Macross: War in a Material World

Macross: War in a Material World

After the television series Superdimensional Fortress Macross debuted in Japan on October 3, 1982, the fantasy lives of Japanese geeks would never be the same. Originally conceived as a slapstick parody, Macross eventually evolved into an iconic sci-fi drama brimming with now-classic anime stereotypes: the introverted protagonist who’s a total klutz with the ladies, apocalyptic imagery, grand space battles, and the first portrayals of transforming robots that felt realistic. As one of the very first anime productions created by and for hard-core fans, the success of the series played a major role in defining and legitimizing the otaku as a consumer demographic. (A demographic, incidentally, that never tires of gleefully pointing out that the premier episode of Macross contains the very first use of the eccentric second-person pronoun “o-taku” [お宅] in an anime.) Most importantly, the series and its subsequent theatrical follow-up offered an updated take on the relentless rehashing of the Japanese World War II narrative: consumer culture as an antidote to militarism.

The basic plot: in the far-flung year of 1999, a massive, uninhabited spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin crash-lands on the fictional South Ataria Island located in the Ogasawara Island chain. The continually-warring nations of the Earth lay down their arms to study and rebuild the mysterious craft, code-naming it “Super Dimensional Fortress 1” for its apparent ability to “fold” space-time. Exactly a decade later, the once quiet island is home to a bustling metropolis of scientists, soldiers, and workers who are involved with the SDF-1 project. Although the re-construction effort for the ship was ostensibly funded by a global organization called “UN Spacy,” the social culture on-board the space fortress is unmistakably Japanese. The bridge crew is staffed by a bevy of energetic and uniformed office ladies, overseen by an absentminded, pipe-smoking ojiisan named Captain Global, while the ship is defended by all-male squadrons of stalwart “Valkyrie fighter” pilots who are portrayed with salaryman-esque dedication to their jobs and “country” (i.e., the SDF-1 itself).

The story starts on the day of the SDF-1’s official launching ceremony. Now re-christened the “Macross,” apparently in reference to its huge size, the ship is about to take its maiden flight under human control when the island comes under attack. An enormous fleet of alien invaders appears in the skies over the city, intent on reclaiming its lost property. During the confusion, the rookie crew activates the SDF-1’s as-yet untested Hyperspace Fold Drive, sending the ship to the edge of our solar system along with a huge chunk of the city, island, and ocean. Although temporarily safe from enemy attacks, the fold drive “folds in on itself” and vanishes during the process, stranding the ship in deep space with tens of thousands of civilian refugees on-board.

The situation of the Macross could be seen as an apt metaphor for the shock and sense of drift Japan must have felt at the end of World War II. The inhabitants of the SDF-1 end up reacting in the same way as the families of the animators nearly four decades earlier: by rebuilding. Before long, “Macross City” has been almost perfectly reconstructed within SDF-1’s cavernous interior. The city inside the SDF-1 is microcosm of Tokyo life as seen through the eyes of the show’s young creators. Romance blossoms in video game arcades while giggling ladies linger over panty purchases at lingerie shops. The streets are lined with toy stores, restaurants, and nightclubs. Fans queue for the concerts of comely teenage idol-girl Lynn Minmei, whose fluffy tunes tackle close-to-home issues like “zero-G love” and flirting with fighter pilots. Nary a nursing home, hospital, supermarket, waste-treatment plant, garbage dump, or anything remotely outside the scope of a teenage or twenty-something otaku’s interest makes an appearance. Many anime are set in vaguely-defined foreign locales. Not Macross: the portrayal of life aboard the SDF-1 is almost defiantly Japanese, an attempt by the creators to re-cast the narrative of Japan’s role in World War II within the context of their own comfortable modern consumer lifestyles.

Macross is hardly the first anime retelling of the WWII experience. Space Battleship Yamato — broadcast in America as Star Blazers — is perhaps the most well known. In that story, the Earth’s surface has been rendered uninhabitable by constant attacks from an alien empire with vast resources and technology. Japan’s — I mean, humanity’s — only chance for survival is the Yamato — a retrofitted, space-worthy version of the same battleship on which the Imperial navy pinned its hopes for success in the Pacific theater centuries earlier. Her brave crew sets off on a 196 million light year race across the cosmos to save humankind, teaching young viewers of the glory of duty and sacrifice in the process. (Tellingly, the Yamato was rechristened as the “Argo” in the English version, a name with significantly less cultural baggage.)

Mobile Suit Gundam — another classic anime series — is also a World War II parable thinly veiled in the science-fiction idiom. The story opens amidst the One Year War between the inhabitants of Earth and the Zeon — a cluster of space colonies that have declared independence from the Earth Federation. One of the first images greeting viewers is that of a space colony deliberately pushed out of orbit and onto a major Earth city, which it obliterates in a massive, nuclear-like mushroom cloud. Although the series nominally portrays the Earth Federation as Allied Forces-style “good guys” and Zeon as Nazi-esque “bad guys,” enough plot twists, recriminations, and counter-recriminations are piled atop one another to thoroughly obscure the question as to which side is truly in the right. The only constant is the sacrifice of the teenage giant-robot pilots, forced to fight a battle on behalf of adult authority figures portrayed as dangerously out of step with common sense and morality.

If Yamato is a wishful re-casting of the Japanese military as saviors of humanity and Gundam a melodramatic space opera in which the main casualty of war is the innocence of youth, Macross takes a completely different tack. Let us return to the plot: a lone space-fortress, an island if you will, drifts alone in the sea of space. Its inhabitants are outnumbered thousands to one by enemies from a completely alien culture. The only thing standing between their certain annihilation is the superior technology of the Macross’ fighter aircraft and the skill and daring of its pilots, who defend their “island” to the death on a near daily-basis. In spite of their fighting spirit, their homeland is wiped out by the superior technology of the enemy forces. The climactic scenes of Earth’s destruction, largely based on footage of American nuclear tests, are portrayed with an almost fetishistic intensity by animator Hideaki Anno (who would, a decade later, go on to direct the Evangelion series, a watershed pop-cultural moment in which the otaku finally ascended from the shadows to the center stage of the Japanese public consciousness.)

macross2.gif

So far, Macross sounds like any of a dozen anime plots. (Thanks to its origins as a satire of the genre, Macross is largely a pastiche of Japanese sci-fi archetypes.) The twist is the portrayal of airheaded ‘80s Japanese consumer culture prospering aboard the ship. Macross’ pop-cultural proselytizing is aggressive enough in the television series, but it’s played up to a delirious degree in the 1984 theatrical version Macross: Do You Remember Love. The film opens with a slow montage of life on the streets of Macross City, whose inhabitants apparently don’t let the fact that they’re in the midst of an intergalactic war get in the way of some good shopping. Despite being trapped in the belly of an alien space-fortress that’s stranded out somewhere beyond the orbit of Saturn, the streets teem with vending machines dispensing soft drinks, a doppelganger of Harajuku’s teenage-mecca Takeshita Doori complete with fast-food joints and “jumbotron” TVs advertising the latest fashions. There’s even a multi-lane highway (to where isn’t ever explained) and an outdoor display of next season’s car models. Who exactly is supplying all of these new products isn’t ever asked, let alone answered. The presence of a thriving consumer economy — even in this most bizarre of circumstances — is treated as obvious, a given, unquestioned by creator and viewer alike.

The air-raid sirens, the frequent retreats to shelters, the friendly-fire civilian casualties as the SDF-1 transforms into humanoid form during battles, and perseverance in the face of odds that are insanely stacked against them; these were all recurrent motifs in Macross and undoubtedly resonated with a group of viewers who had heard about similar stories from their families and teachers. Exactly how much, if any, of the show the creators intended as direct allegory is debatable, but there is no doubt that consumption plays a cathartic role in the Macross story, as the shopping machine only really stops, grudgingly, for the brief moments when the inhabitants are in air-raid shelters. Once they’re out, the fast-food joints, car dealerships, and (in the theatrical version, anyway) love hotels open right back up for business. Yes, love hotels. Even in this era of transforming robots, alien space fleets, and “hyperspace fold drives,” it seems young Japanese can’t conceive of love outside of the walls of a by-the-hour room.

The Zentradi aliens are a pastiche themselves, a mish-mash of old-school authority figures. Their obsession with war and willingness — even desire — to die in combat is stereotypically medieval or Imperial-era Japanese, while their utter cluelessness as to the “protoculture” aboard the Macross is akin to that of American Occupation soldiers dropped in the midst of a society they only vaguely understood. The Zentradi, segregated by gender and knowing nothing but war, are alternately fascinated and repulsed by the humans’ prototculture. Within the context of the show, the definition of this fancy word “protoculture” is always vague, extending from consumer goods (cars and vending machines, which the Zentradi dissect in an attempt to understand humanity) to singing (Minmei concerts mesmerize them) and even sex (the sight of people kissing sends them into conniptions.) This portrayal of popular culture and society as an integrated whole is a first in an anime and could be called the show’s most enduring legacy. But in Macross, pop culture like Minmei’s idol concerts is not just something moving parallel to traditional culture. Modern consumerism is venerated as the savior of all civilization, much as home electronics “saved” Japan in the postwar era and a national bubblegum culture replaced political protest as a central interest for Japan’s youth in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Almost inevitably, the Zentradi begin defecting to the human side to get closer to “protoculture.” This might sound like a difficult thing for a race of aliens four times our size, but fortunately they have a “micronizing” technology capable of reducing them down to human proportions. By the end of the series — spoilers ahead — the Zentradi have all but assimilated into Macross culture, mostly abandoning their own love of war for the pleasures of living in a materialistic society. War is hell, it seems, except when victory results in the creation of a new class of consumers — even if they do happen to be outsiders. And while the creators undoubtedly never intended it as such (anime was still largely regarded as “junk culture” at the time, with foreign licensing of popular Japanese entertainment in its infancy), the portrayal of Japanese consumer culture converting a foreign society is a metaphor for the ascension of Japanese pop culture abroad if ever there was one.

Matthew ALT
February 12, 2008

Matt Alt lives in Tokyo and is the co-author of Hello, Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters from Japan and Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide, among others. His blog can be found at http://altjapan.typepad.com.

50 Responses

  1. M-Bone Says:

    Very interesting reading. However, don’t you think that you are being a bit selective in favor of the consumerist points?

    The last episodes of the TV series see Earth devastated. Minmei begins to LOSE her popularity and becomes increasingly unhappy (the fate of shallow materialism?) to the point of being suicidal. Hikaru dumps Minmei (materialism) and goes for Misa, the serious career women. The two of them are trying to find career roles that would have been out of place in the growth-oriented Japan of the 1960s and 1970s. They begin to search for some way to use their talents outside of the context of materialism – actually selflessly helping other people (there are thematic continuities with Miyazaki’s body of work which also favors that theme).

    There is also the hint that consumerism is not a solution – some of the Zentradi, in the end, cannot give up war. They find their culture IN war. This can be read as a fascinating critique of the lingering presence of rightwing kooks in Japan, I think, complete with a final glorious(ly stupid) kamikaze attack.

    What you describe IS in the series (and especially in the film) but it is not ALL that is there.

  2. W. David MARX Says:

    In comparison with Gundam and Yamato, Macross is the only one to have consumerism at all, and I would argue that it is basically always a “positive force.” The series should have actually stopped at the episode where Minmei sings and it destroys the Zentradi fleet, but more episodes were ordered and the tacked-on “living on destroyed earth” saga complicates the issue.

    You are right that some Zentradi start to rebel, and Minmei is depressed (mostly due to her weirdly incestual relationship with increasingly drunk Kyle), but the songs themselves are never seen as being powerless. Hikaru choses Misa, but Misa says to Minmei in parting: “Sing me a song.”

    Hikaru was never into materialism to start with, nor Misa, so having Hikaru choose Misa over Minmei doesn’t say much about the “proper” choice. In fact, Minmei is the one who wants to abandon her career and get married, and Hikaru’s going with Misa puts her back on track – thus saying, pop culture is important for the world, and we won’t get in the way of it. (The Robotech dub of this ending is much different in tone.)

  3. M-Bone Says:

    “In comparison with Gundam and Yamato”

    Why be concerned only with Gundam and Yamato? Galaxy Express 999 is EXPLICITLY about consumerism (and takes a hard anti-superficial consumerism bent). GE999 was the first really popular anime movie, came out at the same time as the others (and overshadowed them with its massive box office take). There are very good points being made here but examples that fit with the consumerism points are being cherrypicked.

    “Hikaru was never into materialism to start with.”

    I disagree – there were many scenes (once again, especially in the film) with Minmei and Hikaru doing clueless materialist date stuff, he almost got himself killed watching the Miss Macross pageant, he almost screws up his relationship with Misa by going on a piano bar date (a straight up 80s icon “Popeye” magazine power date) with Minmei, etc.

    The songs still have power, but Minmei is clearly left behind by more mature characters at the end of the series. They believe that she has her place and they have their role (volunteerism, Japanese UN centrism, articulating a new role for Japan in the world – the 80s was about more than consumerism and Macross tapped into these parts of the Zeitgeist as well). You think that it should have stopped the series at a certain point but it did not and that opens up the “last part” as the source of reinterpretation of the first. The staff took it in different directions – effectively showing the thematic variety of 80s anime.

    Pop culture IS important for the world of Macross but it is surely not the only thing that Macross is about – maybe not even the major thing.

  4. W. David MARX Says:

    he almost got himself killed watching the Miss Macross pageant

    Because he knows and likes Minmei, not because he is a “fan” of idol pageants.

    he almost screws up his relationship with Misa by going on a piano bar date

    Again, he is called by Minmei to go meet her at an airport. He didn’t set up the place.

    Pop culture IS important for the world of Macross but it is surely not the only thing that Macross is about – maybe not even the major thing.

    Then what is the main point? The climax of the series has the power of idol music destroying an entire enemy fleet. That’s a pretty big vote for pop culture.

  5. M-Bone Says:

    “Again, he is called by Minmei to go meet her at an airport. He didn’t set up the place.”

    He’s completely involved in her world. Part of the attraction to Minmei is the glam.

    “Then what is the main point? The climax of the series has the power of idol music destroying an entire enemy fleet. That’s a pretty big vote for pop culture.”

    The climax if you chose to ignore the last quarter, yes. For me, and for many fans, it was the resolution of the triangle relationship was the climax of the series – not all the shootin’.

    Macross is about a lot of things – the persistence of militarism, the need for sacrifice to help others and working for something more important than GDP growth, it shows the idol business as soul destroying. Throughout the entire run the shallowness of the pop environment is juxtaposed with the hard choices (and self sacrifices for others) that the military people are making. Its all there along with the song that saves the world. That song, incidentally, is also about love and the love image in the series is also explored through the “international marriage” of human and Zentradi pilots – we have a basic love conquers all (and casting aside wartime hatreds) theme along with a pretty interesting take on cultural differences and the need to come half way when trying to understand the other.

    Kawamori went on to do Macross Plus which has clueless consumerism turning a blind eye to the computer program that wants to destroy the world… Some of the otaku that you mentioned as being on staff went on to do things like “Wings of Honneamise” which takes its main character on a dystopian tour through his world’s popular culture before he begins to find his purpose in life (ala Faust).

  6. Aceface Says:

    ”Most importantly, the series and its subsequent theatrical follow-up offered an updated take on the relentless rehashing of the Japanese World War II narrative: consumer culture as an antidote to militarism.”

    I remember reading conversation between Miyazaki Hayao criticizing he just couldn’t understand the consumerism under the war time and Macross staffs said they were not thinking about WW2 Japan experience,but that of American in Vietnam war.

    “ship is defended by all-male squadrons of stalwart “Valkyrie fighter” pilots who are portrayed with salaryman-esque dedication to their jobs and “country””

    But they were all service men and that was natural thing even in the Sci-Fi world in the 80’s.

    Remember the original”Battlestar Galactica”had only male pilots?
    And I heard through the grape vines that recent Sci-Fi channel re-make had moderate change in the cast and made the top pilot of Galactica,an woman.

    “the social culture on-board the space fortress is unmistakably Japanese.”

    Lin Minmei(and her radical dissident turns abusive manager cousin Kaifun) was portrayed as an ethnic Chinese, there was even a China town inside of Macross,if my fading memory is correct.

    Gundam had a few Japanese names among the crew of White Base(Hayato Kobayashi,Mirai Yashima)but others were all non-Japanese names.
    Besides,Gundam’s story narrative is more resembles to that of the allied forces in WW2 like D-Day and Iwojima and all.

  7. W. David MARX Says:

    Lynn Minmei is “Japanese-Chinese,” and while Japan is 99.9% ethnically pure yadayada, I think she’s pretty clearly Japanese “culturally.”

    There is some odd racial interplay in Macross that seems pretty random. “Hayase Misa” is blond and has a pretty white dad.

    Is Claudia one of the few black anime characters who is nonchalantly black? They never make it into a big deal.

    Also, the Zeon bad dudes in Gundam are very much “German” rather than Imperial Japanese.

  8. Aceface Says:

    “There is some odd racial interplay in Macross that seems pretty random. “Hayase Misa” is blond and has a pretty white dad.”

    She had brown hair and I thought her dad(Admiral Hayase…) was pretty Japanese looking at least in Macross standard.

    Mori Yuki from Yamato had blonde hair
    and she didn’t look like Japanese at all.
    http://www.geocities.co.jp/Playtown-Dice/7006/yuki-FA.jpg

    “Also, the Zeon bad dudes in Gundam are very much “German” rather than Imperial Japanese.”

    And I thought Yamato’s nemesis “Garman Gamilas” was very “German”.
    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%87%E3%82%B9%E3%83%A9%E3%83%BC

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%92%E3%82%B9

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%89%E3%83%A1%E3%83%AB

    THIS is the one of the few black anime characters who is nonchalantly black.
    http://www31.ocn.ne.jp/~exproder/aaa/mannga/man/008.jpg

  9. Aceface Says:

    BTW,the above character is from Ishinomori Ryotaro’s Cyborg 009 called “Pyunma” also know as 008…

  10. M-Bone Says:

    “Is Claudia one of the few black anime characters who is nonchalantly black? They never make it into a big deal.”

    Yes – along with Boi from Southern Cross which just happened to fit strangely as the second part of Robotech. There is also Vanilla from VOTOMS who, despite the afro and comic relief, is really the only sympathetic character in the series and gets the girl in the end…. GUNDAM Seed also has some (attractive) dark skinned characters.

    “Also, the Zeon bad dudes in Gundam are very much “German” rather than Imperial Japanese.”

    But, don’t they follow exactly the same “draw the enemy in for a decisive battle for the homeland!” strategy that Imperial Japan did (with similar results)? While they are clearly Germanic, I don’t think that this point was lost on the creators.

    “ship is defended by all-male squadrons of stalwart “Valkyrie fighter” pilots who are portrayed with salaryman-esque dedication to their jobs and “country””

    This also ignores the Zentradi woman who is the second best combat pilot in the entire series. As I noted above, I don’t think that the “selflessness” theme in Macross really fits with salarymen all that much.

    One the subject of old and new anime – “Mushishi” must be the most anti-materialist anime ever. Produced by Macross director Ishiguro….

  11. Aceface Says:

    I was born in 1970.
    While I was in New York at the time when these shows were on the air in early 80’s,and somehow I have managed to follow most of the storylines via various mags sold in Kinokuniya at Rockfeller center,and those unauthorized rental videos directly recorded from TV,you could rent in many J-food stores and J-book shops(like Tokyo Shoten) in Scarsdale.

    While there were few animes shown in America at the time like “Starblazers”,still the genre was little known and my American friends were totally disinterested.(They liked HE-MAN,and GI-JOEs instead,and I took that as American insularity in accepting foreign pop culture.)

    I remember on one occasion I found a model of the Super Dimension Century Orguss in Chinatown while I went to school trip there with my friends at ESL class.
    After that I had to go all the way to downtown Manhattan in search of Japanese anime plastic models.I ended up buying all the Valkyries in Chinatown.

    Anime was one of the cultural bondage that tied me to Japan at the time.However,the heat went out as soon as I came back to Japan.(I was so dissapointed with Z Gandam and it killed my whole interest in the genre)
    Maybe I was just hungry for Japan experience than anime itself.

    Back to the subject.
    The animes made in this period(early 80’s) like Ideon,Votoms,Dougram and Xabungle,none of them reflect Japanese war time experience nor any form of materialism.

    Ideon definitly uses Palestinean refugees experience as the key motif.Votoms uses multiple images from Vietnam war flics.
    Dougram’s source of inspiration came from the film”Battle of Alger” and Xabungle sets in post-apocalyotic world based on survivalist
    world view.

    With that,I think Macross’s materialism is more of an exception than the norm of anime of this era.

  12. Matt Says:

    “GE999 was the first really popular anime movie”

    There is no doubt that 999 was popular (and is a wonderful series) but I don’t think you can say it was more popular than Yamato. As an exchange student to Japan in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I often heard the Yamato theme being played by my high school’s band — which isn’t to say the kids were budding Imperialists but rather that Yamato had a bigger impact on the zeitgeist. The Yamato films were absolutely huge in Japan. Someone who grew up there in the ’70s, like Aceface, could probably shed more light on this subject.

    “This also ignores the Zentradi woman who is the second best combat pilot in the entire series.”

    I’m not sure I see how that ignores her. I love Miriya and her svelte powered armor suit as much as the next guy, but the totally gender-segregated society of the Zentradi is portrayed as a hopelessly backward logical extension of extreme militarism, not a leap forward for feminism.

  13. Let’s Put On A Show! » Deconstructing Transformable Mecha Says:

    […] Néojaponisme » Macross: War in a Material World The city inside the SDF-1 is microcosm of Tokyo life as seen through the eyes of the show’s young creators. Romance blossoms in video game arcades while giggling ladies linger over panty purchases at lingerie shops. The streets are lined with toy stores, restaurants, and nightclubs. Fans queue for the concerts of comely teenage idol-girl Lynn Minmei, whose fluffy tunes tackle close-to-home issues like “zero-G love” and flirting with fighter pilots. Nary a nursing home, hospital, supermarket, waste-treatment plant, garbage dump, or anything remotely outside the scope of a teenage or twenty-something otaku’s interest makes an appearance. Many anime are set in vaguely-defined foreign locales. Not Macross: the portrayal of life aboard the SDF-1 is almost defiantly Japanese… […]

  14. Matt Says:

    “(They liked HE-MAN,and GI-JOEs instead,and I took that as American insularity in accepting foreign pop culture.)”

    You can’t discuss any of these shows, whether Japanese or American, without touching on the toy companies that sponsored them. Nearly every anime produced in the ’70s and early ’80s was created not for reasons of “art” but rather as a vehicle to sell products. Macross was no different. Even legendarily “deep” fare such as Gundam and Ideon was created for the purposes of selling toy merchandise to kids.

    Shows like HE MAN and GI JOE represented the first time American toy-makers could market products in concert with cartoon shows (years of lobbying by the American toy industry culminated in President Reagan lifting the restrictions that had prevented such cross-marketing for many years.) Shortly after the floodgates opened, Japanese fare such as “The Transformers” (whose marketing campaign was orchestrated by Americans but was based on Japanese toys) and “Voltron” (based on the Japanese kids’ anime “Golion”) achieved equal if not greater popularity among American kids.

    The reason shows like Xabungle and Votoms and Ideon never made it to American airwaves is largely one of logistics. There wasn’t any concept of animation targeted at a more mature “tween” or teen audience, with heavy restrictions on what sort of violence/drama could be portrayed, and the often Byzantine relationship between Japanese toy company sponsors and the animation studios made for very difficult negotiations to bring these sorts of shows to America. (Given that the ownership of Macross has was in litigation for decades, it’s a miracle “Robotech” even made it to American airwaves.) So I don’t think you can paint it as insularity, as this is the era in which I and a lot of my American friends first became fascinated with “Japanimation” (and acquired tapes and models much the same as you, in Chinatowns and what not.)

    Forgive the digression. Back to the regularly-scheduled arguing!

  15. Roger Says:

    Chiming in here regarding Aceface’s comment @ 11.

    I can’t speak for the other series you mention, but VOTOMS definitely does reflect the Japanese postwar experience. The Scopedogs that the characters scrounge from scrap yards were inspired by junked American Jeeps the producer (Ryosuke Takahashi) encountered in his childhood, and the imagery of of Uoodo and Sunsa is also based on the devastation Japan experienced.

    The Vietnam imagery from Apocalypse Now and Deer Hunter is definitely there in the Kummen episodes, though, right down to the Russian Roulette scene.

  16. Aceface Says:

    “So I don’t think you can paint it as insularity, as this is the era in which I and a lot of my American friends first became fascinated with “Japanimation””

    Too true.
    And that’s the reason why I enjoy reading your stuff and Patrick Macias’s. Finding out the cultural gap between Pacific has either narrowed or stays the same from the days of my expat childhood in America.

    Re Yamato-999.

    Hmmm.It’s pretty difficult to say which was more popular.

    Both are Matsumoto Leiji franchise.(well,in case of Yamato,there’s a bit more complicated story behind this)
    And both had featured in the silver screens multiple times and were box office success.

    Yamato’s march(composed by Miyagawa Hiroshi)was definitely my elementary school brass band’s all-time favorite.
    But then again,so was Rocky’s theme”Gonna Fly Now”(composed by Bill Conti)undeniably an Americana…
    Maybe my school was obsessed with go-for-a-broke style Japanese militarism and American dream both at the same time.but I also know for a fact that Godiego’s 1979 GE999 film’s theme song was also the favourite of the chorus club….

    You could say Yamato has more impact on cultural side,because that was the origin of anime craze and birth of Otakudom.But Yamato wasn’t a big hit when it was originally aired on TV in 1974,but re-discovered in re-run show and the boom was ignited by the success of the films in 77 and 78.

    Compared to that,GE999 ,to us was a live ongoing event.There was weekly serial on Shonen King which was a mega hit at the time and ofcourse,there was anime on TVand movies.It had synergy effects and pioneering what we later call media mix.
    For those reasons,many of my friends liked 999 better.

    Yamato did have Manga,but it wasn’t a hit and the one we were reading was not by the hand of Matsumoto.Yamato is more of a product of the TV’s general producer Nisizaki Yoshinobu.

    I liked Yamato better for the happy-go-lucky tone beneath the surface of everybody-dies-honorably story.

    Yamato’s strength was pretty much on it’s setting.Of the characters and the world views,of which fans can grow their imagination beyond what’s on the show.

    999 was much darker in comparison and in my case,I didn’t like that Oedipus complex-like relationship between Tetsuro and Maetel.

    And the Anime was lacking humour of the original manga and every episode was a total tearjerker to my eyes and that bugged me.

    The 999 anime was also aired on Japanese language program in the U.S east coast from 1981 to 1983 with English subtitles along with NHK’s Taiga drama.
    I could see Yamato with the title “The Starblazers” in the after school hours with that bizarre English voice over.
    Both theatrical versions were abundant in the renatal video rack of Tokyo Shoten.So they were the last anime I missed when when I was in the states…

    If you want to talk about Yamato-Gandam-Macross and the Japanese collective memory on war,you just can’t miss this easily forgotten anime called “Space Carrier Blue Noah”….
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Carrier_Blue_Noah

  17. M-Bone Says:

    “I’m not sure I see how that ignores her.”

    She does, however, become one of the best pilots on the EARTH side which does not fit with the all male salaryman description.

    “The Yamato films were absolutely huge in Japan. ”

    As for the GE999 thing, this kind of thing is easy to quantify –

    Galaxy Express 999 movie made 16oku5000man in 1978. Highest grossing Japanese movie of the year. By comparison the 1980 “Yamato Forever” made 13oku5000man. I believe that the second Yamato movie made more in one calender year than 999 but quite a bit less in overall gross.

    “Yamato’s march(composed by Miyagawa Hiroshi)was definitely my elementary school brass band’s all-time favorite.
    But then again,so was Rocky’s theme”Gonna Fly Now”(composed by Bill Conti)undeniably an Americana…”

    The Yamato theme is for my money the best TV opener of all time and it is far more popular than the 999 theme. In any case, no matter how these shows are rated, 999 was (and is) too popular to ignore.

  18. Aceface Says:

    ”She does, however, become one of the best pilots on the EARTH side which does not fit with the all male salaryman description.”

    Are we talking about Movie or TV series here?
    Anyway I thought Zentradi was a pastiche of communist state that secretly adores supposed to be corrupt capitalist pop culture and not WW2 Japan.But I could be wrong.

    “Super Dimension Century Orguss”,which was the successor to Macross and also Studio Pierrot’s creation,there was a tribe called Emaan and I thought they were matrilineal oriented people.
    There’s also a female ace pilot named “Athena” who plays key role in the series just like Macross.

    Things are getting VERY geeky on this thread…

  19. M-Bone Says:

    “Are we talking about Movie or TV series here?”

    My description of Miria is based on the TV.

    “Anyway I thought Zentradi was a pastiche of communist state that secretly adores supposed to be corrupt capitalist pop culture and not WW2 Japan.But I could be wrong.”

    My main point so far in this thread is that it doesn’t need to be “either or” in these cases – it can just as easily be both. That’s why I think that the essay is very good – as long as it isn’t claiming to be exclusive. It could have easily included other themes – no need to try to fit everything into a “Nantonaku Crystal” shaped box.

  20. Aceface Says:

    In the movie,female Zentradis are rebranded as “Meltrandis” and fighting inter-galactic-inter-gender war with Zentradis.That made the concept of “culture” more shocking for the aliens and cleared story line.

    Re:Yamato

    “Farewell,Yamato.The Warriors of Love” had net gross of 43oku Yen.(almost 40 million dollars)and this was in 1978.
    From Wiki
    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%81%95%E3%82%89%E3%81%B0%E5%AE%87%E5%AE%99%E6%88%A6%E8%89%A6%E3%83%A4%E3%83%9E%E3%83%88
    興行収入43億円、配給収入21億円という日本映画史上記録的な大ヒットとなり、この数字は劇場用アニメ映画において宮崎駿監督の『魔女の宅急便』まで破られることは無かった。

    ちなみに同1978年は、映画『スター・ウォーズ』(配給収入43億円)と『未知との遭遇』(配給収入32億円)が日本で公開されており、全世界で大ヒットしたこの2つの超大作に、他の公開作品が押され気味であった中で記録した数字でもあり、まだまだ劇場用アニメ映画が一般的に認められていなかった時代としては驚異的なヒット作品であったといえる。

    この作品で、劇場用アニメ映画は「単に子供向けの映画」という枠を超え、一般に受け入れられることとなった。この作品の後劇場用アニメ映画は数多く製作されることとなり、後に大ヒットする宮崎駿監督の作品等が誕生してきている。前作と本作は、今日の日本映画の中軸にまで飛躍した劇場用アニメ映画というものの礎を築いたとも言える。

  21. M-Bone Says:

    It is listed as less in the Kinejun database as 21 oku for 1978. Kinejun’s “best 10 zenshi” lists it as less overall GE999 in total gross.

  22. Zinjo Says:

    Excellent article however there are a few facts that you transposed with elements from Robotech.
    – the UN Wars didn’t end with the crash of the space ship, they were already underway and in fact the crash intensified them. It is never directly stated what ended those wars in either the show or the official chronology.
    What you described is the Harmony Gold version of the history.

    – The SDF-1 stands for Super Dimension Fortress, referring to the ship’s space fold ability, not its size. Again a Robotech name, not Macross.

    – I don’t recall the city within the Macross ever being named in the Japanese series, only RT. The city built after the war was called Macross City, but not before. RT named the city within the ship.

    – The idea of “Love Hotels” is still common in Japan. Ironically Hotels are often used for liasons and Motels for sleep, the opposite of here.

    All in all a very interesting Western analysis of the series. Good read.

  23. Matt Says:

    “She does, however, become one of the best pilots on the EARTH side ”

    Indeed, but the fact that she’s the only one pretty much makes her the exception that proves the rule. (In the theatrical version, she doesn’t even join the Earth side — Max defects to the Zentradi!)

    We can analyze box office receipts endlessly, but I think the point still stands that no previous anime commented on consumer economies in the way Macross did. The SDF-1’s inhabitants gleefully listen to pop music, watch beauty contests, chug Coke, and shop for new cars. Galaxy Express 999, which hinges on the plot point of trading one’s human body for a robotic one, is to me a (rather beautiful) metaphor that’s more about greed than consumption per se.

  24. M-Bone Says:

    “Galaxy Express 999, which hinges on the plot point of trading one’s human body for a robotic one, is to me a (rather beautiful) metaphor that’s more about greed than consumption per se.”

    There are some planets on the trip (the one with the fat people who have overconsumed and cannot leave their houses, for example – in the TV and manga but not the film) that are clearly consumer dystopias – the machine bodies are a part of this larger context. There is also the matter (beautifully evoked i the film) of Tetsuro starting out in poverty and looking at the skyscrapers and the luxurious 999 (remember his first trip tot he dining car?) with a nice under-class gaze. The idea of Tetsuro being turned into a “gear” in the machine planet (working to feed the luxurious lifestyle of others) is a rip on the exploitation of labor. There is also the Harlock TV (close relationship to 999) series that begins with a homage to the brain-dead consumer black hole depicted in Fahrenheit 451.

    Your reading of 999 is strong – greed, hubris, inhumanity, etc. Its all there, but like the Macross case, I don’t think that it is ALL that is there. I hope that we can agree that one of the reasons why we can have a discussion like this is the sophistication and thematic scope of the original works.

    No series presented consumer culture so approvingly as Macross – I just think that the series did a LOT more than this and that you just happened to pick the one theme (of many) from the one show (of many) from the early 1980s in Japan that fits with Neojaponisme’s (essentially correct but not always fully contextualized) critique of Japanese 80s consumerism.

    “Indeed, but the fact that she’s the only one pretty much makes her the exception that proves the rule.”

    Or, one could argue, that there are 4 or 5 pilots that figure prominently and one of them is a woman. None of them seem particularly salaryman-like (Fokker being a completely archetypal plane jock, for example). Really, if they were going to make a “Project X” in the Macross Universe none of those guys would star.

    Anyway, the geek level of this discussion (discussion, not argument, right?) is completely off the charts. Glorious. I wouldn’t bother to respond to 99% of stuff on anime websites. This essay here got me thinking.

  25. W. David MARX Says:

    No series presented consumer culture so approvingly as Macross – I just think that the series did a LOT more than this and that you just happened to pick the one theme (of many) from the one show (of many) from the early 1980s in Japan that fits with Neojaponisme’s (essentially correct but not always fully contextualized) critique of Japanese 80s consumerism.

    Yes, it’s not 100% about consumerism and pop culture, but seeing that war, honor, humanity, and patriotism are the defacto subjects of this set of SF series, the standout thing about Macross is its positive portrayal of consumer culture as a “force” within the society and the intergalactic battle.

    The timing is not a coincidence: while there may have been “idols” before the early 80s, Matsuda Seiko and her ilk became much more of a national phenomena during the time Macross was made, compared to say, when Gundam was made. (Remember this?) Furthermore, I think it’s fair to say that the usage of consumer culture within Macross helped the Otaku define themselves into a self-reflexive consumer segment, rather than just a nerdy subculture. So while there may be themes in both Nantonaku Crystal and Macross that aren’t related to consumerism, both matter because they grafted consumer narratives onto more traditional storytelling in an era where very intense consumer culture really took off for all age groups.

  26. M-Bone Says:

    I think that Pink Lady and Candies were every bit the national phenomonon that Matsuda Seiko was…. Does being more than one disqualify them?

    “the usage of consumer culture within Macross helped the Otaku define themselves into a self-reflexive consumer segment”

    I agree somewhat but there was also a “thematic turn” happening at the same time (which shows up in the last part of Macross TV). Nausciaa came out in the same year as the Macross movie as was arguably a bigger otaku event. “Wings of Honneamise” was the “fan product” of the first otaku generation and it is a “theme heavy” film. This culminates in Evangelion which takes everything that was good about Macross, doubles it, and then stabs the audience in the gut with it….

    To up the nerd content to the discussion – does anyone here think that Oshii’s Urusei Yatsura films helped to define self-reflexive otaku identity as well?

  27. W. David MARX Says:

    Pink Lady were somewhat de-sexualized aliens who did not inspire the entire “Idol Kenkyu” movement like seen in the 80s with the B-grade idols. Lynn Minmei is fits perfectly into the individual sexy idol mold of the 80s. (There’s also a nurse in Macross who was drawn to look exactly like Matsuda Seiko.)

    Nausciaa came out in the same year as the Macross movie as was arguably a bigger otaku event.

    I don’t mean just that Macross was an “event”: it had a story line about fanboys and characters named “Warera Lolicon Da.” Nausicaa’s way more heavy in tone.

  28. Aceface Says:

    “does anyone here think that Oshii’s Urusei Yatsura films helped to define self-reflexive otaku identity as well?”

    It did,absolutely.(I’m talking about the TV seires)
    It just had so many characters crisscrossing all over the series and there were cult fandom in every minor characters.
    A passerby-esque classmate,only named as “Megane(spectacles)”got so popular in anime and eventually he got more proportionate in the series.
    The voice actor Chiba Shigeru achieved sort of a cult status and eventually got a role in “Patlabor”series as the mechanic character named “Shiba Shigeru”.
    Role and real life equation was more clear in the case of Lynn Minmei character’s actor Iijima Mari,who screwed her entire career as a singer living in the shadow of an anime character.

    I think Macross is also the first robot anime that had “unnecessary”numbers of female characters.(There used to be only one or two female character in the genre in the 70’s.Battle of the robots were strictly men’s world in those days)
    I think that was one way to bait the otakudom,thanks to the charismatic graphic designer Mikimoto Haruhiko.
    In the post Macross robot genre,the design of female character(and voice actor) became almost as important as the design of robots.I guess that’s something to do with shift of age group of the viewers.And that’s only half step away to “the second dimentional complex”.

  29. W. David MARX Says:

    “Shammy” is one of the best parts of Macross: proto-moe, perhaps?

  30. Aceface Says:

    You wern’t even born at the time,Marxy!

  31. W. David MARX Says:

    I was born! I was just 3 and monolingual and in Oklahoma.

  32. Aceface Says:

    Looking back, it was smart strategy to associate music and visual element in robot genre as Macross creaters did in that time of the age.

    Kids in Japan were already decreasing, so there was little prospect relying on toy sales(and at the time it was totally a dream to think about oversea sales) and the heydays of rental videos and CDs were just right ahead,so there was a huge prospect on audio visual materials.
    Geeks head to anime goods shops to buy pictures of their favourite girl characters and Mikimoto design was a huige asset for the franchise.

    But in the long run,Gundam series,which was more plastic model oriented franchise thrived longer than character and audio visual sales centered Macross franchise.In my opinion,plastic models can legitimize closet otakus purchasing one for their kids and one for themselves to have father-and-son time.
    You just can’t do the same with Lynn Minmei posters.You know.

    And Macross simply didn’t have so many attractive villain robots like Gundam and Valkyries were too difficult to re-create that F-14-to-robot variable
    forms in to models.

  33. M-Bone Says:

    “The voice actor Chiba Shigeru achieved sort of a cult status”

    My favorite of all voice actors. By far. He’s also responsible for the utterly insane “Hokuto no Ken” trailers.

  34. Aceface Says:

    I was just checking wikipedia on “Chiba Shigeru”,wondering what he’s up to lately,and found out there’s an entry of him in Russian.
    What kind of a world are we living….

  35. Matt Says:

    Kids in Japan were already decreasing, so there was little prospect relying on toy sales

    I’d always heard the decline in toy industry influence in the ’80s tied to the changing tastes of a maturing audience (i.e., toy-loving kids raised on anime became teens/adults who still liked anime but didn’t have as much interest in toys), but the effect of the declining birthrate makes sense too.

    That being said, the flagship Macross merchandise, “fully transforming” (完全変形)Valkyrie toys sold by sponsor Takatoku, were actually an undisputed worldwide phenomenon. They were incredibly successful, with over a million and a quarter of them sold across the globe. But I suspect that profit margins were a lot smaller than those for Bandai’s Gunpla (Gundam models), which don’t need to be assembled and painted by the manufacturer. And I suspect that explains in part why Bandai is still around, and Takatoku isn’t…

  36. Matt Says:

    Nausciaa came out in the same year as the Macross movie as was arguably a bigger otaku event.

    On this note have you seen the amazing faux documentary “Otaku no Video”? It’s basically the autobiography of the Gainax founders, and one scene is actually set in the line of otaku camped out to get seats for the Macross movie. So it apparently was some sort of big moment for Japanese anime freaks (how much so in comparison to Nausicaa, I couldn’t say.)

    For some reason this scene has always reminded me of Spike Lee’s “Get on the Bus” which isn’t about the Million Man March itself but rather a group of men traveling to it.

  37. M-Bone Says:

    “and one scene is actually set in the line of otaku camped out to get seats for the Macross movie. So it apparently was some sort of big moment for Japanese anime freaks (how much so in comparison to Nausicaa, I couldn’t say.)”

    Ah ha. They are actually camped out for NAUSICAA in “Otaku no Video”!

    While in line for Nausicaa one of them swaps cels for the Macross film character design sheets….

    I’m off to check Wikipedia to see what Chiba Shigeru has been up to lately….

  38. Matt Says:

    D’oh!

    I have been defeated in this duel of otaku esoterica!

    I fall upon my beam-sword!

  39. Aceface Says:

    And the discussion between Miyazaki and Macross crew(I think it was Kawamori and the mag was ANIMAGE)on #6 was part of the special coverage of the two films on the screen in the same season.

  40. M-Bone Says:

    “coverage of the two films on the screen in the same season.”

    Beautiful Dreamer was out in 1984 as well (sparking the [in]famous Miyazaki-Oshii Animage debates). Hell of a year for anime. I think that Dallos (the first OVA) also came out in 1984 (or last week of 1983). Historians should call that “the year of the otaku”. It was also the year that Itami debuted Ososhiki, come to think of it. Sucks that I was 5.

    “I have been defeated in this duel of otaku esoterica!”

    ‘Twas fun. I’m sure that you will be able to get one back the next time we have one of these threads (of if this keeps on trucking).

  41. Aceface Says:

    “Valkyrie toys sold by sponsor Takatoku, were actually an undisputed worldwide phenomenon. They were incredibly successful, with over a million and a quarter of them sold across the globe. ”

    You know,I shouldn’t have said anything about robot toys when you are around…

    Although We’ve never met,but I saw you in Shibuya’s Mandarake with Patrick Macias checking Cho-Gokin last year.(I think it was last year).

    I was standing right next to you gazing at Anguiras garage kit in the case.
    I did recognized Macias instantly because I’m a keen reader of his blog from almost the day he arrived to Japan,but I didn’t know who you were.I found out about your identity from Macias’s blog.(Scary these internet,isn’t it.)

    I was forgetting I read in somewhere either yours or Macias’s(or somebody else’s)essay that U.S naval aviators in Yokosuka bought Valkyrie as souvenior to their kids back home.

  42. Matt Says:

    Our reputation precedes us, it seems. Next thing you know we’ll be showing up in the tabloids! Feel free to come up and say “hi” next time! I don’t bite… usually.

  43. Patrick Macias Says:

    Anyone who goes to Mandarake to marvel at the kaijyu kits can definitely hang with the OTACKERS…

  44. Chris S Says:

    Actually, I think the series is closer to a Cold War allegory:

    http://anothersmith.blogspot.com/2008/02/macross-as-allegory.html

  45. W. David MARX Says:

    I had another friend also claim Macross was a Cold War allegory, but I have to wonder: did the Japanese actually see the Soviets as bad guys enough to care about the Cold War and model a whole series after the conflict? The Japanese Left was pretty-solidly Soviet Bloc until the mid-70s, and I am guessing a lot of that sentiment stayed around. The Cold War cast a shadow on Japan, but I don’t think Japan felt solidly as part of the capitalist “good guys.” If Japanese creators needed a role model for over-militaristic peoples, I think they’d unconciously look towards the Imperial era rather than Soviets.

    Aceface?

  46. Aceface Says:

    “I think they’d unconciously look towards the Imperial era rather than Soviets.”

    That’s probably true in case of Miyazaki Hayao’s(Born in 1941)generation.
    For example,Miyazaki is pretty much hard core left which is pretty common among the intellectuals of his generation.
    He was union secretary when he was in Toei and wrote essay about condemining American cultural imperialism -Disney,that is.
    His all time best anime is Soviet film “Snow queen” and his late 70’s anime “Future Boy Conan” has many Fourier-style utopia.

    In that anime magazine discussion with Macross director Kawamori Shouji(Born in 1960),Miyzaki was pretty frustrated with Kawamori’s nonchalant view on war et al.

    Kawamori’s generation who were born in the 60’s and became adults in the bubble days of 80’s were called by media as “新人類”

    Wiki says
    “成熟した成人として、社会を構成する一員の自覚と責任を引き受けることを拒否し、社会そのものが一つのフィクション(物語)であるという立場をとる。現実から逃避してフィクションに埋没してゆくオタクとは対極にあるとみなされた。オタクが仮想現実と現実を峻別して人生の目的として仮想現実世界を選択することに対し、新人類は情報化社会によって現実世界のほうが仮想現実化し、現実社会で生きるとは情報化された現実を情報処理することであると唱え、それをさまざまな哲学的命題を用いて理論づけようとした。

    音楽でもテクノポップの流行など、社会的にも無機質な変容が感じられた時代に、高尚な哲学や思想を語ることも、一種のファッションとしての地位を得た。

    しかし、評論家の竹熊健太郎は、オタクと新人類は同一のものであり、「同じ人格類型のバリエーション」であると唱えている。

    オタクも新人類も情報の受け手である消費者を絶対視し、全ての情報は消費者の解釈と位置づけがその意味を決めるのであって、情報の送り手が込めた価値観やメッセージ(作家性)を軽視ないし無視した。新人類は主に哲学や思想・アイドルを語り、それを「知と戯れる」と称したが、実際のところ芸能雑誌やテレビ画面を通じて提供される情報で構築されるアイドルという虚構に萌えるのと、最初からアニメという情報によって構成される戦闘美少女に萌えるオタクは、ほとんど変わるところがない。”

    I pretty much doubt that Kawamori had either intentionally or unintentionally added any particular political nor historical meanings in Macross.
    The cold-war-as-the-metapher was no more than the plot behicle to him.

    But ofcourse,there could be some Jungian “collective unconscious”at work here….

  47. Matt Says:

    社会そのものが一つのフィクション(物語)であるという立場をとる。

    “Taking the position that society itself is a fiction” sounds suspiciously like the story to one of Macross’ successors, the Matrix-esque direct-to-video anime “Megazone 23.”

  48. Aceface Says:

    Otaku=Zentradi

    New People(新人類)=Terran in Macross city.

  49. skchai Says:

    I agree with what Marxie said about Macross being a seminal event in establishing otakuism as a well-defined lifestyle niche. However, it also helped to cement the link between otaku and idolization in a way that didn’t exist before and presages the direction the idol industry has gone in the 2000s.

    However, arguably, up to the 1980s (including Seiko, the class of 1982, and Onyanoko), idols functioned primarily as surrogate companions for the (involuntarily) socially isolated products of the juku system up to the bubble era, with the emphasis – cemented in their TV talk appearances – of having distinct, definable personalities, whether this was “real” or artifice. And it was noticable that at this time female idols had large female fanbases.

    Minmei was at a different level, a virtual idol who could be manipulated from episode to movie to have whatever persona was demanded by the viewer. She presaged the idea of the “individual user-specified” idol, whether it be an virtual idol, the personality-neutralized gurabia idol, or the personality-on-demand cosplay hostess. And with little limit on their ability to impose weird otakuish fantasy on idols, it is easy to understand how the fan base has move increasingly towards not-to-young-anymore men who prefer volunatary social isolation to the pains of face-to-face relationships.

    Given this, it is not surprising that Iijima Mari felt that Minmei ruined her music career, even as the role accounted for her greatest commercial success. She seems to have eventually have grudgingly come to terms with her typecasting; she apparently did the English voiceover for the 2006 dubbed version of the series.

  50. Bryan W. Says:

    Impressive stuff! What synchronicity… I was just discussing these very subjects with my roommate recently, arguing that Macross served well as a metaphor for Japan’s pop-cultural counterattack through the manga, anime, and game “invasion” of the West (and was later also expanded upon in some ways in the last portion of Otaku no Video). And in similar synch with the comments posted, I also had posted elsewhere about the history of “moe” that predates the term–proto-moe as one poster put it here–and can be seen quite clearly in Cutey Honey, Matsumoto Leiji’s elegant females, Urusei Yatsura (including proto-taku Megane!), the bridge bunnies and Minmay of Macross, the 2D complexes of fans in the early 80’s, and so on. I would argue that “moe” most closely resembles the English word “charming” in meaning (it can even be used by fujoushi regarding male characters), and much of anime/manga’s inherently embedded appeal has been “moe” at its core since the days of Tezuka and perhaps even before (looking at pre-war manga and such)!

    Regarding Urusei Yatsura’s self-reflexive nature, I remember a panel I attended given by Yamazaki Kazuo, who directed the third and fourth movies (and later Five Star Stories, Slayers, and Please Save My Earth), and in repsonse to one question about the fourth movie, he mentioned that part of the point of the film was that by then some fans had become so Lum-obsessed, he wanted to express what life might be like–and that it might in fact (shudder) be more worth living–if they removed her from the equation entirely!

    It will be interesting to see what the new upcoming high-budgeted Macross Frontier series does with the franchise and whether it reflects the current era of “deculture” and its future in a similar manner.