Reviewby Bamboo Dong,
DVD Vol. 7: A New Threat
The Robotech saga, a combination of Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada, is being re-released by ADV to a new generation of anime fans. In volume seven of the DVDs, the cast and setting switch from Macross to that of Southern Cross, introducing the viewer to Lieutenant Dana Sterling. She commands the new generation of Robotech pilots, the decendants of the original pilots. Meanwhile, Earth is being threatened by the Robotech Masters, the entities that introduced the science of Robotechnology, and the overlords of the Zentradi (who were defeated a generation ago by the advent of the SDF Macross). This volume is the exciting journey of Dana's experiences as an officer, and her encounters with Earth's new enemy.
Containing six episodes on one disc, ADV is doing a great job of packaging for Robotech. The episodes themselves are dubbed only, which is fine by me considering the original state they were released in. What's interesting about Robotech is the way that Harmony Gold spliced three anime series together. Various aspects of each series are seen interspersed with each other, which match surprisingly well, and although there are a few plot inconsistencies here and there, that can be expected. For the most part, the individual episodes are virtually self-contained, so one could start in the middle of the series and be able to pick up the story without a hitch. This is especially nice for those who don't expect to watch the series from the beginning due to either missed episodes (as in the original Robotech run), financial shortages (I assume I'm not the only anime fan in the world who is in a constant state of poverty from the expansion of my collection), or other reasons. Of course, it would be better if one could watch the entire series, though, as there are certain references to the "first generation" that are lost if one doesn't start the episodes from the beginning. Generally, the Macross elements of the series are incorporated in the beginning of the series. Later on, the Macross world is only a reference, as the time continuum shifts to the Southern Cross world. Either way, Robotech is a nice blend of the series, considering the good job Harmony Gold did of splicing and reconnecting the series.
Watching Robotech, it's hard to determine what aspects were from what series, or if they were from any series at all, so I'll just discuss everything in terms of Robotech itself. For one, the musical score was thouroughly enjoyable. Every time a battle was being waged, the background was filled with the majestic orchestrations reminiscent of any space saga ever produced, whether it be animated or live action. Overall, the music was just fun, if it could be described as such. The pieces matched the scenes well, and as I stated previously, there seemed always to be a touch of grandiosness inherent in all space-centered dramas.
Although I'm a confessed lamenter of dubs, the English track of Robotech wasn't as bothersome as much as could have been expected. True enough, there were characters that I felt had the voiced personalities of old, damp rags, but there were others that did a rather good job. Some of the side characters in particular did a wonderful job. Maybe it was their fun-filled one-liners, or maybe it was their buoyant personalities, or maybe it was just the acting talent; either way, some of the minor characters' voices became more likeable than the main characters' . While listening to the dub, it just seemed as though the characters were coming alive with their traits of camaraderie and high spirits. Once the number of people on the screen was reduced, though, so was the acting talent. It seemed as the actors weren't nearly as convincing when they were carrying a brief dialogue or monologue. Together, though, they were fine. I particularly enjoyed it when a certain soldier remarked cheerfully, "Well, when you gotta go, you gotta go, so let's go!" The entire mood of good spirits within the squadron could be summed up in just that line.
If there was one minor element for me to complain about, it would be the animation. Being as how the series are relatively old, the jerky motions of the characters can be excused. However, at times, the character designs are often inconsistent even within a single scene. There were times when the placement of a character's facial features would even change. Although odd at first, it quickly became amusing after awhile watching the different changes a person would undergo in a scene. Despite that, the art was pretty good. I've always liked the shading of characters in anime, as compared to the largely monotoned colors of American animation aimed for television. And, once again, I found myself in awe staring at all the mechas flying around. Mechas have never failed to excite me, and Robotech is no exception given the vast quantity running about (the characters even have personal mecha suits!).
After watching Robotech, it's no surprise why the show garnered such a large fan following the first time out. Filled with fun characters and exciting scenes, it's a great choice for mecha fans and those who want to know what all the fuss is about. Even though the plot is a little shaky at times, the fusion of Macross and Southern Cross is done rather skillfully, adorning Robotech with some of the coolest mechas ever designed. This series is recommend to all fans of anime, as there has to be at least one aspect of it that will appeal to everyone, whether it's the characters, the mechas, the music, or even just the fast moving story line. And, for those people who have not yet been inducted into the world of anime, this may be a good time to start.
Overall (dub) : B-
Animation : B-
Art : B-
Music : B+
+ Great orchestrations a la 'ye olde space dramas'
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