Robotech Appreciation

Thanks to my brother burning me the soundtrack, I’ve been reminded how important this cartoon was to me when I was little. Important in good ways and important in bad scarred for life ways. Any other fans out there who’d like to discuss the yuckiness of the Kyle/Minmei relationship or debate which is the more menacing alien Zentradi, Robotech Masters, or Invid? Now, I know each series that made up the cartoon were separate Japanese cartoons that were pulled together for an American audience by Carl Macek and that’s probably why the protoculture storyline makes no sense.

When I was growing up in the 80’s, I was acutely aware of the Cold War. I didn’t believe I would live out the decade so the global holocaust in the Macross series, really resonated with me. I also liked how they showed humanity rebuilding afterwards. Another aspect of the entire cartoon I appreciated was the power of music. Yes, the whole Minmei part was extremely lame but Musica and Yellow Dancer were pretty cool.

The death of Roy Fokker and Ben Dixon in back to back episodes made me a complete mess and seriously scarred me for life. I had no idea that death could happen so suddenly like that and the world wouldn’t cut you a break so it could be multiple deaths. I know, it’s just a cartoon but I was a kid.

Menacing alien - Invid hands down. Green blood and telepathic = scary. The Zentradi were just giants afraid of kissing. Rico, Konda, Bron, and Miriya de-scarified the Zentradi. The Masters? That whole series was too confusing for me. Something about Rem and mushrooms, right?

Best hero(ine) - Lisa, Dana, and Rook were pretty cool heroines for a little girl. Rick Hunter will be the only hero of Robotech. Through Scott Bernard gets an honorable mention for being the cool broody outer space loner.

Best series - I can’t decide between Macross or New Generation. Masters sucks across the board. Sentinels looked like it could have been cool if only they hadn’t test marketed it in Texas, thus killing the series.

Coolest armor/mecha - Veritech cyclone.

Here’s a handy Robotech site:
http://www.robotech.com/infopedia/bibliography/

<sigh>

Minmei…

http://animepa.csusm.edu/galleries/Desktops/walls/minmei.jpg

Robotechis one of the few animes I enjoy, and I watched a lot. I remember it was on Sci-Fi channel’s “Cartoon Quest” which, in the mid-90’s, basically devoted a coupel hours each moring to showing 80’s cartoons like Transformers, Robotech, and others. I never really liked Robotech Masters. IIRC, there were four series that went into Robotech. There was Macross, the original, whatever they adapted for Masters, The Sentinals adaptation, and Mospeada, later New Generation. I think two of them were actually related in Japan…New Generation and Sentinels. Too bad there was what, only two episodes of that for the US? Going right into New Generation made for a large chunk of backstory missing.

I remember my borther, myself, and a couple friends would play the Robotech RPG by Palladium. We played the original, though we had all the books for all the series.
Menacing Alien: I agree with you here. The Invid were nasty fuckers.

Best Hero(ine): Rick Hunter, of course, but I also liked Lancer, very cool, calm, and collected. As for chicks, well, Rook is a pretty rockin’ chick, and Lisa gets a mention as well, though a less direct heroine, since she was never a veritech pilot or anything, but certainly still did a lot.

Best Series: I prefer Invid Invasion, because I watched more of that. Plus, Marleen was a hottie, :wink:

Coolest armor/mech: Either the Cyclone armor, or the Beta fighter.
Some more catagories:
Worst Character: Hands down, no-contest: Annie. Why do so many animes feel the need to add a young, scrappy, ANNOYIING AS ALL FUCK character?

The original ROBOTECH series was comprised of three unrelated (apart from a couple of them sharing a production company) Japanese television series.

  1. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
    ----became the Macross Saga

  2. Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross
    ----became the Robotech Masters

  3. Genesis Climber Mospeada
    ----became New Generation

The sequel, ROBOTECH II: Sentinels, was actually an attempt by the American licensor, Harmony Gold, to continue the series on their own. They wrote up scripts, and commissioned Tatsunoko Studios to make new animation. It was planned for a full 65 episodes, but had to be scrapped due to the rise in value of the yen. (cite)

Apparently, the Southern Cross show wasn’t very popular, and got axed before they could finish the planned storyline, resulting in a very rushed ending.

I’m more familiar with the Macross saga than the other two – I picked up the 9 DVD boxset of the original Japanese show that AnimEigo put out a few years ago. So:

Badass Alien: Instead of naming an entire race, I’m gonna single out one guy…Breetai. Not only is he a superstrong giant, he is a brilliant military strategist, he can survive the vacuum of space, and he can take down a Valkyrie in Battroid mode with nothing more than a (really big) lead pipe!

Best Hero: Kind of a toss-up for me. Hikaru Ichijo/Rick Hunter, because we see him go through all the stages from callow youth to reluctant hero. Roy Fokker, because he is freakin’ cool.

Best Series: I’m gonna go on a tangent here, and say that the best of the ROBOTECH series were the books. Jack McKinney (pseudonym for Brian Daley and…someone else) actually managed to give a lot of background information, helping to tie the three series together a lot better than the actual TV show did. And, these are the only way to find out how Sentinels was supposed to go. (I think these are out of print now, sadly)

Best Mecha: I’ll admit that the Cyclone was pretty cool, but I’ll always be partial to the Valkyrie/Veritech fighters. Because Macross was really popular here back in the day, Japanese toy companies still produce a variety of high-quality transforming Macross toys – and I’ve bought way too many of them.

One more thing: Due to some irregularities with how Macross was licensed to Harmony Gold (it wasn’t clear who had the right to do this originally – several companies have claimed ownership), it’s highly unlikely for any of the official Macross sequels, other than Macross Plus, to make it over to the US. I’ve watched a few episodes over here. It’s a lot different from what Harmony Gold had planned with the Sentinels. (The progression of Max and Miriya’s relationship, for example, was quite interesting…)

RobuSensei I loved the books! The final book that wraps the entire series up in a nice package is quite excellent. Also, if you ever wanted extreme violence to happen to Minmei, check out the books.

I used to read all the McKinney books too, back around 7th grade! I took them to a used book store for credit back in high school, and I rather regret the decision now. I think I had all six Macross novels, the first Masters book (didn’t care for it), the First New generation (loved it), and the first Sentinels. Even back when I was a kid, I always thought Robotech was smarter, darker, better-written, more grown-up, and just cooler than G.I. Joe or Transformers. Heroes died, couples fell in love, and rag-tag bands of rebels got in post-apocalyptic bar fights!

Of course, when I saw some early Macross episodes a few years back, it was disappointing. The animation wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered, and the dialogue was awful. I cringed every time Minmei sang or Captain Gloval exclaimed “Thundering asteroids!”

I still have, buried in my parents’ basement back in the states, my copies of all of the Robotech novels through the first book of Sentinels, plus End of the Circle. Next time I go home (hopefully sometime this year – (T_T), I’ll have to dig those out. I also have copies of two of the Robotech RPG books that Palladium put out. Some of the illustrations in those are hilariously out of scale – like the Veritech cockpit entirely contained in the head of the Battroid!

By the way, Lynn Minmay was a much more sympathetic character in the original Japanese. So much so, in fact, that some Japanese fans are still pissed off that Hikaru didn’t go with her in the end. And then in the Macross movie, she basically got the shaft…

If you’re curious, Mari Iijima (the original voice actress for Minmay) released an album entitled “MARI IIJIMA sings LYNN MINMAY” for the 20th anniversary of Macross three years ago. It’s new versions of the best of the songs she did for the show, and it rocks. Ms. Iijima lives in LA now, and she has a (mostly) English website [url=http://www.marimusic.com]here.*

She also has a couple of albums on the iTunes Music Store. They’re okay.

oops. stupid coding errors…
Corrected link.

I didn’t want that kind of extreme violence to happen to Minmei (or really any character). I always wished that in the initial episode, Rick accidentally crushed her learning how to use his Veritech. Series would have gone much better.

Love it or hate it, Minmei or Lisa, it was* Robotech * that started the Anime Explosion.
Star Blazers, Speed Racer, Gigantor, & even Marine Boy gave us a taste–Robotech kicked the door down.

Voltron helped too!

I wouldn’t say she was much more sypathetic.

Less annoying, with better music, but she’s still a selfish, immature little brat, who jerks Hikaru around, then gets jealous after he finally moves on. (Not that the boy’s any better, himself.)

She comes out worse in Do You Remember Love, although more because Hikaru’s more mature about the whole (non-existant) love triange - not giving her the encouragement he does in the show - than any change in her behaviour.

But…back to Robotech.

For my money, the Invid were the most frightening enemy. The Zentraedi and Masters were too familiar, too much like us. A There But For The Grace of God situation. We could reason with them (potentially). The Invid…not so much,

My favourite characters are

Macross: Max, Roy, Miria, Lisa, and Breetai among the humans and sympathetic Zentraedi, Khyron among the non-sympathetic Zentraedi.

Masters: Dana and Bowie.

New Generation: Lancer/Yellow Dancer…pretty much just him.

Favourite mecha…the Valks. Although the Cyclones are pretty neat, too.

Roy’s death always gets me. So utterly…pathetic. (That’s a good thing, FTR.)

I love the novels. I have most of them. All the Macross and Southern Cross (in 3 book collections), 2/3 New Generation (I lack Invid Invasion), 3/5 Sentinels books (the first 3 collected), and all 3 ‘Lost Generation’ books - Zentraedi Rebelion, The Masters’ Gambit, and End of the Circle. I thought that what was added - the filling out of the nature of Protoculture, Khyron’s addiction to the Flower of Life, the schism within the Invid, the other races - was pretty interesting.

As much as I admire Princess Allura’s leadership skills, & Arus’ desire to have a permanent seat on the UN SEcurity Council, I gotta say that Voltron was not really a standard-setter.
:wink: :smiley: