Original Run: started syndication on March 4th, 1985
Created by: Carl Macek
Directed by: Robert V. Barron
Written by: Carl Macek, Steve Kramer, Greg Snegoff
Based on: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (Japanese anime)
Music by: Ulpio Minucci
Harmony Gold, Tatsunoko Production, 36 Episodes, 25 Minutes (per episode)
Robotech is probably the best anime series of all-time, at least in my eyes. It is what introduced me to the style, which became a genre that I watched pretty obsessively throughout my teen years.
The mid-80s television series Robotech is actually made up of three separate series. The first part of the trilogy is The Macross Saga, which I just revisited for the first time in a few years.
Once again, I was transported to the awesome world of Macross Island and the SDF-1. That’s where the heroes live. They also fly Veritech fighters (space jets that transform into robots) to protect themselves from the giant alien Zentradi warriors who are invading Earth.
The overall story makes this one of the best series ever written and not just in anime but television as a whole. It is beyond epic, covers a lot of ground and for an animated series, truly shows a depth and growth in characters unlike anything else that was out at the time. Comparing the character development and human emotion of this show to G.I. Joe, Transformers or Voltron is almost unfair, as Robotech stands above all others as not just some kiddie cartoon made to sell toys.
And while mentioning those other shows, Robotech is like a mixture of the best parts of all of them. It has the G.I. Joe vibe with the military, soldiers and their camaraderie in battle. It has the Transformers vibe with vehicles that turn to robots and evil giants from space. It has the Voltron vibe, as once again, it has robots, camaraderie between the heroes and in this instance, is also an original Japanese animated series. Robotech is a perfect marriage of all the things young boys wanted in the 1980s and it does it better than all the other shows.
Further comparing it to the competition of the time, the art is stellar. The use of color, the character design, the fluidity of the robots transformations and the intensity of the action makes this series the standard that all other 80s animated series should be judged against.
Plus the music is friggin’ stellar! Well, except for when Minmay sings.
Fun fact time! Something I just found out, while researching the people who worked on this show, is that the American show runner a.k.a. the supervising director was a gentleman named Robert Barron. Well, Robert Barron is also the name of the actor who played Abraham Lincoln in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Yes, they are the same man. Nerd boner, engaged.