Sunday, November 4, 2012

Watched Lately: Macross Frontier

  • Although I like anime, I don't follow everything out there. It's the same with video games. I don't buy the annual Madden or Call Of Duty just because they are games. So when I come across something I like, I tend to like it very much. That is how I feel about Macross Frontier, an anime that isn't even available in the United States.

  • I watched it the first time a couple of years ago and fell in love. Since it had been a while since I'd seen it, I went back this week to see if it held up. And it total does.
  • Macross Frontier is about the conflict between the Macross Frontier colony fleet and the insect-like alien Vajra. Alto Saotome, a student pilot, ends up in the cockpit of one the series' hallmark transforming fighter mecha and eventually joins a primary military company to fight in the war. His personal life is no less complicated as he is torn between the cute and musically talented Ranka Lee and the galactic singing idol, Sheryl Nome.

  • The series has so many ups and downs that it is hard to talk about anything more without spoiling something. The ups and downs come from the excellent pacing of the show. The tension will ratchet up for a couple of episodes, then back off to give a little breathing room before coming back with something bigger. And there are several parallel storylines that all interrelate in interesting ways. By the time I reached the final episode, there are so many storylines that I was invested in coming together that I had tears running down my cheeks, the experience was so overwhelming.

  • I come at this series with my only Macross experience being its bastardized inclusion in Robotech, my gateway to anime. Even then, I did not have any trouble getting into the new series. It did help me to catch several of the callbacks to the original Macross. (Not that you would miss anything if you haven't.)
  • Finally, it would be a mistake to avoid talking about the animation and music. Music plays a huge role in Macross and it is the same in Frontier. Your tolerance for J-Pop will determine how much you enjoy it, but the music is so fitting for the series. I quite liked how well animated the show is, but the standout is the CGI mecha. You can still tell it is computer generated, but it merges with the traditional animation without looking so different.

  • If there was one thing I notice upon watching again was the overly sexist portrayals of many of the women. I know it's a function of its country of origin and the intended audience. But even though the titillation factor is lower than other anime, it's still enough to make me wince a time or two.

  • Upon rewatching the series, I can say that it absolutely belongs among my favorite anime, alongside Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop.

© 2012 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

4 comments:

  1. All of Ghost in the Shell, from the movies to the brief series, rank among may favorite anime. To induct newbies that don't get anime, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Metropolis, and Ninja Scroll all show off what the genre is capable of (in very different extremes).

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    1. Yeah, those are all pretty extreme. I do love how diverse anime can been.

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  2. The fanservice mess of the female characters in anime always turns me off in short order.

    That said, I do remember liking Robotech as a kid. I wanted to grow up to be Max, and the Veritech fighters were so *cool*. I might have to check this out.

    ...but the music part always drove me nuts. Minmei drove me nuts. That whole side of the series seemed *wrong* somehow, like it was shoehorned in by some executive who loved the music.

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    1. I heartily agree. Fan service was great when I was a teenager. Now, it's just embarrassing.

      Considering how Macross intertwines music and mecha so closely, it would be hard to remove it without changing the (many!) series entirely. But it is definitely not for everyone. :)

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