A Delicious Slice of SDF Macross

A Minmay in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Relieved of the requirement to always take itself seriously, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross has free rein to give us entertaining moments (like fishing in space) and brilliantly ludicrous design decisions (like a battleship with aircraft carriers for arms). It’s also what lies behind a sequence in the second episode which – as far as I can see – wraps up into one brief segment of animation the essence of the whole show.

Falling

Hikaru dives through the clouds to save Minmay before she hits the ground, catches up to her, opens his cockpit canopy and pulls her inside. This is exhilarating (for us) partly because it’s an exciting, life-or-death situation and partly because the shot simply bombards us with movement, Minmay spinning around Hikaru’s Valkyrie as they both fall through the sky. (I must say I love the work on Minmay’s hair, as it’s affected by the competing forces of wind and gravity.)

A Diving Save

Here we have a lot of what Macross is about. Excitement, movement, romance and mecha – appropriately, Hikaru’s Valkyrie is in GERWALK mode, the bizarre in-between humanoid and jet fighter mashup, rather than being at one or the other end of its transformation spectrum.

Recovery

This moment isn’t just great in itself, it’s also capitalised on brilliantly. There is a brief exchange between Hikaru and Minmay which mostly consists of adrenaline-fuelled illogic. They are – like me when I first saw this – still reeling.

Crash

It gets better, though. Just when we – and they – have managed to calm down a little, they have their first close encounter with a Regult, crashing into its legs as they round a corner. Minmay faints. Hikaru screams and empties his gunpod into the enemy.

Shock! Horror!

And even then, it isn’t over. Now, I’ve seen Do You Remember Love? and I’ve lurked on /m/ for a little while: I more-or-less knew beforehand what (or who) was piloting those Regults. But the pilot’s sudden emergence still managed to shock me (perhaps aided by the residual adrenaline from Hikaru’s plummeting Minmay-save). The bullet holes, the sudden dislocation of one’s sense of scale and the crushing of the car combine to pile one last shock on top of the heap. I imagine seeing this scene without preparation in October 1982 must have been quite something. The only thing that could possibly improve it would be the arrival of Roy Focker.

And There You Go

. . . right, I’ll get my coat.

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7 responses to “A Delicious Slice of SDF Macross

  1. > like fishing in space

    You know I STILL can’t get over that. That entire scene just blew my mind so much that to this day I still don’t know whether to laugh or cry when thinking about that scene. :D

  2. Yes unfortunately some of the later animation segments in the TV Series are kind of sloppy. I still remember eyeless max from when he infiltrates the Zentradi ship in his Valkyrie which is disguised in a Zentradi uniform. At several points in the episode they just plain didn’t bother with his eyes or to colour certain things in and add texture.

    For this reason I find it funny that Macross has now become associated with godly animation when the first series is notable for having some fo the worst.

  3. I’ve seen the DRL? movie and loved it, but my only experience of the original series is through its Robotech retelling – you get a sense of how groundbreaking it was (if not visually!) but otherwise I really need to experience it as Kawamori intended.

    Sadly there’s no sign of a R2 release so it looks like I’ll have to import this one. The rest of Frontier won’t be long now though…

  4. @ nckl: Yeah. What did it for me was the way it just cut to Hikaru and Minmay boiling the giant fish’s head over a camp stove.

    @ Kaioshin Sama: Even in the second episode, the animation itself isn’t breathtaking – though in the sequence I’m talking about here, it is used really well. Hopefully Frontier will follow the more recent trend of Macross having good rather than cheap animation.

    @ concretebadger: The anticipation for Frontier is killing me. And I’d say the original series is well worth importing – something I intend to get into once I (eventually) get a TV, import-capable DVD-player etc.

    But who knows? If we’re really lucky, Gonzo’s experiment with streaming will pave the way for a whole new world of streamed retro anime (I can dream . . .)

  5. Concerning the “Hikaru dives through the clouds to save Minmay” it’s interesting to see what people think of when they see the op for Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Macross or Eureka Seven.

    “For this reason I find it funny that Macross has now become associated with godly animation when the first series is notable for having some fo the worst.”

    The original Gundam has some horrible animation too, one episode was bad enough that Tomino didn’t allow it to be released in America. Zeta Gundam and other sequels, just like the Macross sequels were obviously improved in the animation department.

  6. Sounds like something dividing ‘anime generations’ again with the zSZS OP.

    I know what you mean about MSG‘s animation; I’ve seen the ‘lost’ episode and if I recall correctly the Gundam’s weapons keep changing between shots. It was uninspiring filler (with a higher-than-usual annoying child quotient) anyway.

  7. Pingback: We Remember The Animanachronism (with much Love) « We Remember Love

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