'80s action toon still entertains with intricate storyline.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This series intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The show celebrates ingenuity and creative problem-solving through characters who thrive on the challenges of war. Personal differences exist among the characters, but they're not enough to keep men and women from banding together against a common foe. There's not always a clear distinction between good and evil.

Positive role models

Rick isn't looking to be a hero, but when he's thrust into a difficult position, he rises to the occasion. What's more, he never departs from his value system, despite the rigors of battle, and he's always looking out for those around him. As a whole, female characters prove to be unflappable under pressure.

Violence & scariness

Explosions, missile strikes, and gunfire in battle scenes. Space craft plummet from the sky, and some characters die, though nothing graphic is show. Others suffer serious injuries (again minimal on the details) and wind up in the hospital. Hostage situations and suspected abductions at the hands of the aliens could be upsetting to young kids.

Sexy stuff

Romantic relationships are explored, and there's some contact between partners. Physical attraction is expressed in men's glances at women's butts, for instance.


No cursing , but occasional name-calling like "idiot."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Rarely men smoke pipes. It's said that some characters (including women) party late into the night.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Robotech is an '80s cartoon that centers on a war between humans and alien invaders, so many scenes feature battles fought in the sky and on the ground. Explosions, missile attacks, downed aircraft, and demolished buildings are some of the violence you'll see, and characters are injured or killed, though not graphically. Despite the persistent sense of doom concerning threats to Earth's survival, the heroes' storylines are filled with hope in the forms of budding romance, rekindled relationships, and a sense that they're fighting for the common good. The show's mature themes about good and evil, betrayal, and oppression are better suited to older viewers, but kids will enjoy the stories even if this content is over their heads.

Kids say

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What's the story?

When an abandoned alien spacecraft crashes on Earth, it puts an end to a raging world war and diverts peoples' attention to studying and replicating the cutting-edge technology -- called Robotechnology -- within it. Ten years later, the starship is up and running again, as is a new arsenal of transformative aircraft built by humans using this new technology. But when an alien race called Zentraedi invades the planet in an attempt to retrieve the ship, Earth is drawn into yet another war, this time against multiple intergalactic enemies with agendas of their own. The ROBOTECH series chronicles three successive wars against invading species, each one looking to annihilate Earth and dominate a valuable energy source called \"protoculture.\"

Is it any good?


This mid-'80s cartoon, which was one of the first to introduce anime to the U.S., is a fun departure from today's offerings, despite the fairly simplistic animation and graphics one would expect from a 25-year-old show. It blends action, drama, romance, and even comedy, creating a truly pleasant and intriguing evolving story that will maintain kids' attention from one episode to the next. Narration at the start and end of each segment helps bring viewers up to speed on what's going on as well, which is helpful given the intricacies of its plot.

For a tale so rooted in battles and war, Robotech's violence isn't the mindless shoot-'em-ups you might expect. Yes, planes are shot down and buildings collapse, and people do die, but this content isn't the show's most noticeable feature. What's more prominent is a thoughtful story about good and evil, human ingenuity, and the irresistible draw of a race of underdogs refusing to submit to an oppressive force. It's heady stuff that some kids won't quite get, but its cross-generational appeal gives it a fighting chance among its modern counterparts.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this show's brand of violence stacks up to what we see in modern shows and movies like Transformers. How much does the animation or graphics style influence how the fighting affects us? Do you think any amount of it is too much for some viewers?

  • Is this series intended for kids? What aspects of the story might not be right for very young kids?

  • A common theme in this series is what defines a hero. What characters emerge as heroes? Who are your heroes? What traits are most attractive to you in a role model?

TV details

Cast:Eddie Frierson, J. Jay Smith, Tony Oliver
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Adventures, Great boy role models, Space and aliens
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byMrRivera May 20, 2014

One of the few products from the 80's that still hold value

I remember falling in love with this series when I was in grade school. It was my motivation to do my homework as soon as I got home so that I may have my uninterrupted time and focus on the action and story line. Indeed, a lot of what was going on, in terms of the complex dynamics between the various personalities, was beyond me at the time, but the quality of the animation was just incredible. Watching those episodes as an adult, I realize how positive the show really was. Because of the fact that human beings had to unite against a common foe for the sake of Earth's survival, everyone is an equal. Similar to Star Trek, the characters came from various cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. At the same time, one sees that this does not keep the characters from being friends or even romantically involved (ex. protagonist Rick Hunter (Caucasion) is in love with Lynn Minmay a character who's father is of Chinese decent and mother of Japansese decent). It also shows women in important roles aboard the vital SDF-1 Fortress. While the captain is an Italian male (not a surprise if you have ever been on a cruise ship) the next in command are a Japanese woman (Misa) and a Black-American woman (Claudia). The show is very smart. If you want your kids to have some critical thinking as opposed to the garbage that is being shown on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, watch it with them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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