So, Robotech. I’ve read and watched a lot of space opera over the years, but this cartoon is the one that first climbed inside my head. I’ve never watched the Japanese original, Macross. I have always meant to, but somehow never got around to it. Maybe after this rewatch is complete…?
I have read almost all of the Jack McKinney novelisations, multiple times. They’re really good. They are genuinely so much better than novelisations of an anime show dubbed into English should ever be expected to be. They fill in a lot of the blanks, extending the characterisation and backstory, and acknowledging the darker and more mature themes of the story more thoroughly than during the short episodes.
I was exactly the right age (about twelve I think?) when I first came across Robotech, and grew deeply attached. The combination of spaceships, politics and romance really appealed, and the serialised aspect hit all my most obsessive buttons.
“Robotech” is made up of three anime shows, dubbed into English and rewritten just enough to pretend they are all part of the same universe. I did not know this when I first watched. I didn’t know why each new series was so tantalisingly separate from the previous one, and where all the characters I liked had disappeared to. It bugged me for years, and only the books (and later, Wikipedia) helped me figure out how it all worked. In the mean time, I watched the later seasons closely, hungry for callbacks.
I tried introducing Raeli (now nine!) to the show a few years ago and she wasn’t interested. When the Musketeer Space milestone funded to kick off this Robotech rewatch, I gave it another go on the grounds that it would be much easier to watch that many episodes if my daughters were watching along with me.
We watched nearly 5 episodes in that first session. Raeli adores it. Watching it with a kid is great because it gives me that double perspective – the odd disconnect about a show that feels more adult than your brain tells you it should be.