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Friday, May 29, 2015

“Robotech Art 1: The Official Guide to the Robotech Universe”, by Kay Reynolds and Ardith Carlton

264 pages, Walsworth Publishing Co., ISBN-13: 978-0898654127

Ah, Robotech…my first youthful foray into the new, mysterious and perplexing universe of Japanimation – or Anime – or…whatever. This art form from across the Pacific was a new and exciting world in which giant, anthropomorphic machines were the norm, everyone’s eyes were HUGE, and their hair just slightly less exotic than an 80’s New Wave party. And, for me at least, Robotech led the way, and this book, Robotech Art 1: The Official Guide to the Robotech Universe, was a fantastic resource for me to be able to understand what I was watching then – and to remind myself how magical it all seemed now. There is an overview to each episode, character biographies, mecha designs, and a history about the development of the series. In case you didn’t know, the Robotech Saga is a combination of three unrelated anime series into one new story: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (The Macross Saga); Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (The Masters); and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (The New Generation). The reason for this peculiar decision on the part of Harmony Gold, the television production and distribution company behind the series, was its decision to market the series for American weekday syndication television, which required a minimum of 65 episodes at the time (thirteen weeks at five episodes per week). Macross and the two other series each had fewer episodes than required, since they originally aired in Japan as weekly series. At last, the confusion I felt at seeing three Robotech series with mecha that looked nothing alike has been explained. The last section of the book chronicles the development not only of Robotech, but of the history and evolution of anime and manga itself, a supremely interesting topic that I wish had more substantial. Overall, a virtual treasure-trove of art and info for any Robotech geek.

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