Posted by psgels on 8 October 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Macross Frontier




Okay, so the Macross Frontier Movie turned out to be an alternative retelling, very much in the same veins as Do You Remember Love. And here’s the thing: in the most cases, the biggest flaw of these kinds of movies is their lack of time: they really try, but compared to the series they’re based on they just don’t have the time to experiment, flesh out their characters. You can really see that with Air, Clannad and Escaflowne: they really had their own ideas and visions, but severely lacked the time to really get the best out of their stories, and instead they ended up with a very stylish, but much more simplified version compared to their TV-shows. But holy crap, Macross Frontier is completely different: I liked the movie quite a bit more than the TV-series.

The thing with Macross Frontier was that its plot was pretty much flawed: it had a lot of subplots that never really went anywhere: it never really knew what it wanted to do. This movie finds this focus, it cuts out all of the pointless bits, and makes the story focus much more on Alto, Sheryl and Ranka. It updates many scenes to make them less annoying and it makes the drama that never seemed to progress in the television series much more dynamic and interesting. And even though its plot is similar to that of the TV-series, it really stands on its own, as much more than just another recap movie.

The back-story of the TV series felt unnecessarily complicated to me. Unnecessary in the way that it had a lot of bark and no bite, and was never really used. The movie simplifies things a lot. The results are that it’s a bit more cliched, but it fits much more within the rest of the series. In order to make up for the cliches, the creators here try to make up for it with the smaller things, where you can see them play around with neat ideas around the performances as well as a much snappier and flowing scenario in which the scenes flow into each other much better. Oh, and Shoji Kawamori found himself a new vehicle that he really wants to show off.

As for the graphics, this movie consists out of frames taken directly from the TV-series, along with plenty of new stuff. The recycled frames may be annoying, but it really surpasses the TV-series with its original content. The character animation is much more fluid and much less rushed, while the action scenes are just visual orgasms: they look absolutely beautiful, there’s a lot going on at the same time and have some of the most amazing choreography.

Really, I realize that I’m one of the people who had quite a few complaints about the original Macross Frontier and all, but I’d actually advise people who are interested in Macross Frontier to check out the movie instead of the TV-series, unless the second movie really ends up ruining things. The TV-series never felt like everything came together. The movie does.

Storytelling: 9/10 – The proof that “more time” doesn’t always equal better. Grabs the plot of the TV-series, removes most of weaknesses and makes the plot flow much, much smoother.
Characters: 8/10 – Much more likable, and much better used.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Not getting a 10 because of the recycled frames, but otherwise it would get really close. Fantastic animation and a visual orgasm and a great soundtrack that really succeeds in making this one of the few animated musicals that really work.
Setting: 8/10 – Less needlessly complicated, though more cliched because of this. Still, the cliches are not enough to weigh this movie down.

Suggestions:
Macross – Do You Remember Love?
The Wings of the Honneamise
The Adolescence of Utena

10 Responses

  1. Alael says:

    I agree with everything in your review psgels, except for one thing: production values. The recycled scenes make for less than 20% of the scenes; this anime deserves a 11 out of 10 in this area ^^

    Also, the music here is awesome, it just took the place of Macross Plus in my own top ten list. Yup, it’s that good.

  2. zz says:

    Keep up the good work, I take your reviews quit seriously. I read many other blogs but their opinion, reviews and comments don’t click with me. But yours are different almost everything you write is like you reading my mind. I can now use this site to decide whether to pick up a series or not with out having to watch 3 or 4 eps before being disappointed.

  3. Ransom says:

    So… Did they solve the love triangle? Or they just left it hanging like in the anime? -.-

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Ransom: there are going to be two movies. The answer to that will have to wait until the second one.

  5. Ransom says:

    Thank you psgels!

    Time to wait for the subs…

  6. Psycho says:

    Wait, I’ve just read “two movie.” Aww damn, must waiting another years to watch Macross F ending?

  7. signorRossi says:

    Did they leave out the Loli thing? I mean the Meltrandi warrior woman with her gigantic OO that became a child in her human form. I couldn’t stand that at all and when her love interest bit the dust it was a ‘YESSS’ moment for me, with the proper gesture, of course. :)

  8. psgels psgels says:

    signorRossi: well, she’s still there, but she has been reduced to a completely minor character. You won’t be annoyed at her because she hardly has any airtime.

  9. signorRossi says:

    Thanks psgels, might give the movie a try then.
    BTW, I didn’t really dislike her Meltrandi form. :)

  10. Mizst says:

    Same sentiments exactly. I guess that’s why I keep reading your reviews. :-)

    I was lucky that I couldn’t really remember the series frame-for-frame, so I had no idea how much of the material was recycled. I find the later continuous combat scenes to be much better than the series.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).

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