Robotech was before my time. I was born in the year 1993, Robotech came out in the year 1985. This was the cartoon for my father, the giant science-fiction loving nerd that he is (love ya dad). I know I make it sound more dramatic than it is, after all it was only 8 years old by the time I was born, but I never saw an episode of this show until last year. I consider myself a love of Japanese anime and I knew that Robotech was one of the gateway series that introduced anime to West along with the likes of Battle of the Planets. So last year I found myself a ADV boxset of Robotech: The Macross Saga at my local Rasputin's used music and video store and gave the series a watch to see if it still held up to the standards of a different generation. Then I ended up buying a Robotech: The Masters boxset when it coincidentally showed up at the same store. Then I ended up getting the A&E DVD release of Robotech: The New Generation.
Needless to say, I was hooked.
The series was equal parts world-building, character developing and badass mecha action. I love how Rick Hunter didn't stay a cocky fighter ace and actually had to grow up as the war against the Zentraedi escalated. He would lose many fellow pilots, perhaps most tragically those of Ben Dixon and Roy Fokker. After the main war was over, Rick found himself elevated into a major leadership role as he oversees the integration of the Zentraedi into human society and eventual pursuit of the Robotech Masters.
Rick also had to balance his duties as a pilot and those of a lover in a stunningly interesting love circle with rising pop star Lynn Minmay and Lisa Hayes. Him eventually picking Lisa was a shock in and of itself, but I feel they really developed it right and didn't just rush into it. There were ups and downs in his relationship with both Minmay and Hayes, you know, like a real relationship.
That isn't to say I felt the other characters were second-rate, it seemed like everybody got enough development. We got to see Minmay start as ditzy girl living on Macross Island and rising up to become a popular pop star and symbol of hope for humanity during their darkest days. Admiral Gloval and the crew of the SDF-1 become familiar characters with their own personalities in their own right throughout the series. Max Sterling and Miriya's relationship, though incredibly rushed, represented one of the best things I love seeing in sci-fi, the connecting of two cultures that DOESN'T involve bloodshed.
As for Robotech: The Masters and New Generation, I felt they were also great additions to the series, but New Generation is still my favorite of the entire series. I loved the antics of The Master's Squad 15 and the exploration of the Robotech Masters and Protoculture, but the continental adventures of Scott Bernard and Company took the cake. I will say, however, that the spliced-together nature of the show began to show during these two seasons, more notably in New Generation. I remember the narrator mentioning the wreckage of Zentraedi battlepods and battleroids serving as reminders of the battles waged in a city that the case of New Generation arrived in, but I saw no Zentraedi battlepods.
All things considered, I think Robotech still holds up pretty well for someone like myself. I'm used to the flashy, vibrant animes of today, but Robotech still has a style I find appealing and enough content and depth to compliment it. So if you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do so. It is one of those series that shouldn't be missed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some Super Dimensional Calvary: Southern Cross to watch.