By Richard Burney
Though it sounds hard to believe, Harmony Gold originally intended on releasing Super Dimension Fortress Macross in virtually complete form, dubbed into English, to the US back in 1984. Before Robotech came into being, the first three episodes of Macross were dubbed into English using virtually most of the voice actors that would end up working on the Macross Saga episodes of Robotech. This single tape was available in either the VHS and Beta formats. All 36 episodes of Macross were originally to be directly released to home video.

This English dubbing of Macross stays pretty faithful to the original material. Virtually all the content is intact (only the few seconds where Hikaru/Rick blacks out and dreams of flying with Roy is oddly enough cut), most of Haneda Kentaro's original soundtrack is intact, the SDF-1 is called the Macross, VF-1's are called Valkyries, the mid transformation mode for the VF-1 is Gerwalk, the island the Macross lands on is called South Atalia island, and there is no mention of the "Robotech Masters" or "Zor". A few of the notable changes include a few name changes (Hikaru Ichijo becomes Rick Yamata and Misa Hayase becomes Lisa Hayase) and the opening credit music and a few other scores are replaced by Ulpio Minucci music. We are also introduced to a little bit of the cheesy voice acting that would be common in Robotech (any moment I was expecting Rick to blurt out, "Gee golly willickers, Batman, oops, I mean Roy!" LOL:)) and Carl Macek's "styling" of adding dialogue where it previously didn't belong and making up technologies that didn't exist (since when did the Zentradi have "Phaser X" cannons?!?).

As for the availability of this tape, I believe it is quite rare. During the last year and a half of watching Ebay, I have seen this tape pop up only twice. The first time I saw it, I was able to snag it for just $25. The second time I saw an auction for it, the final bid ended somewhere over $50. In both auctions, the tapes came with their original clamshell casings.

No matter what you may think of Harmony Gold and Robotech, I would extremely recommend getting this tape. It is a very unique piece of Macross history and gives us a glimpse of what could have been in regards to Macross being properly established in the US.