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Thoughts on Macross Plus


VF-15 Banshee
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Originally in my SDF Macross review I said the macros was Top Gun meets Battlestar: Galactica meets Transformers with a dash of Star Wars thrown in. Well no where does the Top Gun analogy become more apparent than with the 4-episode mini-series(or OVA) Macross Plus, released in 1994. The story features two rival jet fighter test pilots in a setting that is highly reminiscent of the classic Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer flick. There’s planes, space, dogfights, pretty girls, but unlike Top Gun, Macross Plus features a psychotic AI pop star, a kinda-sorta love triangle and a futuristic setting.

Now first of all, I have to say that after the disappointment that was Macross II, Plus was about 10x, no, 100x better. I seriously wanted to have Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone or Cheap Trick’s Mighty Wings come blaring out of the speakers as the YF-19 and -21 danced across the sky. I mean, I enjoyed this so much I think there was only two things I really want to have them improve. They could have explained Sharon’s self-awareness a bit more and also why she seemed so intent on hypnotizing people and why she wanted to kill Isamu.

I also didn’t care much for Myung as well. I don’t dislike her but I think to myself “Gooooossshhh! Get off the pity wagon and stop being so damn depressing, especially when you’ve got guys like Isamu and Guld around." I don’t really blame Isamu for being more interested in Lucy when he got back to Eden than Myung.

Other than that this was solid, first-rate, no holds-barred, thrill-riding fun. I would not be embarrassed to say that I enjoyed Macross Plus more than Transformers 3, and that’s saying something. The characters, planes, visuals (none of that damn moe crap), music and sounds all come together beautifully. The fact that this was a good dub as well is an extra plus. With the talents of VA’s like Bryan Cranston (TV’s Breaking Bad), Richard Epcar and Beau Billingslea, it’s actually a joy to listen to as the actors actually emote. What a concept! All in all, on the MAHQ scale of stars, this gets five gold stars! Now if only it had Danger Zone…

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Sharon’s self awareness came from the use of some kind of illegal military AI chip in her hardware, along with the feelings she inherits from Myung.

Sharon wanting to kill Isamu isn’t that black and white. She knew (by way of having Myungs memories/emotions) that Isamu was an adrenalin junky and so lived for the thrill of being close to the edge – she simply sought to push him harder and further because that’s what he wanted, but she took it to the extreme.

You have to watch both the OVA and movie to get the full picture of what happened because i think some bits are explained better in one and not in the other.

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Macross Plus is amazing on so many levels. And it has the best english language DVD (the whole package) of any Macross in my view.

Regarding the music, personally I think Macross Plus has a fantastic soundtrack (done by none other that Yoko Kanno herself) and I have a hard time imagining any other music playing to Isamu's/Guld's duel.

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Plus?

Good visuals. Good animation. Character designs? Didn't like it. Masayuki Yamaguchi's designs just didn't play well with me. Music? Not my cup-o-tea. Just because it's Yoko Kanno doesn't mean I automatically will defend it with my life. I've heard her other works and Plus' didn't work for me. Story? Predictable. When someone mentions AI in entertainment, it automatically dooms it. Characters? Most of them didn't work with me.

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Plus?

Good visuals. Good animation. Character designs? Didn't like it. Masayuki Yamaguchi's designs just didn't play well with me. Music? Not my cup-o-tea. Just because it's Yoko Kanno doesn't mean I automatically will defend it with my life. I've heard her other works and Plus' didn't work for me. Story? Predictable. When someone mentions AI in entertainment, it automatically dooms it. Characters? Most of them didn't work with me.

The AI in Stealth redeemed itself in the end.

I really hate to give that movie any credit, but it was at least mildly non-cliche in it's use of AI.

And to add my two cents to the "favorite version" subthread in here... I prefer the movie version. Some of the OVA scenes are great, but some of it just makes no sense whatsoever.

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The AI in Stealth redeemed itself in the end.

I really hate to give that movie any credit, but it was at least mildly non-cliche in it's use of AI.

But it still "went rogue" and was still doomed or destined to die/be dismantled at the end. <_< As I said, entertainment and AI leads to doom.

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I was actually turned off by it when I first saw the previews on some another Manga VHS. The preview just had music and characters scenes. No dialog, barely any mecha. Macross Plus look like some anime about a boy and girl with pointy noses being chased by a some ugly guy with a flat top mullet.

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Between the movie and the OVA, the latter is far better IMO. More screen time means more space for better character development; Isamu in the movie acted more like a caricature than a believable character. In the OVA, he had enough "normal/sane" moments that makes him more of a human being than that stoned, yipping chimp on LSD in the movie.

The way his relationship with Lucy developed was very disjointed, too. When he comes on to her after the aerial pterodactyl scene, she's disgusted by him, but right after he gets a scolding from Milliard Johnson, there she is yelping for dear life behind him as he races his bike against traffic.

Of all the characters, I find Myung to be my least favorite. All that depression and melodrama just gets old.

Speaking of which, I'd have liked the backstory to have been explained a little more. All I got from it was that Guld, Isamu and Myung were childhood friends, and both guys had the hots for the girl. Guld walks in on Isamu and Myung, goes into a rage. He beats up Isamu and tears off Myung's tanktop. The three of them go their separate ways, only to meet during the events of Project Super Nova.

Here's what I don't understand [the DVD I watched had missing subtitles in the middle of episodes 2 and 3 so it might be just me]; what happened to Guld's memory of the incident? Was it subconscious mental suppression or did he use those pills to suppress them? What exactly was that medicine he took every time he had a flashback? I've read on a post somewhere that it was to suppress his Zentran aggression.

That said, I still find it to be my favorite Macross title of all. It's a refreshing departure from the usual massive space opera setting, using a competition for the next-gen fighter as a backdrop. The characters were interesting, too. The gorgeous Valk designs were just the icing on the cake.

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The way his relationship with Lucy developed was very disjointed, too. When he comes on to her after the aerial pterodactyl scene, she's disgusted by him, but right after he gets a scolding from Milliard Johnson, there she is yelping for dear life behind him as he races his bike against traffic.

Oh its totally explainable. He just wanted to get it on with Megumi Hayashibara, thats all.

And in the 90's, didnt we all? (*nostalgic sigh*)

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Someone please answer my question:

I have watched only the OVA version of Mac Plus, and was unable to see the movie version of it. Regarding Guld death scene versus the X9 Ghost, my OVA version of his death was very short, unlike the movie version I saw on youtube which Guld death scene was much longer and touching. My question is, does the movie version had more unseen and new footage compared to its OVA? Or was that simply because my OVA censored Guld's gruesome death?

Thanks in advance.

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Someone please answer my question:

I have watched only the OVA version of Mac Plus, and was unable to see the movie version of it. Regarding Guld death scene versus the X9 Ghost, my OVA version of his death was very short, unlike the movie version I saw on youtube which Guld death scene was much longer and touching. My question is, does the movie version had more unseen and new footage compared to its OVA? Or was that simply because my OVA censored Guld's gruesome death?

Thanks in advance.

The movie has new footage, and changes the sequence to something much more dramatic, and in many ways, increases the scope of Guld's sacrifice.

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I think Guld's death is the only part I prefer in the movie. Loses out on some biggies like Isamu in the VF-11B tearing up Zents (literally) as well as combining the two accidents (Guld's mental impulse carried out by the YF-21 and the ammo accident in the live fire/impromptu duel), and more detail on some of the other testing. I'd really like to see the OVA pasted together with the intros taken out and Guld's death inserted in. Is there a fan edit in the house?

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I was actually turned off by it when I first saw the previews on some another Manga VHS. The preview just had music and characters scenes. No dialog, barely any mecha. Macross Plus look like some anime about a boy and girl with pointy noses being chased by a some ugly guy with a flat top mullet.

That trailer was what made me interested in Macross. While every other anime being released under the Manga label was over the top bullshit like Legend of The Overfiend suddenly there was this short trailer which, although it was about nothing, was something completely different.

Based on that i went and bought my first Macross Plus which was my real introduction into the world of Macross (i had previously seen Robotech but thought it was crap).

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I think Guld's death is the only part I prefer in the movie. Loses out on some biggies like Isamu in the VF-11B tearing up Zents (literally) as well as combining the two accidents (Guld's mental impulse carried out by the YF-21 and the ammo accident in the live fire/impromptu duel), and more detail on some of the other testing. I'd really like to see the OVA pasted together with the intros taken out and Guld's death inserted in. Is there a fan edit in the house?

See, in my book the merging of the accidents is one of the movie's best traits.

Isamu simply shouldn't just dust himself off and walk away from that crash.

And the "live fire incident" is just insane. To this day I can't figure out a coherent explanation for how it was SUPPOSED to work.

Let's load ISAMU'S gun with real bullets in the middle of the clip, and then hope it jams instead of firing off those real bullets, so that he'll drop it and I can pick up the "jammed" rifle and shoot him with it!

Thereby proving he was trying to murder me, but too incompetent to pull it off or bold enough to follow through when his first plan failed. AND it lets me kill him while at the same time looking innocent! Even though I'm the one that fired the "jammed" gun, and did it like I knew it was not jammed and was actually full of lead!

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah...

After that... the aftermath of the concert hall fire is a big sticking point for me.

There's no way Isamu would've stood down and too the crap Guld was throwing at him after the fire. He did his damnedest to get there, and led the cops on a high-speed chase in the process. He just happened to get there after everyone else. When I first saw the OVA, I was waiting for Isamu to bust Guld's face open, but he just backed down like a sissy.

But if he never showed at the fire because he was too busy with his new girlfriend to answer the phone, THAT's something he can't argue(not that I would've answered the phone in his position...).

Got no beef with the intro, though. That's pure, unadulterated goodness.

I WANT to like the YF-19/21 battle, but the whole live ammo circus strains my suspension of disbelief too far. And given we're talking about two transforming spacejets playing 1:1-scale Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, that REALLY says something about how bad that subplot IS.

I'd love to see an in-between edit that takes the best parts of both versions, and rescripts that one fight to make some freaking sense..

Edited by JB0
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I think Guld's death is the only part I prefer in the movie. Loses out on some biggies like Isamu in the VF-11B tearing up Zents (literally) as well as combining the two accidents (Guld's mental impulse carried out by the YF-21 and the ammo accident in the live fire/impromptu duel), and more detail on some of the other testing. I'd really like to see the OVA pasted together with the intros taken out and Guld's death inserted in. Is there a fan edit in the house?

+1

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I thought the whole hypnotising of the end of M+ to be a little silly, and maybe i'm being a bit nitpicky, but how the fact Sharon Apple was able to get a hologram of herself anywhere (and make cables move!) even without any visible source apart from when she appears in Isamu's cockpit. I also wished they'd explained Marge's suicide, what happened to him did Sharon tell him to jump off the top of the SDF-1? Though I thought the fight scenes between the Valk's brilliant some nice choreography there.

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And the "live fire incident" is just insane. To this day I can't figure out a coherent explanation for how it was SUPPOSED to work.

Let's load ISAMU'S gun with real bullets in the middle of the clip, and then hope it jams instead of firing off those real bullets, so that he'll drop it and I can pick up the "jammed" rifle and shoot him with it!

Thereby proving he was trying to murder me, but too incompetent to pull it off or bold enough to follow through when his first plan failed. AND it lets me kill him while at the same time looking innocent! Even though I'm the one that fired the "jammed" gun, and did it like I knew it was not jammed and was actually full of lead!

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah...

my interpretation was that Guld's plan was to load a few live rounds into the YF-19's gunpod then instigate the fight so that Isamu would shoot him. Isamu would be blamed for it and be kicked out of the program/court marshaled.

Guld never intended to kill or injure Isamu, he was trying to frame him. He also never intended or expected the gunpod to jam and for ismau to start beating him with it/kicking the crap out of him.

In fact we never see what happens after Guld grabs the gunpod. it just cuts away to the control room where they show the damaged YF-19 lying on the ground. I think the Gunpod really did accidentally discharge when guld tried to use it as a club to beat Isamu off of him.

I still agree that the movie works a little better because Isamu's injuries make much more sense as a result of the VF-11 crash than as a result of the fight. but Gulds plan isn't that confusing.

overall the movie has a bit better flow than the OVA, but you loose some really awesome action scenes in the process.

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Isamu simply shouldn't just dust himself off and walk away from that crash.

Why not? He's strapped into a licensed nuclear powered super tough death machine that skidded to a stop. I'm not saying the alternative scene where he's someone how injured when his robot is non-fatally wounded is any better. Especially considering how relatively deep the YF-19 cockpit is buried in Battroid mode. I've never really understood the common trope of people being injured inside their armored robots. It works alright in WW2 movies where the planes are made of aluminum and the flak is nasty but no so much in teh future.

Also did you notice when the VF-11 is carrying the YF-21, the YF-21's wings fold out completely opposite of how they're supposed to? Oops.

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I thought the whole hypnotising of the end of M+ to be a little silly, and maybe i'm being a bit nitpicky, but how the fact Sharon Apple was able to get a hologram of herself anywhere (and make cables move!) even without any visible source apart from when she appears in Isamu's cockpit. I also wished they'd explained Marge's suicide, what happened to him did Sharon tell him to jump off the top of the SDF-1? Though I thought the fight scenes between the Valk's brilliant some nice choreography there.

Yupe, those scenes were totally logic-less, however, personally I like it. It was like in MF last episode, how Ranka, Sheryl and Alto 'fold' and made conversations(the scene when ranka slapped sheryl). How they ended-up in the same 'space' when Ranka was actually captured inside Battle Galaxy, when alto was actually politing his plane, and when Sheryl was actually on board of Battle 25. This was no logic at all, but I like the way it is. It was how the show make any aspect beliving, and not whether it was possible or not. My 2cents. =)

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my interpretation was that Guld's plan was to load a few live rounds into the YF-19's gunpod then instigate the fight so that Isamu would shoot him. Isamu would be blamed for it and be kicked out of the program/court marshaled.

Guld never intended to kill or injure Isamu, he was trying to frame him. He also never intended or expected the gunpod to jam and for ismau to start beating him with it/kicking the crap out of him.

In fact we never see what happens after Guld grabs the gunpod. it just cuts away to the control room where they show the damaged YF-19 lying on the ground. I think the Gunpod really did accidentally discharge when guld tried to use it as a club to beat Isamu off of him.

Agreed.

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I think Guld's death is the only part I prefer in the movie. Loses out on some biggies like Isamu in the VF-11B tearing up Zents (literally) as well as combining the two accidents (Guld's mental impulse carried out by the YF-21 and the ammo accident in the live fire/impromptu duel), and more detail on some of the other testing. I'd really like to see the OVA pasted together with the intros taken out and Guld's death inserted in. Is there a fan edit in the house?

^^ Agreed, they could also add the concert affects on the final scene from the movie into the OVA. I just felt the movie skipped too much and seemed to have less of the test flight scenes.

I also did not like how in the movie they make Isamu an idiot just to make you think that Guld is the better guy then towards the end of the film they do a reveal of what really happened.

And to skip the opening VF-11 scene wtf? didn't they also change the name of the giant bird from terrasaur to petasaur or something like that?

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I still agree that the movie works a little better because Isamu's injuries make much more sense as a result of the VF-11 crash than as a result of the fight. but Gulds plan isn't that confusing.

Now I have to go back and watch these again. I though Isamu got injured in the OVA when Isamu rescued Guld. Guld was thinking bad thoughts and it made the flight control system tweak causing him to plow Isamu's VF-11 into the ground causing the injury.

Yupe, those scenes were totally logic-less, however, personally I like it. It was like in MF last episode, how Ranka, Sheryl and Alto 'fold' and made conversations(the scene when ranka slapped sheryl). How they ended-up in the same 'space' when Ranka was actually captured inside Battle Galaxy, when alto was actually politing his plane, and when Sheryl was actually on board of Battle 25. This was no logic at all, but I like the way it is. It was how the show make any aspect beliving, and not whether it was possible or not. My 2cents. =)

LOL, kinda reminds you of the newtype concept, except you can physically touch one another.

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Now I have to go back and watch these again. I though Isamu got injured in the OVA when Isamu rescued Guld. Guld was thinking bad thoughts and it made the flight control system tweak causing him to plow Isamu's VF-11 into the ground causing the injury.

nope, that's how the movie goes. In the OVA the VF-11 crases, isamu crawls out of it, gives Guld's YF-21 a wtf look then it cuts to them arguing in a hanger.

Yupe, those scenes were totally logic-less, however, personally I like it. It was like in MF last episode, how Ranka, Sheryl and Alto 'fold' and made conversations(the scene when ranka slapped sheryl). How they ended-up in the same 'space' when Ranka was actually captured inside Battle Galaxy, when alto was actually politing his plane, and when Sheryl was actually on board of Battle 25. This was no logic at all, but I like the way it is. It was how the show make any aspect beliving, and not whether it was possible or not. My 2cents. =)

Actually what was happening was that the 3 of them where communicating psychically via fold space. Ranka and Sheryl were both carrying the vajra bacteria that let them control them via singing and Alto was wearing Sheryl's earring which was made of fold quartz. the part where they're all together floating in space and glowing different colors was just a Visual representation of what was going on entirely in their heads while they physically remained in there previous locations.

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