Comic-Con International 2007 Harmony Gold USA
by Mikhail Koulikov,
Company representatives: Tommy Yune, Steve Yune, Ford Riley, Kevin McKeever
As the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles panel opened, the presenters asked all those in the audience to honor the memory of two of the staffers of the Robotech television series who passed away this year. Tommy Yune then walked attendees through the new developments that have taken place in the Robotech franchise since last year's convention. In addition to the DVD release, Shadow Chronicles was shown at several film festivals throughout the US and had a limited theatrical run. It was named the best animated feature of the Arizona's International Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival. The DVD itself was the top-selling anime DVD on Amazon.com for over six weeks, and is Funimation's single best-selling release at Walmart.
Currently, Harmony Gold is expanding Shadow Chronicles into various other forms. A Robotech: New Generation cellphone game is currently available, and various new toys are in development. Stonebridge Press has just published a Shadow Chronicles artbook, and a soundtrack for the film has been released as well. Harmony Gold's next major project will be the two-volume special edition DVD of Shadow Chronicles. Various extra features such as deleted scenes and various production materials related to the failed Robotech 3000 project have already been confirmed, but this DVD will also include extensive split-screen animatics with full director's commentary.
At this point, Yune was able to announced that because of the success of Shadow Chronicles, Harmony Gold will be producing a second original Robotech film. Entitled Robotech: Shadow Rising, it should be completed about two years from now. Ultimately, Harmony Gold remains most interested in creating original content based on Robotech, rather than trying to release any more original Japanese series. Shadow Chronicles and Shadow Rising are essentially "baby steps" on this path, but Tommy is optimistic about the possibility of an eventual original Robotech TV series.
As the panel came to an end, audience members were able to ask the panel several questions. About two years ago, ADV Films approached Harmony Gold in an attempt to clear the licensing issues for Macross Zero. Harmony Gold says that license was then taken off the market by its Japanese owners. While Harmony Gold also recognizes the appeal of placing any anime on television, doing so while retaining creative control over it would be difficult, especially since at this point, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon are more interested in developing new in-house series, not acquiring titles from other companies. Finally, although the panelists were not able to specifically confirm whether Shadow Chronicles would be released on high-definition discs, they noted that Funimation, which releases the film on standard DVD, is now committed to Blu-ray Disc, not HD-DVD.
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