15 Facts You May Not Know About the 1980s Hit Show 'Robotech'

Year 1985. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Transformers was on the TV screens, Like a Virgin was on the radio, and Ghoulies was in movie theaters. Then, upon an unsuspecting (half) world that had never heard the word “anime,” Robotech was dropped like a huge derelict alien fortress. It was like nothing we had seen before, telling an ongoing story with giant robots, and action, and aliens, and romance, and giant robots -- really, it had something for everyone (mainly giant robots). Robotech changed the cartoon landscape -- and here we are, 30-odd years later, to tell you some things about it you may or may not know already.


Robotech and Transformers are pretty much sister shows. Shoji Kawamori didn't just create the Robotech precursor Macross, but he also worked on the Diaclone toy line, which gave rise to Transformers. Yup, Veritech fighters and Optimus Prime have the same dad.

Source: Forbes


Robotech was a (bad) comic before it was a TV show. In 1984, DC Comics published Robotech Defenders, based on the toy line but otherwise unrelated. It read as a cheesy, cheaply-made Star Wars/ Transformers ripoff, and only  two of a planned three issues ever came out.

Source: Mister Kitty Comics and Stories


A live-action movie has been in the talks for years. Efforts have been going on since at least 2007, with the project passing from Warner Bros. to Sony in 2015. Tobey Maguire and Leonardo Dicaprio were attached at one point, as well as directors James Wan and Andy Muschietti.

Source: Screen Rant


A Robotech episode contains a very obscure Star Trek Easter egg. If you pay close attention during Blind Game, you might notice the words KLINGONS and ENTERPRISE flashing on a screen. OK, not exactly esoteric -- unless you can recognize the screen layout of the first Star Trek computer game ever, which came out in 1971.

Sources: Episode on YouTube, The Register


Robotech was a Frankenstein's creature. American producer Carl Macek wanted to import the hit anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but the series didn't have enough episodes for syndication. Undeterred, Macek licensed two unrelated shows and creatively edited them to extend the story.

Source: Gizmodo


Viewers expected Roy Fokker to come back to life. Characters dying wasn't something that happened in American cartoons at the time. So fans started writing in as soon as Roy died, asking when he'd get better. They just wouldn't accept that he'd stay dead.

Source: Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews, by Fred Patten


The creator of Macross is miffed about Robotech. SS ROBOTECH I don't understand, nor do accept the fact that they took and modified my work without even asking, Shoji Kawamori said in 2019. I can not comprehend how a pirated version like this exists. However, he acknowledges that

Source: Full Frontal


In the original show, the Protoculture was ... well, a proto-culture. The power source that drives the series isn't a thing in the original Macross. Over there, Protoculture is the name of the first humanoid species that evolved in the universe - which makes more sense, if you think about it.

Sources: Robotech Saga Wiki, Macross Wiki


Robotech was ahead of its time in terms of representation. The show featured women and people of color much more prominently than other cartoons of the time, and mixed-race relationships were integral to the story.

Source: Den of Geek


Robotech appealed to both boys and girls. The merchandising included Barbie-like as well as action figures. Among adult viewers, women slightly outnumbered men.

Sources: Gizmodo, Den of Geek


Robotech brought anime to the U.S. Do you enjoy Dragon Ball? Evangelion? Naruto? You can thank Carl Macek for opening the door to those in America. His mashup created a fandom for Japanese animation big enough that it made business sense to bring more.

Source: Gizmodo