Saturday, April 28, 2012

Macross Frontier

A new anime season has started, but since I haven't watched enough of anything to talk about them yet, I thought I'd talk about an older series, Macross Frontier.  I have to admit up front that Macross Frontier is the only one of the Macross-related series that I've ever watched, so I won't be comparing it to other Macross series.  I'll just be talking about this series, and of course laying out the plot line as I go.

Macross Frontier is an awesome series, with only one flaw.  I'll come back to that flaw later.  The "Frontier" is a colony ship fleet containing people who are living their lives out in the colony as it moves through space to find a new planetary home.  The main ship of the fleet is a huge city-dome.  The story centers around a young man named Saotome Alto and his friends.  Alto wants to be a pilot, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else, and he gave up a career in acting to follow that dream.  As the story proceeds he also finds himself the center of a love triangle between a young, out-going, green-haired girl named Ranka Lee and a sophisticated, worldly beauty named Sheryl Nome.  Sheryl is a famous singer visiting the colony and Ranka is an aspiring singer who worships Sheryl as well as vying with her for Alto's interest.

At the beginning of the story, Sheryl comes from another colony fleet to visit the Frontier and give a performance, and while she's there the colony ship is attacked by their enemies, the Vajra.  The Vajra do some damage, and during their attack Alto takes over a downed Valkyrie fighter and rescues Ranka.  He is subsequently recruited by a mercenary organization called the SMS which is run by Ranka's brother, Ozma.  He joins his two schoolmates, Michel and Luca, who already belong to the SMS, and as SMS members they fly fighters and generally help protect the colony fleet.

The story follows these people as they struggle to live normal lives amidst attacks by the Vajra.  As the story progresses, Ranka is found to be part Vajra and Sheryl is found to be dying of a vajra-related virus.  Ranka's singing alternately calms or enrages the attacking Vajra, depending on the machinations of another group of people, including Sheryl's manager, Grace, and Ranka's estranged brother, Brera Stern. 

In the end, this series has a happy ending with the Vajra becoming not-enemies, Sheryl being rescued from death by Ranka's abilities, and Alto getting his wish of flying his Valkyrie in the atmosphere of the new planet that they discover and begin to colonize.  The only flaw in the series is that Michel dies (yes, of course he was my favorite character).  His death is a true token death in the worse sense.  There was NO reason for him to die - it wasn't necessary for the plot, or to motivate one of the other characters.  There was no reason at all, just a token death.  It seriously pissed me off, which may be why I haven't blogged about this series before.

Other than the flaw, this series was an excellent series all around.  Even for a mecha series, they kept the mecha to a reasonable level, focusing on the characters and plot development instead.  The music . . . the music from this series is waaaaaay beyond outstanding.  Thank you, Yoko Kanno!  The music and the singers who do Sheryl and Ranka's songs are so amazing, it really just make this series.  Along with that, there was enough plot to keep it interesting and lots of action, and of course it never hurts to have pretty characters.  Overall, I highly recommend watching it, even if you are not a fan of mecha series.  This one is more than worth it.  You may have to alter reality to keep Michel alive though.    

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