If you’re an anime fan who grew up in the 80s, chances are that your first exposure to anime was Robotech, a franchise which has lasted over 25 years, and last night, Harmony Gold held a special screening of Carl Macek’s Robotech Universe, a documentary to be released as part of Robotech: The Complete Series which goes on sale today (go to www.robotech.com/newdvd for more details). The event took place at Harmony Gold headquarters in Los Angeles, and in attendance were several Robotech voice actors who participated in the project, including Tony Oliver (voice of Rick Hunter).
The evening began with opening remarks from Harmony Gold Chairman Frank Agrama, a fiery senior gentleman, who shared his memories of working with Macek, who passed away suddenly in 2010. At Agrama’s request, the audience honored the late Robotech producer with a round of applause, which, according to Agrama, Macek would have much preferred to a moment of silence.
Keith Maxwell, the director of Robotech Universe, then spoke briefly about the film. In his remarks, he mentions that Robotech Universe was originally intended to be a podcast series. However, after shooting the interviews, they decided to knit all the material into a single entity – not unlike the way Macek combined the three anime that turned into Robotech.
The documentary itself, comprised of old footage, photographs, and interviews with scenes from Robotech interspersed throughout, lasts approximately thirty minutes. It opens with an acknowledgment to Macek and explains how Robotech Universe was originally supposed to be spearheaded by Macek as part of Robotech’s 25th Anniversary, but with Macek’s untimely death, the project turned into a tribute to both Robotech and Macek. The film then delves into the origins of Robotech and what American media culture was like at the time Macek got his idea to cobble together three anime to get them on the air in the United States.
What follows are predominantly first-hand accounts of those who worked on the project. The majority of interviewees are voice actors, and they tell about their experiences working with Macek, who had a hand in just about all aspects of the production. They also share stories about their mad production schedules and their thoughts about the characters they played.
The documentary then moves on to the series’ commercial success; the projects that followed, including Robotech Shadow Chronicles; and of course, future plans for Robotech. While plans for a live action Robotech film have been in the works for some time, Harmony Gold has another project, initiated by Macek, that is a little more retro. Apparently, they have unused footage of Yellow Dancer/Lancer from the New Generation arc, and their intent is to edit it and put it out to the fans. Sure, it’s 80-style animation, but for the die-hard Robotech fan, it’s something exciting to look forward to.