Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bonus! Zillion Review

by Nathan Stout (of

What the heck is Zillion doing here on the Robotech 2012 Blog?! While I am reading the Robotech novels (before watching the show or reading the comics) I got a little lonesome for some Anime. This last week I began cleaning out some old VHS tapes I had in the entertainment center and lo and behold what should I find but my Zillion tapes! I thought this would make a nice quick break and give me some much needed classic animation while I am busy reading during the week.

Zillion is here because it was one of the early Anime titles I picked up after getting into Anime (which was started by my Robotech fandom in the late 80's). Zillion was another Cark Macek adapted show but this time around it was much closer to the actual story and not a mash-up like Robotech was. Macek had his success with Robotech in 1985 and was looking for something new to bring to the US for the older fan. In Japan there were 31 episodes so I am guessing sales in the US were lackluster so there were only the 5 episodes and special released here. You can even see a bit of Zillion in Michael Jackson's Scream video.

Being the much eager Anime fan I got this set plus the movie 'Burning Night' and utterly failed to get past the 2nd episode. That was 20+ years ago... It's time to put things to rights and watch the whole damn thing.

My enthusiasm is much higher now that I am into 'older' Anime series. I do like the flashy new stuff but the totally hand drawn classic anime holds a special place in my heart. This should be fun.

Episode 1 "They Call Me J.J."

What caught me by surprise when I first watched this episode was the much more adult stuff in it. There is some mild cussing and a lot of people dying... alot. There are even babies getting jacked in this show! It was nice that Macek didn't try to edit this to death.

Since this was an OAV (Original Animation Video) it looks better than the regular TV stuff since it was shorter and they had more money to produce nicer animation. You will also notice animation looks very Macross Saga too. That's because Studio Tatsunoko did this.

The enemy in this series (the walking battle suits) look a whole lot like the Invid's Organics... a WHOLE lot. Infact I am willing to bet they are designed off of them.

You will recognize a lot of Robotech voice actors in this. Back in the day there was a smaller circle of voice actors to choose from so most anime back then shared a lot of the same people.

The White Knights are told early on that there is only a limited amount of Zillion energy but they shoot with wild abandon.

Episode 2 "Hang Fire"

The Noza (the almost faceless enemy) are pretty cool looking but you don't ANY personality out of them (since they have a mask-like face).

The schematic of the Zillion guns show a 'black box' that scientist can't figure out. On the display screen it lists the black box as 'unfathomable'... lol.

What the heck is that floating thing that hangs around Amy?

Apparently if you want to be a White Knight you will need to learn how to drive a motorcycle with a side-car thingy.

This was such a waste of an episode! What the heck happened here? There was this massive Noza invasion of a power plant and in the end the White Knights only had to deal with like eight of them! Suddenly that's all, the episode is over! There was no real story development here at all, just some pretty animation.

Episode 3 "Split Second Chance"

Some of the laser sounds from the first of this episode sound pretty cool.

As soon as the massive reinforcements showed up, flying in tight formation, I saw the result coming a mile away!

Was it really necessary for JJ to backflip to get out of his pilot's seat?

Champ is the only thing that keeps JJ alive. He is the voice of reason and often saves JJ's ass.

There's an eclipse on Maris every freakin' fifteen minutes!

The Noza's leader's eye blink (kinda) when he is giving orders to his cannon troops. This must mean it's not a mask but his actual face.

So JJ and Champ just jump out of the sub on the motorcycle, take their time aiming, shoot, and Apple catches them again on the top of the sub... man, those are some heroes!

Episode 4 "Target, The White Knights"

JJ is butt-naked at the first of this episode!

That Noza ugly-ass survellience bird is here again. This is the most unpleasant looking creature in the galaxy.

While JJ's hormones are getting him into trouble that flying ball thing is finally put to use.

Well, now that the plot has been setup and there was plenty of pre-action stuff, the rest of the episode should just fly by without much more plot or character development. lol.

Champ makes a big deal about not using their guns so the Noza won't know they are there but then immediately uses it.

Apparently Apple is a perv too.

Waterskiing Noza!

Episode 5 "Judgement Call"

This is the last of the US adapted episodes (besides the 'Burning Night' special).

That cat thing that the scientist has sounds so pathetic... poor thing.

Champ is the one always getting shot and hurt.

That cat thing is hiding in Apple's bosum... yuuuum.

Well, that's all for the regular released US episodes. If you are interested in wanting more YouTube is the place to go. I think I'm gonna pass. I can see why the US released didn't do so well. The episodes are too self insulated, no real running story arcs or anything. They were $15 for each episode back in the day so I can see people giving up pretty quickly on this set.

OAV: Burning Night

This is the 45 minute OAV I assume was released after the series completed.

To start with the White Knights have apparently become a band since the last time I saw them (with Amy on Keytar).

Champ looks like he belongs in Duran Duran.

Apple has become useless. She used to be such a ass kickin' fem fetale. Now she is just a helpless girl.

The action in this show takes place in some place called the 'zone'. It looks like an old run down crap-hole and some big time family runs it. I don't know if they are a port from the show or a new creation from the OAV.

The team is working at that bar they started the show in (even their boss is reduced to being a bartender). After they defeated the Noza (which apparently left Maris one big junk hole) the White Knights were just abandoned to obscurity.

The Zillion weapon systems were used up during the Noza wars so the teams are reduced to normal weapons to go in a save Apple.

When JJ tries to stop the wedding it plays out like that scene from Wayne's World 2 where Wayne is banging on the glass wall above the ceremony.

Apparently the old woman controls dead Noza like zombies. They jump around like the living dead in Chinese ghost movies.

In closing, Burning Night is pretty but pointless (as was much of the regular episodes). The money was there but the story lacked. There doesn't seem to be much point in it.

Overall Zillion (in all it's forms) suffered from lack of story. There needed to be story arcs and an overall story line that actually meant something. This is the big difference between Zillion and Robotech is the story. There is a main storyline and several arcs where there doesn't seem to be anything like that in Zillion... pitty. It's not too much of a mystery why the series only 5 episodes here in the US. Along with a less than exciting storyline and Carl Macek ripping young kids out of $15 per episode Zillion flopped fairly quickly.

The Toys:

There were some Zillion toys released in Japan back in the 90's. Apparently they were very  rare since the only set I saw (from which I got these pictures) was from a very expensive Ebay auction. They look pretty cool. There was also a game gun for the Genesis system.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book 2: Robotech Battle Cry

by Nathan Stout (of
Hey all! Welcome to the next blog post in my year long look at Robotech. This post is about the Del Rey Robotech novel: Battle Cry. If you remember I split up the first book into 2 posts since the first part of the first book took place way before the show started (with Zor's backstory).

This book deals with the next set of episodes in novelization form. For some reason I always thought that the book each contained six episodes worth but that just ain't so. It's pretty close but not quite. Perhaps they were shooting for a general length for each book so that's why it the material covered varies. This one finishes with the 12th episode so maybe it just took longer to deal with the first few episodes to set up a good series.

This book picks up right when Rick joins the RDF and he goes out on his first mission. Once again Jack McKinney takes the show and elaborates on it. They take the show and give it more realistic feel. This book is no exception.

Early on in the book Captain Gloval gives the order to move the destorids to the front of the Dadelus for Lisa's plan. He gives the order to move all: 'Destroids, Spartans, and Gladiators'. This one again gave me pause. If you remember while covering the show I mentioned that he called the big robot known to me as a Radar X, a Destorid. I just assumed that it was a mistake but once again the reference is here in the book. I always had known them as Radar X because of the Role Playing books. Could it be that all these years I was the one wrong about that? The two sources conflicting and I taking the one I knew best (the RPG). Well, you live and you learn. To me though, all non-flying robots are collectively known as Destroids... sorry ghost of Carl Macek!

Wait wait wait! Just a couple of paragraphs later Jack McKinney describes the Destroids in the bow of the Dadelus. He uses the word collectively... now I'm really confused. Perhaps McKinney was just unsure of the usage during the show and decided to just leave Gloval's dialogue as-is. Fhew...

In the 'Forward' of Chapter Four there is reference to Khyron's ingesting the flower of life. This is the first mention of this and it's only found in the novels. This must have been a Jack McKinney device. I remember when I first read it way back when that I thought it was their way to account for Khyron's un-Zentraedi-like behavior.

Before they land on Mars the book says that Gloval consults the other commanders on the SDF-1. This is one of those things that is written to be more realistic since in the show and comics Gloval makes all the decisions while in real life decisions like it would be by committe.

If there was 'added' gravity via the gravity mines that trapped the SDF-1, wouldn't people on the ship feel the 'added' gravity?

I made a big deal in the comic review of this part of the story that they were referring to the base as Sara, not Sera. For some reason I always thought it was Sera Base, not Sara Base. I guess that was just my misunderstanding.

Minmei's enthusiastic response to getting Rick's medal as a birthday present is re-worked here as to not make Minmei look like such a shallow human being. There was no talk of it being 'sparklie'.

Colonel Edwards is mentioned in passing in chapter 9 and I thought that was cool. To mention so early someone who would later play a huge roll (in the Sentinels) was neat.

The author(s) began to referring to Rick's team as Vermillion (as the show does) but on their first mission they are called Black Team. I wonder why.

I know I forgot to address this on the show blog but the theme that they play for the Miss Macross pageant is the same tune for Stage Fight. In the book Minmei apparently wrote that song. So what's the story here?

The author must have changed or something during the Miss Macross pageant. They do a LOT of re-writing of what happens in the show. It's more of a re-telling than adaptation.

Infact, there is a lot of re-telling for the rest of this book. I am wonder why I was under the impressions the books were far more direct in their representation of the story all these years. It's not bad or anything, it's just that I had a different remembrance of them. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I had read the books before watching the show again... I don't know.

Rick's comment about Women not being able to do some tasks because they were just to hard is politically removed from the book. Rick doesn't sound like such a bastard here! lol. Come on! He's young and bound to say dumb stuff!

I found it interesting that the restroom that I was so surprised about where Max knocks out the Zentraedi while in his Battloid is called a utility closet here in the book.

The book finishes with the end of episode 12 (and issue 12 of the comic). Rick, Max, Ben, and Lisa are rescued from their stolen battlepod and are safetly on their way back to the SDF-1.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Robotech (Comico Comics) #7-12

by Nathan Stout (of

Robotech #7 (1985 Comico)

Once again this is a great front/back cover. There is a cool shot of the MACII outside Sera Base's window.

Ugh, there's that Carl Rieber again. Why would you bother joining the military if you were so opposed to war? Just asking...

On page 11 the alien recon ship somehow knows the name of the base (Sera). There is also one of those rare 'under' shots of the SDF-1. I like it. Oh yeah, finally on that page the Zentraedi screen is in English.

On page 12 there is a full page advertisement for the dorkiest sweatshirt ever. Anyway this is the first clue that Cark Macek had bigger plans for Robotech. The title Robotech Oddesy referred to the '5th' part of Robotech which was to take place after The New Generation and The Sentinels. Basically the further adventures of the SDF-3 which would end in the REF going back in time and basically becoming the Robotech Masters, thus creating an infinite loop. Clever idea but it never came through... cause The Sentinels SUCKED! Oh, sorry... lol.

When Khyron shoots down his own troop (that tried to attack early) another one of the troops reported that he was dead. In the series he is still alive (just moaning).

On the final page of the comic Rick asks Lisa a question and she responds. It's a much less poignant moment than in the show since there (the show) they don't speak to each other, it's just the announcer.

Robotech #8 (1985 Comico)

The opening box calls the Mars base Sara, not Sera... not sure what it is supposed to be.

Reggie Byers does the art in this issue and you can tell he has a hard time with the character's looks.

On page 12 is a sign up form for the Official Robotech Fan Club. I wasn't a member back then but somewhere in the early 2000's I got the membership kit off Ebay. It was all water damaged but I still enjoyed it.

On page 14 the overhead announcement (presumably from Lisa) calls Veritechs 'varitechs'. She calls them that later too.

On page 16 Gloval orders all 'battloid' teams out. He meant destroid teams. Oh well, he's busy and under a lot of pressure. Claudia then tells Gloval that the defender team has been destroyed. Oh the name confusion!

Rick's Veritech is a strange color.

Robotech #9 (1986 Comico)

On the inside cover they advertise the upcoming movie and 65 new episodes of The Sentinels.

On page 5 Rico calls it operation 'Miss Macross', not 'Blue Wind'.

On page 16 we see Minmei fall because of her broken heel. We don't even get to see this in the show. As I read through this issue I am really seeing an almost scene for scene and word for word adaptation here, good work.

On page 24 there is something DEFINITELY not in the show. The host is singing the cheesiest song ever to Minmei.

Robotech #10 (1986 Comico)

In this comic the front/back covers are gone. Too bad.

On page 3 (and in the show) the narrator mentions that because of constant battle much of the technology aboard the ship is no longer working. This little factoid seems random and made only to take up time on the show since there is no other reference to problems of this nature anywhere else in the series.

While reading this comic I am getting an sense of real order from the layout artist. I forgot that in a previous issue they said that Mike Leeke was going to be drawing the comic (he is the guy who drew the covers). The art is sharp and well done. The previous issues were fine but Leeke has taken it up a notch.

Diana Shultz (the Editor) has a different and amusing title in each issue. This issue she is listed at Gamemaster.

On page 10 the narrator (I'll just call it that to keep any confusion out) says that Breetai is loyal "The Supereme Dolza". It almost seems like it is a title instead of his name.

On the same page the asteroid the Zentraedi destroy is called an asteroid here as opposed to a planet (like in the show).

There is a frog in the fountain with Rick after the radar tower is hit.

The bridge structure of the SDF-1 seems to be on a pedestal or something. It is sitting higher here than I have ever seen it before. I don't think it's like that in the show. It always appears to be resting right on the deck.

Starting on page 17 is a REAL BUMMER of an article by the editor about child abuse with some real graphic information. Were they sure this was a good fit for a kid's comic book?!

On the 2nd pane of page 18 we can see where Disney stole Lightning McQueen's catchphrase from Cars. Also, Lisa calls the chunk of asteroid 'planetary fragment'. I was too quick to thank the comic makers for fixing that faux pas. Then all the sudden the chuck of rock becomes a Zentraedi cruiser and then suddenly it becomes a chunk of rock again (like in the show).

Robotech #11 (1986 Comico)

If memory serves Lisa did not volunteer for this mission as it says on the first page.

On page 8 is some nekkid images of Lisa! Woo woo!

On page 12 there is an ad for the F.H.E. Robotech VHS tapes. A deal at only 9.95 per tape (per episode)! Do you realize that would cost you almost $400 for JUST the Macross part of Robotech?! If F.H.E. released it all you would have been paying $850 for it all! Wow.
When I got into Robotech F.H.E. had already moved on to selling the condensed version of the Macross Saga on 6 VHS tapes. These were crudely edited together episodes with a lot of stuff cut for time. I never owned the single episode VHS versions you see here.

Dolza is supposed to be even bigger than Breetai but when Dolza holds Lisa, she is pretty big in his hand (about the size of a Barbie doll). When Breetai holds Rick after capturing him in his escaping ejection seat, Breetai can close his hand around Rick and the ejection seat...

On page 26 and in the show Dolza goes into a speech that confuses me. I thought the Zentraedi were the unthinking clones of the Masters but his speech leads us to believe that the Master don't even exist and all this stuff with getting their hands on the SDF-1 is his idea and not a simple direct order of the Masters...

The petition on page 29 is interesting... I wonder how that turned out.

Robotech #12 (1986 Comico)

On page 3 Exedore suggests they send spies into the SDF-1 but if you remember he is most adamant about not have any contact with the Micronians.

On the bottom of page 12 it looks like Rick and Lisa are nekkid and Rick is wearing a bra... lol.

The show cut out the Zentraedi getting blasted by the Rick (using a Zentraedi rifle) but the comic shows it... right in the faceplate!

As I stated in the video review I am confused as to why there are men and male battlepods on the female Zentraedi ship. I thought they were very segregated.

On page 24 there is a copyright at the bottom of the page stating that Minmei's lyrics belong to Harmony Gold... sheesh.

On page 27 (the letters page) the Editor in Chief rips Robotech fandom a new one! There was a 1986 'Galaxy of Stars' Robotech promo mini-convention in New York and apparently the fans there were very rude and it was more of frenzied free for all than an well ordered promotional event. One of the promoters was a local New York radio station that was broadcasting from there, giving out stuff and asking trivia. Although it sounded like a hot-mess it also sounded like a great time for Robotech (wish I was a little older back then... and living in the area).

Page 29 is cool. I love advertisements for comic books stores, conventions, etc.. ahhh old school.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Robotech Episodes 7-12

by Nathan Stout (of

I've had fun so far, picking apart each episode in my year long look at Robotech and now let's continue with the next six episodes of the series. I will also be reading the next six comics and reading the next book (which covers about six episodes).

Episode #7 Bye By Mars

It's strange that Sera base would be totally deserted. Such a large base should have harbored some survivor. Oh well.

If you remember earlier in the year in some of the Academy comics Khyron and Breetai had some adventures together. In the show it seems that they don't really know each other. However, it could be construed that they did know each other.

After the Khyron scene there is a battle scene. This is one of those scenes I never really cared for. I'd just watch more Macross city fun and drama as opposed to ships duking it out. At one point Gloval orders the main gun to be moved and we see it rotate. How in the world that is possible is beyond me.

Rick hears some RDF propaganda and it upsets him. This is a VERY adult theme. I'm sure kids would just let this go in one ear and out another but I think it's very cool.

Once again I'll ask it, why in the heck was Carl Rieber in the military? Such a puss... and apparently a cradle robber.

The Zentraedi spy buried in the ground was WAYYYY ahead of his time. He was the first Emo!

The shot of the destroids coming down the ramp show the MACII at the right size this time. It's huge!

The scene where Lisa rides into Sera Base makes the place looks like Tomorrow Land Disneyworld.

Vanessa's video screen is ginormous!

Gloval calls the Veritech squadrons 'Valkyrie' squadrons.

Rick rescuing Lisa from Sera Base is the first step to their eventual hookup.

P.S. The bloopers from Protocultrue Addicts are a lot bigger this time since they were kind of hard to read last time. Enjoy!

Episode #8 Sweet Sixteen

Ut oh, we are the 'B' team again.

I used to record little audio bits of the show onto audio tapes back in the 90's. I found interesting stuff and recorded it back to back and got to know those bits word for word. The ceremony scene that happens here at the beginning of the episode is one of those recorded sessions. I know this stuff by heart.

Khyron looks very 'Star Blazers' in his first scene of this episode.

Rick is almost 2 heads shorter than the others in the room!

The laptop or whatever it is that Roy opens to show Rick his new subordinates sure is crude. No normal image but a strange flashing black and white photo... it will probably give you a seizure!

The medal that Rick just put on his chest disappears before he leaves Roy's.

Wow! Max's uniforms changes color right in front of your eyes when they are standing on the street watching the destroyed destroid being hauled off.

Ben's enthusiasm is infections.

Why are the destroids all just walking targets?

I know I've already covered this but the 'B' team animation is really rough. The space scenes with the black backgrounds look really dirty, there is a lot of dust particles on the cells.

If Rick had some balls he would could have killed Khyron when his ship was immobilized by thr recall beam.

"Cola makes the good times roll. Have a peanut." WTF?

Minmei goes all gooey because the medal (which she doesn't even know what it is) just because it's shiny. SHEESH!


Episode #9 Miss Macross

This is one of my favorite episodes of the series. All the elements are just so right here. It's fantastic!

The opening shot shows some of the Ghost fighters you saw in the very first episode. According to the RPG those are unmanned ships.

The very next shot is a view of Macross city's 'layers'. There is no apparent railing or anything... cars and people could just go right over the edge!

When Rick and Minmei are sitting, talking Rick sees a blue sky outside. Minmei tells him that the Robotech engineers did it. I wonder if that was the original dialogue. I am thinking that it was an English addition to the story and that in the original Japanese show Rick was just musing about being able to see a real sky, sort of a day dream. Can anyone tell me? I know that the books really grabbed ahold of that concept and dubbed it the EVE system.

The Zentraedi spies enter the picture and they whole storyline alters. They are the catalyst for the end of the war.

One of the Miss Macross contestants looks to be dressed up as Sybil Faltey.

The long shot of the fanliner looks really crude.

The whole Jan Morris subplot is great and I wish they showed a little more. The book elaborates on her more so I can get my fix.

Rick's uniform looses its blue for a moment when he is being paged at the Miss Macross contest.

The Super Battloid is awesome. It was always my favorite ship in the RPG. So many missiles!

The shot of the missiles coming towards Rick have the SDF-1 in the background. What the heck is going on there?! Looks like they got sloppy and used old animation.


Episode #10 Blind Game

Rico, Konda, and Bron's positions keep changing during their altercation in front of Breetai.

The lower faceplatesRobotech force's helmets keep changing is size. Sometimes they are small, sometimes they are so big they are covering the pilot's mouths conveniently.

The bridge bunnies move so fast when the phone robot rolls up infront of Rick... it's hilarious. And as a note, Rick's choice in wardrobe is pretty horrendous.

Right after the 'commercial break' there is a shot of the whole SDF-1. It looks great! There's a lot of detail there. Infact all the shots of the ships looks really good in this episode.

I know it's just a show and all that jazz but why o why would Gloval make Lisa go on recon? Oh well, I guess you had to get her captured somehow.

Max says he has some pods coming up at 4 o'clock. He is looking somewhere at 10 o'clock... just sayin'.

When Breetai takes off running down the hall is great. You really want to root for him, he takes such decisive action! This whole battle scene make Breetai a much more interesting character.

Breetai's uniform changes color just like Rick's!


Episode #11 First Contact

It's WWF Robotech style.

Max's veritech changes color right before he is sucked out of the ship.

Rick is such a chauvinistic pig! 'Some assignments are just too difficult for women." lol. Well, he was really young.

Ben makes a very dirty remark when Lisa is showing off her 'mico video recorder'. 'Micro' my foot. Not by today's standards.

Max hides in the toilet! I just now figured that out!

When Max changes his battloid into a disguise the walking noise changes from a loud clanking to a soft shoe sound.

When Minmei is singing for the first time we see Roy and Claudia together for the first time ever.


Episode #12 The Big Escape

Lisa says "OK, I heard that" when Max tells them they need to put the guard into the cell. Her inflection was all wrong. The line didn't seems to be for that particular moment. I guess that's the danger of doing voice acting work.

When Max blasts through Breetai's view screen to escape I always thought that was so awesome. It was very 'movie-esque'.

When the veritech blows up and kills the Zentraedi he screams and it sounds so bad. I'm sure little Johnny had nightmares that night.

Rick makes another chauvinistic comment here about women not making any sense.

After their fall in the Zentraedi ship Lisa's har is down out of those awful rolls. This is when I fell in love with Lisa... that lovely hair, fair skin, and shapely thighs... sigh......

How absolutely fortunate that the escapees just happen to get on Azonia's ship which just happens to be going to the sol system where the SDF-1 is.

Wait wait wait! There is a lot of confusing stuff going on here. It looked like Rick, Lisa, Ben, and Max got aboard a purple ship (female ship). Why are battlepods onboard the female Zentraedi ship? Battlepods are male ships, right?

Then we see the spies on board an obvious male ship (no biggie here I just didn't think male and female Zentraedi would fight together). The ship is purple too so I guess the escapees didn't get on the 'wrong' ship. I just never knew purple ships had males on them.

Finally the FEMALE Zentraedi tells Myria that her ship is ready. She is speaking in a man's voice. I am sure this was just an accident on behalf of the American voice over team.

I always liked the way the female power armor zipped and zoomed around.