Macross Universe (Universes?)
This is just a little page I made up to clarify how all the different Macross/Robotech series fit in with each other. I probably made it more for myself than for you. Uptil now the whole thing has been a blur for me, and I was indifferent, but after watching Macross Zero, I had to find out how all the shows fit together, and what I should watch next.
Basically, to my surprise, Macross and Robotech are two totally different shows. They have NOTHING to do with each other. Watch either one, OR the other (or both, if you can keep them separate using your massive intellect). Basically if you take the animation from the original Macross seriesM2, and some other showsO1,O2, combine them, and then totally change the dialogue, you will get an alternate universe, with similar looking mecha. That's what Robotech is.
So lets list out the different shows:
|Macross Universe||sp||Robotech Universe||sp||Other Shows|
|M1||2009-2009||Macross Zero||R1||1999-2014||Robotech: Macross Saga||O1||The Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross|
|M2||2009-2010||Macross: The Super Dimensional Fortress Macross||R2||2015-2030||Robotech Masters||O2||Genesis Climber Mospeada|
|M3||2012-2012||Flashback 2012||R3||2031-2044||Robotech: New Generation||O3||2031||Macross: Do you Remember Love|
|M4||2040-2040||Macross Plus||O4||2089||Macross II - Lovers Again|
|M6||2047-2047||Macross Dynamite 7|
So the animes indexed M1 to M6 make up the Macross universe, and are considered Macross Anime.
The shows indexed R1 to R3 make up the Robotech universe, and are considered the Robotech Cartoons.
Both the universes have a lot of similarities, but you must remember that they are completely separate.
O3 is not part of the Macross universe, in fact its a movie that is supposed to have been made by people inside the Macross universe. The events of the movie differ a bit from the macross continuity. The contents of the movie itself are not canon, but the movie itself is part of the universe . Basically characters from Macross universe would know about the movie, and consider it a documentary of sorts.
O4 is an alternate/un-official universe.
I hope that helped.
Perhaps a better attempt to explain all is located here: http://www.steelfalcon.com/Macross/continuity.shtml
For a detailed and easy to understand timeline of the Robotech Universe (R1-R3), see this: http://www.robotech.com/infopedia/timeline/