A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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. Note: The 2006 "remastered" version of the show available via some sources includes additional scenes that contain some pretty incongruous nudity in some episodes (for example, a woman taking a shower is shown from the back, skirts flipping up, etc.) which makes the show much less appropriate for young kids.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Themes & Topics
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