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Macross Sequels and Movies Finally Getting International Release


Robotech was one of the most important titles in the history of Japanese animation in the United States. The series was created by late producer Carl Macek by editing together three totally unrelated sci-fi anime Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Genesis Climber Mospeada and Southern Cross. By modern standards, the 1985 series was something of a hack-job that completely rewrote the original series for American audiences, but it was hugely influential in its role in creating the first generation of US anime fans.

Macross (more so than the other two series) is a very significant sci-fi franchise in Japan, being followed by several sequel series including Macross Zero, Macross 7 and Macross Plus and the movie Macross: Do You Remember Love? However, US rightsholder Harmony Gold has retained the rights to the series and continued to exploit the Robotech name, producing derivative works that have nothing to do with Macross, and tried to get a Robotech Hollywood live-action adaptation off the ground.  As a result, few of the susequent original Macross outings have had official releases in English, and any that did are long out of print. Only the original Macross series are currently available streaming in the US.

Making matters worse have been legal disputes between original Japanese producers Big West and Studio Nue and Harmony Gold, blocking releases and making HG a bit of a bogeyman in the eyes of many old-school anime fans. 

In a surprising turn of events, the three parties have finally come to an agreement that will allow the international distribution of "most" Macross TV sequels and films. Harmony Gold will retain the rights to the Robotech franchise. Big West and Harmony Gold will also cooperate on the distribution of any future Macross and Robotech projects.

For the uninitiated, Macross takes place in the far-flung future year of 2009, 10 years after an alien spaceship crashed into the Earth. The international military organisation UN Spacey reverse engineers the ship and turns the wreckage into the Spacecraft SDF Macross. But on the day the rebuilt ship is set to launch, the Earth is attacked by an alien force, a race of humanoid giants called the Zentradi, who were at war with the race who originally built the ship. The humans fight back and inadvertently start an intergalactic war. The series features spaceships, planes that transform into mecha, love triangles and fighting aliens with the power of J-Pop. It was created by Shoji Kawamori.

What releases we will actually get remains to be seen. The announcement specifies that it permits the "immediate" distribution of the titles- possibly suggesting that we will see the series or films arrive on streaming sooner rather than later.

Further down the line, we should see physical releases too- notably, 2022 will mark the Macross franchise's fortieth anniversary- so we may well see something special to mark that occasion.