Macross Plus is among the ranks of anime that some treat with disdain -- extremely well-known. Only a handful of anime films and series fill out this category, and among them are both otaku favorites, such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell, and those that are despised, Dragon Ball Z and Samurai Pizza Cats (now on 6 days a week!). Fortunately, Mac+ has a special place in our hearts, because Macross itself is what got many of us started on the path to ruin... uh, I mean otakuness. Known as Robotech here in the States, its appeal to the Eighties' Cartoon Generation was ubiquitous.
Mac+, however, departs in many ways from its legacy of Zentradi and Invid wars. This time, peace reigns throughout the U.N. Spacy worlds (for the most part), and it is therefore a time of great innovation. This innovation is in the foreground of the tale.
Guld Goa Bowman, a man borne of a Zentradi micron father and a human mother, has been hired by General Galaxy, an independent military contractor, to design a replacement for the VF-11 Thunderbolt Valkyrie. Fortunately for Guld, his lineage is unsurpassed: his father led the soil survey team that settled Eden, and his mother, who completed graduate school at the age of 20, was also on the team. Additionally, he has the surname of another genius: David Bowman, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame (hello, Dave). He has responded to the challenge with the YF-21, a mech that acts on mental input. As both the designer and pilot of the jet, he is confident that it will surpass all other competitors.
Yet there is one critical competitor left: the YF-19, piloted by Isamu Alva Dyson. Isamu, which may be loosely translated as "brave," is the son of Genzoh Dyson, a famous U.N. Spacy pilot who disappeared just prior to his son's birth piloting at the edge of known space. Raised by his mother, Mariara, Isamu grew up a close friend of Guld's, but past animosities have grown between the two men into barely controlled hatred. The competition becomes instantly personal, setting the stage for brilliant trials by both teams.
Enter Myung Fang Lone. A childhood friend of both Isamu and Guld, as well as being romantically intertwined with one or both men, she is the central figure in the amazing career of the A.I. singer Sharon Apple. Once a singer herself, Myung left Eden due to some traumatizing event. Once Myung's presence is known to both pilots, the competition shifts to total domination: both of war and love.
The real heroes of this film are Shoji Kawamori and Yoko Kanno. Kawamori both directed Macross Plus and created the original story. Kawamori insisted on using computer graphics technology, but in a way, that enhanced the actual animation instead of subverting it. The C.G. you will see in this piece will not stand out and call your attention; it will only increase the overall quality of the art. His visions of Eden and the tale are as riveting as they are powerful. Meanwhile, Kanno's amazing musical selections, with the aid of the Israeli Philharmonic, are among the most beloved of all anime. Some might now be thinking, "Chotto matte, everyone knows that Escaflowne has the best C.G. and music!" Well, Shoji Kawamori and Yoko Kanno are the team of director and musician that brought you Esca! 'Nuff said.
If this is your first time watching Macross Plus, or any Macross for that matter, you are in for a treat. For those of us who are returning to it, it's like coming back to an old friend. And, for those of us who have just watched it too many times, just don't bother your neighbors by saying the lines early or singing along with "Santi-U" or "Voices" too loudly...