Macross TV Vol. #2 (of 9) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, January 03, 2002
Release Date: Thursday, December 20, 2001



What They Say


The Review!
With the first four episodes down and most of those episodes taking place in a relatively short span of time, things really change here as months occur between episodes.

Audio:
Originally recorded back in the early 80's, anyone expecting much from this mono soundtrack is going to be disappointed. The Japanese language soundtrack is pretty good overall. There's no noticeable hiss on our system even with it cranked up. Everything feels pretty center channel based and the sound does a good job of filling up the forward soundstage. Dialogue is clear and undistorted though some segments, such as the next episode preview, are curiously louder than the main program itself.

Video:
In some respects, this is a really hard to grade section. Having seen the evolution of the transfer over the past couple of years at conventions and image images posted to their company site, the overall look and feel of the show practically surpasses its origins. When it was released, it was truly a state of the art piece of animation. Those who've seen Otaku no Video will remember how the fans there (who were essentially animated versions of the people who founded Gainax) were going through the shows animation frame by frame with awe and reverence at the skill used to create it and to make it seem so real. It falls short of today's animation expectations of course, but the job done here to make it come alive again is amazing. The only thing I can really see people having an issue with is the grain throughout it, but I have to say, on our HDTV with a progressive scan player, I've fallen in love again with the look of this show. With all the restoration and color correction efforts that have gone into it, this is a superb looking transfer of a classic.

Packaging:
It's been interesting to see the reactions to the cover art used for the series. Since there have been so many releases of the Robotech version of the years from different companies and on different formats, the artwork that had been used really became old and tired. The completely black covers with neon-like sketches of the characters gives the show to me something of a real collectors style image, something that's unique in that it's not trying to sell itself to the market in general, but just standing there for the person who knows what they're getting into. The cover contains an green lined image of Kamjin in his battle armor. The back cover provides a few animation shots and summaries for the four episodes. Production credits are pretty minimal overall though. Also included is a set of liner notes that provide translations in English and romaji for the vocal songs of the series.

Menus:
Nicely laid out, the menus are done up as the interior to a Valkyrie cockpit. Episode numbers are listed along the right with the episode title showing in the main screen as you scroll down (with no discernable lag thankfully). The buttons along the bottom bring up a play-all feature, disc settings and translation video of the end credits for each disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things only change here and change drastically. There's lots of good stuff as the series settles into its first arc.

The first couple of episodes, while dealing with various character issues, also deals heavily with the big bad Macross ship itself. With a good chunk of the electronics having either gravitated itself out or simply folded into nothingness, there's a lot of empty space in the ship. There's also some serious problems in that connections used to fire the main cannon are completely severed. But the engineering staff have devised a way to "transform" the ship, but moving its modules around, to allow the main cannon to fire.

This isn't much of a problem except for the fact that the 50,000 or so civilians have fairly well settled in to one of the main caverns and have rebuilt large segments of the city. Buildings rise high on multiple levels, businesses are starting up again and people are out and about. Using the transformation sequence for the first time will cause a massive amount of destruction, again, and cause entire blocks to be shifted and ruined. But with the Zentraedi now pressing their attacks in trying to figure out their miclonian enemy, it's only a matter of time before the transformation into a humanoid shaped ship happens.

In an amusing twist when transformed, the two seagoing ships are used as arms for the vessel. The aircraft carrier gets a nice makeover to get it more streamlined for space travel while the battleship is sleekened as well. It's also during this time that the crafty engineering people find a use for the residual fold energy that's in one of the bays. Using their wicked ways, they manage to create a barrier system using it, but the drawback being it's small. Using three operators, they're each able to cover small pinpoints across the ship using a trackball. High technology!

There's also a good deal of character building going on here, making up for the somewhat lackluster amount in the early episodes. We get to know Minmay better in general with her dreams and desires. Hikaru gets fleshed out a bit more, but mostly against his relationships with others as opposed to his past or his own desires. The one character who gets a good deal of time is Misa Hayase, as we see portions of her past before she joined the military. Through this sequence we learn of a boyfriend of hers who was signed on and got assigned to Mars Base, which happened to be one of the first places taken out when the Zentraedi arrived. So when the Macross comes into Mars orbit, the past comes alive again.

Another bonus with these episodes is the fact that after being involved with the military for awhile and performing some heroic stunts, Hikaru gets a promotion and a new status as a team leader. This brings in two subordinate flyers for him who will make a serious impact later on. The first is the rough and tumble but pretty goofy Hayao Kazikaki. He's joined by the blue haired Maximillian Jenius. Both of them have hardly any real flight time though they've logged hundreds of simulated hours. The three end up getting along fairly well though and changes how Hikaru deals with his responsibilities.

It's been a number of years since I've seen an uncut version of this show for a variety of reasons, and now being able to go back to it after so long, I'm again rediscovering my love of this cast and their performances. Macross is the show that set me on the path to being an anime fan and with it being nearly twenty years since its original release, I'm finding it to hold up very well against today's shows. Highly recommended.

Features
Japanese Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: AnimEigo
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Macross