Archive for the 'macross frontier' Category

Macross Frontier: Suggestive Tuna Buns & Clever Character Development

I am showing a clear Ranka bias here. Go, Nakajima Megumi, go!

I’m still extremely technically impressed with Macross Frontier–it’s got everything going right for it at the moment (more later). I’m not quite feeling the Macross oomph, but we’re essentially still in plot setup, so I’m not too terribly worried about that. And on that topic, it’s always been said that Kawamori tries his best to make every Macross series something totally different from the other Macross series, which is something I can respect (and already do, since I’m a Macross 7 fan, which is probably the least Macross of all the Macross series. Or the most Macross. Or something). Since that’s the case, it might just be a case of getting adjusted to Frontier’s particular brand of Macross, which, again, isn’t really a problem.

The absolute best thing about this episode was the confinement in the shelter, where you lock the three major personalities of the series in the same room and have them bounce off each other, with repercussions that reverberate across the rest of the episode. The first is Alto, who spends the entire time frustrated that there’s nothing he can do to help either Sheryl or Ranka. In fact, he’s spent most of the previous two episodes busy being confronted with how useless and superfluous he really is. Even when he gets out of the shelter, he finds out that his acrobatics partners are secretly piloting Valkyries on the side, which just reinforces how useless he feels. On top of that, Ozma (who similarly thinks himself useless) constantly saves him, whether he’s in a Valkyrie or just a hapless bystander. I expect that he’ll be contending with his perceived uselessness for several episodes to come, or even throughout the entire series.

Sheryl, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be useless, but she certainly seems to be forced into the useless role due to her popularity as a singer. And speaking of her popularity as a singer, she’s embarassed about Alto catching a glimpse, despite the fact that she goes onstage in highly revealing virtual constumes, a point which Alto brings up (The nifty virtual costume thing was the best part of episode 1. No longer do stage performers have to hastily change outfits in a green room while everyone else stalls for time!). It almost seems to me, from just that small tidbit in the shelter, that she’s resentful of being shoehorned into the role of useless yet famous pretty girl. I don’t know what she would have done had her rescue crew not shown up, but she was certainly determined to do all she could. And she fights against this forced uselessness in small ways, too: telling Ranka about the Miss Macross contest seemed to be ever so slightly more about her than altruism for Ranka, although I can’t define quite how.

Ranka has probably the harshest situation in the series yet, with her entire family dead without her knowing it. In the shelter, she simply does whatever she can to make Alto and Sheryl feel more comfortable and at-ease, including providing dangerously suggestive tuna buns which lightens the tension between the other two some. She’s genuinely friendly and helpful to just about anyone, and is certainly cute as a button. This all belies her agonizing mental pain whenever reminded slightly of the death of her family, which says something about her tenacity. For her to keep a positive attitude despite the trauma means two things: one, Ozma’s plan to shelter her from harm is working; two, she’s much stronger than she looks. In her obvious function as a Lynn Minmei for the modern day, she’s already showing a more depth than I recall Minmei having at this early phase (or possibly at all, but I’m tempering that statement with the fact that I haven’t seen SDF Macross in over three years and specifics are fuzzy, and surely there’s a diehard Macross fan who’ll point out the error of this statement).

Macross Frontier could be, in some ways, a rethinking of the original SDF Macross, in much the same way that Gundam 00 was a rethinking of the original Mobile Suit Gundam in terms of themes. That doesn’t mean I expect Frontier to be a perfect SDF clone (it can’t be, there’s no Captain Global), but it’d be interesting to see Macross revisit the basic themes of SDF and update and reshape them for the modern day. It’s too early to tell for this, but whatever it is, it’s certainly showing all the signs of being well-done. Hoping for a year-long run, as I don’t think it’s paced like a 26 episode series at this point, but it might be. I don’t think we quite know the length yet, though.

Macross Frontier: Heart and Soul

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Words cannot express how pleased I am that Ozma’s favorite band in the Macross-verse is none other than Fire Bomber. Yes, that Fire Bomber. Yes, I loved Macross 7. No, you may not tell me to go to hell for this sin against humanity. Even if Gepelnitch doesn’t listen to Basara’s song, I will, and be moved by it.

I skipped the re-broadcast first episode of Macross Frontier since I’d already seen a version of it three months ago as the special, so this one’s about 2. Which was made of the very reason I loved the original Super Dimensional Fortress Macross: Valkyries. IT’s worth noting that Frontier actually takes advantage of the three modes for a Valkyrie: Battroid, Gerwalk, and Valkyrie (although we haven’t seen the Battroid form yet, we have seen Alto use Gerwalk to dodge an attack, which was awesime). I’m not much for mecha, but Valkyries are much more airplane than mecha, and airplanes always look cool, especailly the fighter jets that Valkyries are based on. And there’s also the Itano circus to consider.

And the CG, oh, the CG. It’s seamlessly integrated with the regular animation, so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb like many, many other shows featuring CG mecha (including a certain unnamed series from this very season, you know who you are), but this is expected from Satelight, or so I’m told. I didn’t watch Aquarion past the first episode, as I wasn’t entirely sure whether Kawamori Shouji was in his right mind when he designed that series (I’m told the point of Aquarion was that it was Shouji being Shouji, except because it wasn’t Macross he didn’t have to bother to make any kind of sense whatsoever), but I do remember the brief moments I saw the mecha as being very well done. In Macross Frontier, they’re perfect, and it is a beauty to behold.

On the less mechanical side, the characters are already clearly developed this early on in the series, at least, as much as they can be. Ranka feels slightly more of an actual character than, say, Minmei felt in the early episodes of SDF Macross, especially given the first episode and the now-infamous jingle scene (I titled my Macross F special post after the jingle; I can only imagine that the hundreds of hits I’ve gotten as a result of that were expecting something more along the lines of a YouTube video of the scene and not, you know, as post as I usually do. Incidentally, the happy hardcore remix of the jingle is amazing). Alto is plently likable as well from just two episodes, and Sheryl is, well, Sheryl.

There’s not really that much else to say; this post probably sounds too much like “That was awesome!” repeated over and over again anyway, so I guess we’ll just have to check back in an episode or two and see how things are progressing. It’s more Macross–what more could you want?

Nyan nyan nyan nyan, ni hao nyan!

GREEN. PREHENSILE. HAIR. Also best commercial ever.

I am most pleased at the first episode (really a special) of Macross F(rontier). We have singers (in hot outfits). We have cute potential love interests. We have a guy with a ponytail. And the whole thing is so pretty I just sat there slack-jawed at the beauty of it all.

We unfortunately don’t know much about the story at all yet, which makes this special largely a 26 minute eye candy feast, but it’s an excellent first episode that sets the stage for what is to come. Judging from the special, Sheryl seems pretty sinister for a pop star. I mean normally pop stars don’t look all menacing and speak with an evil tone of voice, so the whole bit toward the end with her in the car was a bit…weird. I also give Sheryl’s two songs 7 out of 10 Fire Bombers. (No song Macross churns out will ever be as awesome as the songs in Macross 7)

The CG was really nicely done, as expected from Satelite. I only ever watched the one episode of Sousei no Aquarion (I somehow can’t muster the courage to watch more, despite not disliking the first episode), and CG mecha rarely look good, but Valkyries are about twice as awesome in CG as they are in not-CG. One of the best things about the Macross series is its combination of plane-style combat with the Valkyrie form (oh, you delicious Itano ciruses) and mecha-style combat with the Gerwalk and Battroid forms. Gerwalk is always fun because it’s a PLANE! WIth LEGS! The alien ship was quite nifty too, and certainly more imaginative than 7’s “oh the enemy pilots Valkyries too.”

In short: this series cannot broadcast fast enough for me.


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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October 2021