Review: Macross Plus (1994)

Macross Plus (1994)

Directed by: Shôji Kawamori, Shinichirô Watanabe | 160 minutes | action, drama, animation, adventure, romance, fantasy, science fiction | Original voice cast: Takumi Yamazaki, Unshô Ishizuka, Rica Fukami, Mako Hyôdô, Kenji Utsumi, Megumi Hayashibara, Shô Hayami

‘Macross Plus’ is a captivating sequel to the original 1980s Macross TV series, otherwise known in the West as ‘Robotech’. This four-part miniseries initially seems to be little more than a story about “boys” and their “toys”, but turns out to contain interesting themes and emotions. In addition to exciting action scenes, expansive animations, and beautiful music. Given the combined running time of more than two and a half hours, there might have been more character development and a more extensive elaboration of the themes, but even in its current form ‘Macross Plus’ is a content-rich, entertaining, and visually remarkable viewing experience .

First of all, there are the usually very compelling action scenes with the fighter jets. The sense of speed and competition is conveyed well and things like the smoke trails from the rockets and pink skies that can sometimes be discerned provide just that little bit of visual added value in the scenes. But the fighter jets themselves are also interesting. On the one hand, because they are airplanes that can turn into robots (but constantly manned by humans), and on the other, because the control of one of the two jets is done with thought waves, just like in the movie ‘Firefox’, in which Clint Eastwood missiles purely with his thoughts. had to shoot from a futuristic Russian fighter jet.

Late in the film, when a new jet fighter is introduced, the question arises as to how far people should or should continue to control their devices. The possibilities and danger of Artificial Intelligence does not only relate to the fighter jets here. Also in the case of the virtual pop star Sharon Apple, who is adored by the whole universe, these kinds of issues come to the fore. Issues of truth, reality and authenticity and the blurring of the lines of these dimensions with those of entertainment and illusion. The manufactured figure of Sharon Apple has once again become a very relevant symbol in the current era of Idols and the makeable pop star. The spectators believe in her authenticity, although she seems to be only a virtual creation. But, how bad is this really? Something or someone makes for a fantastic show with psychedelic images and a seductive pop star in the lead. A beautiful illusion is created that people, collectively or individually, can enjoy intensely. What’s wrong with this? Interestingly enough, it’s the artificial aspect here that provides the appeal, and Apple’s producers are trying to preserve the illusion of this artificial aspect.

Despite various interesting substantive aspects that the film has to offer, ‘Macross Plus’ ultimately revolves around an ordinary love triangle and the rivalry between the two male protagonists. This storyline has a happy ending, but the love-hate relationship between Isamu and Gold has a somewhat shaky, banal basis. The entire film is worked towards the revelation of this important incident, but this turns out to be at least a meager explanation. However, this is only a small blemish on the film as a whole, which manages to engage the viewer in several ways: with its tantalizing animations, thrilling action, emotional underlay, and effective music – sometimes furiously supporting the action with West-Side Story-like orchestral sounds, and then again evokes a melancholic atmosphere with the voice of a female soloist or a few piano notes. In short: at the same time epic and intimate, just like ‘Macross Plus’ itself.

Comments are closed.