Today I watched Shoji Kawamori and Noboru Ishiguro’s Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)
Unlike the previous mecha anime movies I have reviewed this week, Macross is not a follow up to it’s series, it is an adaptation. Even so, the film opens in the midst of a massive interstellar conflict with an alien race named the Zentradi who have invaded human space. After they bombard Earth the last known humans reside on the Super Dimension Fortress Macross, a giant transforming spaceship/robot. Furthermore the vessel is defended by a fleet a Valkyries, jet fighters which are also transforming mecha. As the epic space war unfolds so to does a love triangle between a hot shot Valkyrie pilot, his commanding officer, and a pop star; but all will be lost if these three do not discover the Zentradi’s one weakness, sappy romance songs.
While that may seem to be a pretty absurd plot, it is presented with total conviction. The film mashes together romance and giant robots with wild abandon, held together by the glue of tacky pop songs. Yet despite this, the silliness never overtakes the seriousness of the presentation and world building; this is still a serious drama, whether you take the subject matter seriously or not. I think this approach is quite refreshing in our modern, irony soaked age, it’s nice when stories can be cheesy but still present themselves with a straight face.
That being said, the film is not without subtext, which focuses in two areas, the battle of the sexes and the power of culture. In how it deals with sexual politics, the film is disappointingly a product of it’s time, hopelessly dated in a fairly harmless way. The themes of culture are much more thought provoking, even if they are presented in an extremely over the top fashion. I still would not call it complex in any way, but it is earnest and passionate. Really, Macross is for those who want giant mecha military sci-fi with high romance and lots of pop music, humanities deadliest weapon, and that is pretty cool. 5/5