A Research Proposal

In analyzing Robotech and the three series it was adapted from, the Robotech material presents multiple complications which must be acknowledged and neutralized. To begin an analysis of Robotech, a nomenclature and classification system must be imposed on the material. To avoid misreading the material, in analyzing Robotech there are at least five semi-chronological layers involved. The first layer deals with extrapolations from the primary material composed of the three original Japanese cartoons named Super Dimension Fortress Macross (SDF Macross), Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (SDCSC), and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (Military Operation Soldier Protection Emergency Aviation Dive Armor). The second layer involves Carl Macek’s revisions. The previously coined derogatory term Macekre (massacre) can be lovingly repurposed for this layer. This second layer encompasses what is referred to as the first, second, and third Robotech wars. The third layer is anything involving the Robotech novelizations by Jack McKinney. This layer can be referred to as McKinney-isms or the McKinney-verse (McKinney universe). The full length animated features titled Robotech II: The Sentinels and Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles represent the fourth layer. These films stand alone and are considered canon or core continuity as opposed to extended continuity. While they were constrained by legal rights and licensing, they were not constrained by the process of adapting pre-existing Japanese animation. Of the two features composing this fourth layer, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is referred to as the fourth Robotech war. The fifth layer consists of any other material such as comic books and role playing games.

For purposes of clarity, throughout this website the Japanese source materials Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA shall be referred to as SDF Macross, SDCSC, and MOSPEADA respectively. Their Robotech counterparts are Robotech: The Macross Saga, Robotech: The Masters, and Robotech: The New Generation and these shall be referred to as the first Robotech war, the second Robotech war, and the third Robotech war respectively.

An overwhelming obstacle of Robotech analytics is the sheer volume of material required to be digested. A poem, film, or novel would be more manageable. A thorough examination of Robotech will require a multidisciplinary group of researchers. These authorities might include experts in Japanese and American culture, anime scholars, film critics, historians, literary critics, psychologists, and Japanese and English language linguists. These academicians must view 85 animated episodes of Robotech as well as the corresponding episodes from the three Japanese anime series Robotech was adapted from, read all the novels, comic books, and role playing games, and extract coherent relevant meanings applicable to enhancing the viewers’ understanding. In addition to the quantity of material, Robotech resists investigation as it also spans multiple forms of media. Robotech mixes media with licensing for animation, novels, comic books, and more. This is a high threshold of entry into Robotech analysis. While the bar is high, an examination of this nature would prove invaluable.

Robotech presents unique challenges in addition to unique opportunities as an object of artistic criticism. Any attempt to isolate the artistic merits of Robotech quickly devolves into a deconstruction of Robotech itself which in turn leads to Robotech’s tangled creation story. To be clear, not the internal in-universe Watsonian creation story of Zor’s discovery of protoculture, but the consumerist out-of-universe Doylist reality of Carl Macek stitching together three separate Japanese animation series. (The terms Doylist and Watsonian are fan jargon inspired by Sherlock Holmes author Doyle and the fictional character Watson.)  Regarding episodes 1 to 36, the duality of the Macross version versus the Robotech version may be either a hindering complication or a rich treasure ripe for analysis. The hindrance presents itself in the form of a constant distraction or blurring of any concrete lessons of Robotech by convoluting Japanese versus American auteurs’ intentions. Conversely, this complication could present as opportunity if used to provide insights into the differences between Japanese and American cultures by studying the translations and artistic choices made during the repackaging of the source material into the Robotech alternative. Simply put, SDF Macross may have clear symbols or themes relating to Japanese society which may be lost or reinterpreted when applied to international audiences.

Finally, much of this analysis may likely have already occurred in non-English speaking nations. All this material will require translation and organization into one central searchable database. Likewise, English language analysis will require translation for non-English speaking fans.

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