Robotech was an animated series that aired in the West starting in 1985. The show itself was composed of three different Japanese mecha anime (Macross, Southern Cross, MOSPEADA), which were chopped up and modified to fit a new narrative by Harmony Gold USA.
The first third of the Robotech saga was an adaptation of the Macross series, which ended up being the most popular of the three in Japan, having additional spin-offs and series. Harmony Gold was known to be somewhat litigious with the Macross propery, going after the makers of BattleTech for instance, who licensed some of their mech designs from the Japanese makers directly. In Japan, it was also somewhat in contention if Macross was the property of Tatsunoko (who Harmony Gold had a contract with) or Studio Nue. Because of all of this ugliness, the Japanese series after Macross Plus did not come to the USA, and Harmony Gold made a few of their own Robotech project mostly using the MOSPEADA designs. A live-action Hollywood adaptation of Robotech was also announced and still is (probably) in production.
Back in 2019, it was announced that a deal was made with Tatsunoko and Harmony Gold for the Robotech property to go on until March 2021 outside of Japan. It is now April 2021, so are Macross fans in the clear?
Today, it was announced that an agreement was reached between Harmony Gold USA, Big West (of Japan), and Studio Nue for the Robotech and Macross brands to co-exist, and for Macross properties to live on outside of Japan.
Here is the press release:
April 9, 2021, Tokyo, Japan: 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 Bigwest and Harmony Gold to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential of both the Macross and Robotech franchises worldwide. The landmark agreement immediately permits worldwide distribution of most of the Macross films and television sequels worldwide, and also confirms that Bigwest will not oppose the Japanese release of an anticipated upcoming live-action Robotech film. The agreement also recognizes Harmony Gold’s longstanding exclusive license with Tatsunoko for the use of the 41 Macross characters and mecha in the Robotech television series and related merchandise throughout the world excluding Japan. Moving forward, both parties will cooperate on distribution regarding future Macross and Robotech projects for the benefit of both franchises.
Bigwest Representative Director, Kaya Onishi added, “Stories that feature Valkyries, a transformable realistic mecha, in action among the galaxies while diva’s sing in the background, as well as love triangles involving the pilots and singers. That was and continues to be the concept behind the Macross series, and I am happy that I can now help bring Macross to people all over the world on the 40th anniversary of the series. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Harmony Gold Chairman, Frank Agrama for his courageous decision in this matter.”
Harmony Gold USA Chairman, Frank Agrama stated, “This is an incomparably historic moment for both Harmony Gold and Bigwest and the anime industry overall. This is also an exciting moment for fans of Robotech and Macross worldwide. I thank my friend, Bigwest Representative Director, Kaya Onishi for her hard work to help us reach this long desired resolution that protects both of our franchises while building a better tomorrow for both our companies.”
So it looks like fans of Macross in the USA will finally get to watch the follow ups to the originally officially. This writer just hopes that the original creative crew are okay with this (Shoji Kawamori didn’t seem too happy about Robotech back in 2019). Kaya Onishi of Big West mentioned the series 40th anniversary, which will land in 2022. Hopefully this agreement does bear fruit.
It does look like there is a non-Japanese official Macross Twitter account now: