Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: B-
- Video Rating: C
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: A-*
- Age Rating: 3 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 44.98
- Running time: 375
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Robotech
Robotech Legacy Set 1
By David Owens
February 18, 2002
Release Date: June 19, 2001
I guess this is where I finally show my true colors as a reviewer here, given that I've been an anime fan since about 1996 or so...but a Robotech fan since 1985. The chance to buy and own all the Robotech episodes again was one I've been waiting for seemingly for forever and a day, so I went berserk when they were finally available. No more FHE videotapes for Macross! No more FHE and Palladium videotapes for Southern Cross and Invid Invasion! YAY!
ADV is releasing Macross first, which makes sense. The first two DVDs to be released are included in a snazzy blue box, called the "Robotech Collection: Legacy Boxset 1". The box itself is fairly sturdy, which is nice for a U.S. anime box....especially since most of our boxes over here are a piece of cardboard wrapped around 3 or 4 DVDs (Captain Tylor anyone? :) ). While the Robotech box doesn't look as cool as the very cool Rayearth 2 boxset, it's easily the next-nicest R1 box available, and well worth it if you're a Robotech fan (even a closet Robotech fan).
It'd be unfair to grade the video for Robotech, since it's...well, really old. Suffice it to say that ADV put the original video onto the DVDs without any touching up (I'll avoid a possible tangent here) like Animeigo is doing with the Macross release. That's fine. The art in Macross frankly isn't very earth-shattering anyways, so seeing it in pristine glory doesn't make much of a difference to me. There're some who this is a big deal to though, so I suppose calling the video "average with lots of artifacts" would be fair.
The audio is also the original soundtrack, which means it's pretty much mono sound, shot through the two front speakers of a stereo sound system. Nothing major.
The voice acting is cheesy goodness at its finest. Many people (Self included) grew up and first were exposed to anime via Robotech, and I for one got used to the voices. There's just nothing that brings a smile to my face faster than the cheesy goodness of hearing Rick Hunter say "Oh brother! What next?". Of course, by now everyone knows that a few of the Robotech voice actors have gone on to bigger things in the U.S. anime market, such as Wendee Swan (then Day, now Lee), who shows up in seemingly every non-ADV anime that's been released here. :)
The menus for Robotech aren't too bad. They're quick and not very annoying, so I'd rank them around "average" for a series.
The extras included on the 3rd disc in the boxset (for those who got the box set, if you bought them individually, you have no extras) are pretty neat, if you ask a Robotech fan such as myself. Codename: Robotech was something I'd never seen before, but only heard about. It's an interested watch, and at 75 minutes, is probably one of the longer anime DVD extras, although granted it's on its own DVD. :) Carl Macek's commentary, during the playing of the Codename: Robotech video, is also pretty interesting. I'd only heard stories about Carl (as he's politely referred to; he's unpolitely referred to as numerous other things) so I was totally expecting something different than what was there, but it was very interesting the way he described the U.S. cartoon market back in the mid-80s when I was growing up. I now understand the whole industry better than ever. No, really...! ;) Anyway, there's some more extras there, for people who don't care about the Codename: Robotech stuff, in the way of some sketches and designs.
But when it all comes down to it, the big selling point of Robotech on DVD is going to be nostalgia. I may be naive, but I have a feeling that people who grew up watching Robotech will probably buy it, and people who hate edited anime and abhor any sort of cuts won't. I'm not so presumptuous to think I can convince any Robotech-hater to like it, so I'm not going to presume to target them with this review, either. :) People who would buy Robotech have probably seen it, and thus summarizing the content would be silly. So would story synopses....and for those that HAVEN'T seen Robotech but are curious, well there are PLENTY of websites about it, starting with http://www.robotech.com for one.
What I will say is that as an 11-year-old, I was first exposed to Robotech on school day mornings while waiting for the bus. I picked it up on the third Macross episode, "Space Fold", and hopped on for the dozens-of-episodes ride from there, watching it even when it went back to the beginning after the somewhat bizarre ending of the Invid Invasion series...now, almost 15 years later, after watching the first boxset of Robotech, the same interest and liking of the story and characters is still there. I still think Rick is wishy-washy, I still want to beat up Minmei, I still ...well, that's a spoiler isn't it. ;) But all those same feelings of watching this series are still there, even after dozens of times watching my VHS tapes.
The footage may be hacked, and the stories may be hodge-podged from three series, and some uptight anime fans may not like Robotech, or me for daring to review it, but as I said at the beginning, I was a Robotech fan for far longer than I've been an anime fan, and ADV's release of the first dozen Macross Saga episodes hasn't changed my mind away from that one bit. I cannot wait for the remainder of the series...!
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