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So, I'm not trying to start a hate thread or any fights. I'm curious to hear what idols from the Macross continuity you like the best. Any music or musician/group are fair game.

I'll kick it off, I like Sheryl Nome. I like her character (even if she's a bit conceited and arrogant), she's honest with herself, and I actually find her music to be the most catchy.

Now don't get me wrong, I like the others, though Minmei is probably my least favorite, since she's a very flimsy character.

I dislike Nekki Basara, but I like Fire Bomber. I'd say Ranka is my second favorite, she's really upbeat and cheerful, which is refreshing.

What about y'all?

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Just to derail things from the get-go (sorry!), I don't think Basara or Mylene should be considered idols. Curious how folks feel about that.

In-universe, I'd lean towards Sharon Apple for how unique her sound is, and how ahead-of-its time the virtual idol concept was (not saying she was first, but she's one of the best-realized early examples).

In the real world, Mai Yamane is my favorite voice from Macross, although her connection is very tenuous. Chie Kajiura is my number two, obviously with a much stronger association. Of course, one could argue that neither of them is an idol, either.

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Maybe, Idol wasn't the right word, but I didn't know a better word.

You're right, Sharon was ahead of the times. While I like the sound, Macross Plus wasn't exactly my favorite in terms of music. I liked the story, but the music doesn't really jibe with it.

That and I really like rock.

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Sharon Apple for me, mostly because of the music itself. Ranka is cute and positive, which is really nice, and Sheryl is just not appealing. Minmei is annoying. Never saw 7, don't intend to.

Could Ishtar count? ;)

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As a character, Minmei is flaky, and serves her purpose in SDFM well. I also find her annoying and self absorbed. That coupled with her attachment to Kaifun.

Sheryl Nome is actually a deep character if you look at her. She seems arrogant, conceited, and self absorbed, but this is a pretense she puts up to cover her deep seated fear and insecurity. She's a really caring individual, and it shows at several points in the series. Her character, despite the pretense, is honest and warm. I actually like the complexity in her character design. She's beautiful and she knows it, and she uses that to her advantage, except with Alto. She actually shows a great amount of affection towards him, and seems to genuinely care about him.

Ranka Lee, is almost exactly the same with the exception that she does not put on pretense to cover her insecurities, she's actually quite open about it. She's naive, and gentle, which is actually kind of cute and endearing. She's similar to Sheryl in a lot of respects, but completely different in others.

Sheryl is highly sexualized, while Ranka is an icon of purity. Their interactions are friendly, but there's a professional rivalry, but still friendly.

Sharon Apple, is intriguing as a character, since she is both real, and not. She wouldn't exist without Myung, but Myung's feelings wouldn't have been expressed without Sharon. It's more of a psychological analysis, where Sharon represents Myungs Id, her desires and passions.

Fire bomber had some really fun music, but their integration with the story was really wonky, and to be honest I disliked it. I do like the idea of the sound force, I just didn't care for the way they executed it.

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Prior to Macross Frontier, my favorite Macross leading lady was Ishtar...

Now, I have to admit, I'd hard a hard time choosing between Ishtar and Sheryl Nome.

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I think Sharon Apple is my favorite, although I think my nostalgia for Minmay will always hold sway over my better judgement. But Kanno's work with the Sharon Apple character was just so interesting and diverse. It was also a very significant departure from music we'd come to expect from Macross both in tone and technique, or even most anime. I listen to the SDFM/DYRL/FB2012, Macross Plus and Macross Frontier soundtracks by far the most out of all Macross music.

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I like the music from M+, M7, and Macross Frontier. But I have to say, that AC/DC or knife party, might be a better fit for some the fight scenes. The Earth Rocker album from Clutch would be pretty good for fight scenes.

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1000 Bison Dollars Gubaba says Momoiro Clover Z. :3

IRL it would have to be a tie between May'n & Megumi. I would have said SCANDAL but they're a rock band... so yeah.

In Macross... geez that's tough. I think I'll have to sleep on that.

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I like the music from M+, M7, and Macross Frontier. But I have to say, that AC/DC or knife party, might be a better fit for some the fight scenes. The Earth Rocker album from Clutch would be pretty good for fight scenes.

I's say you could do that, but only if you really wanted to rip the heart out of the series. Macross is important in anime history for many different reasons, but one of the biggest is that it really was at the ground zero of the otaku subculture (or "anime generation," if you prefer). The fact that it incorporated the "idol boom" of the mid-'80s pretty much just as it was getting started is a massive part of that.

I think a lot of western viewers tend to dismiss or underrate Minmay because the idol boom really isn't well understood in the west (sometimes rightly so... while some of the music is excellent, a lot of it is pure crap). Soon after her debut in 1980, Seiko Matsuda became THE big star in Japan (and many other parts of Asia), primarily as a singer, but also as an actress and model. No one really arose to rival her, until Akina Nakamori debuted right around the same time the first episode of Macross aired. There are TONS of tributes to both of them throughout the series, mostly on signs in the background, but also as characters (Hikaru's nurse in episode 18 is Mikimoto's rendition of Seiko) and influencing the fashion (Minmay's debut dress is based on one of Seiko's dresses, and the green dress she wore in episode 27 is almost identical to one Akina wore on her first tour). Minmay herself is based on Seiko (Mikimoto was a huge fan, and even belonged to her fan club).

During Macross's run, the idol boom became a huge part of mainstream Japanese culture, with new hopefuls debuting every week. Most of them, of course, went absolutely nowhere, but Seiko, Akina, and a handful of others remain famous, and are still active and popular today (Akina just came out with her latest album a couple of months ago).

But even though it became mainstream (for a while... the first idol boom ran out of stream by the late eighties, although it comes back occasionally... we're in one right now, although I think we're at the tail end of it, and it's focused more on idol GROUPS than on solo performers), it's first and foremost an essential part of what would become otaku culture.

In the realm of anime, idol anime is definitely its own genre (often crossing over with "magical girl" anime), and Macross was, as far as I know, the first series to mix it with mecha anime, in essence creating the ultimate otaku series roughly a decade before otaku culture would be a defined, understood phenomenon.

Again, this aspect of Macross is probably the least investigated part of it in the west, because it really doesn't translate very well (which is why it was de-emphasized as much as possible in Robotech), but it is absolutely intrinsic to the series and its lasting legacy.

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Gubaba, that's really interesting. I know that most fiction is reflective of contemporary events but I didn't realize how reflective Macross was. You are right, that most of the music was pure crap. I admit, that that idea about western bands, was just a passing fancy (Might make a decent AMV) but it wouldn't be Macross.

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You are right, that most of the music was pure crap.

Who didn't you like? Most of the big names are actually quite good, so you've gotta dig pretty deep in idol-ology to find the real bad stuff these days. Most of it was never reissued, so if you've got some, I wanna compare notes!

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My favorite is Sheryl because of how she is about what she loves, it may be silly, but her If I'm going to die it will be doing what I love to do attitude made me watch things in a different perspective

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I don't have specific examples. I generally find that pop music is generally inane. Some of it can be good, but it's generally bad. The lyrical content is usually shallow, and lacking in substance. Most of what I've heard in Macross is pretty good, Minmei(Minmay?) wasn't particularly deep in her lyrical content, but it was cheerful and diverting, and it played a pivotal role in the story. They lyrical content of Music in Macross has improved over the years, and it generally stays happy and cheerful, and the lyrics aren't all that substantial. Still it's fun.

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I don't have specific examples. I generally find that pop music is generally inane. Some of it can be good, but it's generally bad. The lyrical content is usually shallow, and lacking in substance. Most of what I've heard in Macross is pretty good, Minmei(Minmay?) wasn't particularly deep in her lyrical content, but it was cheerful and diverting, and it played a pivotal role in the story. They lyrical content of Music in Macross has improved over the years, and it generally stays happy and cheerful, and the lyrics aren't all that substantial. Still it's fun.

Your Japanese must be pretty good, then. A lot of Japanese lyrics still pass me right by...

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Who didn't you like? Most of the big names are actually quite good, so you've gotta dig pretty deep in idol-ology to find the real bad stuff these days. Most of it was never reissued, so if you've got some, I wanna compare notes!

I have a deep affinity for 80's j-pop idols. Back when girls looked and acted more naturally. Today's AKB-SKE-NMB girls are just way too produced IMHO.

A number of those 80's idols were very much connected to anime. It wasn't uncommon for many of those idols to get their break by being a voice-actress or having their songs as the opening/ending themes to an anime series.

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Being shallow, cheerful, diverting, and fun doesn't make music "bad" - that just serves as a decent generalized definition of Pop. Whether you like that or not is purely a matter of taste and mood.

Gubaba can correct me if I'm wrong, but I also think that being a less-than-amazing singer is part of the idol image, at least early in their career. Idols are supposed to have an inexperienced, girl-next-door appeal rather than being mind-blowing natural talents. Watching and "supporting" them as they mature into capable artists is a big part of idol fandom.

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Your Japanese must be pretty good, then. A lot of Japanese lyrics still pass me right by...

Not really at all, I have to get it translated. I just read fast. I was also speaking generally, since I've listened to popular music from all over the world, I read translated lyrics, to try to get the feeling of the song, or the message it's trying to convey. I only had a semester of Japanese, but I pick languages up pretty quickly. I'll be taking the Japanese progression to fulfill my language requirements, since Japan is a huge market for Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering, and those are the fields I'm interested in.

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I just can't resist asking this, Valkyrie Driver.

If I were to go read some lyrics from AC/DC or Knife Party, where on a scale from "shallow and lacking in substance" to "insightful and thought-provoking" do you think I'd put them? ;)

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I just can't resist asking this, Valkyrie Driver.

If I were to go read some lyrics from AC/DC or Knife Party, where on a scale from "shallow and lacking in substance" to "insightful and thought-provoking" do you think I'd put them? ;)

They would rate a -4.5 on my scale. I wasn't trying to hold AC/DC or knife party up as examples of thought provoking lyrics. Clutch, Megadeth, Metallica, Black Sabbath, System of a Down, Monster Magnet, Beck, Cake, and many others are good examples of "good" lyrical content because, even if it's not thought provoking, in itself, they do tend to reference current events, or mock popular culture, or make literary references, that well read and intelligent people will appreciate. That and a good beat and rhythm go a long way. The instrumentation is also well done in most of those examples too, and the Folk and rock genres tend to be more focused on art than Popular music tends to be.

I wasn't trying to say that "good" lyrical content is the only thing that matters. It isn't, fundamentally Music is art, and it will reflect whatever moves the artist. If that's being Cerebral and thought provoking, or lustful and mercurial, makes no difference, it all really boils down to a matter of taste. I really like the Music from Macross 7, and Macross Frontier, because, while it's not lyrically deep, it is impressive musically, and performed beautifully, so I can appreciate it more fully, because it is art, as opposed to say Beyonce, who has nothing going for her musically save a pretty voice and a decent stage presence. Minmay was more talented, at least (fictionally) she wrote her songs (mostly).

I listen to EDM, Hardstyle Techno, Metal, and Rock while i work out, because of that beat, It drives me faster, the tempo goes well with combat scenes, is all I was getting at...

Edited by Valkyrie Driver

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Thanks for clarifying, Valkyrie Driver. I apologize for mixing your posts to take a cheap shot like that. I was feeling a bit salty at the way the conversation keeps veering towards assigning objective value to essentially subjective artistic expressions, but I think it's all meant for the sake of good discussion.

To start another tangent, thinking through each Macross idol and what I liked about them reminded me how much credit I think Frontier deserves for the relationship between Sheryl and Ranka. The show sets up these two natural opposites: Sheryl is a mature, trendy "Shibuya girl" idol who is an established mega-star and a consummate professional; Ranka is a juvenile, awkward "Akiba girl" idol who is just starting out and had little going for her except enthusiasm and clumsy charm. Then Frontier places them in competition for the same prizes in both a love interest and an audience, and fans the flames with elements like making Sheryl a failing star while Ranka is an up-and-comer, and giving them a common manager who actively tries to play them against each other.

Anyone would expect a bitter and predictable rivalry plotline to result from that setup, but the show doesn't go the cheap "cat-fight" route. Instead, it makes both characters empathic women who are drawn together by their common challenges. Sheryl is unfailingly supportive of Ranka and her singing aspirations. Ranka is endlessly grateful and deferential, acting like Sheryl's biggest fan even when (in the film) inviting a declining Sheryl to her big debut concert. They are rivals, but also fast friends. I just find that more interesting and more believable than the alternative, and it really enhances both characters for me.

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I admit, that that idea about western bands, was just a passing fancy (Might make a decent AMV) but it wouldn't be Macross.

I think there's a law that says all Macross AMVs have to be done to Danger Zone.

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@Nekko,

No worries, my language may have been a bit clumsy. I agree that Frontier should get props for taking the high road with Sheryl and Ranka. I also like how Grace O'Connor tried to play the two against each other while, Elmo tries to be supportive and supports the artistic side of his clients. I like how the two characters grow, if you look at the way Sheryl interacts with other characters, she is a truly kind person, and she tries to be supportive of Ranka, by giving her opportunities to be noticed, but understanding when Ranka declines, and maybe even respecting her more for doing so. Sheryl is a bit childish at times, but them so can everyone.

I remember being irate with one of my friends when he shot better than I did during rifle qualification (I am an excellent shot, and I didn't do poorly, 25 out of 40 [qualifying for sure, marksman I think], and the first time I had shot on a pop up range, or in body armor, and without my glasses, and in the summer central Florida heat...) I took my disappointment out on him, which was childish (The heat had gotten to me, and I apologized for it, because it was wrong of me to do so). So as an example of that failing in everyone.

I think there's a law that says all Macross AMVs have to be done to Danger Zone.

No... Just no... Top Gun ruined that for me. Top Gun was a terrible movie. I think that "Thunderstruck" would be a good one though, or "For those About to Rock...".

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Sheryl is by far my favorite

If we were to just base this on ONE SONG, then it would be Minmei...Ai Oboete Imasu Ka is just the BEST song ever (by Minmei, not Ranka)

I do love the 80's ballad sound of Fire Bomber (Sadly, they used the Fire Bomber songs better in Frontier than they did in Macross 7)

Some of the Techno sounds from Sharron Apple were great too.

BTW Ranka reeks :p

Macross II while good left off the list as it isn't cannon, and Macross Zero music was bleh

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Sheryl Nome is actually a deep character if you look at her. She seems arrogant, conceited, and self absorbed, but this is a pretense she puts up to cover her deep seated fear and insecurity. She's a really caring individual, and it shows at several points in the series. Her character, despite the pretense, is honest and warm. I actually like the complexity in her character design. She's beautiful and she knows it, and she uses that to her advantage, except with Alto. She actually shows a great amount of affection towards him, and seems to genuinely care about him.

That's the reason I like Sheryl's character...there's much more to her than her appearance, especially the affection she shows towards Alto. Rushing to the hospital, trying to peel an apple for him, trying to cook, reaching her arms out to him at the end of the movie, etc. She's definitely not shallow, as some people have claimed her to be.

Edit: Forgot to mention the act of sacrificing herself to save Ranka in the movie! ;-)

Edited by Phalanix

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I'll put my hat in the ring and go with Sheryl. Especially after her crises of faith in the original series, when she thinks she is washed up and sings just to try and cheer up the other people stuck in the bomb shelter with her.

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Not really about the music, but I have to agree that Sheryl was by far the most compelling character in Macross Frontier. She had a really great dramatic arc and almost whatever was happening with her story was interesting nearly the entire series.

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I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. March, but I did like the songs, they were performed well, and musically interesting. Same with Ranka, and almost all of the Macross music. The lyrics just pass me by unless there's a translation available, and even then I need to see it a couple of times.

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Valkyrie Driver, I'm sorry... Despite your attempts, you haven't convinced me that you know enough about '80s Japanese idols to dismiss most of their music as crap. Stick to what you know, man.

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If I led you to believe that I though I knew that much I'm sorry. That was not my intention. There was some miscommunication, you were talking about the actual cultural phenomenon, and about that genre of music in general, and I was was focused on the music I knew from macross. I also made some generalizations from popular music as a whole, not specifically about the 80's idol genre. You're right, I don't know much.

Now, If you have some suggested listening, I'd be more than happy to give it a go, and become more familiar with the subject matter you were discussing, I have no idea where to begin. Besides if I stick to what I know, I'll never learn anything new. I'm not afraid to be wrong, I was a weather forecaster you know...

Edited by Valkyrie Driver

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I'll go against the trend and say I actually like Minmay as a character.

I mean, I like the way she is written and, yes, played/voiced. I still wonder how much of the day-to-day writing was actually based on Mari Iijima - though, yes, I get the point Mari Iijima is not Linn Minmay, because Mari never wanted to be an idol... while Minmay did want just that for a time, then grew weary of it. And the weariness (combined with bad management and outright immaturity) is played for all it's worth.

I do mean SDFM here. Music-wise, Ai Oboetemasuka is the best Minmay song, but I don't really "get" Minmay in the movie (and I'm outright unhappy about what the movie did to Misa, with that joystick-grabbing coming out of nowhere as it seems to me).

Would I want to hang around Minmay? Nah, Ranka is best for that. The Mary Sue and at the same time the very realistic teenage girl - hey Kawamori, just how DO you write a teenage girl character in the way an actual teenage girl would write one? (By asking one, perhaps? I can easily imagine that being the case, btw. At least that is exactly how I worked out most of my questions - by asking a teenage girl, who happens to love Frontier and also to be a really good singer, to explain Ranka's actions to me).

So I end up without a clear favourite because I do like Sheryl too - a character just a year older than Ranka but, I think, much more adult-thinking (perhaps one needs to disregard Kiss in the Galaxy for this conclusion, though). Also her music is awesome, especially what the movies add. Of the Macross ladies (so without Basara) I would see Sheryl as the musical leader, perhaps tied with Sharon Apple.

And Sharon Apple is... well, I'd want more of her. As she is in Plus, she is a rather pitiable robot character who acquired self-awarenss for a short while, never really had any time to "grow up", got lost in emotions inherited from Miyung, ended up screwing everything up including herself and getting destroyed. (There appears to be an unused sequel hook with her chip being preserved; I did use it for my own fan fic, wonder if anyone else gave that one a shot).

I do have a thing for robot girls and Sharon's story is one of the more depressing ones. And then (according to what I could read online) in Macross 29 a Cyberoid girl walks around and sings too and no one, as I understand, bats an eyelid, despite the story of the Sharon Apple incident being known. I do wonder what happened in between, how the technology matured if Sharon herself did not have a chance to. But I guess we'll never know.

Can't really pick one! But if by "favourite idol" one just means "whose concert I'd attend", it's Sheryl. Movie version of the concert, too. Because her holographic tech and her music just work perfectly together.

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That's a pretty interesting character analysis Saruta.

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Ranka Lee because of that song Aimo. Which is now one of my most favorite songs. I don't even know Japanese.

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Ranka Lee because of that song Aimo. Which is now one of my most favorite songs. I don't even know Japanese.

Doesn't matter. Most of it isn't even in Japanese.

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Doesn't matter. Most of it isn't even in Japanese.

Hurray for Yoko Kanno make-believe languages!

I really like how the (non-alien) lyrics get changed around for the "Battle" version of Aimo, because it reinforces the idea that perhaps all of the lyrics were originally in an alien language, and somewhere along the line humans just approximated some of them to Japanese.

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