I take a unique and special joy out of watching a classic and connecting with it. It’s different now than how it was when I first watched pitifully, horrible quality fansubs (I’m talking about picture AND translation) over 10 years ago. I was discovering those shows alone, and in general ignorance. It’s obviously different now. I learned that with another classic even before Super Dimensional Fortress Macross (or Macross for short, as I’ll call it that from now on).
When I watched the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya there was damn near a religion around it. That damn dance, the in-jokes, the damn hype all served to give me the illusion of familiarity and an opinion. But none of that really matters if you haven’t actually watched something for yourself. A half-informed opinion is a half assed opinion; a half assed opinion is as good as an airplane with one wing, a car with two wheels or … or? I ran out of clever quips, but you get the point. It’s useless. It’s one of the reasons I decided to watch this show. That and I love mecha and I have this horrible completionist habit when it comes the anime medium.
I’ll say upfront that I was impressed by Macross. Some have said that it didn’t age well, but it’s still immensely entertaining. And some of Macross’s very concepts are rather ridiculous anyway (singing as a psychological attack, oh come on). But the fact that it as able to penetrate that “suspension of disbelief” barrier is proof that it’s a success. It has done its job as a form of entertainment. It doesn’t have to be realistic, it has to be engrossing.
For all the hate you may have for a character (Chinese pacifist pussy not to be named), the fact that you care enough to hate said character is a sign that you care. You at least care that the story isn’t going the way you like or executed to the level of perfection that you demand. Tough titty. It’s not your vision, it’s the directors and if you don’t like the tracks you travel then get off or hang on complain once you’ve finished your ride. And for the most part, despite a bumpy ride this was a fun journey.
It took awhile to get into the story, as I said in my 2011 resolutions post on We Remember Love, this wasn’t my first time trying to watch this show so I had to retread some water and get caught back up. But once U.N. Spacy got bitchy and the Zentradi started mutineering in droves I got interested. I really enjoyed how Macross tackles something like culture shock. Often shows get too engrossed in surviving “the alien menace” or in understanding different nations, races and people. A show will talk about compassion for their fellow-man and humaneness, but how much is it really tested?
Macross tried to focus on a human story. What made humans human, what made us different from everything else, and even gave its humans a definite goal and purpose by the end. Humanity is willing to fight, but they don’t aimlessly do this because it’s what they do. They do it to survive and preserve their cultures; their history. That is something that can be said and true of any family, village, town, city, state/prefecture or nation.
I admire Macross for taking the time to show that being a man or a woman, following your dreams and forming bonds are just as important as surviving.
That said it didn’t have its problems and annoyances. From the small things like I hated how the Valkyries most of the time would fly with out their horizontal stabilizers out. The plane nut still in me from when I was a child doesn’t hesitate to bring that up. I found some of the pacifism and naiveté in this show vexing. And it wasn’t just (Chinese pacifist pussy not to be named), Hikaru too seemed to infected by it at times. Or perhaps it was a form of sloth that got him. Whenever he would spare murderous Zentradi or allow Kamjin and his forces to get away with little effort, I got upset because I knew it would come back to bite them in the end. Not to mention they were supposed to be the military, not the police. You don’t politely ask them to put their guns down, you shoot them. It wasn’t like these guys weren’t armed and murdering to begin with. Some stuff, especially in Hikaru’s case seemed annoying weak-willed. It’s a minor gripe in the end, but I had to voice it.
The characters were also a collage of love and hate, with a few too many characters in or veering towards the hate column. I’ll just focus on the love triangle to keep things somewhat concise.
- Hikaru Ichijo – he started out as the typical reluctant boy/teenage pilot, except with above average/higher than expected piloting experience. He then became an ace pilot and surprisingly fortunate love interest to two women. In the end, I thought of him as a skilled soldier but a crappy leader, especially in a military sense and an even crappier friend to the women close to him. While he got strung along by Minmay for around two years, he had Misa right in front of him with more than enough openings and signs for him to walk right in the house and eat the cookies (so to speak). He was increasingly whiny and flighty. I think in the end he made the right choice, but I honestly don’t think he deserves anybody.”You’re not alone, you have your music.” Tch! What a d*ck.
- Lynn Minmay – if anyone has a bad rep, besides (Chinese pacifist pussy not to be named), it’s Minmay. But I have to say she somewhat deserved it. She is selfish, dumb as a turnip, flighty and spoiled. And then there was that scene during the last episode where as the rebel Zentradi are raining death on the city they’re in, she asks why Hikaru has to fight. That was just soooooo stupid. It’s a good thing that she can sing then. I can’t hate her because of that. She was as instrumental to the survival of humanity as anyone or anything in the Macross universe and has become a legend because of it.She also took her fair share of punishment from (Chinese pacifist pussy not to be named) and was left in the dark for the most part by Hikaru and Misa’s mostly invisible, pitiful courtship. She only holds partial fault for the incredible amount of failure this love triangle between her, Hikaru and Misa has accrued. Maybe she’s primarily a legend for being that first idol, but that’s enough in my book to make her a decent memorable character.
- Misa Hayase – she was pretty stuck up and annoying in the beginning of this series, but by the end I really felt sorry for her. You know how in some kids’ cartoons the characters will sometime say they were surrounded by idiots? Besides Claudia and Global, she was literally surrounded by idiots. The bridge bunnies were idiots, Minmay was an idiot, Hikaru was an idiot. I supposed Focker liked to play the fool enough, but I don’t think he counts. He was a competent person who liked to play the idiot sometimes. And being the lone reasonable person in a love triangle can’t be helpful thing.The stuff she got upset over was somewhat cliché, but perfectly reasonable. Hikaru wore a scarf with his and someone besides Misa’s initials on it to THEIR date. He stood her up for hours to see Minmay. He let Minmay walk right back into his life after being with someone else for around two years, in essence instantly replacing her. I’m going a bit meta here, but I actually wanted to switch out Misa for Kirino so someone could set him straight. Oh hell, this got back on the subject of Hikaru again. I better correct this!She was a very competent military officer, a caring friend and an unbelievably patient woman.
- Max – I almost forgot about him. He’s not part of the love triangle obviously, but he ended up being an awesome guy. He’s a bit crazy in my opinion though. Just grabbing up an alien wifey like that after she just tried to double shank him. He pretty much conquered her like this:
Millya = Red; Max = Blue
“Meet me at the park at sexy time baby.”
“I will be there, military time.”
“Where is that woman? Perhaps I came on a bit strong.”
“DIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!” *shank* *shank-shank* *shankFAIL*
“Why?! Why would you do this?!”
“In Zentradi Russia, Milia shank you. But you are too strong. Kill me.”
“Your green hair and homicidal tendencies turn me on. Let’s get married.”
*BAM!* They’re married! Culture! Mazal tav!
Well, I went off the deep end, but I think you get the point. For all the absurdity and failure peppered through out, I enjoyed Macross for its story and message and a bit for the camp that came along with it. I’m a fan now. And I’m looking forward to the rest of the Macross universe that’s sitting in my queue waiting to be explored.
How did you people who are already Macross fans enjoy the series the first time through. Did you appreciate the culture?