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It Raised the Bar, Then...and is Still Worth Striving Towards, Now.
on March 17, 2012
Completed film updated review (if you guys have questions, feel free and leave a comment...I'll do my best to answer):
ROBOTECH, FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR,...
is the American adaptation of 3 different and independent Japanese anime all produced from the same studio, Tatsunoko Productions. But Carl Macek worked his magic in the re-adaptation bringing those 3 different series, with cooperation from Tatsunoko Productions, into both a narratively and visually united 85-episode series spanning the 3 sagas (1 each for the original 3 animes)...which in turn were directly and seamlessly connected to each other. And this show had a profound effect on American TV
animation. Besides serving as one of the first mainstream introductions of anime to America, it served a greater purpose. It raised the bar on what can be expected of animation and animated narratives. The series, throughout its 85-episode run, was both profound and deep in it's narratives while at the same time dealing with more mature issues of death, love vs infatuation, war, cultural perception & misunderstanding, loss, post war trauma and rebuilding, and other heavy themes in a very smart and well developed manner. It proved that American animation did not always have to be "kid's stuff". Not many animated shows of the period were so "mature" (with some exceptions such as "Jem and the Holograms"). In the end, it paved the way for many of our shows and sci-fi we enjoy today.
THIS DVD SET...
contains a complete collection of what we can consider the first season or saga (your choice): 36 episodes. This is the 1st volume volume out of 3 (technically 4...I'll explain later). I have just completed watching the entirety of the show This is a very nostalgic show only for the fact that I remember watching this show as a kid, but not because I remember exactly what I watched. In fact, I honestly don't remember anything except the explosions. So in a way I saw it with new eyes that had no strong relation or connection to it. I must say, I am impressed. This is the extended version. What this means is that the episodes were left virtually untouched and unedited. Many scenes that were taken out for broadcasting were placed back in. Also, the audio really is much cleaner and clearer...a little strange at first if you still remember the "roughness" or the original broadcasts. I will say, though, that the audio is somewhat unbalanced. Basically, voiceover volume is a little lower than ambience sounds (ie guns firing, ships blasting off into space, etc)...enough so that it can catch you off guard at time. They are talking and then BBBBOOOOMMMMM an explosion haha. But that's really minor and doesn't take away. The voice acting definitely sounds 80's but many of the voice actors used fit their part and sounded pretty natural, actually...though Lynn Minmei is still annoying as ever...go figure, they even retained that haha. All 36 episodes are found on the 5 discs contained in this conveniently sized DVD case using the "flipbook" method...not disc stacking. Also, the end is actually very cool and closes well. Even if you don't get the other 2 volumes, the end could stand on it's own...for obvious reasons stated in the intro above.
here, I'm just a bit disappointed. You see, there are none. However, that can be explained. I mentioned a 4th volume earlier. These volumes can either be purchased individually or in the "complete series" box set (also sold by Amazon). I can't say for sure, since i'm opting to go with purchasing individual volumes (it's drastically more economical for me...and I don't need "extras" as much), but I believe that 4th volume of the box set holds most if not all the special features. I also assume that you can, for now, only get that 4th set with the complete box collection. Still, I will tell you, they pulled all the stops on the special features...there's so much to get if you go with that set. For your convenience, though, I will list a few of the mentioned features that caught my attention (remember, these features are found in the box set): Music videos (there is a pop idol character...which is why there's tons of music), a "making of" documentary, the various original pilots, encyclopedia & bios, "The Sentinels"(an incomplete season for Robotech that has been re-extended and re-edited under the direction of Carl Macek...this one in particular is nice...because it brings even more closure to the end of the Macross Saga...this volume we are reviewing), more than an hour of deleted scenes, movie supplement, and an avalanche of other stuff I don't have time to list.
Well, let's start with the obvious, if you want the special features, you'll just have to save up for the complete collection (again, Amazon does sell it). But if you're like me and special features don't carry as much weight, "then forget about it...this is New York!" (sorry, bad joke, but I just remembered the GEICO Gecko-In-New-York commercial haha). Robotech had a truly powerful influence in the realm of sci-fi, animation media, and storytelling...in fact, I bet that after watching this (and the other 2 volumes) you'll be able to spot a little Robotech in much of the shows we have, now. It was by no means the perfect series...but, it definitely raised the bar. Kids will watch it for the explosions and amazing mech combat (beautifully staged, btw), but being much older and re-visiting the story...the narrative had so much depth and class to it...sometimes even very emotional moments. It could have been a live drama...and I'm not joking, this is a DRAMA more than anything else. There's something for all ages in this show, even now. I would say, go out and watch it. It's simply intelligent work. Watching it with new and fresh eyes...the narrative and themes were definitely much more profound, heart wrenching, emotional, and touching. Not bad for animation.