Robotech: Remastered Extended Edition #1 Review
Portions of this review have been taken or reworked from my original R1 review.
To be honest I’m not going to exhaust myself talking in depth about volume one of Robotech as I’ve reviewed the R1 release on this site previously. If you’d like a run down then please visit the review here.
Like the R1 release, Manga Entertainment brings us the newly remastered and extended version of the series, which had never been seen on television. This suggests that they licensed the series from ADV or Harmony Gold.
So most fans will know that Robotech was a defining entry in science fiction anime and shaped a generation during the 80’s when it was introduced stateside. Since then anime as become bigger than ever, and so it’s nice to see the series that made anime BIG in the west is finally getting its UK DVD debut. Robotech has had a bit of a bum deal over the years in the UK; Kiseki began releasing the series on VHS, but due to poor sales they pulled the plug after the seventh volume. I can’t express my frustration at ordering volume 8 and being told that in the store. As a result they never even managed to finish off the first generation arc. Since that time all has been quiet on the home front. A good ten years later it’s let loose once more, and with a growing anime community it should prove to be more successful.
Now I know purists will say how superior Macross is, but I’m not prepared to go into any details or make comparisons on that front. Simply put there are two versions of the series: The US and the Japanese. Carl Macek provided a script overhaul and changes were made to accommodate its target audience back in the day; nevertheless it was a popular enough move. It’s interesting that fans all over discuss both series in different ways and that there is a huge Robotech fan base. As of late its popularity has grown tremendously; the toys have been re-designed and released as “Masterpiece” collections, along with CDs, two video games, loads of apparel and toilet roll.
I lied about the toilet roll.
So here we have the first twelve episodes of a thirty-six part space opera. The remaining episodes from this eighty-five part epic are split over two further storylines that takes place in the future, and when the time comes I‘ll go through them. Here, Rick Hunter and his friends must defend the Earth and the SDF-1 from invading Zentraedi; a race of super-sized beings who aren’t too dissimilar to humans. But this war proves to be an interesting culture clash between the two races. As they continue to fight they begin to learn more about each other; can they learn to co-exist or will they both fight until only one side is left standing? Well, you’re certainly going to find out in this exciting space-fest, that takes you from earth and into the stars; where jet-fighters transform into huge battling robots and people quarrel over love, death and fame.
The following episode guide will contain some spoilers. Read with caution - or don’t read at all.
Episode 1: Booby Trap
The eve of the Super Dimensional Fortress Macross’s maiden flight has finally arrived, with the ship ready to be launched into space to defend the planet. Thousands of citizens gather for the occasion and the inexperienced crew of the SDF-1 prepare for their first flight. Leader of the Veritech Skull squadron, Commander Roy Fokker starts off the celebrations but is soon interrupted by Rick Hunter - a young headstrong pilot who has gate crashed proceedings. We soon learn that Rick is a good friend of Roy,s whom he affectionately refers to as “Big Brother“.
Episode 2: Countdown
While the defence force is sent out to attack the Zentraedi, Rick Hunter finds himself piloting a Veritech fighter for the first time. Crashing through her bedroom, he soon befriends the young, Lynn Minmei before coming face to face with a Zentraedi warrior, his first battle. Meanwhile, the SDF-1 receives orders to leave Earth.
Episode 3: Space Fold
Roy Fokker, returns to the SDF-1 after rescuing Rick and Minmei. Finding himself scared by what he’s just witnessed, Rick decides to run back to Minmei in Macross City. The SDF-1 is ready to leave the island and Gloval gives orders to perform the “Space fold” manoeuvre. However, as the ship launches off it takes most of Macross Island’s city with it. With the citizens now in tow the SDF-1 makes toward Pluto.
Episode 4: The Long Wait
Now in space, the citizens of Macross City try to rebuild their lives, as they are stuck inside a spacecraft for an indefinite amount of time. Rick rescues Minmei in his light aircraft and flies her to a closed-off section of the ship. During their time trapped they become closer and due to a lack of food, wonder if they’ll ever make it out alive.
Episode 5: Transformation
Macross City has been reconstructed within the SDF-1, Rick and Minmei have been safely found with Minmei now helping her family at the restaurant. Meanwhile, Commander Breetai and his right hand man, Exedore discuss keeping away from the Micronians (Zentraedi word for Humans) after witnessing the SDF-1’s devastating attack power but keep up the pursuit. The crew of the SDF-1 discovers their new home has the ability to transform into a devastating weapon.
Episode 6: Blitzkrieg
The SDF-1, now transformed has the power to defend itself better against Zentraedi attack but the transformation has left Macross City in ruins. Rick Hunter finally decides to join the Robotech Defence Force, instead of moping around the city. The SDF-1 makes its way toward Saturn and seeks shelter in its rings but the Zentraedi fleet finds them and once again a fierce battle ensues.
Episode 7: Bye Bye Mars
The SDF-1 has once again moved this time heading toward Mars where the crew hopes to lay low. Breetai and his fleet try to arrive first in a bid to ambush the ship and contact the Boturu fleet - led by the powerful, Captain Khyron for back up. The SDF-1 tries to establish contact with Mars Base. Elsewhere, Minmei’s birthday party is coming up and she invites Rick to come and celebrate with her. Later the SDF-1 away team is forced to destroy Mars Base in a bid to escape Khyron’s onslaught.
Episode 8: Sweet Sixteen
Captain Khyron disobeys direct orders from Breetai and attacks the SDF-1 as it orbits Mars. Rick attends Minmei’s party, but is disappointed when he sees that she’s invited just about every other pilot in the fleet. He is soon promoted to Lieutenant and is awarded the medal of valour for his service. Once again, Khyron sets out to attack the SDF-1 but this time Breetai manages to call him back.
Episode 9: Miss Macross
Macross City holds its first beauty contest in an attempt to boost morale. Minmei enters and wins, even though she shouldn't have. The Zentraedi see the broadcast and are baffled by this concept.
Episode 10: Blind Game
Khyron is still on the rampage, refusing all orders he proceeds to destroy the SDF-1’s radar. The Zentraedi order Captain Gloval and his crew to surrender but they refuse and hold their ground. Rick and his squadron help Lisa Hayes pilot a communications ship into enemy territory in order to contact Earth. Central Command instructs the SDF-1 to stay away from Earth.
Episode 11: First Contact
The Zentraedi capture Rick, Ben and Lisa and interrogate them to learn more about “Micronian” culture. The hostages try to help out by explaining what it is to be human and how emotion is expressed. As Lisa and Rick demonstrate by kissing each other, the Zentraedi find themselves disgusted and confused by this notion. The Zentraedi then discuss more about their past and the development of “protoculture“.
Episode 12: The Big Escape
The Zentraedi sends three volunteers to hide out on the SDF-1. Of course first they need to be “micronized“. Max Sterling, in a bid to rescue Rick, Ben and Lisa disguises his Battloid as a Zentraedi guard and boards the vessel. After learning more about “protoculture“, they flee and head back to the SDF-1 to report their findings.
I’m, not in the least bit surprised that Manga Entertainment has issued an NTSC-PAL conversion; it seemed inevitable after they announced their acquisition of the series. With that said there’s little to complain about when it comes to anime, as most anime licensed from overseas gets the same treatment. It would be almost impossible to do it any other way in a quick and efficient manner. This is perhaps confirmation that Manga did indeed acquire ADV’s masters. So, much like its R1 counterpart the series look as good as it could. The clean up process which was done by ADV is fairly successful, with one or two noticeable flaws. While the transfer still exhibits specks of dust and dirt the image is noticeably sharper than ever and colours are particularly strong. However there is a thick amount of Edge Enhancement applied, along with noticeable aliasing. The visible grain is inherent to the original source and doesn’t distract, but the black levels tend to go up and down like a yoyo, which is likely another inherent part of the original animation process.
For sound we get a newly mixed English DD5.1 track. This sounds very solid, with plenty of surround use during the epic battles. The dialogue is nicely distributed to the front speakers and remains clear throughout, while the score is given a good amount of attention also.
There are no subtitles or extra features for this release.
If you’ve never seen Robotech then now is as good a time as any to check it out. Twenty years on and it’s still a blast to revisit; fans of mech-action will lap this up. Manga Entertainment has done a good job in bringing it to us, despite it being bare bones. Then again so was the R1 (aside from the bonus toy), and considering its budget price we’re not getting a bad deal for 300-minutes of entertainment.