Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: D+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 300
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Robotech

Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition Vol. #01

By Luis Cruz     May 22, 2004
Release Date: January 27, 2004


Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition Vol. #01
© ADV Films


What They Say
Contains the first 12 episodes completely remastered on two discs with a handsome art box!

1999: A massive alien battlecruiser crash-lands on Earth in the midst of a bloody global war. With the possibility of a more perilous threat looming, the human race puts aside their differences and collectively undertakes the arduous task of rebuilding the spacecraft, redubbed the SDF-1, to defend the Earth should its extraterrestrial masters come to reclaim it.

Eventually, the alien Zentraedi invade Earth to collect the SDF-1 and the technology it contains, forcing the inexperienced crew, including hotshot pilot Rick Hunter and his war hero mentor Roy Fokker, to launch the battlecruiser into war - a war that will cross generations, stretch across the farthest reaches of the universe and turn ordinary soldiers into extraordinary heroes.

The Review!
ADV has released the Harmony Gold digitally remastered the classic Robotech series, and it has never looked or sounded so good.

Audio:
My primary viewing session consisted of the English audio track and can best be summed up by saying "Wow!" The remastered the audio into an amazing 5.1 track. The numerous battle sequences give the front and rear soundstages quite a workout. While the audio track has been enhanced, it still retains the distinctive sounds that place the series in the mid-1980s. There were no noticeable dropouts or distortions, but one spot of dialogue did seem to be mixed a bit lower than the rest.

You will recognize a lot of voices in the English track, as many of them are still working in the industry today. My particular favorite is Tony Oliver who does the voice of Rick Hunter; one of his current jobs is providing the voice for Geneon's release of Lupin the Third. Some of the lines he utters to Minmei make me laugh, as I cannot help but envision Lupin saying them while trying to put a move on her. For the Spanish speaking audience, they will find the Spanish audio track equally enjoyable and rich as the English track.

Video:
From the credits, Harmony Gold appears to be using the footage restored by Shin Kurokawa for AnimEigo's Macross release. Having watched the show on countless TV broadcasts, this is simply the best I have ever seen the material. While some grain is still present, the transfer is free of scratches and other print defects. While the restored footage has its detractors, the series looks fabulous to my eyes and shows off a lot of detail and colors.

Packaging:
Two keep cases come packaged in a sturdy cardboard box; the box features Roy Fokker's Valkyrie on one side and Rick Hunter in his flight uniform on the other. It is a very well designed box; the images are sharp and have a metallic background that draws the eye to it. The individual cases have a picture of Rick Hunter and Minmei on the front covers; the back covers contain the requisite episode summaries and disc specifications. Inside is a one-page insert containing the front cover image on one side and an episode listing on the other.

Menu:
Clean and simple, the main menu has a piece of animation and music looping in the background. The menu options are along the right side of the screen; there are no transition delays switching between menus, and the sub-menus contain a static image and a piece of looping music.

Extras:
The box set comes with a pack of collectible Robotech trading cards. They are very nice cards, but where is an interview with Carl Macek, the man behind bringing the series to the US? This remastered set is screaming for some commentary or interviews with the men behind the rewrites.

Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Many an adolescent afternoon of mine was spent watching the first Robotech saga when it initially aired on US TV. I was instantly hooked on the series and never missed a chance to watch it as it re-aired on various channels over the years. So, here I stand nearly twenty years later with ADV's first remastered box set of the series. Having finally seen the original source material via AnimEigo's Macross box set, I was eager to see how Robotech stood up against it and if it could still hold up on its own.

For those not at all familiar with the story, the first Robotech saga revolves around a massive alien ship that crashed to Earth in 1999. After years of war, humanity bands together to try to learn its secrets. Eventually, humanity manages to harness the mysteries of the "Robotech" technology, building transformable jet fighters and restoring the original ship to working condition. By the laws of the plot gods set forth eons ago, this means that the Zentradi, the aliens that originally built the ship, arrive at the moment of its first launch to recapture the ship.

After being invited to the christening ceremonies by ace pilot and friend Roy Fokker, the young Rick Hunter finds himself unwillingly caught up in an intergalactic war. The SDF-1, as the ship has been christened, performs an emergency space fold leaving Rick, the crew of the SDF-1, and the entire population of Macross City stranded in deep space, alone and outnumbered.

With aliens and giant mecha, Robotech appears on the surface to be a standard action series. However, it chooses to focus on how the characters and humanity deal with the reality of war rather than focusing on the war itself. Despite being violently ripped from their home planet, the citizens of Macross City choose to face the uncertain future the best way the can by rebuilding their city inside the SDF-1. While the war rages on outside, they attempt to carve out a sense of normality; restaurants are reopened, beauty pageants held, and media idols created.

Inside the ship, life begins anew and thrives forming a beautiful dichotomy with the events occurring outside of the SDF-1. Constantly hounded by the Zentradi, the military forces of the SDF-1 suffer numerous casualties and losses. While the civilians see nothing but life in front of them, the soldiers constantly face the grim reality of death.

Another element that has kept the series relevant throughout the years is the relationships between the characters themselves. The first twelve episodes in this set build the basic relationships that continue throughout the series. They focus on the feelings of love Rick has for the clueless Minmei despite her ambivalent feelings towards him; they also focus on the SDF-1 crew growing into a tight-knit family. Rick unwillingly begins to become a dedicated leader though the burden of having people's lives in his hands weighs heavy on him.

We also begin to learn about the Zentradi culture and how the behavior of humanity shocks and confuses them. They desperately want to recapture the SDF-1 unharmed for reasons unclear. We begin to see hints of why they are relentlessly hunting the SDF-1 and its crew as the set draws to a close.

With it broadcast on US TV, the dialogue for the dub was naturally toned down and altered. Despite sounding corny or contrived at times, the dialogue manages to retain the core of the plot and allows the original story to still shine through. The one annoying aspect is the narration that occurs throughout. At times, it states things that were best left unsaid, as it gives away some key plot elements yet to be properly developed.

For this classic series, they've gone the extra mile and has restored all of the footage that was left of the TV broadcast. Yes, that means you can finally see Minmei's famous shower scene in the Robotech context. Even after twenty years, this series can draw me into it without a second thought; the storyline impressed me in my youth and has lost none of its appeal. Perhaps I am being over nostalgic, but I still heartily recommend this atypical galactic war story.

In Summary:
ADV has taken the classic Robotech series and polished it up nicely for the latest generation of anime fans. It looks and sounds better than it ever has; even though the dialogue is still a bit cheesy, the core of the series still shines through and holds up well to this day. With all the footage restored, you owe it yourself to check out the series that helped solidify the mecha as an anime staple.

Features
English 5.1 Language,English 2.0 Language,Spanish 2.0 Language

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Pioneer DVL-919, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable

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