Thursday, October 20, 2011

Robotech Ratios [UPDATED]

The new Robotech Complete Series box set is out, and I have three questions before I commit to buying all of Robotech again. I'm posting this because my friend and fellow Robotech fanatic Lisa has offered to help answer them for me!

For those who don't know, Robotech was remastered several years ago. On the plus side, this remastering corrected a problem the video releases has always had: the image ratio was finally fixed. More on this later. On the negative side, they changed all the sound effects, and changed the opening titles. Instead of having one title sequence for all 85 episodes mixing all the generations together, they gave them three separate title sequences focusing only on one generation. I didn't like that; I like the way that showing all three generations made it feel like one big story. I liked the change in sound effects even less. This version was then collected in one giant box set called the Protoculture Edition, which has become a kind of shorthand for referring to this version.

Now the impression I was getting from the convention appearances of the Robotech staff this year is that with this new edition, they were able to recover the original, separated audio tracks, and so were able to restore it the sound to the original versions yet still keep enhance it for 5.1. However the sticker on the box in this picture posted by Harmony Gold from NYCC says it's the Remastered Extended Edition. So do they mean it's been remastered for this edition (as they made it sound at the cons), or is it the same as the previously released Protoculture Edition?

So, here's my questions (and anyone can feel free to chime in and answer):
UPDATED: Lisa's gotten back to me with the answers, so I'm sharing them here in case anyone else cares.

(1) Does it have the original, multi-generational opening and closing title sequences?

Original titles

Remastered Titles
VERDICT: No. This edition has the Remastered, single-generation openings and closings.

(2) Does it have the original sound effects?
Here's a brief comparison from Episode 2, "Countdown"

VERDICT: No. This edition has the Remastered sound effects.

(3) Is the image in the correct ratio?
This is a tough one to explain. Some time after 1985 but before the Remastered Extended Edition, the show was tweaked. Some of the background music was altered for different scenes. However, something went wrong on the video side. The image was now zoomed in too close. It's still 4x3 (or 1.33:1), like a regular television image; it's just that the image has now been blown up, and parts are no longer able to be seen. I've put together a few examples below. Click on them to make 'em bigger.


VERDICT: Yes. This edition has the correct ratios (just like the Remastered Edition)

So all in all, this is the same as the Protoculture edition. It may be a Re-Remastered Protoculture Edition with some of the music restored to what it originally was in 1985, but it still has the same good points of having the correct ratio and added footage, and the same bad points of the changed sounds and openings. But on the plus side, that volume of bonus features sounds SWEET.

Thanks to Lisa for doing all the detective work to try to appease this cranky old fanboy!!


Lisa said...

Glad it was helpful!

My extended opinions on the matter, FWIW, are over at

Writing this up for you inspired me to create a home on the Greater Intertubes for my...ah...very strong opinions about Things Protoculture.

Fer said...

Awesome! I'm glad it was inspiring and not a chore, lol. I'm now subscribed and looking forward to your further strong opinions.