Posted by psgels on 25 January 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

Yeah, this is it. Macross Plus has without a doubt turned into my favourite installment of the Macross Franchise. Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, it turned into an amazing character-study of its three lead characters. It’s much less chaotic and whimsical than your average Macross series, and instead it is a very focused story about fully grown adults and the relationship between them.

These three lead characters are the ones who make this series, but what also supports them is a rock-solid sense of storytelling, who knows exactly how to use its airtime to the fullest, giving a great balance between action, drama and build-up. Especially the final episode, in which everything comes together, is an amazing episode that allows the best of these characters to rise.

If I had to mention a flaw, then it’s that some of the side characters just seem… shallow. And I mean that in the way that they only seem to exist or do stuff, for the sake of advancing the plot. Sharon’s executive, for example. His actions had great result, but the guy himself was just a stereotypical evil villain who was evil for the sake of being evil. And while the ending itself is amazing, I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of an actual epilogue to wrap everything up.

For a Macross Series, the animation is perhaps not the most impressive out there, but still very good and fluid, especially considering the year in which this was produced. The animation is very smooth and the artistic direction is also very powerful. The soundtrack is an awesome one as well.

So yeah, now I finally understand why the Macross Franchise is held with such a high regard. The other Macross series I’ve seen had their charms here and there, but for me they mostly stood out through their eye-candy, not their substance. I’d probably rank them in the following way, from least favourite to most:
5). Do You Remember Love? (Lacks the charms of the series it recapped)
4). Macross Zero (Great visual direction but a chaotic story)
3). Macross Frontier (Great middle part but disappointing beginning and finale)
2). Original Macross (Great insight on the Zentradi)
1). Macross Plus (Great character-study and storytelling all around)

Storytelling: 9/10 – Focused and powerful.
Characters: 9/10 – Very well detailed and fleshed out lead characters with an excellent chemistry.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very smooth animation, great soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 – Some things exist just to forward the plot, but otherwise a good addition to the Macross Universe.

10 Responses

  1. Loz says:

    I’d have to agree with your review here, wholeheartedly.

    Macross Plus holds a special rank in my mind. I first saw it at a time when I would say I had not seen that much anime, and although I thought anime was cool, probably was not an anime fan just yet.

    Along with the likes of ‘Castle of Cagliostro’ and ‘Cowboy Bebop’, which I watched roughly around the same time, it opened my eyes to just how amazing anime can be.

  2. Camario says:

    Unlike your Macross Zero review, I can easily agree with the one here. Macross Plus was certainly a great show.

    Assuming this is a review of the OVA, I think you should try to watch the Macross Plus movie, if you want, because in some ways the changes made improved upon the original material and the narrative seems to flow a little bit better.

    With the exception of a couple of scenes, which I won’t spoil here, the movie’s cuts were useful and the added footage wasn’t too problematic. Perhaps you might disagree.

  3. Macross Plus is certainly in my top ten; I utterly adore it. Personally, I prefer the OVA series as the film sacrificed some of the characterization and (hey it’s Macross) the action. This is also one of the rare cases where the English dub actually surpasses that of the Japanese. Bryan Cranston, of Malcolm in the Middle fame, was one of the greatest voice actors working at the time.

  4. Westlo says:

    Macross Plus was top of the line in animation when it came out… heck to this day there still isn’t many mecha battles that can top the dogfight between Isamu and Guld in the city.

    Also you really should watch the movie version a few months later, personally think it flowed better as well as removing a few dumb things, + it had some good additions.

  5. chii says:

    Macross Plus is one of the first shows i watched and i have it to thank for getting me more into anime. in my top 5 anime as well. I haven’t seen the rest of the macross franchise but I will be soon. I hope they are as entertaining but judging by your scores they just might fall short for me.

  6. signorRossi says:

    You did mention that the soundtrack is great, but not enough IMHO. ;-) ‘Myung’s Theme’ is in my top ten of songs and will stay there.
    Not having seen the original series I also agree with you that this is the best show of the Macross franchise, followed by ‘Macross Zero’. ‘Macross Frontier’ and DYRL are just ‘bleh’.

  7. Alael says:

    I said you wouldn’t regret it! This show every bit of the appreciation you’ve shown.
    I agree with the guys that said the movie version is better – just watch it after a while.
    And the soundtrack? “Great” certainly isn’t enough to describe it!
    These OVAs were created 15 years ago and they still hold up. I can’t name a better mecha anime to this date.

  8. Chris says:

    I can’t believe you’re only watching this show now. You must be a young pup. Aren’t the anime from the ’90s awesome? Glad you are finally getting to see some of the best of them.

  9. Chris says:

    Oh. Also wanted to comment on the OVA vs. the movie… I found that the most enjoyable Macross Plus viewing experience is to watch parts 1-3 of the OVA then switch to the point in the movie where part 4 of the OVA begins.

  10. azer89 says:

    just watching episode 1 now… great story :D

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  • 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.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:56 PM)
    Eh, I’ve updated myself now on the onepunch manga and also the manga for yuruyuri, I can cross the shows off my list now. I forgot to mention onepunchs first episode crammed in the first volume.
    I stopped reading though around chapter 30, it was decent fun for a bit but I’ll be continuing with it in small doses.
  • k-off
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 08:19 PM)
    @Aidan Yeah? Well I at least have to hand it to psgels for continuing to pay for the site. By the way, is WordPress still fucked up on your end, or is it fine now?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:57 PM)
    @;(: Actually that was probably a bad word choice on my part, I meant that the humour in those episodes didn’t always work so well for me.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:56 PM)
    Whereas my favourite season 1 episodes were Rick potion n09 and rixty minutes.
  • ;(
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 04:55 PM)
    @Emma: What do you mean by “uneven”?

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