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Tuesday 4 February 2014

Robotech Pt. 2

Robotech comic-books and novels gave us (in the UK); a grasp of the plots of this Science Fiction series called Robotech, that was like nothing else we had come across to this side of the pond.
The flood of these helped maximized the impact, with the simultaneous release of Comico's 'Robotech - The Macross saga', 'Robotech - Masters', and 'Robotech - The New Generation', and add to this the Robotech Novels by “Jack McKinney” from Del Rey Books coming out every month for the first year, to a total of 21 novels, as well as Matchbox Toys. The American company 'Harmony Gold' was getting very well known!

[Note: Del Rey Books' Publishers note states that “While the above biogrophy is accurate, it is actually a composite bio of two authors who agreed to merge minds and identities to become Jack McKinney, and reflects the influence of various friends and advisors for the Robotech series.”]

To my knowledge only 3 separate VHS (Pal) video tapes were ever released in the UK in the 1980's showing episodes from the 'Robotech' series; “Codename Robotech” (a promotional compilation of episodes – some looped), Robotech episodes 1 & 2 (this Little Gem, had the wrong graphic on its front cover!), and 'Robotech II the Sentinels' (an all new storyline from Carl Macek & Harmony Gold Animated in Japan, cancelled after only 3 episodes – then edited into a movie). 

[Side note: the Robotech Art book1 (1986); has 25 pages devoted to Robotech's roots in Japanese Anime from the 1950's to the mid 1980's, a 2 page introduction on “Harmony Gold” (the American production company) as well another 2 pages listing the staff and their job tiles who work for “Harmony Gold”, and the a comprehensive list of name changes from the Japanese Anime to the American Robotech TV show ( I was able to provide these name changes to Helen McCarthy for an early article she would write on Robotech) – And you will be surprised to know about the days before and after the “Carl F. Macek Gallery” (1982) which sold pencil art & original cels & film posters of animation from around the World.]

There were also detailed Robotech Role-Playing game books and promotional gazettes published by Palladium books that had started to be imported by the late 80's given Mecha fans.
Palladium books also distributed Robotech episodes on VHS (NTSC) tapes in the US & Canada.

The Canadian Official Robotech Fanzine 'Protoculture Addicts' was the first of the irregular publications to hit our shores in the UK, that centred on this much beloved TV show and also hinted at a much wider world of animation that did not dumb-down to its young audience, referred to as Japanimation.

[Note: I have tried to convey the impact to the UK in the 1980's, so I've not lingered on details, and leave it up to you the reader to search for more information.]

In the 1980's without Macross there would be no Robotech, and without Robotech and its Fandoms in Canada and in the USA peeking our curiosity for giant robots and providing us with the springboard to look in to its Japanese origins and other Anime, the UK Anime Fandom would have surely stalled!

Robotech should no longer be thought of as “frankenstein's monster” but a doorway to Anime from a simpler time that reached so many!

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