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Gatekeeping, ideological purity, big name fans and a rocket scientist in a kilt
Posted: 04 September 2019 11:06 AM  
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Total Posts:  2
Joined  2019-09-04

Robotech is a 1985 American animated series created from combining three separate Japanese anime series, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. The show was notable for its more mature approach to the subject matter than its contemporaries, including other anime dubs. Death was not shied away form or hidden; characters, both minor and major, died on-screen. In fact, more named characters die in Robotech than Macross.

Besides the core 85 episode animated series, Robotech also had spin-off media including comics, a series of novelizations and role-playing games. A planned sequel series, Robotech II: The Sentinels was cancelled due to a host of reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion, but not before parts of the first three episodes were finished.

Despite its intended target audience, Robotech became popular with adults and especially college students. It served also as a gateway for many into anime fandom. It was one of the first fandoms to get “big” online during the Usenet era. The newsgroup alt.tv.robotech served as a hub for the burgeoning fandom in the early 1990s. It also quickly became a hub for fandom drama.

The biggest early rift came with the development of ideological camps within the fandom. The first came to be known as the “Purists”. They accepted the 85 TV episodes (and maybe the incomplete Sentinels footage, depending on the individual fan) as the only Robotech “canon”. The second were known as the “McKinneyists”, the name referring to Jack McKinney, the penname of the two authors who wrote the Robotech novelisations (Brian Daley and James Luceno). They tended towards being more open to secondary media; not only the comics but also the novels and RPG.

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