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Robotech Remastered - Volume 5 Extended Edition
The story of the Southern Cross, the second chapter in the Robotech saga, comes to an end in this fifth sets of remastered Robotech DVDs. Boasting a restored image and 5.1 sound, these DVDs look and sound better than the dubbed version of this show ever has.
The battle for the Protoculture factory wages on. The Robotech Masters are running dangerously low on protoculture and must secure the Earth's resources. With the leaders of the Southern Cross refusing to even consider talking to the aliens, the Masters are pushed into a corner. With the Robotech Master's civilization is about to collapse, and they'll stop at nothing to get obtain what they need.
That doesn't imply that the forces of the Southern Cross are winning. The Robotech Masters still have superior technology, and have repulsed attack after attack. Supreme Commander Leonard comes up with a win-win situation from his point of view. A lot of officers have been complaining about the way he's run this campaign, so he assigns them all to another frontal attack of the space fleet. This is surely a suicide mission, but it will calm dissension in the ranks, and if it happens to succeed, so much the better. He assigns Bowie's Godfather, General Emerson, to lead this dangerous assault.
Though there is a lot of action in space, a lot happens Earthside too. Zor, the captured pilot, has joined Dana and the 15th squadron in the hopes that his memory will return and he'll remember something that the Southern Cross can use to their advantage. Dana is interested in Zor, but he seems to have eyes for Nova. Marie is also released from the hospital, but she's still unsure if Shawn is ready to settle down with her or if he's still playing the field. Meanwhile Bowie is still pining over Musica, the girl he met on the alien ship. Little does he realize that she is thinking of him too.
As Zor starts to remember something about protoculture, the last desperate attacks are launched. Each side is fighting for their very survival, and anything can happen.
These episodes move very quickly with a lot happening in a short amount of time. Attacks and repulses are intertwined with the romances and political maneuverings of the main characters. The show does a good job of balancing all of these different plot lines so that one doesn't eclipse all the others. The romantic storylines aren't as sappy as they sound and offer a nice backdrop and give a human face to the battles that are being waged. While I enjoyed the first Robotech series a little more, this one is still quality show.
Labeled as an 'extended edition,' there are a few seconds of footage that was cut out of the original broadcast of the series. The scenes that I spotted were minor, Dana taking a shower springs to mind. They certainly don't add anything to the story or feel of the show, but it is interesting to see them included. Purists will want to avoid the set for that reason, but I don't think it was sacrilegious to include some extra scenes.
This two disc set comes in Amaray cases enclosed in a slipcase. The set is packaged with a transforming Veritech fighter toy, which goes nicely with the others in the set.
You have the choice of English or Spanish audio, both in 5.1. Since the video to the show was edited heavily, there is no Japanese language track. The sound during the frequent battle scenes is very cool. They make full use of the sound stage, with planes swooshing from the rear to the front and all around. There are laser blasts coming from all corners, this part of the mix is very dynamic and exciting. The audio track really puts you in the middle of things. Unfortunately, after the battles end, the sound collapses to what is basically a mono mix. The dialog is centered over the screen, and rarely moves about. There are some sound effects in the rears, and some background music, but it wasn't as pronounced as it was during the fight scenes.
The audio quality is good. There is no hiss or hums, though some of the dialog does sound a little flat. The music is not dynamic, though it does sound better than I remember it from television. The dialog was clear, though it did sound a little tinny and thin. This is to be expected with a show of this age.
The video quality is a vast improvement over the previous ADV release of this series. The first DVDs looked like they were taken straight from videotape. The image was very soft and blurry. It looked horrible. This set looks a lot better. The lines are tight and clean, and the soft look is gone. It is not a perfect image though. There is a lot of aliasing, with many vertical lines having a stair step effect. The colors are not as bright and vivid as I was hoping, but they look significantly better than the previous DVDs. There were also some spots on the image that looked like they were on the cells themselves. This still has a much better picture than the previous release.
I was very disappointed that ADV did not include the supplemental disc of extras that was previously available if you purchased the first two volumes together. As it is, there are not any extras on these two discs, aside from six previews.
Like the previous three sets, this volume comes bundled with a mini version of a Veritech fighter. It is about three inches tall by two and a half inches wide. The Veritech can transform from robot mode to jet mode and comes with a removable gun. The plastic feels fairly brittle, so it probably won't last a long time if a young child is playing with it, but with a little care it transforms easily. This is the sort of extra that geeky fan-boys like myself go ga-ga over. I appreciated this much more than a T-Shirts or pencil boards that have been included with anime sets in the past.
Robotech is the show that introduced anime to a lot of American viewers, and it is easy to see why it is considered a classic. This ending to the Southern Cross storyline has a lot of action and intrigue, as well as a few surprises. The remastered audio and video put a new face on the show, making it look and sound better than it ever has before. If you haven't purchased the Robotech series yet, this is the one to get. With a street price of around $20 for two DVDs and a bonus toy, this is a great deal. Fans should seriously consider upgrading. Highly Recommended.