Robotech: New Generation Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: 14.99
  • Running time: 300
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Robotech

Robotech: New Generation Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     August 18, 2006
Release Date: July 31, 2006

Robotech: New Generation Vol. #1
© Manga UK

What They Say
In the aftermath of the war with the Robotech Masters, the Invid arrive on Earth to lay waste to the already battle-weary armies of the Southern Cross. Led by the Regis, their supreme ruler, the protoplasmic Invid turn Earth into a massive slave colony. Admiral Rick Hunter, leading an expeditionary force in search of the Robotech Masters' homeworld, sends reinforcements to help reclaim the Earth.

After a spectacular battle, the expedition force is decimated, forcing Lt. Scott Bernard to assemble a ragtag squad of insurrectionists to liberate the Earth.

Episodes Comprise
61 - The Invid Invasion
62 - The Lost City
63 - Lonely Soldier Boy
64 - Survival
65 - Curtain Call
66 - Hard Times
67 - Paper Hero
68 - Eulogy
69 - The Genesis Pits
70 - Enter Marlene
71 - The Secret Route
72 - The Fortress

The Review!
Robotech moves into its final arc (for now), with the arrival of the Invid and the enslavement of the Earth. Although as slavedrivers go, the Invid seem a fairly relaxed bunch...

As with the previous releases in the series, the audio on this release is provided in English only, and has been remastered into 5.1 surround. This helps to add some depth and direction to the show's sound effects, although battle effects are sometimes boosted to the point where you can't hear much else, while the dialogue has been left rooted to the centre channel. More could probably have been done with the soundtrack to bring the series alive, and this is something of a missed opportunity.

Based on 1983's Mospeada, New Generation is presented in its original 1.33:1 fullframe aspect, and has been remastered as for the previous Robotech series. The video quality holds up quite well for its age - colours come across well, and while there are some visible nicks and scratches it's generally a good-quality restoration job.

No packaging was provided with our review copy.

You would think you were playing a racing game at first, as the disc loads with the "camera" racing down an abandoned road before coming to a halt in from of the disc options. With no extras or language options, just Play All and Episode Select options are provided (plus Trailers on disc two of the set), the menus are as straightforward to use as you could hope for. There's a short transition animation when you select your option, which always annoy me as they slow disc access down unnecessarily, but otherwise no problems here.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The Masters have gone, but in their place the evil Invid have invaded the Earth " it's the only place where they've been able to locate a supply of protoculture, as substance essential for their continued survival, and so the remaining humans on Earth are enslaved and used by the Invid to keep them supplied with the protoculture they need.

Having learnt of the Earth's fate, Admiral Rick Hunter sends an attack force to Earth to take on the Invid and free the planet from their oppression. It's a great idea in theory, but in practice it soon turns into a disaster, as sheer weight of numbers allows the Invid to decimate the arriving fleet in just one short battle. Lieutenant Scott Bernard, a Veritech fighter pilot with the fleet, manages to survive the battle, and soon finds himself standing on the surface of mankind's home planet " a planet he's never before seen. Determined to complete his mission of destroying Reflex Point " the Invid's base on Earth " Scott soon finds himself gathering a small band of freedom fighters around him, and the Invid soon become aware that they have a new threat on their hands.

In a nutshell, that's basic setup of New Generation. This release covers the first half of the series, by which point Scott's merry band of rebels is essentially complete and suitably tooled up. The first three episodes cover the formation of the group " one of the first to join is little red-haired orphan Annie (who fortunately doesn't go around singing "It's a Hard Knock Life"), as the series keeps to that old anime tradition of having at least one annoying kid of doubtful usefulness on the scene. More relevant to mounting a war against the Invid are Lancer (male resistance fighter by day, female singer Yellow Dancer by night), Rand (another resistance fighter who is the first person Scott meets after crash-landing his fighter), Rook Bartley (a rather withdrawn but attractive Cyclone pilot) and Lunk (who looks like a dumb galoot but was a qualified bio-maintenance engineer before the Invid invasion " and conveniently comes with his own Alpha fighter). Quite the rag-tag team, and it's never really explained why most of the group decide to join up with Scott, but once they're together a certain level of loyalty soon develops amongst the group and they work together quite well " although even by the end of disc I was still wondering just what purpose Annie was meant to be serving.

The other part of the setting that didn't quite make sense was how the Invid were running the planet. For all the talk of mankind's slavery that's given at various points here, most of the time it feels like life goes on pretty much as normal " people are working, humans are running their own affairs, leisure and luxury are still common (otherwise Lancer wouldn't be doing such good business as a pop star), disgruntled youth form gangs and annoy people " there's barely any feel that humanity's oppressed or enslaved. The Invid do pop up occasionally and cause some problems, but their appearances have more of the feel of hit-and-run attacks, and not of them being Earth's all-conquering invaders. The end result is that the premise feels a little bit off, and not quite right.

Once the introductory episodes are out of the way, the gang begin to make their way towards Reflex Point. The further they travel and the more contact they have with the Invid, the more the Invid Regess (their queen, if you like) begins to take an interest in their actions. For a race that wiped out the arriving human fleet in a matter of minutes, you would think that dealing with a small band of rebels would be a trivial problem, but not so " Scott and his new friends are skilled fighters and well-equipped, so for the most part they hold their own fairly well. As the story progresses, it also becomes clearer that the Invid may not be so much unable to deal with them as they are eager to use them for their own ends, and there are a few twists in the story as that side of the Regess's plot is worked on.

Compared to the Macross and Masters story arcs, New Generation probably sits in between them in entertainment value " there's more going on here than there was in Masters, but the epic feel that the Macross Saga captured so well is still sadly missing. It's all presented well on screen, especially given the age of the source materials, but the lack of any unexpected surprises means the interest quickly wanes if you watch more than a few episodes at a time.

In summary:
For all that New Generation has its interesting moments, it doesn't quite manage to grab the attention as well as it could " the story for the most part doesn't do anything unusual, while the characters play very much to established anime stereotypes. The low price does make it worth a look, but it doesn't quite make the "essential purchase" category.

English 5.1 Language

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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