One thing that’s been lost on my current blog and Tumblr is that my Zentradi obsession started with seeing the Robotech dub in 2008, and that a couple years ago, I spent my time tearing way through every old, forgotten Robotech novel and comic I could find. I still like some parts of those, hate others (especially the lack of good original characters and the suggestion that the Zentradi/human alliance was self-destructive), and overall would say that I don’t hate Robotech as a concept and a franchise.
However, I quickly understood that continuing Robotech past the 1990s wasn’t going to go anywhere storywise. The legal restrictions were much tighter, with the new sequel comics killing off every old character they could, and releases of new material getting more and more sporadic. The Shadow Chronicles, the animated film from that era, apparently took forever to make but was still boring crap, and the long-questioned sequel failed to materialize.
Recently, it’s been said that Robotech will finally...uh...be...moving ahead with “Love, Live Alive”. The original “Love, Live, Alive” was a sequel OVA to Genesis Climber Mospeda, the anime that was dubbed into the third part of Robotech. It mostly consisted of animated music videos, with a tiny amount of original footage.
Yet the trailer shows new footage from the “Shadows” universe that is the new Robotech, which is probably exciting to the small core of die-hard fans that have been waiting to see the Shadows universe continued, and this will probably supplement the short animation from the original LLA. Hey, guys, knock yourselves out.
But I just couldn’t keep going with this, and I can’t get back into that fold. I know that nothing will really change with this franchise. It’ll always keep scrabbling in its current rut.
Part of me thinks that modern Robotech would be inherently doomed no matter what talent was behind it, since a good story usually would tie up all its loose ends, deal decently with all its characters and its plot points, and Robotech can’t even manage that because it doesn’t have access to these things. Dancing around the characters or setting the story in the far-flung future wouldn’t be solving this problem, but avoiding the issue. It’s a trap.
Yet I don’t want to let the writers off the hook that easily. It still might have been possible to create something decent and fulfilling despite the legal restraints, but it looked like Tommy Yune and everyone else didn’t even try. The minds behind Robotech in the 21st century just keep promoting the same junk over and over again, going to cons with all the other active companies to pretend they are actually doing something.
Meanwhile, Harmony Gold spends money and makes empty promises, with the only things to show for it being some sporadic toy and RPG manual releases, a few comics, and one extremely boring movie. All of it sucks, can’t even be enjoyed on an emotional level.
It was painful and pathetic to watch, and after a while I stopped feeling hurt by it. I also stopped feeling sorry for the fans who still believed Robotech would make something of itself. After all that had happened, anyone should have been able to see the writing on the wall. The franchise is dead, but somebody’s still dangling its corpse on marionette strings.
As to the prospect of a live-action Robotech movie, well, that’s also a nigh-impossibility. Asking it to be one forgets that, unlike other popular eighties cartoons, Robotech wasn’t made as a single work by a single company, but three separate anime redubbed to be one series. That makes it harder to adapt than, say, Transformers. I wish people would remember that.