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Old 2015-12-29, 10:33 PM   #1
Heinrad
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So not too long ago, I found the complete set of Robotech(I think it's basically a 25th Anniversary set, just not branded as such), and as I'm on vacation this week, I figured I'd binge-watch it.

Or, as we used to call it in the old days, Death by Robotech.

It isn't quite what I was expecting.

I had thought, when I got it, that it was a rerelease of the ADV remastered edition, and Harmony Gold just threw together a big making of documentary(I still like that Steve Kramer, one of the script editors/voice actors, refers to Robotech as, 'that time Carl Macek tried to kill me'. Given the hours they pulled, it's surprisingly accurate). It's not.

It might be better to refer to it as the Harmony Gold Remastered Edition. For good or ill. Apparently, what they did, at least for The Macross Saga, is put all of Super Dimentional Fortress Macross back in. The vocal and music tracks are Robotech, but they've redone the sound effects. The gun pods have gone from sounding like miniguns to sounding like machine guns. And Fokker has a poster of a topless girl in his quarters. Not surprising, but it's the little edits you don't realize were done that kind of get you.

And if anybody's wondering, every time Minmay sings, I have to fight down the urge to stab myself in the ears to make the pain stop. Although after watching the documentary, it's not Reba West's fault.

Oh, sweet Primus, why did they put the bloody commercial bumpers back in? It's endearing on Transformers, but very annoying here.

I'm wondering how they handled Southern Cross. They mentioned in the documentary that when it aired in Japan, Southern Cross bombed badly enough in the ratings that they pulled it before they finished it.

I guess I'll find out when I get to it.
 

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Old 2015-12-30, 06:04 PM   #2
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Robotech: The First War (aka Macross) is the best the series gets too. While Minmay's singing won't win any awards she does an OK job IMHO. I can tolerate it namely because she doesn't really sing all that much. The Rick/Lisa/Minmay love triangle gets kind of silly at times and Rick does act like a complete and total dumbass towards Lisa but the resolution works mostly. The rest of the major characters are surprising well written and the deaths of Roy and Ben in back-to-back episodes was shocking back in the day. The animation is good for the most part. Although IMHO the dogfight at the end of Macross Plus is the greatest dogfight in animation or live action.

Robotech: The Second War (aka The Masters or Southern Cross) is the weakest part some of this due to the lead character Dana Sterling is all over the map as a character, she acts times like a spoiled brat, other times she acts like a lovesick schoolgirl, a hardass leader, and so on. Her second in command Bowie Grant is equally stupid. The hover tanks are cool design but the rest of mecha are stupid looking. Part of the problem is that the original Japanese show took place on a different planet with 2 moons or suns (I don't remember which). The rest of cast is pretty forgettable.

Robotech: The Third War (aka The New Generation or Mospedia) is actually pretty good once it's get going. The Earth is conquered by the aliens a group of space born Robotech defenders have come to liberate but the aliens blow them up except for one man Scott Berard who has never stepped on Earth and must build a force to pave the way for a full scale war with a Human armada armed with new tech form the Shadows. Along the way Scott falls in love with Invid spy who looks like his dead girlfriend. Lancer/Yellow Dancer is a pretty daring for it's time but seems dated now of days. The mecha are a major improvement over the second war but the jets aren't as cool from the first war.

Robotech II: The Sentinels was originally to be an new series explaining what happened to Rick Hunter and the crew of the SDF-3 sadly a series of events happened and only a few episodes got made and they were complied into a movie with footage from the show with some new dialogue added. Basically Rick and Lisa get married, and the Invid invade and destroy the homeworld of the Robotech Masters where only the old and sick and those who couldn't make the trip to Earth are at, while the rest of the Masters were on their way to Earth. It is one of those you wish that would have gone to series and/or was finished properly in animation.

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is a recent movie that picks up where the 3rd War ends showing the final battle between the RDF and the Invid from a new POV and we meet new characters and a cameo of Rick Hunter and we learn what happened to him the movie ends where the RDF learns that the aliens that gave them their Shadow tech are actually out to destroy all races that use Protoculture (the fuel for all the various mecha) for reasons of their own. Some great character animation but the CGI ship and mecha don't work very well and the stupid reveal that the SDF-3 is still out there and a new crew must find it because it has the last Protoculture generator in the universe and they need it to make fuel comes out of no where and is there to set up a sequel. They make a big deal out of Mark Hamill being a new human hero character too bad he gets killed off in the final battle with the Invid and does one of the voices the aliens who gets blown up at the end. Chase Masterson from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gets a better part and she sings some of the old Minmay and/or Lancer songs and does pretty well with it.
 



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Last edited by Cyberstrike nTo; 2015-12-30 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 2015-12-31, 06:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinrad View Post
I'm wondering how they handled Southern Cross. They mentioned in the documentary that when it aired in Japan, Southern Cross bombed badly enough in the ratings that they pulled it before they finished it.
Having actually seen that one, I can see why.

It might actually have a lot more to do with the bland mech designs though, since the model kit and toy manufacturers are/were major sponsors for this type of series, so I can only imagine that nobody wanted the merchandise and the show got canned due to poor sales.
 
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Old 2016-01-01, 06:30 AM   #4
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As I'm now into Southern Cross, or Robotech: The Masters as they call it, I can say that they do seem to have gotten the original footage back in(either that, or Standards and Practicies didn't give a rip about syndicated kids shows back in the '80s. I've seen so many nude shots of Dana Sterling, what should be a fun surprise is just m'eh. Grief, woman, leave your shower cubicle alone for a couple of episodes! The creepy part is the character in Southern Cross is only 17), but it also looks like they left the episode "Dana's Story" intact.

The main reason Dana's personality seems to be all over the place is because they stuck to the character from Southern Cross, although from what I've read, the Army of the Southern Cross(or whatever they're called in the original) would much rather be rid of her.

I will say this for The Second Generation, it moves along at a good clip. They were doing their best with what they had available. Southern Cross was the third of the Super Dimension trilogy after Macross and Orguss, and the least popular. I've tried watching the original Southern Cross, and I think Robotech made it far more interesting.

Still a bit of a slog, though.

As for why Minmay's singing causes me pain? There's actually two reasons. One, it feels like every time the show goes "And now, here's a new song from Lynn Minmay!", it seems like it's always bloody

STAGE-FRIGHT, GO 'WAY!

I know she sings more songs. I really do. But Grud on a BIKE, her song library is awfully small. Just to prove I'm a masochist, I've got the Perfect Collection soundtrack and am planning on buying the bundled 25th and 30th Anniversary soundtracks(a whole extra soundtrack for a penny more? Why not?).

Which brings us to the second reason. And one of the Second Generation episodes really drove it home. With the exception of Michael Bradley, who sang all of Yellow Dancer's songs, whoever was doing the locating of singing talent must have been the genius who put the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's android glee club together. While I don't think Reba West and Ken Hayes are a complete flat fifth out of tune, they are a little flat. Well, okay, in Ken Hayes' case, if his goal was to sound like a bad '70s lounge singer, he pulls it off beautifully. In Minmay's case, it sounds like the intent was for, say, a second soprano instead of a first alto.

But I'll cut her a lot of slack. Trying to belt out the greatest hits of Minmay at 2 in the morning after regular stage performances because Harmony Gold wasn't set up with the voice actors union proves she's a trooper.

Her duet with Sunny Hilden for Sentinels, though, is great.

Speaking to that, I wonder how long it took the union to figure out who was doing what. I think(don't hold me to this), if the voice actor wasn't in the union, they used their real names. But the voices we all recognize, say a certain dual katana wielding turtle of the teenage mutant ninja variety for example, definately used pseudonyms. I wonder if the union ever fined them.......
 

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Old 2016-01-01, 10:47 PM   #5
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So the show has hit an interesting hiccup. Louie's just developed the "pupil-pistol" targeting system, which was, according to the dialogue, intended to help with training recruits, and yet when military R&D gets ahold of it and incorporates it into the hover tank targeting systems(and presumably all available mecha targeting systems), Louie goes off the deep end and Dana gets all incensed over it because this training tool is a weapon of murder.

Now, part of me is wondering why the complaint is being made. Using a sure fire hit system to train recruits isn't going to work, because the recruits will wind up depending on it too much through training. Not only that, but if the concern is that clone lives matter, then why develop the bloody thing in the first place? Or be surprised when it gets co-opted for frontline use?

Never mind being so torn up over the whole thing that Louie's willing to torch his Hovertank when he discovers it. And a few hours later, Louie's back to his old self.

If we actually look at what's going on in the animation, the whole mess starts in a video arcade, with Dana making a bet with Louie as to whether or not he can beat her high score. Louie hops in the pod and almost immediately dies in the game. He then builds his "pupil-pistol" and both he and Dana, after spending several hours modifying the machine to work with it, have lots of fun blasting the enemies in the game. A couple of guys start talking to them, asking if they can examine what they did, and the inevitable shock-horror of taking what's meant to be a toy and modifying it for war.

I think what's most glaring here, at least to me, is the fact that they're both so surprised this happened, in either version, and they both get over it so fast. Yes, it drives home the unintended consequences bit, but I don't know about Southern Cross, but from the looks of things, in Robotech, it's only the 15th ATAC, and even then only a few members of it, that are concerned with not killing the clones.

Actually, it's a bit worse for Southern Cross, because the Bioroid pilots are actually captured and brainwashed humans from what I've read, but again, only Bowie, Jeanette(Dana), and Louie seem to care.

I don't know. All I do know is that Masters just doesn't flow well. It goes by quick, but if you think about it, it makes your head hurt.
 

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Old 2016-01-02, 03:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
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So the show has hit an interesting hiccup. Louie's just developed the "pupil-pistol" targeting system, which was, according to the dialogue, intended to help with training recruits, and yet when military R&D gets ahold of it and incorporates it into the hover tank targeting systems(and presumably all available mecha targeting systems), Louie goes off the deep end and Dana gets all incensed over it because this training tool is a weapon of murder.

Now, part of me is wondering why the complaint is being made. Using a sure fire hit system to train recruits isn't going to work, because the recruits will wind up depending on it too much through training. Not only that, but if the concern is that clone lives matter, then why develop the bloody thing in the first place? Or be surprised when it gets co-opted for frontline use?

Never mind being so torn up over the whole thing that Louie's willing to torch his Hovertank when he discovers it. And a few hours later, Louie's back to his old self.

If we actually look at what's going on in the animation, the whole mess starts in a video arcade, with Dana making a bet with Louie as to whether or not he can beat her high score. Louie hops in the pod and almost immediately dies in the game. He then builds his "pupil-pistol" and both he and Dana, after spending several hours modifying the machine to work with it, have lots of fun blasting the enemies in the game. A couple of guys start talking to them, asking if they can examine what they did, and the inevitable shock-horror of taking what's meant to be a toy and modifying it for war.

I think what's most glaring here, at least to me, is the fact that they're both so surprised this happened, in either version, and they both get over it so fast. Yes, it drives home the unintended consequences bit, but I don't know about Southern Cross, but from the looks of things, in Robotech, it's only the 15th ATAC, and even then only a few members of it, that are concerned with not killing the clones.

Actually, it's a bit worse for Southern Cross, because the Bioroid pilots are actually captured and brainwashed humans from what I've read, but again, only Bowie, Jeanette(Dana), and Louie seem to care.

I don't know. All I do know is that Masters just doesn't flow well. It goes by quick, but if you think about it, it makes your head hurt.
Masters is the weakest chapter in the Robotech saga because Southern Cross wasn't a good series to begin with. The New Generation has a slow start but once the team is gathered it feels more like it's in the same universe as Macross than Masters/Southern Cross ever did.
 



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Old 2016-01-02, 05:31 PM   #7
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I think what's most glaring here for me is the fact that in the books(which I read a lot more than I watched the show), Daley and Luceno managed to have Second Generation actually make sense. It still wasn't great by any stretch, but everything flowed and at least made some kind of sense.

I think I do now understand something Harmony Gold did a few years ago. The only things in Robotech that are now canon is the TV series, and Shadow Chronicles. Everything else is Expanded Universe. Pity. Return to Macross was a good comic. Having to tie everything in would just get confusing, really fast. And it allows them to actually(if they get the funding and somebody with the vision) expand the series with more TV shows.

Not too likely to happen at this point, sadly. Although trying to fit Macross 7 in might be fun. People liked Max and Miriya. Or Macross Frontier. Maybe do a deal with Cartoon Network?

Ah, well. One more disc and then I'm into Third Generation. Things will become normal for all.... Except for Rand. Poor bastard.
 

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Old 2016-01-03, 12:53 AM   #8
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Well, I survived the end of Masters, and am now into New Generation. What a relief.

This does bring up a question I've long had, though. Where do they keep finding missile reloads for the Alpha? If they've got enough problems finding protoculture, how can they keep finding missile reloads for the Alpha?
 

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Old 2016-01-03, 02:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I think what's most glaring here for me is the fact that in the books(which I read a lot more than I watched the show), Daley and Luceno managed to have Second Generation actually make sense. It still wasn't great by any stretch, but everything flowed and at least made some kind of sense.

I think I do now understand something Harmony Gold did a few years ago. The only things in Robotech that are now canon is the TV series, and Shadow Chronicles. Everything else is Expanded Universe. Pity. Return to Macross was a good comic. Having to tie everything in would just get confusing, really fast. And it allows them to actually(if they get the funding and somebody with the vision) expand the series with more TV shows.

Not too likely to happen at this point, sadly. Although trying to fit Macross 7 in might be fun. People liked Max and Miriya. Or Macross Frontier. Maybe do a deal with Cartoon Network?

Ah, well. One more disc and then I'm into Third Generation. Things will become normal for all.... Except for Rand. Poor bastard.
I wouldn't count on seeing any of the other Macross shows, OVAs, movies ever make it into Robotech because what I've read Big West Productions, the company that holds the rights to Macross in Japan really don't like HG and/or vice versa. Some of it stems from a legal dispute over the rights with the animation studio who did the original Macross series, the studio thought they owned the rights and they signed the deal with HG and after BW was awarded ownership of the brand they didn't like how HG got the rights and reworked the series into a completely another series. Some have also speculated that some of this might have been prevented if HG had just acknowledged they got the rights from the wrong company. Either way IMHO both companies have acted like big babies and lost more than gained and it was fans that really lost. It got real petty when BW wanted to release some toys from Macross Plus in the States and HG got an injunction to stop them due to the logo looking to much like their logo or something. HG has also been reported has stopped any other companies from releasing the various other Macross series on DVD after Macross II: The Movie and Macross Plus OVA and Movie were hits for the now defunct Manga Video. Big West has also been reported making it hard HG to go to any of the major Japanese animation companies to get new Robotech animation made. The director of Shadow Chronicles reportedly wanted to adapt the Macross Zero OVA into the Robotech series but both companies said no.

Harmony Gold also has not been very good and/or lucky at lineceing Robotech either. As a comic book it's jumped to so many small independent publishers that when DC/Wildstorm picked it up trying to collect all of it was next to impossible. I will say that the 5 part Robotech: Prelude to The Shadow Chronicles mini-series was very good and IMHO better than the movie in some respects due to it focusing on Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, and the crew of the SDF-3 battling a renegade RDF officer and tieing up a lot of the lose ends from Sentinals the scene where Rick learns learns that Lisa lost their baby in the attack is one of the most heart-breaking scenes I've seen in comics. Outside of a recent Robotech/Voltron crossover (that some said was pretty awful) mini-series from Dynamite there hasn't been a Robotech comic since the PttSC. They finally get Carl Macek to come back and he dies a few months later. They get 2 decent video games made on the first Xbox and PS2 and haven't bothered to even try get a new one made. The Robotech website got hacked and is rebooted as one most generic and bland sites and what really sucks is that moved their online community to sludge pits known as Facebook and Twitter. They have had a live action movie deal in development hell at Sony Pictures.

Other than the sales of the original Robotech series on DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs, and their toy deal (which is really relies very heavily on the mecha to sustain it and is sold only at online stores and LCS) it's a miracle that HG is still in business.
 



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Old 2016-01-03, 06:23 PM   #10
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I know there was a big fight in the Japanese courts between Big West and Tatsunoko over international release rights, and part of the ensuing fallout over various enthusiastic pursuits of claim by Harmony Gold, that FASA lost the rights to all of the mech designs from the different series they'd taken them from(sucked for us Shadow Hawk, Phoenix Hawk, and Goliath users, not so much for the Ostroc, Ostol, and Ostscout users. Good grief, those were ugly.), so technically, all Harmony Gold now owns is Robotech.

I think what Harmony Gold was complaining about was the U.N. Spacy/RDF delta kite logo, which would be the only thing Robotech would have in common with Macross Plus. Well, that and the VF-1J that pops up in the paintball Hogan's Alley test range.

That could be another reason why they've made only what's been officially released as Robotech animation as main canon. It can't get taken away from them. The down side, of course, being that the most popular piece is Macross, and in terms of overall story, Macross is a closed loop to them. Unless they can find some kind of way to make a deal with anybody from Tatsunoko(although I think Big West won the lawsuit), they can only go on from New Generation, which seems to keep falling flat. They made Shadow Chronicles, but where's the rest?

I have heard that at one point, somebody did try to get Macross 7 brought over here. The big headache was getting the music rights sorted out, which lead to them giving up.
 

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Old 2016-01-04, 09:35 AM   #11
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Last I heard, the licensing deal for Macross 7 was completely bonkers - like whoever wants to distribute it outside Japan would also have to buy the entire discography of it's fictional band which, if I'm not hopefully remembering too far off, consists of 16 records.

...plus everything Cyberstrike already said. I understand Harmony Gold actually deals primarily in real estate business now which makes them a lot more money than Robotech does, but also allows them to go around suing people over it. They're practically just copyright trolls at this point.
 
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Old 2016-01-06, 01:58 PM   #12
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Last I heard, the licensing deal for Macross 7 was completely bonkers - like whoever wants to distribute it outside Japan would also have to buy the entire discography of it's fictional band which, if I'm not hopefully remembering too far off, consists of 16 records.

...plus everything Cyberstrike already said. I understand Harmony Gold actually deals primarily in real estate business now which makes them a lot more money than Robotech does, but also allows them to go around suing people over it. They're practically just copyright trolls at this point.
That might have been one of the reasons why HG only did what 2 songs in the original Robotech series was the legal issues and hassles, not to mention all the various technical issues (writing the lyrics, studio rental, lip-syncing, etc).

I was watching Macross II: The Movie last night I did notice that all the songs are in Japanese (or in-movie alien language) except the last one and only the second half of it is in English.
 



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