Macross 7: Surviving the first 20 Episodes

Macross 7 Basara Nekki eyecatch

The points in this post are recycled from a comment, a response to Martin’s comment on LISTEN TO MY SONG! Vol. 2. I mention this just to be cute and symmetrical to the wholesale recycling of animation that happens in Macross 7. Kawamori is into recycling things after all, right? Yakk Deculture!

Man, I’m 20 episodes into Macross 7 and I think it’s a very intelligent, if not the most intelligent installment of the franchise. WAIT! Macross 7 intelligent? It is so, I believe – it rewards those who have a particular affinity for the Macross franchise.

There’s a superficial way of being a Macross fanboy, and there’s nothing wrong with it: loving the mecha, the dogfights, the ace pilots, the idols, the music, and whatever else among the elements of the franchise. And there’s this other way, this appreciation of the goofiness of it all, the ability to accept how much of it is a joke (a whole lot of it) – and how much of it not trying to be better than the other anime out there makes it pretty damn good. This is what Macross 7 is teaching me.

First of all, if you’re to enjoy this show there are things you’ll have to forgive and you’ll have to be very very forgiving:

1. Uber-crappy animation circa 1997. No excuse for this one especially it’s tangentially a sequel to Macross Plus. The fights are atrociously animated, and the sequences are re-used again and again (acceptable in SDF-Macross in 1982, not this time).

Macross 7 LOL SQUADRON FORMATION

LOL SQUAD FORMATION. You see this image A LOT.

2. Mecha look goofy, especially the enemy’s. The poor animation makes the mecha look un-graceful. Since the mecha are descended from Macross Plus, the battloid modes look goofy to begin with. The valkyrie modes remain sweet.

macross 7 ugly-ass-mecha

3.. Mind-bending logic. I’m talking about willingness to take dogfights in public (populated areas), firing mecha weapons into buildings, inconsistent weapon damage upon mecha and surroundings (sometimes a gunshot is less than a gunshot, sometimes more), AMONG OTHER THINGS.

4. The main plot is unclear to me even almost at halfway through the series.

IF YOU CAN GET PAST ALL OF THAT, then Macross 7 is blissfully, and I mean blissfully rewarding.

1. Basara is unique among Macross aces. He is awesome and ridiculously moronic. Many people don’t take to him, but he’s been my gravatar from the start. He is godly.

I DIED

Nostalgia Fanservice: I DIED (a TV movie production of the Linn Minmei story starring Mylene Flare Jenius and Nekki Basara)

2. Mylene Flare Jenius is the most winsome of all Macross idols. Mylene > Minmei > Sheryl > Ranka. I irrationally favor Ranka and Minmei will forever hold my loyalty but Mylene is the easiest to love.

3. MAX KANCHOU. Max Jenius is the captain of Battle 7. He is the greatest ace pilot in all of anime. And if Pontifus is to be indulged, you will feel moe for him. But he is bad ass as ever.

They've easily become one of my favorite anime couples, not that they weren't easy to like when I first met them in The SDF Macross series.

They've easily become one of my favorite anime couples, not that they weren't easy to like when I first met them in The SDF Macross series.

4. MILLYA FALLNYA JENIUS. She is the mayor of Macross City 7. She is the greatest Zentraedi ace and arguably the second greatest ace pilot in all of anime. She’s Max’s waifu, and the mother of Mylene. She is awesome throughout the series.

macross 7 millya eyecatch

5. Deliberate and fulfilling nostalgia fanservice, but only if you’ve seen and love SDF Macross and DYRL. This is a big deal for me, and it’s very rewarding.

Jesus Mintz is this me in a few years?

Jesus Mintz is this me in a few years?

Took my freaking breath away

Took my freaking breath away

6. The music is pretty damn good. They get repeated a lot with crappy animation (Planet Dance more often than most), but there are a lot of songs and I actually like almost all of them.

7. VAMPIRES. IN SPACE. Yes, them’s the enemy.

The episodes will come to you as a total joke and you’ll be fine with it because it’s such lighthearted fun. You’ll come to expect and love Basara’s stupid antics. And just when you least expect it you’ll get episodes that are so well done and serious that you just love yourself for being a fan of Macross.

I do think, that this is no way a good gateway to the Macross franchise. I’ m really writing this post for the fans of the franchise that are on the fence about this show. I’ve put this off largely because I’ve read very scathing reviews, and given its length of 49 episodes (+3 encore episodes and an OVA series), that’s a lot of awful to watch.

Is it possible to have a powerful and fulfilling romance with the Macross franchise without watching this series? Yes. After all, I got this far without seeing it (I had only started watching beyond episode one 2 weeks ago even though I’ve been fairly retarded about Macross for the last 26 years). But as a lifelong fan of the franchise, I’m very glad I’m going through with watching it.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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20 Responses to Macross 7: Surviving the first 20 Episodes

  1. otou-san says:

    I think to have a true appreciation of what Macross means, it’s necessary to take this one in as well. Macross is a multi-faceted franchise, and different parts explore the same story in different ways. Plus tackles maturity, Zero is about mystic majesty, and 7 is… goofy. After all, the concept of music saving the galaxy is inherently silly but there we are, time after time with Macross being told that it’s possible.

    Uber-crappy animation circa 1997

    THIS. Nothing to be said, it’s just horrible and no excuse. Dynamite 7 is not bad though, even if it’s not quite Plus.

    Deliberate and fulfilling nostalgia fanservice

    It’s not nearly as overdone as Frontier, in fact Chiba is the main source of it. But if you look really closely, Guld shows up!

  2. ghostlightning says:

    @ otou-san

    Guld showing up would be either a real sick joke or pure awesome. I would’ve loved to see Isamu and Myung though.

    Chiba isn’t fulfilling, just deliberate.

    The TV movie filming, the “battloid carnival,” the Space War vets, Millya’s VF-1J… those are the big-time shout-outs that satisfy me more. Chiba’s overboard, but lovable nonetheless.

  3. Pontifus says:

    And there’s this other way, this appreciation of the goofiness of it all, the ability to accept how much of it is a joke (a whole lot of it) – and how much of it not trying to be better than the other anime out there makes it pretty damn good. This is what Macross 7 is teaching me.

    THIS

    Mylene Flare Jenius is the most winsome of all Macross idols. Mylene > Minmei > Sheryl > Ranka. I irrationally favor Ranka and Minmei will forever hold my loyalty but Mylene is the easiest to love.

    THIS TOO

    Those who can’t enjoy something that’s flagrantly and deliberately ridiculous should stay far, far away from Macross 7, but I’m with Otou-san insofar as 7 brings something to the whole Macross package. It has the same appeal as the pseudo-80s rock that fills it — it’s just fun, and it serves as a reminder that kicking back and having fun is a perfectly acceptable way to appreciate art.

    Also, it gets better a little over halfway through. Better and more awesome, which may be the same thing in this case.

    I actually think that, for all the show’s blatant absurdity, its characterization is handled very well. There were no characters whose screentime I resented having to sit through, and given my tendency to form strong irrational opinions about characters while in the middle of things, that’s pretty significant for me.

  4. ghostlightning says:

    There were no characters whose screentime I resented having to sit through, and given my tendency to form strong irrational opinions about characters while in the middle of things, that’s pretty significant for me.

    Yeah I remember your Minmei haet. And, I’m with you re this. I don’t resent anyone’s screentime, even if they annoy me (i.e. Gigil and Sivil – except when she’s you know, ^%#$&%*^(&*^&*(&)%^$%&^&*(*(((**&%^%&^*&( to Basara’s music).

  5. Remind me to watch this. It is Macross so I have to watch it.

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  9. Soukou says:

    I didn’t wanted to reply The Sojouner, is this somekind of bug?
    Posted via http://vastbrowser.com, hosted with http://AmpHosted.com, sponsored by http://totalpenguin.com

    • ghostlightning says:

      The links you’re adding is causing problems.

      The animation is terrible.

      To compare, Mobile Fighter G Gundam was released in 1994 and the animation is nowhere near as crappy. Even worse, Mobile Fighter Victory Gundam was released in 1993 and that had far superior animation (FAR) compared to Macross 7.

      I used both examples because they’re both 50-episode shows.

  10. Soukou says:

    That’s because my browser wasn’t loading right so I had to use a proxy to post.

    But to me, Mobile Suit Victory Gundam’s animation seemed pretty poor, it looked very reminiscent of 70’s anime, specially when talking about character’s movimentation.

    Never watched G though, so I’m cannot compare.

    I think the real problem with Macross 7’s animation was reused footage and crappy VHS rips. The remastered DVD edition’s looking pretty gorgeous and it is compensating for the bad direction.

    • ghostlightning says:

      Yes, I would just LOVE to get my hands on remastered Macross 7.

      I can’t agree about Victory, the ‘look’ evokes old Gundam shows, but the animation, direction (especially combat) is rather good (beyond LOLTOMINO occurances and LOL anime physics [->]). Also, no re-used footage as far as I can tell (after 25 eps).

      • Soukou says:

        I have already watched the entire series, and yes it is well directed, but I found the animation to be quite similar to Mobile Suit Gundam’s.
        Not in a bad way though, 0079 was well animated but suffered from way too many off-models and poor mecha designs(Okawara was yet to learn how to drawn).
        Victory’s MS looked pretty solid and were designed by Hajime Katoki(my favorite designer), but to me, there wasn’t a great improvement over these 14 years.

  11. I listened to all of Fire Bomber’s songs for years before watching the series and the movie. I love all of them and can even sing (albeit with a terrible karaoke voice ^_^;) a couple of them in Japanese from memory (like Seventh Moon). When finally I watched the crappy animation, I couldn’t make myself hate the series. Even though it has terrible production values, IT IS MACROSS, DAMNIT! 😀
    If Isamu wasn’t my favorite character in all Macross series, Basara would be my first instead. 🙂

  12. Since I’m just starting this series I’m gonna keep this post close to heart. Let’s see if I can survive this show…

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  14. Macross fan since 2016 says:

    Thanks! I wasn’t sure if it was worth watching but you had me at lynn Minmei!

  15. Macaroon Fan says:

    My favorite reused scene is probably the one where Gamlin keeps one shotting Gavil everytime with pin point accuracy, so much that when he finally dodged it was just a complete surprise!!!
    7 is so filled with recurring events that gives fulfillment when a breakthrough happens

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