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Macross Zero

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Macross Zero Vol. 1: "The Ocean, the Wind, and..." ( マクロス ゼロ 第一章 「海と風と」 )

Big West/Satelight/Bandai Visual, 2002

U.S. Distributor Pending.

Directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross Plus, Earth Girl Arjuna).

Not Rated (Suggested 13-Up). Contains violence and mature situations.

The year is 2008. Nine years have passed since an alien spaceship crashed on Earth, making us realize that we are not alone in the universe. Before the Earth/Zentraedi War (2009-2010), the United Nations was at war with anti-UN factions over global control. The last few days of this war are chronicled in Macross Zero, a five-episode prequel series from the people that gave you the original Macross series.

After being shot down by a new enemy aircraft, UN pilot Shin Kudo wakes up on the remote island of Mayan. As he slowly learns about the culture of the inhabitants, the tranqulity of the island is shattered by a battle that involves the UN's newest fighter - the VF-0!

Story: A

Unlike Macross or Macross Plus, Macross Zero does not have a love triangle subplot or idol singers. Instead, the storyline simply focuses on the war and life on an island almost devoid of modern civilization. It even borrows environmental elements from one of Kawamori's recent works, Earth Girl Arjuna.

Animation: A++

In 1994, Macross Plus set new standards in mixing 2D animation with digital 3D effects. Today, Macross Zero takes that same standard to a much higher level than the human eye has ever seen. The first five minutes of the video is filled with jaw-dropping eye-candy as you see F-14 Tomcats duel with MiG-29 Fulcrums and an SV-51. However, that's nothing compared to the VF-0's killer transformation sequence. And you can thank Satelight (Heat Guy J, Escaflowne) for all the excellent visuals.

Soundtrack: A

Kuniaki Haishima (Gasaraki, Spriggan) supplies an orchestral score that's not up to the same level of Yoko Kanno's compositions in Macross Plus, but has a lot of punch in it, especially in the combat scenes.

Cast

Macross Zero features Kenichi Suzumura (Kamui in X, Hajiki in Gad Guard) as Shin, Sanae Kobayashi (Kitori in Area 88, Antonia in Heat Guy J) as Sara, Yuka Nanri (Henrietta in Gunslinger Girl, Sayuri in Beyond the Clouds) as Mao, Naomi Shindo (Cagalli in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Noike in Tenchi Muyo! GXP/Ryo-Ohki 3) as Aries, Tamio Ohki (Tashiro in Gunbuster, the general in Steel Angel Kurumi) as Nutouk, Sosuke Komori as Edgar, and Akira Kamiya (Kenshiro in Fist of the North Star, Ryo in City Hunter) reprising his role as Roy Focker.

The Bottom Line

With pulse-pounding battle scenes and outstanding animation, Macross Zero is the ultimate roller-coaster ride on video.

Links

Macross Zero Official Homepage

Bandai Visual's Official Macross Zero Homepage

Reference

Anime News Network

Newtype USA vol. 2 no. 3

Edited by areaseven

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Macross Zero Episode 2: "The Stars on the Ground" ( マクロス ゼロ 第二章 「地上の星」 )

Big West/Satelight/Bandai Visual, 2003

U.S. Distributor Seriously Pending.

Directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross/Macross Plus, Spring and Chaos).

Not Rated (Suggested 16-Up). Contains graphic violence, nudity and mature situations.

The war between the UN Spacy and the Anti-UN forces reaches the shores of Mayan. After the smoke clears, Shin returns to active duty, only to feel the pressure of inexperience with piloting the VF-0. Meanwhile, Dr. Aries Turner and the research team behind excavating an alien artifact underwater set camp on Mayan, and Shin finds out that there's more to the priestess Sara than anyone has ever known.

Story: A

Finally, Big West gives us what we've longed for - a major battle. This episode also gives more emphasis on Focker's character and the secrets of Protoculture slowly begin to unfold. Plus, we get to know more about the Anti-UN force and its ace pilot Nora Polyansky. Shin's past is also hinted, but we'll have to wait until the next episode for the rest of it.

Animation: A++

Thought the animation on episode 1 was good? Think again. Satelight (Heat Guy J, Gene Shaft) raises the bar up a few more notches with digital 3D combat scenes that make the first episode pale in comparison.

Soundtrack: A

Kuniaki Haishima's soundtrack took a lot of getting used to on episode 1, but it progressively got better on this episode.

Cast

Joining the cast from the first episode are TWO-MIX lead vocalist Minami Takayama (Kiki's Delivery Service, Nabiki in Ranma 1/2) as Nora, Romi Paku (Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist, Loran in Turn-A Gundam) as Katie, and Ryuzaburo Otomo (Crocodile in One Piece, Dennis in Macross II) as Ivanov.

The Bottom Line

Improved visuals make a good thing even better. If you want the best variable mecha action since Macross Plus, pick up Macross Zero now.

Links

Big West's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Bandai Visual's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Reference

Anime News Network

Edited by areaseven

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Great review areaseven. Mac 0 is definitely some eye candy.

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Macross Zero Episode 3: "Blue Death Match" ( マクロス ゼロ 第三章 「蒼き死闘」 )

Big West/Satelight/Bandai Visual, 2003

U.S. Distributor Seriously Pending.

Directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross/Macross Plus, Earth Girl Arjuna).

Not Rated (Suggested 16-Up). Contains graphic violence, nudity and mature situations.

Shin discovers that Sara and Mao have strange abilities connected to the island. Tension between Sara and Aries intensifies when Sara's mentor was the same professor that drew blood from her at a younger age. Meanwhile, Mao brings Shin into the ocean to show him the island's "secret treasure" - a large fragment of the ancient relic known as "AFOS." There, Shin learns more about adapting to different environments by observing a school of flying fish and a flock of birds that also swim. But Mayan and the ocean surrounding it once again become a war zone when anti-U.N. forces attack the Asuka II fleet and the island in hopes of taking away the heavily-guarded AFOS. Shin and Edgar - aboard their VF-0D - must protect the AFOS fragment discovered by Mao from the invading forces.

Story: A

The series gets more interesting with more emphasis on Sara and Mao, along with a philosophical look at nature being an influence to the VF-0's transforming mechanism. We also learn more about why Sara hates foreigners, and we also see how much Shin has improved in piloting the VF-0. All that and a fierce battle towards the end of the episode will keep you anticipating for the next episode.

Animation: A++

Satelight (Heat Guy J, Gene Shaft) and Korean-based studio Tin House (Wonderful Days) go all out on this episode. The underwater scenes are filled with vibrant colors, while the battle scenes are darker and grittier. To top it all off, we finally see Destroids and an armored VF-0S in action. You definitely can't miss this.

Soundtrack: A

With a new episode comes new BGM tracks by Kuniaki Haishima, along with the tropical-style ending theme "Yanyan" - performed by Yuuka Nanri, who plays Mao in the series.

Cast

Mami Higashiyama makes a cameo appearance as Earth Girl Arjuna.

The Bottom Line

The best just got better. Macross Zero delivers with more mecha action and suspense, along with loads of digital eye candy.

Links

Big West's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Bandai Visual's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Reference

Anime News Network

Edited by areaseven

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whoa, when did part 3 come out? I must have been sleeping when this happened! Oh man the cover looks dope! that valk has the full armor on. I guess it's the pre gbp-1 armor. Nice! I need to pick up this dvd! And as always areaseven, your reviews are superb! :p:D:lol:

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Hey areaseven, have you seen wonderful days yet, how'bout a review on that

I seem to remember him reviewing it in the Other Anime & Sci Fi section, do a search and it might turn up.

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you know, I'm probably the only one that still hasn't seen this series yet? I'm still waiting till the whole series comes out before I buy it. I hate waiting for like ever for the next episode. :p:D:lol:

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I don't know how to do quotes yet but like Bobe-Patt I was holding out till the whole series came out, but after reading your review I'm going to have buy whats out now. Thanks for the review areaseven.

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Macross Zero Episode 4: "Jungle" ( マクロス ゼロ 第四章 「密林」 )

Big West/Satelight/Bandai Visual, 2004

U.S. Distributor Seriously Pending.

Directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross/Macross Plus, Earth Girl Arjuna).

Not Rated (Suggested 16-Up). Contains graphic violence, nudity and mature situations.

Shin, Sara and Aries have been captured by the Anti-UN forces led by Nora. Professor Hasford - who was responsible for the Protoculture theory - reveals himself in front of the three as part of the Anti-UN. However, Shin and Sara escape from their captivity when Sara's powers are unleashed and a flying stone bird appears out of nowhere. Focker crashes into the scene and runs off with Aries. Meanwhile, aboard the Asuka II, Mao's blood transfusion using that of the AFOS has completed, but she remains unconscious. Nutouk and the other Mayans aboard perform a ritual ceremony to awaken her, only to have her sense a new danger on the island.

Story: B+

Well, the story digs deeper into the Protoculture theory with the introduction of Professor Hasford. There's another spectacular dogfight between Focker and Ivanov at the beginning of the episode, but that's all the action that occurs here. Anything else will have to wait until episode 5, as the story here focuses mostly on the two main couples (Shin & Sara and Focker & Aries).

Animation: A++

Once again, we have an awesome dogfight sequence in the episode, courtesy of Satelight. That and all the excellent color and lighting effects you see on the island.

Soundtrack: A

The ending theme for this episode is an instrumental by Kuniaki Haishima called "Forest Song."

Cast

Joining the cast are Nachi Nozawa (Anderson in Hellsing, Pycal in Lupin III: Return of the Magician) as Professor Hasford, Kouji Totani (Cmdr. Killing in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080) as Hassan and Jouji Nakata (Alucard in Hellsing, Jack in Yukikaze) as Sara's father.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for more action, you will be disappointed. Macross Zero episode 4 is just a preparation for the big finale coming later this year.

Links

Big West's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Bandai Visual's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Reference

Anime News Network

Edited by areaseven

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Totally awsome reviews A7, you really make me want to go out and buy these right away!

But first I have to questions:

1. What region is it encoded for?

2. Is it subbed?

Thanks in advance.

Edited by platypiman247

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Totally awsome reviews A7, you really make me want to go out and buy these right away!

But first I have to questions:

1. What region is it encoded for?

2. Is it subbed?

Thanks in advance.

I based my reviews on fansubs available online. So far, the Japanese Region 2 DVDs have no English subtitles. The widely-available Hong Kong bootleg DVDs are region-free, but beware of some half-assed English subtitles on each volume.

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I just started watching MACRoSs Zero and IT ROCKS!!! IM up to epiSode 3. Im begining to wonder if NOra is really a micronized zentraedi hehehehe.. maybe part of an advance scout or a survivor of the crashed alien ship? Her hair is kinda blue aint it? :D

I love the CG and the animation combo. The battle scenes rendered remind me of Beastwars/Beast Machines CGI.. nice , smooth and crisp!

Its nice to see where roy gets his fighting experience from too. Those non-protoculture powered VF-0 are excellent. How come they look more advanced than the VF-1's though? It reminds me of "enterprise" on how theyre more advanced looking than captain kirks era... oops im showing my age hehehe.

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I love the CG and the animation combo. The battle scenes rendered remind me of Beastwars/Beast Machines CGI.. nice , smooth and crisp!

like the Beastmachines!!! ouch!

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hey areaseven,

how long until a review for episode 5.

sneakers

Well, unfortunately, I no longer have DSL; thus, I no longer have access to fansubs. I can probably get episode 5 on a HK bootleg DVD, but I'll wait until they compile all five episodes in one boxed set (it's much cheaper that way).

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Can I ask a semi-related question here?

When people refer to "fansubs". . . are they referring to actual videos that can be downloaded with subtitles "embedded" into the video? Or are they referring to just timed scripts that subtitle players then play back on top of an already existing video source? Or, does the term "fansub" cover both and is used interchangably?

I'd love to find some good timed subtitle scripts for M Zero so that I could re-master my DVDs with better subs.

H

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Macross Zero Final Episode: "Bird-Human" ( マクロス ゼロ 最終章「鳥の人」 )

Big West/Satelight/Bandai Visual, 2004

U.S. Distributor Seriously Pending.

Directed by Shoji Kawamori (Macross/Macross Plus, Sousei no Aquarion).

Not Rated (Suggested 16-Up). Contains violence and gore, nudity and mature situations.

Following the massive bombing of Mayan Island, the Anti-UN forces capture a component of AFOS, along with Sara and Aries. Aboard the enemy submarine, Sara learns the true motives of Professor Hasford and the U.N. forces. Shin and Focker must once again take to the skies and stop the Anti-UN before the Bird-Human awakens and sings its song of destruction.

Story: B+

Two years of keeping us at the edge of our seats have culminated to one of the most anticipated series endings in anime. The questions raised within episodes 1-4 will finally be answered. Will AFOS decide the fate of life on Earth? Who will survive in the ensuing chaos? Will Macross Zero finally be licensed in America?

(Okay, maybe not that last question.)

Well, the series ending isn't exactly what everyone predicted. It even left many a Macross fan in either confusion or disappointment. Personally, I thought Macross Zero had a very good ending. Never mind that it has nothing to do with the entire Macross continuity (in many ways, it feels like Evangelion and RahXephon). Kawamori wanted the series to end this way, and it actually worked. I won't say anything further - if you want spoilers, go the Series forum. Otherwise watch the episode and decide for yourself.

Animation: A++

Since it's the grand finale, Macross Zero has to end with a bang. The fatal four-way between Shin, Focker, Nora and D.D. brings out the best animated dogfight scenes since Macross Plus. And there's nothing like a Destroid Monster preparing to fire a volley of nukes.

Soundtrack: A

After hearing the same BGM throughout the first four episodes, we're treated to newer music by Kuniaki Haishima (Requiem From the Darkness, Blue Gender), including some powerful vocals played when AFOS awakens.

The Bottom Line

Love it or hate it, Macross Zero actually ends in a good note. Now let's see if Harmony Gold can top this with their Robotech sequel.

Links

Big West's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Bandai Visual's Official Macross Zero Homepage (Japanese)

Reference

Anime News Network

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Having only seen the first episode, which I liked very much, I can now get all of them and watch them in a row without having to wait for the next part. Thanks for the excellent reviews.

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Can I ask a semi-related question here?

When people refer to "fansubs". . . are they referring to actual videos that can be downloaded with subtitles "embedded" into the video? Or are they referring to just timed scripts that subtitle players then play back on top of an already existing video source? Or, does the term "fansub" cover both and is used interchangably?

I'd love to find some good timed subtitle scripts for M Zero so that I could re-master my DVDs with better subs.

Yes, fansubs are the ones with the subtitles embedded into the video. And the DVD by FX will need a good set of subtitle scripts, as the English translation is laughable.

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I'm all for the CG dogfight scenes, but I wasn't too happy with all the touchy-feeling, tree hugging themes of the overall series.  :(

300759[/snapback]

Yeah, that was a bit of a turn-off, but it sure as hell beats watching Macross Dynamite 7.

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I'm all for the CG dogfight scenes, but I wasn't too happy with all the touchy-feeling, tree hugging themes of the overall series.   :(

300759[/snapback]

Yeah, that was a bit of a turn-off, but it sure as hell beats watching Macross Dynamite 7.

328192[/snapback]

Spidey sense is tingling, :ph34r: oh-uh, AGENT ONE is coming this way. :p

P.S. Can a VF really backflip/tumble ther way Roy did in episode 2?

Edited by grss1982

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I finally downloaded the entire series now that I have high speed cable and was able to watch it uninterupted all the way through. Whoa! What a good series this was. I just hope that we will be treated to a US release one day.

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I finally downloaded the entire series now that I have high speed cable and was able to watch it uninterupted all the way through. Whoa! What a good series this was. I just hope that we will be treated to a US release one day.

328832[/snapback]

I hope that never happens, because I'm afraid HG might in some insidious legal way get the rights to the show and decide to make it into ROBOTECH ZERO. :ph34r:

I can just imagine it now, Dan Woren reprising his role as teh "Skull One" and HG twisiting the protoculture theory. :rolleyes:

Edited by grss1982

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I think we already discussed on the Movies and TV Series forum that HG porting Macross Zero into the Robotech universe is highly illogical. Never mind the fact that Macross Zero contradicts the original Macross universe (like Enterprise did to Star Trek); it just doesn't fit anywhere in Robotech.

In the Macross universe, the ASS-1 crash started the war between the U.N. and other countries; hence the story of Macross Zero. On the other hand, in the Robotech universe, the crash actually ended a war in progress. And AFOS has no place in Robotech (even if HG would claim it's a giant Invid scout ship).

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