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How anime landed BattleTech and the MechWarrior games in legal troubleHow anime landed BattleTech and the MechWarrior games in legal trouble
sbierce Avatar
Neither Battletech nor Mechwarrior would have existed without anime. The most important one being FANG OF THE SUN DOUGRAM, which first appeared on Japanese TV in 1981 and ran for two whole years. During its run, Takara sold two tabletop wargames based on the show, known as Battle of Stanrey and Battle of Kalnock.
At this time, there was a little offshoot of a Denver publishing house called TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPORTS, which was a big Stateside distributor for Japanese games and plastic model kits. TCI and FASA representatives met at a leisure industry convention in the early Eighties and hit it off. FASA saw that they could adapt a new game, reverse-engineered from the Dougram games but incorporating the model kits as player pieces. They licensed a number of design rights from TCI to make this possible. At first, the new game was titled BATTLEDROIDS, but Lucasfilm's lawyers put a stop to that.
Meanwhile, the Revell company, a California-based model kit manufacturer, had also licensed Dougram model kits, along with those from Macross and Orguss, under the trademark ROBOTECH. (Both FASA's BATTLEDROIDS merchandise and Revell's first ROBOTECH model kits went on sale the fourth quarter of 1984.) At the same time, Harmony Gold got the outside-Japan rights for a number of Japanese cartoon shows, including Macross. In order to get Macross on American TV, they needed to add other shows to it to make it long enough for syndication--and they needed an all-inclusive title. Part of that solution came from licensing the title from Revell--HG bought it outright in 1987...
...At the exact same time TCI went out of business!
There had been legal wranglings between HG and FASA prior to then, but FASA could point to their legals with TCI and get cease-and-desist orders thrown out. No TCI, no paper trail.Reply
Space Dong Avatar

I sincerely doubt Robotech and Mechwarrior are solely reliant on anime for it's existence. And even if they were, it doesn't take many brain cells to put 1 + 1 together. Giant robots & tabletop games were a big thing back in the 80's, I'm sure someone would have thought it up eventually.

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