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Macross Vol. 5: When Worlds Collide

ADV Films // Unrated // September 12, 2006
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted September 4, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Series:

More problems for the SDF-1 as the Zentraedi continue their attack, but the enemies are having problems of their own.  After seeing some of the 'Micronian' way of life, especially the melodic singing of Lynn Minmay, the Zentraedi forces start to desert in the fifth volume of Super Dimension Fortress Macross.  This show, which the first chapter of the seminal series Robotech was based on, is a classic work of anime and still retains a lot of its charm even decades after it was created.

Series background:

The story starts in 1999.  A giant space fortress, heavily damaged, warps into our solar system.  Hurtling uncontrolled through space, the unmanned ship crashes into a small island on Earth.  This triggers the Unification Wars that end with all of the nations of Earth under one flag that studies the ship and its strange technology.  A city is built on the island where the ship crashed.

Over the next ten years, the ship is studied and repaired.  Using the newly discovered knowledge a fleet of jets is built that can transform into giant robots.  Then, on the day that the rebuilt space fortress, named the Macross, is to take its maiden voyage, the Zentraedi attack.  These aliens have been searching for the damaged space fortress because they too want the technology that it contains.  And they are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.

The show centers on the adventures of Hikaru Ichijyo, a young pilot who grew up doing stunts with his father's flying circus.  On the day the Macross launches, Hikaru ends up in the battle for the island thanks in part to his idol and best friend is Major Roy Focker.  While in the battle, the hot-shot pilot rescues a young girl, Lynn Minmay, who has aspirations to become a singer.  The two end up living on the Macross together, but their relationship is anything but clear.

This volume:

Things start going wrong for the Zentraedi command at the beginning of this volume.  The warriors who were reduced in size and managed to make their way on board the SDF-1 as spies are no longer sure that they want to go back to their old way of life.  They like the "micronian" lifestyle.  They aren't the only ones either.  Turning into a concert aboard the space fortress, some of the Zentraedi forces become enamored of Lynn Minmay.  When Khyron launches an attack during one of her performances and manages to breech the human defenses, something surprising happens.  His troops start deserting, going off into the town in search of Minmay.

The news of the mass desertion surprises Commander Gloval as much as it does the Zentraedi command.  While the Zentraedi decide that this is a secret weapon the Micronians have, Gloval decides to offer the Zentraedi soldiers asylum in hopes that the two races can live together peacefully.

It's not only action in this volume, relationships blossom too.  When Milia Fallyn, the Zentraedi ace who shrunk herself and snuck aboard the SDF-1, goes to an arcade, she's sure her fast reflexes and battle honed skills will let her beat any opponent.  She crosses paths with Max however, and he is able to defeat her time and time again.  During the play Max becomes enamored with the odd girl, while her blood begins to boil.  When he makes a date with her for later that evening, he has romance on his mind, but she's thinking of murder.

Minmay has trouble too, of a different kind.  When she picks up her cousin from the hospital, he was injured in the latest attack, she finds that the press has turned out in force to see the pair.  Kyle uses the impromptu press conference to propose to his cousin, something that takes the young singer by surprise.

While this volume wasn't as emotional as the pervious one, it did have its share of surprises and kept things interesting. The reaction of the Zentraedi forces to the human culture that they've been exposed to sure put a new spin on things, and the various love subplots are, I hate to admit it, engrossing.  As the show starts getting ready for the conclusion, there are only two more volumes to go, anything could happen.

The DVD:

The volume contains the next five episodes of the series on a single DVD.  It comes in a single width keepcase.  There is an insert that has the lyrics to two songs used in the show in both English and Japanese.


For the first time the original Macross has an English dub.  This disc offers the choice of either the original Japanese track in stereo or a 5.1 English dub.  Both soundtracks are very good, and the English 5.1 is particularly impressive.  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 over the room.  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 stereo mix.  The dialog is centered over the screen, and rarely moves about.  Even the music is piped to the front speakers most of the time.  The audio quality is good too.  There is no hiss or hums, and the dialog is clear and clean. There are English subtitles available too.

Since this series has been already released in Japanese with English subs, the reason most people will want to get this edition is for the English dub.  ADV is one of the better companies when it comes to creating dubs for their titles and they did a very good job on this one too.  While the voices are different than the Robotech voices that we are all used to, these new voices fit the characters very well.  Everyone is voiced by pros who know how to bring a character to life, and they really go the extra distance to make these nearly iconic characters seem real.

The only problem I had with the dub was with Mari Iijima and Minmay's voice.  It just doesn't fit at all.  First of all Mari sounds much too old to be the young and bubbly waitress/singer.  Her voice has matured over the years and you can tell by listening that Mari is no longer a teenager herself.  Also she has an accent that is fairly heavy.  Ironically the accent sounds out of place when the rest of the cast are native English speakers.  Sometimes this accent also makes it hard to understand what she's saying.  Whenever Minmay opens her mouth I'm taken out of the moment and reminded that she's just a cartoon character.  While I can understand why ADV wanted to have Mari on board for the project, she just doesn't work.


This show was previously restored and released on DVD by Animeigo, and ADV is almost certainly using the same elements as the earlier release.  It looks very good.  The lines are tight and clean, and the colors are bright and solid.  There were a few spots and other imperfections in the image that looked like they were on the cells themselves , but they were not a major problem.  The 1.33:1 presentation is overall very good.


This volume also comes with The Men of Macross, and interview with the male voice actors on the show, and a commentary track with anime experts David and Janice Williams along with Matt Greenfield.  I addition there are a series of liner notes (the same ones that accompanied Animeigo's release of the series), a clean opening, and some text character stats.

Should I upgrade?:

Probably not.  The only reason to upgrade from the Animeigo set (if you're lucky enough to own their out-of-print boxed set) is if you want the English dub.  I actually enjoyed the original English Robotech voices that I've known for years a bit more than this dub, so if you have that I think you're covered.

On the other hand, if you've never seen the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross this is a fun show and you might want to pick this up.  It depends on how much of a Robotech fan you are.  The changes aren't drastic, but there are some and it's nice to see this seminal series the way it was meant to be viewed.

Final Thoughts:

Another fun volume.  Though it wasn't as impressive as the previous installment, this is still a fun series.  Every anime fan should see this at least once.  After all, it is the edited version of this series (Robotech) that is largely responsible for anime fandom in the US. Highly Recommended.

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Highly Recommended

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