|Won't hook you on the franchise.||1 out of 1 user found this review helpful.|
The Macross franchise, thanks to the success of the late Carl Macek and others at turning it into Robotech, is one of the most successful gateway franchises in anime. Unfortunately, because the rights to to ownership of the series can best be described as in a state of confusion, only three series have been licensed for distribution in the US – the original series, the Macross Plus OVA series, and the first sequel to the original series – Macross II.
Macross II isn't as well known among Macross fans, in part because the series has been removed from Canon by later works like Macross Plus and Macross Seven. The series follows Hibiki Kanzaki, a reporter for the Scramble News Network. After starting his career as a tabloid-style reporter, he has a change of heart after covering an alien attack by the forces of the Marduk, and rescuing a beautiful woman from one of their ships before it was destroyed. He decides to teach her about human society and to introduce piece to the Marduk.
The Hibiki's character has a very strong arc for all 6 episodes of the series. He starts off as something of a Tabloid Scumbag/Paparazzi type of character, but has a real change of heart through the course of the series and turns into something of a crusading journalist by the series conclusion. I hated the character at the start of the show, and by the end I had come to like the character.
The space battle sequences are on par with those from the original series, which is also good, particularly considering the series has a different animation studio, a different director, and even different mechanical designers for the new vehicles. This leads to some incredibly exciting action sequences.
However, the series is not without its faults, in particular with depictions of the military. While the series doesn't go into the tired cliches of the military having a coup de'tat, and the military being run by, essentially, General Ripper from Dr. Strangelove, the writers instead overcompensate by having the military ultimately being unable to find their keister with both hands, a flashlight, a compass, and somebody moving their hands for them. The degree of incompetence becomes frustrating as the series goes on, and we don't get any sort of fix for this. By the conclusion of the series, the leaders of the military are just as dumb as they were at the start, if not dumber, and the plot essentially gets resolved without their help.
The show is a little wishy-washy about how the Marduk's language is used. The series transitions in and out of having the Marduk speaking their own language and speaking English for the benefit of the audience with little rhyme or reason. Sometimes they speak Marduk amongst themselves with subtitles for the audience, sometimes they speak English. They don't do a transition from one to the other like in “The Hunt For Red October” either. They just go back and forth throughout the show.
It also bears mentioning, from a production standpoint, the subtitles for this series are bad. For example, one dialog scene between two officers in Japanese has them speaking familiarly, as is clear by the subtitles (they use the suffix “-kun”), but in the subtitles they're speaking formally. However, the subtitles on this release aren't “dubtitles” either, as they differ from the dialog in the dub. On the one hand, this is a commercial VHS/DVD release, so I should be expecting better. On the other hand, this is from Manga Entertainment and they're known for having problems with some their releases.
Despite this OVA's failings I enjoyed watching it. I had fun, and I was basically satisfied with it. If you aren't really into Macross already you'll probably be disappointed.