Anime DVD Review: Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross

Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross is an anime series that is better known to Western audiences as the second portion of the Robotech anime series. The series was released as a five-disc DVD box set, and it includes all 23 episodes with English subtitles.

Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross
English Publisher: ADV Films
Format: DVD
Release Date: October 21, 2003

There are some very notable differences between Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross and what appeared in Robotech. The most major change was the reworking of the basic premise to make the series fit into the Robotech universe. Instead of the Robotech Masters heading to Earth to reclaim the last Protoculture matrix from the ruins of the SDF-1, it is the Zor alien race coming to reclaim their homeland of Glorie. The implications of this change in the premise really doesn’t become apparent until near the end of the series. The storylines and motivations for the characters diverge greatly between the two versions by the end of the series.

There were also episodes where, instead of simply cutting scenes for content, the order of the scenes was changed. The most noticeable change is how the scenes of the first episode of Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross (which is the second episode in the Robotech Masters section of Robotech) were rearranged. In the original, it opens with Jeanne (known as Dana Sterling in Robotech) in the brig, pleading to be released. In Robotech, this scene was moved to later in the story, after Dana’s squad is in trouble for participating in a brawl while they were on patrol.

After seeing both Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross and the corresponding Robotech episodes, I have to say that I prefer Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross. The original ultimately makes a lot more sense than what was presented in Robotech. In fact, there were instances in the Robotech telling where elements and ideas weren’t kept consistent. There were times that the dub writers for Robotech forgot something that a character said in a previous episode, and then the same character or a situation later would contradict that dialogue. The worst offender is Dana telling Zor she has a brother, and then the brother is never mentioned again. However, it is later revealed that Dana has a sister that was born aboard the SDF-3 that she didn’t know about.

When it comes to the actual DVD box set, there are only bonus features on the fifth disc, and they’re on the minimal side. There is a production portfolio, which is basically a slideshow of the production art. However, there is no way to skip ahead in the slideshow. There are also textless versions of the opening and closing credits included.

However, there is an informational booklet that was included in the DVD box set. The booklet includes profiles of the director and character designer, Southern Cross keywords, information on the characters and mecha for both the Southern Cross Army and the Zor, and a Southern Cross Army Organization chart. While there may not be much in the way of on-disc bonus features, I think this booklet helps to make up for that.

If you’re a fan of Robotech and are curious about how the story was originally presented in Super Dimensional Cavalry: Southern Cross, then this DVD box set would be worth adding to your home video collection. Unfortunately, this box set is now out of print, so I would recommend looking around at various online vendors that sell used DVDs and trying to find the best deal you can for it.

Additional posts about Robotech-related anime:

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