And 'epic' is also the right word to describve the impact of the franchise on Japanese culture. Uchuu Senkan Yamato is an institution in Japan, aired in 1974 and 1975 -- predating Macross by a full decade. Also syndicated on US television under the name of 'Star Blazers'. It still has a huge following, and it's something of a brand name with high recognition in Japan: lots of people grew up watching it.
Just watch the reaction of the audience in this video. This is a 'normal' concert by Isao Sasaki, who sang the original opening theme -- just see what happens. That is how big it is in Japan.
Just a week ago, a live-action movie (a retelling of the original TV series) came out in Japan. Obviously, a lot of big-name stars feature prominently in the movie. You can see two clips of the movie in this entry over at aramatheydidnt.
When was the last time when 60% the audience of a sci-fi special effects movie were over 40?
I must say, I'm excited. I'll go see it if it ever hits the Dutch theatres.