Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles

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Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is the 2006 animated sequel to the 1985 Robotech television series. It is an original production that has nothing to do with any of the Macross sequels [1] but instead was made exclusively for the American Robotech phenemenon.

Taking place during and after the events of the final two episodes of the series, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles follows the arrival of the Earth Expeditionary Fleet to retake their home planet from the Invid (the third cycle's villains). They are armed with special technology provided by a sinister race called the Haydonites that will hopefully provide them with the edge they need in battle. Characters from all three cycles of Robotech are united with newly created ones to deal with this new threat.

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is meant to be the start of a new movie franchise and series, with a sequel already in production. The live-action movie of Robotech may or may not impact the development of future products along this story. The movie was initially controversial due to their retconning of the previously canonical spin-off novels by James Luceno and Brian Daley (under the alias Jack McKinney).


Tropes used in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles include:
  • Absolute Cleavage: Ariel.
  • Ace Pilot: Maia Sterling is a rare female example. Scott Bernard may also qualify from his role in "New Generation." Marcus is likely to count as one as well, but is currently just a rookie.
  • Advertised Extra: Mark Hamill was in this. Actually, he was the voice of Daryl Taylor who has about three brief lines before being killed early in the movie. He's also the voice of one of the Haydonites, the credits don't say which one. In the documentary extra on the DVD, Mark Hamill even acknowledges that he was just a guest and the real stars were these other guys who "worked on this thing 20 years ago and were coming back".
  • All There in the Manual: A huge amount of backstory for the movie can only be found it its comic book prequel, Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles.
  • Animesque: Given its source material, this is in no way a surprise.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Robotechnology and Protoculture in particular
  • Ascended Extra: General Gunther Reinhardt, who was merely a nameless commander in the original Robotech, gets his role beefed up here.
  • The Captain: Vince Grant.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Haydonites even have the Darth Vader reverb to go along with their scary appearance.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Continuity Nod: Although Robotech doesn't officially include any Macross products past the original 1983 series, a few elements of Shadow Chronicles do seem to be callbacks for fans of both franchises who are aware of the connection.
    • The Haydonites' robot-head-and-cloak ensemble, for example, is very similar to the "real" appearance that the Sharon Apple AI unit takes in public appearances, especially at the start of Macross Plus.
    • Shadow Chronicles features a younger daughter of Max and Myria who has purplish-pink hair, is reasonably well-endowed for her age, is fairly self-confident and sees herself as one of the guys, is a highly competent pilot from a family of pilots, and has a distinctly pink transforming mech. Macross 7... features a younger daughter of Max and Myria who has purplish-pink hair, is reasonably etc. etc. etc... even their names sound at least somewhat similar, although they are sufficiently different that the Shadow Chronicles girl is not a direct Expy.
    • The end of the movie, in which the Archangel travels off into space to search for the SDF-3, is oddly reminiscent of the more recent Macross series and how they go out into deep space looking for things as well. Granted there it's a search for colonizable worlds, but the fundamentals remain the same.
  • Cool Ship
  • Curtains Match the Window: Maia Sterling (lavender); Commander Reinhardt (ditto), and Scott Bernard (blue).
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Ariel is Princess of the Invid.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Haydonites are Earth's allies at the start.
  • Executive Meddling: One of the rare positive examples as they managed to distill the near incomprehensible sequel novels into a rather digestible format
    • YMMV, some people actually liked the novels and thought them more coherent than this spinoff.
  • Fantastic Racism: Marcus Rush goes berserk when he finds out that Ariel is an Invid. He's the brother of Marlene Rush, the girl Scott was originally supposed to marry at the beginning of "A New Generation" (the third series in the Robotech universe), and was killed during their first attack on the Invid.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Ariel is a pink-haired example.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Maia is half-Zentradi; Ariel is a humanized Invid. The Haydonites consider Janice a hybrid as well.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Vince and Jean Grant
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Idol Singer: Janice briefly does one of Minmei's old songs.
  • Improbable Age: Maia Sterling, at nineteen, is already a Liutenant Commander and in charge of Skull Squadron. This improbability becomes even more notable when you consider that her Wolf Squadron counterpart, Lt. Commander Daryl Taylor, is thirty-five. On the other hand, this is Max Sterling's kid we're talking about here and this is pretty much true to Robotech's Macross roots...
  • La Résistance: Scott Bernard's role in the Earth resistance to the Invid plays a minor role
  • Latex Space Suit
  • Macross Missile Massacre
  • The Other Darrin: While several of the characters from previous Robotech series, are played by their original actors, Ariel, Louis Nichols, Gen. Reinhardt, and Janice are recast.
  • One Degree of Separation: Several of the new characters are family members of characters from the original Robotech.
  • One-Woman Wail: During Marcus' subverted Heroic Sacrifice
  • POV Sequel: The first act of the movie covers the events of the final two episodes of the Robotech series from the perspective of the Robotech Expeditionary Force.
  • Put on a Bus: Everyone from the third chapter of Robotech except Scott and Ariel.
  • Retcon: Much of the Sentinels and Robotech movie & book canon was retconned out of existence by this movie, although several of its elements were incorporated into it.
    • To be clear, the Haydonites and getting a huge fleet are evidence that something happened to the SDF 3 after they left for Tirol. It's just that the movie never stops to let us know what all that entailed. And, of course, the nature of the Haydonites lets us know that it's not what the Sentinels novels say.
      • It could easily have happened close to the Sentinels novels way. After all, until the betrayal, they were playing 'nice', to make sure the Expedition fleet swallowed their booby-trapped technology. Xanatos Gambit really, they don't care who destroys who, they just intend to move in and wipe out whatever and whoever is left.
  • Robot Girl: Janice.
  • Robot Names: Janice, or rather JANICE, stands for "Junctioned Artificial Neuro-Integrated Cybernetic Entity".
  • Roboteching
  • Sacrificial Lion: Alex.
  • Science Fiction
  • Shout-Out: "Security breach in Sector 7-G. Security breach in Sector 7-G." D'oh.
    • The Haydonites refer to the humans as "Protoculture addicts"
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Haydonites are much more evil than the Invid, who were worse than the Robotech Masters and the Zentraedi.
    • The Haydonites, however, are the only Robotech aliens so far who have been clearly and unquestionably evil. The previous three had heavy shades of gray. And to be fair to them, we haven't really seen enough of them or their ultimate goals to know that they're absolutely evil.
  • Spiritual Successor: Although Shadow Chronicles retcons all versions of Robotech Two The Sentinels out of existence, the Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles miniseries also functions as a continuation of the Eternity/Academy comic version; it even begins at the last panel of the last published Sentinels comic.
  • The Squad: Skull Squadron
  • Stealth Pun: The cocky, wisecracking Sacrificial Lion wingman? His name is Romero.
  • Transforming Mecha
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: The ending, which as noted above makes the future of the series look a good bit more like what recent Macross shows have been doing...
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: In addition to the characters from previous series, several of the films original characters have unnatural hair, including Daryl Taylor and Jean Grant(navy); Janice (pink, although as a holographic simulator it can theoretically be any color she wants; and Maia Sterling (lavender).

Notes

  1. although it could, if one wanted, be adapted back into Mospeada...