Alan Smithee

Weeaboo Wednesday: Macross Frontier

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(*note*: Admittedly, I am a humongous Macross fanboy so it will come as no surprise how glowing this review is.)

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I was a child of the 80s and with that came exposure to a little show that many of us always think about when we talk about Anime in America in that time period. I am, of course, referring that Harmony Gold production that took 3 individual Anime series and smooshed them together with a tenuous storyline…Robotech.

At that time in my life, my whole life was Robotech…especially the Macross Saga episodes…I had the novels, the art books, some of the models, I played the Palladium RPG, I had a few of the toys, and jeez, I can tell you that in the movie Monster Squad there’s a scene in one of the kids’ rooms that has a Robotech poster on the wall…I’m nuts about the series. I don’t know why or when it happened, but it always struck me as odd that there was such a glaring difference between the Macross saga and the Southern Cross episodes…something didn’t seem to fit well.

It wasn’t until my friend approached me with a VHS copy of a movie called Clash of the Bionoids (the horribly localized version of Macross: Ai Oboeteimasu Ka?) did I realize that Robotech might not be the series I always thought it was. “Wait, why are they calling Rick Hunter Hikaru? Lisa’s name is Misa? Ben Dixon’s name is Kakizaki?” Needless to say, my head was spinning after watching this movie.

I’ve spent the last decade or so enthralled in everything and anything Macross related, Macross Zero, Macross Plus, Macross 7, the games, the OVA, the music, everything I could lay my grubby mitts on. I did lapse on Macross Frontier while it was showing…I know I could have followed episode by episode, but I wanted to watch the entire season.

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When I finally ‘got’ my copy of the entire season of Macross Frontier, I was EXTREMELY happy. I proceeded to watch as many episodes as I could. I’ll say this right now, if you’re a Macross fan and have been sitting on the fence as to whether or not you should be watching this, just stop…go out and procure this show by any means necessary.

There are just too many things that this current iteration of this show that hearken back to the various shows and movies…there’s the ever present love triangle, a girl who dreams of being a singer while working at a Chinese restaurant, the hesitant yet skilled pilot who gets in over his head, a duel between a Valkyrie pilot and a Meltran in red power armor, the pop idol who sneaks away to spend the day with the young pilot, and even being trapped in part of the ship that the crew can’t get to. I watch this show and I’m not so much seeing the new series, but the many ways that the creators wanted to have a tribute to the 25 year old series.

The animation is your standard faire, complete with CG battles between the Valkyries of the SMS or NUNS forces and the new creepy alien threat, the Vajra. It wouldn’t be Macross however without the amazing soundtrack and the idea that the power of a song is more than that of a conventional weapon. So yes, you get tons of musical numbers as well as sweeping compositions, mostly by Yoko Kanno (you really should know who that is by the way) collaborating with Gabriela Robin (responsible for much of the Sharon Apple tracks in Macross Plus).

Fans of the other series will be pleasantly surprised to hear some of their favorites performed on the show as well, you get a remake of Minmay’s “Watashi no Kare wa Pilot”, “Ai Oboeteimasu Ka”, and tons of tracks made famous by Fire Bomber (because they were used in just about every episode of Macross 7).

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, and let’s face it…if you’re a Macross fan like me, there’s really not much there to be given away…it’s just complete fan service for the people who have supported this show since the early 80s…and I’m loving every minute of it. Thanks for reading.

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