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In this movie consisting of the first three episodes of the abortive TV sequel series, we rejoin the characters of the first Macross portion of the series a couple of years after the destruction of Superdimensional Fortesses 1 and 2. Now, General Rick Hunter and Admiral Lisa Hayes are making the final preparations for a crucial intersteller expedition to the Robotech Masters' world of Tirol using the newly built SDF-3. This immense task is further complicated by preparations for their wedding which they agreed would be on the new ship just before it launches. Unknown to them however, the Robotech Masters are already enroute to Earth in a long voyage to reclaim the desperately needed protoculture energy supply that was hidden in SDF-1 and won't arrive for years. With their absence, the Invid, lead by the male leader of that enemy race to the Masters, the Regent, is attacking that weakened planet. He hopes to recover the stolen protoculture supply there, or at least exact genocidal ... Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To be very fair, Robotech II: The Sentinels is pretty good for incomplete material
A falling dollar/yen exchange rate. A scared financial partner who backed out of the deal. These were two official reasons (among other rumored ones such as the anime studio short changing Harmony Gold) as to why the proposed full length series sequel to Robotech was aborted in its infancy. Only less than 3 episodes worth of material was ever completed. Despite the various setbacks, Harmony gold edited the remaining completed material into a 75 minute feature meant to bridge the gap between the first and second Robotech sagas. Where it succeeds is in answering the burning questions left to fans of the original series. What happened to the macross saga characters?
Following the defeat of the giant Zentradi armada, the remaining Zentradi have joined forces with the humans to build a massive vessel, the SDF-3. They intend to reach the home-world of the Robotech Masters, the masterminds behind the Zentradi invasion, and establish peaceful relations with them. Thanks to the truncated nature of the completed animation, the movie is split into two story arcs. The first takes place around earth. As the heroes of the first robotech war prepare for their interstellar voyage, new heroes try to earn their place among those chosen for the expedition. Here we are introduced to the hot headed Jack Baker and the intelligent and spirited Karen Penn. Re-introduced are the characters from the Macross saga like Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes, who are in the midst of planning their wedding. Fans would no doubt get a kick out of seeing their favorite characters, older nonetheless but still the same ol people they knew and loved.
The second story arc takes place around Tirol, the home-world which the Robotech Masters abandoned to search for the lost protoculture matrix, leaving their old, sick and young behind. The invid led by the dreaded Regent (husband of the Regiss) takes this opportunity to launch an all out invasion of Tirol. Amidst the decimation, an aging scientist called Cabell and a familiar looking man named Rem try to survive and carry on their research.
As expected, the earth scenes featuring the recurring macross saga characters are pretty much all talk and no action other than a combat simulation at the beginning. Most of the action takes place during the Tirol invasion scenes. Thankfully the voice actors put up an excellent performance and the script keeps the dialog very natural preventing the slower scenes from feeling dull.
Many fans have lamented the lower quality animation but really, the artwork is no less inconsistent than what was in the original series and the animation is actually on par with the Macross saga footage that was spliced in for flashback scenes. It is bad for a movie but one must remember that Robotech II The Sentinels was produced as a TV series thus resulting in mediocre TV series level animation. Another common complaint is the altered character designs for the returning Macross saga characters. Keep in mind that this show takes place 8 years after Macross saga. Eight years can do a lot to someone's appearance especially characters lie Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei who went from teenagers to full adults. If anything, the changes in appearances of said characters adds to the realism of the series, showing that characters do not remain immortally young unlike other TV animated shows.
While this show does provide some answers for fans, no one else but fans who have watched the original series would be able to understand it. Furthermore The Sentinels concludes rather abruptly; actually showing the SDF-3 leaving earth would have been a much more fulfilling conclusion but given the limited resources available, this is also not unexpected.
Despite the valiant effort of the creative team, Robotech II: The Sentinels loses points for its abrupt ending, inconsistent story and mediocre animation for a movie. Despite this the movie serves as a decent enough teaser for any fan looking to follow the rest of the unfinished tale in the Robotech novels or comics (which is, sadly, out of print nowadays but is still available online or in 2nd hand book shops). For fans of Robotech, watching Robotech II The Sentinels would be like returning to visit a family that one has not seen in years. It is a quick simple visit to catch up on old times and marvel at how much they have changed over the years, nothing more nothing less.
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