So, What is Robotech, anyway?

Well, Robotech is a cartoon series that premiered in America in 1986. It was produced by a company called Harmony Gold. The story was devised by a man named Carl Macek. He took the episodes of three japanese animated TV shows that Harmony Gold had the American rights to(Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Fortress Southern Cross, and Genisis Climber M.O.S.P.E.D.A.) These three shows were unrelated, except for Marcoss and Southern Cross being part of the 'Super Dimension' trilogy of shows(along with Super Dimension Century Orguss), which shared somewhat similar mecha designs, and were run in the same timeslot on Japanese TV, one after another. The only real crossover between the shows was the use of the term GERWALK in Macross and Orguss.

Macek and Harmony Gold needed a TV show that would be able to be shown in a syndication slot, which meant a minimum of 65 episodes. However, Macross was 36 episodes, Southern Cross 23, and M.O.S.P.E.D.A was 25 episodes long. Any two was too short, but the three together were the right length. Macek developed a plot that would link the three shows together, taken from the Macross backplot. The mythic Protoculture.

In Macross, protoculture was the first race to gain sentience, much like Lorien's people on Babylon 5. they created the Zentraedi to be their warriors, and died out thousands of years ago, leaving the Zentraedi still fighting. In Robotech, Protoculture became a power source, more powerful than nuclear fusion, and safer than antimatter reactions. the zentraedi stayed as an artificially created warrior race, but instead became the warriors of the Robotech Masters, humaniod aliens who mastered the protoculture.

Robotech's plot went as followed. The show was divided into three sections, labeled differentlyin various places. These are:

  • First Generation, or the Macross Saga(based on macross)
  • Second Generation, Robotech Masters, or Southern Cross(Based on Southern Cross)
  • Third Generation, New Generation, or Invid Invasion(based on M.O.S.P.E.D.A.)

    The plot went thusly: On a planet called Tirol, a scientist named Zor was researching a power source that used potential energy in plants as a source. He took part in a scientific voyage through space, one planet that was visited being Optera. optera was home to a race called the Invid. Zor communicated with them and learned of their flower of life, which had great potential for his work. With a few seeds, he created protoculture, ans amazing power source that had other properties. This was used to usher in a golden age on Tirol. A new science, called Robotechnology was created. This gave the Tiroleans near instananeous space travel, amazing weapons, and machines called mecha, that were extremely versatile, and humanoid in shape. Zor also created a race of beings called the Zentraedi, giants who could mine the monopole ores of the superdense planed Valivarre, that Tirol orbited.

    This golden age, however, did not last. A military coup left the Robotech Masters, a group of three men, in charge on Tirol. they ordered the Zentraedi reprogrammed to act as warriors, and outfitted the with warships and fighting mecha. Then they sent Zor to Optera to take all the flowers of life they could, and then to Raze the planet to the ground.

    Zor obeyed, but began a subtle rebellion. He turned some zentraedi against the Masters, and obtained a ship, the Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, which he turned into a seding ship. From this ship, he spread seeds of the flowers of life to planets across the galaxy, in order to apologise to the Invid, which he would then relocate to one of these worlds. The Invid, however, had plans of their own, and raised a massive army and attacked the Masters empire. On one of his seeding missions, the Invid caught up with Zor, and killed him. His ship then folded(made a faster than light journey) to a small planet he'd seen in a dream, our planet.

    This is where Robotech begins. In 1999, Zor's ship crashes on earth, causing untold damage. There is a world wide war, known as the global civil war, taking place, which ends when the ship is investigated. Over the next ten years, humanity rebuilds, using the technology on the ship to make a fleet of ships and mighty war mecha to defend themselves from the aliens, who they believe to be returning for their lost ship. Ten years later, as the Macross is refit for humans and about to launch, the aliens arrive, starting a war of epic proportions.

    The Macross saga followed this war, as well as focussing on the lives of the humans and aliens that fought in it. The main story arc was about the love triangle between Rick Hunter, a young pilot in the human forces, Lisa Hayes, the Macross's first officer, and Lynn Minmei, a young pop star on the ship. As the battles rage across the solar system, the Zentraedi encounter human culture, which turns out to be more potent a weapon than all the guns in the universe...

    Southern Cross took up the tale sixteen years after the end of Macross. The heroes of the First Robotech War have left earth in a desperate attempt to stop the Robotech Masters coming to earth for the technology stored in the SDF-1. The SDF-1 contains the last Protoculture Matrix, a protoculture generator, but was destroyed at the close of Macross, and interred in a massive mound, along with the remains of the SDF-2 and the ship that destroyed them both. Dana Sterling, half-human, half-zentraedi daughter of Max and Myria Sterling from Macross, has just graduated from academy, and is assigned to a Hovertank squad. Shortly after, the Robotech Masters arrive at earth, and a devastating war between the humans and masters breaks out.

    The New Generation is set somewhere between three and fifteen years after the Masters atack. Earth has been conquered by the Invid, and Rick Hunter has sent a force back to earth to liberate it. However, they are wiped out before they reach the planet and only a few pilots survive. The series follows Scott Bernard and the resitance group he forms as they travel across America to attack the Invid's central base. At the close of the series, the remainder of the Human forces arrive from Tirol to save the planet, but they are wiped out by the Invid as they leave earth. The survivors discover that the SDF-3 commanded by Rick Hunter, is missing and Scott sets out to find them.

    Following this, Robotech II: The Sentinels was planned, which would be set between Macross and Southern Cross, and tell the tale of the SDF-3 and her crew, as they traveled to Tirol and encountered the Invid, and many other races. Only three episodes were made before it fell through, though. After that, Robotech III: The Oddessy would have been the final chapter in the sotry, about Scott's search for the SDF-3. The two sequel series were to have been completley original, rather than reworked from another source. The three series of Robotech were novelised by Jack McKinney(a pseudonym used by authors Brian Daley and James Luceno) over twelve volumes, and the success of these prompted novels of the Sentinels(5 books). Following this, "The End of the Circle", a novel that covered the same ground as Robotech III would have, but was quite different to Carl Macek's concepts. Eventually, a further three novels were added, which filled in gaps between Macross and Sentinels, Sentinels and Southern Cross, and Southern Cross and Invid Invasion. These books brought the total of Robotech Novels to twenty one.

    On top of the novels, there were also Robotech Comics. Originally published by Comico Comics, these were very juvenile adaptations of the TV show, with bad art. After these had run their course, Eternity comics took over, and published a series based on Sentinels. Later they published The Malcontent Uprisings, about Zentraedi Rebels fighting on Earth, Cyberpirates, about a plot to control mecha by remote control, Invid War, about other resistance groups in the Invid Invasion, The Sentinels Databook, which gave information about the mecha and characters of Sentinels, Genesis, which told the story of Zor, Retunr to Macross, about the refitting of the SDF-1 in 2005, and the Zentraedi searching for it, and Invid War Aftermath, which followed the cast of Invid Invasion ten years after the war, as they try to rebuild society without advanced protoculture technology.

    In 1994, Eternity closed down as their parent company, Malibu comics, decided to concentrate on superhero titles, and Academy Comics took over. They kept Aftermath, Sentinels, and Return to Macross, the three titles being published at the time, and also added other titles, coming and going from time to time, but on average, 4-6 Robotech comics were published each month. The new titles were Warriors, about the Zentraedi, Clone, the subject of this site, Mechangel, about a Zentraedi bounty hunter, Academy Blues, about cadets in the Return to Macross era, and a large number of other one shots and limited series, such as Worlds of Robotech, one shots based on Worlds seen in Sentinels, Destroid/Macross missions, about Mecha teams aboard Macross, and a whole bunch set in the Return to Macross/Warriors era.

    Currently, Robotech comics are published by Antartic Press. A bimonthly antholigy called simply "Robotech" contains side stories set in any given era. Also they have published a large number of miniseries and one shots. The stories and artwork are quite variable, but are sadly not generally available in Ireland. I have in total six or seven Antartic Press Robotech titles, compared to most of the Academy issues. Oh well.

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