Robotech was arguably my first anime ever, having discovered it right around the same time as G-Force, also known as Gatchaman, and Sailor Moon. I followed the adventures of Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes religiously never wondering or really understanding what a revolutionary series this was for American cartooning. As far as I am concerned, Saturday, April 17, 2010, signaled the end of an era from my childhood with the death of one of the greatest visionaries from the '80s and early '90s: Carl Macek (the producer and writer for the show Robotech). This review is a tribute to the man who inspired my love for anime.
Upon hearing of his death, I conducted some preliminary research to learn more about this "man behind the scenes." I was surprised to discover that he was a librarian of CSU Fullerton, focusing on popular culture. Already a fan of librarians, I found this tidbit especially exciting. Who says librarians lead boring lives? Of course, he is most well known for his work on Robotech, which was an extensive amount of work if one considers all the syndication hurdles he had to jump over in 1985. The public couldn't fathom how popular his idea would be sparking not only the television series but a popular line of comics and novels (I own both sets!), toys, and other memorabilia that collectors covet to this day. In fact, Warner Brothers is even working on a live action feature film, so Robotech still lives on and is being recreated to this day!
Surprisingly enough, I was unaware that Macek founded the Streamline Pictures Studio, which released major anime titles such as Akira and Vampire Hunter D. His involvement with such big name animes is truly astounding! Obviously, Macek had a love for this animation style because he also became involved with the English adaptations of some of Miyazaki's classics such as Castle in the Sky and My Neighbor Totoro. His most recent work included adaptations of the hit anime series Bleach. Overall, Macek was truly a lover of anime desperately trying to bring it to the American public through any means necessary.
Someone as versatile as Carl Macek did not limit his pursuits to anime only, though. He also wrote books including The Art of Heavy Metal and the novel War Eagles. He was truly a patron and supporter of the creative arts.
Despite his untimely death from a heart attack at the young age of 58, Macek left behind a legacy that will keep him immortalized in the hearts and minds of Robotech Fans. He was a controversial figure during the development of English anime fandom and pioneered the medium through dubbed animes that were available on broadcast cable and home videos. Although I am a staunch supporter of subtitles versus dubbed versions of animes, Carl Macek was one of my first introductions to such a versatile style of animation. Without his influence, I might never have discovered my love and passion for Japanese anime at the early age of 11. Though people criticize his work on the Robotech, taking multiple series and mixing them together to create one show, I respect and honor the result of that final, although impure, product. It was the first step that needed to be taken which would later inspire more producers in America to offer Japanese animation to an eagerly anticipating public.
So, my hat's off to you, Carl Macek. Thank you for all you did in my life and others.
For those who want to attend the memorial service, the details are as follows:
A memorial service for Carl Macek will be held on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2pm at:
Congregational Church of the Chimes 14115 Magnolia Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
The service will be open to the public, but all well wishers should be mindful of Carl's friends and family.