I’m half Japanese. I’m an american. I’ve lived in Japan for a lot of my earlier childhood and 1/4 of my life. I have land there. I knew ramen was life since the ’80s, and not cheap college student menu before U.S. hipsters of the past several years did. I even rocked a bento strong in elementary school, some of which were Macross branded.
I was introduced to Macross through Robotech though, as I suspect most people in the U.S. were, but in my years in Japan, I’ve never come across anyone (the count is officially zero) who seem to care more about how Robotech came into being as I have in english speaking message boards in the 21st century.
They have theirs, we have ours. As a child of both worlds it was never really a conflict, so it’s always puzzled me why it’s a point of actual active contention for anyone. Especially people who have to be grown to even know what either of these franchises are or were. If you look at any news related topics involving Robotech and Harmony Gold it is almost impossible not to go three reactions down until finding an, again, oddly American, Macross flag waving rebuttal to your enthusiasm. It’s not even a remotely personal subject. How can it be?
Make no mistake, from just about any traverseable vantage point Harmony Gold sounds like and most likely is at best a POS operation. They do dumb shit like this. While by definition the vast majority of business and licensees are about themselves and the bottom line, usually that process equates to some level of consumer satisfaction over time, or at the very least a tangible service or product to be satisfied with or not.
The sniff test with Harmony Gold is that, sure, they’d love to exploit their international distribution rights but don’t have either the in house vision or acumen, nor the funding to make it happen. They’ve been stumbling for decades. Instead they do more dumb shit like this. That’s their mentality.
Here’s the thing though. Thing can’t change until they do.
While Harmony Gold has consistently failed the Robotech fandom and have been at their best at stopping other companies actually doing something with a beloved franchise that on paper feels like it adapts like a dream in an cinema era of adaptations, where a big robot movie was the #1 at the world wide box office last year, and a source material that has rather identifiable and diverse characters.
The problem is that there is a Robotech fandom because they made it so. I tend to view it as separating the art from the artist, with the caveat that they aren’t actually artists either. Sometimes good things can come from dumb luck.
That said, from a legal perspective their hold on the american distribution of Macross always seemed tenuous at best and I’ve felt that at any moment anyone who has the right to challenge them would win which is why I always thought these Robotech movies have stalled even with heavyweights attached to them in the news cycle past (Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire — I suspect their production companies).
Macross, to varying degrees, has remained a constant presence in Japan, or at least stayed in the public eye and has gained new generations of fans. Personally, I never much care about the inner workings of a company I don’t own or have stakes in. I consume entertainment, including importing very sweet Macross Veritechs from Japan, continuing a hobby that my grandparents started with Christmas gifts in my childhood. If anyone should be up in arms about Harmony Gold it should be the people who own it, right? At least they should be more dedicated to it then me. And they aren’t. For now.
I know people saw Pacific Rim, which I realize didn’t perform quite as well one would hope for a $200 million budgeted film, and viewed it as a test to see if many mecha-rich films could find a foothold in american theaters but I started really thinking about Robotech being able to work when I was watching Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica. Admittedly it’s not a perfect fit because I think Robotech would have more visual demands that outpaces even the state of television ingenuity now. I did think the hyper-drama of a large ship and fleet shown in BSG could carry over and focus on the obvious relationships, triangles, and tension on board the SD-F1. Bridge Bunnies guys. Bridge Bunnies.
I know that Rick/Lisa/Minmay will probably come to the forefront, but for me the films win if it nails Max and Miriya. To have a lead that’s not the best (Max was) and then to have a secondary relationship that bridges two peoples to go along side the main triangle — I can see Miriya stealing the film.
Sony seems ready and primed to take on the big screen adaptation challenge, in a desperate search for their on franchise in a world dominated by MARVEL, Hunger Games, and with what maybe be at least a decade planned of STAR WARS looming, they need to get in the game. They don’t have the Fast movies, and they didn’t have the Harry Potter franchise, they don’t have the DC films, and Sony’s presence in the news cycle lately hasn’t been about their actual movies, barring a pretty forgettable comedy.
Is Macross better than Robotech?
Who cares? Why?
Robotech still kicked ass. It was still the original animated serial soap opera in the United States and the entry into Japanese animation for a generation and whether it was named Robotech or Macross, the ticket is already bought.
Several years ago when I bought the DVD box set it took me forever to even get to the first episode because I was just caught back up with the intro and kept rewinding it. It’s so simple and shows scenes and elements that would never be experienced by even fans of Robotech who never really got past The Super Dimension Fortress Macross arc of what would become known as the Robotech Saga in sometimes odd and sporadic regional programming schedules. It didn’t matter. It’s still so good and the theme music is perfect. A perfect memory and perfect now. And if the movie fails, hell, I will always have my laser discs.
I’m not rooting for Harmony Gold but I will root for Robotech.
I remember the love. It’s all we will win to me.