Robotech Remastered Extended Edition Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Manga UK
  • MSRP: £16.99
  • 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. #02

By Bryan Morton     December 30, 2005
Release Date: November 14, 2005


Robotech Remastered Extended Edition Vol. #02
© Manga UK


What They Say
THE SECOND INSTALLMENT OF THE GROUNDBREAKING SERIES THAT LAUNCHED ANIME IN THE WEST COMES TO UK HOME DVD FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

It's the year 1999, and Earth is embroiled in a Global War that is systematically destroying every country involved. However, the year brings great change to Earth in the form of a giant alien spaceship that astronomers have discovered hurtling towards Earth. It crashes in the South Pacific, on Macross Island, and soon the Global War has stopped and the world's best scientists have devoted themselves to restoring the technologically advanced battle fortress that has fallen to Earth. Ten years later, Project Robotech has been completed, and the SDF-1 is ready for its maiden voyage. Unfortunately, the SDF-1 has attracted a Zentraedi armada who want to claim the ship as their own. So, a war begins with Captain Gloval struggling to defend the ship with the alien technology of the SDF-1 as the men of the Earth's Veritech Fighters, led by Lieutenant Commander Roy Fokker, struggle to keep up with the superior alien firepower. An involving and exciting space opera that has been immensely popular since its release, ROBOTECH is a landmark anime series.

This special collector's edition includes digitally re-mastered episodes 13-24 of the THE MACROSS SAGA, the first stunning chapter in the epic 85 episode ROBOTECH series as well as a wealth of supplementary material including never before seen footage and out takes as well as new opening and closing credits.

Episodes Comprise
13 – Blue Wind
14 – Gloval's Report
15 – Homecoming
16 – Battle Cry
17 – Phantasm
18 – Farewell Big Brother
19 – Bursting Point
20 – Paradise Lost
21 – A New Dawn
22 – Battle Hymn
23 – Reckless
24 - Showdown

The Review!
After a lacklustre first volume, Robotech finds its footing and becomes much more watchable.

Audio:
The audio on this release is provided in English-only, and has been remastered into 5.1 surround, helping to add some depth and direction to the show's sound effects. Unfortunately, the background 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.

Video:
Robotech Remastered uses the restored masters created by Animeigo for their release of Macross & is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The restoration work done means the show is free of any of the usual signs of old age, while the DVD transfer is clean, with no signs of any encoding problems. The animation style clearly shows its early 80's origins though, with low frame-rates, a lack of detail in many scenes, and character designs that aren't particularly appealing. All things considered, though, the transfer is pretty good. There was no repeat of the playback problems I had with Volume One.

Packaging:
No packaging was provided with our review copy.

Menu:
Strangely in 16:9 format when the rest of the disc is in 4:3, the menus here are very simple. An image of one of the main characters (Ben on disc one, Max on disc two) is projected on the walls of the 'room' used by the menus, while a video clip runs on a table in the centre of the room. There are only two options, Play All and Episode Selection, with the camera's point of view shifting depending on which option you choose. The opening theme plays throughout. There are short transition animations when selecting options which slow things down a bit, but the menus are clear and easy to use.

Extras:
None

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Volume Two of Robotech kicks off with the SDF-1's return to Earth, although sadly for those on board it's far from being a triumphant event. In an attempt to hide the appearance of the Zentraedi from the public, the United Earth Government has created a cover story, part of which involved claiming that Macross Island had been destroyed. If the Macross City survivors were allowed to return to Earth, the government would be shown up as liars, so Gloval is ordered not to allow the civilians off his ship. Before this happens, though, Minmei is allowed to travel to Japan to see her family, and returns to the ship with her cousin Kyle. His attitude to Minmei and the war soon finds him earning the suspicion and enmity of a number of the SDF-1's crew, not least Rick.

Minmei gets a lot less screen time in these episodes than she did in the first volume, which is no bad thing – with her becoming more and more successful in her showbiz career, she's becoming more and more bratty as time goes on (to be fair, probably a fairly realistic reaction to her position for a 16-year-old). Add that to the frustration caused by Kyle's near-constant presence, and Rick begins to wonder if he's really as interested in her as he first thought. It's a feeling that grows stronger as the disc progresses, and I'll admit to being a little surprised at who seems to be being lined up as the replacement love interest.

While Gloval deals with the political fallout of their return home, Roy, Rick and the other pilots continue to defend the ship from regular Zentraedi attacks, and those attacks are beginning to create significant casualties. There are a number of high-profile deaths in these episodes (I'm not going to spoil who), with the destruction caused by the fighting having a number of consequences for those on the ship & their hopes of returning home. It's good to see that Robotech doesn't appear to be afraid of dealing with the consequences of war, although some events do feel a little glossed over at times.

The real meat of the story here comes from the Zentraedi, though, with a number of plot threads involving Zentraedi characters coming together to really challenge the “them versus us” nature of the war so far. First up there's Bron, Rico and Konda, the Zentraedi spies. Their experiences on board the SDF-1 convince them that life is better with the humans than it is with their own kind, and they're not shy about telling their shipmates that when they finally have to return home. That begins to have repercussions later on, as Khyron (who is as determined as ever to destroy the SDF-1 with or without orders from his superiors) begins to find his troops defecting to the humans as a result of what they've heard. Miria also finds herself drawn to the humans, but for a different reason – her search for the human who managed to defeat her in battle leads her to Max, who on meeting her is convinced he's just met his ideal woman.

While some Zentraedi are beginning to develop an understanding of humans, though, their commanding officers aren't. Dolza, frightened by a movie showing humans defeating Zentraedi warriors with amazing ease (the concept of “fiction” is new to him), orders Breetai to plan the complete destruction on the human race. Will he be ready to carry out his orders before all his troops defect to the humans?

At times it's quite hard to keep track of everyone involved here – there are a lot of characters with significant roles, and often several threads of the story will come together in the same scene, so you do need to pay attention to what's going on. That said, the story is beginning to build up nicely towards a climax, and it's hanging together quite well. There are one or two inconsistencies here and there (for example, in one episode we're told it's been two years since the SDF-1 left Earth, while in the next it's down to 12 months), but nothing too serious.

There are two “recap” episodes in this volume (Gloval's Report and Phantasm). Normally that would be cause for an outcry, but with 10 other story-heavy episodes here it's not really an issue.

In Summary:
After a first volume that I found very hard to warm to, Robotech is beginning to pick up speed nicely, and these episodes are a lot more enjoyable than the earlier ones. A number of separate plot threads are being woven together in a way that works really well, and a number of characters are being noticeably affected by the events playing out around them. The next volume closes out the “Macross Saga” portion of Robotech – there's still a fair amount that needs to be resolved, and I'm now looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

Features
English Language 5.1

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

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