Twenty-five years ago this month (which is very nearly over), Eternity Comics/Malibu Graphics published the very first ROBOTECH comic written by Robotech/Voltron co-writer Bill Spangler, the first issue of Robotech II: The Sentinels - The Malcontent Uprisings, featuring the wonderfully expressive, if a bit undisciplined, art of Michael Ling. Not only was this Spangler’s first foray into writing the ROBOTECH universe, but it was also the first ROBOTECH comic series not based on preexisting work. It was the first proper licensed bit of storytelling to delve into the years between The Macross Saga and The Sentinels.

In the first issue, Miriya Parina-Sterling receives a message from a former comrade in arms who she believed was killed in a riot years ago in Brazil under Governor Leonard. Meanwhile, Max Sterling's Veritech Fighter is downed over the radioactive ruins of Oasis and he is captured by a band of Zentraedi rebels. Only through skill, luck, and a touch of shocking brutality is he able to overcome his captors and survive long enough to be rescued. On the mend after a couple days' rest, he tries to get a hold of Miriya, only to be told that she has vanished …

Speaking of things that have vanished, Robotech/Voltron #5 is officially late (no surprise given that the previous issue shipped two weeks late), and the new ROBOTECH comic series that Dynamite CEO and publisher Nick Barrucci told ICV2 would be launching in November was a no-show in the solicitations for that month. Will it appear at all? Time will tell, I guess.

Anonymous asked:

I want to know, has HG ever even mentioned licensing Macross properties like Frontier or (God forbid) 7? Is their any interview or anything where Tommy mentions it?

Back when ADV Films had the rights to Robotech and the underlying Japanese source material, they actually sought to license Macross Zero. ADV went to Harmony Gold to try to get things all legally square, but suddenly Big West took the license off the market. I heard something to this effect from Tommy Yune back in the summer of 2006; here’s a panel report from SDCC in ‘07 that documents Yune telling this story to the crowd. The Macross Zero wikipedia article also cites an episode of Chris Meadows’s podcast Space Station Liberty from earlier that year where Yune talked about a potential Macross Zero deal with ADV.

Here’s why I kind of buy this story. TokyoPop solicited a release of Haruhiko Mikimoto’s Macross 7 Trash manga (here’s the press release, and here’s the page for it, complete with ISBN, on Amazon) back in 2004. It never saw print. Four years later, Toynami attempted to license the original 1/55 Valkyrie mold from Bandai to issue them with new, more TV-accurate head sculpts in the U.S. They were preorderable on that very summer. Here is the press release, complete with (now dead) preorder links. A year later it was reported on CollectionDX that the product was “on hiatus due to a licensing issue with Big West.” Both products were officially licensed in the U.S. by Harmony Gold. Neither came to market.

Point being, it seems clear that every time some poor fool with a head full of dreams goes to Japan to license Macross stuff they come back with little more than an emptier wallet and a broken heart. Harmony Gold, being a party to these failed projects, knows better than to even try.

Robotech Academy designs, week four (final).

I was stunned when, at noon CDT on Friday, the announcement went out that Harmony Gold was canceling the Kickstarter a few days early — mostly, I suspect, because they knew full well what I (and I think most of the rest of us) have been suspecting for a couple of weeks now: there was no way they were going to make their half-mil. And at this point they clearly weren’t that interested in what kind of a total they could make; they just wanted it over. used to redirect to the Kickstarter page, but now it redirects to a quickly thrown together (but not awful looking) basic Wordpress-looking site housing all the media they put out during the campaign. The question now is, do they really have a Plan B to get “Carl’s vision” out there, or are they going to keep this up and keep talking about this for a while to save face before ultimately discarding it? Time will tell.

But for now, let’s look over the last couple of pieces of art they put out there.

1. So the Takeru splits into two ships. Huh. My problem here is that it doesn’t matter if this thing went to series and went on for seven seasons, that bottom half, when separated, is always going to look like it’s upside down. The boom also looks way out of place attached to such a small ship. My other problem — besides the parts reuse (now shown to be part of the smaller ship) and dumb swords hot-glued on, like I mentioned last week — is, what do you do with one Macross boom? When the two were stacked vertically together I figured they might open up like a maw and fire like the SDF-1’s main gun, but now? I’m a bit lost as to how exactly these things might work. Directed energy from the yellow panels? Crazy space lightning from the Do You Remember Love pointy bits? Will we ever find out? Who knows?

2. There is nothing inherently wrong with taking the current public fascination with drones and creating a new prototype Veritech Fighter that fits the bill. In fact, there’s a lot of utility in creating an unmanned aerial vehicle that can then assume a humanoid upright configuration. Unfortunately, the design team has created something that borrows a bit heavily from not only the twenty year old mecha designs of Gainax’s seminal Neon Genesis Evangelion, but also from the four year old Transformers Prime series, where classic Decepticon communications officer Soundwave (the one who turned into a tape deck) was reimagined as — you guessed it — a drone. Mind you, I realize there’s not a lot of mass on one of these things, and certain design decisions just make a certain amount of sense from a functional standpoint, as well as aesthetically — the eerie inhumanity of both designs’ robot modes play off of the unmanned nature of the vehicle as well as the public’s feelings of unease about them. Also, it’s a much better design than the earlier “Eagle Eye,” with all the bits much better integrated into the airframe. I especially like how the sensor-packed nose becomes the robot’s head. That’s a nice touch. The giant thighs and long, fragile looking arms are probably the weakest points of the design. The torso’s also a bit fiddly looking in a way that I don’t think would translate to a transformable figure very well — not that there’s any threat of that, I think. Probably the high point of the designs we were presented with, but then again it was a pretty weak field.

I was planning on putting out a new YouTube episode this week, talking a bit more about the SDCC news and the latest from the Kickstarter, but that was before the Kickstarter was cancelled. I might hold off and see if the new comic series is announced in the next week or so, or if HG announces something else. Scorched Earth Toys has already done quite a good postmortem on the Kickstarter here bringing up a lot of points I made during the campaign, and some I missed or glossed over, so I’m not really in any hurry to do my own.

Anonymous asked:

wow the robotech academy was canceled. sad day :(

I was pretty sure this thing wasn’t gonna go through, but despite that I was shocked when the email hit at noon CDT saying they were “suspending” the Kickstarter. I wonder who pulled the plug. Letting it go to the end would have been interesting from the standpoint that I’m sure a lot of folks, seeing how much ground it would have had to go, would have gladly gotten off the fence and chipped in. It would have really given us a good sense of the true size of the hardcore Robotech fan base (that doesn’t hate Harmony Gold) in 2014.

Maybe Harmony Gold doesn’t want to know that number. Maybe they, moreover, don’t want the rest of the world knowing that number. I can see Frank or Tommy pulling the plug to spare themselves any further embarrassment over this thing. It’s a bad look, going into the 30th anniversary being unable to raise even a third of what a licensee did a year ago. I’ve talked at length about why this probably wouldn’t and couldn’t make the same money as Palladium & Ninja Division’s Kickstarter.

I do wonder, if they’d managed to get Toynami and Palladium on-board from the get-go, if things would have gone differently. The best add-ons enhance the experience of THAT product; with a “cartoon” property, especially of the robotic variety, figures traditionally have done just that. I doubt that would have been the Kickstarter’s salvation, but it’s clear now that this thing needed all the help it could get. A lot of the add-ons really didn’t do that; moreover, too many of them were seriously unknown quantities. If you want me to be interested in an art book, show me more designs from the start. If you want me interested in a soundtrack, provide some context. A few minutes with Scott Glasgow and a chat maybe about the work he just did for Love Live Alive, perhaps? The clip with Cesar from Creavision was neat, but for anyone who was around for the Valkyrie Project debacle it was interesting viewing for the wrong reasons.

I dunno, I could backseat drive this thing all night long, but in the end I think they may have made the only smart move they could have made at this point: cut the P.R. losses early, regroup, and now figure out where to go from here. Whether or not that new direction includes Robotech Academy we’ll see, but honestly, I hope it does. I really can’t deal with too many more failed Robotech sequels …

Anonymous asked:

So to ask you about anything other than this utterly depressing news, don't you think the Variable Drone's battloid mode looks a bit like an Eva?

It definitely has spindly fin-shouldered Evangelion arms and, kinda sorta, EVA-00’s head, but my first thought was “what is Transformers Prime Soundwave doing in Robotech?” Comparison pics abound out in the wild, but you can be sure I’ll have one up on Monday for what I guess will be the postmortem design round-up. For those unfamiliar, though, the Transformers Prime version of Soundwave is a robot with a similarly weird, thin, inhuman but humanoid look that also turns into what we now think of when we hear about military drones. Considering that Harmony Gold was just involved in a lawsuit with Hasbro last year, I see that design and think boy, guys, you’re treading on some thin ice there …

robotechreboot asked:

I'm happy that they added something like an artillery cruiser to the ships of the Robotech universe, especially in that era - but I agree that the extraneous fins are distracting, and serve no apparent purpose (and keep the unfortunate garden-weasel-esque design theme going). The stealth recon ship is, again, a nice addition - but the design also worries me. It reminds me entirely too much of the cheap go-bot toys where there was almost no art to it.

The Takeru and the earlier ship both somehow come off as both unfinished and overdone. Both designs could stand to be both a little cleaner, less cluttered, and a little more polished, with interesting shapes attached to them that don’t look like they were added with a copy & paste tool. I wonder if they ever had a life on paper; they look like the end result of someone spending a couple of long afternoons playing around with shapes on Lightwave until they had something they deemed “good ‘nuff.”

The comparison to a Gobots toy is kind of unfair to Gobots. One thing those toys were good at was moving mass around to turn a fairly clean vehicle into a robot, often to the detriment of the robot. That would be the opposite of what this thing does, which is basically hot glue some legs to the bottom of a stealth wing shape. Every Veritech design we’ve ever seen before finds a way of integrating all the necessary parts into both modes. If the designer of this mecha knew what he was doing, he’d have given this thing legs that blended neatly into the airframe, or at least looked like they belonged to the same machine. It really does look like someone took a model plane and the lower half of a Gundam model kit and just stuck ‘em together. Infuriatingly lazy.

Anonymous asked:

So, why do people exclusively blame HG for no Macross post Plus in the states again? I mean, they're part of the problem, but even if both BW and HG stopped acting like idiots about this, who in their right mind would license the shows? The money for licensing the all the music would be make the license undesirable, and the demand for it just isn't really there. People may want Macross, but it's hardly enought to make the license worth it. Does this make sense, or am I missing something?

Harmony Gold makes a great target. Like their contemporaries and successors — World Events Productions, Saban, Funimation, DIC — they’re a company that heavily localized Japanese animation for Western consumption, and thus got a lot of stick over the years for the “crimes” they inflicted upon the original Japanese animated programs. There’s an inclination from the outset to paint them as the bad guys for their efforts to sell Macross — in its artificially extended form as Robotech — in the States. As we moved from the late 1990s into the early 2000s they did little to shed that image by threatening U.S. anime retailers who imported Japanese Macross goods and, upon discovering that Big West was seeking to acquire a trademark on the name Macross in the U.S., filing for the trademark on the name Macross themselves in as many countries and on as many different kinds of products as they could think of. The fact that they then squandered a great deal of goodwill by creating a mediocre Robotech sequel, antagonizing some of their most hardcore fans on message boards like a pack of garden-variety trolls when called on that mediocrity, then firing the most passionate Robotech fan they had on staff just makes it all the easier to point the finger at them as the sole guilty party here. Give ‘em a long enough list of crimes, and suddenly you can blame them for everything that’s wrong. It helps that most folks just learning about this situation, and even a lot of folks who’ve been hanging around for a while, know nothing about who Big West is, what else they do, and what their role in the creation of Macross is. (Hint: it involves money, and pretty much only that.) When you’ve got a blank canvas, it’s pretty easy to paint it up as a hero. (Simplistic anime fan thinking: American company bad, Japanese company good.)

As much as I have little love for it, I think if a U.S. distributor went full court press on selling Macross Frontier to the U.S. market they’d genuinely make some money. (At least, if they managed to get it out within the next couple of years; it still looks current enough right now, but the clock is ticking. Then again, market it right and you might be able to make it evergreen — “Denied to U.S. fans for X number of years!!”) And while people talk about the expense of the music rights, Sentai Filmworks — the reanimated corpse of ADV Films — was able and willing to license both seasons of AKB0048, a sci-fi anime from Shoji Kawamori and his studio Satelight that’s all about a sci-fi-ed up version of an actual superstar Japanese idol group, AKB48. I can’t imagine the licensing on that show’s music was cheap, since I’m guessing it contains a lot of actual Japanese pop hits, and yet, like I said — they licensed two seasons, and I doubt it has anywhere near the potential return on investment of a Macross show. The music rights “problem” has a lovely ring of verisimilitude, but based on all these other anime shows that have wound up over here that are just as music-centric, I just don’t buy it.

Who’d want to license the post-Plus Macross shows? I could still see Funimation being interested in Frontier, though like I said above, with a new show in the planning stages I’m sure it’s looking less tempting by the month. On the other hand, I could definitely see Section 23/Sentai being way into the idea of licensing the whole stable of ‘em. These guys love long-running anime franchises. They licensed all of Gatchaman, including the modern reboot Gatchaman Crowds. They’ve happily snapped up modern Fist of the North Star and Golgo 13 shows. They thought licensing 1990s relic Ghost Sweeper Mikami was a good idea in 2010. I am absolutely positive that these are people who would happily give us a U.S. blu ray release of Macross 7 if they could conjure up a big enough sack of money to cut through all the red tape. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling that a sack of money that large doesn’t actually exist in all the world. (Please, for the love of god, in the name of all that is holy, somebody prove me wrong on that count.)

Robotech Academy designs, week three (plus SDCC bullet points).

NOTE: Several designs were also shown at San Diego Comic-Con, but I’m waiting until we have non-photos-of-Powerpoint-slides copies of those pics before talking about them.

ALSO: Boy, it really doesn’t look like this is gonna happen, guys.

1. Well, this at least has a silhouette. It’s got vertically-oriented Macross booms at the front (with the multiple pointy bits from the Do You Remember Love version), giant knife-sword things attached to its rear thrusters (why?), and the big side thrusters from that first ship design right below the Academy emblem only without any of the virtual paint apps. Better than the first design, but the repurposed bit and the dumb sword attachments bring it down a lot for me.

2. Yikes. Those super-obvious legs hanging under the airframe are so ugly. This looks like a bad Transformers toy — no, not even a Transformers toy, one of those off-brand psuedo-Transformers you see at Walgreens. I really hope that if this silly thing succeeds they’ll take some of these designs and go back to the drawing board on ‘em, because that really needs to be cleaned up. Change the shapes of the legs so the panels smooth out in Fighter mode. Have the obvious groin/hips recessed into the body in Fighter. Have the purplish color revealed in Guardian/Battloid and NOT shown in Fighter. And hey, what’s with the wing segments being slid forward?

This gets back to what I was saying about the unnamed first ship design — the silhouette is important, and on fighter craft even moreso because without some super-crazy thrust there’s difficulty suspending disbelief that this thing’ll fly if it’s got all that ugly junk underneath it. It doesn’t look aerodynamic, and worse — how many more times can I say it? — it just looks bad. Ugh.

3. NEW(ISH) PRODUCT! Available exclusively on Amazon, for $19.99, this September — the first half of ROBOTECH: THE MACROSS SAGA (original U.S. broadcast version) and the first half of SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS (subtitled in English). Nine episodes a disc, no restoration work (Tommy disingenuously remarked that “some fans want the show as they remember it, complete with dirt and scratches”), but if that’s a hole you have in your collection (and given the prices the original MACROSS goes for these days I’m sure lots of people do), might be well worth checking out.

4. NOT PICTURED, comics, manga, and artbook publisher UDON now has the rights to produce a series of ROBOTECH artbooks featuring art from MACROSS, SOUTHERN CROSS, and MOSPEADA — as well as, I assume, original pieces produced for ROBOTECH in the U.S. I would be terribly surprised if these things don’t feature a lot of Tommy Yune’s art from the last decade and a half or so. It was also announced that Udon will be handling the ROBOTECH ACADEMY artbook, assuming that goes forward.

Downer of a week to go with the downer of a San Diego panel. Worst of all, there was no comics announcement. I am way disappointed.

Anonymous asked:

Robotech: The Classic Collection Vol. 1?

Good news for anyone who’s been balking at the price of the AnimEigo and ADV Films Macross DVDs lately, assuming they don’t find some exciting way to screw up the subtitles. (I’ve seen firsthand how badly home video companies that don’t specialize in foreign material can screw up or at least do weird/off-putting stuff with subtitles.) Vol. 1 contains the first eighteen episodes and is out in late September — so not too far away. I’ve read from folks who’d know that it shouldn’t look bad even with nine episodes per disc, and the price is definitely right. I’d say it’s a good thing.

On the other hand, unless they’ve done some kind of restoration work on the original broadcast version of Robotech, if all you want is Robotech as it was from late ‘85 to 2001, the ADV Films discs are still bouncing around for pretty cheap. And given Tommy Yune’s cracks about some fans wanting it “with all the dirt and scratches,” which is a load of disingenuous shit — what we want is the original edit and sound effects — I’m thinking, no, the original version’s going to have no restoration work done, and this is going to be more or less identical to the ADV discs only packed a little tighter onto the discs.

Anonymous asked:

Do you think the people that hate on HG for blocking Macross would appreciate it if I said I felt similarly about whomever in Japan who decided to put Manga's dub on the Macross Plus Blu-ray and then decided to make it region 0 thus killing any incentive Manga uk would have to chase a license they would have to wait 6-12 months before releasing (and 'burn in' the English subs), when they could be spending their limited budget trying to get AoT or SAO?

First off, the Japanese blu ray for Macross Plus is totally out of print already. There’s plenty of incentive to go after the rights to release it on blu ray in English-speaking territories since trying to get your hands on the Japanese edition now is even more stupidly expensive than it was when it first came out.

Second, you’re not completely right about the dub. Because Manga’s dub for the fourth episode had a replacement music and sound effects track (made up of music from the first three episodes, though they did get “Information High” in there — probably off of the Sharon Apple single CD, I’d wager), Bandai eventually (in the early 2000s) commissioned their own English version of the last episode. Bryan Cranston was already on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle by then, so he was replaced with David “Solid Snake” Hayter. Likewise, Richard Epcar (Guld) and Dan Woren (Yang) were replaced with dudes who sounded nothing like them. (The replacement actor for Yang sounded much closer to the goofy “nerd” voice the Japanese actor gave the character.) It’s reasonably watchable, if not great, but if you’re watching the series in sequence it totally undercuts the drama of seeing these characters’ conflict reach its peak. (Yes, I own the blu ray box. Yes, it’s very pretty. Yes, I was utterly baffled when I sat down to watch episode 4 and Cranston, Epcar, and Woren were suddenly missing. The not-so-great actress who plays Myung whose name I can’t remember? Still there, unsurprisingly. Wound up repurchasing the second DVD when I discovered this to my “horror.”) Point being, with the compromised English audio on the final episode of the Japanese blu ray, there is definitely room for a more complete English high definition version. I know I’d give it some thought.

Third, Harmony Gold does have a trademark on Macross in the U.K. Now, it doesn’t appear to extend as far as their trademarks in the U.S. — not to home video and television, so Manga U.K. might be in the clear there. But I wonder if, moreso than dealing with potential restrictions on the blu rays coming from Bandai Visual/Emotion, they don’t want to deal with the potential trouble that comes from the Big West-Harmony Gold/Tatsunoko tug of war when it comes to Macross rights outside of Japan. Given the limitations of the trademark in the U.K. it could be safe, or it could wind up opening a whole new can of worms. If I were them, yeah, I’d probably be sticking to Attack on Titan and Sword Art On-Line, too — and NOT for the reasons you cited.