Dr. Nambu looked at his watch as the team assembled in his office. “Less than five minutes. Excellent response time.”
Ken stood straighter. “What’s the emergency, Hakase?”
“I’m afraid the film rights to our story have been purchased again. We’re being released as a movie in 2010.”
All five team members groaned.
With a hand over his eyes, Ryu said, “Not again! What crazy stuff are they going to do to us this time?”
Joe cracked his knuckles. “Maybe I should go have a friendly chat with the director.”
Ken put out a hand. “Easy, Joe.”
“Stand down.” Nambu leaned back in his chair. “I’ve looked into the director’s background, and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with her. She even has a weblog where she’s posted about the project.”
The team murmured approval.
He punched a button on his computer, bringing up a woman’sphotograph on the screen. “Her name is Jun Falkenstein.”
Jinpei leaped up, pumping his fist in the air. “All right! With a name like that, how can she go wrong?”
Eyes dark, Joe muttered, “Should I count the ways?”
“You’re always so pessimistic!”
“I’ll be more specific: should I count the ways my character has been butchered in the past?” Arms folded, Joe leaned back against the wall. “Being a loner doesn’t mean I’ve got a heart of darkness, and single-mindedness doesn’t mean disloyalty to the needs of the team. In the other remakes, I’ve been turned into a hardcore murderer with revenge as my sole motivation. I’ve been turned into a traitor, into a hateful womanizer, and worse. You always come out the better in remakes, but not me.”
“No one turned you into a cheap hooker,” Jun added. “I hope she at least lets me keep my clothing when I transmute. In fact, pants would be nice.”
“If we’re compiling a wish list,” Ken said, “I’d like for my father not to have tried to drown me in lieu of a swimming lesson.”
“Of course she’s going to change some things,” Dr. Nambu said, “but she’s at least watched the original series, which puts her head and shoulders about Munier Sharrieff — ”
Four team members burst out laughing, except for Joe, who rolled his eyes. “I still wish you’d let me spend ten minutes alone with him in a locked room. Him and General Mary-Sue.”
“I wish I could have, but there are international treaties preventing that kind of action by a government organization.” Nambu opened a new window on his computer. “But if you check out her weblog, she says she will retain the heart of the show. And that’s what counts.”
“But Hakase,” Ryu said, his voice rising above the mutters of the others, “what if she changes the costumes or the vehicles so much that they’re no longer recognizable?”
“Think about it!” Nambu slammed a hand on the desk. “Stop complaining and just think about it for a moment. If I walked into this office wearing contact lenses and with my hair dyed purple, you would be surprised, but you’d get used to the new look.”
Jinpei whispered, “Didn’t they do exactly that in the 1994 remake?” but Jun rapped him on the head.
“But it would still be me. Whereas if I ordered you in here and told you I no longer cared about Gallactor taking over the world, and if I treated Jun as my secretary and told her to make me a cup of coffee, and if I ordered you all to base and refused to let you live normal lives outside the team — then my heart would have changed, and you wouldn’t understand me any longer.”
Joe grunted, but Ken said, “That’s what we’ve been complaining about. If Joe were to change sides, the way Sharrieff wrote, or if Jun were to wear hooker clothing and flaunt her body, these would be changes to who they are. If Jinpei were to become suddenly serious and only care about reading or building model airplanes, or if I stopped caring about the loss of life and only cared about avenging my father — those would be substantive changes. The rest is changing your clothes or upgrading your car.”
“But can she tell the difference between competitive tension and ruthless ambition?” Jun said. “You and Joe work great together. You aren’t at one another’s throats, but more simplistic writers and directors haven’t been able to work with that. Can she create a team dynamic where the team itself becomes a living character within the story?”
“Only time will tell.” Nambu pivoted his chair so he could look out over the Utoland City skyline. “These things are always a gamble. But she sounds enthusiastic and it seems from her second director post that she understands the value of a team within her own life.”
Jinpei glanced at the screen which still showed Falkenstein’s weblog. “She also hasn’t said ‘off the chain’ even once. That’s an improvement.”
“Indeed.” Nambu looked up at the team. “Dismissed.”
As they exited his office, Joe headed down the hallway in a different direction from the others. “Joe,” Jun called. “Where are you going?”
Joe turned with a grin. “I’m going to check her out.”
Ken rushed up alongside him. “What are you going to do?”
“Do? Nothing.” Joe laughed. “I just think she sounds like a cool director, and I thought I’d tell her. For the first time, we may be in good hands.”
ahhh, jane, agreed. but would it be too much to ask for them to be allowed to keep their original faces (or as close as possible)? i love them so much (particularly ken and joe).
have you ever looked into getting “scavengers” or any of your other botp fanfic published? i’ve always felt your perception of the team and ability to write about them was top-notch. i have no idea what you have to go through to get the rights to publish fanfic, but i see it out there for other series. this is truth, not flattery, whenever i can’t find a book to read, i go read portions of “scavengers” or something else in your botp world. it always hits the spot.
I don’t think publishing fanfic (even self-publishing) is a great idea. It’s out there online, and that’s enough. 🙂
I think it’s a huge plus that the team members are not all drop-dead gorgeous. Depending on who’s drawing Joe, he’s actually a little scary looking. (Joe at other times, like Wendy’s drawings, is awesome. I’ve got some of her artwork up in my house and I just stop what I’m doing to look at it sometimes.)
But that rugged/normalness makes the team seem more human and reachable. I think in the OAV, they were trying to make the team look ultra-human and cool, and that only succeeded in making the characters lose contact with the viewers. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m not living in a city populated only by the etherially gorgeous. (The fact that *I* live here would be your first indicator!)
On the other hand, I think it would take ten minutes for us to get used to new facial features. We’d never get used to new value systems or clunky writing.
Brilliant. As usual.
Thanks. I needed that. 🙂
All I have to say is… woo-hoo! 😀
Great stuff! I hope Jun reads this!
I agree with Jason Block: Brilliant post.
Thank you for the art compliments. 🙂 I somehow missed this second post on Falkenstein’s blog. I need to be more diligent in watching her.
As far as birdstyles and vehicles go, short of dressing them up in chicken suits and making them drive the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, I don’t care about how far they go in “reimagining” their uniforms and weapons. What I care about is the essential humanity of the characters. I want to be able to recognize Ken, Joe, Jun, Jinpei and Ryu as the characters they were in the classic series. Not some uber-kewl-edgy cliche that fits into modern “tastes.”
I think Jun Falkenstein means well, but whether this property survives the Hollywood machine is anyone’s guess.
I’m laughing out loud at the idea of Joe driving the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. But only if he also wears that stupid hat they made him wear in the Pandora episode. 😉
The hollywood machine is a huge problem for any property, but they managed to do all right with TMNT, so all is not lost yet. Even if marketing constraints demand the characters be pigeonholed into slots the average American expects, the team still can function as a team. As you said, the characters’ essential humanity. That’s what at least two of the remakes have failed to capture.
She’s replying to the fans! Good things may happen. So long as the fans stay civil and don’t overwhelm her, wow!