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Robotech...maybe. Macross...probably not.


Sep 10, 2004
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Harmony Gold said:
"Due to a copyright dispute that has Studio Nue and Big West, the creators and sponsor of Macross, facing against Harmony Gold's partner Tatsunoko Production, elements from Macross, the most popular of the three series, have not been used in recent and planned Robotech works onscreen."

There is no news story attached to this, sorry, it's just sort of common knowledge if you ever visit a Robotech site, Macross site or post in any anime forums. I've been a fan for a while. I've known this for a while, it's ramifications, though, didn't hit me until I was reading a post regarding the Akira film.

Harmony Gold, who brought three unrelated series to the United States under the omnibus title Robotech, has been in legal dispute for years with the original creators of Macross. Macross was initially somewhat of a flop in Japan (although that story will change depending on who you ask) and as a result they sold the rights to three unsuccessful series to producer Carl Macek who literally rewrote them. He kept a lot of the character arcs, the dialogue is somewhat similar, and of course the characters are simply American renamed variations of their Japanese counterparts. Misa Hayase for example is Lisa Hayes, Hakiru Ichijo is Rick Hunter, Lynn Minmay is Lynn Minmei, and so on.

Macross then took off after it's export to the states, spawning many sequels and a feature film.

Basically here is the problem. So the legal battle went on and eventually the Japanese creators in a case in the Japanese Supreme Court won back the rights to Macross. That's not to say Harmony Gold can't continue using Robotech and producing DVDs, it just means they lose the rights to Macross.

Now we have the movie, with Tobey Mcguire, that is potentially being made. Most people who watch Robotech probably remember it being a show with a very classic love triangle between Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes and Lynn Minmei, on board the SDF-1 set to a backdrop of interstellar war with the Zentradi. That story may be completely off limits.

You see the Japanese creators of the series Macross, Studio Nue, would jump at the chance to sue a big budget feature like Robotech for all it's worth, especially if they were to say use a storyline, love triangle, alien race, character or even mechs that vaguely resembled what they created. That could mean no SDF-1, no Rick/Lisa/Minmei love story, no Roy Fokker, no Jetfire/Veritechs/Valkryie designs, no Zentradi, no Breetai, no Protoculture, or basically anything else that Macross creators could claim was theirs. Which, when you think about it, is quiet a lot.

This is almost like Singer trying to make X-Men, but Stan Lee being in a legal dispute about the first 60 some issues. So no Magneto, no original five, no Xavier, no institute, and no characters or elements created at all before Claremont came onto the book.

That is basically what he's going to face going into this, potentially. Assuming they don't magically back down.
Basically, from what I've learned, Harmony Gold owns the rights to the Macross film (not the movie, but the actual film the show is shot on). Meaning they can reproduce the show and remarket it, but that's it. They can make tie-in comics (which don't count as new story material), they can produce action figures, and they can even remix and redub what they have. They CANNOT, though, reuse the characters, concepts and designs in new media like The Shadow Chronicles or the new tentative Live-Action movie. That means you could have Rick Hunter (re-designed), Lisa Hayes (re-designed) and Veritechs (but only the ones from SC and Mospeda) but no Zentradi, probably not the word "Protoculture", Breetai, Exidor, the Battle Pods, Roy Fokker, the SDF-1, Khyron, the Meltrans (female Zentradi) or basically anything else that is basically the same between Macross and Robotech reused in any future animated or potential live action project.

Yep, this movie is basically screwed.

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