|Director/Artist||Yasuhito Kikuchi, Shōji Kawamori|
|# of Eps/Volumes||25|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
Music has the power to save or destroy the universe. Again. And again. And again ...
After the Zentraedi conflict, the population of Earth has been sent out to colonize the universe, but a new alien menace has been attacking the colony ships. Against this backdrop, we have the lives of the men and women tasked with protecting the fleet. Cue battles and political intrigue.
If You Liked This, You Might Like...
Love triangles, J-Pop, and some mecha, too
The remake films
Mecha without the music
Sheer hotblooded awesomeness
The only Macross series I have seen to date. I knew a bit about the series going in, mainly there were space plane/robot and a love triangle (also that in one iteration they controlled their planes with GUITARS. RAD). I didn't know about the whole singing/diva angle that it takes VERY seriously though. I wasn't quite sure what to think - I really liked not only the quality but the style of animation, and the fact that the protagonist's feminine features was a gag and not a given of the series. But all the singing and some (not all) the dramatic scenes struck me as just kind of awkward in that "Gee I hope no one sees me watching this" kind of way. Great space fights though. The ending was epic - not quite TTGL galaxy-throwing-epic, but epic nontheless. 4/5.
So the only other Macross thing I've seen was one of the movies, but man, this was really bad. Reused animation everywhere you look (in the final episode no less. I mean come on!), characters that couldn't be more cliché if they tried and a story ripped straight out of Ender's Game and it's sequels.
Plus is has the whole 100% of the regular army is completely useless, leaving everything riding on the shoulders of the main character and his "private military" unit. Also, do they build capital ships out of gum and paper or what?
I liked Macross Frontier while I was watching it. For starters, none of the main characters make you desperately want to slap them completely senseless because they are too <insert adjective> to live. This alone puts Frontier at the top of my list in the Macross series. The space battles are glorious affairs, and the ending was suitably epic. If you are watching this series for transforming fighters and capital ships in flashy battles, you will get satisfaction, but not every episode. The animation of the whole series was top-notch.
Okay, the music. Look--this is a Macross series--you will get bludgeoned by J-Pop, so you'd better at least be able to tolerate it. Unlike a lot of series that use music, Frontier has a *LOT* of different pieces, so they don't bludgeon you with the same song every episode. Kanno Youko composes the music with the two main female leads being newcomers. The main female is a pop idol (big stretch) with the secondary lead aspiring to the same (another big stretch). Both singers do a creditable job and seem like they have actual singing talent. Normally, Kanno Youko and decent singers is an unmitigated ticket to awesomeness. The CD singles sold amazingly well in Japan. So, maybe my taste is a bit off, but the music just doesn't feel ... memorable. After hearing each one a couple times, they just kind of burn out. I have a much stronger reaction to the good songs from the Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex soundtrack or the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, for example.
Plot and characterization are okay, but they are definitely the series weak point. While the writers can produce a heartwrenching moment (you'll know it when you hit it), most of the characters and plotlines just feel a bit shallow. It feels like there were too many threads flying around, and the writers didn't really know their final path and the most important characters until about halfway through. Consequently, when good or bad things happen to them, there just isn't enough investment in them. The "bad guys" (all of them) were just characterized too weakly, and the good guys seemed to just be pulled along on the events rather than actively shaping some of them. The "bad guys" felt more like a plot MacGuffin than anything else.
Overall, I enjoyed Macross Frontier, and it is certainly a very good anime. However, it never quite reaches the level of "great" on any particular front. 4/5
Dj Meow Mix
Macross Frontier was my first exposure to the Macross saga. Since then I've completed the other series, and in retrospect, this one is not the best that Macross has to offer. It's got all of the themes you need, love triangles, J-pop you're going to hear at least 20-30 times before the show's over, transforming badass machines, giant people in giant armor wrecking stuff, the works. This series falls short however, in that the villains aren't really memorable at all. They aren't characterized very well, and their impact seems relatively minor on the series as a whole. Furthermore, they tried pretty hard to play down that any character outside of the main cast was going to be useful. The Frontier appeared to have a giant military of cross eyed idiots, outside of the private military core. The main characters are pretty well composed all considering, although I found a few of the side characters to be far more interesting. The series balances drama and action pretty well overall, and they clearly know how to crank up the tension. However those tense moments rarely pay off in a way that feels deeply satisfying.
As much as I can gripe about how the plot wasn't played to it's potential however, I did love the animation direction. The crew obviously had a nice budget and used it to the fullest. The battles are invigorating, missile swarming bonanzas and most environments and backgrounds are colorful and enjoyable. As for the music, if you like J-pop, you're in luck, the music is actually pretty good here. I find myself listening to the OPs occasionally still.
I enjoyed this series quite a bit, and probably would have given it a 5/5 if I hadn't had gone on to watch the original series. As it stands, I have to give it a 3.5-4/5. Remember to check out the remake movies as well!
Main Page: http://www.macrossf.com/