Friday, April 18, 2008

Macross Frontier episode 1 and 2

The Macross saga returns with a new series called Macross Frontier. For all of those not familiar with Macross from the 80s, it is one of the most influential Anime's of all times, it is the story of how humans in the future advance technologically when they find a super dimetional alien fortress that crashes in planet earth and later get involved in a war against a race of giant aliens called the Zentraedi, which they win barely thanks to the cultural shock of aliens discovering the pleasure of music in Min May's voice. The sequels follow more or less the formula of the first one, intergalactic battles, love triangles between the main characters and some really awesome singer that influences the wars with her song's.

Episode 1 starts with the story of how after the wars against the Zentraedi humanity is expanding across the universe and a colonization mission light years away from earth is "Frontier".

The main characters are presented and seem to be very similar to the ones in the first series:
Alto, a cool guy that is a pilot wannabe; Sheryl, a very famous futuristic singer; Ranka, a cute waitress that is Sheryl's fan. Sheryl performs a concert where Alto is part of the act by using some kind of flying suit that helps him do aeroacrobatics. Ranka is part of the audience and Alto tries to impress her causing an accident that almost interrupts Sheryl concert. In the meantime there's a battle in space outside Frontier against some strange robotic aliens. The alien foes break throught the army's hold and enter the city. The concert is stopped by an emergency transmission informing that everybody should hide and during the commotion Ranka is in danger by the attack of one of the aliens, a soldier in a VF-25 robot armor tries to defend her but is killed and Alto jumps into the VF-25 to defend Ranka.

The second episode takes where the first one ends and Alto tries to destroy Rankas attacker without success. Luckily, Ranka's brother who is another VF pilot is close and comes to help. He fires some heavy missiles to the alien causing him to get distracted, while Alto takes Ranka away to get her safe. The attack continues and causes Alto to increase altitude to get to away from all the shooting, but his VF-25 arm is severed, the one where he was holding Ranka, and he has to rush to try to save her, he opens the cockpit and jumps out to grab her as he is still wearing his flying suit. He barely makes it back on time since they where in the edge of the stratosphere entering outer space zero gravity. Alto finally places Ranka on a safe spot and runs away.

After all the aliens mysteriously retract everything goes back to normal, and Ranka keeps daydreaming about his savior while Alto is in school taking classes as if nothing ever happened. The military abducts Alto to force him to join their forces but Ranka's brother interrupts them and takes him to his mercenary base to explain to him that the guy that was killed in the battle and which VF-25 Alto used was part of his team. Suddenly a new battle starts and the mercenaries fly away to defend again. In the meantime Sheryl posing as a regular girl is looking all over the city for Alto since she seems to have fallen in love with hime just like Ranka during her concert's accident where he saved her. Sheryl seems to be very spoiled since she doesn't even know how to find an address on her own. She runs into Ranka and asks her for help. When Ranka finally takes her to the military base where Sheryl was going to look for information on Alto's wherabouts Sheryl reveals her true personalty to Ranka and starts singing. Alto is attracted by her voice and finds both of them and before anybody can say a thing an alien from the new battle that just started is quickly flying their way without warning. This is the end of episode 2!

So far this has been an excellent Anime. I feel they are ripping off a little too much from the original one (which feels weird after the instance of Macross, Macross Zero was a totally different story from all we have seen before), but I have faith that the story will take a life of it's own starting from the next episode (it was specially obvious how much they take elements from the first one when they did a scene by scene reproduction of the VF mid air open cockpit saving of Ranka/Min May). The opening song is out of this world, I really like it, and the music during the episodes is fantastic as well, another great job from Yoko Kanno. Last but not least this is one of the first Anime's where I don't feel the CGI forced, it blends very naturally into the traditional 2d scenes and it makes the fighting scenes look amazing.