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I loved The Mighty Orbots show when it was broadcast decades ago. It lasted only one season and ended with a finale episode, which is unusual for cartoons. Was it always planned as a one-season show? It doesn't appear to have ever been released on DVD - why did it just disappear?

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I don't see why this is off-topic, therefore re-opening. If there is further discussion needed, there is already a meta open for this question. –  TylerShads Mar 3 '13 at 20:04
    
I didn't understand the closing either, but my faith in the system to resolve itself worked, so thanks; and thanks to Mary Jo Finch for the skillful edit. –  JoshDM Mar 3 '13 at 21:00
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1 Answer

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According to Wikipedia, the 13-episode series was never released on DVD. It ended early

due to a lawsuit between the show's creators and toymaker Tonka, who accused them of basing the cartoon on their GoBots franchise (which was adapted from Bandai's Machine Robo line). The robot depicted in the show was virtually identical to the robot in the anime for Bandai's Godmars toy, although the colors were changed.

This may have affected its release.

According to a rather informative review here, poor ratings were its downfall, though its release in other markets on VHS developed a small cult following. T M S Entertainment, Inc./M G M/U A Entertainment Company is the copyright holder according to US Copyright office. If you have access to a VCR, there are a couple of libraries in the US that apparently have it in their collections (set of 13 tapes). You might be able to get your local library to do an inter-library loan for you.

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Wikipedia has been known to be wrong. Is there any visual evidence to back the image of the Godmars toy to Mighty Orbot? Having typed this, do know that my next step is to go search for one online. –  JoshDM Mar 2 '13 at 2:53
    
From what I've seen so far in my short investigation, Tonka sued because the word "Orbots" from "Mighty Orbots" was too phonetically close to "GoBots", which used the phrase "Mighty robots, mighty vehicles" as their slogan. The Mighty Orbots primary robot did form like Bandai's God Mars toy (or Godmars, depending on who you ask), but that was possibly intended as a way to bring God Mars to the US, and the comment regarding the similarity is appears to be independent of and irrelevant to the lawsuit. Of note, Hasbro now owns GoBots, so there shouldn't be anything left preventing release. –  JoshDM Mar 2 '13 at 3:01
    
OK, from well-of-souls.com/orbots/about.htm : There was also a lawsuit filed by Tonka alleging that the Orbots somehow infringed on their Go-Bots property that probably didn't help. {...} Tonka was a licensee of Bandai's Machine Robo line, and apparently had rights to GodMarz. The combined Mighty Orbots robot was a near-duplicate of the combined GodMarz robot, so even though GodMarz was not itself featured in the Go-Bots line, this may have been a pre-emptive lawsuit, and perhaps not entirely without merit. –  JoshDM Mar 2 '13 at 3:11
    
Apparently Hasbro now owns the GoBots fiction, but the license for the toy likenesses are back with Bandai. This means... ??? for a DVD release of the cartoon? –  JoshDM Mar 2 '13 at 3:14
    
Thanks, I'll look into that. Of note, this doesn't answer the overall investigative questions of (1) who holds the cartoon now and (2) why haven't they released it, considering the lawsuit shouldn't be stopping them at this time. I'm sure it's demand, but it'd be nice to know. –  JoshDM Mar 2 '13 at 3:33
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