Macross Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Macross

Macross Vol. #3

By J.J. Matthews     June 16, 2006
Release Date: May 16, 2006

Macross Vol. #3
© ADV Films

What They Say
A dangerous escape leads to an unpleasant homecoming, as the crew of the Macross find themselves pawns in a much bigger game. Not only are Earth's forces badly divided, but now the Zentradi have defied the rules of science to place spies on board the Macross itself! The introduction of a new ace Zentradi pilot is only the newest spark in already explosive mixture, as the fiery relationship between Hikaru and Misa begins to kindle into something else, and Hikaru's romance with Minmay hits another snag in the form of a jealous new rival. The epic series that spawned Robotech continues with an all new 5.1 English surround sound track in the third thrilling volume of Macross!

The Review!
For our main viewing sessions, we listened to the new 5.1 Surround audio, and again, it's nicely done. It's not perfect, but overall, it's a job well done with few flaws. Dialog is clean, as are the effects and ambient sounds.

The dub continues to be stellar, with translation and acting that fits well with the feel of the series while giving it a fresh approach that should make the series accessible to new audiences while pleasing existing fans as well. This volume sees the addition of several new cast members, and I'm still impressed with the choices made in casting this release.

Video quality is quite good, especially considering the masters for this series are more than twenty years old. The remastering of this series really was a great job in cleaning up noise, boosting saturation and generally delivering a clean transfer. It's impossible to erase, and debatable if you'd even want to, all the blemishes that come with a hand drawn, twenty year old anime title. I think they found the right balance of enhancements to make the video look fresh, while leaving the charm and obvious hard work that went into the original.

Keeping with the mecha theme ADV seems to be going with for the series, this volume features cover art of a mech that some research tells me is a "HWR-00-Mk.II Monster", with a white bar across the top and bottom for the title and volume information. The title itself is dressed up with the "O" in Macross replaced by the UNSpacy logo. The back of the case provides information on extra's and staff, some text describing the series, and two small screenshots for each of the six episodes.

The menus are simple and very easy to navigate. There is a scrolling scene in the top third of the menu and some background music (which repeats a little too often, in my opinion).

Each disk provides access to the individual episodes for the disk on the main menu, along with Language and Extras options, a bit of a trailer for Volume 3. The episodes are broken into chapters, but the menus do not allow selection of those chapters. You need to use the 'Next' button on your DVD player/remote to flip between chapters.

This volume cuts back again on the extras, continuing to use the presence of Mari Iijima to good effect with enjoyable interviews from her, but dropping the other feature I enjoyed in the first two - the translator discussion - and not replacing it with anything new. Extras on this volume include:

- On Stage with Mari Iijima - This chapter of the Mari interview focuses on her musical career, going into more depth on stories that were mentioned briefly in previous interviews and interspersed with clips of Mari performing live in concert.
- Commentary Track " This time, director Matt Greenfield joins Mari Iijima for a commentary of the episode, "Chinatown"
- Liner notes providing trivia about the making of Macross
- Clean opening animation
- Previews of upcoming ADV titles

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This third volume of Macross is a bit of a transitional period for the series, with episodes that wrap up the introductory arc that's been playing up to this point and starting to move things forward into the next batch of challenges. There's a sense that the series has finally laid all its cards on the table, finishing the groundwork started in the prior volume with regards to providing information on Zentraedi society and humanizing Misa to boost her as a serious contender in the Minmay/Hikaru/Misa triangle. As those elements settle down, we're introduced to a new conflict in the form of Earth's government, and also introduced to a few new major players - Milia Fallyna and Lynn Kaifun.

The first episode of this volume picks up with Hikaru, Misa, and Kakizaki still held prisoner by the Zentraedi, but with hope for escape now that they have seen the powerful reaction that a simple kiss can have on the aliens. Unfortunately for Hikaru and Misa, their escape attempt goes unobserved by the enemy, and instead they're left with a bit of an embarrassing situation as the "guard" who catches them in a liplock is actually Max, who has disguised his fighter with a Zentraedi uniform. The disguise doesn't do the trick for long, though, and the four humans are soon separated again, forced to flee through the Zentraedi ship and find some way to return to their own galaxy. The episode is a good one that nicely caps a lot of what was going on in the previous volume. First, the reconnaissance element of this arc wraps up as several new pieces of information about the Zentraedi are discovered that allow Misa to start putting the pieces together and drawing some conclusions about where the aliens come from and why they behave the way they do. Secondly, as she and Hikaru flee through the ship, Misa Hayase has some nice reflective moments that let her show a softer side as she opens up a bit to Hikaru, teasing him at one point, and also sharing her concerns that she is very much like the Zentraedi - born for nothing more than to serve as a cog in military service.

Misa's concerns are a bit of a precursor to the next phase of the series, as the Macross finally makes it back to Earth. After a clip-show episode, Captain Global and Misa present their findings to the Earth's U.N. government (including Misa's father), only to have their leaders completely turn their back on the Macross and everyone aboard her - both civilian and military. In particular, Global is denied permission to return the civilian population to their old lives, since the government does not want the general populous made aware that aliens were behind the catastrophic events of the Macross's launch.

If her father turning against her weren't bad enough, Misa also has a great deal to distract her with the arrival of a new civilian to the community. While Misa has been dealing with her father at the U.N., Hikaru has taken Minmay to see her family in Japan. Her parents' thrill at finding their daughter alive doesn't last too long, though, when they realize that Minmay plans to continue her skyrocketing career aboard the Macross rather than stay with them. They only give their approval when (much to Hikaru's chagrin), Minmay's handsome cousin, Lynn Kaifun, declares his intentions to return with them and make sure that Minmay stays out of trouble.

Kaifun is kind of fun in a "love to hate him" sort of way, as he shows up at just the right time to add maximum conflict on two fronts. First, there's the obvious problem that Minmay dotes on her cousin, putting one more obstacle between her and Hikaru. Then there's the fact that Kaifun has nothing but utter disdain for the military, setting him at odds with not just Hikaru but most of the Macross's official crew. And, finally, his anti-military leanings strike a chord with Misa, reminding her of her lost love, Riber, at a time when she is already a bit disheartened by the military machinations she's been privy to. All of this makes him a good catalyst character, adding another player to the developing Minmay/Hikaru/Misa triangle and introducing a bit of dissension in the ranks to the Macross's situation, overall.

Dissension is running rampant over in the Zentraedi camp as well, as Kamjin Kravshera continues to defy orders in his attempts to destroy the Macross. He makes *two* attempts on the ship in this volume, and both times is pulled away at the command of the leader of the Zentraedi female forces, Laplamiz. Also involved in these conflicts is another Zentraedi female, Milia Fallyna, who we only meet briefly but comes across immediately as an extremely skilled pilot who isn't above a bit of insubordination herself if she deems it worthwhile. Also raising trouble for the Zentraedi (although the leaders don't know it yet) are three spies who have been shrunk down to human size and inserted into Macross society to gather intel on the enemy. These three are easy prey for human protoculture and we get some entertaining fish-out-of-water scenes as the supposed spies fall under the sway of the wonders of human society.

In Summary:
All in all, this batch of episodes provides a nice mix of elements: plenty of cinematic action sequences in the space battles and escape sequence, but also plenty of plot developments that introduce new wrinkles to move the story forward into unexpected quarters. While, as with the previous volume, there's not a whole lot here to give sub-only viewers a reason to double-dip, this release continues to be an enjoyable way to revisit the series for those who prefer a standard multilingual edition.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Commentary track with Mari Iijima (voice of Minmay) and ADR Director Matt Greenfield,Special segment "On Stage" with Mari Iijima,Liner notes,Clean opening animation, Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
Marantz DV4300 Progressive scan DVD player via HD component connection, Marantz VP-12S3 DVI/Component HD DLP Projector, 110" 16:9 Stewart FireHawk Fixed Wall Mount Screen, Marantz SR9300 7.1 A/V Receiver 140 watts/discrete channel (7), DTS/DTS-ES/DTS Neo: 6, DD, D-PLII THX Certified 7.1 speaker system


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jnager 3/13/2012 10:42:55 PM

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