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ADV Films presents
Robotech #9: The Masters: Counterattack (1985)

"No operation under my command will be a suicide mission."
- Rolf Emerson

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: December 04, 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 Kuri

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Mild animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:19m:46s
Release Date: December 11, 2001
UPC: 702727018121
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BB-B+ D+

DVD Review

ADV brings another six installments from the Robotech Masters segment of the series, leaving only one more disc for the final of the Southern Cross based animation. Episodes 49 to 54 include A New Recruit, Triumvirate, Clone Chamber, Love Song, The Hunters and Mind Game.

Squadron 15 gets A New Recruit as the captured bioroid pilot Zor Prime is assigned to Dana Stirling's command, and she is given personal charge of debriefing the alien who is suffering from amnesia. It is hoped Dana's Zentraedi lineage will help spark Zor's memory, and help the high command figure out how to defeat the Robotech Masters. While Dana is happy to be spending time with Zor, her feelings aren't shared by all under her command, as many resent working alongside an enemy responsible for killing their friends and loved ones. Zor's presence also has other ramifications unknown to him and the Earth contingent, as the Masters are tapping into Zor's mind to spy on the goings on at the Earth command center.

As Commander Leonard strong arms his attack plans despite opposition from many, Zor begins to remember things, and Dana decides to take him to the site of the former SDF-1 to try to jog his memory. Meanwhile, Sean Phillips is getting himself in more hot water with Lieutenant Marie Crystal, who is put in charge of Leonard's attacking fleet for the first assault on the Robotech Masters flag ship. Clues about the Robotech Masters begin to emerge, as an even greater threat is growing.

In between the fierce space battles on this disc is plenty of character development, following love relationships between many of the cast. Dana is fixated on Zor, though the presence of Nova Satori is a thorn in her side. Marie and Sean have ongoing ups and downs as jealousy and calls to duty interfere with their relationship, and Bowie still has feelings for the bioroid Musica, who is beginning to develop feelings of her own—much to the chagrin of the Robotech Masters. There is also a fair amount of political maneuvering adding to the plot, Commander Leonard's battle strategy tightens its grip. The opening narration does still tend to push the story forward by revealing information that wasn't spelled out earlier, and the framework is already being laid for the final story segment of the Robotech series.

If you've enjoyed the show up until now, the entertainment value remains consistent, though the relationship aspects may not appeal as much to those whose main interest is the fighting sequences. The Southern Cross episodes have been personally more enjoyable than some of Macross. It will be interesting to see where this all goes as we bridge into the New Generation after disc ten.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Disc 9 of Robotech features image quality pretty consistent with its predecessors. Colors continue to be somewhat washed out, and also shift at random. Digital looking grain is still present, as are signs of wear in the masters. Black levels are fairly good most of the time, though do look faded in some sequences. Pretty much on par with what we've seen so far.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio quality is about average for the series. Aside from a fair amount of distortion in places, the soundstage and frequency range are limited. Dialogue is still easy to discern. Serviceable, but shows its age.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Burn Up Excess, Farscape, Dirty Pair Flash, Gasaraki, Orphen, Getter Robo
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Trailers are the only extras here onces again, as the boxset contains all the good stuff. Included this round are Burn Up Excess, Orphen, Gasaraki, Dirty Pair Flash,Farscape, and Getter Robo.

The spine art is consistent with the previous two discs in The Masters, but the case for our review copy has changed to black, which I would hope isn't on the retail versions.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

The ninth installment in the Robotech collection puts us a disc away from completing the Southern Cross portion of the show. Expect more of the same in terms of video quality and extras. The storyline is still interesting, though not as action-packed as some of Macross. Price point and number of episodes continue to play in its favor, though as before if extras are important to you, you will prefer the boxed configuration.


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