Movies / Animé and Toons

RoboTech Movie Collection – For Nostalgic Fans

By Hervé St-Louis
July 21, 2013 - 14:25

Lionsgate has released a two movie collection of Robotech which shows for the first time the movie Love Live Alive and re-releases The Shadow Chronicles movie from 2003. Love Live Alive is based on older Robotech material from the 1980s and tells the story of the Robotech gang from the point of view of Lieutenant Lance "Lancer" Belmon. In that story, he recounts many meetings with Scott Bernard. Bernard is the central hero of The Shadow Chronicles. In that story, the previously villainous Invid alien race allies itself with humanity to fend off the robotic space-faring Haydonites.

Love Live Alive is based on raw footage obtained from Robotech’s constituting animated series and heavily edited with a few newer animated framing pieces by American series’ producer Carl Macek. If you are discovering Robotech for the first time, this will seem completely odd. However, Japanese cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s were often heavily edited by American producers to remove the most violent parts and secure safe ratings for younger audiences. Because of the many cuts, additional sequences had to be shot and added to complete the 22 minutes broadcast requirements for a half-hour television series. Robotech was based on three different cartoon series and Macek and his team are the one who crafted a common thread between all the different parts of the story. The Robotech North Americans know has never really existed in Japan, where much of the animation was originally shot.

The Shadow Chronicles is based on completely new material produced by Macek’s team and animated outside of Japan, based on the story created by the North Americans. The characters’ animé design has been updated but the animation, relying on a lot of 3D for vehicles still doesn’t have the kind of quality I would have liked. The 2D animation uses stock Japanese techniques of minimal animation, a lot of multiplane camera effects coupled with generous overlay motion. It helps cut down the budget a lot, but sometimes may seem to still and cheap to North American audiences. The Korean team had a few opportunities to use overlays and multiplanes in several scenes but did not. For example, there is a scene where the camera pans from left to right on the whole crew of the spaceship. In that scene there are three rows of crews. All three rows and the background of the inside of the ship all move at the same time. Normally, the first row, would have had to translate faster, the second, just a bit slower, the third, much slower and the background would have had to stay almost still.

I will not comment much on the stories as I wasn’t a hardcore Robotech fan as a kid, much of the specialness of the series and cues about the characters will be lost on me. There is an important nostalgia factor to such series and a feeling that one had to be there to enjoy it. I know I enjoy old Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons like an idiot. Other people see them as pure trash. I don’t. But what this tells us about Robotech is that the two movies have not progressed in a way that would easily allow new fans from adhering to their universe easily.

Love Live Alive
-Pre-production Gallery

The Shadow Chronicles
-“Birth of a Sequel” featurette
-Score Music Video
-“Anime Selects” podcast coverage
-“!Pon Anime” podcast interview
-“Robotech 3000” demo reel
-“Robotech 3000” motion capture sequences
-Deleted scenes with optional commentary
-Animatics with optional commentary
-Image Galleries: Personnel Dossier, Ship Registry, Mecha Database, Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, Secret Files

Rating: 6 /10

Last Updated: May 19, 2020 - 12:25

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