Yesterday I spoke about the anime series Battle of the Planets which I fell in love with in the mid 70′s. Today I move ahead ten years to what is my all-time favorite anime series Robotech. I remember as if were yesterday that summer morning in 1985 when upon surfing the available 7 channels I happened upon the first episode on Channel 11. After the series Battle of the Planets ended ten years earlier I was always searching for the next big anime series. As I explained in the BOTP blog post, anime was a huge part of my artistic development. American animation was clumsy and goofy in comparison so after the BOTP series ended 10 years earlier I was left with nothing to quench my thirst for great anime. When Robotech arrived out of the blue 10 years later I felt like I won the kid lottery. That summer I watched and taped every episode religiously. Tapes which I still have.
What I loved about this series was even compared to BOTP artistically Robotech was far superior and it was consistently good. I was surprised at the drop off in the quality of draftsmanship you can find within a series. The explosions are a clear giveaway to which episode was done right. Not sure what it is in quickly expanding clouds of fire and debris that separate the masters from the apprentices, but to this day that is my litmus test. 90% of the Robetech episodes were on point. Also conceptually Robotech was much more sophisticated than BOTP. It was basically the same story-line that Avatar followed two decades later, except the earth is the planet being invaded by aliens. Coincidentally they are currently looking into producing a Robotech movie starring Tobey Maguire. Which brings me to what it is I loved most about Robotech. It was the character development. The relationship between Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes is arguably one of the best developed in TV history live action or animated. I may regret admitting this but I remember shedding a tear in more than one episode.
Yesterday I felt a bit guilty and nerdier than usual making an anime post on this blog targeted at a “downtown” or “urban” audience. But it occurred to me that anime is a part of this culture. You see it in shops like Kid Robot in the work of street artist like SEEN and Futura or in the music of artist like The Wu Tang Clan, The Gorrilaz and my favorite late 90′s group Daft Punk. Every year this art form is more widely embraced by both Pop and alternative culture. I embedded the opening sequence from the Robotech series below. If you want to purchase the DVD collection you can get it at Amazon or drop by my studio for a screening.