Okay, you got me, man. I'm in for next week.

Next week's guest on Chris Meadows's Space Station Liberty talkcast: James Luceno, the surviving half of the "Jack McKinney" dynamic duo who wrote the eighteen novels of the ROBOTECH and Sentinels series from 1987-1990. Luceno later wrote the last three ROBOTECH novels -- the "Lost Generation" novels of the mid-1990's -- solo under the McKinney pseudonym, following the death of co-author Brian Daley.

Soooo, yeah, this one I'm totally going to join in on live via my cell, even if my computer is still stubbornly disagreeing with the Talkshoe client and I'm going to have to "raise my hand," so to speak, by throwing e-mails and instant messages at Chris at regular intervals. (Stupid OS X needing an upgrade ... *grumble, grumble*)

Interview with Dan Woren Part 2

MP3 File

This second, fourteen minute installment of my interview with ROBOTECH voice actor Dan Woren covers his work on Robotech: Battlecry, The Shadow Chronicles, and other projects he had in the works as of July 2006 -- anime series Kyo Kara Maoh and Gun X Sword and the live action cop flick Taken By Force.

Chris Meadows Reviews The Shadow Chronicles DVD

Chris Meadows has the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles DVD and I don't. Read his review here, or listen to it on his first pre-recorded Space Station Liberty show here (mp3 audio, 30 min.).


Prelude in demand. | "Underground" MP3 available for download. | Another Valkyrie review.

No, I'm not jealous of Darkwater or Meadows having the Shadow Chronicles DVD at this point when I don't. Why do you ask?

You didn't?

Aw, crap.

* * *

You probably didn't even notice that the store was sold out of their sets of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles. Yeah, I didn't either until I went onto eBay today and noticed that a complete set of the five-issue comic book series was, at last count, selling for $43.00. Check out the auction here.

What can I say, the print run was small and clearly the Shadow Chronicles buzz has made a complete set into a hot item right now, regardless of the fact that the series' merits are few and far between. (I liked the first half of the last issue. I thought it was cool. It was also nice to see Edwards and the Regent again. I missed them.) I wonder if this is going to turn out to be a one-time thing or if subsequent sets of the series would go as high. Obviously I've got a full set here, but they've been run over by my computer chair a few times, so I don't think anyone else would want them ...

* * *

sdf1macross has let me know that ROBOTECH The New Generation songwriter and performer Michael Bradley has finally released the single "Underground" from the ROBOTECH remake album, Lonely Soldier Boy, as a downloadable MP3. You give Michael $1.19 via the PayPal mechanism at his website, he gives you this awesome reworking of one of his songs from Robotech The Movie: The Untold Story. I downloaded it, I'm listening to it right now, and I'm probably going to loop it and listen to it for the next half hour.

Michael says that the CD should hopefully ship by the end of February. I have my fingers crossed for him, for what it's worth. I want the CD. I want it bad. And I really want it to do well for him after all the hard work he's put into making it happen. Listening to "Underground" just makes me want the whole album all the more. (What can I say, this is coming from a guy who spent a whole lot of high school locked in a room typing up ROBOTECH comic book summaries with "Look Up! The Sky is Falling" on endless repeat on the CD player and the volume cranked up all the way ... clearly I got issues.)

The banner image comes from the Michael Bradley Fan Club. There's lots of cool ones there. Pick one you like and put it on your blog. Show your support, gang!

* * *

Scott Rubin points me to his review of the entire Toynami 1/100 Macross Valkyrie line along with a substantial photo gallery comparing them to past Valkyrie figures at right here. Seriously, if you've got the time, click through that gallery for a bit. Lots of cool pics.

* * *

I'm gonna try and get the second half of the Dan Woren interview up tomorrow night. It could be very late, but it's gonna get done, promise.


[Not Robotech] The FUNimation BIG REVEAL score so far.

Well, today bore the first fruit from FUNimation's 2007 kickoff week. After Monday's announcement regarding FUNimation's acquisition of the North American rights to the anime based on the Korean MMORPG Ragnarok and Tuesday's announcement that FUNi also had the rights to the run-of-the-mill teenage romantic comedy Suzuka, finally there's something I can sink my teeth into -- they've got the rights to Satelite's 2005 sci-fi/fantasy robot anime Aquarion, created by Macross co-creator and mecha designer Shoji Kawamori. That's something at least. I'm not so keen on the show, but I did only watch the first episode -- I might pick up the first disc and give it another shot. I mean, it's a Shoji Kawamori show. It's the least I can do.

The rest of the Dan Woren interview will be up either late tomorrow night or late Friday night. And if you don't feel like keeping your eyes here to see which it is, will probably keep you posted.

Cripes, it's STILL weird seeing my face there. *shudders*

Interview with Dan Woren Part 1

Dan Woren & Jonathan Switzer, July 2006

MP3 File

This took me forever to get around to editing, but with RDF Underground on indefinite hiatus, I figured it was about freakin' time to get this out there -- my interview with the voice of Roy Fokker himself, Dan Woren.

Originally recorded back in late July 2006, this first fifteen minute installment covers how Dan got into the voice acting business and his work on the original ROBOTECH television series. Later on in the week I'll post up the rest, in which Dan talks about his work on Robotech: Battlecry, The Shadow Chronicles, and other recent work.


Exclusive unused Mospeada design image!

Behold! From the files of Roger Harkavy at Super7 Magazine, a Roboblog exclusive look at the AFC/R-02 ground combat Legioss, an unused mecha design from Genesis Climber Mospeada. (Click to enlarge!) As Roger remarked when he e-mailed this to me ...

This is a photo of a sample colorway sheet, black and white photocopied line art detailed with color marker. This sheet, along with 100 other pieces of MOSPEADA and Southern Cross pre-production art, was discovered in a warehouse in Japan, among the files of the now defunct model kit company Imai.

Super7 Magazine issue #15 will feature an article about MOSPEADA and Southern Cross toys. The article includes six pieces of artwork from the Imai Files and a glimpse into additional pre-production materials that give new insight into the background of these shows. If fans would like to see the rest of these materials in print one day, please encourage them to spread the word and support the magazine by buying this issue.

And I do encourage you to buy it, oh yes. Seriously, if any place around here carried the blasted thing, I know I'd be buying it every three months or thereabouts (it's quarterly). Clicky-click here to their website.

Oh, and Roger says he doesn't want to see this pic flitting about the interweb -- actually, what exactly did he say?

... please include something to the effect that I would prefer that the image remain exclusive to your blog, and that people avoid copying, distributing, remote linking, or modifying the image. I know that they're probably going to do this anyway, but that's why I have my copyright and email address plastered across the front.

Ah, that's right. So please don't do that, okay? (And for those who were complaining, Roger has updated the copyright info for accuracy.)

More stuff later.


Follow-up & falling down.

In a follow-up to the aforementioned review, at the This Divided State blog, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles composer Scott Glasgow writes a little about how he approached scoring the film and remarks upon why he didn't take more of the TV series score as jumping off point for his work on the film.

So it looks like RDF Underground is on hiatus for the foreseeable future. Hmm. Between that and Chris Meadows breaking format and slotting in a non-ROBOTECH guest on the next Space Station Liberty Talkcast this week ... well, I suppose that in particular is just a matter of timing (Meadows is still talking to Melanie "Lisa Hayes" MacQueen next week), but I don't know, I guess there's a certain amount of calm before the storm sinking in, a certain amount of burnout from those of us who were coasting on the rising Shadow Chronicles buzz ... for some people, I guess there's only so long they can keep on talking about ROBOTECH week in and week out. Me, I wouldn't know anything about that ...

[Update (4:12 p.m.): I am informed in the comments that, despite the fact that an e-mail came to me from Chris stating that the Peter S. Beagle interview was going to be on Space Station Liberty, it's actually on his Biblio File talkcast. I guess somebody got some wires crossed somewhere; sorry 'bout that.]

Speaking of coasting on buzzes, I should probably go try and grab a couple of hours of sleep before work, especially if I intend on getting a certain thing done this coming afternoon.


Robotech dreams weird me out. | Right Stuf interviews Macek. | Documentary filmmaker sees Shadow Chronicles, enjoys it despite himself.

Y'know, I've been thinking about Sentinels a lot lately -- largely in the context of how when The Shadow Chronicles comes out on DVD, I'm going to have a big long night of ROBOTECH watching, and the Sentinels feature is certainly going to be a part of it. (Definitely not part of the evening's festivities: Robotech The Movie: The Untold Story.) To be honest, I've always had a soft spot for the Sentinels animation; I can still remember the first time I watched it, the morning of my birthday during ... oh, either my Freshman or Sophomore year of high school, I think. That sounds right. It's funny, I don't remember being particularly disappointed -- I think I was just having too much of a thrill finally seeing in animation scenes I'd only read about in the McKinney novels. Actually, the disappointing part was when I figured out as Minmei caught the bouquet that the feature was going to pretty much end there -- "Oh, we're not going to get any of the SDF-3 launch, are we? Crap."

Anyway, so I had this dream about some sort of college student center-like building where scenes from some ersatz cut of Sentinels were playing on monitors (I think it might have had something to do with my girlfriend talking about her classes this semester two days ago, or my pal David talking about wanting to go to the little anime con in Lawrence, KS, again this year -- last year they were on the University of Kansas campus), and then all of a sudden I notice the bizarre footage playing is running back and forth. And then suddenly Dr. Lang is in footage with Rem and some Invid Inorganics and the footage starts running backwards and I just go, "Ohh, crap." Because I know I'm the one who put the show on the monitors, and honestly, I always get a kind of sinking feeling when I stick Sentinels into the pile of ROBOTECH animation for people to watch, and I guess this was my dream taking that sinking feeling and magnifying it, as I and some other person talk about me wanting to share my passions with people -- oh, bitter dream irony!

And then I start to wake up and start to drift off again and the dream sort of resumes in the middle of some footage of Rick, Wolfe, and Lang aboard the shuttle towards the Factory Satellite, only their uniforms are these ridiculous-looking dress uniforms, and I watch it and figure it's got to be some sort of animation error, but as the scene changes the uniforms continue to look just that stupid, so I start to wonder if I just never noticed how awful the Sentinels uniform designs were. Again, everyone always makes fun of the Sentinels uniform designs, I never thought they were that bad, and so in my dream they necessarily have to look utterly ridiculous. God, the ways in which they were extra-ridiculous are just barely vivid enough that I could almost draw a picture right now ...

The eerie thing about the dream was that all the while, you know what was playing against this awful dream footage? Actual Sentinels music. That gave the whole thing a creepy ring of authenticity. It was that piece from the scenes when the shuttle was getting ready to lift off for the Factory Satellite.

God, it's like those dreams I have where there are more ROBOTECH novels with really cool-looking cover art, only completely the opposite. Ugh.

* * *

Oh, might as well post it -- if you haven't seen this (and the creepy photo) at Darkwater's blog, the latest episode of Right Stuf's Anime Today podcast features an interview with ROBOTECH story editor/"visionary" and Streamline Pictures founder Carl Macek. It's episode #32, and you can download it here. Darkwater reports that "he kind of dances around his involvement" with The Shadow Chronicles, not mentioning what exactly he did on the feature. I seem to remember Tommy Yune saying Macek basically served as a story consultant, pointing them in the direction he intended to push ROBOTECH post-Sentinels. Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it because his name wasn't in the credits ... at least, I don't remember seeing it. I dunno.

Update (12:08 p.m.): Bryan Young (see next section below) tells me Macek's name was in the credits. So I'm gonna go with EchoBaseAlpha's comment at Darkwater's blog:

I think Carl's probably tired of being the fandom's whipping boy, so why give 'em more fuel for the fire?

That made me laugh. I remember when Macek bashing was the sport of the day for all hip American otaku. So, being a ROBOTECH fan, I just kept my big yap shut ... ah, those were the days ...

* * *

Bryan Young, assistant director of the political documentary This Divided State, posted his opinions on Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles to the official blog of the documentary. An excerpt:

I don't see anyone but Robotech nerds caring about any of this at all. So, if you like Robotech and any of what I just said made any sense, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. It has the same campy awesomeness as the show and it's just entertaining as all hell.

Hey, I think he likes it.


Anime News Network Reviews The Shadow Chronicles

Hm, weird that the picture used is the cover of the second issue of Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles and not the DVD cover. That and the lack of discussion of extras makes me think the reviewer caught a screening and didn't get a copy of the DVD to review.

Anyway, reviewer Justin Sevakis gives it a "C-". Read the review here. There's actually a lot in there that I kind of agree with, upon reflection.


Wouldn't it be cool if ... ?

Since I've pretty much done as much typing about ROBOTECH today as I possibly can before my head explodes from Protoculture shock (I'll explain later), allow me to place before you a possibility -- not a likelihood, but a possibility -- that's had me thinking for a number of days now.

FUNimation has set up a little page where, every day next week, they're going to unleash some sort of surprise on the anime faithful. You may have seen the banner ads at AnimeNewsNetwork and AnimeOnDVD. The page is here.

Now, this is supposed to be a series of surprise announcements -- five in all. Clearly they have something big planned for each one. Wouldn't it be nice if one of them had something to do with ROBOTECH -- like, say, a co-production announcement on a new series or the follow up to the Shadow Chronicles film?

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up -- oh God, that's the last thing I need -- but this is a possibility that I've been entertaining ever since I saw that banner, and I know I'm going to be clicking over every single day next week with my fingers crossed ...

And if there's nothing? Well, I hope there's at least something cool there. I've been burned badly by too many lame surprise announcements lately. There'd better be at least one pick-me-up in the lot ...


To review.

Feh, and I thought I was going to scoop Darkwater on this first one -- clearly he posted it up while I was still reading it. Hrrmph.

  • There's a mostly positive review of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles here at Pegasus News out of Fort Worth, TX. Yes, the author, Todd Maternowski, gets "Haydonites" spelled wrong in a weird way, but then again the closed captioning of the old ROBOTECH tapes from FHE spelled Zentraedi "Zentrody." We can't all be perfect. I'm kind of surprised that the review is so positive, actually, but then Maternowski seems to at least have a passing familiarity with the franchise and its place in anime history. Given that he admits producing a synopsis of practically any anime film would make the uninitiated's head spin, I wonder what a total newcomer would think.

Also today:

  • Harmony Gold posted a second installment of the Birth of a Sequel documentary, this one about the production process. If you click here, Darkwater gives you screen grabs of some of the early production art.

  • And then there's a preview of a six-page article on The Shadow Chronicles that's going to be in Wizard Entertainment's February issue of their Anime Insider magazine, on sale this week.


Reader mail: Any word on Toynami Cyclones?

Reader Danny Au asks:

i came across your site months ago where you mentioned toynami's ad for fully articulated cyclone figures. i came back to your site many times for further updates, but haven't seen anything as of late.

do you happen to know more about this?

Ah, right. The Toynami Cyclones promised here:

Well, here's the deal as I understand it.

In the wake of the success of the first ROBOTECH video game, Robotech: Battlecry, the ROBOTECH licensees mobilized with a pretty decent slate of tie-in stuff -- Toynami did those Super Veritech Super Poseable figures -- a retooling of the previous year's VF-1 Super Poseables with new leg joints, Super Veritech equipment, and the addition of the game's YF-1R head and color variant to the lineup -- Del Rey reoffered the Macross Saga three-in-one novels with new modern cover art, and DC/WildStorm started cranking out the shiny new comics (remember the Jack Archer cameo in issue #0 of the first mini-series?). This was all considered part of the Battlecry marketing push.

The plan for the wake of Robotech: Invasion, the New Generation-based Cyclone-riding first-person shooter, was supposed to be identical. The Invasion comic book series came out ahead of the game, but when the game was a hit it was supposed to be reissued in a trade paperback collection. Del Rey was going to put the New Generation novels in an omnibus edition for the first time (which is only now going to happen in late February). And Toynami was supposed to do their part by making with the Cyclone figures. The licensees were already in the middle of a big New Generation push (ADV's release of the New Generation episodes in Remastered editions coincided with the Invasion push, as did Toynami's release of the Masterpiece Collection Alpha Fighters), and Invasion's success was supposed to guide the licensees into a continued push through early 2005.

Unfortunately, Invasion met with a host of problems -- TDK's games division being bought out and the new owners de-prioritizing ROBOTECH, for starters. Oh, and the game was a poor man's Halo, released during a busy, crowded holiday game buying season. The thing is, gamers actually liked Battlecry as a game; it offered its own unique experience, flying a plane that turned into a robot, and did it rather well -- not perfectly, but well enough for a first shot -- and got some good word of mouth going. Invasion was a less than ideal follow-up, a knockoff of something gamers knew, right down to the green armor (never mind that New Generation/Mospeada had the green armor first) and even casual gamers stayed away, even as the price dropped like a rock within mere months.

The point is, with all those marks against it, Invasion didn't do anywhere near as well as Battlecry, so the host of tie-ins never materialized. DC didn't put out their trade paperback of the Invasion comic series and stopped doing ROBOTECH comics until the buildup to Shadow Chronicles (it didn't help that the Invasion comic series didn't really do all that well). Del Rey didn't make with the omnibus of the New Gen novels until Shadow Chronicles.

And what of the Cyclone super-poseable figures? Nobody's ever even seen a prototype. We've got a picture of a piece of cardboard promising the figures that someone snapped a picture of a few years ago. I would think that we'd at least get a couple of figures out of them post-Shadow Chronicles DVD release, but I guess we'll see.

There is some buzz that we'll be seeing high-dollar transformable Masterpiece Cyclones in the future -- possibly even the near future, as part of the Shadow Chronicles marketing cycle -- but personally, at this point I'd be more interested in the cheaper, non-transforming figure. A mecha as intricate as the Cyclone would require some very strong, solid plastic parts, and I've not been impressed with the resilience of the plastic Toynami uses for their "Masterpiece" line. But hey, your mileage may vary.

Hope that answers your question, Danny!

Intriguing Palladium tidbit ...

From a January 15 Palladium Books press release by Publisher Kevin Siembieda (read it in full here):

I don’t know if I’m a little burned out or a bit emotionally drained or what, but I have been picking up speed and plan to knock one new book out after another, in this order: 1) Rifts® Sourcebook One, Revised and Expanded, 2) Rifts® World Book 30: D-Bees™ of North America, 3) Rifts® Dimension Book 10: Hades, Pits of Hell™ (where the Minion War begins), 4) Rifts® Dimension Book 11: Dyval™, 5) The Rifter® #38, and 6) Robotech®: The Shadow Chronicles®. I want to have ALL of these books out by May, 2007 ...

Emphasis on that particular point, of course, mine.

So it looks like the first new ROBOTECH RPG book is going to be the Shadow Chronicles sourcebook, and not the "ultimate" or "revised" or whatever edition of the original Macross Saga book. Can't say I'm shocked given the timing. That also looks like a very optimistic schedule considering the number of books Siembieda's working on. I guess we'll see if he meets that May '07 deadline ... hey, we're ROBOTECH fans, we're used to late products at this point.


A tidbit in my in-box, a snatch from the Wub.

Looks like Chris Meadows of Space Station Liberty has scored big time -- on Monday, January 29, his guest is going to be Melanie MacQueen (Lisa Hayes, Marlene Rush, Marlene/Ariel in the ROBOTECH TV series). That's in two weeks, so mark your calendars. Looks like that's going to be a late one, too -- 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Sure, it's only 7:00 for those of you out there in sunny California, but geez, I'm gonna have to get up for work the next morning ...

I've got tomorrow's post all worked out in my head -- it would have been today's post, but it's getting late and I'm beat. Probably would have been one during the weekend, even, but I had something personal come up over the past couple days that kind of put me off of typing some random crap about ROBOTECH. (And this coming from a guy who eats, drinks, sleeps, and breathes ROBOTECH.) But hey, all better now. All the awful badness behind me, I charge forward anew, recharged and ready to resume providing random ROBOTECHness.

* * *

Here at CollectionDX there's a review of Toynami's current major Macross push, the 1/100 transformable Valkyrie figures. Honestly, I hadn't heard a peep on whether these things were any good or not; after reading this, I'm thinking I might have to pick up the one of Hikaru's VF-1J from the TV series.


Keeping the fingers flying.

I've been keeping myself busy with the comics blog the past couple of days -- marching through the last few issues of Robotech II: The Sentinels starting with the opening of the trial during which General T.R. Edwards was revealed as a traitor to the REF, the storyline that has the most bearing on the way the comic book series Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles opened, even if the particular continuity points don't exactly match up. Two down (here and here), one (the final issue) to go. I'll probably start working on that tomorrow morning, since the weather is such that it doesn't look like I'll be doing anything else tomorrow ... *sigh*


Giving Southern Cross some Love | Someone Hated Shadow Chronicles

Yeah, I missed yesterday. I'm going to try and make up for that later tonight with some work on the comics blog. In the meantime, I'm going to take a break today from the Chinese-language Macross book and post a pretty Southern Cross picture from This Is Animation 10.

I really love the ethereal, wispy, dreamlike watercolor style of this piece. Can't you almost see Dana and Bowie chasing after them as the image fades or melts away?

* * *

Meanwhile, out there in the ether of the interwub,'s store has finally gotten in the RDF expansions for Hero Factory's ROBOTECH CCG (Blue Squadron & the SDF-1), even if they don't have a preorder for the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles soundtrack yet. (Darkwater found it for preorder at CD Universe; I found it listed at "coming soon," albeit not preorderable, here at

* * *

Look, someone thought Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles really, really sucked. Wow, that's the harshest I've seen anyone be to the movie beyond the comments threads at Darkwater's blog. Yeesh!


Yes, I know I back-dated this post an hour. Hush.


You mean they're advertising it now? Like a REAL movie?

You know, I really wish this would happen every day when something came up that prevented me from working on new material for all you folks out there in ROBOTECH-land. Reader Mauricio Schneegans spotted an advertisement for the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles DVD in the February 2007 issue of PC World magazine and sent it in. Take a look.

Right now I'm at the point where the movie is a sort of hazy memory, so it's nice to have things like this to remind me that no, the movie is very definitely real and most likely coming out on DVD in less than a month's time. Then again, with this movie, I'm not even sure seeing the DVD on my shelf, right next to all my other ROBOTECH DVDs, is going to really solidify the notion of it being actually honestly real. Whatever animation that comes after ... that I think I'll be able to take as real. But this? I think it's always going to be kind of a haze for me.



If this were any better a Valkyrie, I think Harmony Gold would have to sue.

So Hasbro, manufacturer of the Transformers toy line, has had this gap to deal with between their recently concluded Transformers Cybertron toy line/cartoon and this coming July 4th weekend's big budget, Michael Bay-directed Transformers feature film. To fill this gap, they've been making updated figures of some of the most prominent characters from the first three years of the original 1980's Transformers toy line and cartoon.

And of course, one of the most beloved toys of the original Transformers toy line is everybody's favorite Super VF-1S Valkyrie Fighter repaint, Jetfire, the Autobot Air Guardian (officially licensed from Bandai, manufacturer of the toy, by Hasbro). The problem with doing Jetfire today is that, by golly, he's a Super VF-1S. Thankfully for Hasbro, back in the day they had to create a fake Jetfire named Skyfire for the cartoon, since the manufacturer of the bulk of the Transformers line back in Japan, Takara, didn't want the cartoon to advertise another manufacturer's toys, so the new Jetfire toy is an homage to both the original toy and the cartoon version.

Original Transformers Jetfire and Skyfire model sheets for the 1980's Transformers cartoon, yanked from the Teletraan-1 entry on Jetfire. This Jetfire animation design was only used for the original toy commercial in 1985.

Of course, it's still as close to a Valkyrie as you can get without being either licensed by Big West or Harmony Gold, or being a cheap, shoddy piece of work you'd find at Big Lots. The Skyfire design had a lot of really ugly bits to it, especially in plane mode, so most of the callbacks in Fighter mode are to the toy, which if you'll recall does bear more than a passing resemblance to the F-14 Tomcat, the coolest real-world fighter plane of the 1980's.

Fighter mode. Note the swing-wings and FAST packs. He also has the arm armor of the Super Valkyrie, which fires those clear blue missiles, though his arms are at the sides instead of between the Fighter mode legs. The gun you see beneath the blue missile is half of Jetfire's twin-barreled laser cannon, which is based on the Skyfire animation model. Splitting the gun in two and storing it this way hides the robot mode hands, the otherwise exposed hands being one of the few major annoying bits of the toy's transformation (or in this one little case, lack thereof).

While the nosecone is ugly as sin, it's an homage to the squared-off Skyfire nosecone, only done up in the Jetfire toy's colors. The intakes on the front cleverly fold up to the sides to become the intakes on the robot chest, as on the Valkyrie robot design. That's a clever bit of turning a weakness in one mode into a strength in another.

In the Skyfire animation design, the FAST packs were turned into one big brick that the tailfins stuck out of -- a very inelegant solution that made Skyfire look even less aerodynamic than squaring off all the fighter's curves did. Here the toy designers stick with what works, even if it means totally aping the Macross FAST packs. A top view would show you that between the packs is a fake version of the Valkyrie's tailfin/small thruster cluster bit that folds up in the GERWALK/Guardian and Battroid/Battloid modes. It's fake because when you remove the FAST packs, it comes off as well, and Jetfire's vertical tailfins fold up from the sides.

I really like how they put the twin lasers on the sides of the nosecone, splitting the difference between the Valkyrie head lasers and the occasionally-seen "nose lasers" from the Macross animation. That's a cute touch.

GERWALK/Guardian mode. Not in the instructions, of course, but very doable. For comparison, Yamato's 1/60 VF-1A in Hikaru colors, as close to Jetfire colors as mass-released Valkyries get. Since this Valkyrie is sans Super Valkyrie equipment, I thought I'd strip Jetfire of his as well -- and let me tell you, getting those FAST packs off is a total pain, and I think it even shaved off some bits of the plastic clips that hold it in place when I yanked the piece off.

One thing that the nigh-to-excessive panel lines and the style of the tailfins make clear is that the designers took this very much to be a "space F-14," going back to the real aircraft that Shoji Kawamori took for inspiration when designing the VF-1 in order to de-Valkyrie-fy the Jetfire design. The wings have much more of a Valkyrie shape to them than an F-14 shape, however.

Battroid mode. Standing next to my Toynami Hikaru's Strike VF-1S super-poseable figure, I think all the major points of comparison are made crystal clear. If you clicky-click for detail, though, you can even notice the (unpainted) Valkyrie shoulder lights flanking Jetfire's head. That Valkyrie head, by the way, is a helmet that comes off to reveal a very good likeness of the Skyfire animation model's head.

The wings, of course, sweep up in an homage to Skyfire. Similarly, the strange look of Jetfire's legs is an homage to the very bizarrely curved and flared shape of Skyfire's legs. Oddly enough, y'know, the super-poseable Valkyrie's giant knees remind me more of Skyfire's knees than Jetfire's do. While the rounded parts on Jetfire's shoulders reference Skyfire's, there are small triangular markings on there that seem to be a reference to the particular markings on the Valkyrie shoulders. Hmm.

The FAST packs reveal spring-loaded Strike Valkyrie-style guns because when you're making a big cool toy like this, you've got to get as many spring-loaded weapons on there as possible. Isn't there some VF-1 variant from the Macross II timeline that has Strike packs that bend and fold like this?

All in all, a very cool, cleverly thought-out figure that makes a ROBOTECH and Transformers fan like me doubly giddy. Aside from the clips that hold the FAST pack on, which are a bit too strong and consequently a bit too prone to breakage I think, the whole thing is very solidly put together, and while the transformation process isn't as smooth as the Valkyrie transformation ... um, seriously, what is? Personally, I'd call this twenty bucks well spent.


I especially like the background.

Pages 10 & 11 of the Chinese-language Macross booklet, featuring Rick's VF-1J taking on an incoming swarm of Battlepods. Note the hellish background and the remains of another Valkyrie behind the Battloid. The randomly placed Breetai head in the starburst is a bit of a daft touch, but I think I like it.

Remember kids, it's only one more month now 'til Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles comes out on DVD. The wait is almost finally over. I wonder how long the next wait is going to be ...

Oh, also, six days 'til Chris Meadows, having all but exhausted his supply of Harmony Gold reps to talk to, has actress Chase Masterson (Janice in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles) on his Space Station Liberty internet talk show. Curious how that one's gonna go. Probably won't be around on Friday to participate, but that seems like it'll be worth a listen.


Hey, look, it's some stuff about that Robotech card game I still haven't gotten around to playing yet ...

Well, it looks like somebody is playing Hero Factory's ROBOTECH CCG. Here is a review of the Breetai Deck expansion. Of course, you'll probably only find this interesting if you're already playing the game. If the image above (swiped from the store) is indicative of the actual product, I'd have to agree about the whole picking better screen grabs thing ...

Speaking of the store ... it's kinda weird how they only have the Zentraedi expansion decks in stock and neither of the RDF decks. Huh.

This confuses me.

As Darkwater pointed out, this is the first day of FUNimation's non-film festival theatrical run of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. If you're in Portland, OR or Indianapolis, IN, you could be watching Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, like, tonight, in a real theater with people and everything! Bully for you!

Tomorrow a single showing of The Shadow Chronicles is happening in Columbus, OH, in conjunction with Ohayocon. This afternoon I tripped over this blurb about it, and stared at it long and hard. If you know what the map above represents, and give the blurb a look, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Yeah, it's the bit where they claim this is the "Midwest Premiere" of the film. On Saturday. After the showings in Indianapolis today, one state over in the westerly direction. I think Indianapolis is in the Midwest. Oh, and let's not forget the film festival showing in St. Louis, MO that Chris and I went to last November. And I seem to recall one in Chicago, too, before that. Yeah. "Premiere." Uh huh.

It's not like I want to rain on anyone's parade here, but seriously, what's up with this? Is anyone special going to be there ... I mean, besides Azoric?


Robotech: Birth of a Sequel documentary excerpt at the official site ...

Via AnimeOnDVD: The Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles site has been updated with a nine and a half minute excerpt from the forty-five minute Birth of a Sequel documentary that was shown on the Harmony Gold convention tour and at Shadow Chronicles screenings last year, and will also be included on the Shadow Chronicles DVD. If I had to take a guess based on's graphic, it looks like it's the segment where each of the voice actors talks about the character he or she plays in the film. There's an option to download the featurette for those video iPods.

As I recall there are some very light spoilers regarding the movie in there if you want to go into this thing cold on February 6 (or if you manage to make it out to a screening before then), but if you've been visiting this blog long enough, I think that ship has sailed.

Oh, and if you're clicking on that screening link now (like, January '07), that could also constitute spoilers, as it automatically loads up the FUNimation Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles trailer. Just so you know.


Same song, Second verse ...

First, the news ...

Via Darkwater: the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles movie soundtrack, composed by Scott Glasgow and performed by the Prague Philharmonic, will be released on CD via Varese Sarabande on February 13. Adjust your finances accordingly. Me, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping Wal-Mart or Best Buy has it shrink-wrapped to the DVD in some one of those stupid "exclusive" deals, because I am a greedy bastard.

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More from the strange little Chinese Macross book. Yesterday was pages 4 & 5; today is pages 8 & 9. Apologies to my Chinese readers for being wildly out of order, but I'm posting these in order of what looks cool to me. Don't worry, eventually you'll get to see it all and hopefully make some sense of it for me. ^_^

Meanwhile, on the comics blog, there's new entries up on Antarctic Press's Robotech: Vermilion #1 and DC/WildStorm's Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #1.


Today's offering: Macross art and Robotech comics.

Some years back, I was lurking around eBay looking for random Macross and ROBOTECH stuff and I came across this neat little book -- I think the auction said it was from Hong Kong. In any case, it's all in Chinese, a language I don't know at all, and measures 5 1/2" by 8 1/2". Why did I buy it? Because it's got a whole bunch of really cool painted pieces of the Macross mecha in it, of course. I think a lot of these are from old Japanese puzzles and model kit boxes, very classically styled.

I'll probably be posting more of those spreads later. And if anyone has any clue what the text says, let me know. I've always been curious.

Elsewhere on the internet, I've been working on ROBOTECH comics stuff again. Read about Antarctic Press's Vermilion here, DC/WildStorm's Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles here, and the second issue of Eternity/Malibu's Invid War here.


Happy New Year - Daily Robotech Blogging begins NOW!

Welcome, my brothers & sisters in ROBOTECH, to 2007 -- two years until the launch of the SDF-1 in the ol' ROBOTECH timeline and, with the release of Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles on DVD in a month plus change, probably the most significant year for the franchise here in the real world in, well, forever, certainly since the collapse of the Sentinels project in 1986.

The thing that keeps nagging at me -- and I think I've mentioned this before, but bear with me -- is the fact that February 6, the release date of The Shadow Chronicles disc, is the release date for more than the usual number of animated action-adventure features -- both Hellboy: Sword of Storms (as seen on Cartoon Network a month or two ago) and Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo come out on DVD the same day. All three are going to be competing for endcap space the same week, and thanks to those franchise's live action feature film and hit Cartoon Network TV series, respectively, those discs have bigger name recognition among the general public. I would hope that Funimation would be working some major retail voodoo to put The Shadow Chronicles out there in a major way, with big displays and endcap space and the like ... except that on the same day, Funimation is putting out their first Dragon Ball Z remastered box set. Does that target a slightly different demographic? Ehh, maybe. Bear in mind, both ROBOTECH and Dragon Ball Z were on Cartoon Network's Toonami block in the late 1990's; there's certainly some crossover there. I mean, hell, I know that if Shadow Chronicles wasn't coming out that day, the Dragon Ball Z box would be at the top of my must-buy list ...

I just want the series to succeed and flourish so I can watch more ROBOTECH, read more ROBOTECH, and enjoy more ROBOTECH knickknacks and doodads, and if I'm not mistaken, first week sales are going to play a key role in determining the form and frequency of future ROBOTECH adventures. The unusual number of major animated action releases all on the same day just has me a wee bit worried about how those numbers are going to go, y'know?

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This morning I was thinking about what a big deal this year is going to be in the history of the ROBOTECH franchise, if all of those big plans bear fruit, and it got me thinking about where this franchise was ten and twenty years ago. Consider:

  • Ten years ago (1997), the Academy Comics era of ROBOTECH comics came to an end with their books dated December of '96, and the Antarctic Press era began ever-so-boastfully before the mediocre reality of Antarctic's output on the franchise slapped us all in the face with March 1997's Robotech #1. They would go on to grace us with seven more ROBOTECH comics before the year's end. I think that was pretty much it for the franchise that year -- do correct me if I'm wrong.

    (Pointless trivia moment: There are two Robotech #0's and two Robotech #1's, but these four books are spread across three publishers. DC/WildStorm published both a Robotech #0 and #1, but Academy only released a #0 and Antarctic released only a #1.)

  • Twenty years ago (1987), all twelve of the original Jack McKinney ROBOTECH novels, adapting the TV series, were released over the course of the year, beginning in March. Meanwhile, Comico continued trucking along with their comic books adapting the TV series (they would finish the entire series off in early 1989), while Palladium Books released books 2-4 of their ROBOTECH Role Playing Game (the RDF Manual, the Zentraedi sourcebook, and the Southern Cross sourcebook). Palladium also released Robotech II: The Sentinels on VHS in '87, marking the first time the poor little hodge-podge film was commercially released. Yes, even with the Sentinels disaster right behind it, ROBOTECH was doing a not-half-bad job of surviving on the fumes of so much new print material -- which, come to think of it, is the way the franchise would go on surviving for the next ten years.

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    For a look back at this past year (2006), Darkwater has his round-up here. I'm mentioned in it, so of course it's essential reading. ^_-