|Robotech: The Masters|
|No. of episodes||
April 23, 1985
May 24, 1985
Robotech: The Masters, sometimes referred to as Robotech: The Masters Saga, was a loose adaptation of Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross (超時空騎団サザンクロス), a 24-episode Japanese science fiction mecha anime TV series that was produced by Tatsunoko Production and Big West Advertising, and released in 1984. The series was followed by Robotech: The New Generation. As part of Robotech Visions canon, Robotech: Fall of the Southern Cross was produced to bridge the two animated series together.
The Masters began with the arrival in Earth orbit of the Robotech Masters, an ancient alien race who have come seeking what turns out to be the sole means in the universe of producing protoculture. Through a combination of mistrust and arrogance, their attempts at retrieving this meet with opposition from the humans and unleash a war that leaves the Masters defeated and Earth awash in the spores of a plant called the Flower of Life — the source of protoculture and a beacon to the mysterious Invid who scour the galaxy for its presence.
Prior to the release of the TV series, the name Robotech was used by model kit manufacturer Revell on their Robotech Defenders line in the mid-1980s. The line consisted of mecha model kits imported from Japan and featured in anime titles such as The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Century Orguss and Fang of the Sun Dougram. The kits were originally intended to be a marketing tie-in to a similarly named comic book series by DC Comics, which was cancelled after only two issues.
At the same time, Harmony Gold licensed the Macross TV series for direct-to-video distribution in 1984, but their merchandising plans were compromised by Revell's prior distribution of the Macross kits. In the end, both parties signed into a co-licensing agreement and the Robotech name was adopted into the TV syndication of Macross combined with Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA.
NovelizationThe following is the history of the Army of the Southern Cross (ASC) from the Robotech novels by Jack McKinney, a pseudonym for the team of James Luceno and the late Brian Daley, a pair of writers who had previously worked with Robotech producer, Carl Macek. They are officially considered secondary continuity and they do not apply to the core continuity where they conflict. They may be considered an amplification of the Robotech television series or even a comprehensive universe unto itself.
The origin of the ASC can be traced to the tumultuous years following the Zentraedi Holocaust. During those years the primary military force on Earth was the RDF, whose leaders began a process of integrating the former Zentraedi soldiers into human society; however, some Zentraedi rebelled against the Earth government in what became known as the Malcontent Uprisings, with most of the fighting occurring down in South America. Several political leaders in South America objected the RDF's policy regarding the suppression of the Uprisings, and the most extreme ones favored the eradication of the Zentraedi. Among these was the Governor of Brasília, Anatole Eli Leonard.
Leonard decided to fight the Zentraedi (in his view, every Zentraedi was a potential malcontent) by himself, outside of the efforts of the RDF. To that end, he rallied local mercenaries, former members of the South American militaries and disaffected RDF officers to form a private militia. The first public action of Leonard's army was the infamous Brasília Massacre, where 1100 Zentraedi civil rights activists were killed in a riot.
Even though the RDF frowned upon Leonard's actions, some members of the United Earth Government began to support the proactive governor. Viewing his private army as a means to further their own agendas, the United Earth Government deputized Leonard's army as an "auxiliary" force of the RDF, giving Leonard some funds to organize his forces. Leonard then organized his forces under the name of Army of the Southern Cross, of which he appointed himself Field Marshal. The ASC then proceeded to deal with the malcontents in its own way; brutally and without remorse. This led to some clashes with the alien-friendly RDF forces, which saw the ASC as an effort to undermine their position.
Unlike the RDF, which relied upon expensive mecha, the ASC assembled a large force equipped with conventional military equipment, including tanks, aircraft and armored vehicles from before the arrival of the SDF-1 and alien technology on Earth. Also, Leonard, a xenophobe, despised the RDF's reliance on the alien protoculture and the technology derived from the SDF-1. Leonard's star was on the rise, and he soon made powerful allies within the United Earth Government.
Rise of the Southern CrossAfter the Malcontent Uprisings were crushed, the effort was geared towards the forming of the REF, which was to prevent a war with the overlords of the Zentraedi, the Robotech Masters. Most of the RDF was gutted to provide men and equipment for the new military force, substantially weakening it against the ASC. Shortly after the departure of the REF, the United Earth Government established a new force, the Earth Defense Force, as the planet's official military, combining the RDF and ASC. The tension between former RDF and ASC members led to the dissolution of the Earth Defense Force and the institution of the ASC as the Earth's military force. The RDF became the Global Military Police, tasked with overseeing the ASC, a mission the new force embraced with gusto due to the bitter rivalry between the ex-RDF and the ASC.
With the help of his allies, Leonard (now styling himself as "Supreme Commander", a historical irony considering that the late Zentraedi leader Dolza also was "Supreme Commander") became the most powerful figure in Earth politics. The ASC expanded to incorporate mecha forces and the elements of the space fleet not included into the REF. Leonard's grip over Earth was unchallengeable. His personal control became his own curse, as it would be seen during and after the Second Robotech War.
Second Robotech War
When the Robotech Masters arrived at Earth, the ASC bore the brunt of the fight. Leonard ordered massive (and suicidal) offensives against the enemy, disregarding the counsel of his military advisors, especially Major General Rolf Emerson, his Chief of Staff. Emerson, a former RDF officer, believed in a diplomatic approach to the aliens rather than Leonard's "shoot first, ask later" policy, and despised Leonard's careless offensives, which caused great loss of life and equipment to the Army of the Southern Cross.
Eventually, Leonard ordered a grand space offensive led by Emerson himself and manned by many officers opposed to Leonard, as a way to get rid of them. The ASC fared badly during the war, being defeated on many occasions, save for a few Pyrrhic victories.
Downfall of the United Earth Forces
In the final weeks of the Second Robotech War, Leonard launched a final offensive with most of his troops and some reinforcements from the REF. This force managed to defeat the Robotech Masters, but at a great price, reducing the ASC to shambles. During the Masters' assault on Monument City, Leonard was killed along with several of his top officers and political allies. Combined with the death of Emerson, the ASC was left headless.
The ASC's hastily-assembled new leadership was completely incapable of preventing mass desertion and the feudalization of the military, let alone replace the troops and units lost during the War. Combined with the collapse of the United Earth Government, this led to a period of anarchy on Earth. When the Invid invaded Earth, the ASC was only a shadow of its past glory and power, and was completely incapable of defeating the new invaders. As the Invid took control of Earth, the ASC was completely destroyed, although some units continued to harass the Invid as members of the growing resistance.
Although it is commonly understood that the Alpha fighters used by the Robotech Expeditionary Force were produced prior to the departure of the Pioneer Mission, the ASC opted to develop its own Veritech mecha which saw heavy use against the forces of the Robotech Masters, including the:
- VF-8A Logan and VF-8J Logan, a fighter designed for air-to-air combat;
- VHT-1 Spartas Veritech Hovertank, a heavily armored mecha unit designed for ground and urban combat; and
- VFH-10 Auroran, a space fighter-helicopter produced late in the war to accompany the Tristar-class warships that formed the core of the ASC space fleet.
Although the Logan found itself outclassed by the bioroids that made up the Robotech Masters' forces and was almost entirely supplanted by the AGAC as the theatre moved primarily to space combat, the Veritech Hovertank proved more durable than might have been expected and by the end of the war had been upgraded and fielded for space as well as ground combat. Unfortunately, the widespread damage to physical infrastructure brought on by the Masters' invasion, and particularly by the events seen in Catastrophe, left the Southern Cross with neither the production capacity nor the energy reserves to rebuild its strength in the wake of the Second Robotech War. Most ASC mecha that survived the Masters was annihilated by during the Invid Invasion less than a decade later.
United Earth Forces
- Alan Fredericks
- Anatole Leonard
- Angelo Dante
- Antoine Rochelle
- Bowie Grant
- Dana Sterling
- Dennis Brown
- George Sullivan
- Joe Yazawa
- Louie Nichols
- Marie Crystal
- Marcus "Ace" Green
- Maury Komodo
- Miles Cochrane
- Nova Satori
- Paul Nordoff
- Rolf Emerson
- Samson Beckett
- Sean Phillips
- Wyatt Moran
Robotech Relief Expedition
- Intelligence Triumvirate
- Robotech Masters Triumvirate
- Robotech Elders Triumvirate
- Scientist Triumvirate
- Zor Prime
- North American television debut: Robotech originally aired in 1985 in first-run syndication, meaning it was sold directly to local television stations without having been run on a network first—this was part of a trend in animation in the 1980s. Previously, local stations would rerun theatrical cartoons like Looney Tunes or shows that had previously aired on network TV on Saturday mornings. This changed after He-Man and the Masters of the Universe introduced a new economic model: shows sold directly for first-run to stations, driving and funded by sales of related toys. Though the original Robotech series did well in ratings, the attempt to cash in on toys may have doomed Robotech II: The Sentinels as the original series attracted older viewers, not necessarily the children targeted by the toy line. The failure of the Matchbox toy line is cited as a primary reason for the cancellation of the Sentinels series.
- International broadcast: In Australia, Robotech was aired in 1980s and late 1990s by both the Seven and Ten networks in different states. Ten cut the series at episode 52, while Seven broadcast all 85 episodes. The Philippine network GMA-7 aired the Masters and New Generation episodes in the late 1980s, as part of the late-afternoon weekday animation block (together with Captain Harlock). The Hong Kong cable television channel Star Plus (now Star World) aired all 85 episodes, from May 1994 to January 1995, with changes in time-slots (May-early October 1994, 11:00 a.m. Sundays; October 1994-January 1995, 5:30 p.m. Weekdays). The series was broadcast in a number of European countries by the then Super Channel during the 1980s. In the UK, Robotech aired on The Children's Channel in the mid to late 1980s, and it was transmitted on Prem1ere, the satellite movie channel, in the same period. In Spain, all Robotech episodes were aired, from August 1990 to April 1991, with changes in time slots, in Telecinco channel. The series was aired again in the same channel from October 1993 to May 1994. At that time only The Macross Saga and The Robotech Masters Saga were aired, leaving the third part of the show unaired. In Russia, the entire series was shown in the beginning of 1990's on 2x2 - the first commercial Russian channel. The Dubai-based channel MBC 3 began broadcasting an Arabic-language dubbed version in early 2010.
- Subsequent airings: Robotech appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel in 1993, and on Cartoon Network's Toonami in 1998. Toonami aired only episodes 1 through 60, finishing the run at the end of the Robotech Masters story-line. Toonami reran 3 selected episodes of Robotech as part of the Giant Robot Week in 2003. KTEH, a public television station in San Jose, California aired the "Macross" and "New Generation" storylines, as well as the Robotech II: The Sentinels feature. Robotech currently airs daily on The Anime Network. As of January 7, 2007, the show also airs in Canada on Space and Retro.
Original Series Production Credits
- Big West Advertising
- Tatsunoko Production
- Yasuo Hasegawa
- Hirotoshi Okura
- Hiroshi Ogawa
- Studio Ammonite
- The original Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross was the third of three "Super Dimension" shows run on a continuous timeslot by Takatoku Toys on MBS. (the other two were Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Super Dimension Century Orguss). Southern Cross, after mediocre ratings and the pull out of a major toy sponsor, was cancelled after only 23 episodes.
- Yoshiyuki Tomino (the creator of Gundam) reputedly had a hand in the show's production.