by Chris Shepard,



Robotech DVD 8
As the Robotech Defense Forces struggle to keep the Robotech Masters from establishing a foothold on Earth, the true nature of Protoculture and the consequences for those who control its secrets are slowly revealed. Combat gives way to strategy and misguided diplomacy as the Second Robotech War shifts into high gear.
As the back of the packaging claims, Robotech is a classic American television program that helped introduce an entirely new generation to the magic of anime. For those who aren't in the know, Robotech is actually composed of three originally separate series from Japan: Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospedia. Carl Macek, the main man behind the entire Robotech legacy of the 80's, had to mold these three shows all into one in order to interest network broadcasters into showing it on TV. Back in those days, networks were only interested in cartoons that spanned to about 80 episodes or so. With Macek's goal to get these programs on TV, he had no other choice.

Robotech DVD volume 8 is actually the second volume of “The Masters” saga (or Southern Cross) which starts with Robotech episode 37 and runs until episode 60. This specific volume contains episodes 43-48 and reaches the halfway point of the series.

Before this review travels any further into the content itself, ADV's production must be mentioned. They have done yet another fine job on the packaging. As usual, their cover looks attractive and enticing. Their menu system used on the disc is straightforward and does its job well.

As with the proceeding volumes, there are no extras on this disc at all. ADV loading all of their extras onto separate discs, which are being released with every two volumes, only available in their respective boxsets.

As with every previous Robotech DVD release before it, volume 8's video is simply horrid. It looks like it's been mastered from an 80's videotape found in a rental store that's been watched 10,000 times beforehand. Colors are washed out, grain is everywhere, and the video itself to shake sometimes. There's also the dust and specs found on the video itself. Any vibrancy is totally non-existent. Don't expect to show off any of these Robotech discs to your friends to show off the possible capabilities of the great DVD.

Robotech's main selling point is definitely its nostalgic value. Back in '85, it trod new grounds with elements found in no other animation before it. Themes such as love, infatuation, death, and politics were almost taboo in the animated arts on American television. Robotech, backed by its extreme popularity, helped change this all. Robotech remains highly respected for all that it has done to help anime in America.

Macross is the most popular portion of Robotech, with the other two series, Southern Cross and Mospedia, far behind it. Robotech fans generally agree that the Southern Cross part was the least entertaining among the three. Even in Japan, the series was canceled midway through. But despite the negative opinions floating around it, it's not actually that bad at all.

The Masters, or Southern Cross, has a very in depth plot and great characterization which helps separate and put it above a lot of its competition. The characters are very well fleshed out. Viewers are even given an inside look on the antagonists themselves and are left to wonder if they should really be considered an enemy at all. Political elements of both fighting sides are a main element here. As for the main characters, specifically Dana and Bowie, they have motivations, problems, underlying sadness, and goals of their own.

A negative point of this Robotech portion is that it's really difficult to form a good attachment to any of the main characters thus far. Dana so often comes off as an annoying whiner and Bowie seems a little too fickle at times. Robotech does a good job fleshing them out but also makes them very hard to like.

Robotech, mainly any part of it, is not very well known for its animation qualities. Though fighting and mecha battles do take place, they aren't very well animated and being spoiled on today's offerings, aren't very exciting either. Battles are choppy and the amount of animation frames is exceedingly low. With its very tight budget, it's a good thing that plot is emphasized as much as it is.

Character designs are standard and not notably attractive. Nothing makes them stand out very well. However, as far as the mecha goes, that's a different story. All of the mechanical fighters and ships look quite refined especially those of the Robotech Masters.

So far, “The Masters” saga has proven itself to quite entertaining. However, keeping in mind the shoddy quality of the DVD, unless you're a Robotech nostalgic, recommending this is tough compared to the rest of the competition available.

Overall (dub) : B
Animation : C-
Art : B-
Music : B+

+ Interesting story, the nostalgia factor.
Horrible DVD quality, characters can be annoying.

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