Posted 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

13 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.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Deadlight
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:20 AM)
    Night y’all
  • Deadlight
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:20 AM)
    @Emma: Thanks for sharing, haha. Yeah, best if you see the Fargo series first. Who knows, you might find some of the liberties they took to be engaging. Anyway, I’m really dozing off here. Worked too hard all day and barely got any sleep XD
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:10 AM)
    From dusk till dawn I noticed also got a tv show as a remake.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:07 AM)
    I agree with you deadlight on Fincher’s use of athmosphere and lighting in general.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:07 AM)
    Good to hear though the remakers of Fargo are taking their own initiative though, that its darker intrigues me also.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:05 AM)
    After seeing fight club, I wasn’t exactly feeling the twist in the game, I kind of drifted in and out of the athmosphere in that film too.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:04 AM)
    I actually can’t remember much about panic room as I watched it back in 2002 but I do remember liking it, at least thinking it was a tense film.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:03 AM)
    Zodiac had the benifit of been based on a very interesting true crime mystery and that made it an engaging film.
  • Friend
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:02 AM)
    Oh lordy, Alien 3 was one messy jargon of a movie. I heard that the studio even skipped scenes around without the director’s consent.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Apr 21. 2014 06:01 AM)
    @Deadlight: shit, old review of girl with dragon tatoo : http://emma-hime.deviantart.com/art/Review-Girl-with-the-dragon-tatoo-276161664

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Clipboard02

Mushishi – Tokubetsu-hen

Mushishi holds a really special place in my heart. Back in November 2005, when I started up this blog, Mushishi was one of the first shows I picked up to cover weekly. At first I didn’t think much behind it: it just looked interesting and I wanted to cover it, but as it went on […]

Seasonal Anime Podcast – First Impressions – 2013 Fall Anime Season

Hey everyone, I participated in a podcast again, together with Deadlights (Deadlight’s Anime Blog) Flawfinder (Standing on my Neck) and Slashe (Behind the Nihon Review) with two new members, Landon (Mecha Guignol) and Tom (Nigorimasen) Today we talked about the past Fall season. You can find the link here, enjoy: http://deadlightanime.blogspot.nl/2013/10/seasonal-anime-podcast-first_12.html

Clipboard07

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Review – 89/100

There are a lot of ways to adapt something. Shounen battle series tend to very quickly fall into a very dull variation of that: really slow pacing that goes on forever with long boring drawn out battles that all look like each other. David Production looked at them, and just said “we can do better!” […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 26

Oh Jojo. What an ending. I did not expect what would happen here at all. Perhaps the ending was not as impressive as with Psycho Pass or From the New World, but still this is every way in which a shounen series should end. You hear that, other shounen series? Watch this for how endings […]

Clipboard05

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 25

Okay, so I thought that this was the final episode so I was ready to go all out. And then at the end of this episode there was this “To be continued”-message. Yeah, I was confused. But boy, am I glad, because it means that there will be one more episode of Jojo. They managed […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 23 & 24

And here are the penultimate episodes of Jojo. And seriously, I loved the fights here. The creators really went to the extreme, while keeping true to their philosophy of putting huge over the top powers on one hand, and really delicate things on the other. One one hand you have Stroheim yelling like crazy, while […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

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 […]

Clipboard01

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 […]

Clipboard04

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 […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]