Sunday, July 21, 2013
Robotech Double Shot: Love, Live, Alive DVD Arrives this Week, Robotech/Voltron Comic Book Crossover in the Development
Some franchises can be very, very difficult to love. Take Robotech, for example. For an anime series from 1985 that many fans love, it can't seem to catch a break. The sequel series The Sentinels never got off the ground, and Robotech: The Movie wound up being a forgettable mess. The last major entry in the series' canon was Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, which was released on home video back in 2006. That particular release arrived with a bit of fanfare: It was preceded by a series of Robotech comic book miniseries by Wildstorm (a publishing imprint of DC Comics) that retconned a few key points in the saga to prepare for the new Shadow Chronicles addition. Adding to the hype was Toynami's release of a few expensive Shadow Chronicles vehicle and robot collectibles.
Shadow Chronicles finally arrived in the midst of the hype, promising a new series of adventures in the Robotech universe, and then ... nothing. No new animation, no new comic books, nothing. There were some releases for the Robotech role-playing game since 2006, but that meant nothing for fans who don't play RPGs. Now, after seven years, more Robotech stuff is on its way, although not all of it can be considered 'new'. Read on for a rundown on Robotech items that are scheduled for release for this week and beyond.
Robotech: Love, Live, Alive is going to be released this week on DVD. Love, Live, Alive will involve the New Generation cast of characters from the series, and it will focus mostly on Lancer Belmont (a.k.a. Yellow Dancer) and his memories of the Invid invasion of Earth, from the Invid's arrival to their later departure. Early reports about this release also hinted that the Southern Cross character Dana Sterling will appear in Love, Live, Alive; I'm assuming that, based on what was seen of Sterling in Wildstorm's Robotech: Love and War comic book miniseries, her departure from Earth will coincide with the early days of the Invid invasion.
I have mixed feelings about Love, Live, Alive. Even though it's billed as a new release, only one-third of the animation is actually new. The remaining two-thirds consist of recycled animation from the original Robotech series and animation from the 1985 Genesis Climber Mospeada home video release that was also titled Love, Live, Alive. I can only speculate how the animation from 1985 will match the more recent animation, but I doubt it will look good. Furthermore, Love, Live, Alive will not be available in the Blu-ray format, nor is it being released as its own feature. It's only being released on DVD as part of a two-movie set that includes a re-release of Shadow Chronicles. Thus, Robotech fans who already bought Shadow Chronicles will have to buy it again to see Love, Live, Alive. Ugh.
Nevertheless, I'll still give Love, Live, Alive a go because its producers went to the trouble of reuniting the original voice cast for the New Generation to record dialogue for the new release. It should also be noted that this American version of Love, Live, Alive was directed by Gregory Snegoff, who provided the voice of New Generation character Scott Bernard. In real life, Snegoff was married to Lisa Michelson, the actress who provided the voice of Dana Sterling; Michelson died in a car accident in 1991, so it feels fitting for Snegoff to be directing Sterling's swan song in the Robotech series.
While Love, Live, Alive isn't getting the same hype as Shadow Chronicles, a news release from last week indicated that new Robotech comics will be on their way sometime in the future. Dynamite Entertainment has picked up the Robotech license and it plans to begin releasing new Robotech comics soon. (I'm guessing the new comics will appear in 2014, since no publication date was provided in the news release I saw.) Dynamite's Robotech comics will launch with a crossover miniseries involving Voltron, another hit anime franchise from the mid-'80s. Click here to read MTV's exclusive interview with Tommy Yune, the current creative director for all things Robotech, about the crossover.
I don't have much of an opinion about the Robotech/Voltron crossover. I realize that this is probably Dynamite's way to stir interest in its readership about Robotech through Voltron, since Voltron comics are selling quite well for Dynamite. However, what I'm really concerned about is where Robotech will go once it gets its own comic book series again. Will the comic give fans interesting new chapters in the saga (which is what happened when Eternity Comics had the license from 1988 to 1994), or will we be getting more retcons that go nowhere, like the Robotech comics from Wildstorm?