Macross Plus is one of the most popular OAV series released in recent years and also, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of Japanese animation, integrating a fascinating storyline, complex characters, state-of-the-art computer generated animation, excellent soundtrack, and beautiful artwork. Macross 7, a television series which ended in Japan just a short while ago, is also a fine example of anime, sporting great character designs and a superb soundtrack. Robotech was one of the most memorable cartoon series that aired in America, and I have fond memories of going through elementary school having heated discussions with my friends about the cool transforming robots in the show. Yet all these shows, while great productions in their own right, have their roots in the anime classic, and one of my favorite shows of all time, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.
The 36-episode series was shown on television in Japan in the early 80s, and it was a phenomenal success. Then, in 1984, the entire series was condensed and remade into a 2-hour-long movie which opened all over Japan called Macross: Ai, Oboete Imasu Ka (Do You Remember Love), becoming a huge hit and one of the milestones of Japanese animation, and it is this movie version that CJAS brings to you tonight.
The film revolves around Hikaru -- a pilot and flying ace, Misa -- a strong-willed, stern female officer, Minmei -- the singing, dancing, adorable superstar of the Super Dimensional Fortress, and the love triangle that develops between the three. But the film also delves into many other different themes and subjects, such as the struggle that the people of Macross face as they strive to create a community severed from their home planet, the meaning and purpose of culture in a society, the power of human love and sacrifice to change events, and the horror and destruction of war that is waged senselessly. Macross presents a memorable and very rich cast of characters that interact, experience, and learn, drawing us deeper and deeper into the fascinating universe they inhabit.
Aside from its great characters, Macross is most definitely a mecha/robot-lover's feast. The most familiar is the Valkyrie, the F-14-style fighter plane that transforms into a robot, but there are also a slew of other mechs in the show that made it one of the premier robot shows in all of anime. The popular Battletech game in America draws heavily from Macross mech designs, and a huge number of other shows and films have drawn on it for inspiration. The attention to detail and meticulous design is just overwhelming, as the screen bristles with lights, knobs, dials, gears, engines, computer screens, and ultra-futuristic weapons, and the animation with which the movement of all this incredible machinery is rendered is simply breath-taking. I always feel a sense of awe as the screen fills with a mind-boggling number of missiles ripping their way through space with each leaving a trail of smoke behind tracing its path to the target.
Music also plays a significant role in all Macross shows (i.e. Sharon Apple, Fire Bomber) and Minmei started it all off with her super-stardom aboard the first Super Dimensional Fortress. Whereas music takes a back seat and merely adds to the atmosphere in most shows, music plays an integral part in the plot of Macross: Ai, Oboete Imasu Ka. This creates a wonderful effect as the cold hard steel of the war machines are balanced by the warmth and emotion presented through the music as an expression of human art and culture.
The mix of characters, mecha, and music that makes up Macross: Ai, Oboete Imasu Ka, elevates the film far above mediocrity and places it in the category of one of the most influential and significant works of anime in any genre. This will be I think the sixth time I watch this movie, and I can honestly say that I look forward to it. Whether this is your tenth time watching it or you first, I hope you enjoy the film and appreciate the qualities that make it so great as much as I know I will.