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Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 9, 2013 by  



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Don’t have the time to watch every episode of “Robotech”, someone who grew up watching “Robotech” as a child during the mid-80’s or someone wanting to discover what “Robotech” is about… “Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release” is a sci-fi, action-packed DVD with two films worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © 1985 Tatsunoko Production. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release

YEAR OF FILM: The Shadow Chronicles (2006)/Love Live Alive (2013)

DURATION: The Shadow Chronicles (2006)/Love Live Alive (1:29:16)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, English and Japanese stereo

COMPANY: Harmony Gold/Lionsgate

RATED: PG

Release Date: July 23, 2013

Original Character Design by Yoshitaka Amano

Original Mechanical Design by Hideki Kakinuma, Shinji Aramaki

Planning by Hiroshi Iwata

Production Executive: Ippei Kuri, Kouki Narushima

Story Consultant: Kenji Terada

English Direction by Tommy Yune

Screenplay by Ford Riley, Frank Agrama

Story by Steve Yun, Tom Bateman and Tommy Yune

Music by Scott Glasgow, Robotech Theme by Ulpio Minucchi

Executive Producer: Alan Letz, Frank Agrama

Producer by Jason Netter

Creative Consultant: Carl Macek

Anime Production: Tatsunoku Production

Featuring the following voice talent:

Gregory Snegoff as Scott Bernard

Kahri Wahlgren as Ariel

Richard Epcar as vince Grant

Yuri Lowenthal as Marcus Rush

Arthur Santiago as Alex Romero

Chase Masterson as Janice

Dan Woren as Gen. Reinhardt

Eddie Frierson as Louis Nichols

Edie Mirman as Maia Sterling

Iona Morris as Dr. Jean Grant

Alexandra Kenworthy as The Regess

Gregory Snegoff as Haydonite

Mark Hamill as Cmdr. Taylor/Haydonite

Melanie McQueen as Marlene Rush

Michael Sorich as Sparks

Tony Oliver as Rick Hunter

The smash-hit franchise is back in a new DVD set featuring two feature-length movies, including A BRAND NEW and NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN film!

The Robotech saga continues in this exciting new adventure. Lieutenant “Lancer” Belmont, a veteran of the Robotech’s New Generation, recounts his journey from before his first encounter with Scott Bernard to the aftermath following Admiral Rick Hunter’s expedition to liberate the Earth from the mysterious Invid race. Join your favorite characters once again in this follow-up to the smash-hit ROBOTECH series.

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In 1985, Harmony Gold USA in association with Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd. would work on an animated series titled “Robotech”.  An 85-episode series which featured animation from three different anime series “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”, “Super Dimension Calvalry Southern Cross” and “Genesis Climber MOSPEADA”.

The reason why three animated series were brought together as one, was because American weekday syndicated television required a minimum of 65-episodes, so a storyline was created and would focus on three Robotech wars spanning three generations.  The First Robotech War (The Macross Saga), The Second Robotech War (The Masters) and The Third Robotech War (The New Generation).

To help understand the series, The First Robotech War focuses on a giant alien race known as the Zentraedi  trying to retrieve a ship that crashed on Earth.  Humanity is introduced to an energy source known as protoculture and the Robotech Masters.  The Second Robotech War focuses on the Robotech Masters arriving on Earth seeking for what produces protoculture and a war between humanity and the Robotech Masters take place, but in the result, unleashes the Flower of Life, a spore which leads the Invid to come to Earth.  The Third Robotech War features the war against the Invid, who are lured to Earth by the Flower of Life.

While the “Robotech” TV Series have been released on DVD in the past and the film “The Shadow Chronicles” (wich was created to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “Robotech” in 2005) having been released on Blu-ray and DVD back in 2007, the film “Love Live Alive” which was mentioned in the final minutes of the documentary “Carl Macek’s Robotech Universe” has not been released in the U.S. until now.  Featuring an adaptation of the 1985 TV series “Genesis Climber Mospeada” and incorporating new animation, “Love Live Alive” will now be released on DVD with “The Shadow Chronicles” in July 2013.

The first film “Love Live Alive” is a flashback film showing what happened in the previous war.  A news reporter is interviewing Lt. Lance Belmon a.k.a. Lancer about the war and how he had to masquerade as a female performer known as “Yellow Dancer” and how he met with pilot Scott Bernard, the independent and strong-willed Rook Bartley, biomaintenance engineer Lunk, the teen freedom fighter Rand and the young orphan Annie LaBelle and how the members formed a group to fight the Invid.

We learn how the group found a mysterious woman who has amnesia.  How overtime, Scott and this woman, named Marlene (who happens to be an Invid in humanoid form) became close, but the group including Scott not knowing she is an Invid.  But how Lancer met Sera, also an Invid in humanoid form, which the two became a romantic interest but how he also protected her by not mentioning her to anyone.

As “Love Live Alive” helps introduced people to what took place in the third Robotech War, the film “The Shadow Chronicles” focuses on the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) and their battle with the Invid.  As the REF fleet tries to drive the alien Invid away from Earth, thanks to the “shadow” weapons given to them by the Haydonites, these weapons not only are able to destroy the Invid, it can wipe out all life on Earth.

We are introduced to an older Marcus Rush (brother of Marlene Rush and girlfriend of Scott Bernard), his friend and fellow pilot Alex Romero and REF pilot and Lt. Commander Maia Sterling.  These three pilots work under Captain Daryl Taylor.

As General Reinhardt sends Icarus Captain Vince Grant on a mission to look for the SDF-3 and Admiral Rick Hunter (who is now chief military commander of all REF forces), they receive a transmission from Admiral Hunter who appears to have been in the middle of an attack.

As the final battle between the REF Fleet and Invid Regis takes places, a survivor from one of the REF assaults, resistance leader Scott Bernard is found.   Scott reunites with Ariel (who is the mysterious Marlene in “Love Live Alive”), an Invid princess who hopes to convince her mother that humans and Invid can live in peace.  But Ariel has learned that she had a vision, a vision that the Children of the Shadow are planning to attack the REF and these Children were responsible for destroying the first Invid homeworld because of their fears of Protoculture.

But as Scott and Ariel want to relay this mission to the REF, will they even listen because the Invid is their enemy?

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VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release” is an interesting DVD release.  But there are a few things I must explain.

First, “Love Live Alive” is presented in 4:3 and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The film features newer English dubbing and the footage is from the 1985 “Genesis Climber Mospeada” anime series, so it’s old school anime.  But with that being said, the presentation of this older footage is not bad, in fact I didn’t notice any extreme problems with dust or white specks.  Picture quality for this older DVD looked good.

As for “The Shadow Chronicles”, back in 2008, a Blu-ray release of the film was released.  While FUNimation no longer retains the license to this title, for fans who want the best picture quality, may want to look for this older Blu-ray release as it does offer much more clarity and vibrant colors and most importantly a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack.  Not to say that this DVD is bad, because it’s not. It’s just if you want HD, a Blu-ray version of this film can be found online.    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on DVD still features very good picture quality and an immersive soundtrack during the action sequences plus good use of LFE, but the original Blu-ray’s lossless soundtrack has better lossless sound.  But one should not expect the DVD version to be better than the original Blu-ray release.

Subtitles are presented in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release” comes with the following special features:

Love Live Alive DVD:

  • Pre-Production Gallery – Using a remote (or keyboard), you can cycle through pre-production gallery images.
  • Trailer – A short trailer for “Love Live Alive”

The Shadow Chronicles DVD:

  • Birth of a Sequel – (44:56) Featuring interviews with fans of “Robotech” (at Anime Expo 2005), the voice cast and crew on their character, the return of “Robotech” and a few voice talent coming back to work on a series they did back in 1985.
  • Score Music Video – (8:10) A music video featuring the score by Scott Glasgow.
  • Anime Selects – (1:57) Featuring Anime Select at Anime Expo 2005 for “Robotech” coverage with the staff from Harmony Gold.
  • あ!PoN Animé Podcast – (:30) Featuring an interview with Tommy Yune of Harmony Gold.
  • Robotech 3000 – The original CG video of canceled “Robotech 3000” originally shown to fans at Fanime 2000.
  • Robotech 3000 Motion Capture – (:21) The motion capture for “Robotech 3000”.
  • Deleted Scenes – (6:41) Featuring a total of 12 deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by Tommy Yune.
  • Outtakes – (3:02) Voice acting outtakes from “The Shadow Chronicles”.
  • Animatics – (11:22) Featuring a total of 10 animatics with optional audio commentary by Tommy Yune.
  • Trailers – Featuring the 30 second television spot, prelude to the Shadow Chronicles Promo, NATPE Teaser Trailer, DVD Trailer and Collector’s Edition Trailer
  • Galleries – Featuring a Personal Dossier, Ship Registry, Mecha Database, Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles and Secret Files

EXTRAS:

“Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release” comes with a slipcover.

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For any child growing up in the mid-80’s, aside from popular series such as “G.I. Joe”, “Masters of the Universe”, “Transformers” shown during the afternoons, two animated series from Japan would be shown on syndicated television and it was nothing like we saw in America before.

“Voltron” and “Robotech” were two series that would captivate young audiences for its deep storyline, use of mecha and where most animation were targeting for children, both of these animated series would show characters dying, characters falling in love.

For “Robotech”, fans would eventually grown up to find out that the storyline of “Robotech” was crafted with three different animated series from Japan, their only correlation with each other was the storyline that Harmony Gold would create in order to meet the minimum episodes required for a Syndicated TV series.

While some fans have grown up to find the original Japanese series to see and know the differences, many fans were would come to accept “Robotech” as a memorable animated series of the mid-80’s.

Personally for me, it was one of the most difficult animated series to watch.  Because each storyline were connected and missing an episode or episodes made understanding the series much more complicated.  With baseball games interfering with the airing of the series or the fact that I would miss the series when coming home from school, unless you knew how to program a VCR, chances were that you would miss the series and not see it ever again.  Fortunately, an affordable DVD collection of the TV series was released in 2011 and is now available.

But for those who feel they don’t have the time to watch all those episodes of “Robotech” and would rather just get a summarized version of the story, then fans will be happy to know that they can watch “Love Live Alive” and “The Shadow Chronicles” together on DVD.  While the former has never been released in the U.S. before and the latter was last released on Blu-ray in 2008, part of the main reason of purchasing this DVD release for the hardcore fans who own “The Shadow Chronicles” on Blu-ray or DVD is probably for the inclusion of “Love Live Alive”.

While a film consisting of flashback episodes from the Third Robotech War and focusing on the character Lancer as he talks about his experience of the past, the series does provide an interesting primer on both Scott Bernard and Lancer Belmont and their fight against the Invid.  But also, helping viewers understand who Marlene/Ariel is.  In fact, I wish this film was released when the 2008 film came out because people would get an idea of who the characters were through “Love Live Alive” if they haven’t seen the TV series in over 25-years.

And while “Love Live Alive” does make for a good primer of the fight against the Invid, there is new animation for the final minute of the film that fans may find quite interesting.  The modern animation may not matchup 100% with the 1985 animation but I think that Lancer and Sera fans may find it quite interesting.

As for “The Shadow Chronicles”, there are those who have been critical of the film.  From the treatment of Rick Hunter, the treatment of Scott Bernard and Ariel and newer characters introduced that people may not feel any closeness too.  But personally, while I did enjoy the film to some extent, if only the film could have had an actual animated series that would establish characters like General Reinhardt, Vince Grant, Marcus Rush, Mai Sterling.  In Japan, before a film, especially one based on a sci-fi series, there is a build-up leading to a film but the characters have been established.

But that’s Japan.  Unless one has millions to fund a new “Robotech” series, then the movie “The Shadow Chronicles” is all one is going to get and fortunately lucky to get after all these years of waiting.

So, with two “Robotech” films now available on DVD, fans may be happy for this release but knowing that “The Shadow Chronicles” was released on Blu-ray, I wouldn’t mind if “Love Live Alive” was upconverted to HD, so much that I would have loved to watch and hear these two films in HD.  But I suppose that is me being a little nitpicky and wanting to see everything in HD.

So, what it comes down to is for those who own “The Shadow Chronicles” on DVD or Blu-ray, should one invest in another release for “Love Live Alive”?  If you own the complete “Robotech” collection on DVD, then probably not, but if you don’t, then the answer is yes.  Also, you get an interesting final scene involving Lancer and Sera that was never shown on the original TV series.  Personally, I’m glad that “Love Live Alive” was included, so people who haven’t seen the series in many years or those who are new to “Robotech” will know what happened during the third Robotech war before watching “The Shadow Chronicles”.

Overall, if you grew up watching “Robotech” as a child during the mid-80’s or are a fan of the series, “Robotech 2-Movie Collection: The Shadow Chronicles – Collector’s Edition and Love Live Alive Premiere Release” is a DVD worth checking out!






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