Macross Frontier 08 PISSES ME OFF: We Remonstrate Love

macross frontier 08 vf-1a replicaI really wanted to remember love here. I really did.

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.

macross frontier 08 mihoshi campus view of macross frontier cityThe only things they couldn’t fuck up in this episode are the gorgeous pre-rendered backgrounds.

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.

macross frontier 08 ranka 1 2 deculture

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.

Further Reading

The Macross Frontier post series on We Remember Love [->]

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, Macross Frontier and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Macross Frontier 08 PISSES ME OFF: We Remonstrate Love

  1. animekritik says:

    i guess they figure people won’t notice?! I don’t know, that hand WAS gigantic! BTW, the word “remonstrate” is love itself. I mean, you don’t remonstrate unless you really care.

    • Yes, it’s not the ‘true’ opposite of love; that would be indifference. The post title is a reference to an in-joke reference to Macross: Do You Remember Love? in episode 19 of Martian Successor Nadesico, where they were talking about making media titled “Nadesico: Do You Remonstrate Love?”

      It is quite awesome, that show and that episode in particular.

  2. schneider says:

    Yes, I remember this travesty of an episode vividly–Satelight probably blew their budget last episode.

    • schneider says:

      Oh, and isn’t this one of the episodes done by KMU Manila Studio? Someone confirm this lols

      • gloval says:

        What I hear is that the characters were outsourced to Thailand or some other SEAsia country. The Philippine studio did the backgrounds. But yeah, this needs confirmation.

        I’d also like to know if the DVD or Blu-Ray version corrected this.

      • In the ED credits, the following names appear in roman letters:


        These sound Thai to me. (STUDIOBACU)

        KMU MANILA STUDIO was outsourced for episode 06, where Crusader says the animation started to deteriorate. I personally didn’t see anything approaching the level of fail in episode 08.

        Marrick O. Manallo
        William R. Pineda
        Ronald T. Reyes
        Willly D. Fajarito Jr.
        Paolo M. Busa
        Darwin R. Dionela
        Niko C. Deocareza
        Jayson G. Escoto
        Jivan A. Achacoso
        Patrick O. Calma

        Filipino names, no doubt about it. These dudes have my everlasting envy. The actually got to draw Macross illustrations that actually got broadcast. /jealousraeg

  3. Yot-chan says:

    Well, I for one am curious about the production process and business context for this episode, since all I had heard before was that Sheryl became unexpectedly popular after Episode 5, so they had to hastily rewrite the series to feature her more.

    This bit of “information,” however, turned out to be false…as did most other “production notes” we got about the making of Macross Frontier.

    So if you have some reliable information, please share!

    • Wow that’s some pretty wild rumor. If you can share any more of these production rumors true or false I’ll appreciate it very much!

      • gloval says:

        The English version of those “production notes” is in AnimeSuki. I shared with you the link in a comment from waaay back. Those are filled with some truths, some fabrications and some unverifiable content. Yot-chan (user Gubaba in MW) did a fine job on exposing it.

        • Yot-chan says:

          Really, as far as I can tell, they were about 5% truth, 10% unverifiable (without Shaloom -the originator of the notes- coming clean and telling us exactly what’s true and what isn’t), and 85% false.

          Most of the true stuff is obviously true, the homages that everyone noticed when they watched the show, or stuff that was commented on (and widely talked about) at Macross World or Animesuki or THAT Animeblog.

          Anyway, Ghostlightning, most of the false production involve the series writing being taken over by Hiroshi Ohnogi (a scriptwriter for the original Macross series, as well as Macross Zero) for the last few episodes, and lots of homages to what appears to be an entire library of Macross novels written by Ohnogi. Of course, these novels don’t exist (although he DID write one Macross novel: “Misa Hayase – White Reminiscences,” which is about Misa and Riber…inluding a great scene where they go to a restaurant in Yokohama Chinatown. The daughter of the restaurant owners sees Misa and Riber, and asks her mother, “Doesn’t that man look like Big Brother Kaifun…?”), and Ohnogi did no writing for Frontier.

          The other big thing the notes talk about (which is also completely false) is that Kawamori was really pushing Ranka, and disliked Sheryl, to the point of planning to kill Sheryl at the end of the show. Ohnogi and the rest of the staff put up a fight, but Kawamori wouldn’t listen to them. Finally, the outpouring of love for Sheryl from the fans convinced him (reluctantly) to spare her life and keep her a prominent character. But he wasn’t happy about it, because he wanted everybody to love his darling Ranka instead.

          As I said, NONE of this is true. But yeah, it is kind of interesting…especially when you start to wonder about WHY Shaloom made all this up.

          • Incredible. I’m truly laughing out loud. Ohnogi has a splendid resume, and did a whole lot of writing for shows I like… then there’s Gundam SEED Destiny… *crickets*

            Ranka… this rumor is even more unbelievable since Ranka ended up being rather badly written as a character. I imagine this rumor was eaten up by the shipper mobs.

          • Yot-chan says:

            Well…that was kind of the point, according to the false story: “Kawamori” let “Ohnogi” take over the direction of the series, and since “Ohnogi” thought Sheryl was the most dynamic character, he and “the staff” essentially took the show away from “Kawamori.” Then “Kawamori” wrote the final episode, but it was too little too late, the show had already achieved legendary status despite “Kawamori’s” trolling.

            And yes, the Sheryl shippers ATE IT UP. To the point where it seemed like they were calling for Kawamori’s head on a platter and trying to grant sainthood to Ohnogi. And saying that if Ohnogi wasn’t involved with the movie, they wouldn’t see it.

            In reality, Frontier has only ever had one scriptwriter: Hiroyuki Yoshino. He wrote all 25 episodes. If any of them had checking the credits, they would’ve known that.

          • Thanks for sharing this, I’m still in awe. When I was watching the show during its run I was rather new to the social aspect of anime and the internet so I didn’t see this kind of ‘action.’

  4. Crusader says:

    I agree with schneider the blew their budget on episode seven and figured that they could get away with an out sourced filler ep. It’s a running theme that Macross lifers have to deal with, QUALITY. though for Frontier I am willing to forgive episode 8 and all the wonky animation because the end was TOTALLY WORTH IT. You have to save money somehow and even Shin Mazinger Z abuses recycled animation though in a less shameless manner.

    All will be corrected n the movie! So it’s not a total loss. QUALITY never really goes away…

    • Mazinger’s Imagawa is a genius with budget, and is a top-tier director. Frontier recycled animation for CG battles, and seldom if at all for non-battle scenes. Even so, it’s nowhere near the level of the original series, and !@#$@%$^%^&%*^&$^#%@#$@$#$& Macross 7.

      This is really more a character design going off-model issue. Episode 10’s LOLWTF fight with that creature from Planet Eden though…

      Oh yes, the end does very well to take my mind off this episode, and I do look forward to gorgeous delicious deculture in the upcoming movie.

  5. maAkusutipen says:

    Wow you people have good eyes! The only anime that I saw the production dip so low was the notorious Naruto chuunin exam where the character designs were way way off.

    I think ghostlightning or another Singapore based anime blogger has shed some light in the anime production process. These things are the consequences of having several outsourced studios.

  6. Vendredi says:

    While I will admit there is a quality drop in 08, I think it’s a testament to the overall high quality of Macross Frontier in the first place that episode 8 only looks bad in comparison to the rest of Frontier, and what’s more, the dip in quality rarely sinks the drama, tension, or humour of a scene.

    I mean, QUALITY animation will always be a hallmark of doing things by hand (as opposed to by computer) – and for some another animations studios (*cough*GONZO*cough*) it’s absolutely endemic; the QUALITY animation is not an odd still here and there, but permeates even the most intense moments of the plot. Speed Grapher in particular comes to mind as an example of how poor animation can ruin an otherwise dramatic and intense action sequence.

  7. gloval says:

    To make up for the ugly, allow me to share some awesome stuff I found…

    The Super Dimensional Anthem featuring Sheryl, Ranka, Mylene, Basara and … Minmay. Yup, Mari Ijima is back in Macross!

    Pwolf’s Angel Voice will make you remember love. This is a great Macross AMV which I think would be a classic just like decade-old Information High AMV.

  8. Owen S says:

    …I didn’t notice this. Is it a bad thing, or am I the target audience for this ‘animation’?

    • If by target audience you mean “Macross Lifers” as a fair slice of the commenters in this post are, who may also be: episodic blogpost-following (across many different blogs), raw-watching, /m/ live stream running commentary thread-reading, merch-buying fags — no, you’re not.

      But it’s fairly obvious, especially if you were initially impressed by the character designs.

  9. 2DT says:

    Mm, I remember this episode. As you say, it was remarkably ugly. But it was amusing enough as a break, I thought, especially in retrospect with everything that came after. I was actually more bothered by the debut of Seikan Hikou– you wanna talk about disappointment…

    • SACRILEGE! Seikan Hikou intro is DESTINY FULFILLED, hehehe. That moment is huuuge, but then again it takes a profound love not only for Minmay and the original series, BUT ALSO Macross 7, which is not really that common among long-time fans.

      If you notice who my avatar is, you’ll begin to understand how much I love Macross 7.

      • 2DT says:

        Mm, I understand, and I agree that it was a big “remembering love” moment. I just recall it being far too poorly animated for what it should have been.

  10. otou-san says:

    I think you included quite a few frames that I personally would not have — I wouldn’t count cartoonified reaction shots as examples of off-model animation. That said, there are plenty of other examples and HOLY SHIT IS THAT SHERYL? Looks like Sloth from the Goonies.

    The thing about Kawamori and Satelite is there’s so much computer assistance going on in that shop that I really don’t think there’s any excuse.

    • I included them because they are ugly cartoonified shots. They could’ve gone SD, or Lucky Star style… but they just distorted the models in real ugly ways. Well, the way I understand it, everything’s digital. I got to go to TOEI, and the entire One-Piece operation is digital.

  11. X10A_Freedom says:

    Wow, I never noticed this! That is truly some horrific quality.

    Hmm…Tokyo Magnitude Pisses Me Off: We Remonstrate Love

    (but in a good way – can’t wait for your post!)

    • Hehe, some of us are well, outright Macrossfags-lifers. We know the history of QUALITY in our beloved franchise. If we haven’t noticed it ourselves, it’s been thrown at our face by the haters. It’s inevitable that we look out and notice these kind of things hehe.

      That post will be up in a few hours, hehe.

  12. Sakura says:

    Yeah, there were quite a few shots that made me cringe in that ep. I just sat there baffled.

    As Crusader says though, all will be forgotten once we get to see the movie, the footage they have up already looks sexy!

  13. Sakura says:

    Even without the new footage I’d still watch this, just because they manage to make the mecha even sexier!

    • Oh hi there Sheryl! I assume that the false diva in question is Sheryl herself. It’s an interesting choice of film title, as the ‘falseness’ could mean different things all at once. When you say that the mecha look sexier, what did you notice?

  14. Ryan A says:

    I don’t even remember this episode. Thinking it’s the one that felt really out of place though …

    • Well, we notice because we’re part of the target audience, who can also be described as

      “Macross Lifers” as a fair slice of the commenters in this post are, who may also be: episodic blogpost-following (across many different blogs), raw-watching, /m/ live stream running commentary thread-reading, merch-buying fags

      We may be just be more likely to care… just a little bit more… lul

  15. DK Eternity says:

    Ah yes, episode 8… Not only did that episode feel out of place because of… well as you put it: “fanservicey high school hijinks,” but also because of the quality. Seriously, it kinda made me wonder if I was even really watching Macross F because that was just unexpectedly bad.

    I’m planning to rewatch Macross F since I just marathoned it the first time and didn’t really get to fully appreciate the show, but this time I’ll just skip episode 8 and pretend it never existed.

  16. DonKangolJones says:

    I remember this episode, unfortunately. It was so damn obvious that I almost skipped the episode because I just KNEW that it was gonna be a plot-less bullshit episode without any character development. I was somewhat wrong. I suppose Ranka did have some purpose in this episode. Gives me horrible flashbacks to that horrible TTGL episode early in that series. Remember? The animation was all weird & jaggy. I hate it when that happens. I feel your pain. If they did this with a Gundam series the interwebs would be set AFLAME!! People get fired for making those kinds of decisions.

    • I remember that episode, and it certainly pisses me off as well. Even more so since they ‘perfected’ GATTAI in that episode — that is, the perfect GATTAI is to do it with awesomeness. I want to remember it fondly, but I end up remembering too much and I just upset myself.

      Yeah, the Gundam fandom will just terrorize itself to find something this messy to make more of a mess of.

      • Emperor J says:

        I’m actually up to this episode in my catch up rotation, but the comparison to THAT episode of TTGL has me worried. I actually enjoyed that one and I fear I may now like this ep of Macross Frontier. Now excuse me as I go searching for my long lost sense of taste.

  17. One of the biggest reasons I dropped Mac F was that Alto and Sheryl have two of the fugliest character designs I’ve ever seen in a high-budget anime, so I guess it’s no surprise I found the differences less than shocking.

    • animekritik says:

      Now that digiboy mentions this, i think i have a somnewhat similar impression. everytime i run into screencaps of this show i get the feeling that the character designs are surprisingly “simple”. same goes for gundam 00…

    • Well, I merely find us having extremely subjective experiences of the design. I find the designs of the characters you mentioned rather very attractive. Fugliest? Please.

  18. This. Some parts of it had been sketched out so screwy, and then it got pretty volatile after adding high-strengths amount of fanservice, and ugly this episode it may seem…

    …I got a kick out of seeing how damn mad Sheryl (in apparent imitation of Jack Nicholson in The Shining) really looked when she asked the hapless boy where her panties had gone to. LOL!

    This episode made me forget that other similar-looking episode somewhere in Code Geass.

  19. animekritik says:

    Yup, it’s a forgettable episode. From what I can tell in reading about the production people, both Filipino and Thai animators on this show worked on the backgrounds, through a Japanese company called Bihou which specializes in hiring Southeast Asian artists (Vietnam is their major source of artists, apparently). Anyway, I think the characters were drawn by Japanese.
    I don’t think I need to blog this episode after all.

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