Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles is the 2006 animated sequel to the 1985 Robotech television series. It was released on DVD on February 6, 2007.
Expo 2004, Harmony Gold USA revealed that Robotech: Shadow Force was in production to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Robotech in 2005. The name of the new story arc was soon changed to Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and the film was not completed until January 27, 2006. This project was initially met with skepticism from the fan community due to Harmony Gold's spotty track record of completing Robotech sequels and spinoffs in past decades. The first teaser trailer debuted at Anime Expo 2005. An official trailer was more recently released on The Shadow Chronicles website during the NATPE conference, a broadcast industry trade show. Harmony Gold has planned several film festival showings, but FUNimation delayed a possible wider theatrical and DVD release until at least 2007. The DVD became available to the region 1 public on February 6th, 2007.
The storyline is a direct continuation from the 85th (and final) episode of the original Robotech television series, and the first third of the movie runs concurrently with the events at the end of the end of the TV series - albeit from different points of view. The plot revolves around the Robotech Expeditionary Force's final battle with the Invid on Earth, and the fallout from the events of that battle. An old enemy of the Invid is making its presence known, and is determined to wipe out all protoculture users, including humanity. The production is a mixture of 2D animation and cel-shaded CG Mecha
Though the involvement of original Japanese studio Tatsunoko Productions seems to be limited to early development, the actual digital production of animation was handled by the Korean animation company DR Movie, whose credits include subcontracting on the In-between
animation in Macross Plus and the in-between animation of Yukikaze. Co-director Tommy Yune said in a Newtype USA interview (republished on the official Robotech website) that the producers "consulted extensively" with Kenji Terada, a writer on Southern Cross and Mospeada (two of the three series adapted into the 1985 Robotech series).
DC Comics' Wildstorm label released Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, a comic prequel series bridging the end of the aborted Sentinels storyline to The Shadow Chronicles. Each of the issues features a "behind the scenes" article about the animation production.
The Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) fleet gathers for its final attempt to drive the alien Invid from the Earth. Two previous attempts have been made, but failed. This time, the REF has important technological advantages in the new Shadow technology and Synchro-cannons. But if even those aren't enough, then the REF has prepared the devestating Neutron-S missiles as a last resort to wipe out the primary Invid hive at Reflex Point.
General Reinhart, commander of the REF forces in the Earth system, sends Vince Grant
, captain of the Icarus, on a rescue mission to look for Admiral Rick Hunter
, head of the REF military. But too much time passes and Reinhart is forced to begin the attack on Earth before Vince can return. Casualties are excessively heavy on the ground at Reflex Point. When Reinhart tries to get an update he, makes contact with resistance leader Scott Bernard
, a survivor of one of the previous failed REF assaults. Scott informs Reinhart that the attack is going poorly. Ending the communication, Scott meets with Ariel
, an invid that looks like a young human woman, and Scott's love interest. Ariel hopes to convince the Invid Regess that the humans and the Invid can live in peace.
Vince finds Admiral Hunter's ship, the SDF-3, near a brand new black hole. Both the SDF-3 and a nearby science vessel have been badly damaged by an accident involving the testing of the new Neutron-S missiles. Admiral Hunter orders Vince to warn the REF fleet that there's a problem with the missiles. An unfamiliar alien warship attacks and rams the SDF-3, and the Icarus is forced to race back to Earth with the wrecked science vessel. The SDF-3 is left behind drifting.
Ariel meets with The Regess
, but the Regess is skeptical of Ariel's claims. She recognizes the humans' new Shadow technology as something used by an ancient enemy of the Invid - the "Children of the Shadows". When the Regess sees the Neutron-S missiles, she realizes that the REF has been duped; if the REF knew how powerful the missiles were, they never would have used them. Realizing that the Earth is no longer a safe haven for the Invid, the Regess transforms the invid race into energy and leaves. As a parting gift to Ariel, who has chosen to remain behind, the Regess destroys the Neutron-S missiles.
Following the battle, wounded personnel and damaged ships are evacuated to Space Station Liberty. Because the Invid took all of the protoculture with them the REF only has enough power to last a little less than a year. And the only way to generate more power is with the Protoculture Matrix onboard the SDF-3. Due to losses in combat, Wolf Squadron, home of Marcus Rush
and Alex Romero
, is folded into Maia Sterling
's Skull Squadron. Marcus is attracted to Maia, but has only managed to bungle a pass at her so far.
Back on Earth, Scott is surprised to find that Ariel has stayed behind. But Scott can't stay. He has decided to try and convince the REF leadership that humanity can co-exist with the Invid. As he flies to the main REF base at Moon Base Aluce, he stumbles upon the just arrived Icarus and the enemy fighters that it accidentally brought with it. He helps the Icarus against the fighters, and then escorts it to Aluce. Once there, he is reunited with Marcus, who is the younger brother of Scott's late fiance, Marlene.
The science vessel is examined, and the only surviving crew member is Janice
, an android that uses a holographic overlay that makes her look like a young woman. Louis takes Janice to the science lab, and the two go over the test data to try and figure out what went wrong with the missile test. While there, Louis learns from Janice that the new REF technologies - Shadow technology, Synchro-cannons, and the Neutron-S missile - were partly the result of aid from an advanced alien race known as the Haydonites. The Haydonites aided the REF because they'd also suffered at the hands of the Invid. Janice herself is a combination of Human and Haydonite technology, built to act as a go-between for the two races. Louis finds himself somewhat distracted by Janice, and decides to take a break. He goes to the Officers' Club with Janice and Maia.
Scott, Alex, and Marcus are already there, and Scott is silently disturbed by Marcus's hatred for the Invid. Ariel suddenly walks up behind Scott and surprises him. He introduces her as a friend from Earth before hurrying off with her. Questions about his abrupt departure are put on hold as Janice gets on stage and demonstrates her ability as a singer with the Minmei song, "It's You". The three men watch in fascination until a visibly annoyed Maia informs Marcus that Janice isn't his type.
In an empty room, Ariel informs Scott that the reason she came to see him was because she had a vision. The Children of the Shadows are planning on attacking the REF. The Children destroyed the first Invid homeworld because they fear the power of protoculture, and they will attack the humans for the same reason. The discussion is interrupted by Marcus and Alex, and Marcus realizes that Ariel is an invid. Scott is arrested and interrogated. During the interrogation, he warns of the impending attack, and reveals the Childrens' connection to the new REF technologies. Reinhart and Vince watch on a monitor in another room. But the name Scott uses for the alien race is unfamiliar. And Reinhart suspects that the warning is an attempt by the Invid to drive a wedge between the REF and the Haydonites.
But during the interrogation, contact is lost with Space Station Liberty. Louis analyzes the transmission data, and realizes that the race that attacked the SDF-3 is jamming communications. Vince is ordered to head to Liberty and determine the situation there. Vince takes Scott and Ariel with him. Also attached to the Icarus are Janice and Skull Squadron.
When the Icarus arrives, Space Station Liberty is under attack by a large fleet of alien ships. The battle is going poorly for the REF. Ships are being destroyed with just one hit, and the enemy is using an energy wave that causes the new Synchro-cannons to overload. Instead of charging into the battle, Vince sends Skull Squadron to collect information. While flying through the REF fleet, Skull Squadron records an REF carrier destroyed due to a single hit on its reflex furnace. Janice sees the footage and realizes that such an event should be impossible due to the Shadow technology incorporated in all REF vessels. The Haydonites are the mysterious Children of the Shadows, and are exploiting hidden weaknesses in the technologies they provided to the REF.
Skull Squadron is ordered to head to Liberty and change to fighters that don't incorporate Haydonite technology. Unfortunately, on the way there they are attacked by Haydonite fighters. The Synchro-cannon mounted on Alex's fighter is hit and begins to overload, and he makes a suicidal charge into the middle of the enemy fighters as his cannon explodes. Louis finds one ship on the Liberty's ship list that has no Haydonite technologies installed - the colony ship Archangel. Vince orders the evacuation of all station personnel to the Archangel, and gives Louis one hour to get the ship's inactive reflex furnace on-line. In the meantime Skull Squadron has located brand new prototype Advanced Shadow Fighters that haven't had the Shadow technology installed yet, and Maia promises to buy time for the evacuation.
Scott and Vince board Cyclones and prepare to head into the space station. Liberty has the remaining stockpile of Neutron-S missiles, and Vince sets one to self-destruct. The Archangel is able to depart as planned, with the Icarus following closely, and Skull Squadron fights to hold off the Haydonites. The Neutron-S warhead explodes and destroys Liberty, along with the Haydonite fleet.
Back on Aluce, Reinhart gives Vince his new orders. Vince and his crew, including the new additions on the last mission, are to take the Archangel and attempt to locate the SDF-3. Also joining the crew will be Vince's wife, medical doctor Jean Grant
. As the Archangel leaves, Scott and Ariel share a first kiss, Marcus and Maia console each other over missed loved ones, and Louis reassures a confused and uncertain Janice that, "We will win."