The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Macross Zero

Title: Macross Zero
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Bandai Visual/Big West
Format: 5 OVA
Dates: 21 Dec 2002 – 22 Oct 2004

Synopsis: War is being waged between the U.N. Spacy and the anti-U.N. forces. In order to combat the U.N.’s superior military capabilities, the anti-U.N. introduces a new weapon that can transform into a humanoid robot. During an aerial scuffle with this weapon, ace pilot Shin Kudo is shot down and stranded on an island. With the anti-U.N. forces closing in fast, Shin must now save himself and the island residents he has befriended.

The Highlights
Animation: Astounding.
Choreography: Breathtaking.
Characters: In desperate need of meaningful development.
Romance: Forced.

As a member of the newer generation of anime fans, I have always considered the Macross franchise as a cornerstone of anime that deserves to be respected but not worthy enough to be watched. Whether it is the dated animation or tribulations required to actually find the shows, the series has never truly appealed to me. After viewing this OVA, I must admit that Macross Zero is probably not the best starting point for newcomers, but it sure is the prettiest.

A good number of the giant robot space operas set themselves on solid drama. The show captures the essence of this precedent, but it fails to run with it; there is simply too much happening too quickly. With only about two and a half hours of run time, the show desperately tries to pack in everything from romance to complex scientific theories.

While many of the characters show surprising amounts of depth, they are given minimal meaningful development. Their plight does not resonate with the audience as well as it should, and as a result it becomes hard to care about what happens to the cast. The story may be good, but the various character interactions – especially the melodramatic romance – feel forced. Instead of setting their own pace, the characters are literally dragged through the convoluted plot.

No matter how you look at it, Macross Zero places style far above substance. Despite managing to bring a great deal of concepts full-circle, there is very little that has not been done before. The acoustics are good but are blown out of the water when placed in tandem with the visuals. With animation and art quality surpassing most movies, the show boasts some of the most intense fights to hit the small screen. They are so well choreographed that screenshots simply cannot do any justice. Visual buffs like Gonzo wish that they could integrate CGI and cel animation half as well as Macross Zero.

Considering the new trend of anime, it is fitting that Macross Zero is chock full of eye-candy. While the OVA has a solid story and some decent characters to accompany the animation, it is not the best representation of the franchise. In the end, this anime is best considered as a sugar treat for older fans and an exceptionally shiny hook for newcomers.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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