Anime Vice News

Robotech's Macek, Otakon's Scofield Pass Away

One a pro, one a fan, both will be missed.


The top story this morning is the passing of Carl Macek of a heart attack on Saturday, April 17th. Younger anime fans may not know his name, and older ones are proving to be remarkably cruel at his passing-- Macek is associated most heavily with Robotech and Harmony Gold, who fans generally blame for the inability of anime companies to license Macross anime titles.

Any anime fan who thinks that Macek hasn't had an impact or influence at some point in their fandom is most likely wrong, however. In addition to Robotech, Macek worked on adaptations of everything from the original Fist of the North Star (TV and movie) to My Neighbor Totoro. In more recent years he even worked on the adaptations of Naruto and Bleach. The company he co-founded with Jerry Beck, Streamline Pictures, is responsible for the original Akira dub and the release of the Hayao Miyazaki film Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro, among many others. 

In short, his reach was wide, ladies and gentlemen, and even if you're unhappy with the state of Macross in the US (as I am), Carl Macek is one of the people who built the North American anime fandom from the ground up, and should be respected as such, in my opinion. 

Less infamous but no less sad is the passing of John Scofield, a part of the Otakon family who was chair of the convention in 1998, and played many roles at the convention over the years. Scofield was a well-liked anime fan who worked hard to bring anime fans together, and he inspired many of the people working at Otakon today. He died after a long battle with cancer on Sunday, April 18th.    
NovidAnonon April 19, 2010 at 8:26 a.m.
this fucking HURTS. HURTS. Please dont start stuff yall dont want to finish with me.
ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 19, 2010 at 8:56 a.m.
This is a real shame....my condolences goes out for both families.
Oishi_47on April 19, 2010 at 12:07 p.m.
ANN Cast did a really long podcast with an interview with Carl Macek. It was the first time I heard the name and it was a very eye-opening peer into the early years of anime in the U.S. I don't really know of any other interview with Mr. Macek that might be as comprehensive, so if you have not heard it, listen to it here. It is a bit long and starts off slow, but it was worth listening to every minute. 
constanzadellarosaon April 19, 2010 at 2:37 p.m.
What a bucket of cold water I got when I read this. So sad.
Karkarovon April 19, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.
Well this blows.  I personally don't like how the various "spin offs" of Robotech was handled and the issues with many of the movies etc but that first season is a classic and is what good anime adaptation is all about.  This guy did more for anime in the US in the early days that almost anyone else and it sucks to hear his passing especially at a fairly young age by todays standards.
PenguinDuston April 19, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.
I met Carl Macek at a comic book convention in 1989.  There was a monthly gathering of sellers at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  I was in college at the time and my friends and I would often attend to pickup comics and anime.  Carl was there previewing the North American screen debut of Akira.  He was standing near the door so I walked over to talk to him.  I had been the biggest Robotech geek since the early 80's.  He and Sandy Frank (Battle of the Planets) are the reason I am an anime fan to this day.  I had good intentions of thanking him for providing something that was central to my youth.  Sadly, it was not as pleasant an experience as I had hoped.  During the course of our little chat, I let it slip that I had seen the dubbed version of Akira already.  In fact, I had bought the VHS at an earlier convention.  Well, he became very angry and said people like me were the reasons why there wasn't more anime available in the US.  Offended, I countered that fans wouldn't have to buy bootlegs if every video cassette didn't cost three times what any normal new movie cost.  There were more angry words said, but I tried to repair the situation by the end.  I promised that my friends and I would make a point of going to the Galleria Mall and paying to see Akira when it was released.  And, we did.  We were a little late so we had to sit in the front row because there were no other seats available.  It was still worth it.  Although, driving past the Harmony Gold building on Sunset (I think it was there) always made me feel a little guilty after that.  I never bothered to tell him I also had a bootleg of Macross: Do You Remember Love?.
 
All of this seems so long ago, but it still makes me sad that he's no longer with us.  I thank him for filling my childhood with fond adventures and for providing me with a nice story to tell more than 20 years later. 
thwakon April 19, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.
Whatever he did that might've brought up controversy, his impact on the modern anime scene can't be denied.
 
Basically, if it wasn't for him this site and many others probably wouldn't exist. He brought over some of the most influential animes of all time and help start the obsession of many in the western world. R.I.P.
Halberdierv2on April 20, 2010 at 3:33 a.m.
RIP. both of them.
AHoodedFigureon April 20, 2010 at 5:17 a.m.
Macek made it possible for me to see Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeda.  Though he tried to repackage everything into a cohesive whole it still preserved a lot of the themes of the original, even if the explanations got a bit talky.  Whatever damage that did to the show itself, to me, is immaterial, because he successfully marketed a show that I wanted to see when I wanted to see it.  I was already tired of the dumbed-down, parachuting at the last second and no one getting hurt model for depicting warfare.  I wanted things to have consequences, sometimes bad ones, and Robotech showed that.  It's one of the reasons I've always respected cross-cultural exchange, and one of the reasons that anime has represented that to me.

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