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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do You Remember Macross? Part 3

Whew. 5,512 words and counting. This review has officially reached rigmarole status. Fortunately I just have a few more things to comment on, namely the animation and the Valkyries.

The animation in Macross is usually pretty good. Unfortunately, they farmed some of the work out to secondary companies every so often and it resulted in some horrible, horrible work. Case in point, Max and Millia’s famous knife fight. Now a lot of the time though, the series seemed to shine especially in the battle sequences. There was nothing more awesome than Hikaru’s FAST pack-equipped Valkyrie unleashing a hailstorm of missiles at the Zentradi hordes. All in all, its aged pretty good for something that was created all the way back in 1982.

That brings us to the last aspect of the show upon which I would like to comment, the VF-1 Valkyries.
The Valkyries bring me back to my childhood and one of the best things that I loved about the original Star Wars trilogy. The starfighter dogfights. Yes, I’m one of those misanthropes who grew up during the 90s and all we had were VHS tapes and only a few good novels and no bloody Clone Wars cartoons. What I mean is, I have a saying and that saying is, if you can’t be a Jedi, be a frakkin’ X-Wing pilot! I bet these days you’d be hard-pressed to find a kid under fifteen that actually knows what an X-Wing or a TIE Fighter EVEN IS. Anyway, I bring this up because Macross follows a similar vein with its Valkyrie variable fighters fighting space dogfights and even engagements on other planets. Valkyries get a 1-Up on X-Wings though because they can transform into robots. There’s even a perfectly good reason why they can do that too. The average Zentradi soldier is 10 meters (33 feet) tall so they needed some kind of humanoid mechanized infantry to deal with them in hand to hand combat. It also looks pretty cool too. The particularly endearing part to the Valkyries is that they’re all the same machine. The main character does not become automatically awesome when he climbs into his VF-1J and the rest of the pilots are flying VF-1As. Forgetting about plot armor, he has just as much chance of getting blown to smithereens as the rest of the grunts. And, as has been mentioned before, Hikaru is actually not the best pilot, despite being one of the main characters. To sum up: F-22 Raptor? Screw that, give me a VF-25 Messiah!

Macross left as much a mark on the anime industry as Gundam has. Macross took the real-robot sub-genre to new levels and also had a major hand in the transformation craze of the 80s (read: Transformers). But its true enduring legacy is the story. Even in the midst of terrible conflict there can be hope. That said conflict could be solved through means other than warfare. Oh and a good, old-fashioned space dogfight will NEVER go out of style. Deculture!

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