This is going to get ugly.
Episode 08: ‘High School Queen’ is the ugliest work of animation in the Macross franchise. While I can’t prove this with scietific and statistical certainty, I will present images to exemplefy and demonstrate. There are other problematic things I do not like about this episode and what went on in it, but I will focus on how the character designs went to the shitter. I don’t usually hate on something, mostly I end up being indifferent to it. This episode is an exception [->]
Note that I didn’t use past tense in describing my emotional state. This is a persistent and ongoing ulcer.
I don’t really want to get into a discussion on production process, and the business context that led to this debacle. It’s not as interesting a place for me to get into. What remains, and has consequence is that the character design deformity in this episode is unprecedented in the franchise, and represents the worst — in my view, images in Macross’ 27-year history, excacerbated by how new it is.
I got upset at the animation of Macross 7 because it didn’t show a revolutionary improvement over the original series which by then was already a decade old. The same bias applies in this case. By the time this episode aired, the original series was already 26 years old. That’s older than most anime fans I know. A benchmark: Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (2007), will never ever ever have moments wherein it could be compared to Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) in terms of character design quality and animation.
Here is a slideshow [cannot be seen if this post is viewed from a feed reader] wherein I attempt to document the worst cases of off-model character animation (stills) from the three Macross TV series (SDF, 7, Frontier). What is incomparable, are Frontier’s mecha battles which are wholly in CG. The older series had their roughest moments of animation during such. I will stick to human faces.
I think that if this show wants to indulge in fanservicey high school hijinks, it should stay on-model with the character animation. To do otherwise is just wasteful. Who’s really going to get off on ugly Sheryl, ugly Alto, and ugly Ranka? After the novelty of the cheap pantsu gags, and the supposedly romantic flight towards the sunset, what stays with people (or at least me) is the overall fugliness in this waste of an episode.
And what a waste it is! After all, it did build character for Ranka in the sense that she had to work hard, deal with disappointment, and turn down helping hands to get a leg up on her career as a performer. This should have been a highlight of her narrative, but it’s totally wasted on this nigh-unwatchable episode.
The Macross Frontier post series on We Remember Love [->]