Out On The Frontier… With Giant Robots

[[image:macross_frontier02.jpg:VF-25 Valkyrie:center:0]]I wrote earlier about the continuation of the Robotech saga with the Shadow Chronicles. Robotech is actually three different anime series juryrigged and tweaked so they become a (more or less) coherent whole to be syndicated on the American market. However, the first of the three, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross is a saga still being told in its native Japanese, disregarding the entire Robotech thing.

[[image:macross_frontier01.jpg:VF-25 Battroid:center:0]]Throughout the years, there’s been among others Macross Plus, Macross 7, Macross Zero… and now the latest series to continue saga of the original Macross is Macross Frontier.

[[image:macross_frontier03.jpg:VF-25 Gerwalk:center:0]] As with the first Macross, the story’s teenaged central characters are positioned in a love triangle. Saotome Alto is a male student pilot and former kabuki actor who has long and pretty hair and nicknamed hime (princess) by his schoolmates. Ranka Lee is a female aspiring singer who works in a Chinese restaurant who has dissociative amnesia because of a family tragedy. And Sheryl Nome is a female interstellar singing star who is on everyone’s lips and every news channel, and is forced to make the Frontier her home when her home fleet is destroyed. This combination of characters should annoy the crap out of me. But strangely and wonderfully enough it doesn’t. The three are great characters that do not become classic caricatures of the normal archetypes. There is no risk of melodrama overdose.

[[image:macross_frontier04a.jpg:Alto and Ranka:center:0]][[image:macross_frontier04b.jpg:Sheryl:center:0]]

The story takes place at the Macross Frontier fleet where a large space habitat colony resides. The government is the NUNS (who aren’t on the run, as of yet) and the characters are affiliated with the Mihoshi Academy and the civilian military provider SMS. Like all other Macross series, one mecha is featured above the rest and in this case it’s the VF-25 Messiah.

[[image:macross_frontier05.jpg:Attack of Pixie Squadron:center:0]]Also employed by SMS are a bunch of Meltrans (female Zentradis) with new Quaedluun-Rea armors. Their leader is Klan Klien who, because of a genetic anomaly, micronises into a human-sized child instead of a buxom warrior woman that she really is as a full-sized Zentradi. Which is kind of a problem since it’s hinted that she has a mutual attraction with her childhood friend and Alto’s squadmate Michael Blanc.

[[image:macross_frontier06.jpg:A big ass monster:center:0]]One jawdropping scene is when an old school Monster Destroid (known to Robotech fans as the MAC II Destroid) shows up piloted by SMS medtech Kanaria Bernstein… and it appears to be a transformable mecha! The traditional form is its gerwalk (guardian) mode, and it has additional battroid and bomber modes.

[[image:macross_frontier07.jpg:Vajra specimen scans:center:0]]The Frontier, living in peace under NUNS and the additional protection of SMS, is suddenly come under attack by what seems to be new alien lifeforms. Giant spaceborne creatures dubbed “Vajra” by the powers that be. Although to the rest of the Frontier, the Vajra is a new threat, a certain number of people acting in conspiracy seem to have been waiting its appearance and have known of its existence since the 117th Fleet was lost eleven years earlier. Although their motivations and goals are yet unknown, they seem to have a sinister purpose.

Ranka is a survivor of the 117th Fleet and are under constant surveillance of these conspirators. Why does she have a strange little alien creature following her around? Is that creature some sort of baby Vajra? Why can’t she remember the Vajra attack that destroyed her home fleet and killed her family? Why is a mysterious cyborg pilot who constantly thwarts Alto’s missions seem to know the same unique song Ranka does? Even Sheryl being stranded at the Frontier after her home colony fleet Macross Galaxy is destroyed is suspect. Grace O’Connor, her manager, seems to be in on the conspiracy.

What are the shadow conspirators planning for the Frontier with the Vajra? What does Ranka and Sheryl have to do with it? And why does Alto, seem to me, like a wild card in their machinations? Will he somehow unwittingly be the one to foil their plans?

With an interesting love triangle, spectacular mecha combat, conspiracies, beautiful artwork and animation, and not the least a fantastic score by Yoko Kanno… I’ll be following this series to the end.

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Posted in Misc Sci-Fi, TV and tagged , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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