A long time ago, back when I was a kid, I watched Robotech. Now I mention that because for a long time, Robotech was largely the holy grail of anime. I never saw enough of it to know exactely what the show was like, but I’d read the artbooks and I played the roleplaying games. I even studied the schematics for the SDF-1.
So I have a special place in my heart for Macross. Or at least the Macross arc in Robotech, which I’ve heard is a lot like the show (sans protoculture). Then again, it’s not a show that stands the test of time. It’s horribly cheesy (there are times when the entire city is destroyed and then it’s magically put back together). The plot drags more often than not. All in all, it isn’t that great.
So I started watching Macross Frontier with a bit of trepidation. I may be nostalgic for the original, but the logical part of my head says the original wasn’t really good enough to be nostalgic for.
And Macross Frontier does have all the traditional Macross elements. One teenage boy who wants adventure and excitement. A city traveling through space. A bizarre alien race that appears out of nowhere. And planes that transform into giant robots. In fact, the entire show watches like Macross in the 21st century.
Which is good. In fact, the slightly angsty main character might prove interesting. At the very least (as iknight pointed out in his blog) he isn’t overcome with indecision. Only time will tell if he falls into the the “war sucks, why am I doing this” rut, but for right now he’s at least moderately interesting.
What the update on the traditional story does do is take away the cheese and make the battles much more kinetic. The use of CG in space has gotten to the point where I don’t notice it, so the fairly long space battle actually is a lot more fluid then the original. Also I get the feeling that the city isn’t going to get rebuilt in a day. (I doubt today’s anime fan would buy into that.)
And I do have to make a note of the music. It’s awesome. And that is something good that they carried over from the original. Even underneath the hero’s introductory scene, there’s a rock beat playing, which peps up what otherwise would have been an otherwise stereotypical scene.
If they manage to drain the cheese away from the original, and don’t descend too heavily into the tropes that I expect from the traditional war epic. Then I think this one might actually be a winner.
But we’ll see.