NYCC 2013

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Robotech Returns

10th - 13th October 2013 | Written by Maxxum

Robotech was the second anime I'd followed with interest, the first being Tranzor Z. The original series was on American television for only a short time, but the show stayed in my memory. Perhaps I had been affected by the adult themes, having never before seen a person killed in what I understood to be a cartoon (I was too young to know or care that anime came from Japan). I watched the series again when I was older, and was disappointed. The idea that a singer could halt a superior alien species with her voice was preposterous. You have slick transforming robots, a plot that places humanity on the brink of extinction, and a relentless alien menance intent on destroying all humans... and, the whole thing comes to an end because someone sang a song.

In spite of that, I still have positive feelings about the series. Robotech adapted and matured, creating more spin-offs and sequels that focused on action, plot, and tech. Characters who survived in the original series were kept and aged with their fans as well, providing an emotional anchor to childhood nostalgia.

The last significant addition to the series was the movie 'Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles', released in 2006. Though there have been a number of announcements since at least 2007 about planned releases, the selling of the live-action movie rights to Warner Brothers, and a number of collector's edition boxsets, it isn't until recently that developments have allowed for a new major addition to the Robotech saga, a re-mastered re-release, and an inked crossover with the Voltron universe.

I spoke with, Kevin McKeever Vice President of Marketing for the Robotech franchise at Harmony Gold after their panel.

Tommy Yune (left) and Kevin McKeever (right)

Maxxum: What is Harmony Gold doing to prevent the re-releases from becoming like Star Wars: Special Edition?

Kevin McKeever: I understand the question, but you have to understand what is happening with the franchise. There are three sets of fans ... there are fans who already bought the series, the A&E boxset, that's one of the fans. But, we also have another group of fans called the "lost Robotech fans", the fans of the show, they're fans like you, they're fans like me, but they don't know the series is out on DVD. They don't know that there's a "Love Live Alive".

So, they see this and they go oh my god, Robotech - finally I can buy the whole series on DVD. That's who this is primarily aimed at, it's that group of fans. And, there's a third group, which is new fans. Love Live Alive having coming out and being a success, a bunch of new fans are discovering Robotech who have never discovered it before and they're also saying I wanna watch Love Live Alive or Shadow Chronicles, and go is there a prequel movie I can watch? We say, yes there's a prequel series you can watch, and it'll be out November 5th from Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

It was joked during the panel how [unnecesarily] long some of the scenes were in the original telecast, and how those were cut. What other directorial choices are being made, or what can we expect?

Well, you wanna tighten it up, remember this is for the American market so what works in Japan isn't necessarily going to work here in America. So, we've been making sure that it's localized properly, the dub is different obviously, many scences have been tightened up, many things are edited differently for clarity issues, or to help tell the Robotech story we want to do. We're not adapting the speed of Love Live Alive, we're doing ROBOTECH Love Live Alive. Obviously, there are going to be changes.

Switching gears to Voltron, the two series are very different in terms of the alien threats and their motivations, why was the decision made to crossover the series, and have you had to make any compromises, have there been any challenges in joining the two universes?

Well it wasn't a decision, it was a demand. We thought, and so did World Events [Productions], that there was a tremendous opportunity for fans because we know there's a tremendous amount of crossover in fandoms. It's hard to tell where the Robotech fans end, and the Voltron fans begin or vice versa. So, why don't we work together, let's do a project together. We think the fans would really like it, and sure enough the response has just been overwhelmingly positive. So, we saw a great opportunity to just sort of help each other out and build our fan bases at the same time. We can satisfy the demand for Robotech comics, and Voltron comics all at the same time.

Can you explain a little about the Jetfire/VF-1 [Valkyrie] issue?

Well recently there was a rights issue that come up at San Diego Comic Con. Legal action was taken, but now the matter has been settled amicably. Now, people are probably saying what do you mean the matter has been settled amicably, folks it's all I can say right now because we are under a confidentiality agreement, that's part of the settlement, we can't go any further than that, other than it's been settled amicably, y'know and we're moving forward.

Photos by Maxxum