but they did- Macron Base.

The base is launched with the central computer, Hugo, in control. However Hugo detects intruders- somehow Darkstar managed to sneak a load of Skeletrons on board. Quickly the Macron team prepare for battle. Shegall's advice: "We'll have to track them down and hit 'em." to which Nathan excitedly replies "With our best shot!" Cue the second eighties cover song (Hit Me With Your Best shot by Pat Benatar in case you couldn't guess) which accompanies a veritable overload of transition effects and re-used animation! Frames shrink, flip, and spin off into the distance... it's a real beauty to behold!

One more battle ensues and the team's giant robot Mac-star One is revealed. With the enemy successfully sent away alive, the episode ends with a voice over from Hugo informing Shegall that he's just handily discovered why Darkstar wants Nathan. Its because he's under the misapprehension that Dr Bridger, despite being an absentee father, hid his secrets in the child's mind. Sadly in reality, as expressed to Nathan in a dream/trauma induced hallucination, Bridger's thoughts are actually what drive Hugo so they'd only need to snatch him, but I doubt they ever worked that out.

Macron 1
Macron 1
Macron 1
Macron 1
Macron 1
Macron 1

Episode 2...

Darkstar has a new minion to add to Captain Blade the irish pirate, Prince Erhan the openly gay pretty boy and Yamo the stock strong but stupid one- and his name is Dr Fritz. The German stereotype has a plan... something to do with destroying the world's dams and then feeding the population with one field of grain that they've set aside especially for the occasion. On top of that the evil Doctor has created an indestructible robot called the Annihilator which will take care of the Macron team.

Needless to say it doesn't even after Mac-Star (the team's smaller robot formed by combining their three jets) suffers power failure caused by using itself as a human shield. The team dock with Mac-Star 1 and finish this invincible foe with one punch but not until after a long break of boring theorising comprised of heavily re-used clips cut together using the Video Tranisiton-a-tron 2000's best effects (well mainly star wipe and that one that makes the image spin across the screen).

As before it ends with the same stock footage of the Macron base preparing to teleport while Hugo and Dr Shegall swap sentences in what is designed to sound like a deep meaningful conversation about one of computer's life affirming theories with the hope it will inspire the children watching to become better people who are prepared to sacrifice all to defend earth against aliens... or something.

 

Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight

Episode 3...

The plot gets even thinner here with Mac-star 1 responding to a Darkstar attack by repeatedly using the same punch on the same three jets until the running time has been suitably bulked; out all to the tune of 'Axel F' from Beverly Hills Cop. Later Cathy experiences Chauvinistic attitudes in the work place when she suggests training Nathan to keep him amused. As a result Jason allows Nathan to fly one of the jets for a few minutes and to experience an automatic docking procedure (cue session singer covering the Thomas Dolby hit in the background).

This turns out to be great foresight as the ten year old is soon entrusted with co-piloting the Mac-Star 1 when a surprise attack from Prince Eharn catches the team unprepared (Cathy and the blonde guy are otherwise unavailable responding to a racial stereotype's complaints of "Mechanical men from the sky").

The action climaxes with Nathan committing an act of gross genocide against Darkstar's forces via MacStar 1's super cannon, something he not only takes in his stride but it openly excited by. His dad would be proud! As always it's over to Hugo for some more of his robotic theorising over stock shots for the close.

 

Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight
Zukkoke Knight
 
Missing videos
Missing videos

NO VIDEO... yet
This was the first review out of the Bin and so, predates Youtube.. possibly

Maybe, one day, there will be
It is possible that I may add clips to this but don't get too hopeful

 
High quality dubbing
 
Seems close to the original
  Cheesy 80's video transitions
  Cheesy 80's cover songs and musical breaks
 
High quality dubbing (can't mock quality)
 
Dull, kiddy-safe stories
  Ropey character designs
  Relies increasingly on stock footage

Perfectly watchable kiddified anime. Cover tracks & transitions aside- those looking for guilty laughs are probably better off looking else where.

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