Robotech will soon find itself a new home. After years streaming on various platforms including Amazon and Netflix, the sci-fi anime series has been licensed by Kew Media Distribution to Funimation. This includes the original 85 episodes and the films Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles and Robotech II: The Sentinels.
The press release states that, “upon expiration of existing third-party deals, this expansive agreement gives Funimation all rights (including VOD, EST, home entertainment and merchandising) worldwide, excluding Japan, to over 45 hours of the cutting-edge CGI anime.”
Let’s break down what that all means. First off, Robotech won’t be leaving Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services just yet. Those deals are still in effect and will be allowed to continue until the existing terms of them run out.
Funimation getting all rights to VOD, EST, home entertainment, and merchandising is the big news to focus on here. The latest group to distribute the series on home media was A&E Home Video and their set is now out of print. Could this mean we’ll see yet another release of the series and films on DVD or even Blu-ray? Robotech has never seen a Blu-ray release in America and it would certainly get some attention from fans. Merchandising rights are also something to take note of. Harmony Gold has licensed Robotech out to various companies to produce all kinds of merchandise but now Funimation will apparently be handling that. What will Funimation focus on getting to market?
It’s also fairly likely Robotech will end up on Funimation’s streaming service whose main focus is anime content. Whether that includes the original Japanese series that made up Robotech, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada, hasn’t been clarified. We’ve reached out to both Harmony Gold and Funimation for comment.
This isn’t the first time Robotech and Funimation have crossed paths. Back in 2006, Funimation acquired the home video, broadcast, and theatrical rights to Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. The two companies parted ways and the next film, Robotech: Love Live Alive was released by Lionsgate on DVD.
However, in 2017 Sony Pictures Television bought a controlling stake in Funimation. Since Sony is currently producing the Robotech live-action movie it makes sense that Sony would want Funimation to distribute Robotech through their own channels.
Kevin McKeever, Vice President of Marketing at Harmony Gold, confirmed this deal is what he had been alluding to when he previously stated the partnership between them and Sony was set to expand over the next year. Sony views Robotech as a possible “Harry Potter style franchise” and they plan on taking full advantage of it in all areas. Live-action movies, video games, and more are on the table. This new deal with Funimation seems to be the first step.
We’ll update this article with more information if we hear it from either Harmony Gold or Funimation
Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter! He also co-hosts a Robotech podcast, which covers the original series and the new comics. Give it a listen! Read more articles by him here!