Anime is one of those things that’s had a place in American pop culture for a very long time, and our friends out at Lionsgate sent over a little slice of that sweet anime goodness for us to review. Specifically, they sent a copy of “Robotech: 2-Movie Collection,” and for those hurting for a little good old fashioned giant robot battle alongside “Pacific Rim”–this won’t be out until July 23, so there will be a bit of a wait–then this might be just what you need.
The “Robotech 2-Movie Collection” contains both “Love Life Alive” and “The Shadow Chronicles.” “Love Live Alive” joins us with soldier “Lancer” Belmont, who will be joining Robotech pilot Scott Bernard in a continuing battle against the Invid. In fact, this is actually a good chunk of Lancer’s life before meeting up with Scott Bernard, so we’ll get plenty of background on Lancer. Meanwhile, “The Shadow Chronicles” shifts focus to Scott Bernard, who now faces enemies both within and without as he must take on not only the demons in his own life, but also a new threat from an army of mechanized monsters known as the Haydonites.
Both movies are good, albeit for different reasons. The biggest difference between the two is the perspective. “Love Live Alive” comes from after the Invid War, but talks about events that happened during same. There’s also substantially more cross-dressing.”The Shadow Chronicles,” meanwhile, will move to a completely different conflict.
It all has an undeniably old-school flavor to it that’s hard to ignore, though there will be some clear differences between the two. But that means, overall, that this has an excellent level of value to it as it’s got two titles here, and that gives two different classes of anime a chance; “Love Live Alive” is pretty chatty, with some occasional action thrown in, but “The Shadow Chronicles” steps things up considerably in the action and drama department, as well as in the graphics. It’s significantly more impressive than “Love Live Alive,” and has much more of a space opera feel to it. Yet there’s no denying that “Love Live Alive” has more to it in terms of dramatic tension, where “The Shadow Chronicles” simply goes for the guns in a huge way.
“Love Live Alive” special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, a pre-production gallery, a teaser for “Love Live Alive,” and trailers for “Battle for Terra,” “Astro Boy,” “Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow,” “Clash of the Red Rangers,” and “Hulk Vs.,” though the trailers won’t be available from the main menu. “The Shadow Chronicles,” meanwhile, offers up English and Spanish subtitles and a commentary track featuring the director, the writer and the composer. Plus, there’s also a set of deleted scenes, a set of animatics, some production art galleries, a making of featurette, a featurette on the music, a podcast interview with the director, Robotech at an anime expo, and several different trailers for “The Shadow Chronicles.”
For “Robotech” fans, for anime fans, “Robotech: 2-Movie Collection” will be a great buy. But there’s plenty of appeal beyond the expected, and action and science fiction buffs will get their money’s worth here as well.