Posted by psgels on 26 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Macross Frontier

Having never seen anything of Macross, the arrival of the new Macross Frontier, airing more than twenty-five years after the original Dimensional Fortress Macross, seemed like a good place to check out what the hype about the franchise was all about. What I got was probably the biggest-budgeted series of the year, with grand visuals and soundtrack. However, I do hope that this isn’t the best that Macross has to offer.

Overall, Macross Frontier is a very accessible series, as long as you know that in the Macross Universe, songs can be used as weapons. It tells about the love triangle between one guy and two different idols, while evil aliens called the Vajra are trying to invade and need to be stopped. While the romance is rather questionably introduced, it does develop enough to keep the viewer busy. The characters are overall nicely fleshed out, sympathetic and nice to watch.

The problem with this series is that I don’t really think that the creators really knew what they wanted with this series. It jumps from one thing to the others, introduces things that turn out to not matter at all in the end, while rushing the development of the things that do, some moment sparkle with brilliance, while others bore with dullness. The result is a beginning that goofs off a bit too much, and a finale that feels superficial, and where nothing really comes together like it should be.

The series has a cast of very interesting characters, but they’re not always used well. The series has a nasty tendency sometimes to put them into predictable situations, that don’t really allow them to fully develop their characters, with the prime example being Ranka, one of the main characters. She has some excellent moments, but she too often just plays the part of a damsel in distress. There’s only one character that’s really uninteresting to watch, and ironically this guy ended up being the main character of this series: Alto. His character isn’t bad, but he pales in comparison to the other characters, and because of that it’s so frustrating that the creators keep focusing on him.

Thankfully, this didn’t stop this series from having an excellent middle part, which lasts from around episode 10 till 18. It’s here where both the characters and the characters manage to show their best sides, which makes for a bunch of awesome action-packed episodes. Unfortunately, the series quickly dulls in again as it approaches its climax and finishes with a decent but inconclusive ending.

In terms of production-values, this series is also awesome, but unfortunately not without its flaws. Even though this series has a huge budget, the character-designs often look inconsistent and rushed, and unfortunately this just looks out of place a bit, unlike what Satelight managed to do with Noein. Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack also has a few very good pieces amongst it, but it’s nowhere near her best work.

Overall, I just feel that the creators could have done much more with the potential of this series. They should have taken more risks, they should have made more effort to flesh out some of the neglected subplots and side-characters, instead of goofing off with Alto, Ranka and Sheryl. Macross Frontier had the potential to bake a delicious cake, and instead just came with a fried egg. And while the egg is nice and good and all, it could have been so much better.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

14 Responses

  1. green says:

    I dropped it after ep8. I didn’t see any potential then and I am not seeing any potential now.

  2. kuromitsu says:

    For me, Macross F was a very enjoyable show. I didn’t expect much from it (least of all a non-clichéd story, after all, this is a homage to the franchise itself), and in the end it exceeded my admittedly low expectations. The characters I either liked or didn’t care about, the animation was serviceable at worst, the fights were nice, the story made all the sense it needed to, and the music was nice (though in this aspect it didn’t come close to Macross Plus).

    Yes, it had flaws and maybe it wasted some of its potential, but in the end, that didn’t matter to me. This wasn’t a “serious” show, just a silly homage that didn’t take itself all that seriously. I wouldn’t call Frontier the best Macross series I’ve ever seen (that title goes to the Macross Plus OVAs), but I’m glad that I watched it.

  3. Westlo says:

    ^ Macross Plus Movie is better than the OVAs!

  4. shirokawa says:

    compared to the horrible debacle called Macross 7, this was pretty good as far as macross series go.

  5. Keiichi says:

    I feel Macross Frontier’s true approach can only be fully appreciated by fans who have seen most, if not all, the previous Macross series. Especially Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, which even by today’s standard is still considered a GREAT anime, and the best of the Macross series. *fanboy mode* Seriously, watch the previous macross series, watch this, and then you’ll be squirming all over in fanboy-ish orgasms like the rest of us…

    • rm2kmidi says:

      It’s true that the themes of Macross can only be truly understood by someone who has seen the previous works in the series. Unfortunately, Hiroyuki Yoshino decided that rather than commit to a solid storyline that dealt with any real issues, he thought it would be better to pander all potential audiences, which I would argue waters it down quite a bit. I feel like rather than paying tribute to the previous series, Macross Frontier comes off more like a cheap imitation. The only really positives here were Yoko Kanno’s soundtrack and Maaya Sakamoto’s performance as Sheryl Nome.

      I agree that the original is by far the best in the series, and if people haven’t checked it out, the newer ADV dub is top-notch. I think the reviewer made a mistake here thinking that the newest installment would be an appropriate introduction to the series – seeing the original of any series is almost always the best approach.

      @shirokawa Macross 7 was great, if any Macross series was a debacle, it would be Macross Frontier.

  6. Kamakiri says:

    As a 25th anniversary release, the mandate of Macross F is to draw dots over as many of the well-remembered scenes from the 1982 movie as possible. That really coerces the plot though. Poorly paced, overcomplicated, rushed and contrived beyond belief. That’s especially annoying as the basic premise/concept/story had a lot of potential. If the direction had been a little more disciplined it could have turned out very differently.

  7. Hayabusa says:

    It’s weird. while most of you guys don’t like the series that much, i find the series quite enjoyable. but yes, i do agree that they need more development on the characters & focus less on Alto. & death toll wise, i’m glad they keep most of the main crew alive. as developing new ones will take a whole of time. & Michael & one of the Zentraedi pilots in Klan’s crew did died didn’t they?

    I didn’t think the ending was inconclusive. main villain wiped out, the fleet found a true new home, everyone’s happy. i don’t know how it could be better than this. (spare the thought of one girl eventually wins, cuz i better have it the way the ending did)

    & i actually liked the way how vajras turned out to be good bugs manipulated by a wicked human. although you may not like it, but you can’t deny that it’s unexpected.

  8. Exia7swords says:

    the 1st episode (the one before the season started) and Macross Zero gave me high hopes for this series, but to me it was just the uncrowned trainwreck of 2008 even considering the china arc and final episodes from code geass r2…too bad because this series had a lot of potential but they killed it off with a sorrowful plot and one of the worst endings ever.

  9. Julian says:

    Mmmmm…Even though I disliked the anime, I must admit though I liked the 2 main female characters (sheryl and Ranka), to bad their personalities weren’t used very well…it had char development but that development felt really rushed.

  10. Avarice_WP says:

    Ya late post but I finally have finished this show. I have never seen the old Macross shows, but I enjoyed this one a lot. It had nice animation and CG, good fight scenes, some fun comedy, and cool characters. I do have a few problems though- mostly dealing with closure.

    *SPOILERS* First, they really copped out on the love story. Instead of having Alto pick one of the girls, they leave it up to the viewer- that’s just weak. Also- there was some story cliches that I didn’t like (cliches as references to the old shows are fine- its plot cliches that turn me off). First, the Vajra turn out to be just mindless hive bugs, who can’t understand what they are doing is wrong. Lame. We have seen this in many instances (starship Troopers, Blue Gender, Ender’s Game). Second, super powered evil loli girls (Black Cat, Elfen Lied) appear far too often. When is there gonna be a show where they just kill them to save more lives? They need to come up with better things than this to explain what happens…

    But- I gotta defend against some of the Alto hate. His character was fine- baddass even at many parts- he’s not an overly complicated hero- he wants to fly more than anything, and protect the women he loves. He has his flaws which is good because all of the characters in this show had their flaws and regrets about their past. My only problem with him was his hair- the princess joke got old so you would think he woulda cut it shorter or something.

    Finally- I don’t care for Loli characters. Sheryl(the tsundere princess with a tragic past) > Ranka(who *was* too one dimensional- stereotypical loli/emo girl who needs rescued all the time) in my opinion- and I was hoping Alto would have said ‘I love you’ or something to her. She was far more interesting than Ranka, and would have made a better girl for him. (It could just be my own preferences coming through though…)

  11. Drakenfel says:

    One of the glaring issues I find with Macross Frontier is how much it “pays homage” to SDF Macross. I’m not just talking about the Valkyries, love triangles, and music that comprise every story.

    1. Hikaru and Alto have a passion for flight and are more or less forced into Valkyrie combat to pursue that dream.

    2. Both Hikaru and Alto are introduced to Valkyries by commandeering them.

    3. Both Lynn Minmei and Ranka are saved from a decapitated Valkyrie arm falling in midair and are drawn into the rescuer’s cockpit.

    4. Captain Global and Captain Wilder look like clones.

    5. Like SDF Macross and Macross 7 before — “bridge bunnies” on the Macross Quarter.

    6. Max and Millia’s Zentran/Micron romance mirrors Michel and Klan’s.

    7. Melting Zentraedi fighting spirit with a “cool island song.”

    And many more I cannot recall. Some perhaps more obvious and better. Obscure dialogue references to past series don’t count.

    Side note: definitely check out Macross Plus: The Movie (not the OVA’s). It truly is a good one of the franchise and sets a level of maturity and tone that I wish would be reflected in future renditions of the Macross universe.

  12. vf1 says:

    I don’t agree that you will learn to love this series if you’ve seen the original. I saw the original all the way from my childhood to my adulthood, I’ve always loved it with burning passion; whenever I hear a narutard saying that it has “dated animation” and “naive” I get pissed to no end, and I end up in a monologue full of hate towards the one that spat the unfortunate comment. That being said, I hated Macross Frontier. No homage that they did could change my idea; in fact, it endorses it: homages asida, Macross F is absolutely nothing. It adds nothing to the Universe. It does no justice to the original (or to Plus or even to Zero, for that matter). If you don’t want to watch 26 episodes of an 80s anime, and if you want to see the best that Macross has to offer besides the original, watch Macross Plus. The OVAs or the movie, doesn’t matter (there are pros and cons in both). It’s a masterpiece that makes Macross Frontier look like a childish cartoon.

  13. Queue says:

    >Overall, Macross Frontier is a very accessible series, as long as you know that in the Macross Universe, songs can be used as weapons.

    Which only made any kind of sense in the original Macross because the Zentradi were mesmerized by it. There wasn’t anything mystical about Minmei’s singing, it was just psychological warfare between two branches of the same species.

    Of course, Macross 7 ruined this by explaining the Supervision Army as thralls of “supernatural culture vampires” called the Protodeviln, and therefore turning music into an actual mystical weapon. This is a problem because the likelihood of multiple alien races being enthralled by mankind’s singing is astronomically low to the point of being obscenely idiotic and reeking of unoriginality, and it forces the Macross universe to make a jarring genre shift from science fiction to fantasy.

    Macross Frontier continues the “tradition” of shoehorning music idols into its plot for the mere sake of fan service, which is inexcusable laziness at this point. The Vajra are ridiculous for the same basic reasons the Protodeviln are, except worse because now there’s a third alien race, which happens to be enthralled by mankind’s singing. At this point I’m almost convinced every single problem in the Macross universe can be solved by pop idols singing obnoxious songs for the adulation of mindless fans, and that’s an unacceptable waste of the pedigree set by the original Macross, a masterpiece.

    And that’s just my problem with the singing aspect of Frontier (and 7).

    The school days aspect of the story was out of place and it weakened the first quarter of the show by being needlessly distracting.

    Ranka Lee was obnoxious, not cute.

    Sheryl Nome was disgusting, not sexy.

    Alto Saotome was stiff and boring.

    The love triangle was completely uninteresting because Alto barely recognized or cared it was happening. He didn’t care, so neither did I. I was also never clear why Ranka or Sheryl ever had a thing for him.

    The Macross Quarter was… a complete betrayal, on the level of asking “what’s a paladin?”. For me the Macross Quarter was a problem on the same level as Macross’s pathetic insistence on turning every moronic pop idol into a hero.

    See, in SDF-1 Macross the reason the Valkyries were built was because the crashed Macross was obviously fitted for significantly larger creatures. U.N. Spacy wanted an agile variable fighter, that could function in space and in an atmosphere, and be able to fight the aliens in close quarters. U.N. Spacy overcame the limitations of the square-cube law by using “overtechnology” harvested from the Macross while it was being retrofitted for human use.

    U.N. Spacy did not, however, have any need for a larger combat platform. It wasn’t trying to step on the zentradi, and even with “overtechnology” the square-cube law still presents severe size limitations. My point is the SDF-1 Macross was never a giant robot, ever. It merely looked like one because it had to reconfigure itself to access redundant power systems, which made it “stand upright”, and it had two boats docked to it, which gave it “arms”.

    The Macross Quarter, on the other hand, is a space ship, which transforms into a giant robot for… no discernible reason. It’s too big to step on anything, it couldn’t hold its own weight on a planet, and the maneuverability it shows in the few actions scenes it gets would cause its inhabitants to go splat from inertia… Because people work in every single part of its body because it’s a goddamn space ship.

    The Macross Quarter was not only stupid as hell, even in context, but it also demonstrated a severe lack of understanding of the source material by the incompetent writers. The Quarter, to me, is a literal symbol of how much Bandai doesn’t give a fuck about delivering a compelling Macross story anymore. It just panders to fans with endless fan service, which has no redeeming literary qualities.

Leave a Reply


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 09:02 PM)
    One-Punch Man’s pilot was almost adapted flawlessly. It straight up uses the manga panels as it’s main storyboard, but added just enough new touches to improve the action instead of ruining it. Now let’s see how they animate the mosquitos and all the lasers for the next episode.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:57 PM)
    And that’s why Madhouse is one of the few respectable studios left. I thought that they will be seriously diminished after Masao Maruyama took some of its key members and funded MAPPA, but One-Punch Man showed that they are still one of the best in the business.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 08:51 PM)
    @Kaiser The anime industry isn’t advanced enough in CG to make it look good, is all it is.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:51 PM)
    @K-off: Your not wrong, it certainly looks poor but some of the old gonzo animated stuff was far more woeful looking. Stellvia, which was done by xebec was another example of old anime cgi which was quite ugly to look at. Just as I prefer traditional effects in film I also prefer traditional animation techniques to cg.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 05:42 PM)
    Lately, the use of badly integrated cgi have been making my eyes sore,from the obviously cgi background characters in Asterisk to the overly fluid mech movements in Aldnoah. I still remember the shitty cgi piano hands in Kimi no Uso.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Oct 6. 2015 12:04 AM)
    On the note of good balance between humor and drama- I think BoJack Horseman is an example of a show that executed that almost perfectly in both seasons. You are laughing one minute and amused by the hijinks and silliness and the next minute you are actually moved and shocked by the honest introspection. Too be honest BoJack is more a tragic character then a goofy one, and his struggles are deeper and more existential than they have any business being in a show with anthropomorphic animals.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    The changes in the setting actually made me more excited for season 3 then what I felt the past few weeks, since now the plot needs to move forward from the cliffhanger and hopefully this translates to more cohesion and refocusing on what mad the show great in the first place. I’m pretty sure S3 will also be a blend of episodic and arch story elements tho. Overall a few ups and downs but still a great show.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:52 PM)
    The finale also had some of the most overall arch story elements featured in the season. Earth joining the Galactic Federation is a big deal story-wise from now on. Also the use of a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” (not the Nine Inch Nails one clearly) was a nice fitting yet surprising touch. The throwback to Mr. PB after the credits was a good idea, but felt flat in it’s actual execution.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 11:49 PM)
    I thought R&M had a pretty good finale. The episode achieved what was missing from most of season 2, and that was a balance of randomness and meaningful bits. What made Rick Potion #9 and the previous season’s finale and general tone great was a sense of humor that was combined with more sincere drama and character developments; a sort of sweet melancholy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 09:51 PM)
    @K-off, not having too much trouble with the interface but I still cannot create categories.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gangsta. – 12

Normally one expects a final episode to be well…final. Right from the start you could tell Gangsta wasn’t going to make an effort to form some kind of ending with it wasting far too much time on things that don’t really matter at this point. By episode’s end I was actually questioning whether this truly […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 12

The ending to Gakkou leaves me with a feeling similar to that I felt after watching Madoka’s final two episodes. The ending isn’t inherently bad but I can’t help but feel like I have been cheated. When you tease darkness and provide instead light its hard to appreciate. Contract to popular belief, not everyone loves […]

Gangsta. – 11

Gangsta has a serious problem on its hands. So far the past 11 episodes have been building up something and it’s clear that this buildup will not be utilised in the remaining episode. We got a setting, characters(though aside from the main trio a number of them need development) and an antagonist but we don’t […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 12

  It’s a good thing a second season of Gate was announced as it ending on this episode would be a poor round up to the series indeed. The biggest hanging thread is the Dark elf and her dilemma of returning to the village to tell them that help is not coming or resorting to […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 11

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. Things are looking grimmer and grimmer for our four heroines as Yuuri can’t bring herself to kill Kurumi, Miki is trapped on the lower floors and zombies have subsequently knocked out the power and overrun the school. Leaving a surprisingly stable Yuki to save everyone’s hides. The zombies […]

Gangsta. – 10

So our girl Erica turns out to be the twin of Delio and I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t remember who Delio is. He’s the white haired guy who’s a weak twilight that works as a bodyguard for Monroe. It’s revealed that she was abducted when she was a kid and this is the […]

Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There! – 11

If it’s one thing this episode has taught us it’s that you should never cockblock a Goth-loita demi-gods plans for the night. Anime truly is the greatest teacher one could have, even more so than a yellow squid creature that moves at mach speed but not quite on the level of a gangster leader with […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]