Archive for May 2nd, 2008

Macross Frontier: Miss Macross did not quite go as planned

Smooth, Ranka. Real smooth. But oh so adorable.

You can color me impressed with the result of the Miss Macross Frontier contest. I expected Ranka to somehow pull through and win against all the odds, although in retrospect I really shouldn’t have expected this. The expectance, and subsequent denial of said expectance, drove home with a vengance the level of the writing in Macross Frontier, especailly in the light of SDF Macross. In SDF, Minmei winning MIss Macross was an essential plot element to making her a pop idol so that she could sing Do You Remember Love? at the Zentradi until they rediscovered Culture and became good guys. Except for Kamlin, who likes to make Culture with his lady Zentradi friend, but that’s beside the point.

At any rate, in Frontier, Ranka loses in spectacular fashion. Kawamori Shoujo states that every Macross series will be different from the other ones, rather than a rehashing of the same basic formula (a fact made true with Macross 7, which, in the minds of some, isn’t a real Macross series because it lacks Itano circuses in high volumes), so obviously they won’t be pursuing the “end the war through song” angle. Rather, they seem to be going for a Ranka who is less of a plot point than Minmei was (apologies to SDF fans; this is merely for the sake of argument) and, instead, perhaps obtain a more detailed dive into her character and personality. It’s a small part of the difference in anime storytelling that has happened in the 25 years between SDF and Frontier. Or maybe I’m just delusional.

And, while we’re talking Macross in general here, I think the Vajra are pretty much the most hardcore antagonists in a Macross series yet, although, again, I’ve yet to see 2, Plus, and Zero. The Zentradi were basically giant humans, which was cool, especially when the Zentradi in question was Britol,  but that’s all they were. Macross 7 had perhaps the most ridiculous antagonists, whose main threat to humanity was sucking out the Spirita of a human, but that amounted to nothing because all it took to bring them back was to have Basara sing a song. The Vajra, by contrast, are incredibly hard to defeat. I don’t know if they’re spacefaring aliens of some kind, or just a bizarre mecha design, but you have to pound at the thing until something gives. A point-blank cannon shot at the thing just barely scratches it. And when they finally do go, it’s a massive explosion that can rip a Valkyrie to shreds. The total impossibllity of killing these things turns Macross Frontier into something that may potentially be more epic than any previous Macross series. I mean, you have to try really hard to top the war-arc ending of SDF, and, likewise, Basara singing Try Again at Gepelnitch is also hard to beat, but only beacuse Try Again is an awesome song. But Macross has always been about succeeding against seemingly insurmountable odds, but it’s the getting there that matters. As an anniversary project, I have high hopes, but all signs point to those hopes being filled, and I’m rarely disappointed anyway.

At any rate, even outside the context of Macross, Frontier is shaping up to be an excellent series in general. It’s kind of amusing to me that both of the major franchises–Gundam and Macross–have their anniversary series airing in close succession. It certainly provides a sense of justice to fans of one but not the other, and to fans of both, well, this is a wonderful time to be alive.

Final thought: Ranka’s backpack (the Valkyrie one) is pretty much the best backpack ever and we need a mass-produced version of it. I would wear one to school. I would be laughed off campus, true, but awesome backpacks are worth the price.


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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May 2008