I just don’t know where to begin when talking about Robotech. I first saw it in college – during final exams week of my first year, in fact. It astounds me that I even passed my exams, let alone maintained a decent GPS, given that I spent all my time that week in the dorm TV lounge with my stack of bootleg VHS tapes. I’d set alarms to go off half an hour before my exams and race across campus to take the exam, and then come straight back like a moth to flame. Food was pizza delivery and cokes from the machine across the hall.

Come to think of it, perhaps my daughter has inherited some of these bad habits…

Anyway, the story was amazing and still holds a unique appeal over my imagination. If you’ll pardon the pun, Robotech was the protoculture for the otaku culture of today, here in America. It legitimized animation as a mature storytelling medium.

And the visuals! the bridge bunnies. Captain Gloval aghast as the antigravity drives tear loose from the ship and go on their merry way. Khyron and all his infinite insanity. The Dadedalus maneuver. Lisa. Roy’s heroism, Rick’s infatuation, and also that other character, M. what’s her name, you know. Whatchamacallit whoever. The return to Earth, the Ontario quadrant disaster. The final assault, and New Macross City. And of course, the SDF-1 – magnificent. Only the Starship Enterprise rivals it for sheer nobility of design.

Of course I am a fan of the first arc most, the Invid arc least. But the character of Dana Sterling is easily my most favorite character in the entire series. And that’s the real point of Robotech – the characters, and the peoples. Many mecha series focus too much on the technology, but Robotech used its technology like a stage and spotlight – mere foils for the chaacters that inhabited and used them. Not to say that some pieces of technology didn’t acquire personality in their own right – SDF-1 being obvious, but also Skull-1 and Dana’s tank. But even if Robotech arose from three rather average anime series as source, the sum was much greater than the parts, and that’s the mark of true anime.

UPDATE: For Steven the bridge bunnies below the fold.

Robotech Bridge Bunnies

Kim Young, Sammie Porter, Vanessa Leeds

14 thoughts on “Robotech”

  1. Fanservice.

    I know you’ve seen bridge bunnies – you’ve seen Nadesico. Pretty much everyone on the bridge of Nadesico would qualify.

    For my part, I’m curious to know whether I should look at the dubbed version. I know that they made changes to the plot, and my acquaintance with the series(es) is solely through the subtitled versions.

    I concur that it wise not to utter the name of the M one, for to speak the name of a demon is to summon it. Some things man was not meant to know, and some things man was not meant to hear.

  2. Robotech is excellent; I haven’t seen it in a long time though. A roomate of mine skipped classes when he was first introduced to it so that he could watch the entire series. I don’t know what would have happened if he started watching during finals. The first anime I remember seeing is Starblazers, although I was so young I only remember a ship with a really big gun vaporizing everything in its path. 🙂

  3. I wouldn’t call them fan service in the traditional sense – they never appear out of uniform. I’ve put a stock image of Kim, Sammie, and Vanessa below the fold. They served on the SDF-1 under Captain Gloval – and shared his fate.

    I think that they were the prototype for all bridge bunnies you see in subsequent anime series. Again, Robotech was anime’s protoculture.

  4. Maybe they were first, but they’re sure as hell not prototypes of Hoshino Ruri! (Martian Successor Nadesico)

    For that matter, I can’t see any of them as prototypes of Misumaru Yurika, either.

    [By the way, has it ever occurred to anyone besides me that Ruri’s real name is “Loli”?]

  5. well, by prototype i mean the concept of having a support crew of three young women on the Bridge. Their relative state of uniform-edness probably has “evolved” in the years since 🙂

  6. I’d count any element included primarily to be easy on the eyes as fan service – clothes or no.

    Anyway – is it worth hunting down the dubbed version to see the plot changes?

    Hoshino Ruri? ‘Loli’ might as well be her real name, but then that goes for so many other characters too.

  7. I just did some checking, and Robotech dates to 1983.

    StarBlazers (i.e. “Space Battleship Yamato”) is from 1974. Weren’t there women on the bridge in that series?

  8. The only prominant female character on the Argo that I can recall was Nova. She was a pretty active character, hardly a “bridge Bunny” and the love interest for the series lead (Derek Wildstar).

    I just ran across the DVDs for this series and I’m now in the process of rewatching for the first time since the ’70s. As far as I can determine, it’s only available in dub as Star Blazers, but not subbed Space Battleship Yamato.

  9. I dont think Nadesico pre-dates Robotech, though I could be wrong. Merely having a woman on the bridge isn’t a bridge bunny, though the Nadesico characters do seem to fit the mold. As RPD mentions above, Nova wouldn’t qualify.

    There’s a reason that Vanessa, Sammie, and Kim are the characters shown for illustration on the Bridge Bunny wikipedia page 🙂 It’s also worth noting that the Wikipedia article on Robotech itself credits Robotech and Star Blazers as being the first genuine anime in the American market, and spurred interest in anime worldwide.

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