The Big Three-Oh, Part 1.

This week ROBOTECH, that love-it-or-hate-it gestalt adaptation of 1982’s beloved classic SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS and two largely less beloved yet stylistically similar shows of a likewise similar vintage (1983’s GENESIS CLIMBER MOSPEADA and, my personal favorite, 1984’s SUPER DIMENSION CAVALRY SOUTHERN CROSS), officially turned thirty years old. Thirty is, the way I see it, the first nice round anniversary that’s celebrated mostly as a marketing thing. Ten feels like an accomplishment. When a series turns ten and you’ve got people excited to celebrate that anniversary it means that series has some kind of genuine staying power. Twenty is another decade and a whole fifth of a century — if we’re still talking about this show, then that staying power really isn’t ginned up. Then you celebrate twenty-five because that’s a QUARTER of a century. that REALLY feels like something, even though it’s just five more years. But five more years later? We made a big deal about this five years ago AND ten years ago. Maybe we can just cool it ’til fifty, if any of us are still in a mood to celebrate then. But no, in this particular case Harmony Gold completely failed to make a big deal during the twenty-fifth back in 2010, either¬†rattled by the death of series visionary Carl Macek that same year or displaying the severe lack of planning ability that has characterized the current regime’s running of the franchise since around the release of their second major console video game, ROBOTECH: INVASION, so they seem rather intent on turning this into a thirtieth to remember to wash away the stench of that missed opportunity five years ago.

For their part, Toynami, ROBOTECH’s toy licensee for the past decade and a half, are likewise making up for missed opportunities with a full range of product, some of which I talked about right after the New York Toy Fair. Today we’ll be looking at what I believe to be the first product they’ve released with the cleverly designed ROBOTECH 30th Anniversary branding, a new production run of their venerable 1/100 scale VF-1 Valkyrie mold, released for the first time at mass retail under the ROBOTECH name. (While there was a convention exclusive “Stealth” redeco of the VF-1S bearing the ROBOTECH logo, previous mass retail releases have borne the Japanese SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS logo.) Continue reading

Protocultural Artifacts: Sterling Family Reunion

Clockwise from top: Matchbox Dana Sterling action figure (1986), Playmates Exo-Squad Robotech Veritech Hover Tank (1995), Yamato GNU-Dou VF-1A Max Type TV Ver. (2009), Toynami Robotech Masterpiece Collection Maia Sterling's Shadow Fighter (2010).


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Vlog 05.07.2011 – Art Appreciation

This week it’s all about recent original Robotech art acquisitions, three pieces of original comic book line art and a fourth piece of mystery production art. If you’re anything like me — and to be fair, in this case you’re probably not — that last piece should prove intriguing. I’d love to know the story behind it, but not quite enough to do the legwork to find out. Maybe someday.

In other news, in addition to the Robotech viewing necessary to keep the Robotech, In Brief posts rolling along, I set a half hour aside to watch the first episode of Allison & Lillia, a recent anime series based on a story by Keiichi Sigsawa — the author of Kino’s Journeys, a series whose anime adaptation I really fell in love with back when ADV Films released it on DVD many years ago. The artwork is charming, and it seems to have a similar degree of simple yet thoughtful world building to it: two countries at war, both laying claim to the same land, with a mysterious treasure hidden away that could bring it to an end. With our two plucky teenage heroes stealing a plane and leaving their moribund lives behind to rescue an elderly gent who claims to know the location of that treasure, there’s a spirit of grand adventure that really brings to mind Gainax’s Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water more than the more philosophical Kino’s Journeys, but I’m only a half hour in — who knows what the next twelve episodes in this DVD set will bring? We haven’t even met the Lillia of the title yet; of the title two we’ve only met Allison, a bubbly blonde in a bomber jacket. I’m intrigued to watch more, but probably not until after I’ve made it through Sentinels for Robotech, In Brief. (I’ve been wanting to watch Sentinels again for the past week, but I dare not until I’ve finished The Macross Saga.)

Allison & Lillia's eyecatch is utterly adorable.

Tomorrow, some thoughts on the Doctor, Amy, and Rory’s exciting adventure with the pirates. Then, this week on Robotech, Exedore gets that tour of micronian society he’s always wanted, right before his people decide to cause its near-extinction. Not to worry, though; we give back as good as we get. Then we meet the Robotech Masters, Minmei and Kyle’s relationship turns depressingly dysfunctional, and Lisa steadfastly refuses to tell Rick she loves him while getting totally ticked off that he still sees something in Minmei. This is the week where I started to watch and write up episodes I haven’t seen in years — yes, I’ve finally broken through where I left off in last year’s prematurely concluded 365 Days of Robotech! It’s too early to celebrate, though; I’m not breaking out the¬†champagne ’til I’ve made it through The Shadow Chronicles …