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ANIME AICN - New Trailer for Robotech: Shadow Chronicles

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Column by Scott Green

Harmony Gold has unveiled a new trailer for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), available online here.

Still a cult classic, Robotech adapted three sci-fi anime series (Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Genesis Climber Mospeada and Super Dimensional Cavalry Southern Cross) produced by Tatsunoko Studio into one English language epic.

Harmony Gold originally envisioned a sequel to Robotech with Robotech 3000, a CGI series whose look was inspired by Beast Wars and the effects of Babylon 5. After Robotech 3000 was pulled, Harmony Gold went to Tatsunoko Studio for a new sequel, dubbed Shadow Chronicles. The partnership brought in a third party with Korean animator Dr Movie, a company who has worked on in between animation for a number of highly regarded anime works including Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door and Bones' new Eureka 7, the Card Captor Sakura movies, Ghost in the Shell and Macross Plus.

The Shadow Chronicles will take place after the events of episode 85 of the Robotech. Though it will find influences from all three of the original series, it aims to change the status quo and expand the Robotech story across the galaxy.

Harmony Gold has hoped to target the series for a set of all age demographics. The producers recognize the need to appeal to the Robotech stalwarts, but also take the Robotech universe from a cult favorite to new audiences.

In animating the show, pre-recorded English audio was be used to guide the animation. For the 3D mechanical animation, they viewed the solid CGI look of cutting edge series like Macross Zero and Yukikaze and the more cell shaded look, then choose a middle ground.

Darkwater from THE (unofficial) ROBOTECH REPORTER has provided the latest state of knowledge and speculation about the Shadow Chronicles:

Despite delays, Shadow Chronicles is nearly ready to cement a path to the consumer. Production should be complete in a matter of weeks after originally targeting a November date. Despite statements of confidence regarding a distributor made during Summer 2005, as of a few weeks ago they were still in negotiations with at least two recognizable names who have ties to the franchise.

ADV's distribution of the remastered Robotech likely has some bearings on the proceedings.

If a DVD distribution deal is signed shortly, a release can be expected sometime between May and July of this year.

The plot opens with a retelling of the final episode of The New Generation from the point of view of the Robotech Expeditionary Force in Space. From there, it'll go on to a new story and introduce a new yet unrevealed enemy.

Susan Blu (Arcee from Transformers) was originally hired as the voice director and was responsible for the decision not to rehire a number of the original voice actors. In November, she was replaced by veteran voice director Richard Epcar (and who plays the role of Vince Grant) in directing all of the pick-ups.

Here's a breakdown of the characters

Vince Grant - from the Sentinels.
Louis Nichols - from Southern Cross.
Commander Taylor - Played by Mark Hamill of Star Wars and animated Batman The Animated series’ Joker fame
The Regess - From The New Generation. The originally voice actress was re-cast, but later brought back after fan outcry. Alexandra Kenworthy was now able to reprise her role, something that her son and fellow voice actor Greg Snegoff (Scott Bernard) was pretty sour about.
Marcus Rush - Alpha fighter pilot and the brother of Scott Bernard's dead finance
Marlene, who bought it in the first episode of The New Generation
Alex Romero - Marcus's buddy
Janice - played by Chase Masterson (of Star Trek fame). Re-designed from the Sentinels version Maia - Strongly rumored to be the daughter of Max and Miriya
Jean Grant - Vince Grant's wife, from The Sentinels.
Admiral Rick Hunter - The one and only.
Scott Bernard - Again, the one and only
Ariel - The Invid girl who Scott originally fell in love with and named "Marlene" after his dead fiancé. Since that was pretty creepy, they dropped the "Marlene" name.
General Reinhardt - not much known, but voiced by Dan Worren (Roy Fokker).

You'll notice that Lisa, Max, Miriaya, Minmei, and other Macross characters are absent. There's two rumors why floating around for this. One ties the decision Harmony Gold’s hopes of avoiding the impact of the long standing legal battle going on in Japan over the rights to Macross. This dispute is the reason Harmony Gold has not released the movie Macross: Do You Remember Love whose license they hold. The other rumor is that Harmony Gold Creative director Tommy Yune doesn't want to "cross the line" artistically and alters characters of someone else's creation. Either way, it appears the Macross characters we see will be minimal.

Seeing as how Harmony Gold has said over and over that this is seen as a "pilot," it will probably act as a setup for brand new adventures and not answer all of our questions. They'll want to use this to get try and get picked up by a network, and if that doesn't work they'll continue to make DVD's as long as they are profitable.

Thanks again to Darkwater, be sure to check THE (unofficial) ROBOTECH REPORTER for the latest.

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