Robotech: First Contact

Robotech: First Contact (1985)
ADV Films
Extras: Previews

By many hailed as the single-best anime space opera series, ’Robotech’ is finally available on DVD through Japanese animation specialist ADV Films. ’Robotech’ combines a number of science fiction elements, ranging from ’Battletech’ to ’Star Wars’ – including the title theme – and combines them to a gripping series of furious adventures in a futuristic world where robots are powerful foes and aliens as real as the air that we breathe. ADV Films has included 6 episodes on ’Robotech: First Contact,’ each of them running around 25 minutes. In chronological order they mark the beginning of the series and set up the premise as events unfold after the crash of a space battleship crashed onto Macross Island.

’Robotech’ arrives in its original fullscreen presentation on this DVD, featuring a good transfer. Although it is noticeable that ADV has paid a lot of attention to the transfer of these episodes, some minor problems are evident. Occasional registration problems cause the image to waver noticeably and occasional speckles and scratches mar the print. Grain is noticeable throughout the presentation of these episodes, giving them a bit of a rough look with fairly soft edges, that is very different from the extremely sharp and slick look of some other recent anime releases. Nonetheless, ’Robotech’ is a great release that will make you throw out your worn out VHS tapes, no doubt. Although the production values of the series are somewhat dated and colors slightly faded, the image detail is good in this presentation, making the DVD a desirable addition to anime fans’ collections. The DVD uses a very high bit rate to encode the image material, but given the basic deficits of the source material and the grain, occasional compression artifacts are evident. They never become distracting though and given ADV’s track record, it is certainly safe to assume that they did the best they could to obtain the best possible master material for this release.

The DVD contains only the English audio track, which may be a drawback for purists, as the original Japanese language tracks are missing from the release. The Dolby Stereo audio track is clean and without hiss or noise, but has a noticeably limited frequency response with under-emphasized low ends. No extras are included on this DVD other than previews to six other anime releases.