Re: I like dem robutts. Ask me anything.
So yeah, Macross. I can talk about it a lot, even though I'm really not that huge a fan. Sure I like the franchise, but I like others more. Plus, when I start going on about it it becomes inevitable that I'll turn it into a big tirade about how Shouji Kawamori is a stupid hippy and how Frontier doesn't deserve your money or time. I'll be brief for now.
The afformentioned stupid hippy Shouji Kawamori's one of the chief mechanical designers on the franchise, and often recognised as its creator. Really though, the original show was so distinct because it was a big collaboration of talent from everyone at Studio Nue at the time, and one of the biggest reason each entry is so distinct from those before is the change in director whenever a new show was devised.
The other thing to remember is that the one real rule of the franchise after Macross II was made is to only make an entry when you've got a good idea for one, rather then pumping them out to sate Bandai's demands. The fact that Frontier broke this rule is one of the many reasons it irks me so.
Anyway, the timeline for the shows in order of events is:
Macross Zero (4 episode OVA)
The Super Dimension Fortresss Macross (TV series)/SDF Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Film sort-of remake)
Macross Plus (4 episode OVA)
Macross Seven (TV series)
Macross Dynamite 7 (direct sequel OVA)
Macross Frontier (TV Series)
Macross II: Lovers Again (OVA) Not canon
Of couse, I'm a firm believer in watching a work in production order, which is as follows:
Do You Remember Love?
And now for simple rundowns
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross
Part serious love drama. Part friendly parody of Mobile Suit Gundam. Part vehicle to promote the musical talent of Mari Ijima. SDF's a quirky tale of accidental war with a race of alien giants that leads to discoveries about culture shocks, love and eventually some delicious Hideaki Anno explosions. The production staff's pretty stellar when you look back on it (one of Gundam's writers, one of Yamato's directors, Haruhiko Mikimoto character designs, Kawamori and Miytake mechanical designs, Hideaki Anno as a key animator, Mari Ijima's song-writing skills and of course Ichirou Itano developing his famous missile animations here.) Probably my favourite part of the show conceptually is how when the show got an extended episode count after early favourable response from sponsours, instead of stretching the plot they decided to make the last nine episodes an epilogue, looking at the show's themes up until that point and seeing if they continue to hold true. Said episodes are also some of the most deliciously infuriating drama to come from japanimation. It's a definite watch.
SDF Macross: Do You Remember Love?
Movie sort-of remake of the show. Kawamori's extremely fond of trolling people who like an orderly canon, and this is a good example. As I last recall, he said to take the designs of this film as canon, while the TV series events are what actually went down. Anyway, it's a much more romantic take on the show's themes, which makes sense since the film also actually exists in-universe as a government propaganda piece to make themselves look better. No, really.
Its director is a man well known for his love of music, which really shines through. It also shows in his next work, which was none other than Legend of the Galactic Heroes (which incidentally he took on because he didn't want to be typecast as "The guy who did that Macross movie").
The animation and attention to detail are stellar. If you've ever met one of those people who ramble on about how much better japanimation was in the 80s, this'll usually be used as an example. There's a reason they bring it up: it's beautiful. Hell, it's worth watching this film just to see how gorgeous it is. Plus you'll have the titular song in your head for ages.
Macross II: Lovers Again
GRIMDARK OVA SEQUEL SET FAR AWAY IN THE TIMELINE. It's not canon because Kawamori wasn't involved. And because it's about how music doesn't work because THE FUTURE IS GRIMDARK. So yeah, it's a generic 80s OVA without any of the fun things that make Macross memorable.
Top Gun with expensive prototypes and good characters. First time Yoko Kanno contributed music to the franchise, something she'd continue to do with Zero and Frontier. One of the earliest japtoons to use CG, though thankfully it's just for some computer screens and not for the elaboate aerial combat. Also, it's about how techno music is evil while folk music can save lives.
And it's directed by Cowboy Bebop's director.
It's a show about a rock and roll band. It has some of the coolest characters from the original show, but don't come in to watch them. Come in expecting a cheesy as hell show about rock 'n roll and you'll have a good time. They use rock 'n roll to make laser beams and missile speaker pods in order to make the nasty space vampires from another dimension orgasm. No, really.
As I said, it's first and foremost about the rise of a band. The main plot can get pretty stretched (it's the only entry in the franchise that's 50 episodes), but I love it all. It's a damn silly show and it's proud of it.
There's no specific background music either. All the music in the show comes from the band itself, which was Yoshiki Fukuyama's band. Yeah, that guy who sung Busou Renkin and King Gainer's openings. You want some good rock 'n roll? You track down the albums for this show. They're also the reason it'll never get licenced. He wrote a ton of music, and the distributor would have to pay for it all to get the show.
Oh, and the sequel OVA's about singing to space whales. Yeah, this show's one of my not-so-guilty pleasures.
Prequel to the original. Has Roy Focker voiced by Akira Kamiya. Otherwise, it's just Dance with Wolves in the Unification Wars. The only show to be purely directed by Shouji Kawamori and boy does it show. Marks the point when CG took over for action.
"Hey, it's been twenty five years since we made the original! Let's make a new show!"
"But we don't have an idea for one yet!"
"Then we'll just throw around references to the other shows and have an ongoing 25 motif!"
I really hate this show. Not because it's bad, but because it's so woefully unambitious and safe. It's a cash-in in a franchise that was previously willing to make fifty episodes about singing rock and roll to dinosaurs and space vampires. People watching this show then praising it makes me feel like those grouchy Star Wars fans who see some kid start that franchise by watching The Phantom Menace. Oh wait, I'm one of those people anyway.
So there you have it. Now excuse me while I blare out some Fire Bomber albums.
Although I don’t know about the directions at 4:51.
It’s commonly known when you look north in Japan East is to your left. Please don’t try to correct that sentence. It lasts only for a second but I wouldn’t expect a mistake like that.