Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: Macross Frontier Series

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Macross is an early 80's Japanese cartoon that was very popular and was brought over to the US in the form of Robotech. It has been nearly 30 years and Macross has continued in new series and one-off specials called OAV (Original Video Animation).

The central theme of many (if not all) of the Macross series has the power of song. Earth runs into an alien culture who is unfamiliar with music and this gives humans a much needed edge against the alien invaders. Macross Frontier continues the tradition. Set many years in the future from the original Macross it follows one of the many space fleets that have set out to explore and settle massive populations in distant parts of the universe. These fleets are made up of super large ships that are basically ecosystems housing millions of people. The military and sub-contractors are the fleet's protection against an alien race called the Vajra. This race of bug like creatures is never mentioned in the original but were created later to add more excitement to the later series (since the main alien threat was removed in the original series).

A big part of the Macross series has been the character's relationships and love triangles. This entry in the series is no exception. It involves several characters who utterly fail to get together in several occasions until emotions take over during the more climatic moments of the series.

In Macross Frontier the government of the Macross Frontier (the name of the main ship) find a way to fight the Vajra with... you guessed it, song. The young girl central character Ranka Lee has the power to subdue the Vajra with her voice. The government also wants a naturally growing crystal that the Vajra produce that can allow for space folds (jumps across vast distances of space) to work more efficiently and with much greater distance.

There is much treachery and subplots to keep anyone happy. The animation is top notch and the use of CGI for the ships is not too much of a distraction. That is one of my big gripes about modern Anime... the over use of computer graphics. If used judicially and done well it isn't too much of a distraction.

The series has not officially released in the US (and might not ever). It was made in 2007 and you can get somewhat shady DVD sets that are subtitled online. I have always been one of those people who enjoy a well dubbed Anime. Subtitles are great and all but it takes your eyes away from the beautiful animation and cool visuals.

If you are a fan of Macross or any of it's off-shoots you will probably like Macross Frontier. It has a nice mixture of action, drama, and funny moments.

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