A.D. 2009 – The human race is in the middle of a three-way war with a race of giant humanoid aliens called the Zentraedi (male) and Meltrandi (female). After executing a space fold that sent it and part of South Atalia Island to the edge of the Solar System, the space fortress Macross is on its way back to Earth. During a small skirmish with Zentraedi forces, young pilot Hikaru Ichijo rescues idol singer Lynn Minmay and their relationship develops as they’re stranded somewhere within the ship. But shortly after returning to Macross City, Minmay is captured by the Zentraedi, and Hikaru and female officer Misa Hayase end up back on Earth – only to view the aftermath of the destruction of their civilization. Only a song discovered eons ago – along with Minmay’s voice – can determine the outcome of the war.
For those who don’t know, ‘Macross: Do You Remember Love?’ is the big screen movie version of the TV hit, ‘Super Dimensional Fortress Macross’ (known as Robotech overseas). The series has become renowned since then, for it’s visually spectacular action sequences, and deep, thoughtful plots that revolve around love and relationships. This formula has been a proven success, and has been repeated again over the years to great success, including more recent series like Macross: Frontier.
The film begins very mysteriously, with two green aliens talking in an alien language about the past exploits of the Macross. It’s nice to see a film that for once, tries to develop some sort of atmosphere before everything starts exploding, and from such a unique perspective. One of the nicer things about Macross is that unlike other mecha anime, there are no clear villains in the movie. Although we clearly are meant to feel most sympathetic and attached to the human race, you soon learn to grow to like the alien races that they’ve been fighting or for so long. Despite this, it’s still pretty hard for the viewer to like the green aliens. Crying ‘lol cultural differences’ doesn’t excuse you from nearly wiping out the human race, you know.
The love triangle in Macross is what the main body of the plot is all about though. It tells the story of how a young man is torn between two people- the famous pop star he has admired, and rescued, or an old comrade of his who he fell in love with whilst stranded on a wasteland that used to be Earth. This triangle is left open right until the films climax, and rather than feeling dragged out or like some harem, the film presents the emotion involved in a very real and engaging way, showing how a third party can put a lot of strain on any relationship. Overall, the love triangle added a level of depth to the film that had previously never been seen before, and showed the world that the mecha genre isn’t all about big robots blowing stuff up.
Don’t get me wrong though, stuff does blow up. And BOY does stuff blow up. Despite having a vintage of 25 years, the film outclasses most modern day productions in terms of animation quality. While things like fleet sequences can seem a little static at times, the amount of scope and detail that went into them is staggering. Every ship, no matter how tiny, has a high level of work put into it, and when the fleet sequence is all over and done with, everything seems very much alive. Lights blink everywhere, and plumes of smoke gush out of the jet/mech hybrids as they take off from their mothership. It’s all a feast for the eyes, and you can’t help but feel a slight pang in your heart as you realise that beautiful hand animated sequences like these are becoming a dying art.
Despite the fact it was ultimately supposed to be just another film cash-in, ‘Macross: Do You Remember Love?’ perfectly captures the heart and spirit of the original series, and in some ways surpassed it’s counterpart. Whether you love it for it’s heart warming romance or heated battles, this film has something that anyone can enjoy. A great example that anime is an artform just like any other type of animation or cinema, this classic is recommended for any lover of films or anime.