Macross TV Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A

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Info:

  • 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

Macross TV Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     January 05, 2002
Release Date: December 20, 2001


Macross TV Vol. #4
© AnimEigo


What They Say


The Review!
The first major arc of three comes to a close here as the Macross closes in on Earth. If there's anything bad to say about this disc is that it contains the much dreaded recap episode. These are particularly bad if you're watching the show a disc a night as it's all fresh in your head.

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 a blue lined image of the Zentraedi Britiai in his command uniform. 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 more character profiles and also starts delving again into the episode translation details.

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)
With it now being nearly a year since the Macross left Earth with the island and its inhabitants in tow, the ship has finally gotten close to Earth orbit. With the return from Zentraedi high command in the last disc by Misa, Max, Hikaru and Hayao, they find themselves now being grilled by the ships command structure of Global and his understaff. Global takes a measured look at the various amounts of information they provide, but the rest of the staff practically mocks them since there's no actual evidence to back it up.

Global's decided that enough is enough though later on when he realizes the only way to get the ships passengers off the ship is to force the UN high command to make a decision and acknowledge them. This gives him the idea of just pushing the Macross, in transformed mode, right through the atmosphere and onto the planet. Things don't go terribly well of course, so instead of heading to a command base, the end up having to make an emergency landing in the middle of the pacific.

It's quite a sight seeing that massive craft sitting out in the ocean. And it's quite a sight for its inhabitants as the bulkhead doors, most Zentraedi sized, open up and they can their first taste of fresh air in quite a long time, as well as the beautiful view of a Pacific sunset.

This leads, unfortunately, to the dreaded Global Report episode, which recaps the previous thirteen episodes with a bit of commentary from Global. There's only a few scraps of new footage here, and it's just of Global sitting in his chair talking about this. According to the liner notes, the reason for this episode was due to the show being extended from 23 to 34 episodes. It and another upcoming one were consider ".5" episodes, but in broadcast brought the series up to 36 total. Thankfully, the other upcoming recap episode was done much better.

With the beginning of the second arc, we move into a bit broader territory that starts off with more character focus and another character added to the secondary cast. With the ship in the Pacific, Global and Hayase head off to the Alaska command base to discuss their findings from the past year, when they've been mostly cut off from command, and to get things cleared up for the citizens on the ship. During this, Hikaru gets assigned to take Minmay back home to Yokohoma (in her custom cruiser she won for being Miss Macross no less). Everyone else is stuck onboard the ship however.

Both of these storylines lead to some interesting developments. In the Alaskan command storyline, Misa and Bruno get some time to talk together and laugh a bit and we learn some interesting things. Of particular interest was that Global served under her father during some of the nastier moments of the Unification Wars. We also get some interesting notes regarding the entire Alaskan base, which appears to be nothing more than a huge cannon that people live around. And this is all without touching some of the surprising revelations made during the actual video conference with the high command people.

The Yokohoma storyline produces some different results. Minmay takes Hikaru on a tour of parts of the city with her expecting everything to have changed in the past year. It's moments like this that really push just how young and naive she really is. Counter this with some of the more playful moments of Claudia and Roy. Anyway, when they arrive at her parents restaurant, they're overjoyed to see her after believing she was dead for the past year. As she tells them of what's been going on, they simply can't believe her. Recording star? Movie star? TV specials? Impossible!

It's here that we're introduced to the one character I just don't like from this series, Lynn Kaifun. He's the cousin to Minmay and his parents are the ones running the restaurant on the Macross. He's also quite the pacifist of sorts and simply exudes hatred for anyone in the military. He was all friendly with Hikaru until she said he was a fighter pilot, and then the hostility just poured out. Kaifun's truly a party pooper in general and how he actually managed to wrangle his way back onto the Macross is beyond me. There's a lot of slipshod writing in parts of this episode.

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.

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