Robotech: The Masters
Volume 1

Starring (voice): George C. Cole, Melissa Newman, Barbara Goodson and Kerrigan Mahan
Manga Entertainment Ltd
RRP: 14.99
Certificate: 12
Available 27 February 2006

Fifteen years have passed since the war against Zentraedi forces, but the peaceful existence of the survivors of that first alien conflict is eventually shattered by the invasion of the Robotech Masters. The Masters have come to Earth to reclaim the Protoculture Matrix. Discovered by mankind decades ago when the
SDF-1 interstellar battle-cruiser crash-landed on the planet, the Matrix was found to be the source of power for the mysterious Robotechnology. Now, the people of Earth must one again defend their home against invading alien forces. Leading the battle against the Robotech Masters are the courageous members of the misfit 15th Squadron, headed by Dana Sterling, the daughter of the ace Veritech pilot Max Sterling, and Zentraedi pilot, Miriya Parino...

Robotech: The Masters - Volume 1 features 12 digitally remastered episodes that continues the action that unfolded in the first series. An epic sci-fi fable that spans three generations of human struggle against alien domination, Robotech is one of the most successful anime franchises of all time. The series has inspired two animated feature film spin-offs as well as countless novels, comic books, toys and video games... so says the press release.

If, on the other hand, you are like me, you'll probably never have heard of Robotech before Manga started re-releasing this series on DVD. Well, don't let that stop you from picking up this interesting collection. The animation has improved somewhat since the first series and the writing is much tighter.

The saga - that is really about mankind's first contact with warring alien races, and the use of alien technology to defend Earth - is told across three chapters, The Macross Saga, The Robotech Masters (this season), and The New Generation. Released in 1985, the show was the first anime series that many fans had seen, and is often accredited as the cause of the anime fandom that continues to grow today in the United States.

The Masters series begins 15 years after the Macross Saga, the first graduating class of the United Earth Forces Military Academy prepares to carry on in the tradition of the officers and crew of the SDF-1. Earth is not the pleasant planet it once was. While new cities have been rebuilt on top of the destroyed ones, many of them are now designated no go zones, due to the high levels of radiation.

This series follows the lives of the young graduates, including Diana Sterling, who are employed to keep the alien threat at bay. But, with the alien warships slowly approaching Earth, does mankind really hope to fend off a serious attack, especially after it is still licking it's wounds from the first barrage.

There's no doubting that Robotech is an enjoyable, and intelligently written series. Sadly, Robot stories like these seem to be a product of the '80s, and it's doubtful whether many of today's younger generation will embrace this series in the way that children of the '80s would have.

Nick Smithson

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