Robotech Legacy Set 3 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2001



What They Say
It has often been said that the original broadcast of the ground-breaking series Robotech was a key factor leading to the current interest in Japanese animation. In the 15 years since its initial airing, Robotech has remained one of the most critically acclaimed high-watermarks for animated science fiction storytelling. Filled with drama, excitement and high adventure, the serialized, multi-generational Robotech is just as stunning today as it was when it first hit the airwaves.

This third volume in The Robotech Legacy Collection contains episodes 25 through 36 of Robotech as well as an exclusive "bonus" disc containing the original feature-length production Robotech II: The Sentinels, with running audio commentary by series creator Carl Macek; a short video created to promote the 65-episode original Robotech II: The Sentinels television series; behind the scenes animation art from The Sentinels, and more.

Time has run out for the citizens of Earth. A massive alien armada threatens to destroy mankind. The future of the human race is at stake. It is up to the valiant crew of the SDF-1, aided by the plucky spirit of a young pop idol, to defend their world at any cost. The surprising and dramatic conclusion to the celebrated Macross section of the epic, multi-generational Robotech saga is presented for the first time on DVD, with this special collector's edition.

Robotech: The Macross Saga - War And Peace
As a massive Zentraedi Armada prepares for a final assault on the people of Earth, preparations for battle take a back seat as a historic union between man and alien take place - the wedding of Max Sterling - one of Earth's greatest heroes - and Miriya - an ace Zentraedi combat pilot. But the celebration is short lived when all of Earth's resources are put to the test as the full force of the Zentraedi Fleet attack with savage fury. Many lives will be lost before a final victor is declared in the First Robotech War.

Robotech: The Macross Saga - Final Conflict
The reconstruction of the Earth with the help of the few remaining Zentraedi - loyal to Breetai - is slow going. It is a time of great uncertainty on both a global and personal scale. The reappearance of Khyron, the rogue Zentraedi warlord, offers the Robotech Defense force a final opportunity to restore peace to their savaged planet. The lives and loves of these beleaguered survivors form the backdrop to an ultimate showdown for the fate of mankind. The bittersweet conclusion to the Macross Saga, the pivotal first act of one of the greatest animated epics.

The Review!
Audio:
For our primary reviewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of English. Throughout the track, we didn't notice any dropouts or distortions though some areas again did feel a slight bit lower compared to other areas on the disc. Dialogue is pretty much dead center channel and the music and sound effects playing through for the forward soundstage to sound fairly full.

Video:
Things here look pretty much par for the course. What we've seen on the first two box sets is what we see here, with the grainy video being the main problem. But as mentioned in earlier reviews, it was expected so that blunts the impact a fair bit. Colors are ok if fairly flat and dull and the blacks and grays hold together fairly well with minimal amounts of macroblocking.

Packaging:
The third mini box set follows the first one perfectly, with the same color, same style and same spine design. The listing of the episode numbers on the side is a big plus, and the general literal feel of the box is quite nice. The individual keepcases are again white with the painted looking covers that continue to be a great change from the covers seen on all prior VHS/LD releases. The back covers and the inserts all look good, and the design in general works well. Very nice packaging job here.

Menus:
The menus used here definitely fall under the simple and straightforward category. The main screen is basically a clip of animation playing and the episode selections on the right as well as the trailers section. Moving about is pretty fast and the look works well for this release. I'm not sure if doing a bit CG style menu would have worked well, since it wouldn't fit quite right with the age of the materials.

Extras:
The main focus of the extras here revolves around the show that's known as Robotech II: The Sentinels. I still remember the giddiness I had when I was able to finally see this on tape oh so many years ago after the project failed to get any further than what's presented here. The Sentinels represented an interesting take on the Robotech storyline by taking it to new places with new animation and stories but being animated by the same company that did the individual three parts. It's one of those things where you really want to know what the original creators think of all of it.

Of course, it's not the best thing in the world, but with nostalgia and the coloring of the novel series, I at the time and now find it to be a really entertaining piece of the Robotech universe. Being able to see it again after all these years, and before taking in any of the future box sets, was a treat. The show runs about 80 odd minutes and is roughly the first three or four episodes that ended up being made into a movie to get some of the money back from the project. The presentation also includes a commentary track by Carl Macek (reading, I believe, from one of his books about the show) as well as a make your own dub track.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The final twelve episodes of the Macross portion of Robotech are some of the busiest episodes around. The show brings about the first interstellar wedding with Max defeating Miria in hand to hand combat and asking her to marry him. We have the escalation of the war with the Grand Cannon being prepped and Dolza's Zentraedi forces being sent to Earth. The conflict ranges so broad that the entire planet becomes surrounded by the massive fleet.

Things on the interpersonal level also escalate, as Claudia finally starts telling Lisa that she has to be more aggressive about Rick. Rick's continuing to be fairly wishy washy between Lisa and Minmay and Lisa's just getting irritated with herself about it. But when the war gets more intense, the two start spending more and more time together and their bonding only becomes more natural and expected.

Throughout the series at this point we've had a number of characters die in the line of duty to protect the SDF and its crew and citizens. The series really kicks it up several notches when the stakes are the entire planet Earth. And I remember my complete shock when they went against convention and actually decimated the entire planet, nearly wiping out the entire population. The change of the series from one of war to one of reconstruction was a powerful one. Seeing the wastelands that most of the planet was, with crashed ships, hollowed out Zentraedi armor and the massive craters is a strong image.

The show also went further in its attempts to present the "unification" of the two species living together in peace with the rebuilding. Humans and Zentraedi, both micronized and not, working together for a common goal. And it didn't sugar coat it either, with many of the Zentraedi unable to adapt to such conditions and fighting off their own lusting for combat. These themes played the central role in the final batch of episodes that really makes this series shine.

With the SDF-1 as the center piece to Macross City, it's interesting to see how that particular city grew and evolved over these episodes and how much of a symbol the ship turned into in its transformed mode. With its standing their arms open and welcoming all who came to it, it provides an interesting contrast to Khyron, be he in South America or the arctic circle, where he's welcoming the disaffected Zentraedi. The final clash between these two symbols finds itself to be amazingly relevant these days.

This is the thing that makes Macross and Robotech so well loved - it's themes are really universal. What was true twenty years ago is true still today, and after recent events, probably even true on an even more raw level when this show is viewed. A particular speech by Gloval during Max and Miria's wedding is especially powerful in today's environment, and can be heard echoed by many pundits.

With this set, the Macross Saga of Robotech is complete. It's made tossing my FHE tapes out very easy. These discs have provided me not only with one of my favorite childhood shows, but with a mountain of extra material that even I, a hardcore Robotech fan, had not seen before. These sets are well worth the money for anyone whose a fan of this show. Excellent stuff.

Features
English Language,Robotech International clips,Promotional video announcing Robotech II: The Sentinels television series,Library of character and mecha designs from Robotech II: The Sentinels
Feature-length original Harmony Gold,production of ROBOTECH II: THE SENTINELS with audio commentary from series writer/producer Carl Macek and an effects/music only track as well

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: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 44.98
Running time: 375
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Robotech