The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

The Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Title: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross aka SDF Macross aka Choujiku Yosai Macross
Genre: Action/Romance
Company: Big West/Studio Nue/Artland
Format: 36 episodes
Dates: 3 Oct 1982 – 26 Jun 1983

Synopsis: In 1999, a massive alien space ship mysteriously crashed onto the Earth. Over the next ten years, the U.N. Spacy managed to repair this space ship and ultimately christened it the “Macross.” On the day of its first launch, a group of war-mongering aliens known as the Zentradi invaded the planet, solely targeting the Macross. In panic, the crew of the ship, decided to teleport themselves out of harm’s way by using an untested “fold” system; however, they are accidentally teleported all the way to Pluto along with most of the island and its 50,000 residents. Now, the crew of the Macross must travel all the way back to Earth with the Zentradi space forces flanking them from all sides.

The Highlights
Story: A fusion of Mobile Suit Gundam and a romantic soap opera.
Characters: Some are interesting, but many of the critical characters lack personality.
Corniness factor: Shouldn’t be a problem unless you cannot accept the concept that song can literally stop war.

I am a person who likes big ideas, and when these ideas come together with finesse, these qualities become more important to me than being entertained. After all, who would skip over a perfectly good bottle of fine wine in favor of soda? Super Dimensional Fortress Macross is certainly some form of ethanol, but what is has in richness of ideas is sadly lost in both execution and time. Though several aspects of this anime are genuinely epic, Macross has not aged well enough to recommend to anyone but the nostalgia seekers and the more hardened mecha fans.

What has made Macross so beloved over the years is somewhat confusing to me since outside the concept of a 1200 meter real-robot with a death canon and a real-robot fighter plane that transforms into a robot, everything this anime presents has been done before. The cultural and military clash with the alien race, the Zentradi is a fusion of Mobile Suit Gundam and Star Trek, and the only truly new formula the show brings is a strong dash of romantic soap opera elements along with the giant robots.

Originality aside, my main problems with the series lie with the characters and the plot. Lead character Ichijo Hikaru is about as generic as lead characters can become, and instead of being a strong person who drives the drama, he is more like a placeholder that fills the seat but minus an actual personality. Though Hikaru and the rest of the cast are developed adequately, their plight never becomes mine, which has something to do with my next qualm: the story. Macross has a grand tale overall, but the individual sub-dramas that eat up most of the screen-time range from watchable to painful. This show has a weak romance story relative to the large quantity of time that is poured into the characters, and the ensuing angst and melodrama are far from compelling.

Criticizing Macross for its age would be like pushing a wheel-chair bound cripple down a long flight of stairs. So to soften the way down, I’ll simply say that the animation does a decent job of capturing the scope of battles but looks like any low budget 1982 anime should. The music is decent, and the opening certainly doesn’t show the age of Mobile Suit Gundam‘s cheesy opener.

Nostalgiacs of the Robotech may get a kick out of this, but for everyone else, Macross is a decent anime to have in library since it comes up in conversations every now and again, but don’t expect it to be the epic that many people claim. The Macross lore is certainly timeless, but this anime is not.

The Rating: 6
6/10

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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