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Monday 3 February 2014

Robotech Pt. 1

The late 80's was for a few of us the very start of pen-pals becoming a UK Anime Fandom, with the help of many different American animation fan-clubs. With so little in the way of cartoon series on our meager 4 terrestrial Television channels (and Satellite TV was out of reach of so many); that SF Geeks could follow, even such shows as 'Battle of the Planets' and 'G-Force', 'Ulysses 31' (that later would be know as Anime) were episodic in nature, story arcs, sub-plots, and character development were practically non-existent for what was essentially a kids TV cartoon shows.

[NOTE: ROBOTECH was shown on a cable & satellite TV channel called 'Premiere' in 1986 onwards (also known as 'Mirrorvision' from 1985) in the England, at 4.30pm to 5.45pm. (the after school slot). You can find a link to the 1986 'Premiere' channel preview at .]

[NOTE: 'Premiere' was the original pioneer in broadcasting subscription premium movies, and to view the channel via satellite you would have needed some expensive equipment and a satellite dish of around 1.5 metres in size! It's largest audience was via Cable TV. ( I have yet to fine the full extent of its broadcast subscription area) -]

[NOTE: Alan Russell Wrote on the 22nd of March 1990 telling me that “ Premiere HAVE SCREED BOTH 'THE Macross Saga' and 'Masters', but not 'New Generation' which as far as I know is unshown over here.” & “ROBOTECH itself does have of course have quite a following in the UK and has been shown on Satellite and Cable courtesy of 'Premiere' and the Super channel”. This may have been more to the south of England as I had not heard or see it in the Midlands in the 80's. - The Premiere channel shut down in July 1989).]

[NOTE: Other Cable & satellite channels such as the 'Super Channel' launched its opening night on January 30th 1987 (the station was taken over by American broadcaster NBC in 1993) that I've been told that it to showed ROBOTECH. - but I can not find any more information at this time.]

The 'Robotech' franchise with all its merchandise had gradually filtered down to the UK, to its hobby shops and comic-book outlets, and toy shops with it came one of our main sources of information on Anime. Little by little we learned about how the Japanese animated TV series 'Super dimensional fortress Macross' was reborn and remoulded as the first saga of a generational story arc for an American audience under the title Robotech.

[Note: The irrational dislike or hatred of spiders and snakes is at some point a learnt response, so In that vein I will add 'Robotech' & the man most closely associated with it 'Carl Macek' be given a fair hearing and for you the reader an open mind. From my own point of view the Anime series 'Macross', that inspired the start of an American cartoon franchise 'Robotech', that still fuels the debate to this day, on how to edit and dub Japanese animation for a mainstream Western\English speaking audience, more so than the Dub Vs Sub debate.]

[Note: I will centre on the first Robotech saga 'Macross' as it was the least altered from its Anime counterpart.]
'Super dimensional fortress Macross' aired in Japan in 1982 and ran for 36 episodes was the brainchild of Shoji Kawamori together with the talents of Kazutaka Miyatake and Shoji Kawamori from of Studio Nue designing the iconic Mecha, and character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto from the Artland animation studio.

What made this kids cartoon stand out was its storytelling that took you along in seeing the characters grow with their relationships with one another in dealing with the situations thrust upon them in a realistic manner. The troubles and emotions of a love triangle, the struggle of civilian and military points of view in the face of conflict, friendship born of battle, and the loss of a comrade, and women’s careers (military & that of an Idol singer) taking their toll on relationships, all taking place against the backdrop of the first Human-Alien war, and the constant threat of the next battle just around the corner. Coupled with this, the action of futuristic battles featuring the recognisable Mecha (from the model kits boom in the 80's) and space battles the like of which had not been seen since Star Wars. The Robotech 'Macross saga' would gain a growing and loyal fan-base for these reasons. 

[Note: Very little was edited in the way of story arc from Macross, but the other two cartoon shows Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross ( The Masters) & Genesis Climber Mospeada (The New Generation) were somewhat altered to tie-in the story arc (they were added to meet demands of American television minimum syndication needs of 65 episodes. Robotech's 85 episodes was originally aired in North America in1985).] 

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