Reviews of Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984) and related work

Super-Dimensional Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984Moving picture, 114 minutes)

Anno Hideaki (key animator).

The original story is that people study a gargantuan humanoid spaceship named Macross, which crashes on Earth in 1999. They learn some of its secrets, but after a few years, an alien race of belligerent giants arrive to look for the ship. Macross teleports to the outer reaches of the Solar system under ignorant human control. The population of the research base which surrounded Macross on Earth—approximately 50,000 people—take up residence inside the ship, which can change shape and now slowly makes its way back in towards Earth, the fate of which is a mystery.

Hundreds of smaller mecha use Macross as a carrier, and Macross itself is easily dwarfed by the battleships of the two giant races currently at war in the galaxy. In this rewrite, our young male protagonist doesn’t meet his first love interest until the Macross has already teleported, which is where the story opens. The girl is a pop idol aboard the ship, i.e. a young, cute and wholesome singer whose music is basically more important than anything else in the galaxy.

Macross is one of the major mecha franchises. Compared to Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) it’s more epic, with vast aeon-length, galaxy-level wars between non-humans. It is also less realistic, specifically making heavier use of transforming mecha and positing a fantastic property of culture, especially of music, in contrast to Gundam’s somewhat clinical and more limited psychic powers.

This particular entry is a cinematic, compact rewrite of the 1982 TV series that kicked off the franchise. The rewrite is in the vein of romantic drama but doubles as an SF action movie. At the level of metafiction, this movie exists within the more canonical fictional universe of the original series and its sequels, as an inaccurate dramatization of history.

Sweet love stories, remarkably dull action, charming aliens—especially the accented Japanese of the three who convert—and unremarkable music. Fairly good multiculture among the humans, although everybody who’s important consistently speaks Japanese or uchūgo.

The original Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982) was dubbed, edited and fused with two other series—one of them another Choujiku brand series from the same studio—to form the unholy Robotech (1985), significant because it expanded interest in Japanese animation among US adults. Unfortunately, the unedited original series is hard to find, and probably poor, despite major proto-Gainax involvement. The Macross universe has many serious problems with credibility, but its central lack of concern for humans is nice.

References here: Eon (1985).

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Macross Plus (1994Moving picture, 115 minutes)

Review applies to the dub, which is fairly competent.

Many years after the original story. Two pilots and their mutual ex involve themselves with each other, a next-generation mecha project and a half-human computer.

Action, romance and weak cyberpunk, specifically the artificial pop star motif. Nice artwork. Some unnecessary fighting. Isamu’s fun.

moving picture spin-off animation Japanese production mecha fiction series

‣‣ Macross Plus Movie Edition (1995Moving picture, 115 minutes)

Review applies to the original Japanese audio.

Re-edit. A little better.

moving picture version animation Japanese production mecha fiction