There is no doubt that the mecha genre in anime has been the most well-known genre in the last 40-50 years and some of the time, most people check out those shows to see how’s the mecha fights are and how the animation looks and performs and nowadays they do look pretty impressive although it started to all be the same thing happening over and over again, only without any interesting story aspects and characters and I would complain more but I won’t due that I didn’t see that many mecha series in my lifetime. Now they are plenty of mecha series over the years, the more notable being the Gundam franchise and the Evangelion franchise to an extent but we’re going to look over the first entry in the very recognized Macross franchise, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.
In 1999, a city-sized alien spacecraft crashes in South Ataria Island on Earth. Over the course of 10 years the military organization U.N. Spacy reverse-engineers its technology and rebuilds the spacecraft, naming it the SDF-1 Macross. In 2009 at the launch of the Macross, a young civilian pilot, Hikaru Ichijyo, comes to visit the Macross upon U.N. Spacy pilot Roy Focker‘s request. During the launch ceremony, a space war fleet from an alien race of humanoid giants arrives into the solar system and identifies the Macross as a former battleship used by their enemies, the Supervision Army. As the aliens, known as the Zentradi, approach the Macross, the original systems override the crew’s commands and fire its main cannon, wiping out the advance alien scouts and starting a war.
OK, looking at the overarching premise and the plot, it sounds like something I would’ve said being the same thing I seen a lot of times before but however, this is one of the few that may have started that type of premise in its heyday or it’s just not as rampant and numerous as these type of shows are now and for the most being, I didn’t mind the whole civilian enrolls in the Ship X to fight against other alien beings storyline as much although the character studies and their relationships and own personal ideals is what got me sticking to the series. Yes, this is a space opera but it never felt unnecessarily melodramatic as most stories are today, whether it be anime or any other media. Most of the time, it’s rather touching and heartfelt when exploring some of these characters and their actions, maybe the writing of it can be unpolished and hokey and maybe in today’s standards, it is but I wouldn’t call it bad writing per se.
Characters in the show are actually very endearing and have an aspect of them that does make them wholly human instead of the basic cliché caricatures that we know of in anime. Hikaru Ichijyo and Misa Hayase are the good character highlights of the show as when the first time these two interact with each other, their relationship does grow in the course of the series and to tell you the truth, I didn’t know which girl to route for get with Hikaru, either Misa or Lynn Minmay (Yeah, there’s a love triangle among those three but I never find it to be that distracting) because I did like Minmay as I felt she was vital to some aspects of the show and while I do like her, her progression as a character was lesser than the others, especially involving her dick of a cousin, Lynn Kaifun and yeah, to me, he’s a whiny, self-centered asshole who bitches about the military not helping out and them being the enemy even though all he does is just that and they…..well, they actually do more vital things than him. Point is, I can’t stand Kaifun and as for Roy Fokker and Claudia, they are also good characters and would like it if more of them was used for screen time instead of Kaifun.
This is a show made in the early 1980s…..do you really need me to tell you that the animation quality hasn’t aged that well in the past 30 years? Because guess what? The animation quality hasn’t really aged that well since its release and for the time being, the dogfights and mecha battles were honestly OK. It’s just everything else wasn’t that animated well. Hell, I think I caught a few derp animation mishaps. The teams of Studio Nue / Artland & Tatsunoko Productions did their best at the time of the production and their values were a little off.
Musically, I love the score and music in the show as Lynn Minmay is the key aspect to this department as she’s a pop idol in the series as she performs her various songs to audiences alike and yes, I did like the song, “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” (Yeah, I find the song kinda cute.) and as for her other songs, I really don’t remember them as much nor did they stick in my head as much, unlike the opening and ending themes of the show, which I got to say, they are the most powerful themes I’ve heard in an anime. The opening feels more like something I would like to wake up to every morning (even if I’m groggy at the time) and the ending is more of a calm and soothing sound after each episode.
Also, more of Lynn Minmay is that the original Japanese voice actress, Mari Ijima, reprise her role in the ADV Films English dub and she sounds good in English, too. As it did give the character more of a foreign flavor to her. It was a good move on ADV’s part but I don’t see that happening more in the future, considering it might be expensive to get the original VA to record in Texas. As for the rest of the dub cast, it was moderately fine with the leads being Vic Mignogna and Monica Rial, who deliver some good lead performances and Brent Weaver and Christine Auten weren’t too shabby either.
FINAL VERDICT: Macross is definitely something you should see at your lifetime if you’re looking at anime before your time. It hasn’t aged well in terms of animation but delivers on telling an engaging and respectable story that it’s still a good mecha series to get into. I can easily that if you’re interested in mecha shows (that isn’t Gundam), you should check out this series.
How well Macross does pierces the sky like a thunderbolt?
7.5 / 10
Low SOLID B.
MACROSS was available on DVD through ADV Films and yes, I know of it being with Harmony Gold for a while but since then, DVDs of the series are hard to find unless it’s eBay. Streaming options are very zilch as of now.
And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS – animation by STUDIO NUE / TATSUNOKO / ARTLAND, distributed by ADV Films