My first encounter with Robotech was almost a decade ago, coming across “The Macross Saga” or “1st Robotech War” DVD set at a local Wal-Mart for $9.99. Thus began a love for the localized property that hit the states big back in the mid 80s. Initially, I had only a vague awareness of what lay beneath the re-rendering, and localization. I understood that like Voltron the series was patchwork, composed of several anime stitched together with reworked scripts.
I didn’t realize how much so until I dug deeper.
Robotech (1985) was adapted by Harmony Gold from the original Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (1982 – 83), the Masters Saga (Second Robotech War – 1985) from Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross (1984), and The New Generation (Invid War – 1985) from Genesis Climber Mospeada (1983 – 84). Together, they form the canon of Robotech’s universe, a sweeping sci-fi epic of humanity’s struggle to survive extinction events at the hands of ancient galactic aliens (and their lasting legacies), but they are in fact completely different stories in their original formats back home in Japan. 1985’s Megazone 23 (with parts spliced in from Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross) was adapted into Robotech: The Movie (1986) is another case in point.
Harmony Gold held fast to these properties, preventing the original Macross franchise from entering the burgeoning US market for anime. Incidentally, as Macross continued to advance with new iterations in Japan, Robotech remained largely in the past, a fond memory from the 80s illustrious pop culture era. The only title to the exception (to my knowledge) being the Macross Plus OVA (1995).
Because of the 90s, and early 2000s anime boom, completely altering anime, or localization has become rare, if not non existent in the present environment. The desire to see titles either dubbed closely to the original material, or subtitled with precision is the order of the day. Factor in how the entertainment business likes to swing nostalgic, or pull something throwback forward, the reasons for tearing down old legal obstacles to capitalize on fond memories whilst producing, or importing, fresh content is easy to understand.
April 9, 2021, saw a news release on Robotech.com to just that effect…
‘BIG WEST CO. LTD., STUDIO NUE, INC. AND HARMONY GOLD U.S.A. ANNOUNCE EXPANSIVE AGREEMENT FOR THE FUTURE OF ROBOTECH AND MACROSS WORLDWIDE!
April 9, 2021 – Tokyo, Japan & Los Angeles, California – Landmark agreement between the anime companies will allow immediate international distribution of most Macross television sequels and films, while affirming Harmony Gold’s rights to the Robotech franchise. Both companies will cooperate on the international distribution of future Macross and Robotech projects post 2021.
Tokyo based BIGWEST CO. LTD. and Los Angeles based Harmony Gold U.S.A. announced an agreement regarding the worldwide rights for the legendary Macross and Robotech franchises. This expansive agreement signed by both companies on March 1, 2021, ends two decades of disagreements and will allow Big West and Harmony Gold to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential of both the Macross and Robotech franchises worldwide.’
Unexpected, but welcome, what once was separated has now been brought together. This looks good for both parties involved as the skies are now the limit. Instead of a mended fence, we have an open door. And Lynn Minmay has a larger audience to sing to than ever before.
There’s nothing wrong with that.