ADV Films // 1985 // 300 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bryan Byun (Retired) // November 18th, 2004
You've never seen Robotech® like this before!
The fifth volume in the Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition series concludes Southern Cross, the middle chapter of the epic Robotech arc. In this two-disc volume, we find the outmatched forces of the Southern Cross Defense Corps in an increasingly hopeless battle for survival against the technologically superior Robotech Masters and their clone army. As the Earth forces' offensives grow more desperate and costly, our plucky heroine, Dana Sterling, turns to captive Robotech Master Zor Prime for assistance, bringing him into her squadron (and into her heart). But is Zor the savior of Earth, or an agent in its destruction?
The Robotech Remastered collection is a re-release of all three seasons of the venerable Robotech animated series, which originally aired in the 1980s, with digitally remastered video and remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, with some "new" footage sprinkled in to sweeten the triple-dip (this is the third release of the series on DVD). Robotech Remastered: Extended Edition (Vol. 5) comes in a two-disc set, with each disc in its own keep case and both cases housed in a box. A series box and plastic Veritech fighter model are included in the set. Volume Five contains twelve episodes, six on each disc:
* "A New Recruit"
* "Clone Chamber"
* "Love Song"
* "The Hunters"
* "Mind Game"
* "Dana in Wonderland"
* "Crisis Point"
* "Final Nightmare"
* "The Invid Connection"
I'm a lifelong fan of the Robotech series, as it was my first real taste of Japanese animation, but the Southern Cross story line has never been my favorite chapter in the saga. I'll cop to liking Dana Sterling -- she's a trifle shrill, but I find her endearing whenever her brash exuberance lands her in embarrassing situations, or when her tomboy persona is finally melted by Zor Prime's fey, Europop-glam appeal. I also like the way the Southern Cross military dictatorship is presented, as a plausible evolution of the authoritarian, militaristic government that emerged from the Earth-Zentraedi wars. And these episodes' lighter moments -- such as the hate-hate relationship between Sterling and by-the-book officer Nova Satori -- are consistently amusing in their goofy way.
If all these elements had been blended seamlessly into a focused, well-developed story, Southern Cross might have been my favorite chapter of the series. As it is, creator Carl Macek's retrofitting of existing anime series, which worked well in the first chapter (Macross), doesn't work as well here. Plot lines are disjointed and riddled with holes, and you can practically feel the strain of trying to bend the original Southern Cross story line this way and that to make it fit into the Robotech story. The notion that blue-haired Max Sterling and green-haired Miriya somehow produced a blonde-haired daughter is just the first of many ragged seams in this middle chapter. And the fact that much of this section of the series is either an echo of Macross or laying the groundwork for the following New Generation story line makes it difficult to view Southern Cross as much more than a transitional chapter.
As far as audiovisual quality goes, if you've liked the previous volumes of Robotech Remastered, chances are you'll be happy with this release as well. The print quality of the original DVD release of Southern Cross was a little more watchable than that of Macross, but not by much, and this cleaned-up revision is a vast improvement, though still not on a par with more recent anime series. The much-hyped added footage adds up to a smattering of skin shots, not much of a draw unless you've been harboring a fantasy for the past twenty years of seeing Dana naked in the shower.
The audio tracks are Dolby Digital 5.1, in English and Spanish, and effects have been re-recorded for this series, which, naturally, means a lot of crisp, loud explosions and mecha flyby whooshes. The sound is clear and pretty active during the action scenes, clear and unexciting during all other scenes. While I wish the new effects had been blended more smoothly with the original audio, this revamped mix provides for some lively, intense battles.
Extras: nope. Just some ADV trailers. But you do get another Veritech mini-action figure. Which is interesting, since the Veritech figure provided doesn't actually appear in Southern Cross. But whatever. If you like supplemental material, don't sell your Robotech Legacy collection just yet.
While the Southern Cross chapter of Robotech wasn't my favorite, it still has enough going for it to recommend it to fans of the show. If nothing else, it's the bridge between the superior Macross and New Generation story lines, so there's no reason not to tune in if you've made it this far. If you're new to the series, take four steps back to Volume One.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bryan Byun; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* ADV Previews
* Series Box
* Veritech Fighter Toy
* Official Site
* The Robotech Companion
* Robotech/Macross Split-Screen Comparison Gallery
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 1
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 2
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 3
* DVD Verdict Review of Vol. 6