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Monday, July 11, 2011

Robotech Theme, Galvanize Me

It was approximately junior high, and it may have been the days of my mom’s second mental health catastrophe. My dad took long out-of-state trips to work cattle for big ranches. I had to wake up at 6:00 am to feed cattle and horses before school. It’s hard to remember much from those days, but I do remember that I usually watched the beginning of David Letterman (NBC) each night, and we didn’t own a VCR yet, so I was pretty wasted when 6 am rolled around.

The way I recall this, it was wintertime and still quite dark. After a while, I’d developed the anticipatory alarm kung-fu of waking up at 5:59 so I could shut off the buzzer the moment it rang. Still, I was pretty zonked and not remotely excited about going out in the cold to feed animals I didn’t really like. If there was one thing I’d learned, it was that cattle seemed to time their digestion to intersect with feeding time, so that the sight of me approaching with feed cranked a herd’s bowels into shitting unison. It was like, “Hey, here it comes, make room for more.”

I didn’t drink coffee, so I would turn on my little TV, as it was time for Robotech, one of the first anime shows to cross into America. As far as I could tell, it was three different shows, set in three different eras, sort of like if they ran original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine all under one title. The first series, which I liked, focused on a soap opera romance with an Earth invasion backdrop; the second, which I didn’t care for, revolved around someone named Dana and giant aliens called Zentraedi; the third was my favorite—it was about  a few resistance fighters coming back from a Mars colony to reclaim Earth from evil aliens called The Invid, which looked like giant armored crabs, sort of. The only thing you really need to know, though, is that Robotech had over-the-top theme music that gave me a little boost into will-to-live territory. Once the TV was on, I could soak up the energetic, martial tune, then get dressed. I can still visualize the fighter jet rotating at the opening of the show, the flashing anime graphics and glassy sound effects. After a minute or so, it helped me shake off my grogginess and get my ass out to do chores.

A couple of years later I had the music on vinyl, which absolutely cements my Robotech theme wake-ups as the pinnacle of my nerdhood, not to mention cementing junior high as the absolute peak of human misery. If ever there was a time that justified escapism, that was it.

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