If you don’t know the whole story of Robotech, then you’d probably best check out the Wikipedia article on it, because we don’t have space to explain it here. But to sum it up, what we call Robotech in the West was actually three completely separate, yet remarkably similar, anime series which were rewritten in English to be one complete story. Each of the three rewritten series was considered a “season” of Robotech, but it’s only the first series, Macross, that we’re concerned with here. If you don’t know just how significant it is in the world of anime, well, you’re about to find out.
Macross, under the name of Robotech, opened the door for Japanese animation in the West by sneaking onto western TV disguised as a sci-fi cartoon for kids. Young boys loved it because of the cool spaceships which could transform into robots, and the adults who watched it were completely blown away by the in-depth and mature subject matter. At that time, it was almost completely unheard of for a cartoon to even attempt to make the viewers think, and it went down a treat.
Macross tells the story of how a massive alien space ship crash lands on earth. After some analysis, the newly united leaders of Earth decide to rebuild it and use it as the flagship of Earth’s newly established defence force. However, on the day of its maiden voyage, the ship’s alien owners attack Earth, determined to get it back. The human crew, with little experience piloting the immense ship, accidentally warp it out to the furthest reaches of our Solar system in an attempt to counterattack, taking most of the surrounding city with them. Now, with a city’s worth of civilians on board and unwilling to risk using the warp technology they don’t understand, the crew begins piloting their damaged ship back towards Earth, a journey which would take months, enduring unrelenting attacks by the alien forces along the way.
Most of the story is told through the eyes of Rick, a young hotshot fighter pilot who helps to defend the fortress on its long journey back to Earth, but it occasionally switches focus to some of the other prominent characters. This cast of incredibly realistic and sympathetic characters is probably the show’s greatest strength, and lead to it being labelled as a Space Opera because of their complex and ever-evolving relationships. This incredibly human side of the story let the viewers connect with characters on a much more personal level and made it easier for them to enter the incredible Macross universe.
This particular release of the series contains both the original Japanese voice cast and the Harmony Gold “Robotech” voice cast, so it’s a gem for serious Robotech fans out there. And for those of you who want to see one of the most important series in anime history, look no further.