the review site with a difference since 1999
Reviews Interviews Articles Apps About

ADV Films presents

Robotech #4: The Macross Saga: Battlefront (1985)

"I hope this does not mean they are planning an attack."- Captain Gloval

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: DVDL
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Mild animated violence)
Run Time: 02h:21m:18s
Release Date: 2001-08-07
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B-CC+ D+


DVD Review

This disc brings episodes 19-24 of the Robotech series to DVD. Since the first 36 episodes cover a four year span from the show's opening in 2009 (not including the setup from ten years earlier), until the final episodes in 2014, this set of episodes brings us to 2011 by its conclusion, as we move into the second half of The Macross Saga. While the plot certainly focuses on the many relationships developed on board the SDF-1, especially Rick Hunter's ongoing attractions to Minmay, the mecha element is also an important aspect of the show. At center stage is the Super Dimensional Fortress, the SDF-1, with its crew of 17,000. After a misguided fold operation sent it, and the island it was hovering above, out beyond Pluto, the ship now also houses the occupants of Macross City, rebuilt inside the ship, though parts of this establishment are constantly being destroyed as the SDF-1 transforms itself for battle in order to use its primary weapon, the Reflex Canon. The ship had originally crash-landed on Earth in 1999, and was refitted over the following ten years, at which time it automatically became reactivated when the Zentraedi fleet approached Earth. Aside from the battlefortress, the principle allied combat hardware are the Valkerie Veritech fighters, tri-modal machines that defend their mother craft from the alien attack forces. Depending on where they are engaged in combat, they transform from fighter to guardian or battloid modes.

With Captain Gloval's request for the civilian population to be allowed to leave the ship denied, he makes a last effort to try and free his passengers using some rather unorthodox procedures. When his efforts meet with an invitation from Ontario, it seems like their prayers have been answered. Meanwhile Rick has to get used to his new position as squadron leader after the events of the previous episode. However, disaster strikes as the SDF-1 reaches their destination when Kyron makes another attack on the ship, causing its new defense system to overload.

As a result, the invitation for the SDF-1's civilians to leave is withdrawn, and the ship is ordered to leave Earth. After the humiliating defeats the Zentraedi have been suffering, General Breetai agrees to once again take over command of the forces, bringing the entire fleet with him. Our three spies, Bron, Rico, and Konda, also make preparations to head back to their own kind, but contemplate the good times they have had while on ship, especially hearing Minmay sing everyday. Their stash of micronian artifacts cause quite a stir among their shipmates. At the same time, Miriya, another Zentraedi spy, makes her way on board, looking to hunt down Max, the pilot that defeated her in battle.

Despite everything that has been going on, the population on board rallies behind the captain when he informs them of their need to once again leave the planet, aided by encouraging words from Minmay. The film she and Kyle have been working on is opening the next night, and Minmay is growing tired of the media attention she has been getting and her rigorous schedule. When the film opens it receives a great response from the SDF-1 population, but broadcasts reaching the Zentraedi fleet have them fearing a new kind of secret weapon. When the ship does an unexpected transformation, Rick and Lisa are trapped together, and the seeds of a new relationship are born in A New Dawn.

Conspiracy is amiss in the Zentraedi forces as Dolza, Breetai, and Exedore prepare their strategies, many of their army are longing for the lifestyle promised by the tales Bron, Rico, and Konda are telling amongst the crew. Their plan for defection is put in place as Kyron again makes an assault on the SDF-1, this time taking the battle to the streets of Macross City. With the city in ruins, opinions are divided amongst the ship's officers whether to accept the Zentraedi defectors, but new evidence is presented that Lisa hopes will make the difference in her upcoming plans.

Lisa prepares to make her way secretly back to Earth to try and convince the government to open peace negotiations, but first she must make it through the Zentraedi attack force sent after her shuttle. Meanwhile, back on the SDF-1, Miriya continues her search for her rival fighter pilot, only to meet him head to head in combatóin a video game. While she's busy plotting revenge, Max is succumbing to his attractions for her. Then, as Kyle and Minmay agree to an interview after Kyle's accident, news leaks out that may shift Rick's romantic attentions.

To summarize my impressions so far, while I am still struggling with the English dubbing, which makes for some fairly awkward dialogue and reactions, I still enjoy the show, though am finding Minmay somewhat annoying at times. The action is still ongoing, and the personal relationship aspects are getting more interesting as things move along. The next pair of discs should wind up the Macross section of the series, so it will be interesting to find out where this is all leading, and how well they bridge into the next series. Robotech will return after these messages.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: If you have been viewing the series up to now, the video quality remains pretty consistent with what has come before. The digital looking grain and compression effects are again evident, as are the inconsistent contrast levels, which bleach out the whites in many sequences. Colors vary from quite good to washed out, and black levels vary similarly. The final episode exhibits more print defects than earlier episodes. This won't be your display prize piece by any means.

Image Transfer Grade: C

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio continues to be servicable but uninspiring. Edginess, some distortion and limited dynamics and frequency range are the norm. It does the job, but won't win any awards.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Nadia, Secret Of Blue Water, Getter Robo, Arc The Lad, Generator Gawl, Shadow Raiders, Those Who Hunt Elves
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras are limited to trailers for Nadia, Secret Of Blue Water, Getter Robo, Arc The Lad, Generator Gawl, Shadow Raiders and Those Who Hunt Elves, which are accessable from the trailers submenu.

Just when I thought it was safe to display my series on the shelf, ADV has made minor alterations to the spine art of disc four, giving us another series with inconsistent spine art. Leave it alone, guys!

Extras Grade: D+

Final Comments

Six more installments in the Macross Saga portion of Robotech. The series still holds my interest, though presentation quality is far from great.

Jeff Ulmer 2001-07-31