Monday, February 09, 2009

The Beauty of 'Macross Plus'

Macross Plus is a beautifully stunning anime, complete with hand-drawn landscapes and a kind of cyber-punk plot that holds up well over the years. Although there is heavy use of dated computer equipment in this anime, the mecha and futuristic technologies are still quite impressive.

The art style of the early 90s is my personal favorite, so I admit that I am biased in immediately loving the look of the characters in their environments. I won’t give too much away about the plot, because there are many spoilers to be kept secret in this anime if you haven’t seen it, but the basic idea is as follows: a hot-headed fighter pilot by the name of Isamu is demoted and promoted simultaneously and sent to be a test fighter pilot on the planet Eden (coincidentally where he and the rival test pilot, Gauron, grew up). The sample technology planes are much like traditional mecha in many ways, but have their own fun twists. Gauron’s plane, in particular, has a system in it that is very reminiscent of Wing Zero in Gundam Wing, complete with the ability to make the thoughts of the pilot a reality without the pilot’s full consent. The characters in Macross are sort of shallow but have some really redeeming qualities. There isn’t a whole lot of time to develop the character’s full potential since this is a short, four-part series and really only the length of a long film (about 3 hours). Isamu is definitely your stereotypical hot-headed pilot with something to prove (and if anyone has seen Top Gun there are some definite similarities here that I believe were creatively ‘borrowed’). Gauron is angry, has a dark past, and doesn’t make us want to like him a whole lot (until the end of the series, but I won’t say why). Myung is the producer of Sharon Apple and was once the love interest of both Isamu and Gauron. Her character is the most fascinating, and you see the many sides of her as the story progresses. There are many flashbacks surrounding her past, and I must say the opening scene of the series in which she, Isamu, and Gauron are shown in a field is probably my favorite. So here’s a chance to use one of my favorite words: “Cyber-punk-a-riffic.” This movie is all that and more. I promised not to give any spoilers so you really have to take my word for it that this is a fantastic example of artificial intelligence that decides it has to survive more than mankind. The soundtrack is interesting. Sometimes the music seems a little out of place (there’s a piano solo during a fist fight that seems a little off), but the opening song/theme song of the movie are fantastic, and some of Sharon Apple’s songs are pretty cool too. So if you haven’t seen it, go check it out! Macross Plus is a must-have for any true anime buff. It’s a classic from the early 90’s, and if you like Gundam or Ghost in the Shell it’s definitely a must-see!
– Lady Lara Jones

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