SDF Macross 01-03: Light Strikes

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This will be a short post as the content here will predominantly be reactions, and may occasionally have something to add or say if the show does something noteworthy enough for me to remark upon it.

My experience with Macross has been primarily that of vicariously enjoying the extensive writings from the We Remember Love blog. Reading through ghostlightning’s deep love for the franchise was an enriching experience in and of itself, and made me feel like I was missing out on something, but more importantly I felt incredibly nourished by this man’s passion and amazing ability to communicate his feelings in a way that almost made them my own (despite not having watched any Macross).

So, last year I discovered that when Macross was originally brought overseas, it was done so under the altered title ‘Robotech’, and since I already had the series on dvd I thought it would be as good time as ever to give it a watch. Oh how foolish was I. This was not the same Macross fans spoke of with adoration and enthusiasm. No, this was Harmony Gold’s bastardization of a beloved series. Granted, it was at the time how Macross came to be known abroad, but I don’t think it’s fair to excuse it of its poor sub to dub translation, having taken some pretty big liberties with the script and also made a jarring mess of the story by poorly cutting/re-editing scenes (with no option to watch the show in its original version either). I gave up on it after 8 episodes.

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Now then, without further delay, let’s watch (the real) Macross!

Episode 1 “Booby Trap”

  • Opens with seizure-inducing lights flying across space and heading towards Earth.
  • Buildings crumble and fall
  • EXPLOSION!
  • “War is Hell” exposition
  • Ten years passed
  • Battleships! (very cool); Macross! Macross!
  • Fighter jets! + Hikaru (also very cool); awesome designs
  • What’s up with the way the audience is clapping? Oddly fast and offbeat lol
  • A MOVING COLA MACHINE?! WHAT?!
  • More explosions and lights IN SPACE! + Alien fleet approaching Earth
  • Recon ship is deployed to gather intel
  • Technological malfunction – Macross fires a shot into space!
  • Noticing a bit of a resemblance between Cpt. Bruno J. Global and Cpt. Nemo (Nadia)
  • Maniacal laugh; the Captain has already lost it before the war’s even started
  • “No smoking on the bridge!”
  • Pew! Pew! Pew! – Epic space battle is epic!
  • Debris. Shock from observing aliens. Retaliation ensues.
  • MORE SHOTS (ENERGY BEAMS) FIRED!
  • Missiles! – make for great action sequences
  • Sleepy Hikaru; judgmental pacifist baka snoozed himself into aerial combat
  • Dogfights. Very good. Also… crash landing.
  • Jet fighter transforms into robot HAHAHA
ep-01
Partied too hard, robot

Despite having read quite a substantial amount of Macross-related analysis posts, and beyond appreciating certain details (mostly the aircraft, in both terms of design and behaviour/movement) I so far do not feel the “love” that many Macross fans do. Nonetheless, I am willing to see to it through until the very end.

Episode 2 “Countdown”

  • Okay, starting to fall in love with the opening theme already – Macross! Macross!
  • Jet in robot form looks lame (for shame, Macross. For. Shame.)
  • Alien forces rise from the sea – BAM! No more helicopter (oh shit)
  • “I don’t believe it. The plane turned into a robot!”
  • Hikaru may be a good plane/jet pilot, but he’s not a good robot pilot tbh
  • Lots of real-sounding techno-babble going over my head
  • Macross takes flight!… not really LOL fail (oh no)
  • Meanwhile, Major Focker shows (Hikaru) how it’s done! – Nice job!
  • The mere (goofy) presence of the robots is starting to become funny – OH GOD; “GERWALK mode” is even worse (better)!

ep-02

  • A VOLLEY OF ENERGY BEAMS RAINS DOWN FROM SPACE ONTO THE CITY!
  • Some good robot action
  • Minmay/Minmei trips (lol) & Hikaru grabs her (careful with that robot arm, man)
  • OMG they can’t hear each other because the cockpit’s in the way LMAO
  • Enemy shoots off arm (what did I say) & Minmei/Minmay falls; Hikaru flies down and catches before landing in the nick of time
  • Crying ensues; she is more concerned about her hair than her life (understandable) – great stuff xD
  • Hikaru goes berserk on enemy when he sees Minmay/Minmei unconscious
  • Giant alien man is GIANT – Also dead (ha); thanks Focker!
  • Hikaru is SHOOK

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While I still may not be head over heels for the show at this point, I am starting to look at it more fondly. Albeit, may be in large part because I want so badly to like it. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed this episode a good bit more than the first. The melodrama may not have surprised me (plenty of articles have prepared me for it, after all), but I still didn’t know what to make of it – Should I laugh? Should I cry? Should I cheer? There’s this odd clash of tones between what is happening, in terms of the action, and in terms of character reactions that I feel more confused than anything.

ep-03

Hikaru smashing through Minmay’s bedroom leading to him flying off with her in the palm of his robot (she’s apparently cool about the whole trashing her house thing) that gets blown off and then leads to Hikaru diving for a mid-air rescue… is all building up to an already odd relationship, but also not only a romance, but a love triangle as well? Hmm. Well, it’ll be interesting to observe the events that will culminate the love Macross has in store for me at least.

Episode 3 “Space Fold”

  • Hopping/shooting alien forces get OWNED by (superior) fighter jet missiles
  • Hikaru fails at escaping because the (dead) giant alien is still holding onto the robot LOL
  • Focker to the rescue (again)!
  • Macross has made it to space – success!
  • Hikaru is bad at first impressions with “old ladies” it seems (she mad)
  • Alien ship preparing to fire (LOTS of firepower)
  • War flashbacks already hitting Hikaru; accidental hugging (Hikaru x Minmay) courtesy of Focker’s driving + Best. Present. Ever. – new (awesome) fighter(?) jet for Hikaru and Minmay (love the colours – red and white; very nice)
  • The space battle resumes! – Beams, ships exploding, and debris flying around like crazy (whoa)
  • Captain makes a bold decision – TO THE MOON!
  • Civilians in shelter worry about Minmay
  • Awww, they’re flying together (Hikaru x Minmay rides in a one seater lol)
  • Immediately turns the jet upside down and scares Minmay; Hikaru can be such a dick lol – poor Minmay
  • Something seizure-y is happening with the visuals again (force field?/propulsions?)
  • Even the Captain’s confused
  • No response from ship; more techno fail – this is delicious
  • Same for Hikaru/Minmay; jet is inactive as well
  • “I can’t tell her we’re leaking air” – kek maybe Hikaru’s not so bad (to Minmay)
  • Legit don’t know/remember how he got the jet (kinda) working again
  • Tangled in wires & laughing at their (dire) situation; gotta love these two
  • They (Macross crew) aimed for the moon and somehow ended up at Pluto?! WOW, Macross *claps* – that’s some dedication to techno fail there LOL

Seriously though, I really do appreciate this show’s commitment to depicting (so many) technological malfunctions and failures. This is pretty much how I would imagine humans trying to use alien technology IRL would pan out; study it for years, adapt it to fit their use, develop new machines based off its advances, then eventually put it into action only for it to fail spectacularly, demonstrating how untested it is. Things don’t go as planned, because there’s so much left unaccounted for, or hasn’t been discovered yet, or might just be beyond human comprehension.

Here’s ghostlightning’s account of the events:

Crititcal systems kept failing. The main gun fired not as planned. The anti-gravity systems tore through the hull instead of lifting the Macross to space. The fold system took them to Pluto orbit instead of the dark side of the moon. Executing an unprecedented fold maneuver in the atmosphere (not as planned) resulted in transporting a huge chunk of South Ataria Island and Macross City with it; before losing the fold system entirely.

On the micro-level, we have Ichijo Hikaru not quite fallen into his cockpit (a Gundam-inspired trope) but of course SEIZES THE REINS OF HISTORY nonetheless. Unlike Gundam protagonists however, he is not an instant expert of the Variable Fighter and pretty much takes out an entire neighborhood failing at controlling the machine. This is due to the unfamiliarity of the Battloid and Gerwalk modes. This is despite his own expertise as a (stunt entertainer) pilot.

As we’ll see, the survival of the human race persistently results from amazing luck because skill only gets one so far in this maelstrom of unfortunate breakdowns and uncertainty.

Some pretty big battles are fought in the first three episodes. The level of violence, when I stop to think about it, is surprisingly high in scope, and involved not only deaths of soldiers on both sides, but many a civilians too. Or at least that’s what I think is implied, what with much of the city being turned to rubble and explosions going off in what was previously shown to be fairly populated areas (though I think most of them were evacuated). The Zentraedi are a genuine threat (despite how appearances make them seem) and end up unleashing a substantial amount of devastation this early on. A whole lot of people are shown to be blown to bits.

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But because the tone, when centered around the main characters, feels sort of goofy in places, there’s this weird sense that I’m not supposed to be horrified by the damage done throughout the city, as much as I should be enjoying it for bringing it all about via mecha street fights and ego-dominated (mostly Focker) dogfights. Which I’ll admit, were fun.

And I’m sure there’s a lot of fascinating stuff to do with the aircraft, mechanics, maneuvers and so on but it’s not really within my areas of nerdy expertise and/or interest, so I can only really enjoy it at only slightly above base level at most; as in beyond enjoying them for the spectacle, but also appreciating the detail gone into making them feel grounded in reality while still somehow looking cool most of the time.

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Not this. Never this.

If any Macross fans are reading this, I’d be interested to know what makes this show so special to you. What is it that makes you love this show so much? How do you “remember love” for it? Or if you don’t like this one, which of the series do you enjoy and why? What is it about this show or any other in the franchise that you like above the others?

6 thoughts on “SDF Macross 01-03: Light Strikes”

  1. I enjoyed reading your reactions to this macross series. I’ve never seen macross in my life lol Maybe I’ll start this one but I’ll have to such high and low for a physical copy. As streaming it is non accessible to us aussiers lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Glad to know you’re enjoying them!

      That’s a shame you can’t stream it. I hope you find the resources to make it happen someday! POWER TO THE DREAM.

      Like

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