The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Macross 7

Title: Macross 7
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Ashi Productions/Studio 4°C
Format: 49 episodes
Dates: 16 Oct 1994 – 24 Sep 1995

Synopsis: An initial peace may have been established between Humanity and the Zentradi. However, with a vast galaxy of dangers, the chances of Earth surviving a second attack are nil. In order to guarantee the survival of the species, Humanity established “Macross” fleets to colonize the universe. One such fleet is the Macross 7, captained by war hero Maxmillian Jenius. The fleet has been making its way to the galactic core for the past nine years. Though in 2045, they find themselves at the mercy of an unknown psychic attack from the Varauta System. Unable to even touch the enemy, the only chance of success lies with (the soon to be rock legend) Nekki Basara, as he unknowingly sings his way to become Fleet 7’s most valuable pilot.

The Highlights
Setup: Takes a more super robot approach.
Cast: Actually quite likable.
Music: You’ll believe in Basara’s song as well.
Battle animation: Pathetic; rich with stock footage.
Formula: Sticks strongly to it; running gags and all.

Macross 7 is terrible they say. It’s garbage they say. It shouldn’t even deserve to be considered a Macross they say. Yeah, well people say a lot of things. And those people are wrong. To put things into personal context, Macross Plus is a super budget OVA that is considered a masterpiece, but was not the least bit compelling. On the other hand, Macross 7 is a cheap TV series that has a history of getting panned, and I become just giddy every time I hear Basara sing.

Whereas Macross Plus was the most stylistically dissonant from the original, 7 takes a step back by returning to the odyssey style story with a focus on how people relate to one another. The difference here is that Macross 7 doesn’t take itself seriously at all, accentuating the themes to near super robot levels. Considering that the original was among the first successful real robots show, this would be blasphemous, right? Perhaps, but much like with G Gundam, it is able to pull it off thanks to the show having a sense of humor about itself. This is especially in stark contrast to prior works like Macross, which has become hilarious over time, and Macross Plus, which is never funny. As campy as Super Dimension Fortress was, it is nothing when compared to something that involves serenading the devil to his senses.

Granted, with just about any super robot show comes the inevitable formula for each episode to follow. Every week, one can expect to see Fire Bomber preparing for a gig, Basara and Mylene to bicker, Max and Milia’s marriage to complicate, a Varauta attack, all ending with Basara singing the enemies away. And of course with any formulaic series comes a set of recurring gags to go along with it, which are actually very funny, if you can believe that. They even have unusually high staying power, like the Flower Girl, who was oddly compelling for a character with no dialog. On the downside, sticking to a formula doesn’t do anything for battles with such uninspiring animation. It’s poor in general, and just plain embarrassing by Macross standards.

But when has Macross been just about the transforming fighter planes? It’s just as much about epic battles as it is lovable characters and fantastic music. Of course, there is the expected love triangle, which is less predominant in this series than the others. This is not necessarily a problem considering that this series focuses far more on friendship. The bulk of Macross 7 is about growing to understand and respect each other. Between the characters in the love triangle, Mylene becomes a strong young woman. Gamlin realizes his respect for others on a deeper level. And Basara, well, being little more than a living plot device, he remains the same eccentric jerk from beginning to end. But even so, there is something about his music that is able to rejuvenate the viewer’s Spiritia Energy, even bring them to tears at the death of a rather irritating villain. His music is amazing, and one is just compelled to listen to his song.

I can see why many people would be averse to Macross 7. It’s repetitive, silly, and rather juvenile. While these are justifiable reasons, it would be hypocritical of me to consider the negatives (if GaoGaiGar wasn’t reason enough). I guess Macross 7 goes on my list alongside Gundam ZZ, the Escaflowne manga, and Final Fantasy VIII of works that no matter how much I love, I’m not going to change someone’s mind anytime soon. Oh well, at least everyone should give the soundtrack a try.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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