Looking Back at Robotech


I started out science fiction with Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.  Then Robotech came.  It wasn’t my first introduction to anime.  That was Speed Racer.  But Robotech was something special.  As a cartoon, it did some things that other cartoons did.  The first was a storyline more befitting a TV show or a novel, not a cartoon.  One of the most shocking things for me at the time was seeing Roy Fokker die, because that just didn’t happen in cartoon land.  Or for that matter, most shows don’t kill off what appears to be a major character unexpectedly like that.

The characters were all fresh and real and complex.  The show had a messy romance between Rick, Lisa, and Minimei, and everyone kept doing stupid things that people do out of love. And it was all interspersed with action.  The storyline encompassed three different generation of characters.

After it initially aired in the U.S., it disappeared for a while.  Came out on video, but it was like two 30 minute episodes per tape, and was quite expensive.  Then it disappeared again and came out DVD.

The stories are still great, but I had trouble with the military aspect.  I think I would have been okay with Rick Hunter’s relationship with a senior officer in his chain of command.  It’s not really supposed to happen, but things like that do anyway.  You put people together in war, and war changes everyone in unexpected ways.

But the writers didn’t seem to have much knowledge of the military whatsoever.  They randomly mixed Army rank with Navy rank and had promotions go from enlisted to officer.  I’m not a stickler for accuracy, but this just felt like no one bothered to even try to understand military rank.  For such a good show, it was disappointing that they didn’t take time to make it feel like they knew what they were talking about.