Robotech Remastered - Volume 2 Extended Edition Review
Robotech - The Macross saga continues on DVD courtesy of ADV Films.
For an introduction into the history of this Anime, please see my review for Volume 1.
Note: As a word of warning, the following review will contain spoilers
The first generation of The Macross Saga, now reaching the middle of its epic tale sees things starting to take dramatic new turns. When we last left the story each character had begun on their separate journeys. Rick Hunter had been assigned new crewmembers, Max Sterling and Ben Dixon. Now we see him mature under the weight of extra responsibility afforded to him as squadron leader coupled with his growing attraction toward Lisa Hayes and confused feelings of love for Lynn Minmei.
Now a singing sensation onboard the SDF-1, Minmei’s attitude toward those around her soon begins to change. She becomes more selfish and Rick feels that he is being pushed away. The defence force has begun to rely on Minmei for support, she has become their mascot but her attitude is that of an immature young girl who has too many feelings of self importance.
Minmei’s songs become a bigger part of the series and as mentioned in my review of Volume 1 they remain tedious and highlight Minmei’s self obsession even more, as she proceeds to sing "Stage Fright", a song about her big day and becoming a huge star. Realising her importance on the ship due to the major boost she gives to the crew’s morale Minmei has begun to fall under the weight of success which sees a change in her values come about.
As more of the characters begin to grow and develop, so does the series become darker between episodes 13-24. The war with the Zentraedi is escalating; taking its toll on everyone involved. A few shocking events begin to affect the lives of the SDF-1’s crew who must try to continue with their jobs despite morale beginning to hit a new low.
Watching episodes 13-18 reveals a few editing flaws. Continuity is the biggest problem, not that it’s major but there are moments when the SF-1 transforms, only to be seen back in its original state the next second. Episodes such as Gloval’s Report focuses much of its story on past events and you could safely forward through it without missing anything.
Episodes 19-24 goes on to open up character’s feelings and deals with the sense of overall loss regarding some of the squadron’s best fighter pilots. Friends are lost and new ones made. They also set up the events that will take place in the next volume, developing new relationships and preparing the entire defence force for their toughest missions ahead.
ADV Films present the second volume in a two-disc set. Both DVD's come in separate armaray cases, featuring new artwork and are housed in a neat, shiny card slipcase featuring Lisa Hayes on the front cover. Also enclosed in the set is a mini, super-deformed, transformable Veritech. Each disc features six episodes.
Episode 13: Blue Wind
Lisa, Rick, Max and Ben give their report to the chief officers, back onboard the SDF-1. Celebrations are in full swing and the brave pilots receive promotions. Rick sees Minmei again but he feels as though she is changing. Captain Gloval risks bringing the SDF-1 back to Earth.
Episode 14: Gloval's Report
Upon reaching Earth safely, Captain Gloval begins his report that recounts the events up to this point.
Episode 15: Homecoming
The SDF-1 is back home after spending the past two years in outer space. Captain Gloval and Lisa Hayes head out to meet the United Earth Defence Government in a bid to persuade them to conduct negotiations with the Zentraedi. Meanwhile, Rick flies Minmei back to Japan where she is re-united with her family, including her cousin, Kyle.
The civilians living on board the space fortress learn that the government has been keeping the truth about their two-year adventure from the general public, sparking much controversy.
Episode 16: Battle Cry
The crew and civilians onboard the SDF-1 are told they are not to be allowed back on Earth for the time being. Minmei’s cousin, Kyle heads an anti-military movement while Captain Khyron once again leads an attack on the fortress. The SDF-1 hits back, sending Khyron into retreat but Rick Hunter is wounded in the crossfire and crashes his plane in the sea. Ridden with guilt, Lisa Hayes examines her feelings for the young pilot.
Episode 17: Phantasm
Rick is taken to hospital where his condition remains stable but he suffers from delusions in his sleep. During his time unconscious his mind fills with surreal and distorted memories from the past two years. His feelings toward Minmei and Lisa conflict, with no clear outcome.
Episode 18: Farewell, Big Brother
Rick finally wakes up in hospital and as he lays in his bed recovering the Zentraedi are staging another attack, led by Miriya. She has joined the fight primarily to hunt down Max Sterling – one of the most feared pilots and part of Rick’s squadron. Roy Fokker heads out on his last mission that ends tragically.
Episode 19: Bursting Point
Captain Gloval makes a request to the government to safeguard the lives of the citizens of Macross City. The Zentraedi leaders, Azonia and Khyron argue over proceeding matters and Miriya requests to be “micronized” in order to infiltrate the SDF-1. Captain Gloval tests a new barrier-shield weapon upon being attacked again by the Zentraedi fleet. The system causes more carnage than expected, wiping out most of the attacking fleet. Sadly, Ben Dixon is caught in the blast and loses his life.
Episode 20: Paradise Lost
The huge explosion, caused by the barrier-shield system leaves the SDF-1 without a home. Orders are received for the ship to leave Earth once again. In the wake of the last battle, the Zentraedi give Breetai control over the fleet. Bron, Rico and Konda return to the Zentraedi fleet and report their findings from their time spent on the SDF-1. Captain Gloval must tell the citizens of Macross City about the council’s decision. Anger rages until Minmei interjects with a speech.
Episode 21: A New Dawn
Minmei has just completed her first feature film, which is set to be shown onboard the ship. Rick tries to write a letter to Ben Dixon's family, telling them that their son has died in battle. During the film premiere, Breetai and Exodore watch it from their ship. Thinking that the martial arts feature is real they become even more concerned by the power of the “micronians”. Rick and Lisa spend more time together, after watching the film that neither one enjoyed.
Episode 22: Battle Hymn
As the Zentraedi leaders plan their next attack, the soldiers of the fleet become more aware of “micronian” culture and wish to adapt to their way of life. Khyron disobeys orders again and attacks the SDF-1. Minmei is asked to sing during the attack, in the hopes of halting the enemy and distracting the worried citizens.
Episode 23: Reckless
The invaders have made their way into the ship and onto the streets of Macross City. As Khyron orders them to attack they ignore him and break off, searching for Minmei. The SDF-1 crew learns of the genetic similarities between humans and the alien race and Captain Gloval grants asylum to the Zentraedi warriors who now wish to spend their time living with humans.
Episode 24: Showdown
Lisa decides to return to Earth to visit her father. She hopes to persuade him to speak to the council so that they may be able to try and start negotiations with the Zentraedi. Miriya finally meets Max Sterling face to face in an arcade. He challenges her to a game and wins. Finding himself attracted to her he asks her out on a date. Minmei is shocked when Lynn Kyle asks her to marry him in front of an eager press.
Presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio ADV Films have worked hard on restoring Robotech and the results have paid off with the show never looking better than it does here. Colours are much stronger than the previous box set releases and the picture is more detailed, though zoomed out shots are noticeably softer. There is a slight niggle in that there are often noticeable jagged edges. These were not present on the old releases and are no doubt due to the clean up process which has made them show up more often than I'd like. They’re not a major distraction and are only really noticeable on white areas, while there is also some presence of grain which is inherited from the original negative and not really a surprise to see. Despite these minor drawbacks the picture here is still a great step up from past releases.
Now in 5.1 Dolby Digital, Robotech also sounds better than ever. Battle sequences are given a great boost, making for a more involving experience. Dialogue and sound effects are crisp and no longer sound as tinny as the older versions. There is also a Spanish soundtrack.
As with Volume 1, ADV have released this set with no extras on the disc, save for ADV previews. It does score a little more highly than the previous set however, due to the inclusion of a mini, super-deformed, transforming Veritech toy. Hopefully we might get goodies like this with the future sets.
The series continues to highly entertain, despite some small flaws in editing and the same weak songs that are overused. The story goes from strength to strength. Things have begun to heat up now and the final twelve episodes of this first generation epic are not far away. Stay tuned....