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Non-Japanese human characters in the Macross franchise?


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I'd like to understand which of the characters in the anime franchise, obviously excluding aliens, are non-Japanese and what their backgrounds are. The ones I understood for now:

- The Lynn family, including Minmay. Pretty obvious Chinese (but part of the family was living in Japan).

- All Mayan characters obviously, including Sara and Mao Nome.

- The Russian pilots in M0.

- Roy Fokker. (German-American?)

- Claudia LaSalle (African American? French-speaking African/Haitian?). Claudia and Roy speaking Japanese to each other is probably just "translation convention".

- Grace O'Connor (Irish? Irish American?)

The ones I'm not sure about:

- Ozma Lee. "Lee" can be Chinese, as in Bruce Lee, or Dutch and then American, as in General Robert Lee. Which kind of Lee is he?

- Mikhail Blanc. The name, spelled like that, actually sounds like a Russian-background Ashkenazi Jew. If spelled "Michel Blanc" he might be French. Any ideas?

- Is anything known of Sheryl's ancestors apart from Mao, and of the father of Ranka and Brera? (Is Sterne their real last name? Sounds German or else Ashkenazi again!). Or about Ranshe too - was her father Zentran or her mother?

- Speaking of Sheryl - how did she retain the last name of her maternal grandmother? Are the Mayan matrilineal, and how did both her maternal grandfather and her father agree to this, if they were known at all? Does "Kiss in the Galaxy" shed any light on the matter?

- Who else is there? ("Shammy" does not sound very Japanese to me...)

Also, Frontier appears mainly Japanese-speaking but not exclusively? There are English public notices (like "Emergency").

P.S. To Mods - could you fix the typo in the heading? It's "Macross" of course :)

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Not sure why... ethnic background pretty much ceases to have any relevance after the first space war, on account of the eradication of national boundaries via the eradication of nations. Most Macross titles after the original don't list the ethnic background of their characters, because those national boundaries have ceased to matter and what little remains of their cultures has started to blur together. (Like Mylene, who inexplicably wears a kimono to a marriage meeting, but whose father is Western European and whose mother is not of this Earth...) There are a few isolated cases where ancestry is specifically mentioned in someone's background info, but that's not very common after the original series and DYRL.

The default language in Macross's UN Government appears to be English, with a couple examples of spoken or written Japanese here or there.

The Linn family is actually part Chinese and part Chinese-Japanese. Minmay's side of the family is Chinese-Japanese, while her aunt and uncle's side is listed as Chinese.

The Anti-UN Alliance pilots in Macross Zero don't have a listed background... they could be from some former Soviet Republic or they could just as easily be fifth-generation Americans with Russian surnames.

All that's said for Roy Focker is that he was born in North America, the same is true for Claudia.

The Macross's bridge bunnies, Vanessa, Kim, and Shammy, were French, Russian, and Finnish respectively. Global was Italian, his wife was probably Japanese (with a name like Miho...).

Apart from Lam Hoa (Indian) and Alto (Japanese?), Macross Frontier's cast only seems to really mention its ancestry when the person involved is part alien. Ranka never gets more specific than "1/4 Zentradi", Michael Blanc is Human, Zentradi, and Zolan but answers to the German and French pronunciations of "Michael" just to mess with us, etc.

The Compendium lists Jan Neumann as Yang Neumann for reasons unclear (mistranslation?) and lists him as being ethnically Chinese and German, though at a glance I can't find where that supposedly came from and his Macross Chronicle sheet lists his birthplace as "Under Investigation" (meaning not stated).

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Interesting.

Focker is obviously american.

But I think Claudia must be french. Same for Edgar LaSalle and Bobby Margot.

English is the main language but apparently a lot of people speaks japanese and zentraedi too. We also see Sheryl writing notes in french, but I think that has something to do with Yoko Kanno's liking of the language.

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Not sure why... ethnic background pretty much ceases to have any relevance after the first space war, on account of the eradication of national boundaries via the eradication of nations. Most Macross titles after the original don't list the ethnic background of their characters, because those national boundaries have ceased to matter and what little remains of their cultures has started to blur together. (Like Mylene, who inexplicably wears a kimono to a marriage meeting, but whose father is Western European and whose mother is not of this Earth...) There are a few isolated cases where ancestry is specifically mentioned in someone's background info, but that's not very common after the original series and DYRL.

Let's not also forget that, with the mass cloning that was used after SW1 used to increase the human population (as well as interbreeding of the survivors), it's likely that the only thing japanese of many (not all) of the "Japanese" characters in all Macross series' after SDFM is their name.

Edited by camk4evr
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Let's not also forget that, with the mass cloning that was used after SW1 used to increase the human population (as well as interbreeding of the survivors), it's likely that the only thing japanese of many (not all) of the "Japanese" characters in all Macross series' after SDFM is their name.

Yeah, there's that factor too... I don't think it's just the usual anime habit of not differentiating between races at work here, there's certainly no shortage of mixed-race or mixed-species relationships in Macross. You've got Bruno and Miho Global, Misa Hayase and Riber Fruhling, Roy Focker and Claudia LaSalle, Max and Milia Jenius, Shin Kudo and Sara Nome, technically also Minmay and either of her love interests, the three bridge bunnies and the lolicon trio... and that's from a limited cast before they'd even finished the first space war.

EDIT: Also, didn't Vanessa also marry Roli after the war?

Seems to me like humanity was doing an OK job of getting past defining an individual by where their ancestors were from even before the Zentradi made the point moot in the most direct fashion imaginable.

Macross II: Lovers Again kind of hammered this home with the implication of Mash's comments about Ishtar, and the other bits from official publications that indicate that non-hybrid Zentradi or Meltrandi living on Earth are something of a rarity. Then you have Macross Plus, in which all three main characters are of mixed heritage... but the only one that's ever commented on was Guld being half-Zentradi.

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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How does one know Myung is of mixed heritage? I just thought of her as "vanilla" Chinese.

Her biographical information, which says her lineage is "Chinese-Caucasian". Isamu is listed as being Japanese-Caucasian, and Guld as Human-Zentradi.

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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Is that in the Chronicle?

Also they possibly did not do research in 1982 apparently, as the name Kim (or Kimberley etc) is not used in Russian. She could be a Russian of Korean lineage (they exist) but in that case she somehow uses her last name instead of her given name.

And also I think I understand why Mylene wore a kimono. It's about respecting the host culture. The M7 fleet is, as far as I understand, predominantly Japanese by culture and language.

(Now I'm imagining poor Milia who has to learn kanji as an adult! She probably just got the spoken language in SDFM times, then went to whatever European language Max uses. But as she progressed to Mayor of M7 City she probably does need to use kanji)

Edited by Saruta
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(Now I'm imagining poor Milia who has to learn kanji as an adult! She probably just got the spoken language in SDFM times, then went to whatever European language Max uses. But as she progressed to Mayor of M7 City she probably does need to use kanji)

Just re-watching M7, and I noticed that Gamlin's bio sheet that Milia reviews is in English (althout using the metric system). That doesn't mean every document in her massive piles is the same way... but I hope she didn't have to learn both!

Edited by Nekko Basara
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Just re-watching M7, and I noticed that Gamlin's bio sheet that Milia reviews is in English (althout using the metric system). That doesn't mean every document in her massive piles is the same way... but I hope she didn't have to learn both!

Actually, the Japanese text in Frontier was kind of a first. Until then, practically all of the actual text in the series was presented in English... which makes a pretty strong argument for English being the default language of the UN Government. All the computer readouts and so on have been in English, and there were those blatant bits of English at the start of DYRL and Frontier too.

All in all, there are a few noteworthy exceptions. Fire Bomber must actually be singing in Japanese, since they're known to have an unauthorized English language cover band. There's the apparently trilingual Macross Frontier fleet too, where we see most text in English but some areas (train stations, cell phones) also display written Japanese, sometimes in rotation with the English, and then there's all the Zentradi text around the mall.

Come to think of it, Gamlin's a hard one to classify... a man of ambiguous complexion and impossible hair, with a Japanese surname and a hometown on freaking Mars. :D

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Wait - Sheryl's prison bio was in English too. And that under Leon Mishima who''s Japanese, though Howard Glass is not.

Actually is there ANY kanji shown in Macross past SDFM? I'm starting to think that they just adopted English as the formal written language, whatever the spoken language of the particular fleet (and then we are shown the Japanese speaking fleets, for the obvious reason that it's a Japanese show). edit; while I was writing this Seto's comment appeared and it does seem likely that English is the government language throughout, explaining why all official notices must be in English too. I did forget abut the kanji in Frontier.

On the other hand, there also is the English writing of lyrics in DYRL where Minmay sings in Japanese. This stops making sense to me as how would Minmay even know enough English? Misa would, she didn't spend these years in the military academy for nothing. Then again - Minmay lived on a cosmopolitan island where she had to serve food to a lot of scientists and workers from around the world, and wait, in SDFM she got an audition leter in English too, right?

So is it supposed that Minmay sings in English and what we see is translation convention?.. But it would NOT be possible with Fire Bomber as there was a separate American group and also Basara is explicitly Japanese... NOW I'm confused!

(Funnily, Minmay's voice actress actually sings rather pleasantly in English. Not sure if she could do it in 1982 and 1984, though).

Edited by Saruta
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I've often wondered what Grace's background is---I mean, yeah, the name---but that's not really all that much to go on---I don't think Shaq O'Neal is very Irish. (could be wrong though!)

But through sheer appearance---heck, with MF's animation style, I think anyone other than Alto is hard to be certain.

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Actually is there ANY kanji shown in Macross past SDFM? I'm starting to think that they just adopted English as the formal written language, whatever the spoken language of the particular fleet (and then we are shown the Japanese speaking fleets, for the obvious reason that it's a Japanese show).

None that's really leaping to mind... apart from, as noted previously, the Japanese text used in Macross Frontier.

On the other hand, there also is the English writing of lyrics in DYRL where Minmay sings in Japanese. This stops making sense to me as how would Minmay even know enough English? Misa would, she didn't spend these years in the military academy for nothing.

Japan has made something of a habit of teaching English as a second language... and considering she spent a fair amount of time living on South Ataria Island, where English would probably have been the default language due to the working population being UN Forces and OTEC personnel from all over the globe, she probably had a LOT of opportunity to practice.

(Also, wasn't her letter from a bland name version of Orion Records, which was based in North America?)

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Just re-watching M7, and I noticed that Gamlin's bio sheet that Milia reviews is in English (althout using the metric system).

???

Many English speaking countries use the metric system. Canada, Australia, New Zelealand, the UK... just to name the big ones.

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???

Many English speaking countries use the metric system. Canada, Australia, New Zelealand, the UK... just to name the big ones.

And I'd hope all of them do once we start, you know, colonizing space and stuff. I was just noting it, not expressing amazement.

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And I'd hope all of them do once we start, you know, colonizing space and stuff. I was just noting it, not expressing amazement.

Alright - space is metric, after all.

Edited by sketchley
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Alright - space is metric, after all.

Sorry if I came off defensive. "Although" was a poorly chosen word on my part, loaded with unintended bias. All I mean about the space exploration is that I hope imperial measure will just be a historical footnote soon. Even in the US, most science and defense work is already metric.

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I've often wondered what Grace's background is---I mean, yeah, the name---but that's not really all that much to go on---I don't think Shaq O'Neal is very Irish. (could be wrong though!)

But through sheer appearance---heck, with MF's animation style, I think anyone other than Alto is hard to be certain.

American Blacks are a special case. Their ancestors were often slaves. When freed, some would take the last names of their former masters. This is likely how the ancestors of Shaq's mother, Lucille O'Neal, got their last name. (And of course, to go back to Macross, Claudia LaSalle's ancestors likely got their last name in the same way, from owners with some Freench background).

Grace is white, so she does appear to have some Irish (or Scottish Gaelic) background. She still appears to speak fluent Japanese, but it might not be so hard for a cyborg to learn a language, what with all these brain extensions she has. Unless it's a case of translation convention...

Really, I do wonder in what language Minmay, Sharon Apple, Sheryl, and Ranka are supposed to be singing "inworld". The question does not seem to arise with Basara, who does sing in Japanese. Sara and Mao would presumably be singing in Mayan? (As an adult Dr. Mao Nome probably spoke several languages fluently, but she may have dropped singing entirely by that time).

Edited by Saruta
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Sorry if I came off defensive. "Although" was a poorly chosen word on my part, loaded with unintended bias. All I mean about the space exploration is that I hope imperial measure will just be a historical footnote soon. Even in the US, most science and defense work is already metric.

No worries. It's usually when we rush our posts, unintended bias and other stuff creeps in.

Nevertheless, thank you for your refined explanation, as it highlighted how similar a mindset we have.

Addressing the larger language topic: I don't think taking what we 'hear' on screen (or even see!) should be taken as fact. Due to in-universe events, they people are probably speaking a generalized dialect of English which, the present-day International English would be the closest approximation, tossed in with a healthy dose of Zentraadi words, Otec jargon, and slang related to in-universe events.

As for ethnicity et al, Saito said it best earlier: those concepts cease to exist. Another way to look at it is with the Star Wars and Star Trek examples: humans are identified by their planet of origin, not planetary region or ethnicity. Yes, some characters are (the same is true for Macross), but most are human (same), Federation ({Earth/New} Unified Government) and so on. [i'm sure this analogy falls apart with scrutiny. Ignore that, and use it for the broad strokes, thanks].

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And Guld Goa Bowman From Plus?

Mentioned him a bit ago... he falls into that rare category where his ancestry is mentioned onscreen because part of his is alien (he's listed as Human-Zentradi).

Grace is white, so she does appear to have some Irish (or Scottish Gaelic) background. She still appears to speak fluent Japanese, but it might not be so hard for a cyborg to learn a language, what with all these brain extensions she has. Unless it's a case of translation convention...

Grace is a freaking cyborg, she can look however she wants to look. IIRC, at one point doesn't she reveal the ability to turn her body into a man's in the Macross Frontier series?

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Grace is a freaking cyborg, she can look however she wants to look. IIRC, at one point doesn't she reveal the ability to turn her body into a man's in the Macross Frontier series?

In the series she's also shown looking more or less the same while she was working with Mao Nome in the 2040's. So either she looked the same before she went full on robot or she's just partial to that body because she's been using it for over a decade.

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Actually the F novels state that she only wet "full on robot" after the fleet was destroyed (and not by choice). So her look in the flashback is her human look.

Re Star Trek: I think there are intentional Star Trek references in SDFM, led by Claudia who resembles Uhura.

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Re Star Trek: I think there are intentional Star Trek references in SDFM, led by Claudia who resembles Uhura.

Uh... Claudia doesn't really resemble Uhura in any way, except that they're both black women. The Star Trek references, however, are very real. They're mostly text on displays around the Macross's bridge, which include things like a cast list for the original Star Trek series, or screens from an old text-based Star Trek computer game.

There's some reciprocity there... there are a few Macross references in Star Trek, including the use of some parts from Macross model kits in various Star Trek props and studio models, including the Constellation-class starships from TNG and the piece of shrapnel that kills Captain Garrett in "Yesterday's Enterprise".

Edited by Seto Kaiba
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They're both strong black women in key roles on the bridge.

(Robotech ups the ante by making Claudia the Communications Officer).

Certainly not surprised that Star Trek reciprocated! Thanks for the info.

Edited by Saruta
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They're both strong black women in key roles on the bridge.

Considering attitudes towards women at the time, I'd question calling Uhura "strong"... most of the time she's depicted as little more than a secretary. Claudia, as the Macross's chief weapons officer and its navigator, definitely fits the bill. Other than the fact that they're both black women on the bridge, the two have nothing in common.

(Robotech ups the ante by making Claudia the Communications Officer).

Which is completely at odds with her depiction in the series... but that's fine, since Robotech never let a little thing like accuracy to the series stop them from posting random gibberish on their website. :lol:

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