Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

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Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by zerogradius » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 am

I first saw Southern Cross back when it aired as part of Robotech. Of course, back then I had no idea that it was a separate show that had nothing to do with the Macross universe. After seeing Delta, I've had the urge to rewatch some of the older stuff.

What I'd like to know is whether Southern Cross is worth tracking down the original subbed version. Is it a good enough show on its own, or is the Robotech version a superior story?

On that note, is Super Dimension Century Orguss any good? I never even heard of it until a couple years ago when I looked up the history of the Super Dimension shows. And if I did watch it, is it better subbed or dubbed?

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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Seto Kaiba » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:27 pm

zerogradius wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 am
What I'd like to know is whether Southern Cross is worth tracking down the original subbed version. Is it a good enough show on its own, or is the Robotech version a superior story?
That's... that's a REALLY tough call. Neither the original version nor the Robotech adaptation could be charitably called watchable, but it would be a real struggle to decide which one was worse.

Make no mistake, the original Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross series was an absolute train wreck of a show. It was a troubled production from an early stage, having completely changed genres to obtain sponsorship, originally being a "Science Fantasy" series called Science Fiction Sengoku Saga, which was Sengoku period dramas juxtaposed into a space sci-fi setting. Its ratings were so poor in its Japanese debut that the series was actually earmarked for premature cancellation just sixteen episodes into a planned 39 episode run, leaving its creators to scramble to jettison an enormous portion of the story[1] and wrap up the plot before their brief grace period expired. This led to the show's famously incoherent downer ending.[2] Its crash-and-burn failure contributed to the collapse of model kit makers Arii and Imai too. The show's biggest problem was its offensively idiotic main character, Jeanne Francaix. She's a "strong woman" as interpreted by a pathological misogynist, her whole military career is (by her own admission) for the purpose of finding a good husband so she can quit and become a housewife. She reads fashion magazines during briefings instead of paying attention, takes out payday loans to win catfights over expensive dresses, does all of her thinking during frequent shower nude scenes, and generally behaves like an irresponsible boycrazy teenage girl instead of the career soldier she's supposed to be as a Sergeant Major who landed a commission. So much so on the boycrazy front that a late introduction to the cast (a soldier rescued from the Zor) all but takes over as the new main character in the second half because she's entirely too busy swooning over him.

I'd say the biggest virtue of the Robotech adaptation was that it massively toned down what an utter twit Jeanne is, and made her marginally more likeable by associating her with Macross's Max and Milia Jenius and giving her a plausible excuse for her acting out (abandonment issues). On the other hand, that also ties the plot into Robotech's nonsensical macguffin quest for "protoculture", and the rewrite is a LOT less internally consistent than the original show due to the rushed production schedule involved.

For me, what made the original Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross worth buying was that ADV released the remastered Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross as part of a bundle with Genesis Climber MOSPEADA's remastered edition (a much better show), with both shows coming for roughly the price of one regular series. If you've got an Amazon Prime membership, I'd suggest watching it streaming first to see if you like it enough to buy it on DVD.



zerogradius wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 am
On that note, is Super Dimension Century Orguss any good? I never even heard of it until a couple years ago when I looked up the history of the Super Dimension shows. And if I did watch it, is it better subbed or dubbed?
Personally, I rather liked Super Dimension Century Orguss... it's not quite as good as Macross is, and its sequel OVA is complete nonsense, but it's eminently watchable if you don't mind a spot of mood whiplash.

You're kind of stuck with the subs if you want to watch the whole series. The company doing the dub (US Renditions) folded when its parent company ceased operations in the mid-90's, leaving Orguss's dub only half-finished. The last episode to be dubbed was episode 17 (of 35). Discotek Media's release of the series does include the unfinished US Renditions dub.




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[1] Which, unfortunately, included the "big reveal" that the invading Zor were human after all... the descendants of an earlier mission to colonize Glorie that vanished en route when a warp drive accident sent their ship back in time. Its crew decided to settle Glorie as planned, and were influenced by the native protozor flowers in ways that encouraged collective thought and existence in triads, eventually turning them into the Zor. They fought a civil war that ended in nuclear winter, and abandoned Glorie to roam the stars, returning just as the nuclear winter lifted to replenish their stocks of the protozor flower that was essential to their societal stability.

[2] The Zor Lords motivation devolves into some rambling, incoherent schpiel about immortality and then the protagonists accidentally spread the protozor flower all across Glorie, turning everyone on the planet into Zor.
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Henyo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:30 am

i watched both Southern Cross and Orguss. and i can't for the life of me remember being awed by something from the former. i watched it mainly because it had a female as the MC. i'd like to say this was like barattack, in regards to having a female MC during the early years of mecha, but i have yet to see an episode so yeah. :D

Orguss on the other hand managed to keep my attention for the majority of its run. the emaans are an interesting race.(BUSINESS!!!) there's also the combined worlds brought about by the Dimensional Bomb. can't say much for the mechas though. the Orguss is the only design i liked.
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by zerogradius » Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:25 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:27 pm
zerogradius wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 am
What I'd like to know is whether Southern Cross is worth tracking down the original subbed version. Is it a good enough show on its own, or is the Robotech version a superior story?
The show's biggest problem was its offensively idiotic main character, Jeanne Francaix. She's a "strong woman" as interpreted by a pathological misogynist, her whole military career is (by her own admission) for the purpose of finding a good husband so she can quit and become a housewife. She reads fashion magazines during briefings instead of paying attention, takes out payday loans to win catfights over expensive dresses, does all of her thinking during frequent shower nude scenes, and generally behaves like an irresponsible boycrazy teenage girl instead of the career soldier she's supposed to be as a Sergeant Major who landed a commission. So much so on the boycrazy front that a late introduction to the cast (a soldier rescued from the Zor) all but takes over as the new main character in the second half because she's entirely too busy swooning over him.
Actually, that makes me even more intrigued. I think I'll just dive right in and give Southern Cross a chance. I haven't seen Robotech in a really long time so my memory's hazy about the second season, but I figure I ought to see it's original form, just like I did for SDF MAcross, which I ended up liking a lot more than its Robotech counterpart.

Even though as a kid I saw Robotech at least ten times (probably more) I never once saw Mospeada as neither the USA Network nor Cartoon Network aired it, so I might as well give Mospeada a chance too.

And thanks for the detailed reply.

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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by LightningCount » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:31 pm

I've never seen all of the original version of Southern Cross, but something I liked about this series structurally, regardless of whether it was a part of Robotech or not, was the squad dynamics and the use of different divisions working together (or in rivalry) with one another. It has shades of 08th MS Team in that regard, and the mecha combat feels a bit more "weighty" than Macross with its designs being a bit bulkier and more "sci-fi military" overall, IMO. The variety of design work is quite strong, I feel. Also, there is a sense of desperation and mystery to the conflict being so planetary-based. Not sure how it holds up by itself, but creatively, there's a lot to like, I think.
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Chris » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm

Personally, I don't think Southern Cross is any good at all, either in its original form or as the Robotech Masters arc. Mospeada is a far better series, and I would also give a nod to Orguss as a solid watch, although its middle is rather repetitive.
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:31 pm

zerogradius wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:25 pm
Actually, that makes me even more intrigued. I think I'll just dive right in and give Southern Cross a chance. I haven't seen Robotech in a really long time so my memory's hazy about the second season, but I figure I ought to see it's original form, just like I did for SDF MAcross, which I ended up liking a lot more than its Robotech counterpart. [...]
All right, but don't say I didn't warn you... there's a very, VERY good reason that Southern Cross bombed SO badly in Japan that the network said "kill it with fire" barely 1/3 of the way in, and that ratings tanked when the Robotech series adapted it to the extent that some countries skipped it.


zerogradius wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:25 pm
Even though as a kid I saw Robotech at least ten times (probably more) I never once saw Mospeada as neither the USA Network nor Cartoon Network aired it, so I might as well give Mospeada a chance too.
Both Genesis Climber MOSPEADA and Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross were attempts made by Tatsunoko Production to make the Super Dimension Fortress Macross lightning strike twice... and both were failures both in that regard and in general. Genesis Climber MOSPEADA was definitely the better one, and not only lasted to completion but had a wrap-up music video OVA (ala Macross's Flashback 2012.



LightningCount wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:31 pm
I've never seen all of the original version of Southern Cross, but something I liked about this series structurally, regardless of whether it was a part of Robotech or not, was the squad dynamics and the use of different divisions working together (or in rivalry) with one another. It has shades of 08th MS Team in that regard, [...]
Eh... there isn't really anything akin to an interservice rivalry in the original Southern Cross. There is some antipathy there, but it's of a more personal nature. Specifically, Alpha Tactics Armored Corps' 15th Squad is seen by the rest of the ATAC and the other branches of the Southern Cross Army as the dregs of the military, where all the insubordinate, undisciplined, unprofessional "problem children" who would otherwise have been classified as unburnable trash gather to wait out their enlistments and be discharged into the civilian population... or, rather more likely, the stockade for being AWOL. (The unit's commanding officers are some of the worst offenders... to such an extent that the military police spend most of the series stalking them, Zenigata-style, and its former CO got demoted all the way from captain to buck private in one fell swoop, leaving his moronic senior NCO to try to run the unit.) The only soldier in the entire squad who gets any respect from other units is Jeanne's second, Sgt. Slawski, the only one in the unit who realizes what a moron Jeanne is.

The ATAC 15th Squad is basically the Southern Cross Army's version of Delta House... or, if you're familiar with the series Irresponsible Captain Tylor, their reputation is basically the same as the crew of the Soyokaze.
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by zerogradius » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:55 am

Chris wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm
Personally, I don't think Southern Cross is any good at all, either in its original form or as the Robotech Masters arc. Mospeada is a far better series, and I would also give a nod to Orguss as a solid watch, although its middle is rather repetitive.
Well, Southern Cross did at least have a female MC, which Gundam has yet to do thirty five years later. And it's ending was unconventional and unexpected given the tone of the series.
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:31 pm
All right, but don't say I didn't warn you... there's a very, VERY good reason that Southern Cross bombed SO badly in Japan that the network said "kill it with fire" barely 1/3 of the way in, and that ratings tanked when the Robotech series adapted it to the extent that some countries skipped it.
Southern Cross had no chance of surviving following one of the greatest mecha anime of all time in SDF Macross. And this does present an interesting question. Why did Harmony Gold choose to adapt Southern Cross when there were so many other mecha anime out there at the time. Even Orguss, which was better received and came out before Southern Cross, was passed up.

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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by LightningCount » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:47 pm

zerogradius wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:55 am
And this does present an interesting question. Why did Harmony Gold choose to adapt Southern Cross when there were so many other mecha anime out there at the time. Even Orguss, which was better received and came out before Southern Cross, was passed up.
I think the amount of transforming vehicular mecha and some of the set pieces and music concepts helped Southern Cross be the choice. IIRC, Orguss was considered for a future Robotech entry after Sentinels called The Odyssey. But it never got beyond the theoretical stage. Then again, it may just be that it was considered for adaptation. I forget the details after all these years.

As for Southern Cross, as I said earlier, I'm not too familiar with its original version, but I largely enjoyed the Robotech version of it, despite a few annoyances. I actually like it a good deal more than the MOSPEADA stuff. As an aside, some of the themes from at least the Robotech version of Southern Cross felt like they were adopted into Macross II--the song control, the masters of the Zentraedi, the importance of the site of the SDF-1/Macross, the more upfront female ace pilot angle, etc.

(Ironically, the Robotech novels' "Thinking Cap" technology also pops up in the much later Macross Plus with Guld's craft.)
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Amion » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:47 pm

All I will say is that Orguss did not impress me. I got a bit tired of seeing Chirams destroy themselves. Frankly, my memories of it have aged worse and worse with time. Oh, those lost hours that cannot be redeemed. . .
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:15 pm

zerogradius wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:55 am
Southern Cross had no chance of surviving following one of the greatest mecha anime of all time in SDF Macross. [...]
Oh, in more ways than one... both MOSPEADA (1983) and Southern Cross (1984) are generally acknowledged as fairly weak attempts to get a piece of the action Macross was enjoying in the toy market with Takatoku's line of VF-1 Valkyrie transformable toys. It's not even an open secret, it's something both shows publicly acknowledged after the fact, as in Macross's 10 year anniversary piece in B-Club Magazine. Macross is a tough act to follow and a harder act to rip off, as Robotech's creators have discovered in 35 years of abject failure.


zerogradius wrote:
Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:55 am
And this does present an interesting question. Why did Harmony Gold choose to adapt Southern Cross when there were so many other mecha anime out there at the time. Even Orguss, which was better received and came out before Southern Cross, was passed up.
The explanation there is fairly straightforward.

Y'see, Harmony Gold USA was doing Robotech on the cheap after their equally-on-the-cheap plans to dub Super Dimension Fortress Macross for direct-to-video release in the west were ruined by Revell's Transformers ripoff toyline "Robotech", which was made up of rebranded kits for Macross, Orguss, and Dougram. Revell had assented to support HG's release of Macross on the condition that it be made long enough for broadcast in a first run syndication style and that it adopt the brand name of Revell's failed venture.

To comply with those demands, Harmony Gold needed enough additional animation to extend Macross's run from 36 episodes to at least 65... and they needed to do it cheaply. What they did could colorfully be described as shopping the Tatsunoko Production license bargain bin. They'd already licensed SDF Macross from Tatsunoko, so getting a couple other shows from them - especially shows that performed poorly in Japan like MOSPEADA and Southern Cross - would be a lot cheaper than trying to obtain new licenses from other companies. Those two shows were all Tatsunoko had in the field of "Tatsunoko-owned mecha series contemporaries of Macross". To get Orguss or another mecha show, they'd have to open relations with a different studio, which would be more expensive and would not guarantee they'd get the same or similar terms.

The fact that Tatsunoko owns those two shows, where it only has limited distribution and merchandising rights to the original SDF Macross series, is why Harmony Gold has used those two much-less-popular shows as the basis for every attempt to continue the Robotech story save one (Robotech 3000's botched effort a clean break).
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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by doghunter1 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:04 am

zerogradius wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:11 am

What I'd like to know is whether Southern Cross is worth tracking down the original subbed version. Is it a good enough show on its own
Go for it. As was told, the show was cut but it was worth the ride when I finished it. Even the ending came off complete.

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Re: Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross

Post by Zeonista » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:17 am

zerogradius wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:25 pm
Actually, that makes me even more intrigued. I think I'll just dive right in and give Southern Cross a chance. I haven't seen Robotech in a really long time so my memory's hazy about the second season, but I figure I ought to see it's original form, just like I did for SDF MAcross, which I ended up liking a lot more than its Robotech counterpart.

Even though as a kid I saw Robotech at least ten times (probably more) I never once saw Mospeada as neither the USA Network nor Cartoon Network aired it, so I might as well give Mospeada a chance too.
That's a good attitude for most mecha anime. Give it a go and see what you like about it. Super Dimension Southern Cross isn't top-grade stuff, but it is not bottom-grade stuff either. I must confess here that it was my favorite segment of Robotech for a while, and only lost out to Macross & New Generation after discovering the Macross movie and the original Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. It was mainly the Spartas hovertank and the goofy Squad 15 but I liked it. Now, moving from the Robotech to the original SDCC story. Wow, what a difference the change made! :o
1. Jeanne no baka. Girl is a walking blonde joke, even if she does fight well. Fortunately she has some squad mates who have her back. She does grow up some in the final episodes of the story, but probably too late to have saved the show.
2. Lana (Nova) is not Jeanne's enemy. She is more of a long-suffering friend who doesn't want to see Jeanne waste her potential.
3. Bowie's last name is Emerson, which makes his relationship dynamic with General Emerson even more interesting.
4. The anime has done well with female fans in Japan. The romance story does seem like a draw, but to my mind the female characters were better written and were more relevant to the story overall. Even if Jeanne was a total ditz, she was still the main heroine and was the focus of the story. That was a rare thing for much of classic mecha anime, and even today is still rare in mecha anime with integrated male and female organizations. (I'm looking at you, Sunrise.)
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