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A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: Carl Macek, RIP

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carl Macek, RIP

As a long time otaku, I had to pull myself out of the booth, work, studies, etc. in order to make mention regarding the passing of Carl Macek.

If nothing else, the man was a controversial figure within the anime community, both for his manner of automatic dialogue replacement and editing of content, and for his pioneering spirit. Carl was one of the first people to take anime outside Japan and distribute it throughout the English-speaking world. His name was synonymous with several titles, but most will probably remember him for his redubbed and edited production of three separate anime series into Robotech. Most recently, Macek added his talents as a producer to titles such as Naruto and Bleach.

On an amusing note, he inspired the fan term "Macekre" (pronounced like "massacre") used to describe anime series which have been drastically "revised" to make them more attractive to Western viewers. While Macek never apologized for some of his more "famous" revisions, he did deter his detractors by pointing out those revisions he was not responsible for, yet were still attributed to him. One instance which stood out in my mind was an interview in which he acknowledged poor revisions within the Robotech franchise, and then explaining in the next sentence that major plot elements which were excluded from the Robotech VHS distribution were not intentional (it was later stated that the edits Macek referred to were done by a former home video distributor after the original broadcast in order to fit more episodes per VHS tape). None the less, Macek was never afraid of criticism or of the opinions of anime otaku. As time proved, he would use that feedback to better provide for future productions he was involved with, as his most recent works have shown. It is that aspect of his personality which made Macek both a loved, and controversial, figure within American anime fandom.

If you're interested in learning more about Carl Macek's life and career, the following articles offer a nice summary of his career.

American Anime Producer Carl Macek Passes Away
Carl Macek (1951-2010)
Carl Macek's IMDB page
Carl Macek Fan Interview

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