[SPOILERS FOR MACROSS]
Kawamori Shoji, creator of the Macross franchise said that in Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Macross: Do You Remember Love? “(Hikaru is the hero) Misa is the heroine, Minmay is the star.” I always thought of this as rather brilliant. It was a great way to set up the resolution of the conflict, which really was that of a love triangle (set against the backdrop of great battles).
Misa pilots the Macross itself, takes the lead in negotiating against the Zentraedi under duress, and wins the triangle. Minmay, on the other hand becomes the pop idol that is the fulcrum by which the lever of the war was pulled over; she also became the symbol and most recognizable character of the show, if not the franchise itself. It divvied up the spoils to be had in and around the show, in a manner of speaking, which resulted in both characters leaving strong impressions on the viewers; each having her own set of loyal fans.
This is NOT a Misa vs. Minmay post.
Misa saves the day, or at least a very big part of an active life of saving the day. As mentioned, she takes command of tough situations, and makes innovative tactical decisions. But just as important, is how it is she who basically straightens Hikaru out. Minmay was the reason why Hikaru enlisted, but it’s Misa who makes a soldier out of the pilot. Hikaru’s growth, maturity, and responsibility are things I willingly attribute to the contribution of Misa in his life (along with Roy and Claudia).
Minmay, on the other hand is the star from which the show cannot be stolen from. The show depends so much from the success of her rise to stardom, and the effect of her stardom on history itself. Yes, she sang during the greatest of battles. But remember, it’s Hikaru’s idea that she do so, endorsed by Exsedol. But as far as Minmay was concerned, that time, she sang only for Hikaru.
With all the fail that happens in her life, and what she accumulates for herself, Minmay is the shining star of the show. She is the music of Macross itself.
Or does the line mean something else? [DigitalBoy’s Interpretation]
In dating sim/harem games, the girls that will potentially end up with the main character are often called “heroines.” (See, for instance, merchandise for ef, which tends to focus on this word in describing the female characters.) Whether or not this is a common phenomenon of the Japanese language, or how far back it dates, I do not know, but my reaction to the word “heroine” is “the girl whose story path you’re on.”
What exactly does it mean, and why is it special, that the heroine and the star are two different girls in this case?
The way I see it, more often than not, those two are one and the same, where identifiable. Take any show that has the heroine’s name in the title, and in which there is competition for the affections of the main lead. For instance, Shakugan no Shana, Yumekui Merry, or even Toradora. In these shows, Shana, Merry, and Taiga are the obvious stars of the show respectively, and each quite clearly is the favorite or eventual winner of the lead’s affection.
Minmay has the obvious star quality. She’s the one who goes beyond normal—who is spectacular in some way. Misa is more of the childhood friend or unlucky tsundere girl that will put up a fight for the lead’s affection throughout the show even though she obviously won’t win. Or even, since she isn’t exactly boring, you could consider her like the Nagato Yuki or Asahina Mikuru to Minmay’s Haruhi. It isn’t obvious that Misa would win Hikaru’s afffection, even though it was a persistent option, because she isn’t the star.
—end of digitalboy—
This is why I think Digiboy’s interpretation of this is interesting: again, SDFM is a love story—a love triangle at that. It makes perfect sense to me to bring onboard a more traditional romance anime perspective to Macross. I do think that Misa is far less interesting character, despite all her virtues. Her failings, including that time when she got shit-faced in a bar (classic) seem so much less remarkable than the many obvious, and spectacular failures of Minmay.
There is a kind of ‘star’ phenomenon that I’ve taken notice of. However this has to do with supporting characters or antagonists who ‘steal’ the show. Granted, protagonists who are ‘heroes’ tend to be less interesting than their counterparts. Some examples:
- Amuro Ray/Char Aznable
Mind you, this is distinct from the trope called ensemble darkhorse, who may have examples of characters who don’t necessarily do things that steal the show, and yet become wildly popular anyway… maybe like digiboy in this post?