Macross Zero

Title:Macross Zero
マクロスゼロ (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - EMOTION
Music - KANNO Yoko
OOKI Tamio
Original Concept - KAWAMORI Shouji
A prequel to the original Macross series, Macross Zero deals with events that took place after the crash of the Alien Space Ship 1 (what would become SDF-1 Macross) and the First Space War, but before the Anti-U.N. alliance dissolved and joined the U.N. Spacy. Though certain facts are altered, this is considered to be part of the official Macross timeline.

5 OVA episodes (30min each)
Animation by Satelight
Produced by Bandai Visual

2min Series OP & CL - YouTube Video - Great animation with a klutzy song!
[edit] The ↗Macross & ↗Robotech franchise:

First season (2009-2012): Second season (2040-2047): Prequel (2008): Third season (2059): Fourth season (2067)
Episode Details 
4, 99
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 10 10 9 7 6 7 Ggultra2764 [series:499#1552]
While this is a decent chapter in the Macross franchise, it does carry some major flaws that keep me from wanting to rank it a Buy. But before I address my issues, I'll address what I did enjoy out of this OAV. The series does do a decent job at incorporating the tribal beliefs of the Mayan Island natives within the mythos of the series as the beliefs become strikingly similar to the Valkyrie mecha used within the franchise and dropping some hints about the Protoculture. In addition, Roy Focker is around to provide some serious and funny moments as he helps out series lead Shin and tries making advances on scientist Aries Turner. After seeing Macross Frontier, I definitely took notice of the Nome sisters as pop idol Sheryl from Frontier is Mao's daughter.

In terms of visual presentation, this is easily the best-looking title in the Macross franchise I've seen to date. The series effectively blends in CG animation with the regular visuals to render the slick and highly-detailed Valkyrie fighters and battle planes used throughout Macross Zero. This work also went into creating the beautiful and lush island scenery seen throughout Mayan Island. This effort also went into the title's animation as aerial battles between UN Spacy and Anti-UN forces were very fluid and a sight to behold, mixing in some shots of the cockpit view as pilots were engaging one another in combat.

Where this series does falter for me however is with its music and characterization. The Macross franchise is most famous for mixing around mechas, music and love triangles into the storylines of their titles. My issue with the music has more to do with it being a similar issue I had with the original Macross. While the element is effectively conveyed within the storyline of Macross Zero shown through the Nome sisters' abilities, the overall soundtrack has nothing notable that sticks out as it makes use of new age and classical music.

The characterization for Macross Zero is perhaps the title's weakest area. There isn't enough fleshed out with the new characters and their motivations. Hints are dropped regarding the backgrounds of these characters yet Zero doesn't have the time to go into greater detail. As a result, this makes the love triangle element to the series involving Shin and the Nome sisters unconvincing due to the lack of proper buildup and tension.

Overall, Macross Zero proved to be a mixed bag for me within the Macross franchise. While sporting the best visuals I've seen from the franchise to date and making decent incorporation of its tribal elements into the Macross mythos, the weak characterization and unmemorable soundtrack does really hamper it a bit in my book.

Last updated Monday, August 08 2011. Created Monday, August 08 2011.
Buy 10 10 9 8 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:499#436]

After seeing episode 10 of Macross Frontier, in which a movie about the events of Macross Zero was made, I thought I should also watch this highly-regarded prequel. Although a few small things were modified in regards to the original Macross story, that didn't matter so much for the beautifully animated anime prequel.

Since I've mentioned it, I'll talk about the art and animation first. Outstanding! Stretch mentions the battle where the Anti-U.N. forces assault the Asuka II aircraft carrier and her battle group. This was simply breathtaking and had me feeling I was really there. Actually, many of the aerial dogfights take you there. The animators often go for views that are not often seen in anime (if at all). I think of when the VF-0 first transforms. I've never seen any variable fighter transform from within the cockpit. The animators not only did it, but made it so that it was clear how this affected the pilot. Once was all I needed to see of this and that's all the animators gave us. So kudos to the production staff for including this one scene, which did not impact the flow of the story (IMO).

As I said, the animators often went for different views than one might normally see. A neat trick they used was a distance shot. So when the Mayans observe the fighters battle in the skies from their mountain cave, we see it from a distance. While this surly was cheaper to animate, it was no less beautiful to look at. That was the brilliance of it.

Further, the animators took us under the sea. The scene where Mao is showing Shin life under the ocean was another breathtaking moment for me. At that moment, I wished I had a Blu-Ray version of this series to watch on a 1080P HDTV. That's how great a job the animators did on this thing, even on the little things such as flowers blooming or insects emerging, or whatever. This really is a beautiful anime to look at.

Now for story. We are used to the alien elements in the Macross franchise. Macross Zero introduces a new alien element, one that had been on Earth for who knows how long. As such, the writers insert this story at the end of the U.N. Wars and just before the Anti-U.N. Alliance is officially dissolved and everyone is part of U.N. Spacy. They make the alien element here be the final cause that lead the Anti-U.N. to give up for good. It works, though I gather some may not care for the mystical elements introduced into the Macross Franchise, via the alien's connection with the people of Mayan. That didn't bother me. The only thing that did bother me was the alien elitist attitude about humans and fighting. If these aliens are so opposed to war, why are they so technically advanced in the weapons of war? Bah!

Minor preaching aside, the story is good. I believed in how the romance between Shin and Sara developed. Despite knowing Roy Focker's reputation from Macross, I believed in his feelings for Aries. So that was good. With only five episodes, we don't get any great character exploration of any character. We get enough to get us through the story, which is fine. That said, I would have preferred knowing more about what happened with Shin's parents and the events that lead Focker to change his mind and join the military after vowing he'd run away if war broke out. However, the writers felt that this stuff wasn't that important apparently. Oh well.

The Macross franchise is also a lot about music. This time, song is there, but it isn't pop music or rock as seen in the other Macross titles. Sara's singing and its effect on her surroundings is akin to what Belldandy does in the Ah! My Goddess franchise. So Sara's song is beautiful in a classical sense, and considering the Mayans aren't big on technology, it fits. The song sung in episode 5 is operatic and proof that opera will bring about the end of the world. lol Opera is not my thing and while there's nothing wrong with the final song, it just felt out of place to me. I think that's because while Sara's first song started a capella before adding a soft, minimal musical background accompaniment, the last song had more musical accompaniment to try to add to the moment. But for me, it just seemed wrong. It is a minor thing though.

I hope more elements from this anime are produced in Macross Frontier, such as the aliens.

Bottom line: Beautiful to look at and a good story to boot. You can't go wrong with that, and since you don't need to have seen the original Macross to enjoy this, it is a sure-fire "Buy" in my book (if only the legal dispute about the rights could be resolved).

Last updated Wednesday, July 02 2008. Created Monday, June 16 2008.

Buy 9 10 9 10 6 6 Big Fire [series:499#2441]
I honestly did not like the story to macross zero. I really don't like magical powers mixed with mecha...Kinda like oil and water if you ask me... The welcome thing about this movie is seeing the VF-0 blast through the sky and see it transform in CGI!!! I dunno about you, but i love CGI, especially how it makes mecha come to life. Another cool thing, was the bad guys had planes too that could transform...Not like those weak ole Zentrade...And the final positive is seeing Roy Focker...There is only 1 skull leader in my mind! Sorry Rick...Anyways, the bad...I like magic, I like mystical powers and beings and all that jazz...even in animes...But NOT mixed with a Mecha story...I do think that if you are a mecha/macross fan this is a MUST have... Trust me, change this baby over to english and I will own it...But the rest of you, maybe look at the beautiful fighting scenes, but fast forward the rest...

Last updated Wednesday, March 28 2007. Created Wednesday, March 28 2007.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:499#628]
(Three episodes watched):

Pretty damn neat! This is a show I hadn't heard much about, and was therefore all the more surprised at the first-rate mix of mystery, mecha, action and a touch of spirituality. The high standards of this show remind me of Macross Plus. The background artwork is very nice, especially beautiful scenes of nightime skies, and the effects of moonlight and firelight which repeatedly caught my eye. The pilots start out flying F-14 Tomcats (the US must have sided with the "Unification" forces), but quickly discover that they have been rendered obsolete by a new generation of aircraft design. Shin, a Unification Forces pilot, is shot down and stranded on the remote island of Maya, where he finds the people to be rather primitive, yet somehow highly enlightened about the origins of critical alien technology--it seems that their centuries-old mythology may be based on fact. The animation of dogfights is awesome, as good as or better than Area 88 TV. The only problem is that the transforming mecha/aircraft are so fast and agile that it's almost impossible to keep up with what's going on and who's who! The attack on an aircraft carrier in episode three is fantastic--you have to see it to believe it. I recognized the voice of Kamiya Akira--I think he's the first Japanese VA who I can distinguish reliably. I haven't seen the original Macross TV series, and it seems that the makers of this prequel assumed viewers would be familiar with certain terminology, but since it is a prequel, after all, this doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. More later...

Last updated Tuesday, August 15 2006. Created Monday, August 14 2006.
Buy 10 10 8 8 8 8 DillonSOB [series:499#1352]
Unlike the many subpar Macross sequels or low-class prequels out there, this one delivers and then some. It retains the positive aspects of original Macross, with revamped artwork, CG, and animation with amazing battle scenes that rival the Fianl Fantasy movie. The vehicles and mecha movements are stunning, like Transformers on steroids. Interactions with the primitive Mayan tribe add a moralistic, humane, and anti-war&progress element to the story, and the beautiful tropical/underwater scenery reminds me of Finding Nemo. The mystery surrounding Sara and alien artifacts is captivating, and I am really impatient to find out more. The characters are not exaggerated, and behave reasonably in their roles. Keeping the drunk, womanizing, but badass pilot Focker in the story was a great decision. I have only seen episodes 0-3, but apparently the story conclusion is supposed to be released Spring 2004 so I want to get my hands on it soon!

Last updated Monday, May 24 2004. Created Monday, May 24 2004.

Other Sites
Japanese Language OVA web site
Satelight's English language OVA web site
AstroNerdBoy's Anime & Manga Blog
AstroNerdBoy's episode reviews of Macross Zero, with images.

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