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: At the dawning of the third millennium, a mysterious alien vessel crashed down to Earth. With excitement all over the world, all nations united, though in some cases forcefully, as a new era came ushering in. The vessel responsible, was named the Macross, and by 2009, was hastily restored to be the flagship of the UN Spacy. However, on the day of its maiden voyage, the warlike race of giants, known as the Zentradi attacked the Earth. Desperate to escape, the ship made an emergency fold to the Moon, but accidentally ended up at Pluto. Stranded with 50,000 refugees, and unable to fold back, the crew of the Macross must ward off the Zentradi as they make their way back home, alone.

The Highlights
Animation: Can range from terrible to horrible at times.
Character Relationships: Believable and well done.
Style: Gets silly at times, though all for the better.
Soundtrack: It defines the series.
Simple Description: As beautiful as space opera can get.

Since airing, the original Macross has been somewhat of a worldwide phenomenon. Whether in its original form in Japan, or as Robotech in America, it has been remembered for its high quality storytelling. In the west, it is even responsible for raising a generation of anime fans. However, over 20 years later, the question remains: is Macross that good, or is it a byproduct of childhood nostalgia? Not being part of the Robotech Generation myself, I lack the nostalgia filter and say with confidence that Macross deserves all the praise it gets and more.

At its core, Macross is a story about how people relate to each other. Utilizing simple, yet powerful concepts such as love, compassion, and play, the heart of Macross is about people being able to safeguard their humanity though the darkest of times. As the warlike Zentradi fight the Macross, what they see is not confrontation, but rather culture. It is rare to see a war series with such a genuinly human cast, and even rarer for that simple fact to be the driving force behind not only the triumph of our protagonists in battle but also on the road to peace.

Most notably about human relationships, Macross still has among the best love triangles in all anime. There have possibly been over a hundred similar setups; however, not many are capable of capturing the quality of endearing characters. As wishy-washy as Hikaru is, you can’t help but feel for him, as he is not so hard to identify with. Despite being so stiff early on, the feelings Misa develops over time are pure. And for as annoying and immature as Minmay is, this might be a little shallow, but she is just so adorable. Excluding one huge exception, there really is no one in Macross who is dislikable or lacking in some sort of compelling traits.

The one place where Macross truly falls is its animation. While the artwork itself is fine, a lack of consistency leads to choppy frames and an erratic color palette. It is a real shame too. In and of themselves, the character and mechanical designs are quite spectacular and really deserve more. Not to mention that to this day the battles are still fun to watch. Transforming fighter planes launching countless missiles at 10 meter tall purple monsters is a surefire formula for timeless entertainment value.

For anything that might push down Macross, there is always something to pull it back up stronger than ever. Despite off putting animation, a gorgeous soundtrack and classic J-Pop, always draws you back in. If a character seems irritating at first, you can be certain that you’ll be cheering them on by the end, barring Kaifun. When things go kooky, you go along with it because it makes you kooky as well. And even after all this time, Macross is impeccable human drama that epitomizes the notion the love conquers all.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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