A New Robotech Series Is Coming

A New Robotech Series Is Coming

Today at Anime Expo 2014, Harmony Gold announced their plans to bring back classic '80s anime Robotech via Kickstarter.

In 2008, Robotech creator Carl Macek (i.e., the man who took three completely unrelated anime and turned them into a single, coherent, multi-generational sci-fi epic) came up with the idea for a new Robotech animated series: Robotech Academy. Unfortunately, after working on the project in secret for two years, Macek passed away. But now, armed with Macek's notes, outlines, and even some partially completed scripts, Harmony Gold is looking to turn Macek's unfinished project into the series he dreamed of. The plan is simple. Harmony Gold is asking for half-a-million dollars on Kickstarter to produce a 22-minute pilot episode for Robotech Academy. To learn more about the proposed series, I sat down for a little chat with the series' acting director, Tommy Yune.

Robotech Academy takes place near the end of the second generation of Robotech -- in the time and setting of the aborted TV series Robotech II: The Sentinels. However, as Yune was quick to explain, the series won't be following the Sentinels storyline nor the first-generation characters. "Carl's idea -- because the story [of the Sentinels] had already been played out in novels and comic books -- was to explore this 'universe' but with a new set of characters."

Thus, Robotech Academy follows the children of the original generation of heroes -- the best and brightest humanity has to offer -- as they attend the Robotech Academy, located far from the front. But with the future of the Robotech Expeditionary Force all gathered in one place (both in personnel and technology), the Academy turns out to be an inviting target -- especially once the Academy ends up trapped in deep space, far from where it's supposed to be.

A New Robotech Series Is Coming

But just because the main cast is made up of new characters, that doesn't mean you won't get to see some familiar faces. "We'll have cross generational characters; but because it's in a different timeframe within the Robotech universe, some of them will look different -- some will be significantly older and some of them will be younger," Yune told me.

Moreover, the villains for this outing won't be the Invid (the enemies of both the third generation and Sentinels). Rather, the antagonists are a mysterious splinter group of the second generation's Robotech Masters known as the "Children of Zor."

On the mecha side of the equation, Robotech Academy will contain brand new mecha designs (penned by Tommy Yune himself and Digital Art Chefs) that will act as a sort of missing link to connect the franchise's three distinct transforming robot designs. Of course, the real world reason that the mecha of each generation are so different is because the anime that make up Robotech were three completely unrelated series when they were released originally in Japan. However, Yune hopes to use Robotech Academy to turn this inconsistency into a wellspring of new stories. "We're connecting a lot of the dots -- we're actually making the [...] original Robotech series fit better together with these backstories you'll learn in Robotech Academy."

A New Robotech Series Is Coming

The $US500,000 goal of the Kickstarter will cover the complete design and production costs of Robotech Academy's pilot episode. Any funds raised beyond the original goal will go directly into producing more episodes. And as much of the setting art, mecha models, and character designs can be reused from episode to episode, subsequent episodes will cost less to produce than the pilot's half-a-million.

This also ties into one of the main reasons for doing the new series via Kickstarter: getting as much of the story out there as it was intended and thus performing preemptive damage control against future studio or network executive meddling. "The fans know what Carl is about -- they would be directly supporting Carl's vision and this would allow us to really stick creatively closer to what Carl had in mind," Yune explained.

And, in an ideal future, getting the attention of networks and studios is the Kickstarter's ultimate goal. "If it gets subsequently picked up," Yune told me, "we'll let it go on as long as we can let the project go on."

Lastly, I asked what the creation of Robotech Academy would mean for the continuation of the Robotech: Shadow Chronicles films. Yune had this to say: "That's something we still want to do -- that's something we have done, actually, a fair amount of work on. But the Shadow Chronicles have already been defined. We've already put our first step down in terms of getting that made. The thing about Academy is it doesn't have that kind of identity: but at the same time, it's something that Carl did -- it was something very personal to him -- and I think we all kind of owe it to him to get this done."

For more information on Robotech Academy, check out its Kickstarter page.


Comments

    Dont wanna give harmony gold any money, they can go jump off a cliff.

      This so much. They're the reason why we can't get the rest of Macross.

      Agreed nothing but Copyright trolls and butchers

    I grew up watching Robotech. It was an amazing gateway anime ;)
    I then of course became a big Macross fan.
    My concern for this kickstarter is $500,000 is a lot of money for 1 episode, considering Bee & Puppycat asked for only slightly more for 6 episodes.
    And of course that so far, Harmony Gold has only demonstrated its ability to re-edit others animation.

    They've sat on the rights not using it for so long and now they are finally doing something with it they want us to give them money? The hell with that, if you had of brought the other series across you may have actually had some money to do this.

    This should be amusing. *preps a bowl of popcorn* I am firmly in the 'Fuck Harmony Gold' camp, myself, but the bitter flamewars about to start should be pretty great.

    I just want Macross Frontier to be released in the West!

    Robotech is an old thing. Done & dusted. Give us access to all the cool Macross stuff we missed out on!

    This is wonderfully bizarre. After 3 straight decades of being the most hated company in the anime industry, Harmony Gold is asking for money from the fans. They've already raised some money though, so maybe I'm the delusional one.

    I don't have as big a beef with them as most people personally. They might be awful to macross fans, but they pretty much started the western anime industry. That buys a lot of forgiveness in my book.

    My god... please let no one give money to this atrocity.
    All robotech has been good for is crippling the macross series. Harmony Gold is the reason we don't get official releases on any of the newer macross series in the west.
    I hope this kickstarter dies horribly.

    I thought Robotech was decent, even with the obvious plot holes and shoehorning. (even the original Mospeada is heaps better than Robotech: Next Generation or whatever its called)

    Then I watched Macross and discovered DYRL, Macross 7, Macross Zero, Macross Frontier (and obviously Macross Plus).

    And knowing I can't get any of them on a western bluray release or the hundreds of games that have been released because of Harmony Gold makes me extremely annoyed.

    I hope this dies a swift death.

    This is a perfect case of justification of fan-subs etc of the other Macross series.

      it's wierd that Macross, Mospeda, Southern Cross and Macross Plus all had an Australian release thru Madman forever ago but we never got our hands on the rest. Fkn Harmony Gold.

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