Carl Macek, 1951-2010


?Carl Macek passed away yesterday from a heart attack. The man was famous — and infamous — for creating Robotech and bringing it to America in the mid-’80s. The “infamous” part drives me crazy because if one man is responsible for making anime popular in America, it’s Carl Macek. Robotech was a brilliant idea, excellently executed — it’s not like Macross, Southern Cross or Mospeada had a chance in hell of getting on U.S. TV by themselves — and while G.I. Joe and Transformers had great toys, Robotech had a great story as well as great characters. Rick Hunter drove us crazy. We pined for Lisa Hayes. We wanted to chuck Minmei off a cliff. And we lost our minds when Roy Fokker died, a notion that seemed unthinkable in 1985.

I think Robotech was more instrumental in anime’s American popularity than Akira, because unlike Astro Boy or Speed Racer and to a much greater extent than Battle of the Planets or Star Blazers, kids could tell this was not regular animation, and learned it was Japanese; these kids became the nerd teens responsible for the ’90s anime boom. Even if you think Akira was more important, Macek brought that over with Streamline Pictures in the late ’80s, along with several other cult hits. The man was an anime hero, and I am saddened by his passing. Thanks, Carl. This one’s for you.