An Introduction to Warfare in Macross: First Fight (Macross Frontier 07)

macross frontier 07 vf-25 messiah skull team

A moment of silence as we remember love for the fallen, and the heroes during 9/11/2001.

The episode itself is a showcase of the martial capabilities of the SMS. By this I mean the tactics, the personnel, and the ordnance; and how they all come together against what pretty much counts as an unkown foe. In the original series, the idea of transforming fighter craft in to humanoid giants is the product of intelligence that told the UN SPACY that the potential alien threat would be a race of 50-foot tall soldiers. The success of the variable fighters led to the design’s continued development and use well into the 2050s, despite not having the last major threat to be aliens with wildly variable size. In Macross Frontier, the Vajra are just as much a mystery to the Frontier branch of NUNS as the Zentraedi were to UN SPACY back in 2009. Hence, I would measure the worth of a crack (para)military unit by its ability to be dominant in the face of very little intelligence; for its ability to adapt against alien combat threats.

macross frontier 07 VF-25S APS-25A/MF25 Armored Messiah battloid mode

When I say that the episode is a showcase, I mean it. The pilots|characters take turns taking the spotlight to display the function and abilities of their mecha. By this point, nearly every single mechanical design (NUNS, SMS, Vajra, Galaxy Fleet) will have showed their capability in the narrative. If the SMS were a super hero team like the X-Men, each hero would take turns showing off their special mutant power. The good thing is, the actual experience of the show is nowhere as cheesy as that suggests. The progression of the battle is, in true Macross fashion, accompanied by the vocal stylings of the idol of the times: Sheryl Nome performing in her farewell concert.

The following slideshow [this will not appear if you are reading this post via feed reader] gives a fanboy perspective on the way combat is depicted in Macross (Frontier).

Thanks to Macross Mecha Manual, we have detailed technical notes on the participating mecha in this engagement.

From the Vajra:

From the SMS:

From NUNS:

Glaxy Fleet:

One thing this episode did not show, is the fancy dogfight. There are elements of it, such as the evasion of the ‘Itano Circus.’ However, this episode as more like 1 craft vs. many, or 1 craft vs. capital ship, capital ship vs. capital ship, and combined arms tactics. In episode 04 (Miss Macross) we saw a stylized dogfight between Klan Klan and Alto (Queadlunn-Rea vs. VF-25F Messiah), followed by a grisly scrap between both vs. a Large-Type Vajra.

We Remember Love‘s coverage of Macross Frontier has been about elements of the series that exclude the mecha. Part of the the reason is to make the discussion more accessible to casual fans, in the spirit of how the show made Macross more accessible to a new generation and a wider audience. But this episode’s battle reminds us that Macross is mecha anime of spectacular quality.

Omake

This AMV depicts the Macross style of combat very well (Frontier), inclusive of footage up to episode 07:

Further Reading

I don’t really consider this battle to be one of the great battles of anime history, though it is one of the most fun to watch. The Battle of Saturn’s Rings in SDF Macross however, I do think belongs [->]

‘Itano Circus’, elaborated [->]

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.
This entry was posted in analysis, fanboy, how to remember love, Macross Frontier and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to An Introduction to Warfare in Macross: First Fight (Macross Frontier 07)

  1. Ryan A says:

    Wow, nice information. I actually paid little attention to these things when I was marathoning; some stuff is apparent, but I didn’t pick up on things like Ozuma’s armored version of the VF-25.

    I do enjoy when the biggins transform. XD

  2. Turambar says:

    Fanboy, expert, same difference 😀

  3. Nicely done post. I’m a huge nerd for all these little technical details in Gundam, and having watched Frontier and now watching the original I’m glad to find out more information on the Macross universe’s technology.

    I think I need a VF-25G and/or F model kit now.

  4. sakura says:

    @ Exectutive Otaku, you totally do!

    I’m currently the proud owner of 5 of the kits, with my VF-27 on pre-order.

    I’ve been working on my Armored VF-25 Messiah a little bit here and there. (One of the prongs snapped on the gun, so if I need to pose him in battroid I’ll have to switch it out with Michel-kun’s gun which can open no problem -_- since I have him in fighter mode he just needs it to stand on the base.)

    But back to the post, there is just so much to enjoy in Macross and the battles are definitely one of them. OMG the Valkyries with the Super or Armor packs, are just so effing sexy.

    Its like what do my eyes following first. I was watching a Space Battle in Gundam 00 the other night and couldn’t help but compare them.

    The MF battles, just seemed so much more frenetic in comparison, so much going on all at once, so much to keep track of, its fast paced and exciting.

    The 00 battle by comparison, just seemed a lot more sedate, maybe it was because it was just mobile suit against mobile suit, rather than large hordes of aliens.

    It didn’t necessarily make it bad, I just got a different feeling from it. I think the MF battles left me feeling more excited.

    • The battles and dogfights in Macross are freaking sexy, and to me are beyond most shows I’ve seen. This is a matter of taste, so it’s all good.

      In Gundam, what bothers me is the prevalence of HUGGING ROBOTS… IN SPACE. This bugs the shit out of me, really, for serious.

      The shows that had the least of this: Victory, Char’s Counterattack, 0083, 0080, 08th MS Team, 00, Igloo 2… these are the shows that had the more enjoyable battles for me (especially 0083) in the franchise.

      So back to Macross… best non-CG fights, Macross Plus; CG, I can’t pick between Zero, and Frontier. I thought Frontier couldn’t touch Zero’s dogfights, but F has better set-piece battles. I’ll stop now… I’ll end up writing 1000 words talking to myself.

  5. foomafoo says:

    Wow, I’ve tried posting a similar post in the past although it was about Knightmares and it was hard researching about those equipments and other accessories of each mechas! It seemed easy for you though o_o being a fan for several years already of Macross.

  6. Haesslich says:

    One thing to note here: part of the energy in episode 7, outside of how they choreographed the music to the combat, was in the way they introduced the first Macross-class ship we actually got to see for THIS particular series, and the way it was almost the antithesis of its predecessors.

    In every other Macross series, the Macross or New Macross-class ship is a slow, ungainly battleship – it lumbered majestically along, only to unleash its power in fleet or squadron-killing blasts of its Macross cannon, slowly transforming into a rather static humaniform figure whose ‘melee’ mode was drawn in slow-mo (see the first use of the Daedalus Attack). This presented a rather striking contrast to the zippy, agile VF’s which were its main teeth against enemy vessels.

    Then you drag in Episode 7 of Macross Frontier, and we see the smaller Macross Quarter moving less like a capital ship and more like a torpedo boat as it accelerates almost as quickly as its escorting fighters, barrel rolls into melee combat like an oversized VF, then slings its shield as casually as Focker did his six-meter long gunpod in the first series before using a MUCH smaller (if equally effective) Macross Cannon to kill a single ship that, in comparison to the Quarter, seems much smaller than even the Zentradi destroyers of the first season. Smaller vessels abound in this series with the excepsion of the humans’ New Macross-class battleships, which make the action more frenetic and combat more in the vein of ‘Top Gun’ than ‘The Hunt for Red October’ in its pacing and the combination of visuals and music.

  7. otakubaka says:

    been thinkng of watching this anime ever since i saw some cosplays of Sheryl Nome.. lol

  8. Square says:

    great write up, my only tweak would be that the VB-6 was packing reaction weapons hence the massive BOOM. In this one case the ordnance and not the projecting weapon (rail gun)is the cause of the destructive energy.

    Still really good write up.

    • Thank you!

      Hmmm, all of the SMS were packing reaction weapons (micro missiles, bullets, etc.). In the previous episode, a certain law/proclamation was made re a state of emergency which not only effectively conscripts private military providers like the SMS, but coincidentally approves their use of reaction weapons.

      This is why they have a much easier time shooting down Large Type Vajra when they could hardly beat one in prior engagements.

  9. Crusader says:

    Good Write up but I hope that the poor bastards of NUNS along with their Brave and Honorable Captain Machiada get some love too for their contribution to the defense of the Frontier Fleet.

    While one can only guess at the tactical possibilities with such a fine weapons system as the Valkyrie family of fighters at least they kept up the fire and maneuver aspect along with ample amounts of mutual support. Battles in Macross rely on fancy flying and mutual support more so than Gundam which seems far more interested in carrying on the notion of Samurai Duel with a mecha slant. As such the there is a lot more to take in In a Macross Battle than Gundam battle since the latter doesn’t give too much love to the nameless grunts in mass produced suits, with notable exception to IGLOO 2.

    I agree mostly with Haesslich though I am in favor of comparing Macross Quarter to a battlecruiser or more precisely a Panzerschiffe given the faster speed, similar armament, and less armor than Battle 25. With the smaller ships it’s easier to see them moving in squadrons as well which makes for more fleet actions that are a far cry from drawing up the battle line and giving each other broadsides, though I have yet to see a battle like that where any one bothered to cross the T.

    I though that it was a most memorable battle. The resulting strategic consequences would not be felt until much later…

    • Thank you for the additional breakdown regarding the machines and the tactics. I value this very much, and I feel that it adds a lot to this post, if it doesn’t complete it outright.

      NUNS love will follow when they become more of a factor later on in the narrative.

      So, I have nothing much to add regarding your commentary to Macross.

      On the Gundam comparison however, I do feel that there is comparable love given to the grunts in mass-produced suits at least in 0083: Stardust Memory. Burning, Keith, and Monsha are all characters with much variety in behavior and narrative value, and exclusively used grunt mecha (if with slight modifications compared to their first generation versions). This is part of the reason why I like that OVA so much.

  10. gloval says:

    I’m attentive of the big ships (hence my name in anime circles), and my observations have been mentioned by Haesslich and Crusader. I’d wish they’d have more big ship action, but I’ve accepted that the VFs are to be given more loving exposure, oh well.

    Curiously, when the first time I watched the sequence of the Quarter, I’ve found it perfect. But now I think it could still be improved. That part after the Vajra main cannon fired at the Quarter and only managed to destroy an asteriod, I think it should’ve followed that the other guns of the Vajra ship concentrate its fire on the Quarter that’s charging towards it. The Quarter would then use its airfield shield with pinpoint barrier to ward off the fire. Looks more badass to me.

    • Two words for you: MOVIE VERSION.

    • Haesslich says:

      You’re assuming that a) those anti-fighter cannons can range (and aim) at the Quarter, which was moving about like a 250-meter long Valkyrie, and that b) that they can be aimed all at one point rather than being individually controlled. Personally, I’m happy enough to have avoided the whole ‘shooting the shield’ possibility, if only because that would’ve looked cliche.. and because if Canaria’s Koenig Monster could shrug off similar shots without issue, then the Quarter wouldn’t even need that landing field/shield to deflect them, given that it has pinpoint barrier technology.

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