Macross Frontier: I Wanna Be a Pop Star

Yes, I just referenced Hirai Ken. I hope that song is stuck in your head for a nice, long time.

I actually had the chance to finally watch Macross: Do You Remember Love? this morning, and the experience of first watching that and then, later in the same day, watching Macross Frontier has been quite interesting, to say the least. The differences between the two decades is amazingly apparent, yet there’s still a kind of bond between them, that runs a bit deeper than simple sharing of plot elements.

The difference seem to be the most obvious at first glance. Do You Remember Love? is a condensation of the original 39 episode Super Dimensional Fortress Macross TV series (with changes made, of course, because Kawamori Shoji hates making the same thing multiple times) and it’s much more plot-oriented than character-oriented (but I’m willing to chalk that up to the fact that it’s the movie version; my memory is quite hazy on the TV series but I’m almost positive that they spent more time on the characters there). By contrast, Frontier is, and from the begining, has been primarily character-driven. Both series have elements of both, but it seems that in Frontier there is more emphasis placed on the characters themselves, and less focus placed on the characters driving the plot. I’m pretty sure that this character-driven approach is actually a feature of modern anime in general, as I’ve seen much less series that bank on plot over characters. Not to say that you can skimp on one and still be good; it’s just that I’ve noticed a growing trend to emphasize the characters of anime over the plot of anime.

The “bond” I talked about earlier running between Do You Remember Love? and Frontier seems to be a general sense of over-the-topness. It’s not quite over-the-top like Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann was over-the-top, but it’s a distinctly Kawamori brand of over-the-top. In the 80s, the focus of the over-the-topness seemed to be the battles (which in Do You Remember Love? were ridiculously large-scale) and in having Britol and Exedol stand around a lot and say “PROTOCULTURE” menacingly every fifteen minutes. In Frontier, the over-the-topness comes from the battles (but there’s not as many of them) and also from things like Sheryl hiding in a Zentradi shoe, Sheryl commandeering a giant pair of Zentradi panties as a scratchpad for lyrics, Ranka and her lovely prehensile hair, and various other cute moments that are the hallmark of modern anime. I don’t really think that one is better than the other, since I enjoy both, but it’s a bit easier for me to see the disconnect many old-school anime fans have for more modern material (barring a few I’ve seen around MAL and the likes who adapted nicely), since the transition even jarred me a bit. What’s strange about this is that many fans of modern anime seem to have no qualms about going back into the history of anime (barring those who complain that older series look too “old” for them or other trifiling quibbles), so the disconnect doesn’t seem to be two-way all the time. It’s two different sets of tropes designed to appeal to two different generations, and things have definitely changed.

On the actual episode itself, I’m pretty sure that Deculture is the new Anima Spiritia is the new Protoculture, but it seems that Ranka’s Deculture has the unpleasant effect of activating the Vajra, whereas in 7, Basara’s Anima Spiritia acheived the opposite, by bringing back humans from comas, and turning Gepelnitch’s men against him (I love you, Gigil, even if you can’t sing worth a damn). It will be interesting to see music save the day in Frontier, considering that it seems the odds are stacked against them at the moment. Of course, we don’t know that the Vajra was going to go on a massive evil rampage across the Frontier because they blew him up before he could break out.

Whatever happens, though, I have confidence in Macross to give me a solid story. And I need Ranka and Sheryl albums, STAT.

1 Response to “Macross Frontier: I Wanna Be a Pop Star”

  1. 1 Deranged 11 May 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Got the Sheryl single… waiting on the Ranka at the moment… D:

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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

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