Sunday, November 1, 2015

See the Original Mega Man Cartoon Pitch, Digitally Restored


By now you probably know the goofy Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon almost looked quite different. The original sales pitch featured a style more faithful to the classic series, touting smooth animation and high-octane action. For your viewing pleasure, here's that pitch again - digitally restored in the highest quality yet. Set your playback to 60fps for best results!

The footage comes from the original promotional VHS tape, not a copy. I spent a good six months tracking it down. The tape was graciously provided by a one Radiant Paragon, the original owner circa 1994-1995. Previous footage (the one you've seen before) comes from a copy of a copy, distributed without Radiant Paragon's permission and proper credit. With her blessing, we're happy to present the original tape.

After the break, you can see a couple trailers that preceded the cartoon promo. Pretty cool stuff, if I do say so myself.  A big thanks to KeijiDragon for handling the encoding and conversion process. Hit up his YouTube channel for more VHS-to-digital video game promos.




49 comments:

  1. Why couldn't the ruby spears cartoon look like this in the end? Oh well i suppose...

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    1. From what I remember reading, it's cuz this version didn't test well with their focus groups, so they ended up changing it. The thing is, though, that focus groups aren't very accurate. At least in my opinion.

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    2. Plus,Anime wasn't all that popular during that time. Though,had they waited until '98,the Anime style would've been accepted and even beloved. And we have Toonami to thank for it.

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    3. No 4-kids and Pokemon have to take credit for the popularization of anime in 98, it spearheaded anime into the mainstream before Dragon Ball Z's english voice actor uttered it's over 9000. Dragon Ball was actually airing in the west for quite a while as well as Z, they just never blew up until later in the Frieza saga.

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    4. Dont forget Sailor Moon, which was definitely among the first animes to come over.

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    5. Speed Racer was here decades before any anime listed above :/

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  2. The narrator referred to Elec as Bright Man. Did i just hear that right? =O

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    1. You shoudn't have posted this Protodude,It's just an invitation to the rabid Anti-RS Mega Man fanatics.

      If only we treated the RS Universe like another Rockman Series instead of an adaption,the retoric wouldn't be as harsh. We All have a Rockman series that we can't stand..and I understand and condone that,but the hate towards the RS Universe is Way bigger than that of even XOver.

      Sure the Cartoon may have not been perfect(it's way less then,actually),but the way you people treat it,you would think that it was the Spawn of Satan. The RS Universe needs to be revisited and Rebooted. The potential of this Universe is too great.

      Anyway,reguarding the other parts of the video...I find it retarded that Wily Wars wasn't available in the US in cartrage format,just on the failed Sega Channel

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    2. I think people don't like the RS series as much because it clearly represents racist and/or nationalistic assumptions; an American focus group basically conveyed information that American kids would not identify with an adorable, a-sexual, potentially androgynous (which he should be; he's a) ROBOT. They instead decided that American kids would only enjoy a muscle-bound, macho, sarcastic, young-adult, and thus -- what was an artful creation of Japanese artists --- became defaced by stereotypical American ideals in the name of profit.

      Those of us who don't necessarily think heroes need always be muscle-bound alpha personalities feel like this was a missed opportunity, and also feel like the RS adaptation is a pretty clear statement that everyone thinks Americans need things to be dumbed-down. If we keep lowering the bar: how can people be expected to raise their expectations and expand their ability to appreciate things?

      It's the same reason "Westen" game box art almost always features the "hero" font-and-center on the cover, whereas in Japan they take more artistic liberties, treating the game cover as a creative way to further express the game world. Making decisions based upon cultural assumptions does not help people have new experiences, nor does it encourage them to expand their world-view.

      (See: ICO, Dark Souls, Mega Man, Resident Evil, Heavy Rain, etc.)

      I do own the entire Ruby-Spears Mega Man series on DVD, and I watched it when it aired, but it still represents a lot of what I hate about corporations, nationalism, and ethnocentrism.

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    3. I don't have a Rock Man/ Mega Man series I can't stand, I just don't see the point in treating the RS like another series when it is obviously supposed to be the original Mega Man, It's not exactly the same, but thats like if I said the Star Force anime(that I personally dislike by the way,) should be treated as a different universe or series just because it's very different from the game it's based on, I honestly don't like the RS series but I do find it funny to watch and I don't mind others liking it. I definitely don't treat it like the spawn of Satan, I don't see why anyone would either to be honest.

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    4. Well I Still think that Universe can be salvaged. BlackRussian,MegaBauer,and myself are doing a nice job of that fanwise.

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    5. Good lord anon 2 could you be more SJW if you tried? I don't think it goes as deep as racism at all (what an over abused and over dramatizing word), relax, would ya? RS didn't make baseless assumptions btw, they tested their product on focus groups to give themselves an idea of what the mainstream population would like to see. Also as some have mentioned above, if not for the hyper aggressive and shonen appeal of DBZ, action anime most likely would have never broken through as well as it did for as long as it did in the west, and now that most anime importing from Japan to the west is built for attracting very young children and or is aesthetically less masculine and stylized more towards the really eccentric pretty-boy/girl/bishie/bishoujo style, anime has significantly become less popular in the west(that and most anime are redundant in terms of narrative and visuals/sound). To this day the most popular anime are the ones that were popularized from the mid-90s to early 2000s, and a lot of the most iconic ones were either geared for hyper masculinity (naturally more appealing to males) or mass appeal.

      As for the rest of that progressive malarkey, Mega Man is not meant to look androgynous at all, he is suppose to clearly look like a young boy as Roll does a young girl. I don't mind androgyny in robots/androids aesthetically (sometimes I prefer it), but that is clearly not what Rockman was going for.

      Long story short, I can understand the distaste for the negative aspects of corporations because of what happened with RS Mega Man, but ethnocentrism, really? That is absurd.

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    6. Do you not know the definition of ethnocentrism?
      Let me Google that for you: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=ethnocentric

      Why else did an American focus group reject a Japanese design, and thus have it changed to have a more "American" appeal? The Japanese elements of the video were evaluated according to the standards of American culture, were rejected on that basis, and were changed to be more "American." That's textbook ethnocentrism.

      As for all this "good lord" and "calm down" nonsense: nothing is more pretentious than making a statement about what would/wouldn't have succeeded; you can't possibly back-up that claim, which is the definition of pretentious: making unfounded claims.

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    7. "Do you not know the definition of ethnocentrism?"

      Yes I do.

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethnocentrism


      noun
      1.
      Sociology. the belief in the inherent superiority of one's own ethnic group or culture.
      2.
      a tendency to view alien groups or cultures from the perspective of one's own.

      It is not ethnocentric to test and market at a particular demographic, there is nothing about that that criticizes another culture based on your own. You're just dramatizing the situation.

      "Why else did an American focus group reject a Japanese design" Because it didn't appeal to them, which doesn't entail the notion that they think their opinion is superior to that of another culture or that a comparison would be made to begin with other than what they personally liked.

      "The Japanese elements of the video were evaluated according to the standards of American culture" First of all it is not a standard that the developers would be evaluating (I'm pretty sure), it is an appeal, most of the focus group could think the original video is exceptional by their standards but unappealing, these are not synonymous terms nor do they contradict one another. In other words someone can appreciate and respect RPG games while not having a particular interest in them personally, or having more of an interest in another genre. Second the comparisons would yield information in understanding the attraction of one consumer base and product on its own, not to degrade another, as it was a new product targeted at a specific demographic.

      As it stands, it is obvious that there are cultural differences in marketing to Japan and North America/European countries or other parts of the world in gaming. Often times games having established differentiating market appeals across regions help marketing divisions allocate resources and manage distribution. Not only with games, but food, electronics, clothing, sports equipment, nearly anything you can think of has a culturally significant impact on marketing.

      Are you really calling my statements pretentious, really? This coming from someone sensationalizing their comments with race, with no evidence that it played any role in the topic at hand, at all. Also pretentious is not defined as "making unfounded claims" it is "making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction" which is exactly what you are doing with your contentious rhetoric.

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    8. Ethnocentrism implies a belief of superiority. If you're in business, changing a product to appeal more toward a target audience isn't being racist, it's being smart.

      Let's understand that in the early and mid 90s, with the internet in its infancy, most American youth had little to no exposure to anime or Japanese culture in general. It made perfect business sense to tailor the show based on the focus group responses.

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    9. Ethnocentric does not necessarily entail superiority; it's viewing/judging another culture based upon one's own cultural values, and value judgments can be positive or negative. The initial definition I provided does not include the term "superiority." It was specifically: "evaluating other peoples and cultures according to the standards of one's own culture"

      However: changing something created by another culture because one thinks it would be more successful in another cultural setting is not only making a culturally-biased judgement, but it is -- by virtue of the fact that one is changing it to "make it better" or "more successful" -- an indication of a superiority judgement. Are you going to argue that Ruby Spears and their focus group did not change Mega Man to reflect American archetypes and values because they thought they served their purposes in a superior way?

      Yes, the pitch did not appeal to the focus group; do you really think it's tenable to argue that such a decision had nothing to do with cultural bias, or resulted from the viewing of another culture's artistic output though the (myopic) lens of one's own culture? You're saying that giving Mega Man muscles and making him a sarcastic teenager had nothing to do with cultural bias?

      And, yes, making a statement about potential past outcomes is pretentious. From Webster: "pretentious -- characterized by pretension: making usually unjustified or excessive claims." Saying that "things would have been more/less successful if X" is impossible to justify, and therefore pretentious. Pretense is "an allegation of doubtful value," also from Webster, and I doubt you have a magic window into the past where you can see what would and would not have affected the acceptance of "action anime" by Western culture.

      For the record: calling my clear arguments "contentious rhetoric" (and earlier "progressive malarky") seems a lot like argument ad hominem to me; that's usually a tactic used by someone with a weak argument or diminished ability to argue, as it's essentially name-calling. I haven't called you any names, but -- as far as "progress" goes -- I do appreciate you progressing into coherent language usage (capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc.), and that evolution itself demonstrates that "progress" ain't such a bad thing.

      Hey, at least we agree that there are obvious differences in marketing, but I think the motivations behind those differences are culturally toxic and based on bigotry and assumptions which basically keep us all a lot less culturally aware than we could otherwise be. I'd rather experience art as the artist created it, and not through ignorant focus groups, or according to assumptions about what people in my specific demographic will and will not like.

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    10. SJW's gotta ruin and crap on everything. Why can't there just be love for Mega MAN.

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    11. Sigh... oh boy---

      1. "Ethnocentric does not necessarily entail superiority; it's viewing/judging another culture based upon one's own cultural values, and value judgments can be positive or negative. The initial definition I provided does not include the term "superiority." It was specifically: "evaluating other peoples and cultures according to the standards of one's own culture"

      I addressed both definitions with my reply. I am saying an aesthetic bias from a focus group doesn't mean they are comparing themselves to another culture, it only directly indicates a comparison of tastes as in *what do they like more*. In essence if there was a strong appeal for the Japanese designs they would have been accepted regardless of culture, it is not that people look at it through a cultural bias but a personal aesthetic bias. Which is to say of course it is based on bias, as that is what opinions are grounded in. For example Asian martial arts was widely more marketable and marketed to American audiences than American martial arts for a period of time, that was because that was what appealed to them. Then in other periods other forms of combat fighting where more appealing, so they became marketed more frequently. It's nothing to do with ethnocentrism, but rather market appeal.

      2."However: changing something created by another culture because one thinks it would be more successful in another cultural setting is not only making a culturally-biased judgement, but it is -- by virtue of the fact that one is changing it to "make it better" or "more successful" -- an indication of a superiority judgement."

      OK first off I never said they weren't making a culturally bias judgment, I am saying doing that doesn't have any connection to ethnocentrism. In other words the culture isn't bias because of another culture, it is bias because it simply is based on the mass appeal of a particular time, in a particular place of a particular group's tastes. A cultural comparison doesn't need to be made by one culture to another, just a comparison of tastes, to say other wise is presumptuous. I.E a group saying 'I hate the way this looks" isn't them saying 'I hate Japanese looks or I hate the way this looks because of it's Japanese in origin'. Do focus groups represent the tastes of an entire nation or society, and should developers base a product on a small sample size? That is another argument. You are conflating bias with ethnocentrism, they are not directly connected.

      Second, changing something created by one culture because it would appeal to another more so, therefore making it more successful is not an indication of superiority to the original cultures product, it simply means a difference of culture, that's it. I.e products are marketable or fictionally superior relative to their surroundings, so noodles are the more viable market than burgers in Japan, but that doesn't say they are inherently superior to burgers outside of the tastes of Japanese people. Now if Japanese people from Japan started forcing the idea that their opinion of liking noodles more than burgers to food chains and took some sort of action to literally impeded the sales of burgers in favor of noodles from restaurants located in areas where burgers are more marketable than noodles, based purely on the fact that they think noodles taste better and that it should be the excepted norm in every culture regardless of much else, that would be an example ethnocentrism.

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    12. "Are you going to argue that Ruby Spears and their focus group did not change Mega Man to reflect American archetypes and values because they thought they served their purposes in a superior way?"

      Yes, and I'd counter argue that they changed there original interpretation of Mega Man to reflect the tastes of focus groups in America to appeal more to North Americans, not to make a quality comparison/criticism between Japan and American tastes, or to say one is superior in any way, outside of the market appeal of either in relation to their market. In more basic terms, if RS made the cartoon for Japanese audiences they most likely would have appealed to their tastes based on their focus groups (you know what I mean, I know they wouldn't need to test since they would have a better understanding of that market in relation to that product).

      3."Yes, the pitch did not appeal to the focus group; do you really think it's tenable to argue that such a decision had nothing to do with cultural bias, or resulted from the viewing of another culture's artistic output though the (myopic) lens of one's own culture? You're saying that giving Mega Man muscles and making him a sarcastic teenager had nothing to do with cultural bias?"

      No to your first question, I do not think that would be a logical argument, as I do believe that it was changed to accommodate cultural bias, like I said before I just don't think the general biases of a culture is indicative of ethnocentrism in and of itself. I don't even know how to answer the second part of that same question string. Secondly I'm not gonna be presumptuous in understanding the focus group's range of worldliness, intent, or general opinion of outside culture, I don't have enough personal insight on the situation. All I can say for sure is they expressed their opinion on a specific product, I am not gonna ascribe the idea of them basing their opinion on the comparative aspects of another culture's preferences.

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    13. 4."And, yes, making a statement about potential past outcomes is pretentious."

      No it isn't, not if there is and was a trend to validate the assumption.

      "pretentious -- characterized by pretension: making usually unjustified or excessive claims."

      Which doesn't incite any indication to the falsehood of those claims. So the justification and excess of those claims are entirely subjective. I must say, I was not familiar with that particular definition, I still think you are misusing it either way.

      "Saying that "things would have been more/less successful if X" is impossible to justify, and therefore pretentious."

      OK I didn't know which argument you applied pretentious to, it was used without context. Now that I know you were referring to the statements I made about Dragon Ball Z popularizing action anime or whatever (which it did, it is a provable fact, at least in relation to any other that came before it) with some nebulous definition of pretentious, I recant the obvious to any sensible person hyperbolic "if not for..." section of the reply, and replace the rest of that sentence with it definitely popularized action anime'. I originally assumed you were referring to RS testing on focus groups. You can have that minor nitpick.

      "calling my clear arguments "contentious rhetoric" (and earlier "progressive malarky") seems a lot like argument ad hominem to me"

      I don't care what it seems like to you (I don't know how it could be seem that way within its context) it's not. By your very own admission I described arguments using what I believe to be appropriate words to convey my description of said arguments. That doesn't indicate an attack on person or character, or feelings, that's a direct attack on a statement or argument/argument's construction.

      "that's usually a tactic used by someone with a weak argument or diminished ability to argue"

      Same about this strawman paragraph I'm sitting here picking at and addressing.

      "as it's essentially name-calling."

      Well of course it is, I'm calling your arguments and debates names.

      "I do appreciate you progressing into coherent language usage (capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc.), and that evolution itself demonstrates that "progress" ain't such a bad thing."

      WTF are you talking about? Talk about prattling, holy hell. I'm not even gonna give this a meaningful response.

      "Hey, at least we agree that there are obvious differences in marketing,"

      Well I know for sure I do.

      "but I think the motivations behind those differences are culturally toxic and based on bigotry and assumptions which basically keep us all a lot less culturally aware than we could otherwise be."

      Except in this specific instance it was tested and had some grounds in marketable strategy.

      "I'd rather experience art as the artist created it, and not through ignorant focus groups, or according to assumptions about what people in my specific demographic will and will not like."

      You do that, others will try to, you know, flourish as a business when it comes to this issue.

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    14. Sorry for any *grammatical errors*, I was on a mobile device and had no patience to proof read all the text. So if minor spelling errors and errors in punctuation cause you to completely lack understanding of the basic points I tried to convey, I don't really know what to say about that or your reading comprehension skills. Feel free to attack the I'm sure of small grammatical errors though, as long as you understand the underlining statement and intent, I'll proceed to shrug it off.

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    15. "SJW's gotta ruin and crap on everything. Why can't there just be love for Mega MAN."

      Ruby Spears basically grew out of a lack of love and appreciation for Mega Man, 'cause Mega Man was (and should be) what this pitch shows, but it became something else.

      Also: are there people who actually don't want to live in a just society?
      This board is ridiculous. Almost as bad as GameFAQs.

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    16. @4:45 PM: No, RS MM grew out of a interest for Mega Man's core concepts and an appeal to a different group of people. RS didn't take what Mega Man was and alter it, they took what Rockman was and created something else out of it, that was inspired by it.

      I would also put money that if the original pitch was pitched just two years or one even later, it would have gotten a better reception, because the developers would have had a better understanding of what the market to cater to in the west looked like without need of focus groups to begin with, or at least a more focused sampling search. Also the Mega Man cartoon was one of the earliest video game based cartoons to actually be successful in terms of ratings, granted the competition wasn't really all that impressive, but still... I'm not saying that is a good thing or bad, just saying it partially succeeded in what it tried to accomplish.

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  3. I'm probably the only one who enjoyed the Mega Man cartoon as it was. Compared to the cringefest series like Mario got had, Mega Man was awesome.

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    1. not true i also love that cartoon ironically it's a amazing if u watch it for it's comical value instead of getting a serious cartoon it's also the cartoon that got me into megaman as a kid, as a child it was an amazing cartoon as an adult it's a guilty pleasure

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    2. Absolutely the hell not! I love the Ruby Spears cartoon! It's just so fun and hammy. And I love it when new characters are brought in by outside sources. They're so much fun to play with how they would work in the original's world.

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    3. I think of the cartoon as a fun spin-off series. I actually fantasize about an official game being made in its image like another genre not yet used or popular in the MM games that already exist. Like a hack&slash action adventure sandbox etc.

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    4. I absolutely loved the show and can remember practically running home after elementary school classes to watch it. My mind was blown when they premiered the Mega Man X episode.

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    5. I do like the RS series, mostly for its potential. It's not the greatest thing ever but I wish a certain comic author would stop making digs on it like it makes him witty or particularly observant.

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  4. This is awesome. Maybe we will get something like this in the 2017 cartoon?

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  5. That was a beastly pitch I'm not gonna lie. Pure Mega Man right then.

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  6. This actually looks good. Wish we could've gotten this instead of... whatever that abomination was we had.

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  7. I want this video with no water mark, is there?

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  8. For all sad words of tongue or pen,
    The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

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  9. Very Cool, Thanks for sharing!
    -Logan O

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  10. Pew-pew Mega Warrior!

    Still reminds me of Sonic. A lot. What could've been...

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  11. Yep. They should've gone more to the japanese side. Haha :-)

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  12. To this day, it still infuriates me that The Wily Wars cartridge was never produced and made available to purchase in the US. I got to play it once on Sega Channel and the memory of its existence plagued me for years. Absolute torture!

    It wasn't until around the turn of the century that I finally got to play it, though the save game bug prevented from reaching the final stages.

    Whoever made the final call to cancel the US release really f-ed up big-time. I personally believe The Wily Wars would have sold better than Mega Man 7.

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  13. Was the animation for the trailer by Ruby Spears or clips from an anime? Because if that was by Ruby Spears, HOLY SHIT, that looked amazing! That looked better than the animation om Super Rockman Adventure on the ps1!

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    1. It was not. It was Ashi Productions

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    2. Wow I never knew that, it makes one wonder what would RS do if that style was proven popular at the time. Unless the pitch was entirely done by Ashi Productions.

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  14. It's great to see this in high quality. I remember seeing the low-rez images on Mandi's MMHP back in the day and it blew my mind that a more game-based cartoon would have been possible. Although, considering what we got with the OVAs, I don't think it would have been better than what we wound up getting ... just different. And maybe not all that different, the talent behind the cartoons would have been the same.

    Seeing some of the above posts kinda knocks me for a loop. Countries usually change up a licensed property to sell better .... and this was especially true of the pre-internet era. It's not good or bad, it's just kinda what happens.

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  15. Very nice, quite the gem! Thanks for sharing!
    I like how the clip of Dr Wily in this promo (@ the :16 sec mark) was re-used later for the RockMan 7 commercial.

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  16. I would like to thank Anon 3 for pointing out the whole western box art thing. You would think just translating the text/log and company names/ ESRB would be good enough but nope. They have to change the entire thing and generally make it worse.

    I would also like to say that we were supposedly going to get The Wily Wars as a VC release, but you can blame SEGA for that one. ;)

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    1. You are welcome.

      Regardless of what's been said here: I think changing a work of art due to cultural pretense is a mistake, and that people should be able to experience things as the artist(s) intended. I understand that people are generally more accepting and aware of other cultures post-internet, but I think that also suggests that things like focus groups were just delaying that acceptance and understanding in the name of allegedly greater profits. How many seasons would we have of this show if it has been preserved in its originally-pitched form? There's no way to know, but I personally would have enjoyed it more, and would have made more of a point to watch it; while it aired I was not impressed enough to make a habit of catching it, and only saw the occasional episode; only after the DVD release did I see them all.

      Sure, it's great that we got anything Mega-Man-related on TV in the 90's -- what we got was better than nothing, certainly -- but knowing that this tape exists proves to me that they had an opportunity to do a better job and dropped the ball, just like with Westernization of box art; it's a missed opportunity to experience something from a different culture and aesthetic viewpoint.

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  17. I enjoyed the ruby spears cartoon alot. Had it been like this I would have still liked it actually I think if it was more faithful to the games like this OMG I would of loved it so much!!!! But would they have adopted a more loyal to the game plot I mean there will always be differences but still or would we of got the same stories with just awesome cartoon game style animation?

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  18. :)

    Beautiful job encoding this - glad it's finally out there in it's complete form and in good hands.

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  19. Who was in the focus group that turned this down?! I want their names! lol

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  20. New experience for each of your emotions. Thrilling, vibrations of love, adventure adventurous or want to destroy all ... are transformed into this game: Toon Games

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