Mania Grade: A
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- 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. #5
By Chris Beveridge
January 05, 2002
Release Date: December 20, 2001
Macross TV Vol. #5
What They SayThe Review!
Barring the first episode here, there's three really great episodes. And I mean grrrrreat!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 orange lined image of the hot shot pilot Roy Focker in his military uniform (which looks better than his fairly goofy purple pilot outfit). 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 go into some minor details about various mecha and ships.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)
The first episode here is the other ".5" we talked about on the fourth volume, where it's something of a recap. This isn't anywhere near as bad as that recap though. With Hikaru in the hospital and unconscious, he's dreaming something surreal. Using the footage from the first 13 episodes, it's spliced together in a various fashions to create a new and non-logical story that really works in dreams. You can see how he would be dreaming it, with things like his rescue of Minmay from episode 3 being placed at the end of the story. These segments also serve very well in showing how Hikaru is beginning to subconsciously realize his dreams of Minmay aren't going to work, especially when you see him transition a kiss with Minmay into one with Misa. What also makes this episode work is that a good percentage of the dialogue is new reworkings of the original or completely new lines with the previous footage. This is how you do a recap and keep people paying attention.
Hell, the dream even contained parts of the opening with the singer!
There's a lot of good stuff going on here after we get through all of that. There's a lot of footage dealing with the three Zentraedi micronized spies running around the ship doing things that just ain't right, such as dressing up in women's clothing and eating plastic food. Their experiences are used to really show the differences between the two cultures and for the most part is done in a decent way. Seeing them get drunk during a celebration was hilarious though.
The Macross also gets some good screentime as it continues to search for someplace to put the uprooted residents to. They finally get the OK from the Ontario Autonomous Region, which is outside of the UN's control. The ship heads there only to find Kamjin going against orders yet again and trying to take down the ship. Kamjin's continual refusal of orders in this war-oriented culture is still something of a surprise, and one has to wonder how he managed to stay in command for so long, regardless of his family clan heritage. You'd think he'd be front-line on the most dangerous and bloody conflicts to help get rid of him sooner.
There are two other things worth talking about, but require spoilers:
The episodes here bring something to the show that while not really uncommon back then in a variety of shows, is something that's really hard to find in a lot of today's shows. Characters get killed that are fairly important to the series so far.
The death of Roy Focker in combat is perfectly done and highly unexpected. There was only some slight hints to it coming if you hadn't seen it before. The way the episode worked itself and you see him later on after the combat incident strumming his guitar, you'd almost never guess it was serious until it was too late. This episode worked really well in showing him and Claudia together.
The other was the surprising death of Hayao Kakizaki. Taking place in only the next episode with little distance between the two, it takes a chance in shaking the viewers perceptions of the show where the heroes never really get hurt or die and makes them wonder who else is going to get snuffed out before things end. :End Spoilers.
And what really makes these episodes for me is more more more Milia! She starts her pursuit of ace pilot Max Jenius and my favorite relationship of the series kicks off here as the two go toe to toe in aerial combat. Sweet stuff!
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.
Japanese Language, English Subtitles
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.