Macross TV Vol. #8 - 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. #8

By Chris Beveridge     January 06, 2002
Release Date: December 20, 2001


Macross TV Vol. #8
© AnimEigo


What They Say


The Review!
The show moves firmly into territory that's generally not animated when it comes most series. Or really told in most novels either. For that alone, Macross proceeds to give the viewer something new. Something that takes place after the ending.

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 green lined image of Lap'lamiz in her military 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 various bits of information on the final eight episodes of the series and a section entitled "Secrets of Macross"..

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 Macross originally being planned for fewer episodes, the big epic scale battle we saw on the last disc was the planned ending for the series. Like a lot of series of the time, it wasn't exactly uplifting but it had its moments of hope to it and it did focus on the human heart and what it can achieve. When the series got the go ahead for more episodes and received more funding, things could have gone vastly different. Most producers would just insert more episodes prior to the ending and just stretch things out. Nadia is a prime example of this.

Macross however went and decided to tell the story of what happens after the ending. These are the times when you finish a film or a series and you wonder what happens next. Thankfully the story gets told here in excellent fashion.

To give things some distance, we pick up two years after the last battle with the Earth in ruins. Macross City where the fortress resides has sprung up and is proving to be fairly lively. A military government has effectively taken over, but for the most part people seem to be doing ok. As you get further out away from Macross City though, a different picture becomes painted as things aren't going as well and there's some general resentment.

Of course, Kaifun's out there getting the rabble angry without providing any real solutions. But that's just a side hobby from milking them for what little money they have to get Minmay to perform as she travels around from city to city.

For the most part, a large number of the remaining Zentradi have done a decent job of integrating with human society. A number are miclonized and live closely among humans while a good number are still their normal size and are used in various defense positions and in construction. It's largely due to their help that the cities have been rebuilt so quickly and so easily to be sure. But there's a layer of anger building underneath for a lot of them as their desire to return to a warlike nature grows stronger as the culture-fever begins to wear off.

While a good portion of the episodes here deal with that and then with the various character relationships, the main arc for a couple of episodes is a rather fun one. After Exedol reports that there's a much deeper connection in history between the two races, Global informs his most trusted officers that there exists something rather useful out in the galaxy for them - an automated ship building factory under Zentradi control. In a joint mission to be led by Britai, Hikaru, Misa, Max, Millia and Claudia head off to his ship and make a plan to attack and capture the facility. There's al of great interplay throughout these segments, particularly with Millia and Misa over Millia's baby.

While these episodes may seem weak, they do perform an excellent job of dealing with a world after incredibly tragic events. And with Kamjin still alive under the snows and ice planning revenge and mischief, there's a lot to be intrigued by. And for those who hate Kaifun, he gets a bit of his own here too.

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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