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If you're a Robotech fan, you need this film, no questions
If you're into anime or animation in general, however... Sentinels is the result of the abortive attempt by Harmony Gold to create a series that would fit into the "Robotech Universe" (consisting of altered series Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada). In the original series, 3 successive generations of wars are shown; the first generation (Macross) being the most popular, and the second (Southern Cross/Masters) the least. The need was felt to show the continued adventures of the first generation characters over the time-span of the second, and leading into the third, as the original series made continuous mention of the "return" of the original characters, but was never shown. Confused yet?
Animation in Japan began, with "aged" versions of Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, and other protagonists from the Macross story arc, and stories designed by Harmony Gold. Financial backing was given by Matchbox Toys, who were manufacturing American toys based on the Robotech series. Unfortunately, Matchbox's finances weren't up to the strain, and the Robotech "fad" seemed to be tapering off, so production was halted after fewer than 4 of the proposed 85 or so episodes were animated.
Harmony Gold didn't want to completely write off the whole thing, so they stitched together the completed animation.
Is it worth it? Only if you're a Robotech fan. It's great seeing Rick and Lisa again... but the animation really isn't up to the par of the original Macross, the story line is very sketchy and incomplete (by necessity, of course), the voice acting is worse than the original. Streamline/Orion have been selling this as straight anime, and most people accept it as such, but I feel that this is misleading, and may reflect negatively upon newcomers' opinions of anime. It's really no different than any other "American" cartoon- story and character direction came from America, and the animation seemed to have been done half-heartedly by Japanese studios.
I enjoyed this "movie", actually the start of an incomplete series supposed to span 65 episodes. A diehard Robotech fan, I couldn't get enough of this tape, which kept the original voices of the Robotech TV series while recreating the feel of the series even with new animators. Sadly, the story is very incomplete, since all it takes is the first 4 episodes of what would have been a series. Having read the (complete) robotech books, I know that the Sentinels are a group of aliens the SDF-3 is supposed to meet early in the Robotech II story, but despite the "Sentinels" present in the name of the movie, you don't even get a glimpse of them! I hope, probably in vain, eventually someone will pick up and finish the series.
This was to be the offical sequel to Robotech, or at least one of them. For those not familiar, Robotech was a 3 chapter animated series produced in America, and culled from 3 separate animated series from Japan that were slightly retooled and bashed together and then dubbed in english to be shown here, in the US. Now, that said, Robotech 2 the Sentinels was the backstory of what happened to the surviving characters at the end of Macross (Chap1) and the end of New Generation (Chap3). Basically Rick, Lisa, Max and Breetai plus others create the Robotech Expeditionary Force and begin a quest to find the homeworld of the Robotech Masters, to learn more about robotechnology and the people that created it. Along the way, they find that the Robotech Masters have been sought out by someone else, The Invid, which we got to see in Robotech chapter 3. The Invid are the mortal foe of the Robotech Masters, the sole reason why the Zentradaei were created and went from miners of protoculture (the reason the Invid are attacking the Masters) to being a warrior race, and why Robotechnology was created. This small video was supposed to be a 65 original episode series, but that was not to be since at that time the dollar vs. yen rate suddenly dropped, killing any money in the budget to continue production on the series. So, we never got an official Carl Macek approved American sequel series to follow, but instead we got genuine Macross sequels direct from Japan and distributed by extremely savvy translation and distribution firms. So though it was a bittersweet memory, I think we were better for not having it.
An incomplete story. Only one real storyline gets completed. Its the soap opera type storyline that usually accompanied the action in the TV series. The action storyline never actually get completed. I guess thats because its only the first 3 episodes of a TV series put together and labeled a movie. I grew up watching Robotech on television. It was by far my favorite of all cartoons. Maybe it influenced my decision to pursue an education and career in mechanical engineering. Apart from that I was always intrigued by airplanes. In any case if I had seen this "movie" in my youth I would have been sadly disappointed by the fact that the action was left unresolved. So I guess I'm saying that if you primarily enjoyed the soap opera style love stories that took place in the series you might like this "movie", but otherwise don't waste your time.
Regardless of what some say, The Sentinels is a great continuation to the Robotech TV series. From Rem and Cabel's Robotechnology/Protoculture discussion's, to Rick and Lisa's Wedding and the final battle on Tirol between the Regent's forces and the remaining Bioroids. The Sentinels Movie remains to me a great start to the series that should have been. (Thank God for the Novels and Comics) I still continually watch this Film as much as the rest of the series. I find this and The Robotech Masters the best parts of Robotech. I hope Harmony Gold will at some point finish it with a bunch of OVA movies like the upcoming Shadow Chronicles.
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.
Just to counter some comment saying that The Sentinels "Suck", is "a
disgrace", or is "not great"
For anyone who might not already know, Robotech: The Sentinels is an aborted attempt to create an original series to continue or expand the on the Robotech Saga. Again for the benefit of the handful of people who might not know, the Robotech series of the 1980s are three highly edited and modified anime series from Japan. Its presented to the American audience as one story. That is why you never see repeats of any characters or mechas from the other generations. As good as the saga was, this lack of continuation always bothered me a bit.
Anyway, if you weren't a Robotech fan, you probably won't even be visiting this webpage. So let's not worry about how this incomplete work affects the anime universe as a whole. The Sentinels (or what little was produced of the concept) is the the only Robotech animation to ever truly knit together the characters and stories from all 3 generations. The mechas and characters were believably combined to give us the beginning of an original series. The Sentinels, in my opinion helps justify our some what suspended belief that the 3 generations had anything to do with each other besides the shared Robotech title. The Shadow Chronicles make some attempt to do this, but c'mon, Rick Hunter's 1 minute cameo with a completely unrecognizable look doesn't really cut it. With the Sentinels, it seems that Rick, Lisa, Louie and other familiar characters were going to have significant screen time.
So, to say its "not great", I mildly disagree. I would've added a conditional "not yet". I think the potential was definitely there to be great.
So say it "sucks" or "a disgrace"? Are we watching the same show?? If you liked the original series, this is far from sucking or a disgrace! Some well selected main/side characters and concepts from all 3 original shows were cleverly weaved together into one story. Up to that time, its something that was desperately lacking in the Robotech franchise. It's a good alternate story to validate the assumption that the earlier Robotech stories even existed in the same universe. By the time I got to the end of this tantalizing 'preview' let's call it, I find myself thirsting for more. As it is obviously just a few parts of a greater whole, we cannot really judge The Sentinels based on what little we have of it in animation. Perhaps the best way to give this incomplete work some sort of ranking is to ask yourself how badly you would've liked to see more.
Robotech II: The Sentinels is a great example of what can go wrong when
business ventures fail. As has been noted, the original 3-part series
was actually footage from 3 completely separate and unrelated Japanese
series, edited and re-dubbed with major story changes to tie them all
together. The first part, known as the Macross Saga, is by far the most
popular. Robotech II was an attempt to continue the story of the
characters from that chapter with original animation produced
exclusively for the American version of the series.
Contrary to popular belief, it was not poor ratings that caused this series to be canceled. In reality, it was never aired (only 3 episodes were fully produced). According to Carl Macek of Harmony Gold, there was something afoot with the overseas animators. It is pretty clear that the segments involving places and characters that are introduced as new in Robotech II are very well animated. The segments involving returning characters are woefully inadequate. This gave rise to the belief that the overseas animators had plans of taking the "better" footage and stringing it together as their own "original" series for production in Japan.
Not hard to believe, really. It's never been any great secret that Japanese animators normally detest their work being Americanized, since a great deal of animation in Japan is NOT for children, as it almost always is in the United States. And considering an action such as taking footage from an American-produced animated series and re-dubbing/rewriting for the Japanese market would be considered "turnabout is fair play"....
Again, a classic example of what can happen when agendas collide.
i first saw these on sci-fi awhile back. i had no idea this was anime at the time, but it ruled. the story is awesome, the characters are awesome, the alpha fighters are awesome, and the motocycles are awesome! whew!! lol. anyway, if you've seen the lame south cross series, this series clears up all the confusion heard at the end about the ivid and such. if you like the previous robotech series, see this.
"Robotech II: The Sentinels," which was good in its novelization, is
actually turgid and boring as a pilot episode.
"The Sentinels" is set between "Macross" and "Southern Cross," and involves Rick, Lisa, Max, Miriya, and their expeditionary force's futile attempts to contact the Robotech Masters on their homeworld.
This was actually worse than "Southern Cross." Slow moving and uninteresting, this episode is not even worth the price of a rental.
1* out of 10*
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