19 comments on “It’s a no go on Robotech Academy

  1. Thank you for writing this, and I (along with some friends, all fellow Canucks), agree with you wholeheartedly. You stated it a lot nicer than I would have. I think this Kickstarter fiasco shows what position HG is in: no real plan for the long term franchise (ie. Shadow Chronicles) and using the premise of the purported live action movie to act as a crutch to keep fans at bay for new materials. If they didn’t want to make new content for fear of confusing a new audience, why then did they pursue this route AND not focus on finishing up the story? It reeks of poor leadership/vision/marketing by a real estate corporation no less. What do they said in the biz: “Location, location, location.” They certainly didn’t position themselves well in this instance.

    Cheers!

  2. While I did support the Kickstarter with a pledge, I do agree with a lot of the points that you make here. As far as the story line was concerned, the one thing I would have wished was that this take place at roughly the same time as Southern Cross, and during the time of The Sentinels. Basically, make these the kids of the first batch of explorers that went out immediately after the Macross Saga. Then they could add in some characters who are known, but don’t have canon designated postings and jobs, unlike Rolf Emerson. This would be a perfect time to use someone like Jack Baker, or other characters from The Sentinels or Shadow Chronicles. Heck, you could even throw in children from the Sentinel races to placate the fans. And in a time period like that, having bunches of experimental technology would make a lot of sense. As far as themes are concerned, I could very well see something like this series examining not just how young adults grow up in a world at war, but young adults growing up in situations where their parents may not be around a lot, or at all (if they died in combat).

    But then you get to the flip side of this. Where there is a real concern among the fanbase, who have been loyal for the past 30 years (and paying attention), that Harmony Gold won’t follow through. Either because of their incompetence, or because they redirected the money to keeping their real estate business afloat (again).

    • I have a few issues with this line of thinking.

      One is that experimental mecha from the era in question would be things like experimental Alphas, Betas, Hover Tanks and alterate designs that showed some visual simularities to the established mecha design conventions of the day. Instead they offered the Drone Veritech, which shared no relation to in world designs and seemed more of a nod towards real life designs. I can appreciate the effort to try to bring Robotech up to speed with the modern military trends and developments, but this isn’t a great way to do it.

      The other is that teens as initial explorers or pioneers is again, done to death, and not ‘Robotech’ as established. The official site talks about reconnaissance forces sent ahead to act as pathfinders for the REF. A whole set of series could be done around that without shoehorning in a bunch of teens on a magical galaxy trip guided by a long dead Robotech Master.

      It’s my feeling that part of the reason that the novels were removed from canon was because they delved into some of the more esoteric and exotic ideas that Macek had, which didn’t jive well with the established technology and military based science fiction vibe of the series overall. As in my post, I also think that’s part of the reason why this kickstarter failed.

      • How quickly we forget that drone fighters have always been a part of Robotech:
        QF-3000 Ghost (from Macross) http://ptn.home.xs4all.nl/Aircraft/Ghost.html
        Vandal Shadowdrone (From New Generation) http://www.robotechresearch.com/rpg/mecha/ref/veritech/qaf_6/shadow_drone.html
        Not to mention the drone fighters that Maxwell (?) had in the New Generation episode about the mountain pass. And don’t forget the drone battloids in Southern Cross.

        I never said anything about them being the initial explorers. I said that they were the children of the initial explorers. Big difference there. And if you had read what I said, leave out characters who are already established as being somewhere else. My point was that these would not be normal young adults in any sense of the word. All of the young adults are survivors of the Rain of Fire, or the children of those who did. You’d be looking at a group of people between the ages of 16 and 19 (since I don’t think the REF is so hard up to start recruit child soldiers yet). If the story takes place in 2028-2030, most of them have probably spent their entire lives on-board ships in deep space. So at the very least, you would have a group of people who have been around adults, and under military discipline their entire lives. The big issue I would have is that it could end up as just a copy of The 300, just with mecha.

        I agree that shoehorning Zor into everything is very unimaginative. Much of the stuff in the later novels had nothing to do with Robotech, like Captain K’rk and the starship N’terprz. A lot of the pseudo-mystical stuff really didn’t belong. The one thing I don’t agree about the current state of things is how Protoculture has been downgraded to an interesting plant, instead of as a next generation fuel source/power booster originally.

        • Another note: The Academy could be in deep space, or even around an extra-solar colony. Keep the whole Children of Zor thing for the meta-story, but have the characters think these are just pirates or rogue Zentraedi. That way you could tie in both lines from Macross, and lines from Southern Cross, and have both be true. Best thing about doing in as a side story to the Southern Cross/Sentinels War timeline, is that the fact that a search isn’t immediately made for them is because both of the parent groups (ASC and REF) are heavily involved with their own wars at the time. The REF might send a ship or two to look for them, but the ASC is completely bogged down trying to fight the Masters.

          • That’s some good plot hole filling, but it still leaves the big questions of why did they leave thier children behind when the fleet was prepared for and capable of raising children, and why would you leave all your secret and unresearched technology in a place where the population is teenaged? I think a lot of the issues can be traced back to how underdeveloped significant parts of the Robotech world are, like how its military functions or is formed.

            • My thought is that they didn’t so much leave them behind, as brought the Academy with them. That was one of the reasons why I liked that artwork of the Academy floating in space so much. Most of the surface of the asteroid is used for the Academy, while the sub-surface base is used for storage/experiment testing. Kind of a combo Groom Lake and Air Force Academy, or better yet: West Point (which is also technically still a military base, and US Mint). Best of all, it can move under it’s own power, much like the Factory Satellite. Even better, make the thing a decommissioned Factory Satellite.

              I think the biggest problem wouldn’t be that you have a majority teenage population, the biggest problem would be that because of their maturity and previous experiences, you’d have an entire population of Wesley Crushers. How’s that for scary?

                • While that may have been “said”, at one point or another, the ages of the characters show the error in that. Scott was born in 2023 (or earlier if you go by The Sentinels movie), Lunk was born in 2010, and Lancer was born in 2020. Not to mention all of the really young folks we see in the Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn forces who were obviously born after the 2022 departure of the SDF-3.

                  • Which is the point I raised earlier in why did they leave any of their children behind if the fleet had facility to raise them. Robotech Academy doesn’t make sense when you have so many characters born before or just after the departure of the SDF3 and REF coming back to earth for the first time.

                    Not to mention it raises a lot of questions about why Dana Sterling and Bowie Grant were left on Earth under the care of the ASC instead of being placed in the Academy.

        • I didn’t forget them. Neither of them are in heavy usage, and more to the point, they aren’t predator drone knockoffs. The Ghost was in two episodes, and matched (broadly speaking) the design trends and styles of its era, the Alpha and Shadow Fighter drones likewise match the design trends of thier era. Same with the ASC battloids. The Drone Veritech is a serious departure from the established design conventions. Some variation is good, but extreme variation breaks the visual cues needed to connect a series to its roots.

          As for idea about them being the children of the first explorers out, it’s still bad. Gundam has already thoroughly explored the teens in space with mecha concept, and again, that’s not what Robotech has been established to be about. If they’d offered this as a non-Robotech product, it probably would have had a higher chance at succeeding.

  3. I don’t think Harmony Gold really has any good long-term ideas about where to go with Robotech. Even Carl Macek’s later ideas were kind of weird. (Remember, he was the one who came up with all the ideas behind Robotech 3000.) Robotech was so great precisely because 90% of the story of the first and last saga (the more popular ones) were left effectively unchanged from what the Japanese writers wrought, and they provided enough basis for tinkering between them to let a mangling of the middle series, which was apparently considered so bad in Japan that it was canceled mid-season, serve as glue to hold them all together.

    I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Macek’s original ideas for Sentinels and other stuff (as given in Robotech Art 3 and the podcast interview I did with him) were really kind of cheesy and terrible. Without something better-written to work from, any sequels Harmony Gold can come up with are effectively well-financed Robotech fanfic.

    • I concur with just about every point you make, except the last one. Some of the fanfic is actually better than some of the ideas HG has floated over the years, and way better than some of Macek’s ideas.

      • Yeah, so? Some of it is terrible. Shadow Chronicles was kind of in between.

        • I was just pointing out that some fans have had really good ideas.

          The Shadow Chronicles was certainly a mixed bag, but I appreciated how it moved the story forwards in what was an unexpected (at least to me) direction. The ending left some to be desired though.

      • I agree with both of you. I wasn’t really a collector of the comics, but what I saw from the Academy issues seemed to be pretty good. The only reason I didn’t really get into them was because I have pretty much stopped reading comics entirely. But I also feel that a lot of the problem here was that HG has lost a lot of credibility with their fans, and this dropped Kickstarter showed just how far their credibility has fallen, especially when you compare it to the one for Robotech Tactics. While Palladium Books has its credibility issues, folks believed in them enough to throw more money at them than they asked for. (Although it is kind of sad that a lot of that enthusiasm was because Kevin was going to be hands-off on this product, and let someone else run the show.) So while the product may be later than expected, from what it looks like, it will more than meet expectations.

        When was the last time HG did something with Robotech that met expectations?

        • All I can think of is the last set of RPG releases, they weren’t a complete set of disappointments and actually seem to take into account stuff from the shows.

          • That’s because the last couple of books, and the new ones coming out, were done by fanboys under Palladium’s auspices. The only thing HG had to do with them was to submit edits, and delay their publication while Palladium waited for someone over there to get back to them. It was probably the first time there was a publication delay that wasn’t really Palladium’s fault. That and it really helps that Palladium has decided to get the RPG, and it’s background material, right this time around. So they decided to go with the folks who have been analyzing and discussing this stuff for 30 years, the fans. It’s a sad commentary when the supposed knock-off, the RPG, is more accurate than your “source material”.

            • I just wish the KS could leave the ‘Nam era slang behind and that they’d sort out what the wolverine rifle actually looks like!

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