|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Finally, after reading plenty of reviews, chatter, seeing it everywhere I turn, and seeing it in a handful of AMVs, I finally decided to pick this up and see what all the fuss was about. My thoughts?|
Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork and animation is for sure excellent. The level of details were really high and animation was smooth..... although at times it wouldn't be noticeable as some of the scenes were really fast-paced..... such as the dog fight scenes. One thing to note here is the use of CG. The CG was well done and worked well with the artwork it blended with. A lot of times CG would look out of place but in this series, it was blended seamlessly. Character designs were well done. All our characters had a good amount of details and were quite refined. As well, none suffered what I call the "clone syndrome".... where characters look pretty much identical with the exception of hair color, eye color or similar.
The first OP was a modern alternative piece with female vocals..... or it might have sounded more pop-ish. Wasn't bad at all. As expected from a genre that revolves around a space theme, the soundtrack consisted of plenty of orchestra pieces with impactful accoustics and effects on a grand or cosmic scale. This actually brings the animation to life even more so. The first ED was a lullaby of sorts. It wasn't that bad really and sorta caught my attention. For the most part, the OPs and EDs were pretty fair and worth listening to at least once. And that's pretty rare of me to say such.
Series and Episode Story
As mentioned above, I decided to pick this one up because I couldn't get away from it. Now i'm not a mecha fan.... and I try with all my might to "not" watch a series that has a heavy dose of mecha. I'm also not a big fan of Star Wars-like themes. And this series is not short of either. So me keeping away from this series as long as I have was not out of the ordinary. So I dived into this one with mixed feelings and the "I told you it would suck" mentality at the front of my thoughts.
Aside from the two genres I dislike, I found myself somehow sorta enjoying this series. This isn't to say the series was amazing or left a wow factor, but rather, it was simply enjoyable with good characters and plot. However, and a BIG however. If there's one thing I seriously dislike more than mecha-based series, it's musicals. And this series is slapped full of musical moments. I really found it annoying and a real stray from the development of the scene(s) at hand as somebody would start singing for new good freakin' reason at crucial moments!! WTF!! I literally threw my remote (and cracked it) because it happened throughout the whole series.
Overall, it was enjoyable but nothing grand or special. Considering that this one didn't impress me, I'm most likely going to skip any other Macross series.
Last updated Saturday, November 05 2011. Created Saturday, November 05 2011.
This has only been my second exposure to an anime in the Macross franchise since seeing Do You Remember Love last year which I wouldn't call the best intro to Macross for me since the movie format makes plot and character developments too compressed for a grand plot such as this. So my viewing of Macross Frontier is more as an introduction to the mecha franchise than as a seasoned fan. While the show isn't perfect, I do have to admit it did entertain me for the surprising plot developments and quirky mix of pop idol music and mecha battles.|
Before I get into my thoughts of music, plot and characters, I'll first have to praise the show's best feature for it: the visuals. Macross Frontier made enough use of CG-animation in rendering the civilian ships and mechas which look slick on the eyes, blend in almost seamlessly with the hand-drawn character designs and the battles with said mecha move at a very fluid pace. There were rarely any occasions I found of sloppy visuals during the show's run. I'd easily consider the show to be one of the best-looking anime titles to recently come out of Japan.
As for plot developments, the show mixes focus between the love triangle involving Alto, Ranka, and Sheryl plus the conflict with the Vajra. Both storylines carry along enough twists in their developments as character storylines slowly unravel, a big conspiracy involving major figures in the pop music and political worlds, the influence of music on the Vajra and developments of the side characters. You do get enough sense of the past developments faced by the major characters (the love triangle trio) and the buildup to dealing with the Vajra and conspirators does make sense as you put together the pieces of foreshadowing hinted at throughout the series.
Then, there's also the whole mecha/ pop idol music mix with this series. The premise as a whole was a bit hard for me to take seriously at first since I found it a bit over-the-top for idols being that much of an influence in a space opera as I have been more used to more serious space operas like the Stars franchise and Toward the Terra. But over time, I had fun with the whole mix considering I eventually realized the show was just having fun with this mix and it did do well at easing the mood following the show's more serious moments. Speaking of pop idols, the seiyuu for Ranka and Sheryl also sing their own songs which are quite catchy with one of Ranka's songs being a major element to Macross Frontier's plot, though it can get a bit stale listening to the same songs from both girls over time as the series progresses.
There are some issues that I do have with the show that keep it from being perfect for me, mainly in the fact that the show leaves a number of plot elements dangling. The show doesn't bother to resolve many of its potential romantic developments, especially the love triangle the show was building up enough with Ranka, Alto and Sheryl. Some other vital plot threads like Sheryl's past and Alto coming to terms with his family issues were left unaddressed as well. Plus while her manipulations were clever, Grace's motives against the Macross fleet were a bit on the shallow side as I've seen plans of world domination for no real reason done enough times in fictions besides anime.
Despite the issues I found with Macross Frontier's plotting, I did find the show to be a decent and more proper introduction to the Macross franchise than Do You Remember Love. With high-quality mecha fight scenes, the fun mix of mecha and pop idol music, and the twists in plot developments with the Vajra and conspiracy, it did make for a good watch.
Last updated Wednesday, January 12 2011. Created Wednesday, January 12 2011.
(One episode watched):|
I noticed a number of typical Macross plot elements here, such as the Idol singer (a homage to Sharon Apple of Macross Plus OAV Series?). Unfortunately, something about the way this new series was presented annoyed me. It's hard to put into words, but it seemed as if all sorts of snazzy animation and artwork were being offered to me without a particularly clear explanation of just what was going on. It's as if the message was that this show is so inherently cool that it needn't be troubled to make sense! The music seemed overpowering and inappropriate at times, and music has got to have serious problems before I notice them. The action was wild, but again left me feeling more confused than excited. Come to think of it, why did the aliens break into the Frontier space station and start squishing people one by one when they clearly possess missiles capable of vaporizing spaceships altogether? Anyway, at the very end of the episode I realized that I still barely knew the two main characters, and felt little reason to care about them.
Last updated Friday, December 28 2007. Created Friday, December 28 2007.
Having watched the old school Macross, I was keen on seeing the series marking the 25th anniversary of the franchise -- Macross Frontier. While this latest Macross series has many homages to the Macross titles that have come before, is very pretty to look out, and very nice to listen to (music-wise), the story is sadly only average.
Things started off well enough with the first episode clearly being a tribute to the original Macross. Character-wise, Alto took the role of Hikaru. Ranka took the role of the nicer aspects of Linn Minmei. Sheryl took the role of the not as nice aspects of Linn Minmei (the pop idol). Ozama took the role of Focker (without the womanizing) and Cathy took the role of Misa (only without an interest in the male lead). Both Macross and Macross Frontier had "bridge bunnies" to help with the story but not play a major role in it. Naturally, both series deal with how song affects their enemy.
While one does not have to have seen any previous Macross title, I'm going to guess that one's enjoyment of Macross Frontier will be enhanced if one knows the different moments when the show gives tribute (or whatever you want to call it) to the Macross titles which have come before. Indeed, Episode 10's clear nod to Macross Zero made me seek out and watch that 5-episode OVA in order to better appreciate the episode. That was a good thing because one of the characters from Macross Zero is mentioned a few times as part of the plot. Other references are just made to be made, such as Bobby name-dropping "Basara-sama" a couple of times, he being the hippie lead character of the Macross 7 TV series.
Though I have no problem with the references and tributes to previous Macross works, at times the writers used it to their advantage but more often than not, it became a hindrance. For example, in episode 12, Sheryl, Grace, and Alto head to the Zentradi 33rd Marine Corps base on Gallia 4. The Zentradi military leaders were clearly designed to look like the main Zentradi antagonist leaders from Macross. Then you have Ranka brought in Macross 7 style on a fighter equipped with special speakers to tame the wild, rebel Zentradi who are fighting the cultured Zentradi. The episode ends with what looks to be SDF-1 Macross after it finally returns to Earth. So far, nothing stands out as a problem here.
However in episode 13, things began to go south for me (SPOILERS following). After the rebels were tamed by Ranka's music, we discover that the discovered "mecha ship" isn't SDF-1 Macross, but SDF-4 Global. Here, the writers appear to do some retconning (because everything I've read online states that after SDF-1 Macross, SDF-2 Megaroad-01 was designed not to transform because transforming such a ship made no sense) since there were supposedly only two Macross class ships. Now there are four and why? Just to have a tribute and a tease.
Further, the whole story with the Zentradi on the planet served no purpose. Amazingly we (through Alto and Ranka) discover that SDF-4 Global is on Gallia 4. We discover a rather nasty colony of Vajra, to include some rather large Vajra "battleships" (for lack of a better term). So I'm left to think, "how could the Zentradi not know about all this at their base's back door?" It seemed like the rebel Zentradi leader was in with Grace and Leon's little plot, but then Grace destroys the planet for some reason that still isn't clear to me, other than to "kill" her and reveal that she is in fact a cyborg. In the end, these were two episodes that were a tribute but served little purpose beyond that.
Speaking of the Zentradi, the SMS founder Richard Bilrer also appeared to be in on Leon and Grace's little conspiracy. Yet in the end, it seems like he may not have been that involved at all as we are left with the imagery of him gazing at a picture of Linn Minmei in his ring (designed like a locket). Nothing about it or his desire to use fold crystal really seemed to have a point but was presented as if it were a meaningful item.
What else did I consider pointless? Alto's Kabuki history. There was an attempt to create drama by having Alto estranged from his family so that his decision to be a pilot can be questioned. Despite this, I couldn't buy the drama, mainly because if Alto disliked being in Kabuki plays so much (where he played the part of females), then why'd he keep his feminine hair style? Nothing about his family felt real to me and the character of Alto is just a stock, male lead who has great skills to get the job done, has women interested in him, is very nice and so won't choose a single woman, etc. This type of character has been around for ages and there was nothing about him that made me care about him at all.
There were other elements of the story that I thought were pointless, but you get the idea I think. Sadly, the tributes, pointless sub-plots that go nowhere, cliched story elements (Grace and Leon wanting to rule the galaxy for example) and too many stock characters make for a story that ends up only average and nothing more. Trying to insert drama or even a forced love-triangle doesn't help. Don't get me wrong, I saw why Sheryl would be interested in Alto and I saw why Ranka would be interested in Alto but initially, the love-triangle aspects came off as very forced. Alto always seemed less interested in the girls as potential lovers than he was interested in just hanging out (when he felt like it of course). One might almost think that Alto was gay except he showed no interest in men either.
Still, not everything was merely average. The visuals on the anime look very nice. The battle scenes are great to watch thanks to some very good CGI work. The various settings are also well done I thought and most of the time, the animation is pretty good. The music of Ranka and Sheryl is pretty good but it didn't quite hit the threshold for me to want to import the CD. That's just me though.
I would have enjoyed seeing more of the Zentradi and more Nene. Klan is one of my favorite characters and I enjoyed the moments were we were able to see glimpses of how the Zentradi are now. I'd hoped that with episode 13 the Zentradi would play a larger role in the main plot but alas, that was not to be. I would have also liked to have seen the crew of the Macross Quarter actually be pirates instead of their only act of piracy be the stealing of the ship, after which they go out and find all sorts of clues that have been floating around in space for lo these many years. The crew of the Macross Quarter I actually liked (including Cathy).Bottom line: Based on the hits my blog postings for the series went, I know that there are a lot of people who appear to really have enjoyed Macross Frontier. While I felt the show got off to a good start, after episode 14, I began to grow weary of the series (though I was never bored with it) to the point that by the time episode 25 was done, I felt relief that I wouldn't have to watch another episode of Macross Frontier. That doesn't make the series bad, but it doesn't make it good either and that's the problem. It is just an average anime wrapped in a pretty package. As such, I can only give it a rent review.
Last updated Sunday, October 12 2008. Created Friday, December 28 2007.
|Unevaluated 4||Big Fire||[series:1741#2441]|
(15 episodes complete)|
I just took a quick peak on episode 1...Looks good to me...Anything is better than Macross 7 if you ask me...haha...Although the original macross will be forever the standard, I did enjoy Macross Plus and Zero...so there is plenty of room for a new macross story...Plus that VF-25 looks slick... also i just noticed, the ending song is from the Macross do you remember love movie...
i watched episode 1 again. It is like Macross Plus meets Macross. I don't like the people art, but it is good to see the skull leader fly again...
second epsidoe finished. I still don't like how the people are drawn, also i don't dig the transforming insect enemy, but i guess they had to be alittle different.
four episodes watched. Ok what up with the miss macross and the young singer tripping...sheesh can we make up a new story...ok ranka lost, but still...As for seeing an old school Zentradi Mecha bringing back shades of Miriya.
five episodes watched. I don't dig the VERY young singing star. Even Mynn Mae was older i think...I like the Alto Sheryl connection even though it seems very Mynn Mae/Rick Hunter esque...They better not be trying to convince me that there is a Ranka/Alto/Sheryl triangle that is just creepy, Ranka looks like a Kid...Not enough action this episode...
six episodes watched. So Ranka is 16 whatever...thumbs down to her and alto...thumbs up to alto and sheryl...although every time i see alto, i wanna sing "lonely soldier boy" :-P Finally, NO Action again...although the SMS shipped looked cool, and the scout ships, but there wasn't any fighting...I give this episode a HUGE YAWN!!!
seven epsiodes watched. Ok finally battle!!! I dunno what the vajra want, why are they fighting? HUGE plus, the Konig Monster!!! Yeah BOY, that is what i am talking about...although supposedly appearing in the orginal macross, I don't remember it, but i owned the toy. Also what up purple/pink figher...More intelligent life form? Could be...
eight episodes watched. Fan service, cool, but mostly...Yawn...Alto and Sheryl relationship excellent...Mysterious guy with a harmonica, cool...but mostly just a filler episode...
10 episodes watched...NONONONONONO...i disagree with this whole ranka alto thing...oh well i guess this is the direction this is heading...yes i didn't want minmei for rick(hikaru) but this is even worse...at least the movie brings back shades of Macross Zero...
11 episodes watched. As much as i disagree with Ranka and Alto i felt bad for her...As for the rest of this episode, it was kinda of a snoozer...some development...some bad guy introduction? or at least an inplication of some wrong doing...aaahhhh the macross world, just when we thought there was peace...
13 episodes complete...I am starting to not care what goes on here...just show me some mecha... and more SKULL LEADER...sorry but i still hate the character art, and the story is so every which way... why is Brea fighting Alto...do the Vajra who are like insects, have allies?
14 episodes watched...The Art for the People are HORRIBLE, Sheryl is getting worse and worse...more later...
Last updated Monday, July 21 2008. Created Thursday, December 27 2007.
All Fansubs Watched
I lowered my recommendation from BUY- To Rent+. Why?
All in all, a good series. At times the most horrid piece of animation I have ever seen, and at times the most BEST piece of animation I've seen. This was definitely a series with an overworked staff.
So this was a good ride, it kept me going for the whole series.
AIAD! (Am I Am Done!)
Last updated Sunday, October 12 2008. Created Thursday, December 27 2007.