Macross Vol. #5 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • 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. #5

By J.J. Matthews     February 06, 2007
Release Date: September 12, 2006

Macross Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
Strange things are happening within the Zentradi fleet: secret meetings, use of contraband materials and even hints of civil disobedience from previously unshakable warriors! The female Meltran fleet is affected as well, as one of their finest abruptly goes rogue on a path of personal vengeance. Meanwhile, on the Macross, human lives are in equal disarray, as simple misunderstandings multiple into events that can and will shatter worlds. Love hurts and sex kills as the war of the worlds becomes the war of the sexes in the fifth scorching 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.

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 for this release, this volume features a space battle scene with a transformed Veritech in the foreground. There's a white bar across the top and bottom for the title and volume information and 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 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.

Each disk provides access to the individual episodes for the disk on the main menu, along with Language and Extras options, and a trailer for Volume 6. 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.

After focusing on Mari Iijima for the first four volumes, this chapter provides an interview segment with some of the male members of the cast, including Vic Mignogna, Brett Weaver, and John Swasey. David Williams and Janice Williams also provide a commentary track for one episode. Other extras in this volume include:

- Character Stats, including some trivia and physical stats for the main characters
- 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)
It's always nice when a single volume of a longer series manages (whether through luck of the draw or actual planning) to provide a batch of episodes that feel like a distinct chapter in the series - starting and stopping at good points to allow the volume to contain a relatively self-contained arc. I found this to be one of those sorts of volumes for Macross, focusing on a turning point in human/Zentraedi relations as Commander Britai must take some drastic actions regarding the threat posed by the Macross and its "protoculture".

As the volume begins, three Zentraedi spies have returned to their posts in the fleet, carrying stories and souvenirs of life aboard the Macross, and this causes a gradual ripple effect as other soldiers hear about their experiences and become enamoured of the human way of life. It's really pretty interesting how quickly they all fall under the spell of "protoculture". It's clear that the rank-and-file Zentraedi have never even considered that there is another way to live life aside from their very military formation, and once other options are laid out for them, they take to it like kids in a candy store. Pretty soon, there's a big contingent of Zentraedi foot soldiers who aren't particularly eager to help wipe out the Macross and the freedoms it represents.

This causes problems for Britai, who is dealing with an increasingly difficult situation. He is under more and more pressure to wipe out the Macross once and for all, but when he plans a new assault on the human ship, he finds himself faced with the threat of outright mutiny. This, in turn, means that his own fleet is going to be as much of a target as the Macross, since his superiors will want to destroy any soldiers that have been exposed to the "infection" of protoculture. And on top of that, the Zentraedi continue to misconstrue certain events (i.e. the massive explosion of the omnidirectional barrier) as evidence of human super-weapons, leaving them very off-balance with regards to the true strength of the enemy. All things considered, Britai is up against a wall, and he reaches the conclusion that his only hope for survival is to ally himself with the humans.

Unfortunately, while Britai and Global are brokering a truce, their respective worlds are mobilizing to continue the conflict - and on a much larger scale than has been seen so far. Misa returns to Earth to inform her father about the proposed truce, and while it seems at first that he might be open to listening to her, he's really just pleased to have her away from the Macross. The government has been developing its own super-weapon that they're certain will wipe out the Zentraedi fleet - and the Macross - while at the same time, Britai's commanders are massing their forces to completely annihilate the humans. The Macross and her new allies are stuck right in the middle, with forces too small to even make a dent in the oncoming barrage.

In the midst of all of this, we also have some nice evolution on a more personal level for some characters, which has always been one of the strengths of the series, I think - building the character drama so well amid all the epic conflict. While Global and Britai are focusing on a human/Zentraedi union on a large scale, a similar situation is playing out on a smaller scale with the meeting and whirlwind romance of Max Jenius and Milia Fallyna. And while Hikaru is still carrying a torch for Minmay, his feelings for Misa are also starting to solidify into something more serious than friendship, and they have several sweet parting moments as Misa heads off to Earth.

In Summary:
As I've been watching this series from the point-of-view of revisiting a classic, each volume has brought something to the table that, after all this time, feels fresh and interesting, reminding me why Macross is still a major benchmark against which other series of this type can be judged. With it's focus on the evolution of the Zentraedi situation, this volume managed it again, and I'm hard pressed to think of too many space operas akin to this one that have done as good a job with the twists and turns in regards to who the true enemy is. This release continues to be an enjoyable way to revisit the series for those who prefer a standard multilingual edition, and the dub continues to be a notable highlight.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Liner notes, Character stats,The Men of Macross: An Interview with Vic Mignona (Hikaru); Brett Weaver (Roy) and John Swasey (Captain Global),Commentary with anime experts David Williams and Janice Williams (ep 22),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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