Robotech: The Complete Original Series Review

With the last distributor of the Robotech: The Complete Series DVDs now out of business, A&E has bought up the rights and rereleased the complete series in an effort to keep it readily available in a modern format, and saving future fans from an unnatural price rise to due to the series becoming hard to find. It’s almost a public service, until you remember they’re making a tidy profit off of a cartoon badly in need of restoration. A “classic” though Robotech may be, if viewed in any other context, it’s merely a decent Sci-Fi yarn severely lacking in writing, characterization, or dialogue. If you can get past that though and just enjoy it for all its silliness, then Robotech has the potential to make a fan of any cartoon enthusiast.

Not all Japanese cartoons about gigantic fighting robots are created equal; while it gets hard to differentiate one giant bot from the next no matter what the series, and taking into account the poor English dubbing that often sabotages any quality the dialogue might have had, then you have to view a classic like Robotech as something of a spectacle. On one hand the classic anime style is quite beautiful in its jerky simplicity, but on the other hand it suffers from the same issues that so many early Japanese animated series did: all of the characters talk the same, with an ever-present tone of earnest sincerity over uniformly contemplative dialogue.

The set includes all three stages of the original 1984 series: The Macross Saga, The Masters Saga, and The New Generation. Each series transitions smoothly into the next starting with the initial conflict between humanity and the aliens known as the Zentraedi who’ve come to earth to recover a lost technology known as “protoculture”, and the ensuing battle sees the aliens defeated through Earth’s cunning use of “Robotech”, giant mechanical constructions that can shift between ships and robots. With “protoculture” now in the hands of humanity, the alien force known as “Robotech Masters” arrive on earth in an attempt to retrieve it, revealing themselves to be the true masterminds behind the previously defeated Zentraedi. Of course, they’re defeated and the protoculture releases a bunch of spores from a lifeform known as the “Flower of Life” which in turn attracts a new bunch of aliens and prompts the third Robotech War which sees earth conquered and a collection of space-bound warriors fighting to liberate it.

It’s a fairly comprehensive and self-contained trilogy which should satisfy most people’s craving for a robotic war series, and as previously stated the animation makes it something of a visual treasure for anyone who appreciates classic Japanese TV.

DVD Bonus Features

All of the extras are located in a fourth 4-DVD set in the case and there are a fair number of new additions to entice fans who haven’t purchased the series previously. Easily one of the best new featurettes is Carl Macek’s Robotech Universe chronicling the show’s creation and its run. Beyond that, the extras vary from still galleries extended episodes to sole three produced episodes of the Robotech: The Sentinels. The full list is below.

Disc One:

Macross Pilot Episode (English), Macross Saga animation model sheets, Macross Saga classic comic book gallery, Macross Saga international clips, The Masters animation model sheets, The Masters classic comic book gallery, The Masters international Clips, “Galaxy of the Stars”: Harmony Gold (the production company) promo reel, toy commercials (1985-86), prototype toy presentation, toy line promo reel, and the merchandise gallery.

Disc Two:

“Genesis Climber Mospeada” original unaired English pilot, deleted scenes from the original Japanese series, other pre-production art, New Generation animation model sheets, New Generation classic comic book gallery, New Generation international clips.

Disc Three:

Carl Macek’s Robotech Universe, Robotech series overview, alternate Robotech episodes and scenes, Macross extended pilot (English).

Disc Four:

Robotech: The Sentinels, Robotech: The Movie (1986) supplementals, original opening & closing sequences, music videos, Robotech video games, promo reels, more Robotech merchandise gallery.

"Robotech: The Complete Original Series" is on sale October 18, 2011 and is not rated. Action, Adventure, Animation, Sci-Fi, War. Directed by Robert V Barron. Written by Gregory Snegoff, Robert V. Barron. Starring Cam Clarke, Jean Claude Ballard, Rebecca Forstadt, Gregory Snegoff, Tony Oliver, Melissa Newman.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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