Hardcore anime fans might have mixed feelings about it, but there is little doubt that Harmony Gold’s 1985 series Robotech was the spark that began the modern American fascination with anime. Robotech was a combination of three distinct anime series from Japan- Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber: Mospeada, combined to tell on epic multi-generational story of Earth defending itself from various alien invasions. The show was a stark contrast to the shows that littered weekday afternoons at the time like GI Joe and Transformers, most of which showed consequence free violence; in comparison, main characters on Robotech often died tragically, bad guys were rarely completely evil, there were interracial relationships (at a time it was still taboo on regular “adult” television) and there were even heroic characters who were cross-dressers. It was the gateway drug for millions of kids into more complex genre storytelling.
In the following decades since Robotech aired, Harmony Gold has made various attempts to revive the story, and address the many dangling plot threads left over from the original series-first there was Robotech II: The Sentinels, of which only the pilot was ever produced, then came Robotech 3000, which never got past concept stage, and then finally Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles which got a home video release, but never yielded further continuation. Now, Harmony Gold is going to try again-this time with help from the fans via a Kickstarter campaign. Announced by producers Harmony Gold at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Robotech Academy is based on an original idea by late Robotech creator Carl Macek and is set firmly in the era of Robotech II: The Sentinels; this all- new animated series would follow several new cadets in their adventures around the Robotech universe. Harmony Gold are looking to raise $500,000 to produce a pilot to be ready for the show’s 30th Anniversary in 2015.
In a press release, Tommy Yune, president of animation for Harmony Gold said “We’re thrilled to finally be able to tell the world about Robotech Academy; Over the last few years, Harmony Gold has been working hard to answer fan demand for a new Robotech project. The next step involves fans, who will be instrumental in supporting a crowdfunded Robotech project and making series creator Carl Macek’s original vision for Robotech Academy a reality.” A lot of names familiar to Robotech fans will be a part of this project, including writer Ford Riley, who wrote Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles; producer Cesar Turturro of Creavision Studios, the group behind the Robotech: Valkyrie Project fan film, and Greg Snegoff as voice director, who fans know as the voice of Khyron and Scott Bernard on the classic show.
The project will only be funded in $500,000 is pledged by August 8th, so if you want to see more protoculture powered transforming robots in time for the show’s 30th Anniversary, I’d suggest heading over to the Kickstarter page before then and letting your fandom be heard.