Uncategorized

The Problem with Macross

In all of anime, there are few longstanding franchises with as much dedicated fandom as Macross (In fact, I’d wager to say there are two, and the other one has robots too).

There are even fewer that make their fans work as hard as Kawamori’s do. Having finally finished Macross 7, the first sequel and longest installment, I finally feel like I have a handle on Macross as a whole and what each chapter has done. The issues are all over the place, but the overall experience is a fun one. So what’s Kawamori’s problem?

Pretty much unavoidable spoilers of varying degrees will follow for SDF, Plus, Zero, 7, Dynamite 7, and Frontier.

gerwalk don't run

Production Values

To a degree, this is one of those technical concerns that I know is hard to get away from, but still irks me a little. SDF had plenty of excuses, the main one being its age. But M7’s animation is so horribly dated that it’s hard to believe it came out of the late 90s at all. Satelight certainly had occasional problems with Zero, but compared to the wildly inconsistent and often just-plain-horrible cardboard jumpiness of Frontier, it’s beautiful. OVAs and movies generally solve the problem — Do You Remember Love? might be the best-looking anime ever made — but it’s not just the animation itself.

Be prepared to see these a LOT

Be prepared to see these a LOT

It’s as if directors like Amino (and even Ishiguro) weren’t even trying during the TV series. Whether it’s the majesty of discovering the protoculture, the fist-pumping power of rock, or just a realistic feeling of being around fighter planes, the OVAs have plenty going for them in atmosphere and directing that just never seem to make it into the fun but workmanlike productions shown on TV.

Power to the Music

The story of a young girl going from Chinese restaurant waitress to pop idol to savior of the galaxy: Striking. The message that your enemy may not actually be your enemy but just doesn’t identify with you: Moving. But repeated retellings of that same story have lessened the impact. You know it’s going to happen. You know there’ll be a magnificent set piece in the end a la Do You Remember Love’s titular song performance. Those repeated stories (in M7 and Frontier) serve to make the stories more “Macross-like,” but Kawamori and his collaborators flourish more when they explore the core elements (love, planes, Protoculture) a little more deeply.

minmay

Pacing’s a bitch

Yeah, it takes a real masterful storyteller to weave a plot together that moves in all the right ways at all the right times. Apparently, one more masterful than Kawamori. I don’t expect something as long as Macross 7 to go without mindless filler episodes that don’t develop characters, push the plot, or even provide entertainment. But that thing had two arcs of about 4 episodes apiece that were really engrossing, and Dynamite 7’s stupid whales were still a million times better. Frontier’s story was so poorly paced and even more poorly weighted and emphasized that it actually got hard to follow a relatively simple plot at times.

The tendency of Macross stories is to draw their stories out — possibly for believability’s sake, if that makes any sense in the Macross world — and then suddenly resolve with what almost amounts to Deus Ex Machina at the last second. Kawamori and crew seem to write best, as with directing, in the shorter OVA format.

Lack of resolution

gamlin, world's oldest teenager

This isn’t something I normally complain about in anime. I’m not much of a shipper. But Macross’s love triangles have a tendency to dull at the edges and never resolve. You could argue the Guld-Isamu-Myung triangle did, but in truth that ship sailed long before the viewer got to witness any of it. With love being such a central theme, and recycling such a central technique, why can’t we re-experience, say, the ache of choosing love wisely over choosing the burning passion you thought you wanted? Well, you won’t get served such a satisfying dish at Mylene’s House of Waffle. I suppose there’s still hope for Alto in the coming Frontier OVA, but if Kawamori does have any troll blood in him, this is the part where it manifests — see the end of Dynamite 7 if you want in on his joke.

The Protoculture

nome sweet nome?The Protoculture is an intriguing element of Macross that adds a little mystery and, more importantly, a common thread between the galaxy’s races. If the Protoculture created the Zentraedi and also Earth’s civilization, then what do we have to fight about? Powerful if idealistic stuff on a planet where most members of our own species can’t get along. But almost every subsequent installment blindly adds another de-mystifying chapter to the myth of the Protoculture, chafing me like Midichlorians in my Jedi pants.

The Protodeviln? OK, I’ll buy it, because if you’re going to build the Zentraedi you must have a serious enemy. Too bad all the Zentrans in the UN Spacey are no match for Grabil. Also, too bad they’re really hokey to be believable as sentient life’s original arch-enemy.

At least Macross Zero did more to help the situation than hurt, for the most part. By bringing the storyline back to pre-SDF launch, Kawamori helped us identify with the characters, and the sense of wonder than encountering the Protoculture must have instilled in Shin. Zero remains an amazing part of the series for this alone. But Grace O’Connor’s declarations about the race who came before our forefather in Frontier’s final episode just felt like another game of pin the tail on the Protoculture. There’s no need for that kind of retcon, let’s move on.

Kawamori is a big fucking hippie

How you feel about this is mixed, and really it may not really be that much of a problem. I suppose that a guy who keeps writing galactic love stories should really believe in love, but the hippie shit can seriously be a bit much. To me it seems like a very 1980s conservationist stance rather than anything truly progressive, but keep in mind it’s Japan. Maybe Dynamite 7’s message of “save the whales” is a little more than a bumper sticker over there, since whaling still actually goes on in Japan. And “no nukes” definitely means more to Japan than to the people who dropped a couple on them.

And just maybe the OVAs’ focus on nature is just to emphasize the fact that they’re planet-based rather than on a Macross station, but let’s get real: somebody here loves all the plants and cute little animals.

Worth it?

I find that as anime fans we have to overlook the shortcomings in the medium more often than we’re presented with stuff that lacks those shortcomings. So Macross isn’t special in that way.

pretty much the best picture ever

It’s often terrible to its fans (though sometimes it’s the most generous anime around) and, like Star Wars, it’s helmed by a creator who isn’t always the best executor of his own ideas. So is it worth it? Does it make me feel good to call myself a Macross fan? Of course, a thousand times yes. The benefits are great, and they deserve their own post.

The rest of the world

Do you have a favorite like this? You know in your heart you could write a giant word-bomb about its faults, but still come back and love it at the end of the day? Are we Macross fans the biggest apologists in anime fandom?

Fuck these (27) Comments.

  1. Ahhh, yes. This is fair, otou-san. I have a Macross 7 survival guide post scheduled to fly in an hour.

    I’ve steeled myself for disappointment in Mylene’s House of Waffle.

    I’ll have a more substantial response to this post later. Very happy you did this ^_^

  2. ojisan says:

    I’m just 5 episodes into the original TV series – your ‘spoilers’ leave me unfazed since I can’t even place them in context. But your overall message is “Onwards! Your rewards will somewhat exceed your punishments!” and I am grateful. Thank you!

    “Could write a giant word-bomb about its faults, but still come back and love it at the end of the day?”

    Yes, it’s name is anime -

  3. Einherjar says:

    “Are we Macross fans the biggest apologists in anime fandom?”

    I understand what you mean, that happens a lot in anime fandom. But I thought that Robotech fans are bigger apologists, especially nowadays. Or are they elitist, I’m not really sure.

  4. I have never seen Macross apart from an episode of Macross Frontier and basically I find it an interesting concept but it is so vast a franchise it is similar to Star Trek in that each incarnation gives a different take on the same idea. Whereas something like Crest of the Stars has a lot more restraint. When a franchise gets too big for its boots it can become a problem. This happened to Star Wars and look how that turned out.

    The simple single season nature of many sci-fi anime shows from Please Teacher! to more battleship stuff like Outlaw Star or Starship Operators enables a single idea to be explored to a reasonable extent. For this reason I don’t think Haruhi needs another season in some ways. When a sci-fi show becomes multi-season and multi-show even, the vast content of it can collapse on itself if the original idea behind it was sometimes flimsy.

  5. IKnight says:

    So would the franchise benefit from being taken out of Kawamori’s hands? The evidence of Macross II‘s reputation suggests that it wouldn’t, but I’m not an expert, so I’d be interested to hear what you think. (I mean, picking up on the other dedicated fandom, the first AU Gundam was G.)

    I think the fact that the love triangle mostly happened in the past is one of my favourite things about Plus, which is my favourite part of the franchise. I like seeing characters who’ve taken a few knocks from life before the story begins.

  6. OGT says:

    I think this (and ghostlightning’s post) serve to illustrate a point I feel is central to the Macross (and probably anything Kawamori lays his hands on) experience: the acknowledgement that, for all the quality one can extract from SDF, DYRL, Plus, 7, Zero, and Frontier, the inherent goofiness of it all is something a fan just needs to accept.

    I’ve not been able to watch Sousei no Aquarion because that series is literally what happens when you tell Kawamori that he doesn’t have to even attempt to make sense. As I said on Twitter, Plus–the darling of the Macross franchise, the one I see most Macross fans hold up as a shining example of the potential of the franchise, the one where Macross got it right–is my least liked Macross, in part because it lacks a lot of what I’ve come to expect–i.e. the contents of this post–from the Macross franchise.

    It could be that I literally went 7 -> SDF -> Frontier -> Plus, but I’ve never felt that “taking Macross seriously” is an entirely sane path for the Macross fan to tread. With stuff ranging from Basara singing to space whales and literally saving the entire universe from destruction with rock ‘n’ roll, to Sheryl subjecting herself to a seven-minute chase across campus for her underwear, to Kamjin excitedly saying “After we destroy these important military outposts, my dear, we’re going to go home and make some culture!”, there’s an undercurrent of ridiculousness that courses through the franchise, and Kawamori does not care about consistency, continuity, or coherence. It’s the opposite of Robotech: new Robotech entries have to maintain an almost rigid adherence to an already convoluted continuity, whereas Macross completely ignores continuity and slaps together whatever Kawamori thinks is cool at the time.

    Does that mean you shouldn’t take the franchise seriously? Well, no, else I wouldn’t post this here. But many the problems you posted here–and they are problems from a “good writing/directing” standpoint–are just something I innately accept, and in some casts enjoy, about the franchise. Except the low production values, perhaps, but I’m largely oblivious to low production values, and even when I’m not, it rarely impacts my enjoyment.

  7. otou-san says:

    ghostlightning:
    I’m happy myself that you did the M7 post, but more on M7 later.

    ojisan:
    your answer = lulz, but that’s pretty much true all around isn’t it? We make leaps in logic and uh, taste often for our fandom, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You interpreted my message correctly, though. Keep at it, there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had.

    Einherjar:
    I’m not sure Robotech fans have an excuse anymore, what with multiple versions of Macross available and Southern Cross recently released as well (all with understandable storylines). But wouldn’t we really be the elitists, as fans of the “original?”

    newgeekphilosopher

    the vast content of it can collapse on itself if the original idea behind it was sometimes flimsy

    I’m not sure I’d use “collapse” in reference to Macross, but I get what you’re saying. The danger is there that someday the admittedly thin premise is going to show through. But that’s where Macross not taking itself too seriously comes into play. It’s never going to collapse on itself because it doesn’t pretend to have any more weight than it does.

    IKnight:
    Maybe it’s not as accurate to say that it’s best left out of his hands as to say that he’s done much better when leaving some parts of it up to other greats, such as Watanabe or of course Noboru Ishiguru.

    But in my opinion, Kawamori is a guy who invented a transforming fighter jet and decided to put love triangles, space, and singing together in an anime. It’s an idea that’s already been proven to have a lot of mileage, but it could only benefit from a few more bright stars of anime interpreting it. Not sure Tetsuro Amino is that guy, but…

    I like Plus for the same reasons you do. The characters vibe as real adults (albeit young adults) because of their huge amounts of baggage. I’m guessing that’s what Watanabe and Keiko Nobumoto brought to the table, and it’s probably the strongest evidence of my point.

    OGT:
    Goofiness is key. See my response to Jacob above. Macross is in very little danger of self-imploding for whatever reason if it keeps a little self-awareness and plenty of wacky hijinks.

    I don’t know if I’d call Plus the “darling of the franchise” — plenty of people dig it, yes, and it’s easy to like, but some people even refuse to call it canon. To me, it represents the polar opposite point of Macross 7: older, more deeply developed (and wounded) characters, an reverent attitude toward music as opposed to a fist-pumping party, and a serious vibe.

    That’s the beauty of Macross, though: It can easily contain both.

    Of course ridiculousness is something you have to be into, or at least ready for, in almost every installment — maybe not Plus or Zero either, but it’s there. And let’s face it: Kawamori is a little like Leiji Matsumoto, he seems to live outside of time, in a place where anime never got all that sophisticated (although ironically he was a part of making it more sophisticated). He doesn’t feel the need for all that continuity junk, but the fact remains that he poorly paces stories and retcons to the point where it can potentially be a detriment to your enjoyment of older series.

    Keep in mind I say a lot of this for argument’s sake and to try to bring you around to how I feel rather than because I totally disagree with you, because outside of your opinion of Plus I’m with most of what you’re saying.

    And sometimes it’s best to take Macross as what Kawamori probably sees it as: a collection of cool songs, love interests, and space battles, rather than a far-reaching and well-conceived story or universe.

    How about I put it this way: Kawamori is better at creating collections of singles than concept albums :D

  8. I’m not sure LOLKAWAMORI exists as a /m/eme compared to LOLTOMINO which is a beloved one that I’m quite amused with. I think Tomino’s a bigger whackjob, but they’re both lovable. Kawamori is a fan of Gundam so no surprises here.

    I know this is the compilation of the negatives of the franchise, so I won’t attempt to counterbalance it with the positives. Let’s dig some dirt shall we?

    Where my expectations are failed: (obviously, I’ve forgiven the franchise for these)

    1. The commanders are not brilliant strategically nor tactically. I’m not asking any of the commanders to be Yang Wenli now, but it does bother me a bit that the biggest compliment I can give the commanders that lived through the great space war is that they were lucky to have survived.

    1.1 Tactics like the Macross/Daedalus attack are no doubt ghostlightningrods but that doesn’t mean they’re products of military tactical/strategic genius.

    1.2 In Macross 7, Max seemingly sent so many pilots to their deaths. He never sends enough firepower to defend against skirmishes, which results in high casualty rates for non-Diamond Force personnel. This just drives me nuts. NUTS I TELL YOU. I like Frontier this way, the casualties among the combatants never felt gratuitous.

    Plus is exempt of this for obvious reasons. It’s a show about aces, which is really the standout thing about the franchise.

    2. Loose ends smack of laziness. It bothered me that the Megaroad disapeared just like that and I never heard from my old friends again. It repeated itself with Plus, M7 and I’ve no reason to doubt it’ll be the same with Frontier. One thing I enjoy about UC Gundam is that you know how the conflict ended, so the side stories have a finality to them.

    I was going to mention how broadcast technology should be explained, but I realize the futility of this. People sing and things just happen in Macross. I got it, and will call it a day for now.

  9. otou-san says:

    You know as well as I do that critiquing military strategy in Macross is a bad road to go down, one that’s paved with bad folds and littered with Valkyrie wreckage. That’s probably why /m/ doesn’t have a LOLKAWAMORI meme. It’s just not that kind of a show.

    That said, I wonder what would happen if there were to be an installment where tactics played a significant part. It might be entertaining for a minute, but the Macross Values System would dictate that all those tactics would pale in the face of the Minmay Defense.

    Loose ends smack of laziness

    THIS.

    I think this point is truly where I deviate from OGT in opinion. Of course traditionally “good” writing and directing need not be a prerequisite for enjoyment of anime, so much of it is entertaining while being shoddily thrown together that it’s almost unfair to pick on poor Kawamori. But from strategy to plot elements to character traits, consistency and cohesiveness add to our ability to get sucked into the world. Macross makes you work for that, while sometimes I’d love to just get thrown into a universe that makes sense.

    But I agree with you on broadcast technology. Do not go there, it’s healthier for you if you just don’t worry about it. :D

  10. OGT says:

    Keep in mind I say a lot of this for argument’s sake and to try to bring you around to how I feel rather than because I totally disagree with you, because outside of your opinion of Plus I’m with most of what you’re saying.

    The problem here lies not necessarily in our individual assessments–since, more or less, we agree that each other is valid–but in the sheer fact that I cannot believe you actually like Macross, and it’s because you frame your liking of the franchise in such negative terms that “but I really like Macross despite all this!” rings hollow to me. And this goes for nearly everyone I’ve met–if all you do is complain and talk about the problems of something, I literally cannot believe you like it, no matter how much you say you do. I literally have trouble recalling and/or imagining an actual, unqualified, positive word (let alone sentence) some of these people have said.

    If I wrote as many negative posts about Macross as you (and many others, on things other than Macross, lest you think I pick solely on you and Macross) have, I wouldn’t like the franchise at all. Looking at what you’ve written about the series through my own interpretive filter, I see someone who utterly loathes Macross, making any assertions that you do, in fact, like Macross, extremely hard to believe. Posts like this aren’t what I think of when I think of someone writing about something they like. Posts like this are what I think people write when they don’t like something.

    I, of course, have almost the opposite problem–I find it ridiculously hard (and almost painful) to say why I don’t like something, even (almost especially) when I don’t like what I’m talking about. It’s the difference between saying “This has some serious problems, but I love it anyway” vs. “I love this, even though it has serious problems”–half-empty vs. half-full. Also, I’ve never been able to really watch something for the amusement of watching something that’s bad, and if I had consciously thought of any of these “problems with Macross” while watching a Macross series, it would have very literally meant I didn’t like Macross. I very literally have difficulty finding flaws in something I like–not because it’s there, but because I either accept them, or the “flaw” by someone else’s reckoning is part of what I like about it.

    And, as a side note–not to turn things into a GIANT DRAMABOMB OF EPIC DOOM–I literally could not bring myself to complete either Macross Frontier or Code Geass R2 until a month or two after the series had finished airing, so disgusted was I by the hostile fan environment surrounding those two series that the constant warring and FABULOUSness and “Ranks sux” “no Sheryl sux” “no they’re both MOE PANDERING” made me completely unable to actually watch and enjoy as I had been the series involved. This conclusion, more or less, was reached at your post-24 Frontier post where you declare that you would “write a review that would piss off Ranka Lee fans everywhere” and I immediately wanted to set a thermonuclear device off in the internet, because I was sick of being internally ripped to shreds between two groups of people escalating antagonism to ridiculous levels–it wasn’t any one person, or opinion, or anything, it was literally “if I see ‘I like Macross F!’ or ‘I hate Macross F!’ one more time I’m going to SNAP.” It just happened to be your post that made me go all Itoshiki Nozomi all over the place.

    And the funny thing is–people on both sides asserted they liked Macross Frontier, and people on both sides asserted that they didn’t. I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of the arguments, because (to me) everyone simultaneously made completely valid points and completely missed the point. It was a mind-melting experience like reading the NYT point-counterpoint-counter-counterpoint editorial after the McCain Britney Spears ad, where I disagreed with none of the seven or eight editorial writers no matter who they supported, because they were all right in their criticism of the other.

  11. Einherjar says:

    otou-san:

    I’ve seen a lot of hardcore Robotech fans preferring the “original” series and novels over any new Macross offerings, going so far as to tearing apart each one and nick picking over the smallest things in each of them. Generally, they completely miss the point you and others have made about the series. Granted, they also do the same for new Robotech productions, it’s puzzling what they want to see from it in the future.

  12. IKnight says:

    We don’t have a LOLKAWAMORI /m/eme because it’s one too many syllables long – and I have a feeling the ‘AWA’ bit is a bit off for a native speaker of English.

  13. otou-san says:

    OGT
    Apparently I’m pretty good at coming across like a hate-filled douchebag who likes nothing and no one, so I’ll do my best here.

    I cannot believe you actually like Macross

    Hmm. Well, I love Macross. I don’t know, I guess you’re gonna have to trust me on this? You can say I look like a goat and Shinichiro Watanabe’s mom is a crackwhore, but this is the only part of the comment that actually bothers me a little. When I said “the benefits are great, and they deserve their own post,” maybe I wasn’t really clear that I am working on such a post. But I am. So I’m not going to (cue Madonna) justify my love in the comments here.

    I find it ridiculously hard (and almost painful) to say why I don’t like something, even (almost especially) when I don’t like what I’m talking about

    That’s cool for you, I just don’t work that way and I know there are certainly enough people out there who operate the way I do. I like to talk about both. And I don’t think it’s unhealthy, quite the opposite. Not to mention: I am trying to get to the bottom of what makes Macross so rad that I, and many others, can love it despite these things. I genuinely don’t understand what the problem with that is.

    Re: Dramabomb.

    I’ll consider myself wrong place, wrong time, but if I have to take credit for turning you off then so be it. Problem is, to clear that air, “Ranka Lee fans” in that statement doesn’t mean I took the Sheryl side in that Ford-Chevy battle. I didn’t take a side. Guess Ranka fans looked like an easier target. And tell me they didn’t. Long story short: my bad for resembling the thing I was trying to shit on.

    I prefer to watch the story happen, and for all my whining about unresolved triangles I far prefer that to just kind of giving people a GOOD END or whatever because they want it. In fact, my aim was to attack that phenomenon. In a sense, I guess I was in a similar spot to you. The difference is that beyond the music and the space battles I really didn’t care for the series that much — it has rewatchable episodes but right now it’s my least favorite installment. The OVA could redeem it; Dynamite 7 altered my entire opinion of M7 for the better.

    Einherjar
    This is amazing to me. Once I discovered what the source of Robotech was, I guess I never really looked back. I’m surprised you could nit pick Macross when the story of Robotech makes zero sense (and I’m pulling from very vague memories here). Do newer installments like Shadow Chronicles have a music focus? Is it anything remotely Macross-like? And more importantly, is it any good?

    IKnight
    haha, when I try to imagine it being said it certainly does sound awkward with that extra syllable…

  14. OGT says:

    Hmm. Well, I love Macross. I don’t know, I guess you’re gonna have to trust me on this?

    Here’s the thing: it’s just hard for me to wrap my mind around “fan of [whatever]” when they spend more time complaining about than appreciating [whatever]. I honestly question why some people even bother watching anime (or reading books, or whatever) when all I see are complaints issuing forth. I understood that you were undertaking a post to say why you DO like Macross in spite of everything; what I don’t understand is the necessity of couching “why I like Macross” in “why I SHOULDN’T like Macross”. But I guess I’m just too much of a positivist/optimist/rose-colored-glasses person to really “get” the need to complain, since if I feel that if I have to complain about a work of fiction, then I don’t like the work of fiction, and I shrug and go on.

    Perhaps I’m just bringing too much of my perception of my own inner taste instincts to other people’s external descriptions of their inner taste instincts when the two inner instincts don’t function on the same fundamental level. And my own inner instincts make me a bit of an ugly duckling in the larger [whatever] community, it seems. I think no matter how much I like (or not like) something, I always feel, somewhere, somehow, I’m dead wrong and a stupid git for it. :|

  15. @ OGT

    In my book, real hard-core fans have the right to complain… to each other. I think otou-san is due to write an awesomeness of Macross post too, and wanted the negativity out of the way.

    Even I can’t go around acting like the shows I love are absolute perfection.

    Here’s what I think:

    Perfection doesn’t need love, or to have love remembered for. It is whole and complete. It is no less perfect without my love for it. Loving it makes no difference.

    Loving Macross is fulfilling to me because I do think it’s flawed, and that it’s okay. We’re all okay to love this silly series. Its value is unique, and as long as we write about it and talk about it it’s going to be just fine.

    Well, until Minmei shows up in her 60s and looks like a raisin and insists on singing Tenshi no Enogu in Sheryl and Ranka concert kind of like how Stevie Wonder insisted on playing with the Jonas Brothers in the recent Grammys. THAT’S GOING TO TAKE SOME WORK TO LOVE.

  16. otou-san says:

    OGT:

    But I guess I’m just too much of a positivist/optimist/rose-colored-glasses person to really “get” the need to complain

    Funny because I was about to accuse you of being a pessimist. I feel like I’ve made a pretty decent effort to show what side of the fence I stand on (yakkdeculture.com, anybody? Anybody?).

    Yet there’s a guy — not a troll, in fact someone I actually like (inasmuch as I know him), despite his contrarian tendencies — standing presumably on the same side of the fence, telling me that I shouldn’t criticize the things I like. I hope somewhere in that statement I’m actually wrong.

    ghosty:
    Just when I was thinking “what this thread needs is some ghostlightning,” along you come. Do you ever sleep?

    If I had to sum my whole position up, I would put it like this:

    As with the people and things we love in real life, the ability to not just look past but actually embrace their flaws strengthens our love.
    -otou-san

    Do I get Remembering Love points for that?

    As for Stevie, I’ve got so much endless love for that guy it takes barely any effort at all. Bless his old-ass heart, he’s still got his talent but who can blame someone as famous and old (for that business) as him for being a little out of touch? Plus, it’s not like he can see what he looks like standing there with them :P

  17. Einherjar says:

    otou-san

    As Robotech goes on, music is dropped entirely as a major part of the story, except for the occasional shout out to the Robotech version of Minmay’s songs. From what I’ve learned about the comics and novels, so far it’s made me believe that her treatment after the TV series is a total disservice to everything she represents in Macross.

    As for the novels, the series stopped being Macross-like and more like Star Trek, Babylon 5, and even Dune put together. It’s even more so with the Shadow Chronicles ending up very cliche and mecha underutilized.

    What makes it depressing is that this is available everywhere and was made between the time Macross Zero and Frontier came out.

  18. OGT says:

    otou-san

    I hope somewhere in that statement I’m actually wrong.

    You are, I think. All I really mean to say is, finding flaws (or having flaws shoved down my throat) can wreck my suspension of disbelief (much like everyone else), and when I watch something, I literally suspend all disbelief–and part of that disbelief, for me, are the flaws.

    My ratings on MAL are given not by how perfect the series is, but how little I care about how imperfect it is. And I would much rather like than dislike.

    But, then again, I’m also crazy, and probably wrong about nearly everything.

  19. HURR DURR.

    @ otou-san

    re your quote: WEALTH AND TRIUMPH FOR THE WINNER!

    @ OGT

    I don’t get the impression that otou-san is fault-finding, much less shoving down those findings down our throats. These things are found after critical reflection, they aren’t statements made in haste or just for the sake of making them.

    Again, there’s a love fest of a post re Macross that’s forthcoming. I also have Mechafetish, who is as retarded as I am about Macross, just less histrionic about it. He posted this early on, On the Hidden Fail of Macross Sequels. It’s all part of love! The real opposite, is indifference and silence.

  20. OGT says:

    @ghostlightning:

    No, he isn’t; others, however, do (*coughcolonydropcough*) and at any rate whenever I read the pointing out of HUGE, HORRIBLE FLAWS of something I inevitably feel like an idiot for daring to like such a poorly-constructed and executed piece of trite garbage. I guess I just don’t get the point of dwelling on the negative aspects of a work of creativity; if I have to explain to you (or otou-san) why I don’t like, say, Macross Plus, it’s more mentally taxing than explaining to same why I like Macross 7, in part because I feel more like an idiot for not liking Plus than for liking 7. But then I feel like an idiot for not liking everything on the planet even though I know this is an inherently impossible thing.

  21. @ OGT

    Sheesh, I don’t bother with those guys. They don’t even do proper fact-checking when they attempt to troll/dismiss me in my posts.

    All is well. I’ve felt like that for a long time re Gundam. Like IKnight said, there’s no obligation to like everything. And differences, even if just a matter of a few split hairs can make for good discussion too.

  22. otou-san says:

    OGT:

    You are, I think. All I really mean to say is, finding flaws (or having flaws shoved down my throat) can wreck my suspension of disbelief (much like everyone else), and when I watch something, I literally suspend all disbelief–and part of that disbelief, for me, are the flaws.

    The burden of suspension of disbelief is on the show, not me. To a degree there is inherent suspension of disbelief you have to bring to the table with anime, but that’s easy because it’s animated. Beyond that, if a flaw rears its head and breaks my belief threshold, I don’t blame myself for pointing out that flaw. That would mean any time a show failed at something, it would be your fault. That’s overly cruel to yourself when let’s face it, there are bad movies and bad anime out there.

    That may also be the attitude whose side-effect is making you “feel like an idiot for not liking Macross Plus.” You don’t like it. That’s fine. It’s also fine if you don’t enjoy talking about why.

    It doesn’t make me less curious to know why, but that’s the heart of the the thing. I don’t think it’s weird to talk about the downside, I personally want to hear why people dislike some things so I can (try to) convince them otherwise.

    My ratings on MAL are given not by how perfect the series is, but how little I care about how imperfect it is.

    My ratings on MAL are completely arbitrary at the time. I hate numerical ratings, but that’s another conversation altogether.

  23. Sakura says:

    We aren’t the biggest apologists… one word… NARUTO! XD

    Or InuYasha, I love it I do, it was the first show that really got me back into anime after my university hiatus.

    But I swear to god there were times I wanted to kaze no kizu Rumiko Takahashi’s ass the next time Tessaiga got a fracking upgrade.

    Then there was all the damn episode filler. Shippo he’s cute at first, but there are only so many episodes based on him you can take.

    After a while, you find yourself wishing InuYasha would lose himself to his demonic side and rip the annoying little fox to shreds.

    As for imperfections, in the Macross world there are many, but on the whole there is more to love :)

  24. Shin says:

    Wikipedia says it came out in october 1994, still part of the early 90s.

    • otou-san says:

      fair enough, but the point still stands that Macross Plus, which looks good to this day, came out at the same time. Put Plus up against the M7 OVAs and there’s just no comparison.

  25. Neil says:

    Excellent thread, and I’m very late to it. OGT makes the most sense. What it comes down to is this: if you spend more time worrying about the flaws (which are an opinion, a point-of-view, and not fact) than you do the positive aspects of something, you are not a fan of it. It really is that simple.

    I appreciate Picasso, but I cannot get past what I dislike about him… I am not a Picasso fan. On the other hand, I find the work of Rackham to be brilliant. If there are flaws, I don’t notice them because I am enthralled by his works… I am a fan (if that is the right term for an artist).

    It isn’t being an “apologist” (what an utterly inappropriate, and sadly overused term… apologists offer defense for something controversial, such as fascism or communism, not animated programs) to focus on the positive and look beyond — or not notice, or not care about — the negative. That is what being a fan entails.

    Finally, I disagree with the assertion that a creator isn’t the best executor of his/her own ideas. Someone else executing them in a different (better?) manner represents a deviation from those ideas, so the ideas are different. For all the endless whinges and moaning about the recent Star Wars films from the chronically embittered and sad fanboys, those films could have been handled differently (better?) if directed by a different director, but then they wouldn’t have been the creator’s ideas anymore.

    I’ll always give more credit to an artist whose works are “imperfect” (Lucas, Kawamori, Kurosawa) than to an artist whose works seem great but he’s not the author of them (Peter Jackson, and too many to list). (Was Lord of the Rings better than the books? Was the King Kong remake better than the iconic film on which it was based? It seems to me the originals will be around when Mr. Jackson’s films are getting remade yet again.) The original artist will outlast the artist who needs to borrow ideas.

    • otou-san says:

      if you spend more time worrying about the flaws (which are an opinion, a point-of-view, and not fact) than you do the positive aspects of something, you are not a fan of it. It really is that simple.

      I enjoyed this goofy statement which starts trying to make a distinction between factual and opinion statements (and some flaws are objective, though admittedly the ones in my post aren’t, necessarily), then goes on to make a statement of opinion — an arbitrary definition of something that you apparently hold true — masquerading as fact. In the space of one sentence. I feel perfectly comfortable in my fandom regardless of who questions it. Since this post I’ve gone way farther down other roads like Gundam, but Macross comfortably remains my favorite franchise and this love-fest of a sister post proves it but also proves how boring it is to just talk about how great something is. If you love something, you want it to be the best it can be, and that makes you a fan. It’s that simple.

      (see how productive and not-frustrating it is when I do that?)

      I’ll always give more credit to an artist whose works are “imperfect” (Lucas, Kawamori, Kurosawa) than to an artist whose works seem great but he’s not the author of them (Peter Jackson, and too many to list).

      Peter Jackson was also the author of some of my favorite works of his, including The Frighteners and, yes, Meet the Feebles but the examples you use are I admit a side issue to your main point.

      It’s apples to oranges anyway. I’m not talking about interpretations of original work — which is a nowhere argument anyway, even Dylan maintains that Hendrix performed the definitive version of “All Along the Watchtower” and how you gonna argue with him? — I’m talking about a collaborative situation where one person uses his strengths and the other supplements with his own.

      An example: George Lucas came up with (arguably) a compelling story but not great scripts and he’s not the world’s greatest director. But in his younger days before hubris set in, he supplemented his skills with great screenwriters like Lawrence Kasdan and directors like Irvin Kershner, and they executed on his vision to create great things like The Empire Strikes Back.

      For me to say “Kawamori isn’t always the best executor of his own ideas” felt like a tossed-off thing to say because I’m frankly surprised anyone would want to argue it. All anime should be created, written, scripted, directed, and completely overseen by the same guy? Cencoroll was great, but so were SDF Macross (directed by the late great Noburu Ishiguro) and Macross Plus (masterfully helmed by Shinichiro Watanabe). Hell, a long-lasting legacy of Macross is the Itano Circus, and who came up with that? The results are strong entries into the franchise, while I find the ones helmed largely by Kawamori himself to be weaker entries in comparison.

      My point is, interpreters can be great visionaries themselves (see Cronenberg) but that’s not even what we’re talking about. I’m talking about a great anime product like SDF Macross being the work of a whole crew of greats: Ishiguro, Itano, Kawamori, Mari Ijima, the voice actors, etc). As much as I would love to put my favorite anime hippie on an untouchable pedestal, that’d be a disservice to the cartoons I love, and to a visionary but very humble creator.