“Robotech” is a 1985 American series that is composed of three separate, unrelated early-eighties Japanese series. These were re-dubbed and slightly re-written to tie their narratives together into one epic multigenerational tale. It gets wildly derided by snotty fans of Anime, and deservedly so since it is, at root, a mutilation of original art, and kind of stupid as well. And of course the people doing the deriding are snotty condescending turds, so of course they *would* seize on any kind of artistic justification for slamming something they’d decided to hate before they even saw it, right? That’s what snots do.
And also - being superior little snots - they’d manage to utterly miss the fact that the mutilation and repurposing of art had produced something pretty cool and unique, you know? Yes, the original vision was sacrificed, yes, the integrity is lacking, yes it’s kind of dumb, they’re right about that, but at the same time they deliberately ignore that the *new* vision is grander than the old one, that there’s a new kind of integrity to replace the discarded one, and that the story is a smart new kind of dumb that, while having many failures and annoyances, was interesting. And not really as dumb it’s made out to be, either.
It’s up in the air as to whether or not Robotech ended up being more than the sum of its parts - I go back and forth on that one myself - but it is at the very least *as good as* its parts, which is no mean feat. The experiment *should* have failed, it *should* have been a non-starter, but it wasn’t. Sometimes you halfass things, and you get lucky.
And sometimes you don’t. This is one of those times.
I was a college freshman in the mid-eighties, with an unhealthy and more-than-passingly-sad obsession with Robotech. One weekday, between 4:30 and 5:00, while watching the endlessly-repeated show, I happened to see this commercial:
I was intrigued, I was excited, I wasn’t entirely sure I hadn’t hallucinated it, since I never saw the commercial again, and all talk of a film evaporated almost instantly. Turns out the film had been released in Texas, had screened very badly, and never went into a larger release. It - and plans for an ongoing Robotech movie franchise - were scuttled, and most people forgot it had ever existed. Even the official Robotech website and timeline make no mention of the film. Spooky OCD that I am, it took a quarter century before I was able to see it.
Was it worth the wait?
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s the year 2027, according to the best info I can figure, about five years after the Robotech Expeditionary Force left earth, about two years before the Robotech Masters attacked earth.
The Robotech Masters attack earth. Presumably this is an advanced guard or something. In any event, they claim their mission is twofold: 1) To retrieve “The Mother Computer;” and 2) To destroy all life on earth as revenge for our defeat of the Zentradi. This “Mother Computer” evidently has all kind of otherwise-lost information, though we’re never told what it is.
During the battle - which consists entirely of re-dubbed footage from the Southern Cross episodes of the series - we see an officer named “Todd” and a colonel named “Andrews” fighting Bioroids. “Andrews” is captured, taken up to the Master’s ship, cloned, and killed. The clone is sent back down to earth where he denies an alien attack ever happened on TV. Since Todd was in this nonexistent battle, he knows something is up, and contacts his friend “Mark.”
They meet up in a parking garage, where goons kill Todd, but not before he tells his friend that he needs to contact someone named “Eve.” Mark steals Todd’s super-high-tech motorcycle - called a “Modat” - and escapes. The goons attempt to track him to recover the bike. Mark picks up his girlfriend and takes her to a movie audition, and gets a small part in the film himself. One of his girlfriend’s roommates shoots a whole lot of footage of the Modat transforming back and forth from Cycle to Mighty-Fighty Robot mode.
Meanwhile, Robotech scientists have been researching the “Mother Computer” for years, and have a huge complex (Which rather incongruously looks like an underground city of ruins) where they house the thing and do all its work. Andrews manipulates his way into control of this operation, then fires all the staff and places his own