Is Kawamori’s Macross Your Macross?

I don’t make a custom of regarding quotations from the creator about the subject work as definitive interpretations of the created product. I don’t think it’s unimportant either, but no I don’t privilege it as “Word of God” as a practice.

However, there are certain assumptions I can’t do without: when the production team says show X is a sequel to show W, I believe that the story in show X is part of the continuity of show W. The events in both story happen in the same world at different times.

I cannot make the same assumptions for the Macross franchise.

Macross creator Kawamori Shoji stated in an interview back in 1998 that every show in the Macross franchise is actually a show in the continuity of Macross. This means that Super Dimension Fortress Macross is in fact a television program shown to people in the fictional universe of Macross. What we viewers watched, is what the people in the Macross universe watched.

DYRL? is a movie, as attested by the Max Jenius character in Macross 7 – which in turn is a TV show. The same applies to Macross Plus, and Macross Zer0 is actually a mini-series that eventually became a film where Ranka Lee played Mao as depicted by the fictional TV series Macross Frontier.

We see characters, but never as they really are. We don’t really know how Ichijo Hikaru looks like, because what we see is an actor playing his role. We don’t know what Mao Nome looks like, nor what Nekki Basara really looks like. Roy Focker? Possibly really blonde.

Check that, we don’t really even see actors. We see animated illustrations representing fictional characters. DYRL? isn’t just a ‘real’ fictional film, it’s a ‘real’ fictional animated film.

Big Question #1: The people in the Macross universe sure love their anime don’t they?

Here is the source interview: (click image to go to linked forum thread)

macross kawamori interview 1998

A transcript for the lazy:

Next, I’d like to ask about DYRL… The design for Exedore is green all throughout the rest of the Macross shows. How is this explained in terms of the timeline?

You know… This is something I have trouble getting people to understand in magazine interviews. For example, you’ve got World War II, and then you have lots of movies based on that event, right? They are all fictional. They’re all based on a war that actually took place, but they are all different. For example, in period dramas you have Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, but there are so many Oda Nobunagas and Tokugawa Ieyasus. The producers look at the real event and adapt the character according to their wishes. The actors and lines also change, so the character changes. It’s that kind of feeling. OK, so in the timeline you have a movie called DYRL that was released, does that mean that the TV series is the true story? Well, you have the SDF-1 that supposedly fell from the sky, and then a story was made about the subsequent history and was televised. Then that became a movie. Then later, there was a “Macross 7 incident”, and a TV series was made about that. That’s basically how I see it.

So… “Macross 7” is also a TV series broadcast within the Macross timeline?

That’s right, that’s the interpretation. It’s not just the movie, they are ALL works of fiction.

None of them are real?

None of them are real.

In the teaser for DYRL, there is a line that goes, “I am Lynn Minmay, I will be playing the lead in this movie”. It does make you feel that there was a TV show which then became a movie.

Exactly. That’s what I have trouble getting people to understand. The real truth is somewhere else. They studied the history and made the fiction after the fact. While reasoning the facts, they have to make many compromises, like the limitations of a TV format, like the fact they have to sell toys, and so they have to adapt the story that way. So, in that respect, it doesn’t matter if all the productions differ.

The same goes for Macross Plus, too?

Yeah, that too. You have a similar incident that occurred. There may have been some virtual reality character like Sharon. Like, “she probably did exist”.

The real truth is somewhere else, he says. If so, just to indulge him, then the official timeline and chronology for the Macross continuity that he must have approved of is “the real truth.” Whatever. How differently do we end up watching Macross shows under this set-up?

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It makes the discussion of what is “canon” in the continuity difficult. Did Claudia really make pineapple salad the day Roy died? Did Minmay really ask Hikaru to quit flying? Did Basara really make the Fleet of the Strongest Women listen to his song? Did Guld really treat Isamu to lunch 13 times? Did Bobby really haze Alto by painting his face? Did George Yamamori really direct Bird Human?

What about character portrayals? Is Ranka Lee really as immature as the character in Macross Frontier TV, or is she the less annoyingly childish one in MF:TFS?

There as as many Lynn Minmays as there are Macross shows. Each show refers to her in some way and each show portrays a history that may not be very different from that of the other shows, but isn’t the same history nonetheless. In at least three shows (SDFM, Macross Frontier, MF:TFS), Lynn Minmay won Miss Macross (arguably for MF:TFS).

But we can’t really know can we? We have no way of verifying if Macross Plus was written and directed by people who are like Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, who took liberties with the historical nature of their real subject (Mark Zuckerberg) in their film The Social Network but otherwise attempted to be accurate. Or, is Macross 7 every bit as ridiculous as 300 is as a history of the Battle of Thermopylae?

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78 Responses to Is Kawamori’s Macross Your Macross?

  1. Baka-Raptor says:

    Now do a picture for that episode of Macross 7 Encore in which the bridge bunnies watch that sappy dramatization of the Fire Bomber members’ backgrounds.

  2. karice says:

    Really? So there is officially no canon (except for that chronology)? The atogaki at the end of the Frontier novels also notes that everyone should consider the TV series and the novels as two different representations of the same sequence of events. Surely he’s not doing this just to ward against the ire of the shippers…!

    • I’m really don’t like speculating on the intentions of the creators, as all I get as definitive statements are these rare translated interviews. I don’t like experiencing the material as a conversation between myself and the creators. I greatly prefer immersing myself in the world of the narrative. Kawamori’s statements get in the way of my preferred method which vexes me.

      • karice says:

        Perhaps one problem we have with his approach is that we are too fixed on having one narrative for any story/work? Even if we look at the fandom, different individuals come away with different readings of the same sequences because their own experiences and values probably shape how they perceive characters and events. And most of the time, the details or lack thereof (such as Bobby hazing Alto) don’t really change the characters so much as emphasise one side of them over another.

        When I step back to really think about it, it seems like Kawamori-sensei himself is acting like a fan of the world of the narrative, exploring these different sides and seeing what any changes would do. His approach seems quite sensible in some ways, at least from the creative standpoint. Most series eventually end up in so many media forms (TV series, movie, manga, novel – to name a few) that choosing one as canon over others invalidates someone else’s contributions. As an analogy, Christians believe that the four gospels depict real events, but they aren’t exactly the same. You could say that having these different perspectives encourages to consider other possible points of view rather than just seeing what we want to see.

        • Can of worms, bringing the Gospels into play.

          Treating them as historical documents is lulz. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of them — Matt for having the great sermons, Luke for having a lot of detail, John for writing with a lot of philosophy and drama (must be all the Greek influence), and Mark for… no actually I don’t like his text much, but he wrote first so that’s cool.

          But no I don’t appreciate them as historical documents more than as a possible set of views of the culture and politics at the time.

          In any case, they present a starting point for the reconstruction of actual history. Right now, we can’t do the same yet for Macross. But we could, create a starting point I mean by mapping out the continuity as far as the most sensible set of events as we can make out.

          • karice says:

            Good point, the gospels aren’t the best example and I don’t treat them as historical documents myself…though I’m not all that inclined to take any Macross series/movie/manga etc as a historical document either, since they’re all made for entertainment purposes ^^

            D’oh…that’s precisely what Kawamori wants viewers to do…

          • As much as we want our creators to be clever, we don’t want them to be clever at our expense. Whether this arrangement is really on our tab is not self-evident. However, I think it is valid that many of us do feel that way.

  3. Bah, the whole “interpret everything as a show within a show” sounds like a lazy cop-out from someone who won’t bother to keep his events straight. At least to my ears. Not that that at all diminishes my love for the franchise or individual shows (well, except Macross 7…), I just felt that that sort of lack of consistency needs to be called out. In the face of such oddities, I just try and use logic to cobble together a canon, call it a day, and enjoy what I’m watching. At least Kawamori/Macross leaves enough “space” between all of its concepts to minimize the friction caused by these issues, and it works out pretty well in keeping the universe together for the most part.

    • In the end this is what we all do (in the . It only feels this yucky because Kawamori obnoxiously figures more in our experience by making these statements.

      If you notice on the diagram I specifically indicate that we the viewers are the ones making meaning out of the experience of the work, and ultimately the canon and the level of our enjoyment is our responsibility to ourselves. We can choose otherwise, but it is a choice.

      • soloista says:

        Thank Cthulu for Kawamori’s meta take. At least we won’t have anal-retentive freeze-framing folks that crawl around in the Halo/Trek/Wars fandoms.

        ie, that “Ice Cream Guy” from SW, forced backstories upon backstories just to fill in everything, etc etc.

        • I’m not familiar with these references, but I myself am unsure with how to exactly to go about (re)constructing a working continuity.

          • soloista says:

            I mean those fans are super anal-retentive to the last bit. They freeze-frame everything to get the last bit of continuity gap or whatever filled no matter how small.

            Like I said, that Ice Cream Guy from Star Wars is an example.

            Fans have become so anal-retentive, that those guys doing Star Wars have a bible to the last detail because of them.

  4. cuc says:

    This is a method I reserve for my favorite stories: imagine that there exists a Platonic version of the fiction, and in that version all the mistakes made by the creators, all the compromises enforced by limitations of circumstances do not exist. And I suppose a lot of people (who are not used to the “sophiscated fans'” way of analyzing a story) do that unconsciously when they are drawn into a story. Even “sophiscated fans” may do that, as I’ve read a comic critic say that when superhero fans talk about their favorite heroes, they are in fact speaking of the Platonic ideal of that hero in their minds, not the reality of the published fiction. I imagine for a fictional world that has basic questions without satisfactory answers (I’m thinking of Tolkien’s Legendarium, which after all has never been completed), this way of thinking is very important.

    However, for a creator himself to say that, would be cheating. “This isn’t the vision in my head!” But for the audience, the only thing they have to work on is the material provided by the author.

    • It does seem like cheating, and we as the viewers and readers still have the choice to how much these statements affect our experience and our immersion activities. How much of these external statements will we acknowledge to create a Macross that works for us as individuals, and as a shared experience with other enthusiasts.

  5. revolemina says:

    I am going to take a very Nietzschean perspective on the entire thing.

    History itself is an ongoing series of multiple interpretations based on fragments of evidence; unless you happen to be omnipotent and omnipresent AND have the use of a time machine, you cannot know the ‘truth’ of a past event in its entirety, which leads back to the above statement. Following this train of thought, it is only fair to drop any expectations of canonic authenticity in the Macross franchise. For the sake of convenience, let us assume that ‘no creation in the Macross franchise is the “one truth”‘; the ‘one truth’ being the actual historical events that are being portrayed in these fictional representations. If the people in the Macross universe cannot be expected to know the truth, how much further we are removed from it as voyeurs!

    Having only the fictional representations to go by, we thus end up with multiple ‘truths’ (quite analogous to peeling an onion because there is no core). The only option left to us is to create the Platonic ideal mentioned by cuc, and ultimately that is what watching anime is all about, producers breaking the fourth wall or not.

    • Yes, very well put. What we’re really, really, really discussing here (for those who are willing to put in the work) is how to account for all these inputs including these authorial statements. I get the intentional fallacy as well as the Barthian “Death of the Author” but I am not a militant advocate of these. They are also valid readings/interpretations of the material. The question now is what do I do as an individual.

      And since it matters to me to share the material (I am an advocate kind of fan after all), it matters how I go about creating this shared experience with other enthusiasts. What do we include? How do we explain? Whatever is communally created will have more weight than my Platonic ideal unless I prevail in making everyone accept my version exclusively.

  6. megaroad1 says:

    As a huge fan of the Macross franchise as a whole, I have to say that I’ve always been a bit suspicious of Kawamori’s “show within a show” explanation. Specially since it’s not something that was brought up by him until the 90’s. It seems more like a convenient way to move forward after Macross II (where there was no involvement by Studio Nue) and so just explain it as a parallel world within Macross.

    While the explanation works well for DYRL, I think it’s unnecesary for Macross Plus, Frontier or even 7 if you overlook the green Excedol detail. There is little in those that directly contradict anything that appeared in the original series.

    Having said that, it must give Kawamori a lot more creative freedom to be able to write new instalments without worrying about things like canon and continuity.

    • That seems to be a plausible take on his motivations, though his motivations aren’t what attracts me to Macross as a created work. We really have to come to terms on what we accept as canon.

      It’s obvious to me that we’ll all have our own versions, but for the purposes of fun discussion among fans it works better to have agreed upon interpretations of narrative continuity.

  7. raile says:

    I am only here to remember love.

    Oh and a bone for you. 😉

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  9. Daryl Surat says:

    By the time this interview was given in the late 1990s, Shoji Kawamori had already gone insane in a bad way. I therefore am incredibly untrustworthy of this assessment, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s temporarily assume for the moment that “none of them is real.” Now ask yourselves: what does this GAIN for us? What value is ADDED to these stories as a result of knowing that? Does anything change at all for the BETTER?

    I contend the answer is no. “None of what you just saw actually happened even within the realm of this fictional landscape” is literally the equivalent of having something where the ending is “it was all a dream.” All it serves to do is invalidate any and everything that has transpired, because we the viewers never see [X]. We never see “the reality,” and therefore have no actual idea who these characters truly are or what the situation truly is.

    We’re not talking about a Megazone 23 or Perfect Blue/Millennium Actress-style case here, in which “that stuff you just saw before wasn’t real” is just a part of a greater whole, or a revelation that suddenly paints what you just saw in a different light. What Kawamori is saying is pretty much the single most “antithetical to narrative” writing construct you can come up with, because all it serves to do is take away everything of value to a story without adding anything of value in its place.

    That’s why viewers traditionally classify that as a “cop-out” or a “cheat” or a “hack.” We just invested all that time and emotion into these people, into these stories, only to be told “and none of it matters!” The notion of DYRL being an in-universe movie is fine because it hinges on the idea that there is still something anchoring it to “reality”; that there is indeed a “universe” for it to exist within! But if DYRL is fake and SDF Macross is fake (and Plus, Frontier, etc) such that we never see “the real thing,” then there is no anchor to “reality” and we’re just wasting our time. This is why Shoji Kawamori can’t equate ALL of Macross to when people make WW2 movies: at the end of the day, the Second World War actually happened whereas the story of Macross never did.

    The only way I maintain my sanity with Kawamori post-Arjuna is to concede that his talent as a mecha designer even to this day is undeniable but he simply cannot write a good story himself or personally direct something of quality anymore. He can still oversee a general storyline or directorial effort, but it has to be hands-off; he can’t be at the helm. Not anymore. Statements like this merely confirm it.

    • I like your comparing the effect of all this to the “all is just a dream” notion, and I find it quite distasteful myself. I just stop short of accusing Kawamori of insanity or what not, and unnecessarily vilifying him. If he’s just looking out for himself, then all he is, is an ordinary person. Granted, we may expect better from creators, particularly those who created something we love. But yeah, this whole business upsets me.

      It’s a good thing I suppose that I don’t really get into creator fandom as much as others.

      So I make a distinction between a discussion of Kawamori as a creator, and Macross as a body of fictional work. Obviously there is a relationship, but they can be discussed productively distinct from each other.

  10. Kawamori’s whole point sounds like a convoluted, polite, and Japanese way of saying: “leave me alone, continuity nerds. These shows are artistically compromised for the sake of merchandising and television executives, so stop taking the minutia of them so seriously.” Perhaps the actual “historical” events are some idyllic, uncompromised vision he probably never fully formed in the first place.

    In any case, he should have known better. Half the appeal to the fanbase of any overarching sci-fi franchise is making everything fit together, having a theory of what order is best to watch it in, tier lists, etc. He should have thrown them a bone the same way Tomino did with Turn A.

    But everything I’ve written is as an outsider to the whole canon obsession. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. It’s probably why I could enjoy Macross 7 without qualification.

    • In any case, he should have known better. Half the appeal to the fanbase of any overarching sci-fi franchise is making everything fit together, having a theory of what order is best to watch it in, tier lists, etc.

      Yes, precisely.

      Also, I can enjoy Macross 7 (my favorite uh, sequel) within the context of wanting continuity, and without need for extensive qualification (apart from making allowances for the horrible production values).

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  12. drmchsr0 says:

    tl;dr: Everyone got troll’d.

  13. Charred Knight says:

    I agree with Emilio, the whole thing reeks of Kawamori not actually caring about Macross anymore so he doesn’t make sure that everything fits. This is really common, see the infamous revelation that Skinner was a fake, the writer did that to create a shock, and didn’t understand that people where invested in Skinner as a character, and that revelation simply made no sense.

    With Kawamori this can be seen by Macross Zero, the OVA which was just an excuse for Kawamori to lay claim to the “largest ova budget ever” while doing something for the Macross anniversary. The result was a horrible OVA that had the Mayan people in the south pacific, and little action as the war was just an excuse to force a message of pacifism on the audience.

    • Again, I can’t make conclusions about creator motivation based on what ‘evidence’ we have. I also happen to like Macross Zero a lot.

      The whole conversation here only underscores that we really can’t be forced. The diagram I made places us viewers at the position of power: we’re the ones making meaning of the material, and not passive victims of it (or the creator, if you insist).

  14. Magnus says:

    There has been a much more recent interview in which Kawamori said that he’d be okay if all the current Macross Frontier works with slightly different continuities ( TV series, movie, manga, light novels, secondary mangas ) turn out to be parallel worlds.

    While you can reconcile this with the “all the things you ever saw were in-universe productions”, one has to make several mental leaps to do that. Taking the direct logical fallacy line of thought, the question arises “so in all those parallel universes there was a production of Macross Frontier which was subtly different? Wha-huh?”.

    I wouldn’t really take the 1998 interview as the new gospel, since it is quite apparent from this recent interview that Kawamoris thoughts on continuity are quite malleable and may have significantly changed in the last 12 years.

    Also, the “all in-universe” explanation is retarded in the extreme and just a lazy way to avoid having to make hard decisions with canon. I fear the worst for the next series, where there’ll be so much mix-and-match from what happened in the four+ iterations of Frontier that we’ll want to shoot ourselves figuring it all out. Kawamori should take some responsibility and choose one timeline as the official one, hopefully the TV series or light novels one.

    • Yes that one, which only messes things up further for him.

      Also, gospel/word of god is something I don’t really indulge as a concept in narrative interpretation. His take is a valid one, but no more than yours or mine. He just sits at the center of things.

  15. adaywithoutme says:

    And I thought the Tenchi continuity was confusing.

  16. Yot-chan says:

    No offense, but anyone saying that this is a newer idea of Kawamori’s simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Waaaay back in the day (late ’80s, early ’90s), Animag Magazine (issue 11) had an interview with Kawamori where they asked him point-blank whether SDFM TV or DYRL was the “real story.” He responded (like in the interview in 1998) that it was all in how you looked at it, bringing up WWII movies again to illustrate his point.

    This, you’ll note, predates the explanation that SDFM TV “happened” and DYRL didn’t, which was trotted out a few years later (by Big West, I believe, not by Kawamori himself), in 1994. So Kawamori himself has remained remarkably consistent over the years…or at least through the ’90s. (More recently, of course, he described the Sheryl girl’s manga, and the Frontier TV series, and the Frontier movie, as “parallel worlds,” but the ultimate effect is the same: there is no contradiction, all versions are equally valid).

    Why this should rob anyone of any joy while watching a Macross show is frankly beyond me, however. Did anyone think these stories were real? That Hikaru and Misa and Minmay were anything other than fictional characters? The idea that these are all TV shows or movies within a “real” Macross universe doesn’t really make them any more or less fictional than they already were. Better to accept that they’re all fictional than run around in circles trying to explain why SDFM TV designs and DYRL designs co-exist when and where they shouldn’t.

    (Besides, the whole idea of DYRL as a movie-within-the TV series continuity never washed with me, and seemed just as lazy as other people find this interview. Sure, WWII movies often take certain liberties, but where and when battles take place isn’t usually one of them. And replacing the Supervision Army with the Meltrandi likewise goes miles beyond acceptable artistic license.)

    • Thanks for clearing that up. I’ll trust your command of the facts more than anyone I read.

      Personally, I feel a missed opportunity that gets in the way of my appreciating the continuity. At this point, Macross is more than just its latest show. I like my world-building and galactic history. This particular way of presenting the continuity, as it were, makes it difficult for me.

      What’s Minmay really like? What’s Ranka really like? I think these are important questions for a good number of fans, and a lack of certainty can be vexing and take away from the overall experience.

      Of course while watching the show it’s best to put away these questions, but for me they do matter. The DYRL? as movie spin is a bad one too, given how much liberties as you point out with the Meltran, are made. Also, here is what bugs me too:

      Where are the Prometheus and Daedalus arms? Did the Battle of Saturn’s Rings ever happen? I do my best to write ‘history’ about these things and this interpretation by Kawamori makes it much harder, compared to how I can do it for Sekai no Senki or Legend of the Galactic Heroes or Gundam.

      • Yot-chan says:

        Strangely, in the DYRL novelization, the Macross has the Daedalus and Prometheus as arms (Misa and Hikaru discover the wreckage of the ARMD-05 (I think it was 05…) on earth). I don’t know if that gives you an answer, but it sure is interesting, don’t you think?

        Anyway, again, I don’t think it should affect your view of the story too much…Minmay is REALLY like this (in the TV series), and she’s really like that (in the movie), and she’s really like the other (in Macross the First). Since the “real story” is something unknown AND UNKNOWABLE, none of us need concern ourselves with it. It doesn’t exist.

        And the uncertainty ALWAYS existed, from the moment they made DYRL. And before Frontier even started, there was the manga version, which is often quite different from the show. And the Plus OVA and Movie Edition both go about telling the same story in some strikingly different ways; no one at Big West ever bothered to tell us which version was real and which wasn’t…

        And yeah, if you don’t like the added layer of fictionality placed on everything, ignore it. There’s always the Big West-sponsered timeline: that everything except DYRL and Macross II “happened.” Or the alternate timeline: that only DYRL and Macross II “happened.” You pays yer money and you makes yer choice.

        • I get what you’re saying, and it works from a pure consumer standpoint. From a (for lack of a better word) academic standpoint, I need to do a little more work. I need to establish the foundational events by which the fictional fictions are based on… if only to be able to write about a singular Minmay or whomever, and not have to qualify and distinguish every single time.

          The Big West timeline makes more sense to me, in that I am fine that Ai oboete imasu ka? was not a protoculture song that was used in the final battle against Bodolle Zer. But then…

          The Macross on Macross City circa Macross Plus up until Macross Frontier does not feature the Prometheus and Daedalus arms.

          I suppose I can make enough flat-ironing using Flashback 2012 to combine the anime releases. But still, the Macross’ arms are a big thing for a nerd like me.

          Now, this is not me saying “OH NO MACROSS IS RUINED AND I CAN’T ENJOY IT ANYMORE” but more of really trying to work out a continuity with people, or at least people who read this blog every so often, so as to have a shared Macross to discuss.

  17. Chan says:

    I believe that Macross is one of those series where you can’t be too strict in your definition of canon, because Kawamori can (and does) take things from other re-iterations of the story, or he’ll leave it up to the re-iterations to provide conclusions and backstory to whatever he couldn’t explain in the series. From my experience however this isn’t unheard of in fact quite a few franchises do this *coughTenchiMuyocough* and *coughDigimoncough*, this is especially true for multi-media franchises, where the story is at times re-told, elaborated on, or concluded in another medium. I think that in our pursuit of canon timeline we forget that simple fact, which does in quite a few cases lead to much confusion among fans who are unable to access whatever extra material came along with the series or write off all extra material as non-canon if its not from the same medium, and can result in a case of the series being misblamed for the fandom’s inability or unwillingness to access the extra material. Its a very common occurrence in anime, manga, or sci-fi series in general. I think fandom’s in general need to be more open minded about these things, because the creator can do whatever the heck they want to do with the series, or its various other mediums. They can wake up and decide that they going to make a sequel based off of the retelling of their story in novel format, or they can just make a third sequel with follows another sequel that is from a different medium, or they can go ahead and do a canon discontinuity and just oust the previous story they wrote out of canon. in favor of the re-telling.

    At the end of the day its dependent on the creator’s mood.

    • I’m not into the other series you mention, and will now be less inclined to sample them.

      As I’ve responded to other comments in this thread, it is really up to the viewer to construct the meanings from the material, though the creators can make this easier or more difficult.

      The more important question now is what do we hold on to as the most representative things in the Macross continuity of events that are fictions anyway? At this point I’m soooo beyond criticizing the creators or even the material for being inconsistent or for botching continuity for any reason they have (including laziness). I’m more concerned about (re)creating a Macross continuity that will serve as a starting point for discussion, while still accommodating the versions outside it as things worth of note and exploration as well.

      But a starting point of the ‘facts’ is important to me!

      • Chan says:

        I just used those series as examples because they were the first ones I thought of where the quite a few explanations were provided in supplemental material which since we don’t live in Japan confused the heck out of Western fans. It was particularly bad with Tenchi Muyo because it almost made the new OAD unwatchable to the western audience. While Digimon did it for the first three seasons- in which they let the fans get their hopes up only to stomp on it again with the epilogue. That was strange for me at that time because it was a children’s series and I didn’t expect it (granted I was 12 at the time), Pokemon also this as well (in fact they did actually explain why we will never see Ash’s father in series- although that’s probably because he’s never been in Ash’s life which wouldn’t blow over well with Pokemon’s kid-friendly image).

        I agree with that point a the end of the day its up to the viewer to use their own discretion in situations like these, but it doesn’t stop me from face palming when the information is there and the story takes a certain turn based on the information and the same people who ignore said information are the first ones to complain about how they can’t understand the series.

        Like what Yot-chan/Gubaba said why can’t they all be canon? I mean Kawamori can take whatever he wants any re-iteration at any time, I mean a part of Alto’s movie personality was taken from the novel. So it would be good to know where it information originated from, to get a better idea about the events as they happened.

  18. Pterobat says:

    This is an issue on which I feel incredibly constricted, and am likely never to solve. In the normal course of things, I have an absolute respect for the freedom of creator(s) to do whatever they want, which is why Kawamori has me over a barrel.

    There is, in my opinion, no objective criticism that can be made for these statements and actions. He is out there helping make Macross, and he can do it his way. However, this stance, which normally I take for other works without trouble, becomes a porcelain mask when regarding Macross. Underneath my respect for a creators’ rights is a deep dissatisfaction with the direction Macross has taken. Not all of it can be laid at Kawamori’s feet, but it all goes back to this sooner or later.

    To summarize a long and complex relationship, I discovered Macross fairly late (only several years ago), and ended up really enjoying the original Zentradi of SDFM. The DYRL remake, on the other hand, was deeply unsettling and upsetting, seeming to remove everything that had made those characters likable in the first place. To see that interpretation seeded into the “main” continuity was a heavy blow, and makes dealing with Macross’ fluctuating continuity far more difficult than it might be for a fan of the main Macross characters, who change comparatively little with each iteration.

    And I also have to confess that I’m a fan of Exsedol, in the same way that others like Misa, Minmay, or Hikaru–I allow his secondary status to temper my expectations, but not my enthusiasm. I adored the original version of the character, and to have him retconned (the closest I can describe it) to a character with such a different and less appealing form and personality, without reason or explanation, and reduced largely to a device for exposition, was quite an awful thing.

    I’ve tried to acclimate myself to that truth and enjoy Macross anyway, but it never totally works. I always come back to the fact that these things happened, and I don’t really consider myself a fan of any Macross work besides SDFM. In my view, *no* character, no matter how secondary his status, deserves to be turned into a completely new one on a whim; there’s no way to justify it….

    …except to say that the folks in charge can do it because that’s who they are, which puts me back to square one. I can be aggravated by what happened with Exsedol, but I can’t take a stance that removes Kawamori’s right to do as he pleases with these characters.

    Maybe I should finally break the straw and say that Kawamori did a Bad Thing, for it’s better than the passive-aggressive Lip Service I’m paying, but ultimately I just can’t reconcile the two stances. I dislike what Kawamori has done, and but I can’t say he couldn’t do it.

    BTW, that picture of Warera, Rori, and Konda that you’ve got up there is a digital painting made for me by a friend of mine (I have a copy framed on my wall, actually). If you made that slide show yourself, please credit her. Her name is Lynn “HappyPenguins” Williams, and this is her website:

    • Thank you (I’ve linked the image directly to Lynn Williams’ author profile), and for the sharing.

      I completely agree. I won’t say that Kawamori shouldn’t or can’t do what he will with his own work. However, it does give us problems and it we shouldn’t stop ourselves from saying it’s a terrible move from an overall aesthetic point of view. I just don’t go out of my way calling people ‘hacks’ as some people in who left comments may be so inclined.

      The DYRL film owes nothing but to its own aesthetics, and the continuity be damned if it got in the way of presenting a stand-alone story. But as a work within the continuity, it’s terrible. It just doesn’t work.

      The effort I do here is to ignore some of the gaffes and build a continuity that can be discussed in broad terms, in-depth, and not embroiled in author-centric meta. It’s pretty much what I can attempt to do as a fan outside the intended market for these works.

      • Pterobat says:

        I apologize if it came off that I was trying to silence discussion of the issues with Kawamori’s stance. I was mostly talking to myself with my post, or addressing this discussion as a whole–why it might be harder for me individually to just settle in and accept Macross for what it is.

        However, I can’t escape the feeling that by saying, “Oh, well, I disagree with *this* and *this* very strongly, but I totally see that you can do what you want”, I’m being a little slimy, since I’m all but saying it’s “wrong”, but *not* saying it…or something.

        Which Macross is my Macross? Anything officially endorsed, even if it doesn’t fit. It’s all canon even if it’s not smooth. I don’t believe that Classic Exsedol has been “decanonized”, so much as…something else.

        I also can’t really fill in the blanks with my imagination or my fanwanking, because I can never put my own wishes and dreams for a series on the same level as the actual official stuff, no matter how much I disagree with it.

        • No we really can’t fanwank our way to satisfaction. I don’t really endorse that to such extent. However I do need to start somewhere, and if fanwankery concurrence is the way to it, I’m all for it. I can’t be any worse than Kawamori himself, so what’s the point of feeling bad about it?

          So I endorse your efforts in constructing an Exsedol that works. It may end up being an idealized character, but it’s a start and we can get more out of the hobby fleshing these things out. That’s what I think anyway.

          • Pterobat says:

            I have indulged in fanwank and fantasies of alternative canons in the past, it’s just that for me, personally, it doesn’t change what went on, or soothe my issues with the same.

            What everyone else does is fine with me, and I don’t begrudge your attempts, but no matter what road I take, I just come back to the fact that I’ve got a lock in my head that tells me I can’t soothe my nerdrage by imagining things happening differently. I just sit and stew, with the occasional side-trip.

            I no longer try to reconcile the TV series Exsedol with the retconned version, or any other design changes I take issue with. I don’t think Exsedol’s alteration is meant to be explained: it just “is”. As a s a fan of the character, it’s saddening to hold this opinion, yet I can’t see anything else I can do.

            (the theory of one version of Exsedol being an in-story modification of the other doesn’t hold water when scrutinized, too; not that it would be a pleasant fate for the character to begin with….)

            If I could describe what results for me from this, it would be the view that one canon stopped with SDFM, and another began with the modernized Macross and its ambiguous past–both are canon, but SDFM can’t be reconciled with the modernized Macross into a *single* canon. IMO, of course.

            I actually *have* been toying with trying to write a story where TV series Exsedol would end up if I had a chance to think about it. It won’t change the feelings I have above, but it might be a fun thing to do, and I’m confident I won’t overindulge in bone-headed fangirlism.

  19. Daryl Surat says:

    I don’t recall calling Shoji Kawamori himself a hack. I said that the narrative technique proposed was the mark of hack writing.

    Besides which, I’m not embroiled in “author-centric meta” when it comes to Shoji Kawamori. He’s not the one I care about. He’s just a tool to help us solve the puzzle of “what the Hell happened to this cartoon?” The only reason any of us are talking about him or authors/staff anybody in the first place is because somewhere along the line, Macross started veering in a direction that we were no longer 100% keen on (maybe just 50-75%), and someone had to be responsible.

    That someone couldn’t be Noboru Ishiguro since everything Macross he worked on was great. In fact, I don’t even consider Shoji Kawamori the key driving force of what made Macross great in the first place. I say Ishiguro is the one, whereas Kawamori was just the only guy on the planet who could design the most bitchin’ mecha designs (him and Miyatake).

    Even though he’s one of the worst directors/writers of all time, it can’t be Ichiro Itano because the animation and action choreography in Macross was always top-rate (well, maybe not so much in 7). Can’t be Shinichiro Watanabe: Macross Plus remains the single most accessible, most timeless iteration of the entire Macross franchise, for which I can recommend it without reservation. His subsequent works were things like Cowboy Bebop. Definitely wasn’t him who drove Macross crazy.

    The only constant throughout everything (except for II, which was bad in a very different way) was Shoji Kawamori. By process of elimination. That’s the only reason anyone is ever saying “you ever notice how Shoji Kawamori joined some weirdo environmentalist cult right around the exact same time that Macross started being kinda so-so in quality, and then only once he was in charge of the story was when all this weirdo mystical stuff got thrown into everything regardless of whether or not it was a good fit?” If the shows stayed as good as they always were, then nobody would have noticed a thing, but what became clear is that Kawamori as the idea man requires someone else as a filter: someone to ground him and say “no, you can’t do that” to his wildest concepts. Once there was nobody around to do that, that was when the bird people from Highlander II showed up, and people played the guitar to fly a plane and dish out space orgasms via speaker gun or whatever it was that happened in that cartoon.

    Shoji Kawamori is like George Lucas. We used to all trust George Lucas as the keeper of Star Wars. Then he demonstrated to the world that he was no longer fit to hold that position, and the response people decided upon was that no matter what happened from that point forward they could freeze time and say “that work from back then was great, and nothing you try and do after the fact can change that.” That’s a long way of answering “no, not anymore it isn’t” to the question of “is Kawamori’s Macross YOUR Macross?”

    You want to ignore gaffes and build continuity? Then decide for yourselves at what point you want to take the keys away from the guy who thinks he steers better when he’s had a few and say “no, you’re no longer fit to drive.” For me the continuity that matters is SDF Macross, DYRL (as a “known adaptation”), 2012, Plus, Frontier. If you want to include Macross Seven since that alone is half of all the Macross ever made, then I won’t object even though it’s more about some band of jerks I don’t find likable doing band things than it is about jet planes that transform and fire missiles in space.

    But leave II (which isn’t Kawamori’s fault but it’s still boring) and especially Macross Zero, as beautifully animated and choreographed as the action may be, in the bin. All that manga and novels stuff? Screw ’em. Macross is one of the few anime that began as anime which wasn’t adapted from other media first. I don’t care about all that extended universe crap. I care about the cartoons.

    PS: every post I make on the Internet is meant to be read in the Mr. Plinkett voice.

    • Ok, I think I get what you’re saying.

      Ultimately, we don’t have that kind of power (to remove Kawamori), and what we can do is be responsible for our own experience of the material. A fan-constructed continuity, even for just the purpose of being to discuss things without having to qualify things cumbersomely, is fine too. This means accounting for all shows first, and denying elements, events, or even whole shows (Macross II) if necessary.

      What I’m sure of is that the continuity I’m interested in won’t be based on whether we find the show “good” or not, the way Macross 7, Zero, and Frontier can be divisive for some groups of fans. Thanks for your suggestions.

    • Yot-chan says:

      Hmmm…your understanding of the division of labor for the original SDFM TV is very different than mine. As I recall from Macross Perfect Memory, Kawamori had the original seed of the story (a city inside a space battleship), and he and Miyatake developed most of the plot, making certain concessions to sponsors (like adding robots and so forth). Mikimoto brought Minmay to the table, of course, which changed the story considerably. And Ishiguro was brought in (IIRC) primarily to convince the sponsors that there was a steady hand at the tiller, and that someone was going to keep these wild young guys in line and on schedule. But that’s (again, IIRC) not what he did…Ishiguro mostly stood out of the way and let them do their own thing. I always assumed he took the same approach with DYRL, but I’m not sure about that.

      All signs point to Kawamori being the main man behind the scenes of Macross: although he only wrote one episode (maybe two…I’ve found conflicting info about who wrote Phantasm), he storyboarded several more episodes, including Love Drifts Away. And he wrote the “Roots of Macross” section of Perfect Memory, wrote the timeline for the story (also in Perfect Memory), he wrote the episode commentary in Macross Graffiti, and the DYRL book “Oboeteimasuka” is one long interview with him. This is all circumstantial, I admit, but why would he be in charge of chronicling all this if there was someone more involved they could have gone to?

      But if you want a series that Kawamori was barely involved in (leaving aside Macross II, of course), there is one; a series where Kawamori came up with the VERY basic premise, designed the Valks, and then left the actual execution of the show to other people, people who, as you say, could act as a filter for his ideas, since he was not really part of the staff. It’s called Macross 7.

      (Strangely, the script supervisor / head writer of Macross 7 was the same guy who wrote most of the episodes of the original SDFM TV and completely wrote DYRL (and Macross II)…so yeah…what happened there?)

  20. Caithyra says:

    I wonder if one could possibly take it like this (at least I try to do, but there’s some places when it doesn’t work.):
    “Real” Macross Canon (aka, the non-existent “real events” that Kawamori indirectly refers to, which we can discard because we never see them) >> TV Series Canon (including OVAs) >> Movie-Retelling Canon (DYRL, BH, TFS).

    So, if you’re in “Real” Macross, you watched the TV Series, and within the TV series, you knew that the movies had been made re-telling history (kind of how we would watch a documentary about Jack the Ripper which also shows scenes from Jack the Ripper movies). In you’re in TV Series Macross, you’re just watching the movies. And if you’re in the movies, you aren’t watching anything.

    Now, “Real” Macross is a middle-man that we can cut out because “Real” Macross does not add or change anything from what we watch, hence, we would be taking the place of “Real” Macross, just without their history with which to verify facts and compare to.

    Which would make TV Series the Main Canon, i.e, the facts by which everything else will be compared, and the re-tellings would simply be as their events were recorded in the history books, with some added flair from the director (The director of TFS could, perhaps, be a Ranka-fan but unable to make her a heroine using her real actions and personality, and thus changed a few things to make it viable. It would also explain the over-the-top-perfection of Sheryl, who would probably be nearly a saint to Frontier. Minmay would probably get the polishing treatment no matter who made the movie because she was that important to humanity and aliens first getting along together. If we got an M7 retelling, it would be very divisive in terms of Basara, those who thought him irresponsible and the zombie-fans who would treat him like a god). Hence, we could see the movies as the public perception of the Macross people (would also explain why so many battles were moved from deep space to Frontier; people probably remembered getting their city smashed more than some distant battles in space, and gets a skewed perception as to how large a percentage of the battles were brought to their doorsteps).

    It would also fit with the Ranka-love at the end of the last Frontier episode. The people of Frontier really, truly believes that their (TV) Ranka is like Movie-Ranka, which would fit the innocent messiah much more than Ranka’s immaturity and single-minded focus on Alto. To them, Ranka thought equally about Alto and her brother. To them, Ranka and Alto were childhood friends because they knew each other before Ranka was famous. To the Alto-fanboys, Alto used his Kabuki to solve the mystery of Sheryl (also, the movie would address the doubts people had about Sheryl’s allegiances to Galaxy and Frontier). Even Brera gets even more cool super-soldier actions, to make his and Alto’s alliance against Grace in the last episode all the more sweeter (you know, the feeling of completeness when Badass Warrior acknowledges the main character and fights back-to-back with him).

    These movie re-tellings would also be colored by what happened during and after the TV series. Sheryl might’ve gotten along great with Ozma, so she gets extra interaction with Ozma in the movie. Brera might’ve grown closer to Sheryl and Alto, which would add extra interaction between them as well.

    This would also explain why Battle Galaxy got all the added thorns and spikes: It’s more villainous. Battle Galaxy, if the Vajra were out, was the face of the enemy to everyone who couldn’t access Vajra Network at the time (see also Hades from Disney. In Disney’s version, Hades looks evil. In Mythical versions, Hades is just as handsome as his brothers).

    It would actually be kind of fun to see an analysis of how Frontier views their heroes if TFS was their take on the events of the series. (Lonely Sheryl versus Sheryl Who Wasn’t Completely Alone Until Grace Abandoned Her. Innocent Ranka versus Ignorant Ranka. Blatant Alto versus Subtle Alto…)

    • Applause! This is a great perspective.

      Now I don’t agree with a bunch of things you said, but this is a great place to start and I like it. I’ll have a fuller response later, or perhaps even a separate post working out the details (and assumptions).

      Just some details to dispute:

      The Ranka love in ep 25 seems more like a 4th wall love, which makes it feel a bit more forced (Vajra-fu plus Queen superpowers save the day); there was as much resolution of her relationship with the Frontier citizentry as there was with the love triangle.

      The big purple ship in TFS that attacked Frontier is not Battle Galaxy. It’s a new design Vajra ship that is a bit of a weird thing for some of us fans because it looks far less alien than the Bishop and Knight class Vajra vessels.

      Otherwise, I really like your theory and I’ll want to explore a bit more of it. If you’ll indulge me, will you assist me in working with your ideas to come up with something organized and for presentation (in a blog post)?

      • Caithyra says:

        Actually, I was talking about the preview of TWOG and the Macross-like ship-being behind bridal Sheryl and Ranka.

        The thing is, if view TFS/TWOG as a movie within the TV Series, we must consider the motivations of making it. Of course, the original DYRL could have been motivated by the disappearance of Megaroad-01, but TFS/TWOG could have been the military’s effort to save face; they entrusted the safety of Frontier to Ranka, and then she ran away/turned traitor, and reviewing everything up ’til that point, they realize that yes, they should have seen something like that coming, so instead they create a movie with a different, more credible, Ranka (plus, making sure that it is never mentioned that Ranka was a traitor, because it would undermine everyone who agreed with Leon to make Ranka the messiah, and come election day, those politicians will be scrambling for votes).

        This is actually evident in the beginning of the movie and the TV series with the differences between Sheryl’s concerts. In the TV series it’s a bit more subdued and real, something made with holographic 3D techniques and Sheryl’s stage-presence. In the movie, the technique is out of all the worlds! Giant gears, giant fanservice-bunny-Sheryl, something that could be added to a movie, but not as much to a live performance.

        Then there’s the drop. In the TV series, Alto attempts a rainfall corkscrew and is wing-clipped by purple-guy and forces Sheryl to jump and they ad-lib from there. A casual witness of this wouldn’t notice Alto’s little gaffe, and they definitely wouldn’t hear Sheryl and Alto’s little chat, only see the results. It’s possible that some of the audience, however, would hear Michael as he passes over them, and tell whomever is doing the research that he called either Alto or Sheryl an idiot.

        It would also explain why Alto is so much more open, in hindsight, a lot is obvious, but since [most] the creators of the movies wouldn’t be personal friends of the people involved, and thus taking some creative license to the stuff they cannot get verified/understand.

        Like what was Alto doing with Sheryl during the first Vajra attack? They exchanged words? That’s not exciting at all! Lets have him save her!

        If Pro-Ranka propaganda was needed in time for elections/court and what-not, the movie would be rushed to be put out, and the wounds would still be raw to the people involved, making it nearly impossible to get a full account of everything.

        Anyway, please tell me if I’m making any sense because I had to rush this reply because I have to be somewhere at the moment.

        • It makes sense, and I really like this theory anyway. Granted it reads a hell of a lot into things, but it supports the movie within the continuity nicely.

          It still won’t explain the gross differences between DYRL? and SDFM — just too wildly different takes on a possible history; but all I’m trying for right now is a starting point so that interpretations like what you’re making in these comments can be formulated.

          • Caithyra says:

            Well there could be a difference in timing and motivation between Frontier’s retelling and SDFM’s retelling.

            Basically, DYRL would have been made after the disappearance of Megaroad (thus making the three main characters unavailable for questioning on veracity), and a few years after the events depicted in the movie (enough to give some fuzziness to memories and allowing personal opinions color any researcher’s findings). Plus, humantradi’s first meeting were bound to be loaded with all kinds of political implications at the time, so it’s given the sentimental treatment, for better or worse. My theory is also that Ai, Oboeteimasu ka? was Minmay’s last song before Megaroad disappeared and was therefore chosen as the leitmotif of the movie.

            Hence, DYRL isn’t a factual movie about what happened, but it is a sentimental, creative re-telling of history (like, I dunno, having a story about Anastasia surviving and finding happiness, or Disney’s Pocahontas). Basically, DYRL is Macross’ equivalent of the Disney treatment (Beauty and the Beast is a story about loving a person who who they are no matter how they look, versus a tale told to girls so that they will put up with their abusive husbands. Or, Hera is Hercules’ adoring mother versus Hera being the bane of Hercules’ life).

            Of course, like how Disney colors popular perception of fairy tales (Fairy Tale Cinderella and the Little Mermaid are gruesome) in our world, DYRL would color the Macross world.

            But TFS and TWOG wouldn’t be like that, they would created as soon as possible, and be as correct (as the public perceived the events) as possible in order to lead credence to it as the true story of what happened. Statements and interviews from Alto, Sheryl and Ranka would be available alongside the people themselves (exception being Michael, but Alto and Klan could fill in a lot, and Ranka would probably talk about Formo).

            So on one hand, we have SDFM through rose-tinted glasses as a tribute to the lost heroes (yet, dark enough not to make light of the events that transpired). On the other hand, we have idealized Frontier as propaganda for military and politicians to save face (and they would need it now with the new election since Leon is arrested). One deals with impressions loosely based on facts, the other deals with facts loosely based on impressions.

            Neither is 100% correct, but then again, they weren’t meant to be. They were simply tailored to incite certain responses from viewers.

            Do I make anymore sense? ‘Cause right now I’m kind of tired and need to sleep and the words are kinda running into each other now.

          • I’m continually impressed and (entertained by the very least) at your ability to take this theory far. I truly am. I won’t be able to defend your assertions, but in all honesty I love them LOL.

            The things that make the DYRL stuff difficult to work out under your theory are:

            The disappearance of the Prometheus and Daedalus aircraft carriers as part of the Macross itself (it then used the ARMD carriers for arms), in ALL further depictions of the Macross neither carrier is used. This technically rubs out the Battle of Saturn’s Rings from the record which is problematic since in Frontier the “Macross Attack” is still used and delivered by Cathy Glass the same way Misa did when she came up with the attack during the Battle of Saturn’s Rings. Only that “Daedalus Attack” is replaced with “Macross Attack.”

            The replacement of the Supervision Army as a threat with the Meltrandi, which was suddenly an enemy sub-race (WTF) of the Zentraedi. How the Zentraedi will countenance this film is beyond me. This is a further problem since we do know Protodevlin showed up in Macross 7 and suddenly all this talk about Protoculture started anew.

            Never mind the arrival of Macross itself and the first contact with the Zentraedi. But the above, especially the latter are pretty huge differences.

          • Caithyra says:

            Um… Unicron, Gilgamesh and Superboy-Prime got drunk one evening and decided to mess with someone else’s multiverse for a change?

            The only thing I can imagine is that Daedalus and Prometheus was battered a lot during the war, and then everyone concentrated on rebuilding, resulting in Dae and Pro starting to deteriorate, and then they were considered dangerous where they were, and were removed from the Macross, and place-holders were put instead while Dae and Pro were being restored, however, we all know how long it can take to restore something large and important to history, so it’ll take a century or two until they can be put back on the Macross again.

            Which leads back to public consciousness. If Dae and Pro were removed early enough (as in, before Megaroad took off), then a lot would remember Macross as having ARMD, or believe that it did, all the time, and, well, we still make movies about Marie Antoinette being in love with Axel von Fersen, which isn’t exactly solid facts of our history.

            The rest could either be Disney accuracy perpetuating through culture (perhaps with some ancient, and I mean really ancient, Zentradi history or myths being used and twisted). Remember, the Little Mermaid really planned to kill the prince, wash her legs with his blood so that they would turn back into a tail, but didn’t and instead died herself and turned into seasfoam, and her soul into a sylph. She most definitely did not marry the prince, got a kid and lived happily ever after.

            Cinderella’s sisters weren’t just left to the whims of her stepmother. Their toes and heels were cut off and their eyes were plucked out by by Cinderella’s avian friends.

            Pocahontas was around ten years old when she met the adult John Smith.

            Yet, when the Disney generation thinks about these tales and history, we first conjures up the images of the Disney version, and some of us might check ourselves, but not everyone.

            That, or everyone has been told to pretend that the movie was real in order to conceal the true beginnings of humantradi cooperations so that any hostile aliens cannot use their true history against them.

            But these are just far-flung theories to cover inconsistencies. Macross, as a super-dimensional vessel, is just as likely to punch through the super-dimensional wall and mix the multiverse up a bit.

            But then again, I got into Transformers through Armada (and the Unicron trilogy, I did watch the original cartoon from time to time, but it was Armada that made me a fan) so I have an unusually high tolerance for timeline fuck-ups (read the Unicron link above if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

            And while I use my theories to reconcile the different timelines, it doesn’t mean that Kawamori didn’t do a lazy cop-out with his statements.

            It’s like Rowling addressing inconsistencies in the Harry Potter books with interviews (“Slytherins did return to Hogwarts to fight!” versus the book in which Voldemort states that all Slytherins have joined him and Slytherins are never mentioned to fight for Hogwarts. Or, you know, Dumbledore being unambiguously gay in the interviews but merely flamboyant and asexual in the books. It is also kind of funny that when someone asks her if another character was gay [minor Weasley barely mentioned in the books], she says “Nononono, Dumbledore is THE gay of the books!”).

            I give that Kawamori thought up an especially creative way to say that it was all just a dream, but in the end, it’s still stating that all the emotional investment we have in the series were out-of-place, because, guess what, it wasn’t even real for the characters because they’re actors reenacting historical events!

            Which is why I’ve learned to take creator-statements with a huge grain of salt, and discard them when it suits me.

            But yeah, my theory leaves a lot to be desired.

          • I doubt that there can be a truly satisfactory resolution anyway. I’m just glad you put all these up because I’ll probably want to organize them and present a chronology-style continuity guide. I’m not that optimistic that it’ll be accepted straight out, or even at all. But I’m going to try anyway if for no other reason that I’m a big fan.

            Nagano Mamoru’s The Five Star Stories timeline is supposedly constructed by the fans, and he made them official after acknowledging the fan effort. I want to do something in the spirit of this. I’ll start riffing from the chronology in the old Macross Compendium.

            Don’t hold your breath though: this will take a lot of time and I can’t say this will be a priority in my life or even in relation to other projects (but it will be my main long-term one).

  21. Pingback: Caithtyria’s Macross Contiuity « The Ghosts of Discussions

  22. In before simulacrum. *snorts*

  23. vendredi says:

    Whoa, philosophy of fiction here we come; you’ve essentially reiterated the classic tension of the statement “Both Samuel Pepys (historical personage) and Sherlock Holmes (fictional character) lived in London.” Suggest you look up Richard Wollheim and Kendall Walton if you’re looking for academic authors with that sort of analysis, there’s a lot of discourse discussing what exactly is the truth value of fiction.

    I get the sense compared to western creators, Japanese creators pay far less attention to canonicity (there are exceptions, but compare Macross here, with the fact that the major Western space opera franchise, Star Wars, employs a person full-time whose sole occupation is maintaining and making rulings of continuity!). I actually find the whole thing rather refreshing and I’ve always found that heavy emphasis on canon never really enhances my enjoyment of a work and I very much prefer the ‘folkloric’ way in which Macross handles the relationships between series. Some comparative examples that come to mind include the Legend of Zelda game series: the title itself proclaims that the story is to be framed as myth; yet astute fans have noted many connections between the games and Miyamoto himself has hinted at the existence of a broader, overarching timeline that connects them.

    On a side note, I can’t help but wonder if the obsession with canon is purely a product of a highly literate society… certainly, folklore and retellings are very common in pre-modern societies, but you don’t see arguments over which story is the “definitive” story of Hercules or the like, in comparison to textual-based stories…

    • I like continuity, in Macross in particular since the stories do fall into an official chronology.

      I can ALSO appreciate non-continuity. Take for example, Go Nagai’s oeuvre: Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Mazinkaiser, Shin Mazinger Z, and the upcoming Mazinkaiser SKV (and there are other shows in between). The origin story gets retold in a way, or gets revised and added to in many ways.

      I don’t mind it, as each incarnation adds AWESOME… but it’s because it’s that spectacle aspect that is its primary draw for me. Macross to me, is a saga… a future history where I enjoy world-building and other science fiction and/or fantasy elements. I find that these things are at their best when there is consistency and verisimilitude on the broader narrative level.

      It’s not the right way of enjoying the text, but it is a way that I enjoy very much. I will look up those sources you mentioned. This does interest me a great deal obviously.

      • vendredi says:

        A few good articles to start with – look for “Fiction and Nonfiction” and “Fearing Fictionally”, and “Metaphor and Prop-oriented Make-Believe”, all by Kendall Walton; “Literary Works as Types” by Richard Wolheim, “The Logical Status of Fictional Discourse” by Justin Searle, and “The Pleasures of Tragedy”, by Susan Feagin.

  24. vendredi says:

    “None of them are real?

    None of them are real.”

    I will admit, this question did make me laugh, and is a great example of the sort of almost absurd statements that you have to untangle when you start talking philosophy of fiction.

    • I realize in my response to your other comment I did not distinguish Mazinger’s narratives as one that doesn’t even attempt a meta-justification. I’m finding my own vocabulary breaking down in trying to talk about this subject… so yes!

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  26. I would love to see an anime (maybe like Genshiken) that is based on the REAL (in-show) life in Macross era. Like, REAL people from Macross age watching the shows (that we watch) as entertainment and comparing them to REAL-life events. Maybe could be realized as a fan-fiction ’cause I don’t think the Macross producers would like to break the glass of reality. As of now, we never think the shows as fictional works in the universe of Macross but as fictional works in our reality.

    Hmm, am I under the influence of ‘Inception’, that I don’t know; but these days I like the concept of worlds-within-worlds more and more. 🙂

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