We've finished watching Macross Frontier. My first episode review is here.
The series is set on a Macross colony fleet, with the main ship called Macross Frontier. It is escorted by various agricultural and urban vessels, called 'islands', as well as a military fleet. The colony spans all vessels.
Alto is one of the inhabitants of Frontier. He is training to be a pilot, much to the chagrin of his father, who heads a kabuki group -- Alto has very fine features, which makes him the star player for female roles. Alto and his friends practise a lot in 'glider suits', motorised suits with wings to glide through the air, though Alto tends to scold at the 'low sky' of the Frontier dome.
When interstellar super idol Sheryl Nome visits Frontier for a series of concerts, Alto and his friends are contracted to perform some stunts during the show. Alto runs into Ranka Lee, an energetic part-Zentraedi girl who is a huge fan of Sheryl. During the show, the Vajra attack Frontier. The Vajra are some sort of hive-mind space-faring species that are capable of flight and folding without any machinery involved. Outgunned, the Frontier military gets slaughtered, and Alto witnesses one human pilot being crushed by a Vajra -- which then turns to threaten Ranka. Enraged, he climbs into the cockpit of the Valkyrie and shoots the alien.
Thus begins the struggle between humans and Vajra. Alto joins SMS ('Strategic Military Services'), a so-called "Civilian Military Provider" -- mercenaries that are hired by the military for certain tasks. Think Blackwater Security, only with Valkyries and Quadlunn-Rae. Sheryl falls ill and has to stay on Frontier. Ranka decides she wants to become a singer too and starts to work on her career by singing about rainbow carrots. Both fall in love with Alto.
And so it has all the traditional Macross ingredients: aliens that attack, a love triangle and music.
It turns out that the Vajra learn of the human attack patterns. So the use of weapons and tactics has to be constantly revised in order to break the waves of attacks. Ranka's singing seems to have an effect on the Vajra, and then Grace, Sheryl's manager, drops Sheryl and starts to coach Ranka. Grace has some shady dealings going on with the top brass of the Frontier military too, which turns into a full-scale coup d'etat.
And then Ranka remembers her past on Macross Galaxy, another colony fleet that was destroyed by the Vajra. Alto and the rest of humanity then need her to set things right with the Vajra, before touching down on an Earth-like planet to colonise...
There's not much more to tell -- you just have to see the series to believe it. It is both a 'modern' series with modern themes and a very modern look, but it is also very 'Macross', with a plot that strongly resembles the plot of the series that started it all twenty-five years ago.
With the focus on music, the voice acting cast was carefully selected -- and with great success. The voice cast works really well for all roles. And as for the music -- once again, Yoko Kanno undertook writing the score, and as always she did a great job. There's an ending song by Maaya Sakamoto too, which scores major bonus points. ;)
What is really impressive is that this series is the debut of Megumi Nakajima, who voiced Ranka Lee -- both voice and song. She did a really good job, and proved herself very proficient. I hope to hear more of her in future anime.
- Never a dull moment;
- Great visuals -- CGI space fights leave you spinning in your seat;
- Great music and songs, with many a wink and a nod to the long-time fans of the franchise;
- Excellent plot.
I can't really think of any bad points. A worthy successor to the Macross name, and a must-see for everyone. I'll give it a 9.5.