Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: Robotech the Shadow Chronicles

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is the next installment in the Robotech saga. It is a movie that shows the legacy of the Invid Regis and the final battle for the Liberation of the Earth from the Invid. Admiral Rick Hunter orders the Robotech Expeditionary Force to amass at Moon Base: Aluce for a direct assault on the Invid Reflex Point. The REF attacks, the Regis destroys everything and leaves the Earth -- and that is that. Or so we thought.

Robotech Revisited

You can't talk about Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles without talking about Robotech itself. Robotech was a 1980s show that came out in 1983. Brought about by Harmony Gold and Carl Macek himself, it was the splicing of three shows into one: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (which would spin out Macross II, Macross Plus, Macross 7, and Macross 0); Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross, and Mospeda. These three sagas in Robotech are known as the Macross Saga, Southern Cross (since the Robotech Masters come from the Southern Cross), and Next Generation.

Robotech was the most unusual t.v. series on American T.V at that time. Like G.I. Joe, it was military themed. You had military engagements, battles, and a great story. Looking directly, from the overall picture you could say that Robotech glorified war. People said that about G.I. Joe as well. Looking deeper, you see something else about Robotech that people often overlook. Robotech is actually anti-war.

The battle scenes, the death, the destruction depicted in Robotech actually shows kids what happened in war. It does not hold back. Even beloved characters die in conflict (Roy Fokker dies, Admiral Gloval, and so does Marlene and Zor). The consequence of war isn't even held back. Cities get destroyed, people die. Robotech does not glorify war.

That is what makes Robotech so good. People identify with the issues that it presents. While G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is designed to help raise morale for the troops in Afganistan; Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is still clearly anti-war. War is something the human race shouldn't have to descend into.

Back to the Shadow Chronicles. If you know anything about the Robotech Expeditionary Force and the Invid War, the REF had allies among the Haydonites. Although the Robotech Masters, Zentraedi, and the Invid are WELL chronicled in the Robotech Universe; the Haydonites are the most mysterious. One question remains. WHO IS HAYDON!?

The Haydonites are a cybernetic race. I.e. a lot like the Autobots and Decepticons of HASBRO's Transformers sagas; but a lot unlike them. These living machines fear the Invid Flower of Life and the power it generates. During the REF's Invid War, the Haydonites allies themselves with the REF and provides them with new technologies. I.e. the Shadow technology, the synchro-cannons, and the Neutron-S Missiles. After the Invid leave the Earth, the Haydonites turn traitor on their allies; and thus begins a new war.


I liked the film. It still has anti-war themes. The animation is crisp, and they use 3D graphics for much of the film. Rick Hunter is of advanced age, he has gray hair and a scar. General Rienhardt, who leads the mission, is finally named and we get a good look at him (about 50 to 52 years of age).

Many questions are answered, and we get a good look at the Invid Regis. We also get a reference of the Children of Shadow: which were the Haydonites. The storyline is great, the beginning of the show happens during Robotech episodes 83-85; and that is the first 30 minutes of the show. The other hour takes place during the first engagements with the children of Haydon. We also learn that Janice Em, Doctor Lang's android, also carries Haydonite technology within herself. Captain Grant is then assigned a mission to get the lost SDF-3, the REF flagship; back to Earth along with an intact protoculture matrix.

This is an original spin off of the three shows together. Written and voiced in America, the show was made in Japan and Korea. Although the final Robotech book doesn't seem to be followed (in fact, it's dumped); it makes a lot of sense that this is the new canon storyline. I give this film four stars.

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