These days it’s not unusual to find reasonably faithfully translated Anime in the States, but this was not always the case. American companies brought over a few TV series in the 60s through 80s, but they usually changed them significantly. One of the biggest cult hits of the Anime series brought over was Robotech. Harmony Gold cobbled the series together from three separate Anime series-Super Dimension Space Fortress Macross, Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross and Mospeada. Of the three series, only Macross was a hit in its original run; the producers chose the others mainly because all three featured human armies fighting aliens with transformable mecha. Macross was enough of a hit in Japan that a film “re-imagining” of the original story titled Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? was created. Officially it is a fictional version of the events of the TV series made sometime after the series ended. As a marketing gimmick, the distributors released a version of the film dubbed into English by uncredited Hong Kong and Australian actors (Japanese subtitles were provided). At some point the dubbed version of the film was heavily edited for content (though still quite violent at points) and released in the U.S. on the “Just for Kids” VHS label as Macross in Clash of the Bionoids. This seems to have occurred independently of the Robotech TV series, but fans of the American series snapped this, and bootlegs of the full dubbed version, up.
The resulting film is quite surreal, for several reasons, and I can only imagine how it comes off to viewers unfamiliar with the original TV series or the Robotech version of it, much less to parents who bought the film for their kids. The film is basically a disjointed “highlights” version of a 36 episode TV series. While we get a rough outline of what’s happening over the course of the film, it would be difficult at best to piece it together or fully understand the story without watching the series first. The movie begins In Media Reis, with the Macross under attack by the alien Zentradei. There’s no moment where it’s explained what this ship is, why a city full of civilians is located inside it, or why Earth is at war. The wretched dubbing is reminiscent of the worst sort of chop-socky/Godzilla movie dubbing, with awkward pauses, cadence and dialog. Finally, the editing for content in the Bionoid version makes scenes occasionally choppy and nonsensical, especially when characters get killed.
Fans of the series may well want to check this out for the alternate mecha designs, strange reinterpretations/exaggerations of characters and events, or just out of a completest impulse. Fans of “so-bad-it’s-good” movies will want to watch this for the hilariously bad dubbing and awful script. Many of the “classic” lines became catch-phrases among friends in high school and college -“You can still fight….when you’re drunk!” “Sometimes a man does come on strong, but that’s his nature. A woman has to allow herself to be overpowered, to fall in love.” “Now watch Jet Jockey in action!” “You’re quite a gen-i-us.” “A man and a woman? What’s that? A man and a woman? Together? This results from pro-to-culture?” and so on. On the positive side, if the plot is a bit confused, the script horrible, the dubbing awful, and the songs terrible, the animation is quite beautiful. It’s a shame for this reason alone that a competently dubbed and/or subtitled version on a better format than VHS is unlikely in the States at this point due to rights issues.
The most ludicrously dubbed scene in the film: