Robotech Legacy Set 4 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, February 10, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001
What They Say
Fifteen years of peace are shattered when a new invasion force, the Robotech Masters, wage war against the Earth's struggling survivors. The victor's prize is control of the mysterious Protoculture Matrix - the secret powerhouse of Robotechnology. A whole new cast of heroes and villains re-invigorate the powerful story of intergalactic war and personal drama that has made Robotech one of the most enduring science fiction adventures of all time. Includes episodes 37 through 42 of the classic Robotech Masters.
As the Robotech Defense Forces struggle to keep the Robotech Masters from establishing a foothold on Earth, the true nature of Protoculture and the consequences for those who control its secret are slowly revealed. Combat gives way to strategy and misguided diplomacy as the 2nd Robotech War shifts into high gear. The result is an irresistible mix of fascinating science fiction, wildly improbable combat and turgid melodrama that can only be found in the complex world of Robotech. Includes episodes 43 through 48 of the classic Robotech Masters.
A special 3-disc collector's edition which includes "A New Threat, Revelations" and the 4th installment in the "Elements of Robotechnology" extras series available only in this boxed set. This bonus disc continues with another selection of Robotech International clips; Character and Mecha designs from the Southern Cross section of Robotech; original titles sequences and end credits from the Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada television series; and other rare Robotech behind-the-scenes material.
The second phase of the Robotech series, Southern Cross, is probably the least favorite of many fans. After Macross, it'd be hard to equal or build upon such a story, but Southern Cross had the unenviable job of doing so, and failed for many people.
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.
While the Macross box sets all had a fair amount of grain, considering the age of the materials and how poorly they were kept over the years, this box set manages to top the other ones with even more grain than before. This helps with creating more color banding issues as well. Colors themselves are pretty muted and lack any sort of vibrancy. There's also a fair number of nicks and scratches as well, but if you've gotten through the first three box sets, you won't be really put off by this one.
The box set for this release is setup the same way as the Macross ones, though naturally a change from Macross to Masters and with new white line artwork. The blue has been changed into a nice shade of wine maroon. The individual keepcases (again, in white) each show off a different character. Volume 7 has Dana in her regular uniform and in her combat outfit, while volume 8 has a shot of Nova Satori in her regular uniform and her GMP combat armor. The back covers for each give a brief summary and then list the episode titles and overall episode numbering. The inserts also provide the episode titles with some different artwork as well. There's a lot of great artwork used for these sets, stuff that hasn't been used in any of the previous releases by other companies, so it's a great change of pace.
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.
The box set comes with a disc of just extra material (as the individual discs contain none). Things are a fair bit weak here, especially compared with previous discs in the Macross segment. The main attraction here for me is the original opening and closings for each of the series. Macross has two of each, while Southern Cross and Mospeada each have one, and Robotech has its one as well. They're all quite interesting to watch, and then watch the Robotech one to see what got used in it. There's also a large number of animation sheets going over the characters and the mecha, while the Comico comic book covers of the Robotech Masters series is a real blast from the past. There's also another section with two clips that take you through the international run of the show. Oddly, Dana really works well in Italian.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Taking place about fifteen years after the original Macross segment, where the majority of the characters from that show have gone off into space again, we pick up with the feudal-style civilization that has cropped up on Earth. Some of the children of the originals are here, notably the lead character of Dana Sterling, being the daughter of Max and Miria. There's also Bowie Grant, nephew of Claudia. Some references are made to others from the first segment, but after the first few they make everyone stand on their own.
Life on Earth has been different since the expeditionary force left. Those who are now in command have seen little real combat, and those in the rank and file have seen even less. There's a formal feel to everything, but little real hands on experience with the alien enemy. There's also been some changes in what kind of equipment is used. The Veritech fighter is gone, replaced by the hover tanks and a squat version of a fighter jet. The change in equipment isn't really talked about at all in the show, rather just letting the feel of the difference in time to account for the change in gear.
Our adventures follow Dana as she ends up taking command of the 15th division of the Hover Tank corps. along with Bowie and a ragged assortment of characters. They're not the best of the Tank corps, but they've got what it takes kind of group. When the Robotech Masters arrive, the race of aliens who've bred the Zentraedi and helped create Protoculture, the link Dana has to her half-Zentraedi heritage helps awaken something within her that gives her something of a six sense when dealing with her "creators".
The Robotech Masters are quite different from their Zentraedi warriors. Their massive ships are almost like colony ships, with most of their remaining civilizations inside. They clone their soldiers, using micronian sized warriors in larger bioroid mecha that use hoverplatforms to cause trouble. They're naturally the perfect enemy for the hover tanks. The Robotech Masters have arrived on Earth for one thing only, and that's to gain what Protoculture that the Earth Command has in its stores.
There's a fair number of the larger motherships that take orbit over the Earth, but during one conflict one of them is downed. This allows a number of missions inside it for the tank crews as well as a way for everyone to get familiar with the ship and the enemy. The design is somewhat Greek for the Masters, giving a more classical feel to them, which is also done to some extent with the Southern Cross combat uniforms and general stylings. It's not anything similar to the Macross ways at all.
With this box set, we get halfway through the Southern Cross series. One of the things that comes to mind, years later after originally seeing it, is just how much more different it is from Macross in themes. While the general love will conquer all is there, Southern Cross is much more political and philosophical when compared to the other two aspects of Robotech. In the Macross segment, you have an entire ship of people who must rely upon each other for survival, while in New Generation you've got a small band of people dependent on each other. Southern Cross pits the military police against the tank group against the jet fighters against the military command against the Robotech Masters themselves. Everyone on the Earth side isn't working towards the same thing, especially when a number of realizations come about regarding the cloned Masters society and its relationship to humanity.
It's this new way of looking at the show that makes it more interesting to watch again, and in such large chunks. While it still ranks third on my list out of the parts that make up Robotech, I'm finding it much more interesting this time around than I have in the past.
English Language,Original Openings/Endings for all 4 series,Animation Model Sheets,Gallery of Masters Comic Book Covers (Comico),International Clips
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: C
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 350
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2