Yes, we are now talking about an “old” anime but do not be fooled about this. The image and sound qualities are not top-notch, but this show is truly on of the anime that changed everything. The story is fantastic, it caused a tremendous impact when it was aired and, as a matter of fact, Robotech is a spin-off of Macross; that is just how magnificent this anime is. This is one of the animated series that causes us the most nostalgia for those of us who were born and / or grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s is undoubtedly Robotech. A series that is endearing to many, because it gave us countless hours of entertainment with its story of alien invasions, love triangles, music and mecha, a series that introduced us to the world of animation, and without knowing it, to anime.
However, Robotech has the questionable stain of having based Macross and having built his own universe from the original idea of Shoji Kawamura, a decision that makes us realize that they seem the same, but they are not. As a matter of fact, Robotech was “built” from the blending of the existence of three different branches of the Macross universe: Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Super Dimension Fortress Macross.
Differences between Robotech and Macross:
As is well known, Robotech is the name given to the Super Dimensional series Fortress Macross - or simply Macross - in the United States, an anime that was very successful in Japan, around 1982. Such was its impact, that Harmony Gold (a distributor founded in 1983), led by Carl Macek, who decided it was the program they were looking for to debut before American audiences.
Macek's plan was simple: dub Macross for release in the United States, either on television or sell it directly on videocassettes. But, in order for them to broadcast Macross on a television network, a minimum of 65 episodes were required, which allowed the series to be syndicated. Macross only had 36 episodes. How to solve the problem?
Harmony Gold found a solution. It was decided to buy the rights to Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada, to join their stories with Macross in a single series with three story arcs, which would reach 85 chapters.
In other words, Robotech is actually a “copy and paste” of three different anime, which saw their stories altered to fit with the premise that Macross presented to us. The original idea is rumored to be releasing all three anime separately under the Robotech brand, as had happened with Force Five. However, they chose to have everything revolve around the Macross plot to give the series more depth.
In addition to everything, the three anime were edited to give it continuity and to create, in this way, what reached the screens of many parts of the world - except from Japan and parts of Asia, for obvious reasons - like Robotech, making it an instant hit.
Robotech vs. Macross
As previously mentioned, there are substantial differences, which in the end make both products have many discrepancies. Not to mention that it is highly controversial that Harmony Gold has made such decisions to build, from the Macross premise, its own universe.
The Macross saga is the one that underwent the least changes, although both the story and the dialogues were affected when it was adapted in Robotech. This, as mentioned, is because Macross was considered the most important of the three, so they tried to alter the plot as little as possible. They changed the names, added dialogues and edited various moments for their presentation in the American market, something that caused some characters to have slightly changed personality traits. For example, at Macross, Minemei is less obnoxious and capricious. Hikaru (Rick) is a little denser. Roy drinks more and there even more variations.
Macross has more violent, raw scenes of excessive alcohol consumption (although we still see many scenes where the characters drink in Robotech) and nudes, so any “questionable” moment had to be edited in order to pass the censorship.
However, the biggest difference between Robotech and Macross is the concept of Protoculture. In Robotech, protoculture was a source of energy that was sought by the Zentraedi, the Robotech Masters, and the Invid, and also by humans. In Macross, Protoculture is the name of the first advanced civilization in the universe and the creator of the Zentraedi. At Robotech, Zentraedis were created by the Robotech Masters.
It is also interesting to note the name of the aircraft, which are one of the symbols that identify both Macross and Robotech. In the Japanese version, the VF-1 is called Valkyrie; in its American counterpart it is simply called Varitech. Although, at some point in Robotech, Henry Global uses the term Valkyrie when referring to Veritech, this is because the official name in this version is Veritech Valkyrie. At Macross, it's just the VF-1 Valkyrie. Another big difference between the two is that there was never an SDF-2 hidden in SDF-1 on Macross (it was being built on the Moon). That explains why we never saw that ship on Robotech. Also, in the original, the SDF-1 (Super Dimensional Fortress) was simply known as Macross (hence the name of the anime).
Unlike how Robotech tells us, Kamjin does not destroy SDF-1. It only damages it severely (destroys the main cannons). Also, the motivations for his attack are different. In Macross he does it simply because he is a creature that knows no other way of life than fighting. At Robotech, he does so to oppose the micronization of the Zentraedis, which would eventually lead to the genocide of their race. In other words, Robotech has a darker message in the background than Macross, in which an optimistic belief prevails in and for humanity.
Since SDF-1 was not destroyed, then the crew did not die, as we are led to believe in Robotech. Let's be frank, it was hardly credible that Lisa Hayes (Misa Hayase in Japanese) would have been - conveniently - the only survivor of the attack, because all the others decided to be martyrs and only save her; no apparent nor credible reason behind this.
So far this is a basic explanation and interpretation of both Macross and Robotech. Later on, in another article, we will discuss the three different anime (Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Super Dimension Fortress Macross) that gave birth to Robotech.