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(Note: this series was rewritten and used as season 1 of Robotech 

Overview 

In 1999, a giant space fortress crashes on Earth. Technology salvaged from it changes the face of Terran science, but the military is painfully aware that it is a warship, and that somewhere out in space is the race who built it. Sure enough, the giant Zentraedi arrive to reclaim their errant spacecraft. Attacking just as the recommissioned fortress, now named SDF-1, prepares for takeoff, they are thwarted by the brave people on board, who include spunky young pilot Hikaru Ichijo, heroic veteran Roy Fokker, and a ragtag crew of outnumbered Earthlings. During the ensuing conflict out at the edge of the solar system (where SDF-1 has been trapped by a malfunctioning warp engine), the invaders reveal their fatal flaw. Themselves the creations of a far older civilization, the Protoculture, their society knows nothing but war. Zentraedi spies are deeply confused by the concepts of friendship and romance, and entire fleets are driven insane by their first encounter with the dreaded "culture," as transmitted through the love songs of Chinese pop star, Lin Minmei. The fighting is long and hard, with several false truces and partial victories, but eventually humanity wins the day. The Zentraedi volunteer for "micronization" and are reduced in size to interbreed with the human race. It is eventually learned that humans are the descendants of a long-forgotten Protoculture terraforming experiment and, consequently, are just as much children of the Protoculture as the Zentraedi, who were genetically engineered to fight the Protoculture's battles.

Released in the U.S. in a substantially altered form as Robotech, Macross, along with Star Blazers and Gundam, is one of the three unassailable pillars of anime sci-fi, pioneering the tripartite winning formula of songs, battling robot-planes (the show's famous "Valkyries"), and tense relationships. The series was a success across all media-designer Kawamori insisted on beautiful but practical machinery that was nevertheless exploitable as toys, while the numerous record spin-offs made a star of Minmei's voice actress, Mari Iijima.

After several false starts (see below) the franchise was finally revived in earnest with Plus (1994), set in 2040 on the colony world of Eden. Like his spiritual predecessor Ichijo, Isamu Dyson is a maverick pilot, in this case sent back to his homeworld to be a test pilot for a new generation of Valkyries, competing with his former friend Guld Bowman. M Plus turns its predecessor on its head, introducing a broken love triangle with the return of Myung Fan Lone, a girl over whom the pilots fell out in their teens. A failed singer turned record producer, Myung is in town with the virtual idol Sharon Apple, and studiously trying to avoid dredging up old memories. In their own way, they all face the unemployment line; the pilots because the military is developing an unmanned fighter, and Myung because her artificial songstress (who formerly needed to leech off Myung's talent) can now run on autopilot. M Plus concerns itself with the very human fear that machines will take over; ironic considering that much of the hype surrounding its Japanese release concentrated on extensive computer graphics. Impressive digital effects make regular appearances, though the old-fashioned cinematography of M Plus is of very high quality indeed, needing no flashy distractions. Directed by Escaflowne's Shoji Kawamori, and with a script from Cowboy Bebop's Keiko Nobumoto, M Plus is another excellent example of what anime sci-fi has to offer. The original videos were reedited into MP: The Movie (1995), which added some intriguing extra scenes but also removed a substantial portion of the breathtaking battles.

M Plus was released in Japan at the same time as a TV follow-up, Macross 7 (1994), directed by Tetsuro Amino and incorporating elements of a rejected plot for the original Macross series that were to have taken place on a colony ship. Set in a colony fleet heading for the galactic core in 2045, M7 features Max and Miria Jenius, supporting characters from the original series, as the parents of the love interest Mylene. The fleet is attacked by the soul-vampire race of Protodevlin, eventually revealed to be a race of super-Zentraedi, genetically engineered by the Protoculture and imprisoned for millennia on the distant world of Varauta. Despite a backstory that artfully ties up earlier continuity issues in the series, M7 is still a mixed bag, let down somewhat by cheap, oft-recycled animation, formulaic menaces-of-the-week, and an overconcentration on hotheaded pilot Basara Nekki and his pop group, Fire Bomber, which seems a little too cynically market-oriented. Whereas the original series actually made the audience believe that a love song could save the world, M7 featured bizarre sequences of pilots strumming guitars in their cockpits to create weapons. Played for laughs, as in the later Black Heaven, it can work, but not in a show that occasionally wants to be taken seriously. As yet unreleased in English, M7 was nevertheless popular enough in Japan to spawn several spin-offs, including Haruhiko Mikimoto's manga M7: Trash (an excellent study of Max Jenius's illegitimate son, Shiba), and the spin-off "movie" M7: The Galaxy Is Calling Me (1995), in which Basara, now a journeyman musician, is imprisoned on an ice-planet by mysterious forces. There are also two sets of straight-to-video ephemera. The first, M7: Encore, simply consists of two unbroadcast TV episodes. Macross Dynamite 7 (1997) was a new story about Basara going to the isolated planet of Zora, where he meets the elfin alien Elma. Although they have little in common, they communicate through the universal language of song, and Elma's older sister Liza enlists Basara's help in attempting to decode the songs of the interstellar whales that have come to Zora. True to form, Liza is an ace pilot in the Macross mold, and there is an all-new love trian-gle to keep fans of the formula happy.

A fully digital sequel, with the working title of Macross 3D, was announced for 2001 as a directorial project for Takeshi Mori. This project, however, seems to have been canceled in favor of Macross Zero (see below). Early reports include a scarred, embittered veteran who goes by the name Redline, a traditional Macross heroine in the shape of the red-haired Lorin, and the "mysterious silver-haired" Karno, who seems heavily inspired by Evangelion's Rei Ayanami. There are several other spin-offs from the Macross series apart from the central plot discussed above. These include the music video Flashback 2012 (1987), Minmei's "farewell concert," which included bonus epilogue footage of the characters' lives after the show. The theatrical feature Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984, aka Clash of the Bionoids) retells much of the original series but with several deviations. The official explanation for this is that it is actually a film made in the Macross universe about the events of the series, taking artistic license with several events. Seen in 2031 by the 15-year-old Myung Fan Lone, it inspires her to become a singer and hence the events of Macross Plus! Max's eldest daughter, Comiria, starred in the video game Macross 2036, which was followed by another, Eternal Love Story. There is also the noncanonical video Macross II: Lovers Again (1992), an inferior sequel to the original series, now disowned by its creators. Set 80 years after the original series, this guilty rehash features hotshot journalist Hibiki Kanzaki, who is sent to interview Valkyrie ace Silvie Gena but gets caught up in the action on Earth. A new alien enemy has attacked-the Marduk, who are encouraged in battle by the singing voice of Ishtar, a beautiful girl who switches sides when she falls for Hibiki. A live-action movie version of the original series, Macross: Final Outpost-Earth, was planned as a U.S.-Japanese coproduction and reputedly scripted by Superman-writer David Newman, but it has been stuck in turnaround for several years.

Macross Zero (2002) is a video series set before the arrival of the Zentraedi and at the time of the creation of the first Valkyrie prototype, in the final days of an Earthbound conflict between the United Nations and anti-UN factions.
Series Credits
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Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Macross
Name:
Romaji: Chojiku Yosai Macross
Publisher Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd
Start Year 1982
Genres
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War
Themes
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Aliases Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
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