Macross Plus: The Collection

Considered a pinnacle of anime upon its release a decade ago, this Macross sequel is set 30 years ahead of the original Superdimensional Fortress Macross, which made up the first part of the Americanised '80s-era Robotech cartoon. Directed by original co-creator Shoji Kawamori and written by Cowboy Bebop's Keiko Nobumoto, it maintains the series' focus on love triangles, virtual pop idols and mecha, those trusty transforming robot-planes. Macross Plus plays out like an anime Top Gun, with rival test pilots battling it in the air and over a chick. Of course, there's bigger badness afoot but the series is in no real rush to get there. A then-groundbreaking (and budget-shattering) combination of cell and CGI animation, this release gathers the original four-episode OAV ("original animation video," which is quite respected in Japan, unlike North America's derogatory direct-to-video market) into a single box-set. The animation still looks pretty great, especially the surreal J-Pop concert scenes and frantic flying sequences, but the focus on the romantic storyline between the three former friends can drag. It has heart, but with the aliens in the deep background, it has none of the epic "oomph" (or the kick-ass name) that accompanied the war-torn original. But while the movie is still very worthwhile, the extras are completely useless, offering no story context for what happened before or after in the Macross-verse or any background on the creative process. Instead, one gets repetitive previews, trailers, a photo gallery and a truly odd anti-drug commercial by KISS. Pretty unforgivable for a tenth-anniversary re-release. (Manga/Anchor Bay)