Macross & Macross Plus

I’m revisiting the second Old School show back in 2004 which was the first hour long program before we broke for JTAF2. Both Jesse and I were working as senior staff for that convention, so we decided we needed to concentrate on our duties and put the anime-watching on hold for a few weeks. Since we were covering Macross, we had none other than Mr. Macross himself, Egan Loo, as our guest on the show.

In the year 1999, an alien spacecraft crash lands on an island in the Pacific known as Alita Island. Over the course of a decade, mankind realizes that he is no longer alone in the universe and is in fact the recipient of advanced technology. They renovate the crashed ship and turn it into the first Super Dimension Fortress and name it Macross. Just as they launch the darned thing, the super-sized aliens return to recover it. Enter the Zentraedi. Somewhere in there, there’s a love triangle between the series’ three protagonists, pilot Hikaru Ichijou, Lieutenant Misa Hayase, and singer Lynn Minmay.

Macross. It's like no other.

Macross holds a special place in my heart. I’ll admit that my first exposure to the animation was none other than Robotech, as back in 1985 I was all of nine years old and one could not possibly expect a nine year old to have the sense to know the difference between Japanese animation and the Super Friends. But I was intrigued by Robotech mostly because it dealt with issues that were pretty unknown in the realm of mindless American animation and that much was impressed upon me. I mean, a cartoon that had kissing and death? Sign me up! By the time I reached high school, my best friend and his brothers were all Robotech nuts, and informed me that my favorite part of the saga, the Macross Saga, was a Japanese series unto itself that lasted thirty-six episodes. One weekend, I stayed over at his place and all of them let me watch all thirty-six episodes in order and with very little in the way of a break. For the record, I stayed up for nearly seventeen hours straight until the crack of dawn, and their father walked into the living room and peered at me oddly. “You’re still awake?” Like a ghost, I pointed weakly at the screen and mumbled, “Macross…”

I’m sure that amused him to no end.

With the original series being what it is, the legendary sequel Macross II had nothing charming about it. In fact, the only good thing that it had was the music. With songs sung by the amazing Kasahara Hiroko, it was hard keeping me from bolting to the computer to find the CD upon which Mou Ichidou Love You was located, because that song was awesome. It was not as awesome as Mari Ijima’s Oboite Imasu Ka or Tenshi no Enogu, but it was good. While the story was a pale comparison to the original and the fact that they literally destroy the massively-huge main character of the series with a single scene, Macross II failed to live up to the hype and in fact, only paved the way for Macross Plus to truly reintroduce us to the idea and concept behind the whole Macross story.

Macross Plus arrived on the scene in 1995, I eagerly embraced this as the true sequel to the series. Not only did it turn itself on its side to retell the classic story of a love triangle involving pilot(s), but it invoked the memory of how amazing the storytelling was for the original by raising the bar a little higher in Plus. Advances in animation and an equally outstanding soundtrack made the presentation stand out from its contemporaries and easily found a place on my ‘must-buy-now’ list of anime. I must have watched the first two episodes of Macross Plus many times over within the first week of having them in my collection. I could not get enough of Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman and their competative antics while trying to advance their respective projects. Plus, seeing the Macross universe evolved some time after the early part of the twenty-first century was interesting as we got to see the UN Spacy in the 2040s with all the advances of their modern technology.

I must admit that I never watched Macross 7 or seen more than two episodes of Macross Zero. I am not lazy, I just have this huge list of anime to watch and Jesse’s cracking the whip.

In summary, Macross awesome. It is a required part of any anime fan’s collection.