Consistency is not the virtue of this anime.
After the 2 Urusei Yatsura reviews that really takes a lot of my anime-viewing time (is it 3 months?), I should be able to make more frequent postings from now on. For starters, today I will review another anime that I have watched during my elementary school years, Super Dimension Fortress Macross (just like Genesis Climber Mospeada). This is the first of many Macross reviews that will come, as it seems that you need to watch everything from the start if I were to watch Macross Frontier later on.
English in this anime seems to up to par with mine, or is it?
A mysterious but highly-advanced giant spacecraft crashed onto Earth, and it takes Earthlings 9 years to restore it, naming it Macross in the process. During its maiden flight, an alien force called the Zentradi stormed the party and attacked the spaceship. Left with no other choice, the captain of Macross decided to enter hyperspace but this caused them to be diverted towards Pluto's orbit. From there on, the crew of Macross has to fight their way through wave after wave of Zentradi's space fleet in their bid to return to Earth.
Let me get into the strong major positive point of this anime first. The story in this anime is excellent, better than many mecha anime I have watched before. If I were to make comparisons, Macross is better than any Gundams I have watched (Wing, the two SEEDs and 00), Mospeada, Heroic Age and can easily match the story in Neon Genesis Evangelion. It has some problems with scene transitions and story presentation (these will be commented below), but overall the story expanded and flows very nicely in a good pace. Unlike the titles mentioned above, this anime also has within it a great romantic sub-plot involving the main male protagonist and two other major female characters. This sub-plot helps negates the negative effect brought by the time-jump plot device that happened in the last third of the series. The ending is decent, although probably it can be expanded into 2 or 3 episodes instead of just one.
Character development is also where this anime has done very well, with the main male protagonist being the best characters in this series. Unlike many other mecha anime out there, the main male protagonist is being conveyed as a normal mecha pilot in a normal mecha instead of a God-like one like in Heroic Age or SEED (not going berserk ala Shinji Ikari is also a big plus). One of the negatives in this anime is that some of the actions performed by him, especially in the early parts of the series, are unbelievable even with suspension of disbelief. Examples include saving a girl free-falling in mid-air and also being able to re-enter Macross with his Earth-only propeller plane in deep space near Pluto orbit. The latter is truly jaw-dropping, as it bends the law of physics beyond what is acceptable even in a Japanese mecha anime (I would have accepted it if he is a superhuman, but he is not). And the less said about the hero's attempt to pull a tuna into Macross from deep space without a spacesuit and oxygen supplies, the better it is for this anime.
With unbelievable actions come unbelievable scenes and events, which is another drawback for this anime. For example, it is really astounding that the space vacuum and intolerable hostilities of Pluto's orbit did not instantly kills the refugees that were transported (or folded) with Macross. Somehow, I do not really think the bomb shelter they were in was designed to withstand vacuum and air pressure from within the shelter. Some of the scenes are also bizarrely constructed; for example, when the Vermillion team punched a hole on the alien spaceship as the genius glass-wearing pilot throws out Britai (episode 10), they did not use the same hole to escape, opting to create another hole instead (and they were captured for this utter stupidity). For all the outrageous scenes before this, it is strange that they did not use the same hole regardless of the dangers.
What did people do in a Rest Rant?
The character design in this anime is not bad, although it can be better because Urusei Yatsura that has been reviewed here before this have it better. Lack of black hair can be forgiven in the setting this anime is in, and for its time, mecha designs is good.
This Zentradi guy is hilarious!
Meanwhile, the voice acting in this anime is excellent, with Lynn Minmay and Misa Hayase being the best of them all. Definitely a positive point of this anime.
And they can be perverted too! Just look at the Zentradi guy at the background! Hahahaha!
The OST is excellent but only the nostalgic ED theme is of any good. The ED theme really takes me back to my forever-lost youth, watching this anime dubbed in Malay.
You have to watch this fighting scene to realize how awful choreography in this anime is.
Even with a 5.5 million yen budget per episode (as claimed in ANN), the animation quality is awful. Urusei Yatsura that was aired in the same period has better animation. Strangely, this awfulness only happened in slow-paced animation, not the fast ones such in action scenes. Choreography is best described as below average, applies to mecha battles or real-life ones (see above screenshot). Space battles is nowhere as good as, let's say, in Legend of Galactic Heroes.
The directing is definitely the major weakness of this anime. Many of my comments about unbelievable scenes/events applies here, but what really takes the cake is presentation of key events. A glaring example that makes me go WTF is the destruction of Earth by the Zentradi in episode 23 or so, which happened in less than a minute and with so little fanfare, the significance of the event was massively downplayed.
Only in Japanese anime you can see how an ISBN entry can become a telemetry signal.
10 out of 10, despite the numerous weaknesses I have listed above. The story is really that good, nearly matching Stellvia of the Universe in terms of impact. Macross Plus, Macross 7, Macross Dynamite and finally Macross Frontier should complete my Macross journey, although do not be surprised if you see other anime titles being reviewed between them.
A tuna from outer space. The way the main male protagonist obtains it is unbelievable.