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ADV Films presents
Robotech #7: The Masters : A New Threat (1985)

"We drove them from the Earth once before, and we'll do it again."
- General Rolf Emerson

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: October 29, 2001

Stars: Greg Snow, Reba West, Jonathan Alexander, Drew Thomas
Other Stars: Deanna Morris, Thomas Wyner, Brittany Harlow, Donn Warner, Alex Roberts, Tony Oliver, A. Gregory, Noel McGrath, Sandra Snow
Director: Robert Barron, Ippei Yuri

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Mild animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:21m:47s
Release Date: October 30, 2001
UPC: 702727018022
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Disc 7 of Robotech opens a new chapter, as we enter the second of the three source programs that make up the series. Aside from flashbacks to The Macross Saga in the first episode, we are now watching the animation from the Japanese Southern Cross anime. This results in some pretty radical changes in character design, but the transition was not as jarring as I had expected. The musical elements that have been present throughout, especially during the battle sequences, remain, as does the narrative voiceover that opens and closes each installment. The look of the show has changed, but is stylistically similar enough to be an acceptable evolution. Since none of the characters from The Macross Saga are around anymore, this is explained by moving the story ahead in time.

Fifteen years have passed since the SDF-1 had its final showdown with Khyron's Zentraedi forces, and as a result the old cities have been sealed off. The descendents of the crew of the Superdimensional Fortress have rebuilt the Earth in the intervening years, free from conflict, but prepared nonetheless. However, as before, there are those in the universe who are after their supplies of protoculture, and as we had seen in previous episodes, they are the Robotech Masters, making their way to Earth to succeed where the Zentraedi had failed. This will be Earth's new challenge, though their fighting core is unexperienced in battle.

The year is 2015. We are introduced to two of the offspring of the SDF-1 crew, Dana, the 15-year-old daughter of Max and Miriya Sterling, who were the first human/Zentraedi couple married, and Bowie Grant, nephew of former SDF Navigator and Chief Weapons Officer, Claudia Grant, and god-son of General Rolf Emerson, second in command of Earth forces. Dana was also the first child born by a clone, and though she is still very immature, her lineage accounts for her intuitive fighting skills, graduating with the debut class of the Robotech Military Academy. The first episode, Dana's Story, retells the story of her parent's meeting, and brings us into The Robotech Masters segment of Robotech.

Dana and Bowie are members of 15th ATAC squad, which is currently missing its leader, Sean Phillips, who is cooling his jets in the brig after making a pass at a superior officer. The rambunctious Dana decides that she will take charge of the squadron, and leads them on a training exercise, recklessly driving their jet bikes through the city. This leads them to a bar where the Tactical Armored Space Corps are gathered, led by squadron leader Marie Crystal. The rivalry between the two groups leads to a brawl, which results in Dana landing herself in the brig. The repercussions of her actions lead to unexpected results however, as the Earth finds itself once again at war with the arrival of the Robotech Masters and their battalions of bioroid warriors, which hold more surprises for the Earth's defenders.

As this second saga begins to unfold, new faces emerge against a background we have grown familiar with. Character development is interspersed between the many battle sequences, as our new cast and their interpersonal relationships are established. Six episodes are contained on this installment, covering the first of 24 in The Masters segment, and episodes 37 to 42 of Robotech. The changes are interesting, and the story maintains its mix of humor and action, for a tone consistent with The Macross Saga. I am somewhat relieved to be rid of Lynn Minmei, despite her popularity among many fans of the series, and some of this stretch borrows a little too heavily from Star Wars. This still isn't my favorite anime by a long shot, and my criticism of the English voice actors stands, but it is certainly good entertainment value, and for fans, a release a long time coming.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Compared with the last disc, this one starts out much better, primarily due to the source material. Colors are still somewhat muted and drab, but the amount of patchiness in solid areas is less apparent. Defects are sporadic, but not that major, and we get our usual share of interlace "jaggies," though not too obtrusive. However, as the disc progresses, it starts to deteriorate again, with the final episode suffering from excessive and very digital looking grain, color shifting, and a fairly bleached look. If you've been watching up until now, you get the spectrum in terms of quality.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is consistent with the rest of the series, though distortion is limited. High midrange continues to be peaky, though this does contribute a certain character to the presentation, and is not overly objectionable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring A.D. Police, Dai-Guard, Gasaraki, Soul Hunter, Dirty Pair Flash and Legend Of Crystania
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Once again, discs 7 and 8 are available individually or in a collector box, so on disc extras are limited to trailers for A.D. Police, Dai-Guard, Gasaraki, Soul Hunter, Dirty Pair Flash and Legend Of Crystania.

We do get a new menu theme for The Masters, using elements from this segment of the show.

The spine art for The Masters also changes to a burgundy and white base from black, so it will stand out from the previous six Macross Saga discs in the Robotech series, though they have maintained the same styling otherwise.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Robotech moves into its second phase, as we enter The Masters portion. Fans should be pleased with the image quality for at least the first half of the disc, and the low price for six episodes is a bonus. While I have yet to see the contents of the box sets, it is a safe bet that diehards will prefer those over the individual discs.


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