Vids I Dig 062: Toy Galaxy: The History of ‘Robotech’ (In 4 Parts)

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description (Part 1: Harmony Gold & The Birth of ‘Robotech’): On this episode we dive into the very messy history of Robotech.

A mash-up of 3 different Japanese animated shows imported to the US at a time when Transformers were just rolling out and Hasbro was looking to license any robots they could find, this caused some problems for Harmony Gold, the company behind Robotech.

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description (Part 2: The Movie, A Lawsuit & Government Trouble): Picking up where Volume 1 left off this is the History of Robotech volume 2.

This episode covers Harmony Gold’s efforts to get a Robotech movie into theaters with the help of Cannon Films and their efforts to create a season 2 of Robotech with all new animation.

Unfortunately, the governments of the world didn’t care about any of that.

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description (Part 3: Games, Comics & Licensing Nonsense): It’s the history of Robotech volume 3 as we continue on.

Harmony Gold starts to really enforce its license and Dan explores the Robotech RPG, all of the Robotech comics from all of the various publishers and the series of Robotech novels and talks about where they fit in the larger Robotech canon.

From Toy Galaxy’s YouTube description (Part 4: Lots of Lawsuits, Failed Kickstarters & the Future): The history of Robotech is very complicated. It is littered with failed projects, like Robotech Academy, Mars Force and Palladium Book Robotech RPG Tactics, and lots of lawsuits.

Lawsuits involving Battletech, Piranha Games, Hairbrained Schemes, Hasbro and more.

And a confusing spaghetti of rights involving Harmony Gold, Tatsunoko, Big West, Studio Nue, Battletech, Hasbro and others.

We do our best to tell that story.

TV Review: Robotech: New Generation (1985)

Original Run: started syndication on March 4th, 1985
Created by: Carl Macek
Directed by: Robert V. Barron
Written by: Carl Macek, Steve Kramer, Greg Snegoff
Based on: Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (Japanese anime)
Music by: Ulpio Minucci

Harmony Gold, Tatsunoko Production, 25 Episodes, 25 Minutes (per episode)

robotech-new-generationReview:

While New Generation isn’t the best Robotech chapter, it is still pretty solid and almost as enjoyable as the first act in the trilogy The Macross Saga.

Where The Masters was a bit of a step down from the quality of The Macross Saga, this series was a return to form, had better pacing, more likable and enjoyable characters and felt like it fit in better with the overall Robotech mythos. We also get the return of the iconic Veritech fighter jets, which The Masters was missing.

Now each of the three series in the Robotech franchise were actually three completely different and unrelated series in Japan that were edited and dubbed in English to fit nicely under the Robotech banner. This series and The Macross Saga truly feel related.

This series is well-written, well-animated and on its own, one of the best animated series of all-time.

It also challenges societal norms, especially for the time. As a kid, I didn’t pay much attention to these things but for a kids show it went against political correctness in that it featured a cross-dressing hero/pop star, as well as a preteen girl who was horny as hell and trying to bang every piece of male meat that walked on screen. I’m surprised my Christian mother didn’t have a shit fit or maybe she just wasn’t paying attention. Then again, maybe animation can slip things under the radar that other entertainment mediums cannot.

New Generation is a great bookend with The Macross Saga and it does a good job of bringing the overall story arc over three individual series to a good close.

Rating: 8/10

TV Review: Robotech: The Masters (1985)

Original Run: started syndication on March 4th, 1985
Created by: Carl Macek
Directed by: Robert V. Barron
Written by: Carl Macek, Steve Kramer, Greg Snegoff
Based on: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (Japanese anime)
Music by: Ulpio Minucci

Harmony Gold, Tatsunoko Production, 24 Episodes, 25 Minutes (per episode)

robotech-the-mastersReview:

The Masters is the second part of the three series that made up the original English language Robotech television show.

This show takes place some time after the events of The Macross Saga and it follows the journey of Dana Sterling and her friends. Dana is the daughter of the characters Max Sterling and Miriya Parina from The Macross Saga. She appeared in that show as an infant and is a character of historical significance within the show, as she is the first child born from a human and alien parent. The Masters shows the evolution of our human-Zentradi hero, as she goes from military screw up to bad ass galactic protector.

The antagonist of this series is the race known as the Masters. They were introduced at the end of The Macross Saga, as they decided to make the long journey to Earth in order to reclaim the protoculture that was a part of the SDF-1 (the now destroyed alien battleship from The Macross Saga). In the end, the Flower of Life blooms at the protoculture site and it summons the Invid to Earth, which are the alien race that become the antagonists of the third and final Robotech series New Generation.

While this series ties the whole franchise together, I find it to be the weakest installment of the three. It is still interesting and better than the vast majority of animated shows from its era but it is hard to top The Macross Saga and the New Generation series is more engaging and just feels a lot more epic than the smaller world explored in The Masters.

To be honest, if this wasn’t a part of the Robotech trilogy of series, I would have enjoyed it but I probably wouldn’t revisit it. Every few years or so, when I want to binge watch the Robotech franchise, I see this as that necessary low-point that I have to power through as the other parts are more superior overall.

Rating: 6/10

TV Review: Robotech: The Macross Saga (1985)

Original Run: started syndication on March 4th, 1985
Created by: Carl Macek
Directed by: Robert V. Barron
Written by: Carl Macek, Steve Kramer, Greg Snegoff
Based on: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (Japanese anime)
Music by: Ulpio Minucci

Harmony Gold, Tatsunoko Production, 36 Episodes, 25 Minutes (per episode)

robotech-macross-sagaReview:

Robotech is probably the best anime series of all-time, at least in my eyes. It is what introduced me to the style, which became a genre that I watched pretty obsessively throughout my teen years.

The mid-80s television series Robotech is actually made up of three separate series. The first part of the trilogy is The Macross Saga, which I just revisited for the first time in a few years.

Once again, I was transported to the awesome world of Macross Island and the SDF-1. That’s where the heroes live. They also fly Veritech fighters (space jets that transform into robots) to protect themselves from the giant alien Zentradi warriors who are invading Earth.

The overall story makes this one of the best series ever written and not just in anime but television as a whole. It is beyond epic, covers a lot of ground and for an animated series, truly shows a depth and growth in characters unlike anything else that was out at the time. Comparing the character development and human emotion of this show to G.I. Joe, Transformers or Voltron is almost unfair, as Robotech stands above all others as not just some kiddie cartoon made to sell toys.

And while mentioning those other shows, Robotech is like a mixture of the best parts of all of them. It has the G.I. Joe vibe with the military, soldiers and their camaraderie in battle. It has the Transformers vibe with vehicles that turn to robots and evil giants from space. It has the Voltron vibe, as once again, it has robots, camaraderie between the heroes and in this instance, is also an original Japanese animated series. Robotech is a perfect marriage of all the things young boys wanted in the 1980s and it does it better than all the other shows.

Further comparing it to the competition of the time, the art is stellar. The use of color, the character design, the fluidity of the robots transformations and the intensity of the action makes this series the standard that all other 80s animated series should be judged against.

Plus the music is friggin’ stellar! Well, except for when Minmay sings.

Fun fact time! Something I just found out, while researching the people who worked on this show, is that the American show runner a.k.a. the supervising director was a gentleman named Robert Barron. Well, Robert Barron is also the name of the actor who played Abraham Lincoln in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Yes, they are the same man. Nerd boner, engaged.

Rating: 10/10