What is it?
You can’t consider yourself an anime fan WITHOUT knowing what Macross is. For some of us, we’d equate it with the first generation of the Robotech series. But for those of you dipping your toes into the genre, Macross is one anime that has managed to influence many others over the years.
The original series, better known as Super Dimensional Fotress Macross (which is also required watching for any anime fan), was about an alien invasion with a love triangle in the background. It combined idol singers, transformable mecha, romance and massive, space battles, and its subsequent sequels and prequels, continued the same themes.
The original series, aired by MBS, became a legendary series that spawned countless sequels and imitators that even the Gundam series was forced to adopt the transformable mecha idea to stay relevant to sci-fi fans in Japan. Ironically, one of the anime that was the inspiration for the Macross makers was Gundam.
For most of those in the West (and for some other Asian countries), it was better known as the first generation of Robotech after it was rewritten and modified by Carl Macek under Harmony Gold. James Wan, the Malaysian born director is tagged witha possible live-action adaptation of it under Sony Pictures. So far, there have been three TV series, four movies and six OVAs . This is not counting the often derided and despised Macross II: Lovers Again.
Why Watch it?
The key element of most of the Macross anime, was music. Yes, there were fast paced battles complete with the what is now the anime’s signature crazy missile trails (also known as the Itano Circus). But always, always, it was accompanied by catchy J-Pop song pumping in the backgrounds furiously. The entire battle sequence would always end with a big cannon blast that will melt anything in its path when the song hits its crescendo at the peak. Fact is, the original series had some pretty catchy pop tunes that would go on to be classics over the years.
The story itself may seem cliche with campy romance, but underneath it all, despite the battles and mechs, lies an anti-war message. It shows no matter how cool and awesome a war machine looks, it’ll turns into a heap of junk faster than an blink of the eye in the heat of combat. Despite all that, songs and love are eternal, seemingly unaffected by the ugliness of war. Heck, in Macross Frontier (2008), the Vajra enemy were finally defeated with a song and not any conventional weapons or Valkyrie Fighters.
Of course what Macross has become famous for over the years, are its mecha. The transformable Valkyrie fighters have been a popular design and even after 30 over years, the classic original design with its figurines, models and toys, are still very much sought after by collectors, young and old alike.