In what can be described best as a wave of euphoria hitting our mailbox and social media overnight, it emerges that Bigwest in Japan and Harmony Gold in the US, have come to terms over the decades-long rights battle involving Macross and Robotech.
Ollie Barder broke the news on Forbes, as both companies have agreed to work together to distribute both the original Macross (and the accompanying spin-offs) and the US owned Robotech franchises.
Robotech is a series created by Harmony Gold that utilised Macross in it's creation, alongside unrelated series Southern Cross and MOSPEADA. The rights to all three series were sold by Tatsunoko Productions, who created the legal mess all three companies have been embroiled in since this happened.
Back in 2017, it was confirmed that Harmony Gold's license to the material was due to expire, but this license was extended on July 5th 2019. Many assumed this would mean that Macross would stay landlocked in Japan indefinitely.
However, in a statement made on both the official Macross Website and Harmony Gold's Robotech.com make it very clear that Macross is now set to go global:
Landmark agreement between the anime companies will allow immediate international distribution of most Macross television sequels and films, while affirming Harmony Gold’s rights to the Robotech franchise. Both companies will cooperate on the international distribution of future Macross and Robotech projects post 2021.
Tokyo based BIGWEST CO.,LTD. and Los Angeles based Harmony Gold U.S.A. announced an agreement regarding the worldwide rights for the legendary Macross and Robotech franchises. This expansive agreement signed by both companies on March 1, 2021, ends two decades of disagreements and will allow Bigwest and Harmony Gold to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential of both the Macross and Robotech franchises worldwide. The landmark agreement immediately permits worldwide distribution of most of the Macross films and television sequels worldwide, and also confirms that Bigwest will not oppose the Japanese release of an anticipated upcoming live-action Robotech film. The agreement also recognizes Harmony Gold’s longstanding exclusive license with Tatsunoko for the use of the 41 Macross characters and mecha in the Robotech television series and related merchandise throughout the world excluding Japan. Moving forward, both parties will cooperate on distribution regarding future Macross and Robotech projects for the benefit of both franchises.
Bigwest Representative Director, Kaya Onishi added,“Stories that feature Valkyries, a transformable realistic mecha, in action among the galaxies while diva's sing in the background, as well as love triangles involving the pilots and singers. That was and continues to be the concept behind the Macross series, and I am happy that I can now help bring Macross to people all over the world on the 40th anniversary of the series. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Harmony Gold Chairman, Frank Agrama for his courageous decision in this matter.”
Harmony Gold USA Chairman, Frank Agrama stated, “This is an incomparably historic moment for both Harmony Gold and Bigwest and the anime industry overall. This is also an exciting moment for fans of Robotech and Macross worldwide. I thank my friend, Bigwest Representative Director, Kaya Onishi for her hard work to help us reach this long desired resolution that protects both of our franchises while building a better tomorrow for both our companies.”
For fans of the epic Macross saga, the amazing design work of Shoji Kawamori and Kazataka Miyatake is finally within our grasp.
Hopefully we'll have news of a distribution deal very soon! And don't forget, you can read our interview with the UK's master of Mecha, Ollie Barder, right here.