Robotech is an action, adventure, and science fiction media franchise. Originally, the American production company, Harmony Gold, collaborated with Japan’s Tatsunoko Production collaborated to adapt three different anime into one American series. Thus, 1982’s The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, 1984’s Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and 1983’s Genesis Climber Mospedia combined to form Robotech. The series lasted for one season and included a total of 85 episodes.
Robotech became the first American adaption to include complex storylines from the Japanese source material. Thus, it attracted several fans from the western world. The Robotech anime television series became widely accepted. Thus, it spawned other media such as novels, comic books, films, games, and toys.
General Premise of Robotech
The story started when a tribe of extraterrestrials, the Tirolians, stumbled upon an extremely powerful energy source, the “Protoculture”. With the help of the tribe’s lead scientist, Zor, The Tirolians were able to extract this energy source from the Flower of Life. So, they used Protoculture to advance their technology. They also built Robotechnology as they renamed themselves the Robotech Masters.
Soon, the Robotech Masters were using their advanced technological advantages to conquer, destroy and displace all other civilizations. Zor became heartbroken and disgusted by how his people used the limitless power of the Protoculture for destruction. He thus decided to cut their supply by putting all his Protoculture research in the battle fortress before flying into Space.
The outcome of his heroic act was devastating. The battle fortress crash-landed on the planet Earth with everyone aboard dying from the crash.
Humanity quickly discovered that the vessel was an alien ship. They also identified the foreign power source. Even though they did not fully understand what Protoculture was, they realized it was a power source. Thus, they used it to build robotic technology.
Knowing that the true owner of the ship will one day track it back to Earth, the governing body of the whole Earth rebuilt the crashed battle fortress and named it the Super Dimension Fortress -1. After about a decade, the Robotech Masters invaded Earth to reclaim what was theirs. This marked the beginning of the first of many Robotech Wars.
Join us on a retrospective through the history of Robotech
Apart from the 1985 animated series, there were five more Robotech movies produced in the media franchise:
- Codename: Robotech (1985)
- Robotech: The Movie (1986)
- Rotech II: The Sentinels (1988)
- Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles (2006)
- Robotech: Love Live Alive (2013)
All the movies were based on one of the three Robotech Wars fought between the Humans and three different extraterrestrials.
Codename: Robotech – 1985
Codename: Robotech was an extended television episode released to introduce the summary of the events that led to the First Robotech War. The 73-minute-long animated film aired before the popular Robotech television series. Thus, it depicted events that occurred before the war. The movie appeared on some television stations in 1985.
Robotech – 1985
The first Robotech series aired in 1985, containing 85 episodes. The animated TV show shows how Humans discovered Robotechnology in a crashed Alien spaceship on the South Pacific Island. Without delay, the humans began building robotic machines from the discovered Robotechnology. These robotic machines were instrumental in the intergalactic wars that they later fought.
The First War
The first war marks the first attempt of the owners of the crashed spaceship to reclaim what was previously theirs. The Robotech Masters had tracked the crashed battle fortress to Earth. So, they sent a race of huge warriors named the Zentraedi to reclaim the spaceship. Holding their ground, humanity eventually repelled the Zentraedi’s forces.
Although the war almost destroyed Earth, the humans were triumphant. The war taught them about the existence of the energy source, Protoculture, and the Robotech Masters. The latter would stop at nothing till they reclaim the Protoculture.
The Second War
After the Zentraedi’s failure, the Robotech Masters appeared in Earth’s solar system to claim the Protoculture by themselves. They initially plotted a treacherous means to gain what they wanted. When that plan failed, an all-out war broke between humans and Robotech Masters.
Although the humans won this battle, it left the planet’s defense system weak and vulnerable. The plant that produces the Protoculture, Flower of Life, now blooms on Earth’s surface. Thus, it began to beacon to another race of Aliens called the “Invids” who search the Galaxy for the plants.
The Third War
After the mysterious Invids successfully found Earth, they conquered the planet quite easily. Since the second Robotech war that had weakened the planet’s defenses, this conquest faced little opposition. It was also because a Robotech Expeditionary Force drafted most of Earth’s heroes to seek out the remaining Robotech Masters and their home world.
After the Invid took over Earth, a group of freedom fighters and the Robotech Expeditionary Force fought back. Thus, they waged the third Robotech War to liberate Earth and its people.
Robotech: The Movie – 1986
Also referred to as Robotech: The Untold Story is a sci-fi animated movie based on the Robotech anime television series.
The movie was set to happen in 2027 when the Robotech Masters came down into Earth’s orbit. They came with the sole purpose of reclaiming their crashed spaceship mother computer presently in the Research Facility on Earth. The Robotech Masters tried subterfuge by killing Colonel Andrews, a highly ranked soldier in the Army of the Southern Cross that oversaw the SDF-1. They swiftly replaced him with a clone.
The Clone Andrews formulated a plan to beam the contents of the mother computer back to the Robotech Masters flagship. However, Todd Harris thwarted his plans when he stole a MODAT-5 connected to the mother computer. He then gave it to his friend, Mark Landry, to expose the Robotech Masters’ scheme.
Mark Landry found Eve according to Todd’s instructions and realized Eve was the SDF-1 artificial intelligence. She exposed the Robotech Masters’ plan to him and guided him to where he was able to stop the process.
The Robotech Masters then came down to deliver a request to the Army of the Southern Cross. Unfortunately, they inadvertently revealed the link between the mother computer and their Spacecraft. The Army of the Southern Cross used this knowledge to deliver a destructive payload. This caused the Robotech Masters Flagship to crash and the other fleet to retreat.
Robotech II: The Sentinel – 1988
The Sci-Fi animated film, Robotech II: The Sentinel, occurred after the events of Robotech: The Movie. The movie shows the creation of the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF). They had the task to find the fleets of Robotech Masters that escaped from Earth’s orbit and the Robotech Masters’ home planet. However, the Robotech Expeditionary Force preoccupied itself with freeing civilizations that were under the Robotech Masters’ and the Invid Regent’s captivity. Thus, they lost track of their primary goal.
The second Robotech war on Earth had caused the Flower of Life to blossom on Earth’s surface. Unbeknownst to the Humans, the Flower can serve as a beacon that calls on to the Invids. Meanwhile, the Invids scoured the Galaxy to find the Flower of Life. The Invid invaded Earth easily because of the aftermath of the second Robotech war. The absence of the Robotech Expeditionary Force also eased their take over.
The Invids took humans as slaves and even laboratory animals to perform experiments on. The Robotech Expeditionary Force sent back two regiments to try and retake the planet, which both failed woefully. It is the REF’s third attempt at reclaiming Earth and freeing their people that started the Third Robotech War.
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles – 2006
After the failed attempts of the two initial battalions, the Robotech Expeditionary Force understood the Invids were a formidable foe that would not easily leave Earth. The Robotech Expeditionary Force thus gathered all its Spacecraft in the final attempt to reclaim Earth and liberate its people.
The REF received help from the Sentinels that they liberated in the earlier movie. The Sentinels helped with donations like the industrial resources to build the fleet of spaceships and weapons upgrade, including Shadow Devices from a weird cybernetic alien race, Haydonites. The Haydonites also provided the REF with a Neutron-S missile as a last resort to get rid of the Invids. However, they did not know the missile can wipe out all the life on Earth.
Since the Resistance Force dispatched REF soldiers to fortify Earth, they were ready to launch simultaneous attacks on the Invids. All the coordinated efforts of the ground attack and the REF fleet proved abortive due to the Invids’ determination. Thus, the Neutron-S became the remaining choice for the REF.
Meanwhile, the Invid Regis’ daughter, Ariel, talked her mother into leaving the Earth instead of allowing the planet’s destruction. The Regis heeded her daughter’s advice, and she so her people left the planet with only Ariel staying back. Ariel remained because of her love interest in the leader of the Resistant Force, Scott Bernand.
Robotech: Love Live Alive – 2013
The final Robotech movie follows the events when the Invids vacate Earth. This was immediately after the Invids left the Haydonites that supported the Humans. It showed their identity as the Children of Shadows, an old enemy of the Invids. They wished to destroy all civilizations that ever used the Protoculture, including humanity.
The movie started with Lancer’s interview, where he recounted the occurrence before the Third Robotech War. It went on into his involvement with the Resistance Force and how they defeated the Invid forces.
Lancer’s returning family visited him later that day. They all discussed the effects of the events in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Scott Bernard then offered Lance an invitation to find and rescue the SDF-3, which he rejected. He headed back to his small house, where his wife was waiting for him with the news of their expected first child.
While Robotech started as a unique blend of three unrelated anime series, the franchise has had a lasting effect. Fans still hold fond memories of their time watching Valkyries fight in space. While Robotech may have no new media at the moment, the franchise may eventually resurface.
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About the author
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!