Harmony Gold USA
|Founded||Los Angeles, California (1983)|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Frank Agrama, Chairman & CEO
Alan Letz, Executive VP
Melissa Wohl, Vice president
Tommy Yune, Creative Director
|Products||Motion pictures, Television programs, Miniseries, Animation, Real estate|
Number of employees
Harmony Gold is a television production and distribution company established in 1983. It is best known as the “creator” and main distributor of the anime series Robotech. It also partially dubbed the Dragon Ball series in the late 1980s.
Harmony Gold also partly funded the controversial 1986 Shaka Zulu TV series in South Africa in spite of economic sanctions. After the cancellation of Robotech II: The Sentinels, a number of the staff were recruited to work at Saban Entertainment. The company’s public profile then fell into a near-dormant state for much of the 1990s, and its flagship Robotech franchise also fell into a state of neglect. Harmony Gold appears to have rebounded on the DVD medium with the success of its Robotech series, released in partnership with ADV Films in the US, and Manga Entertainment in the UK.
They were more commonly known in the UK under the name MasterVision in the UK's VHS pre certs sector and also released the same films on another UK label called Kids Cartoon Collection for the home market during the 1985. Finding a MasterVision or Kids Cartoon Collection aka Harmony Gold in the UK is like striking a pot of Harmony Gold, as they were a rare brand of VHS here in the UK. Some English dubs by Harmany Gold only made it to the UK under these UK labels of them, "The Little Train" was one of their notable UK exclusive English speaking dubs for instance, as there are no signs of any US versions, unless it's just even more rare in the US. However this mentioned dub did get a semi US Harmony Gold dub in Mexican in the NTSC region so it did hit one NTSC dub in the Americas. This notable rare film dub by them was made from footage from an 1980 Italian URBS production instead of their normal fare in Japan using footage by Toei and Tatsunoko. This noted film was released in 1985 by them on both Kids Cartoon Collection and MaserVision, making it one of their first and only UK exclusives, as far as English dubs by them are concerned. These VHS companies by them also released the standard fare from their USA branch, for example "The Brave Frog" and "Robotech" in the UK.
The company also has interests in real estate in the Southern California area, as well as a Los Angeles screening room.
- Abe & Bruno (2005)
- American Strays (1996)
- Ball & Chain (2003)
- Crazy Jones (2001)
- Dawn of the Mummy (1981)
- Death to the Supermodels (2004)
- Dirt (2001)
- Faster (2003)
- Going Down (2003)
- The Lost World (1992)
- Return to the Lost World (1993)
- Queen Kong (1976)
- Siblings (2004)
- Welcome to the Neighborhood (2002)
- Around the World in 80 Days (1989)
- Heidi (1993)
- King of the Olympics (1988)
- The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1988)
- Shaka Zulu (1986)
- Sherlock Holmes & The Leading Lady (1990)
- Sherlock Holmes: Incident at Victoria Falls (1991)
- Robotech (1984) (an amalgamation of three different anime series from Tatsunoko Productions)
- Codename: Robotech (1984) (an extended pilot of the 1985 series)
- Robotech: The Movie (1986)
- Robotech II: The Sentinels (1987)
- Robotech 3000 (2000)
- Robotech: Remastered (2003-2004) (remastered and extended version of the 1985 series)
- Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles (2006)
- The Brave Frog (1985)
- Captain Future (1987)
- Captain Harlock and the Queen of a Thousand Years (1985) (an amalgamation of two different anime series from Toei Animation)
- Casshan: Robot Hunter (1994)
- Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned (1983)
- Dragon Ball (1989?) (the first five episodes and movies 1 and 3)
- Dr. Slump (1984?) (the first episode)
- Ferdy The Ant (1983?)
- Flower Angel (1986)
- Frankenstein (1983)
- Gatchaman (1994)
- Goldwing (1980)
- Lensman: Power of the Lens (1987)
- Lensman: Secret of the Lens (1988)
- Little Women's Christmas Story (1986)
- Lococomotion (aka. Tangoo & Ullashong by KBS / Seoul-Movie Co., Ltd )(2001)
- Magical Princess Gigi (1986) (aka. Gigi and the Fountain of Youth)
- Once Upon a Time (AKA Windaria) (1986)
- Seven Seas: The Legend of Blue (200?)
- Thumbelina (Sekai Meisaku Douwa: Oyayubi Hime) (the 1978 Toei Animation feature film, not the 1992 Enoki Films TV series)
- The World of the Talisman (aka. Planetbusters, Birth) (1987)
- The Call of the Wild (Toei Animation, dubbed 1982 Japanese production)
- Timefighters In the Land of Fantasy (1987)
- The Little Train/El Pequeno Tren (Harmony Gold Dubs English and Mexican 1985) (Original Italian Version 1980)
Documentary Series & Specials
- Animals of Africa (1987)
- Faster (2003)
- The Secret Identity of Jack the Ripper (1988)
- Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion (2004)
- Walking After Midnight (1999)
Harmony Gold, via its license of Robotech, claims to own the copyright in the US for images of mecha from the component series of the show, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. They have pursued multiple lawsuits against anyone using mecha which even vaguely resemble these designs.
Most notably, many early designs used in Battletech, such as the Warhammer, Valkyrie, and Marauder, were licensed directly from the Japanese producers of Macross, with the overlapping rights mistake not being realized for nearly a decade. Harmony Gold sued FASA, and as a result these designs were removed from the game. Fan outcry over 'The Unseen' has led to multiple attempts to negotiate deals allowing for resumed use of the designs, but despite in one case a sourcebook going to press before being abruptly pulled, no deal has ever been reached. As a result of the failed negotiations, the producers of Battletech ruled that any designs not developed in house would no longer be used in order to avoid future issues.
Harmony Gold issued cease and desist orders against sites displaying images and trailers from the video game MechWarrior Online, due to one of the mechs used in the trailer being a Warhammer. The company claims that the images portray ’mechs that they own the rights to, according to a legal settlement from 1996.
The legal status of Harmony Gold's license to Macross is dubious. Harmony Gold’s license for Macross came from Tatsunoko Production, but Japanese courts ruled that it was Studio Nue (creators of the series) that controls the Macross intellectual property. The license Tatsunoko was given was for international distribution outside Japan only, and does not allow them to control the intellectual property.
Harmony Gold is known for making broad ranging claims on the Macross copyright and trademarks in order to extract payments from other companies. Harmony Gold claims in Federal Court that Hasbro's SDCC 2013 exclusive set "G.I. Joe vs Transformers The Epic Conclusion" violates their copyright license and trademarks on the animated Japanese Macross TV series (1982–84).
- "Macek Training". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- 'Shaka Zulu': Negative Metaphor For South African Blacks, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1986|
- Luke Plunkett (2009). "Mechwarrior 5 Runs Into Legal Trouble". Kotaku. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION (1996). "Harmony Gold USA vs FASA". Legal Filing. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "HARMONY GOLD USA, INC vs HASBRO" (PDF). www.courthousenews.com. Retrieved April 29, 2015.