Southern Cross: “Prelude”

In the aptly titled “Prelude” or “Prelude to Battle ” in it’s english Robotech version, there is a lot of waiting and tense yet calm resolution before a major assault is to take place on the downed enemy Battle Cruiser. We get to see some of the characters relaxing and letting off some steam before the important maneuver. The attitudes and actions of the characters seem to have real world authenticity with the waiting one would expect to feel before a major fight is to take place.

We get to see Jeane being a little protective with Bowie in allowing  him to be jailed after him being twice caught on the outskirts of town in a piano bar. Her actions show this big sister like side when it comes to Bowie so he will not have to fight and sit this one out in the brig. One can only wonder she thought he may be distracted by his ambitions of playing pia, however it doesn’t make too much sense that the millitary would see this as a danger to his concentration.

I am beginning to notice Jeanne compared to Dana her persona in the english version is a bit more flat or one dimensional a character. Dana has a constant inner struggle between her alien and human side that has more complexity to her psyche and behavior. Jeanne her Japanese version however, is only troubled by not being allowed to pamper herself with showers and ice cream and watching her figure. Though both characters are enjoyable I feel more empathy and intrigue into and for the dynamic and more introspective Dana Sterling, than the tough yet girlishly adorable Jeanne.

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Half Moon and Trouble City

Today was another stressful day, trying to catch up with all the money I owe and trying to see if I can possibly get some kind of student loan, even though I have had to forgo finishing college to work full time and being out of a job at the time is starting to really take it’s toll on me. I was however able to escape and enjoy a few episodes of Southern Cross.

Today I watched Half Moon and Trouble City.

I am really beginning to enjoy the intro music: “Deja Vu” is becoming a really decent rival to Genesis Climber Mospeada’s awesome intro. The other counterpart to Robotech’s Japanese original series, Mospeada being the third and Southern Cross the second.

Since I have never seen the Southern Cross original it has been a totally new experience to see the characters I grew to love as a kid from the Robotech : the Masters series in a whole new light with new music and slightly different take on their story.

One difference that really stands out is the music for  Southern Cross being very different from Robotech’s mostly orchestral and a few synthesized ethereal backdrops by Ulpio Minucci, Robotech’s theme music composer. Southern cross has a funk/jazz rock fusion and an occasional pop ballad thrown in as well as some more lighthearted whimsical tunes that really seem a bit odd yet enjoyable. The credits or outro music  again, I am really getting to like the more I hear it, as am I enjoying the intro and outro animation. On to the episode Half Moon really has some serious pressure on Jeanne as in Robotech she has  a sense of guilt after having to leave Bowie to be captured by the Aliens. In the Southern Cross edition however she has I would think even more pressure seeing that her Chief of Staff Emerson is the actual father of Bowie not just his Guardian. The dialogue is a bit formal and rigid in this episode compared to Robotech, it lends itself more to the formal and polite culture of Japan, also the weight of decisions by officers and leaders seems to carry more shame with failure or mistakes and responsibility.  Jeanne has to make some serious decisions however she has a lighthearted and confident outlook in this episode as compared to the space mission of episode 3 which I didn’t review yet. The battle scene is played out decently very minor edits were made for the Robotech Half-Moon episode. It was not too slow of an episode and showcased some decent battle scenes. However in the Robotech version of this episode the scene where Dana finally rescues Bowie and thinks for a second of how much trouble she may be in always seemed a little awkward. However in Southern Cross, it is a bit more explained as when the animation goes to a still frame with some speed lines and a close up of Jeanne/Dana’s face and I can’t imagine why she would assume she would be in trouble or thrown in the brig for, yes ,breaking the rules and engaging the enemy under the guise of a training mission, but rescuing her commander’s son, would be an obvious save of face. However, in the Southern Cross her look of disbelief and the dramatic pause was done to emphasize her shock on how Zor/the red Bioroid’s pilot is still alive after taking damage to the head of the Bioroid. It made a little more sense.

Trouble City had a few more lighthearted moments however it’s Robotech counterpart had a few more edits that were minor there is a little bit more to the scene of examining the captured Bioroid. Still, the scientists are able to find somewhat the same insight into the Zor. They are able to understand that the aliens are using bio-engineered technology and that the aliens are essentially the same as humans on earth. They have the same misconceptions as in Robotech they throw around the same phrases of androids etc. However Chief of Staff Emerson in Southern Cross does have a more logical assumption instead of saying ‘no humans are capable of creating Robotech ships’ as in Robotechs version here when the possibility of space pirates is brought up, he assumes no humans have this kind of technology. That dialogue is a little more logical since human’s were reverse engineering and integrating robotechnology for years up to that point.

This episode is a bit lackluster in both versions with the trench run scene being a bit predictable. We get to see a few Bioroids blasted by HMT-1 Hoveretanks/Spartas. The energy weapons or particle rifles seem to have some serious damage on the bioroids, I think Robotech edited maybe a few quick bits here and there from this battle, not sure I would have to go back and see. But we do get too see some of the Bioroids taking heavy and fatal damage to their armor and fuel spilling out as cables are torn of the armor by the Spartas auto fire There are some more brief moments where we get to see the Tactical Airforce piloting phantom fighters against the the Zor’s Battleship.

however there is a funny scene at the end that puts a lighthearted girlish moment that is somewhat endearing to the female characters of Lana/Nova Marie Angel/Marie Crystal and Dana/Jeanne the episode begins with Dana/Jeanne shopping for a dress and after all the action is over she is finally able to purchase it much to the annoyance of Lana and Marie who seem to have a bit of feminine rivalry . In the Southern Cross version there is a bit more humor in the instance where Bowie enters the woman’s clothing store and is quite embarrassed when picking up a few items by mistake namely some girlish undergarments. It is reminiscent of the Macross Saga or the previous Robotech season where Rick Hunter is dragged into the dress store with Minmei only to be embarrassed seeing superior officers Lisa , Vanessa and Sammie from the SDF-1 in the store as he is crawling on the floor looking for something he dropped he is either worried about being mistaken for a voyeur or is just as embarrassed as Bowie. This scene has a cute yet not incredibly important moment which was omitted from Robotech , in Southern Cross Jeanne tears her dress while leaving on the Hover Bike much to the amusement o Lana and Marie. I have always enjoyed the last bit here where I think in the only instance of all three of the series of Robotech or it’s un-related foreign counterparts that characters face the camera and do some kind of sarcastic or intentionally zany wink. It is another funny yet unnecessary moment that lightens up the series and endears us to the female characters who have a feminine girlish side to their otherwise warrior/military duties and persona.