Secret Santa 2013 – Macross Frontier

Merry Macross Christmas

Merry Macross Christmas!

spring13-highwMerry Christmas Eve to everyone, and I hope that everyone’s having a nice holiday season so far. I am, since I’ve taken the whole rest of the week off from work! But I can fill up some of that time with some special articles like this one, the first of a few Secret Santa 2013 articles we’ll have on Metanorn.

Main Characters

Sheryl Nome, Alto Saotome, and Ranka Lee, the three main characters

When the call went out back in September for people interested in the Reverse Thieves 2013 Anime Secret Santa project, I was pretty excited to join in with most of the rest of the Metanorn writers. I like both the community building aspect of it, where you learn about more people that you probably haven’t before (at least me, I think Fosh knows everyone already), and you get someone recommending some shows for you to watch. Not that I don’t have a nice long backlog to watch, but I’m at the point now where it takes a recommendation from someone to even get something off my backlog list. So this is a chance to either get something off the list, or maybe find something new that you didn’t think of before.

Why choose

And then Alto’s in trouble

And what I ended up with was the latter. The three recommendations I got were not what I was expecting, but that’s kind of the beauty of the thing. In fact, the only one of the three that I’d ever considered watching before was the first season of Hidamari Sketch, and after enjoying the fourth season, Honeycomb, when it aired last fall and a few of the first episodes of the first season, I figured I pretty much knew what I’d get with that show (it also felt a little cheating to only have to watch the last 8 episodes). The other show that was recommended but not watched was Gankutsuou, and while it certainly seems to be highly rated and well thought of, it just didn’t seem like something I’d get into. Maybe sometime I’ll try it, but it just didn’t strike me this time.

MMM

There was definitely a lot of this

So that left the third choice. Anyone who’s talked to me about my tastes in anime know that I’m not generally a guy who goes for space battle shows, even though I’m not afraid to watch some good ones. So when Macross Frontier came across the plate, I decided to take a swing at it. I’ve never really watched anything Macross, at all, so I pretty much thought it was all transforming planes and Macross Missile Massacres. And it wasn’t totally a lie: there’s a ton of transforming robot planes and even giant transforming robot capital ships and huge space battles and space bugs. But what I wasn’t expecting was that it was pretty much a full on space opera. And I don’t mean just space opera like Star Wars, I mean space opera like “singing.” It was at least a musical, and so much revolved around the singing of the two main girls that I was almost shocked about it.

Sheryl Ranka

Sheryl and Ranka fill the series with song

I was a little disappointed, upon finding out there’s so much singing, that Aya Endou hadn’t been the one to sing Sheryl’s songs. But I may be one of the few people who likes Aya Endou’s singing, at least the little bit of it there’s been. But even though I haven’t been the biggest fan of May’n before (after her OP’s for Accel World and Hidan no Aria), I thought that her singing here was a lot better, or more to my liking at least. The second half ED, Northern Cross, has become one of my recent favorite songs, and Lion by May’n and Megumi Nakajima is a very good song as well. But unfortunately, both of them get outsung by Maaya Sakamoto in the main OP for the song, Triangler. I just love the song, and think it’s one of those songs that says exactly what it means: “Who are you going to kiss? Me or Her?” And while the two main characters do a serviceable job with the song in the finale, it’s just not as good. But overall, I loved the songs in the series because they were basically 80′s film and musical songs. They have the style, rhythm, and instrumentation, and they have that epicness, that drive, and that presence in the show that really works to good effect.

Cutest Couple

Best Couple, but they don’t realize it until too late

Spoilers follow, so it’s your own fault if you read them, and come on, this is a show from 4 and a half years ago. As for the plot of the show, it’s not bad. The twist that Ranka gets the Vajra on the same side wasn’t much of a twist by the end, since it was the only way anyone was going to survive after Grace’s treachery. It was kind of rough on romantic partners, as well, with Luca and Nanase interrupted by her injury, Cathy having to endure the almost death of Ozma umpteen times, and Klan getting the really short end of the stick, having Michael die right in front of her eyes, with her powerless to do anything about it, right as they’d both actualized their feelings for each other. That was the toughest part of the show for me, because I really liked Klan’s character, and that pendant of Michael’s broken glasses around her neck in her Macro Zentradi form was just heartbreakingly cool and touching. Michael’s death actually prompted me to spoil myself on the end of the show, so that I’d at least be prepared if any other characters (like Ozma) died.

VF-25 VF-27

VF-25 or VF-27? It’s actually not really a tough choice

And as for what I hear is the big question that everyone asks about the show? It’s a hard choice, and I could see Alto with either one, but I have to say that the VF-27 Lucifer is just better than the VF-25 Super Messiah. What, that’s not what you were going to ask? Ok ok ok. I know that the big question is Ranka or Sheryl. And early in the series, it was Ranka ahead by a mile. But I really liked Sheryl in the second half, when she stopped being the Galactic Fairy and was more “girl pouring her heart out”, and it felt like Ranka kinda missed the boat a little bit, especially after she basically replaced Sheryl in Grace’s plans. Ranka had that one great moment, when she was running up the steps to confess to Alto, and while it’s understandable that seeing Sheryl there would nix her plan, that was basically her last chance. So really, the two of them ended up in a very close tie, but I’ll have to go with Sheryl. And the real thing is that Alto doesn’t deserve either of them, since he’s as dense as any harem lead, even with everyone telling him he’s dense.

Caught

This was Ranka’s big chance

header-spr13-highway

For whatever reason, I kind of equate this show in my head with Star Driver and Mouretsu Pirates. The only reason why is that they’re both kind of sci-fi-ish, and that they’re three series I’ve watched non-airing recently (in the last 8 months). In the end, I liked Macross Frontier, and I’ll probably go watch the movies at some point, but it wasn’t a life changing experience. It’s well done, and was an exciting show that got me invested in the characters, but I didn’t have quite as much fun with it as those other two shows, especially Mouretsu Pirates. But for watching for a Secret Santa project, I think it was well worth it. I probably wouldn’t ever have watched this anime without this push, wouldn’t have found some really good songs, and in the end I’m glad I joined in the project!

About

Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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20 Responses to “Secret Santa 2013 – Macross Frontier”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    At least Mikhail is honest that going out with Klan makes him look like a paedophile.

    VF-27 Lucifer only because it has a quantum rifle.

    • Highway says:

      Did they show any other Zentradi Micronized? I didn’t see if any of them looked like kids as well. But even that was just Mikhail’s excuse to keep Klan at arm’s length.

  2. Foshizzel says:

    I am glad you liked this Highway and the best part of Macross would have to be the singing and saving the universe! You should check out Macross 7 it follows more of a rock band and it is filled with some catchy songs.

    Besides that I agree Alto does not deserve to get with Ranka or Sheryl! SERIOUSLY HE IS SO DENSE! In the end I always liked Ranka because she was such a fun character to watch and I kind of liked her songs a bit more.

    Action wise gotta love that Macross missile spam <3

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      He deserves Mikhail and Lucca.

    • Highway says:

      Everyone in this show has trouble confessing. In fact, the only people who confessed their love were Ranka (as she’s flying presumably out of Alto’s life) and Klan and Mikhail (and Mikhail with his dying breath didn’t finish it). Luca was going to, and then Nanase got hurt (lesson: confess BEFORE the battle, not after).

      Ranka’s early songs were good, like Seikan Hikou. But really, Northern Cross and Triangular blow everything else away in this series. For a small complaint: they could have animated more than a single sequence of Ranka singing and dancing. Showing the same one every time was a little cheap.

    • Kyokai says:

      And here comes the fanboy, brandishing his mecha-love banner! xD

  3. skylion says:

    It’s the all singing, all dancing, Macross missile barrage that Kawamori intended.

    I’ve not watched any Macross since Robotech. That was about 1983? Maybe I need to put this in the front of the backlog?

    • Highway says:

      It was certainly not what I was expecting. I was thinking it would be much more of a serious space adventure, a la Uchuu Senkan Yamato, and that it was more ‘two girls fall in love with a guy and try to win him over’ was a big surprise.

      I never watched any Robotech or Macross before. I was in the Transformers universe, but that was it. This is a pretty full show: It uses all of both cours it took, and there’s really no breather episodes. I’m not the type to marathon anything, so I watched it over the past month and a half, so that averages out to one episode every couple days. And thankfully, there’s no real knowledge of the Macross ficton that you need to have. Maybe there would be some background stuff getting people up to speed that could be boring for veterans of it, but I didn’t even really note much of that.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    From what you’re saying, the lead Alto, may be even worse than Infinite Stratos’ Ichika. Now that’s a scary thought. Just from the pics, you can tell he’s hopelessly dense.

    • Highway says:

      Well, no, he’s not as bad as Ichika (or Kojou :P ). He’s not great, but he’s also faced with two stars coming after him. Sheryl is the biggest name in the entire galaxy, how could she be interested in him? And then Ranka plays “I’m not going to tell him, I just hope my feelings come through” the whole time.

      I mean, the other characters can tell that the girls like him, so they kind of hassle Alto about it, but I think he’s more forgivable than those other two.

      • BlackBriar says:

        (or Kojou ).

        I’ll ignore that bit and take your word for everything else. ;)

        • Highway says:

          I think you need to take off those blood-colored glasses. Just because he’s a vampire doesn’t mean he’s not terribly oblivious. :)

          Merry Christmas to you, BlackBriar :)

  5. Kyokai says:

    I will watch this, someday. Currently, my backlog is just too full.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I bet it’s so full that you have the shows listed down. And since I’m late saying this, congratulations on reaching the 5000 comment mark, Kyo.

  6. fragb85 says:

    When you watch anything Macross you have to expect 3 things: Transforming fighter-mecha, Love triangles and Lots of singing. This has always been the staple of the franchise.

    I’d say this is a respectable review coming from a a non-Macross fan. But the ones who really love this series are those who love Macross as Frontier is meant to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Macross. Not only is the show filled to the brim with references from the franchise, it even celebrates the series in a meta-level.

    Just to put that in perspective, Macross Frontier has 25 episodes , Frontier is known as the 25th Migration Fleet, the main fighter is the VF-25, the main battleship is the Macross Quarter (1/25), and it also aired n Japan at 1:25 AM (or 25:25). Crazy huh?

    • fragb85 says:

      Oh and if you did enjoy the series the movies are highly recommended. It features epic battles, concerts that would Lady Gaga blush, and one if the greatest things ever: A sky-surfing aircraft-carrier robot.

      And unlike the series, the love triangle actually gets resolved. Yes, Alto actually confesses to someone!

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, you couldn’t call me a Macross fan, that’s for sure, but thanks for the vote of confidence. It is interesting there’s so much referenced, because I didn’t pick up on anything that didn’t make sense, so they worked them all in well. Too many times, they stretch too far for a reference that it just breaks.

      I may see about the movies sometime, or even this weekend, since it looks like there’s not a lot else to watch. From what I hear, they’re not really retelling movies (too many anime movies are rehashes of the series, like that Sora no Otoshimono movie), so maybe I’ll look into them.

  7. akagami says:

    DON’T WATCH THE MOVIES!

    They’re an alternate flow of events, and I didn’t like them at all. At least, watch the main series first before attempting the movies.

    I’ve enjoyed the Macross series (mind you, I haven’t watched anything from the 80s). Macross Frontier introduced me to Nakajima Megumi, I just love her voice.

    I have to say, as a mecha-action show, it was done well. For romance, if I don’t like the characters, the romance portions involving those characters can just kill a series for me. I absolutely hated Ranka’s character (Alto and Sheryl all the way!). The fact that she is still considered a contender did a -2 points for me. But if you can overcome that hurdle, it’s a pretty decent mecha show with lots of good singing (and spashes of romance).

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