Southern Cross / Genesis Climber Mospeada: Double Pack - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: TV-PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 59.98
  • Running time: 1200
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (Mixed/Unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Southern Cross, Mospeada, Genesis Climber Box Set

Southern Cross / Genesis Climber Mospeada: Double Pack

By Bryce Coulter     July 06, 2009
Release Date: October 21, 2008


Southern Cross / Mospeada Double Pack
© ADV Films

A double-pack of classic anime (Robotech) goodness…

What They Say:
Southern Cross
The year is 2120, and the planet Gloire has been successfully colonized by descendents of Earth, who set about to establish new, self-sustaining outposts to keep the human race alive following a near fatal apocalyptic war on Earth. However, these colonists are unprepared for the return of the Zor, the original inhabitants of the planet, who left in the wake of a similarly devastating war that turned their world into a harsh, uninhabitable wasteland.

Genesis Climber Mospeada
The Earth has been invaded by the mysterious Inbit, and it's up to a handful of survivors from Mars Colony to liberate the planet. After an unsuccessful first attempt to retake the Earth, the inhabitants of Mars Base are ready to try again. Unfortunately, it's been many years since they have been to Earth and they miscalculate both the strength of the enemy and the strength of the Earth forces - with disastrous results.

The Review
Audio:

To fully appreciate this collection, one has to break it into two separate pieces.  This section will break down my opinion of the audio featured in both collections.  In summary, you will find that both collections are clean and clear of any audio distortions, but lack in any true stereo directionality.

Southern Cross
The audio for Southern Cross is in Japanese and is listed as being in stereo.  It was difficult to discern that stereo features as the audio track does not provide any noticeable directional effects. The center channel pretty much does most of the work.  One has to wonder if this is true mono track.  Other than that, the audio for the series does well.  There were no noticeable distortions, drop-outs, or other problems.

Mospeada
As with Southern Cross, the audio is presented in the Japanese language format.  As with Southern Cross, the stereo sound provides little directional effect.  The soundtrack was clear and distortion free.  The audio holds up well even though the center channel does most of the work.

Video:
As with the audio, you have to look at each collection separately to appreciate the video content.  Here you will find some big differences in quality between the two series as Southern Cross’s video quality falls short of the video quality found in Mospeada.

Southern Cross
The video quality varies throughout Southern Cross from average to fair.  I think that this has more to do with the original transfer.   Southern Cross really shows it’s age as you can visually see grain, dust, scratches, and other defects throughout the entire series.  The colors in the series felt a bit faded and didn’t quite pop out.  You could also see some mpeg and macro compression evident in the darker scenes or space scenes. The video does not ruin the viewing experience, but does become a bit annoying.  This is especially true for those who are used to the newly remastered Robotech version.

Mospeada
The video here is very impressive as compared to Southern Cross.  It looks almost as good as its remastered Robotech counterpart.  You will find the occasional scratch and screen jitter.  This probably came from the original transfer. Colors were solid and a lot more vibrant than Southern Cross. As with Southern Corss, Mospeada does have mpeg and macro compression evident in the dark scenes. 

Packaging:
The packaging for the two collections is comprised of two multi-alpha brick packs.  So, I guess you could call it a concrete block pack.  This collection does have a thick cardboard case/wrap that allows you to put both brick packs together.  Each side features popular images that any Robotech fan would recognize along with the titles for each series.  The spine of the case also features some additional art of the main characters, minus Stig,  The boxart is not the most inspiring, but is effective in describing what it contains.  It would be nice to have has this collection put into a smaller multi-disc cases.  Needless to say, this collection is going to eat up shelf space. 
 
Southern Cross
The Southern Cross collection is housed in a five disc brick. The box design and artwork for the collection closely resembles that of the single series release.  On the front cover is a shot of a Sparta and a Bioroid.  The logo appears prominently across the top portion of the front cover.  I’ve always been a bit curious about this artwork as it appears as if both mecha are abandoned as there is a lot of cobwebs that descend from both and that there is rubble from the Bioroid lying on the ground.  I assume that it is supposed to give the viewer the impression of a long war. The back cover features a short series synopsis, disc specifications, and a couple of clips from the series.  The spine features an image of one of the Southern Cross Army soldiers.

Mospeada
Mospeada collection is also housed in a five disc brick pack.  As with the Southern Cross Collection, the box design and artwork for the collection closely resembles that of the single series release.  The front cover features Ray, Mint, Houquet, Yellow, a Mospeada, and a Legoiss.  This is all set in front of a destroyed city.   The image is a bit busy and does not feature Stig anywhere on the front cover.  I suppose he is in the Legoiss.  The back cover features a short series synopsis, disc specifications, and a couple of clips from the series.  The spine features an image of Yellow equipped with the Mospeada armor on. 

Menus:

Since both series are completely different, it is only fair that each be judged independently.  The edge goes to the Mospeada menu as it is a slight bit more entertaining and creative in its design.

Southern Cross
The menus for this collection are straight to the point and simply designed. The episode titles are listed to the right of some line art from the show. A segment from the opening song loops in the background. There are no scene selection options available.  The main menu is quick and very easy to navigate.

Mospeada
The menus are static and feature one song playing continuously. From the main menu you can select the episodes or view the character bios. As with Southern Cross, there are no scene selection options available. The main menu was quick and easy to navigate

Extras:
One thing to note here is that liner notes and printed extras are not included, which is big downer as the previous brick packs for each collection had them included. Many releases today are now beginning to include all the extras.  Nothing has really changed in the format of the two collections and not having the printed extras is a real shame.  It almost makes you want to go and locate the individual brick packs instead of getting them all in one collection.  Anyone heard of .PDF’s .  I would be up for having them on the disc!

Southern Cross
Disc four contains previews for some old ADV titles. There are clean versions for the opening and ending sequences on disc 5. Also included is a production portfolio of sketches from the series with a piece of music playing in the background. 

Mospeada
On the first disc there are character bios for the main characters.  The second disc has the clean opening and closing segments from the series.  The third disc provides features a production portfolio full of line art that has some music from the series play as each image is displayed.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers). 
So much has been written about Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospeada, that you could spend weeks pouring through forums and web pages of content written about both.  You’ll find plenty of discussion about which one is better and how it all relates to Robotech.

Here in the US, it is hard to not think of Robotech when you hear Southern Cross and Mospeada.  In short, Southern Cross and Mospeada were instrumental in making the Robotech franchise what it is today.  Carl Macek blended three anime series Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada into what many of us who grew up in the 80’s know as Robotech.  When it comes to Robotech you cannot forget the highly regarded Macross series, but this review is neither about Robtech nor Macross.  If you are unfamiliar with Robotech, then you need to brush up on your anime classics. 

Southern Cross
Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross was the third Japanese anime series released under the "Super Dimension" moniker by the sponsor Big West. It was preceded by Super Dimensional Fortress Macross and Super Dimension Century Orguss.  Southern Cross was the least successful of the Super Dimensional series and was cancelled. 

The premise for this story is focused on Jeanne Fránçaix who is the leader of the 15th Squad in the Southern Cross' Alpha Tactics Armored Corp, a band of misfits and drop-outs.  Jeanne is a free spirit who does not fit the role of commanding officer.  She is also very impulsive and rash as she doesn't take her duty seriously.   Most of the series revolves around Jeanne's escapades with the 15th Squad, and her almost personal war with the invading Zor. 

The series struggles with a somewhat shallow cast as there is not a lot of time devoted to their development.  Mary Angel and Lana Isavia are Jeanne’s protégés in the series.  Both characters are setup decently, but we lose track of them as the story develops.  This also goes for other supporting characters such as Bowie, Andrzej, and Louis who are members of the 15th squad.  There is plenty of action, but the supporting character development is shallow at best.  The latter half of the series tends to focus on Jeanne and her relationship with the Seifriet.

Sometimes it’s hard to make a connection with the main cast as it is hard to determine where things are going for them.  The war effort and how it affects Major General Rolf Emerson is the most tragic of the series.  His sense of duty is taken advantage of by Supreme Commander Leonard and ultimately ends in his demise.  In fact, the war depicted in this series is pretty hardcore as there is a lot of death and destruction.  The ending was lackluster at best.

I think Southern Cross could have been a much better series if it had been given a few more episodes to really conclude the series.  It does a decent job of portraying the cruelty of war and how headstrong leaders can cause a war to drag onward.  This series was heavily edited by Harmony Gold when with was adapted into The Robotech saga and it is easy to understand why.  After viewing this series, I still prefer the Robotech version.

Mospeada

Genesis Climber Mospeada was created by Shinki Aramki and Hideki Kakunuma in late 1983.  MOSPEADA stands for Military Operation Soldier Protection Emergency Aviation Dive Armor.  Mospeada is mecha lover’s dream and is often held in very high regard in its Robotech adaptation.  Some fans argue that it is better than Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.

The story takes place in the 21st century where pollution and overpopulation becomes a major problem.  Humans have colonized the Moon and Mars as a result of overpopulation.  An alien race called the Inbit invaded the Earth and wipe out most of the population.  The Inbit set up their main base of operations in the Great Lakes area of North America called "Reflex Point".  For the next 30 years, the Inbit have been able to fight off all attempts by the Mars Base forces to reclaim Earth. 

Mospeada focuses on a rag-tag group of freedom fighters led by Stig Bernard.  Stig was part of the Second Earth Recapture Force that failed to free the Earth.  During that invasion, Stig loses his fiancée Marlene and is marooned on Earth where he crash lands somewhere in South America.   This sets up a great premise as the hero of the series is determined to do all it takes to remove the Inbit from Earth. 

You will find ample character development for the main cast as they make their way toward “Reflex Point”.  This is what really makes Mospeada shine as we really get to see what makes each character tick.  From Mint’s quest for finding the “right man” to Jim overcoming his cowardice, you’ll find that Mospeada has a lot to offer.   Ray and Houquet add further balance to the team along with their cat/mouse relationship.  And who can forget Yellow, the cross dressing pop star of the series. 

The mecha action is balanced with just the right amount of character and plot development.  Did I mention mecha action?  The Mospeada and the Armo-Fighter AFC-01 Legioss are the coolest things next to the VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter from The Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

The second half of the series reveals the Inbits quest for finding a suitable place to evolve into more complex beings.  Stig’s quest for vengeance is also challenged as Aisha, a female Inbid, joins their group. They soon realize that their endeavor actually threatens to cause the extinction of both humans and Inbits. 

I really enjoyed reviewing Mospeada.  It is very polished series.  You can see why it wasn’t altered much by Harmony Gold and Carl Macek when it was adapted into the Robotech saga.  Mospeada can definitely hold its own as compared to a lot of newer anime series today.  It is a great classic that every anime fan should have on their shelf.  The only negative that I have is how the series ends with Stig leaving the Earth.  I like the Robotech verison better even though it is not too terribly different!

Summary
This is a great collection for those who have not had a chance to view these anime classics in their non-Robotech format.  Southern Cross was an entertaining series, but failed to really finish on strong footing.  Mospeada is the exact opposite in that it contains just the right blend of plot, character development , and action.  It’s a shame that the extras included in this collection are very sparse as both of the series deserve it.  If you have the separate collections, then this something that you should pass on.  However, if you’ve never seen Southern Cross or Mospeada, then you should consider picking up this collection of anime history that was instrumental in making anime a success in the US. 

Features:

Japanese Language, English Subtitles, Textless Openings & Endings, Character Encyclopedias

Review Equipment
Samsung UN40B6000V 40” LED HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Samsung HT-WS1R/XAA 2.1home theater Sound Bar Speaker System with Wireless Subwoofer

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