Hey gang, remember the mid 80s when ROBOTECH struck the nation like a powerful earthquake that caused a deadly tsunami that ravaged the nation that made the cartoons that were dubbed into what you saw as ROBOTECH? If you had a couple of Japanese animation magazines, a VCR with a good pause feature, a lot of tracing paper, and an editor who wasn't afraid of that "bug-eyed Jap shit" (real quote from real comic book editor) then you could flood the comic book world with your own cheap anime knockoffs! And for a while there, from say 1986 until somewhere in the early 1990s, it worked like a charm, as we've noted before. So who's to say it wouldn't work one more time?

Here's another one of those great mid 1980s anime knockoffs, and... what's that you say? This comic is from 1994? Actual Japanese comics and anime had been successfully distributed for years and something called "Sailor Moon" was about to take over the world? No no no. What people want to see is giant military robots fighting each other in the year 2087!

See? Everybody loves military SF robots. The more original the better. Now let's meet our cast of original characters!

Hero with crazy hair, hero's cool friend, hero's token minority pal, tough female. All commanded by Commander Moustache and Lt. Commander No-Face. If you're wondering where you've seen Commander Moustache before...

Yeah, it's Captain Gloval from ROBOTECH/MACROSS, along with a modified version of Lisa Hayes. Oh you don't think that's Lisa Hayes? Remember that episode of ROBOTECH where Rick Hunter is in the hospital and Lisa visits him? Because "Mecharider" does.

Yup, nothing the kids want more than American knockoffs of Japanese cartoons. Let's look at those heroes again, something seems familiar.

Where have I seen that guy before... that hair...

Close, but not quite so Go Nagai-ish....

Ooh, that's even closer, but not exactly what I'm thinking of. Little too ESPer-y. Gee what's that anime I'm thinking of, one with a motorcycle that transforms into a robot... right on the tip of my toungue...

Oh yeah, that guy. Now why on Earth would I be thinking of Shogo Yahagi from 1985'S MEGAZONE 23?

Maybe it's because "Mecharider" stars a motorcycle that transforms into a robot. Just like MEGAZONE 23! What an amazing coincidence.

And that's "Mecharider". Characters borrowed from Japanese cartoons ride robots borrowed from other Japanese cartoons. Oh, and you can tell it's 1994 because the script mentions "virtual reality" and "artifical intelligence".

Sadly, by '94 both the comic book world and the anime fan world had moved on from 1986 and it was no longer possible to impress people with ersatz Japanese manga - they could get the real thing for themselves. SAILOR MOON and DRAGONBALL were poised to conquer America in a wave that would dwarf the ROBOTECH fad. Where did this leave the class of '85 and their futuristic transforming military robots?

Nothing left but to transform and zoom off into the sunset, towards a "test to destruction". There will, I'm afraid, be some physical discomfort.

SPECIAL TIP: Trying to develop spatial motion towards the viewer in your illustrations? Consider your audience! Western audiences read left-to-right, so a "forward" motion will need to follow that direction. The Japanese, however, read right-to-left, and their presentation of forward motion corresponds to that right-to-left orientation.

"A" - kinda flat. "B" - COMIN' AT YA!!! This visual arts tip has been brought to you by my BFA. Who says you can't learn anything in school?