Robotech is an important series that has been credited as the
that started the interest in Japanese animation here in the US.
had been several other anime shows broadcast on American TV prior
but none of them generated the excitement of this 1985 show. It
three years in the states, and paved the way for more anime to be
imported. Not only is it a historically significant show, but
fun and enjoyable to boot. I've been a
big fan for years, and have re-watched this series several times over
years. The entire saga has been released
a couple of times on DVD in R1, but for the last couple of years the
been out of print. Happily A&E has
scooped up the rights and released it once again in a nice package that
largest selection of extras yet. Simply
named Robotech, the Complete Series,
this is a must buy for any anime fan who doesn't already own the show.
More than you want to know
about the history
of Robotech on DVD:
Originally ADV put out this series on DVD as "The Legacy
Collection"a series of 14 DVD that were released two at a time.
These came in two flavors too; single disc versions or boxed sets that
discs released at that time as well as a limited edition bonus disc of
extras. (I bought the boxed sets of all of them.)
A while later ADV released the Legacy series again, this time in
(cases containing several DVDs). Each of
the three multi-disc set contained a season of the show at a reduced
price. These were dubbed "Complete Collections" but didn't have
the extras contained in the LE sets.
Next, the show was nicely restored and expanded very slightly (there
few shots added here and there, but no major changes) under the banner
Remastered." This new version, released
in six collections over the course of a year, boasted a nice
video quality and they remixed the audio for 5.1 which, while not
the way the show sounded when many fans first saw it on TV, was still
especially during the battle sequences. Once
again, this released didn't have the features contained on the bonus
were released with the Legacy Collection.
Finally ADV went all out and released the Robotech Protoculture
Collection in November of 2005.
This featured the best of all the previous releases in one nice
package. It contained all of the Remastered discs along
Legacy bonus discs all in a shiny attractive slipcase.
Since ADV went under/reorganized into Section 23, all of the above
collections have been out of print. In a
move that was a bit surprising, A&E obtained the rights to the show
released it once again, so that the current generation of fans will
trouble getting a copy of this seminal show for their very own. It's the remastered version, with impressive
video and the remixed 5.1 audio, but it have even more bonus material
than the Protoculture Collection.
More on that in the A/V section. Now
onto the show itself:
In the mid 80's Harmony Gold, a producer of TV shows for American
to syndicate a dubbed version of the popular anime show
Fortress: Macross. The problem was that a syndicated show had to
episodes and there were only 36 in Macross. So Harmony bought up
other series that were similar in tone (Super-Dimensional Cavalry:
Cross and Genesis Climber: Mospeada), rewrote the story to have each of
chapters loosely linked, and released them as the generation spanning
85-episode saga Robotech. It was an instant hit.
Each of the three sections of Robotech tells a complete story, as
guess from the show's origin. Those three stories are:
The Macros Saga:
The story starts in 1999. A giant space fortress, heavily
warps into our solar system. Hurtling uncontrolled through space,
unmanned ship crashes on a small island on Earth. The warring
Earth unite to study this ship and its strange technology. A city
built on the island where the ship crashed. The technology that
discovered is dubbed "Robotech."
Over the next ten years, the ship is studied and repaired.
newly discovered knowledge a fleet of jets is built that can transform
giant robots. Then, on the day that the rebuilt space fortress,
SDF-1, is to take its maiden voyage, the Zentraedi attack. These
have been searching for the damaged space fortress because they too
technology that it contains. The only thing that stands between
Zentraedi taking over the earth is the untested SDF-1, its untrained
a fleet of Robotech fighters.
This is easily my favorite chapter in the Robotech saga.
fantastic space battles, intrigue, plot twists and several unexpected
surprises. Who wasn't shocked when the SDF-1 finally gets back to
and you find out how the civilians aboard are treated? Not to
ending. No American cartoon of the day would have a conclusion
that. There's also a romance plot, but that isn't too sappy and
get in the way of the rest of the story.
The characters are what really stick with me though. While
as well developed as those in Ghost in the Shell for example, these
have personalities and aren't just walking cliches. It's hard not
Rick, Minmay and all the other people on the SDF-1. This is an
The Robotech Masters:
The second chapter starts 15 years after the first one ended.
Robotech Masters, the rulers of the Zentraedi, have come to Earth to
over. They need the protoculture matrix that is growing on Earth
their own supplies are running dangerously low. Dana Sterling
daughter of two of the characters from the first chapter) is a member
Southern Cross Army, 15th Squadron, whose mission is to defend the
against these alien invaders.
Joining Dana is a group of rookie fighters with heart, including the
musician Bowie, tech guru Louie, and ladies man Sean. When
downed Robotech master ship, they encounter an alien fighter, Zor, who
eventually helps them escape and joins their battle against his
There are some problems with this chapter. It's the weakest of
three by far, and really pales in comparison. The main problem I
that I never liked Dana's character. She's supposed to be a
acts like a spoiled brat most of the time. The whole plot with
mind-bogglingly stupid too. There were too many battles that
to advance the plot, and none of the characters are developed very
The whole chapter had a bland feel to it.
Even with all of it's faults, this isn't a horrible show, just a
less than average one. There are some moments, and the second
a lot better than the first. This part also explains more
nature of protoculture and why everyone is fighting for it. The
leading up to the conclusion were very exciting with both sides
their lives and the viewer knowing that absolutely anything can happen.
The Invid, a galactic race of beings, have invaded Earth, turning
the planet into a wasteland. Earth has now become a slave colony
Invid, with humans working day and night to harvest protoculture.
Humanity's only hope is the expeditionary force that is led by Rick
Hunter. They left Earth to search for the home world of the first
over 20 years ago, and are now returning to reclaim their home
scouting team is sent ahead to test the Invid's strength and defenses,
their mission ends in disaster. The Invid quickly and easily
Earthlings, destroying their ship. There is only one apparent
Scott Bernard, a tough and rugged military man. Trapped on a
world he has
only seen in pictures, Scott is determined to carry out his mission: To
the Invid's main base, the Reflex Point and destroy their queen.
Initially all alone, Scott starts gathering help on his
the episodes progress, he recruits a team of resistance fighters that
invaluable in helping him complete his mission. First he runs
Rand, a young man used to living off his wits. Then he is joined
talkative and hyper Anne, Lunk, aBio-Maintenance Engineer with a secret
past, and Lancer/Yellow Dancer, a military expert who dresses as a
sings to cover his underground work against the Invid. Will this
group of fighters be able to take on the force that defeated the
After the mediocre Robotech Masters storyline, this chapter was like
breath of fresh air. It gets back to the action and fighting
impossible odds that made the first series so good. There is more
character development and the character designs are very good.
these years I still think that the Invid are really cool looking
This series does stretch your ability to suspend your
are only so many times a small rag-tag group can go up against an
army and win before you start wondering about the plausibility.
that would happen to me I'd just repeat the mantra from the opening
Mystery Science Theater: "It's just a show, I should really just
relax." If you can do that, this story line is a lot of fun with
some great characters.
Robotech: The Complete
Series arrives on an impressive
17 discs, all contained in four single-width keepcases.
Those of you that have the original Legacy LE
releases will be happy at the amount of shelf space this saves! Each saga comes in it's own multi-disc,
single-width case (4 discs each except for the first saga which comes
DVDs) with the fourth case devoted to a whopping four discs worth of
You have the choice of English or Spanish audio, both in 5.1.
are no subtitles available.) Since the show was edited heavily
original animes, there is no Japanese language track. The sound
the frequent battle scenes is very cool. They make full use of
stage, with planes swooshing from the rear to the front and all over
room. There are laser blasts coming from all corners. This
the mix is very dynamic and exciting; the audio track really puts you
middle of things. Unfortunately, after the battles end, the sound
collapses to what is basically a mono mix. The dialog is centered
the screen, and rarely moves about. Even the music is piped to
speakers most of the time. I wish they had thrown some of the
sound effects to the rear speakers throughout the entire show and not
The audio quality is good. There is no hiss or hums, though
the dialog does sound a little flat. The music is not dynamic,
does sound better than I remember it from television.
The video quality is a vast improvement over the initial ADV release
series. The first DVDs looked like they were taken straight from
tape. The image was very soft and blurry. It looked
horrible. Video on this release looks a lot better. The
tight and clean, and the soft look is gone. It is not a perfect
though. There is a lot of aliasing, with many vertical lines
stair step effect. The colors are not as bright and vivid as I
hoping, but they look significantly better than the previous
were also some spots on the image that looked like they were on the
themselves, but they were not a major problem. The 1.33:1
overall very good.
Wow, A&E have really released gone all out to create a
of extras for this release. I'll cover
the new bonus features first.
The most exciting extra is a new documentary, Carl Macek's Robotech. This celebration of the 25th
of the series looks at how the show was obtained, packaged and
produced, and is
a loving tribute to the late Carl Macek, the man behind the project. There's also a fun Robotech
Overview, some Robotech
Music Videos which I could take or leave, alternate versions to a
episodes (there were minor alterations if my memory serves). The original Macross Pilot is a new feature,
it's a 70-minute edit that hasn't appeared on DVD previously. Fans also get a reel of Robotech's launch in China,
which was nice to include but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.
just the new stuff. There are also some
extras from the earlier releases including over an hour's worth of
scenes, original promo spots, original opening and closing animations,
several extensive art galleries.
highlights include Robotech: The
Sentinels. This was an attempt at creating another robotech series
never got off the ground. It is a very interesting bit of
history, and a
lot of fun to watch. There are also the
three original Macross pilot
episodes, and the Mospeada Pilot.
in all it's over 10 hours worth of bonus material, much of it
fun to watch. A really impressive set.
The only real extra that isn't ported over from the Protoculture
is Codename: Robotech a movie crafted together from the first 13
the first series. It's basically an
of a clip episode, and the fact that it's not present isn't a major
Is it worth upgrading?:
If you have already invested in the initial release of Robotech,
Collection, should you plunk down your hard earned sheckles once
this remastered set? For me, the answer is "definitely" based
on the much improved video quality. This is a series that I enjoy
rewatching time and time again, and the first release just didn't look
good. The 5.1 sound is really impressive during the battle
there are plenty of them to keep your speakers busy.
If you have the Robotech Remastered series or the Protoculture Collection, I'd be less
inclined to double dip. You are getting some really cool extras,
whole series in a cool, compact set, but I don't think it's worth the
investment but there's not much difference besides that.
Robotech is like a comfortable pair of old shoes. It
good and you know what you're getting into. This series is a lot
and has a lot of replay value. This excellent package comes Highly
Recommended to anime fans young and old alike.