Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation brings together the third and final arc of this legendary series. Nearly 40 years on though, how does it hold up?
For Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation (which, in my head, I believe should be called The Invid Saga) we skip ahead a number of years following the Flower Of Life’s release to find Earth under the control of the Invid with only pockets of resistance scattered across the various continents.
The story centres around Admiral Rick Hunter’s impending return from blowing up things across the universe to liberate Earth from the new invaders. The story specifically focuses on the lone survivor of one of the latest attack corps, Lieutenant Commander Scott Bernard, who has decided to carry out Admiral Hunter’s mission and lead a small resistance team to Reflex Point and free human society from the grip of the Invid.
When reviewing Part 2 I found myself surprised with how much I enjoyed the Southern Cross arc which I don’t remember with quite as much enthusiasm, both in the context of Robotech but also the original Japanese version of the anime.
The final arc of Robotech, in contrast, has always been a firm favourite since I was a kid. The last time Robotech made its full run on commercial free to air TV across 1994 to 1995, I can still remember watching the final episode with a sense of excitement at coming to a long awaited conclusion but sadness that after three massive arcs there would be no Robotech to watch before school the next day.
All these years later, the final few episodes of Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation triggered that same run of emotions. While nostalgia probably clouds my opinion, this was a fantastic conclusion to an amazing and epic series. The characters were varied and interesting, and I liked the dynamic elements brought in by the mixture of military and civilians in the main party and the frequent conflict that arose. The Invid were just as interesting and engaging as the Zentradi were in the first season and the evolving mecha designs, both of the Invid and for the resistance fighters, looked awesome.
Even moreso in hindsight, it was commendable that they kept Lance’s cross dressing performances as Yellow Dancer, including that iconic reveal scene, without playing up stereotypes around it. The female characters in the main party were often placed in positions of independent strength rather than being ditzy and the male characters were allowed to hold roles ranging from military strongman to being riddled with fear or held accountable for not putting everyone’s wellbeing in front of blowing stuff up.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s still quippy as hell in the spirit of cock-sure Western super heroes when they transform to battle with the Invid, but that’s offset comfortably with the slow but steady pace they need to take as part of usurping the Invid forces.
Being a slightly newer production than Macross and Southern Cross, Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation features a really nice HD transfer. The foley effects unfortunately still overpower and undo the charm of the original mix – this is in line with the previous HD collections and I’m still disappointed we weren’t given the option to enjoy the original mix, same for the original ops, eds and eye catches.
The local release of Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation as a result looks and (objectively I guess) sounds great. Encoding is tight with enough grain coming through to retain the organic feel of the cel-drawn animation without being too distracting. Issues with the 5.1 mix aside, dialogue and music are super clean too. Extras, much like the previous entries, are exhaustive – Robotech is an important landmark experimentation and seeing all the amazing historical footage preserved for this release was so much fun to watch and enjoy.
Robotech Part 3 – The New Generation is difficult to fault, aside from the overly-excitable effects on the audio mix. The native HD scan looks fantastic, the animation and story are a fantastic step up from the second season, and the extras are super comprehensive.
Robotech stands as such an important part of the foundation of the Western anime scene and this final release does a fantastic job in capturing this in a neat little package. With the inclusion of the original audio mix this would have been a perfect release, but as it stands this has been a fantastic journey.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.