It’s been a long time, but Harmony Gold Productions is finally returning to their legendary anime, Robotech. They are planning to make a 24-minute pilot that will kick off a new series called Robotech: Academy. Academy will follow the adventures of the children of previous Robotech heroes as they battle a mysterious alien menace called the Invid. This new series is the brainchild of Robotech’s dearly-departed producer, Carl Macek and promises to both resolve dangling plot threads from the original series and greatly expand on the universe and its characters.
Harmony Gold is running a Kickstarter to raise funds for the pilot. The Kickstarter has 16 reward tiers that range from a digital copy of the finished pilot, to having yourself animated into the show, to even sitting in on the show’s recording sessions. For any fan of the original series, now’s the time to hop on and pitch in; the pilot needs $500,000.00 and only runs until August 8th. For those of us who are less familiar with Robotech, now’s the time for a history lesson.
In 1984, Big Brother reduced chocolate rations…Wait, wrong story.
In 1984, Harmony Gold Productions retained the licensing rights to the critically-acclaimed anime, Macross and was ready to unleash it on an unsuspecting American audience. There was just one problem. Television studios required shows broadcasted in syndication to be 65 episodes long, but Macross was only 36. With a little TV magic, producer Carl Macek took Macross and two other series, SDC Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA, and combined them into one, long and escalating narrative. Some anime fans today criticize the show for combining three unrelated series into one but for its time, Robotech was an epic drama that spanned multiple generations of Earth’s soldiers warring against ever-increasing odds. More importantly, it was long enough for syndication and once it was syndicated, it was on TV.
Robotech was one of the first anime to reach America. It’s high-energy and gorgeous animation was nothing like Americans saw before, it’s mature themes brought legitimacy to what was then only a sugar-coated children’s medium (animation) and it’s long, escalating storyline captured and held onto its audience’s imagination for years. When all was said and done, it was the perfect recipe to introduce Americans to anime and make them come back for more.
Robotech has plenty going for it besides its contribution to anime history though. The story is a space opera wherein Earth discovers a new source of energy and technology that allows the creation of transforming mechs. Unfortunately, the source is considered the property of a galaxy-spanning empire and wanted by other empires still. The entire planet is forced to defend itself against succeeding generations of foes until the planet is inevitably overwhelmed and conquered by the Invid race (Wikipedia).
Academy will follow the adventures of a crew Earth sent to space sometime before it was conquered. They are deep in Invid territory and find themselves liberating planets from the Invid’s cruel reign while knowing nothing of their own planet’s fate (Wikipedia). Harmony Gold hopes to make Academy a continuation of the saga old fans grew up with and a new epic that will bring newcomers to the fold as well.
The crew of Academy will bring back many veterans of the series, but don’t think they’ve been sitting on their hands since 1985. The teammates on this pilot have done work on such projects as the Speed Racer comics, Danger Girl, The Land Before Time television series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the 2013 remake of Total Recall and the Gears of Wars video games. If the mechs don’t grab your attention, then surely the credentials will.
Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer who wants to pay homage to a classic series, Robotech: Academy is worth a look. Remember, the Kickstarter only lasts until August 8th and needs $500,000.00 to fund this pilot and future episodes, so now’s the time to investigate.
Source: Robotech Academy Kickstarter