Sunday, March 28, 2010

Anime Industry Then and Now Section 1: The VHS Era Part 4:I Want to be a Pioneer and How Evangelion Changed the Face of Anime

During my later high school years I continued to watch anime with my cousin (who at the time was my anime watching buddy). My investment in Ranma, Sailor Moon, and Dragonball Z saw my manga and anime collection steadily grow as I began to collect various Japanese-only items like Sailor Moon and DBZ anime guides, obscure fan subs of later Ranma ½, Sailor Moon, and DBZ episodes, later Japanese manga of said series and various other nick nacks. Manna Anime cultivated my interests in a certain man named, Hayao Miyazaki. I believe Laputa (Castle in the Sky) was my earliest exposure to his films and there was a running joke about what the original Japanese title meant in Spanish. I was also exposed to the likes of Slayers, Fushigi Yugi and the Gundam franchise but I wouldn’t get around to liking these shows until my college years. During this period of time the club got me into the Tenchi franchise, Ah My Goddess, and You’re Under Arrest. All three series I was exposed to in Japanese through the club, but when it was my time to get my own copies of the series I went for the dub (to be more specific I got the Tenchi OAV dub starting with Pretty Sammy OAV, then OAV series, then the movies, then the TV series. My cousin bought Ah My Goddess OAVs dubbed. I did buy one tape of YUA subtitled but didn’t return to the show until the DVD era, but I did get the manga for both.). My cousin then started another Pioneer series, El-Hazard which I also got into. ADV’s Golden Boy (dub) and Blue Seed (sub) also figured into there somewhere as well.

Right around my senior year of high school Manna Anime had split off into Kodocha Anime. Basically all the technical people who were the backbone of Manna Anime left the group over some dispute. Kodocha Anime wasn’t as big as Manna Anime but their group got me into Kodomo no Omacha, piqued my interest in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, and even had me dabble a little in City Hunter. One of the key people in Kodocha Anime ended up going on to be an important figure in the anime industry, Justin Sevakis (who originally founded the website Anime News Network). Justin played a huge role in personally encouraging me to continue watching Neon Genesis Evangelion. Going back a bit, when he was a part of Manna Anime they showed the first 4 episodes heralding this show as the new “it” show. I recall being pretty bored by it outside of the first Eva battle. By the time Justin had moved on to Kodocha ADV has licensed the show (a move that would escalate their status during the anime boom days) and my cousin started investing in the subbed tapes. Justin told me that the show would change direction after the mid-point of the series and turn into one big psychological mind freel session and various episodes had controversial content. Where my cousin and I was I couldn’t see that happening but I took Justin’s recommendation and decided to get the later half of the series (Volume 7 and up) and I was glad I did.

There were two funny things that came about my love of Evangelion. The first was how I compared the show to Vision of Escaflowne. At first my cousin and I both thought that Escaflowne was some girly shojo bore fest…until the CGI dragon appeared and we were hooked. While time hasn’t been kind to the show, during 1996 the show was ahead of its time. Escaflowne also set the foundation for my appreciation of Yoko Kanno whose music was above and beyond anything I’ve heard scored in an anime previous to this series. By being into both Eva and Esca we kept switching back and forth on which show was the best one and while eventually there was a clear winner (in this case Evangelion but this was because it held up better over the years and was far more original) both shows acted as another gateway into understanding how the genre pushed animation, storytelling, and music.

Evangelion, played a major role in actually assisting me in my first year of college. Keeping it short, high school wasn’t kind to me in the later years and several events caused me to question my self-worth. This made my first year of college rather difficult to work through many social changes and dynamics which made me identify with the characters in Eva very much. The original ending to the TV series left on a positive message about how one sees themselves and it did inspire me to revise my own attitude and behavior resulting in me being far more adjusted after that first difficult year. Once again, I’m not stating this to make this blog my personal “Emo Rant” board but I thought it was important to mention how a simple show could have a major influence on me.

With this we conclude the VHS Era putting me at the beginning of my second year of college where this little show name Pokemon premiered on US TV acting as a precursor to the Anime Boom days and starting what I call “The Pokemon Era”.

Up Next: To bring things to a closure on the VHS Era I'm going to give an expansive commentary of the whole dub vs. sub debate and my position on the whole matter (it's not as black and white as it seems).

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Anime Industry Then and Now Section 1: The VHS Era Part 3: Anime on TV, Blockbuster, and Anime Clubs! Oh My!

At this point in my life I was still in high school, not very socially conscious (I mean I had friends but I didn’t have the whole fixation on being “liked” which would come later and tie directly into why I REALLY identify with Evangelion…no…this blog is not going to get that personal just giving you guys a feel for where I was at, at the time). While I wouldn’t call myself a geek (I am an ARTIST!) I was definitely in the comic fan pool of things. My interests in anime during the later half of my 10th grade year continued to grow over that spring/summer as I used my dad’s blockbuster rental account to rent things like Akira, Project A-ko, Fist of the North Star, and even the now obscure Rumic World videos. All of these had dubs that were varying degrees of odd to just plain bad but still, through Nostalgia Goggles, iconic. I also started going to this anime club Manna Anime which had screenings at a library the next town over (where I lived everything was a small set of not-quite-suburbs/not-quite-city communities). This set up my first exposure to a certain anime called, Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon.

Now I was exposed to Sailor Moon in a funky way and had it not been for the way this occurred I might not have gotten into the series at the time I did. My anime club decided to show episodes 44-45 of the first season. For those of you not in the know, 44 goes into explicit detail of the main characters secret past life, while 45 is the next to last episode of the first season when all the Sailor Senshi (sans Sailor Moon) die. I was very turned off by Usagi/Sailor Moon’s personality, I didn’t get why the animation went from simplistic to detailed (whenever they transform or attack), and I was more than happy when they killed off the Sailors one by one. About a month later DIC Animation did a sneak peak of the dub on Fox Kids Saturday morning. Remembering the show I wanted to see how awful the dubbing and editing was, what surprised me was that their sneak peak was of the first episode of the second season (more commonly know as Sailor Moon R). At this point, all the characters had been revived and lost all their memories, and it was the start of new arc. So to review, I caught this series in Japanese toward the end of Season One where they all got killed, THEN I got exposed to the first episode of the Season Two, THEN by the fall when DIC premiered the series from episode one I began watching the show JUST to see how all the characters got to the point I was exposed to at. Unfortunately that was the point of no return as I gradually got more and more into the show, which paralleled me getting badly subtitled, horrible video fan subs of the later seasons from Manna Anime (“There’s lesbianism in the later seasons! Cool!”).

Rewinding the clock back a bit, right before Sailor Moon premiered in the fall towards the end of summer at 6 AM I saw this old 80’s show that I originally thought was Robotech. I would soon find out it was a “new” show titled Ronin Warriors. Dubbed, once again, by the Ocean Group (and pretty much voiced by everybody who was in Ranma) this series was just a nice visual treat and good appetizer for the next Ocean dub show that would premiere Sundays in the Fall. I speak of DRAGONBALL. Now this is the original Dragonball where Funimation began their venture into the anime industry by editing and dubbing the first 13 episodes of the original series. It was a ratings bomb, but instead of throwing in the towel the next fall they skipped the remaining 140 episodes and went straight to Dragonball Z. DBZ was a minor ratings success and right at the beginning of my college days Season Two aired at 6 in the morning (much to roommate’s annoyance). But in my late high school days I was amazed to see a series that one year introduced the main character as a little boy went right to showing him as a full grown adult with a family of his own that in itself, was epic. Around this period of time I began frequenting comic book conventions where anything that had Sailor Moon, Ranma, and Dragonball on it I picked up. The end result is now I had two more long running series under my belt I had intended to finish whether or not the American broadcast was going on.

Up Next: Exposure to Miyazaki, Pioneer, and How Evangelion Would Define the Beginning of College

Friday, March 26, 2010

Anime Industry Then and Now Section 1: The VHS Era Part 2: My Love Affair With Rumiko Takahashi

Back in the day (1993) I was very much into video games. Being a big fan of the Super NES and Genesis I was always keeping up with the latest gaming trends. The popular (now defunct) video gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly had a section that interested me about Import Games. I was drawn to the wacky visuals and strange artwork from games that would never seem to make it here. One game for the Super NES stuck out in my eyes, Ranma ½: Hard Battle. EGM did a two page spread on the game using anime art for all the different characters and little did I know that this would begin my love affair with Rumiko Takahashi. I mean, c’mon, the game had a GIANT PANDA and a monster names Pantyhose Taro.

With that two page spread the seed was planted and it wasn’t fertilized until I went to my local comic book store and saw an issue of the comic book from Viz Comics. I picked it up and immediately began making associations with the video game. I knew that Ranma was a boy that turned into a girl but the other characters stories I had no inkling about. The comic I had picked up was already way past the introductory point so I later on rented the game and pieced together the characters stories (it was funny assuming that Ryoga was an amnesia victim 24/7 instead of just having no sense of direction).

Then the promised day had come. The day my comic book store began stocking the Ranma ½ VHS tapes starting with the first movie Ranma ½: Big Trouble in Nekonron China. I bought the tape for the nice price of $34.95 (now think how this much could by you an entire 26 episode series these days) I popped it in when I got home and within the first 10 minutes of the movie I was hooked. To explain, the first 10 minutes of the movie began with Ranma chasing after Happosai, the local pervert. Akane, his fiancé follows suit wielding a giant mallet and blaming everything on Ranma. Everything escalates into the humongous chase scene where EVERY character introduced in the series was chasing Ranma.

With the random assortment of ghosts, cross dressers cosplaying as mundane objects, giant cats, and various weirdoes I was piqued as to how things got so weird for this series. The movie also began my position on the then epic Dub vs. Sub debate as I bought the movie in English and I was beyond impressed with the dub version. Dubbed by Ocean Studios most famously known for dubbing Inuyasha it was one of the early dubs that stood out as being very good quality and Viz actually put thought into how each character was voiced (this is pretty commonplace now but back in 1993 this was a feat!).

The plot of the movie was very akin to a lot of martial arts films released during the 70’s where Ranma had to rescue Akane who was whisked off to China to marry a martial arts prince (this happens quite a bit in both the Ranma ½ and Urusei Yatsura movie series in case of the later often causing intergalactic wars). In the last third of the film you have Ranma and his friends fight off various foes to reach their goal where everything is a one on one with the main character and the main antagonist. The series, while is sometimes like this, is mostly a high school comedy. Still, this kicked off my love for the series and when I heard how long the series was (161 episodes) it did NOT deter my interest.

About a month later the first volume for the TV series came out and thus began my foray into anime fandom as I vowed to collect the entire series (a goal that was not reached until 10 years later when Viz released the final volume on DVD). The next month I got the first volume of the OAV series and here kicked off another curiosity, the difference between a television series and an OAV (or OVA, original video animation). These days there is not a huge difference between a TV series and OAVs (as OAVs are rarely full blown series but “extra episodes” for TV show usually with slightly more risqué material that could not air on TV) but back then OAVs were like small series and extended episodes with movie-quality animation. OAVs were the backbone to anime coming to America as companies back then were more willing to license a small 6 episode OAV series than commit to an 100-something episode TV series. Only Viz (Ranma ½) and Animeigo (Urusei Yatsura) were so bold to invest in a full TV series, but it was here where Viz had a better marketing strategy.

Ranma ½ was originally two connected TV series in Japan. The first series titled Ranma Nibbonuchi (or simply, Ranma ½) was composed of 18 episodes and covered the first 3 volumes of the manga. Despite having an above average budget the series was canceled prematurely (mainly because it wasn’t making the ratings Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku had which preceded it) to be retooled. This resulted in one popular character’s introduction to be pushed up earlier (resulting in a controversial flashback to an arc that had yet to happen) and said arc being postponed until the second series. After a time slot change Ranma ½ now had the subtitle Nettouhen (which roughly translated to “Chapter of Hard Battle”) and a reduced animation budget but it ran for its remaining 143 episodes. Now Viz took those episodes and separated them into 22-24 episode “seasons” (divided by when the OP/ED changed). These seasons are titled Anything-Goes Martial Arts, Hard Battle, Outta Control, Martial Mayhem, Random Rhapsody, and Ranma Forever respectively. This guaranteed that instead of seeing one long series people could invest into the series a season at a time.

Finally, after my Takahashi foundation had been established a real friendly guy at my comic book store recommended a few more titles for me to read. Those manga titles were the Mermaid Saga series, The Return of Lum* Urusei Yatsura, and Maison Ikkoku. This began my love for all things Takahashi as I was exposed to her range of storytelling, artwork, and characterization she even pioneered many of my early comic storytelling abilities.

Up next: Anime on TV and my further decent into two other franchises (take a lucky guess which ones!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Anime Industry Then and Now Section 1: The VHS Era Part 1: Pre-Anime Fandom

For the last 17 years of my life I have been a hardcore anime fan. The point of this article series is to give you guys a little more insight on myself as well as how the anime fandom has changed and how my own personal view on anime has evolved. This first part will cover the VHS era or what is better known as “The Dark Ages”. But before we get into all that I want to go into a little of my personal background.

First and foremost I AM A CARTOONIST, I did study in art school and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. Outside of some minor freelance work I am currently planning to go back to school to get certified in Web Design. So my strong interest in animation was ingrained in me from birth (as well as my love of Smurfs, yes, I am blogging SMURFS the entire series and all the movies, TV specials, and whatever I could get my hands on). Growing up as a child I loved the classic Hanna- Barbara cartoons, Disney, Warner Brothers, pretty much if it was animated on TV I watched it.

Back in those early days I watched a lot of Nickelodeon, especially Nick Jr. It would come to later be known that this particular channel would set-up my love for anime. During the 80’s Saban would buy several anime series and air them on Nick Jr. Remember Fairy Tale Theater? Maya the Bee? Blinky the Koala? Noozles? Maple Town? These shows are obscure now but back then they were the backbone of Nick’s morning to afternoon programming. Of course I didn’t know they were anime at the time but this was the 80’s and a lot of stuff was outsourced to Japanese studios. Care Bears, Heathcliff, Inspector Gadget all had Japanese studios work on the series.(Ironically all helmed by…gasp…DIC ANIMATION, the people who originally brought Sailor Moon to America). If I had to trace back my love for anime it all started here. I didn’t know it was anime, heck, I didn’t know it was from Japan but these were the earliest examples. Oh yeah, I was also into Transformers…’nuff said.

The next little push to the edge was my love for Voltron. To be honest I barely watched the TV show, and the dubbing was horrendous but what pre-Nintendo child wouldn’t love a transforming robot toy combined from smaller robots (mind you, when I got the dern thing I think it had a few wires that weren’t “child safe”)? Voltron planted the seed that Power Rangers would later cultivate (Yes, I was 13 years old and into Power Rangers…mainly for the cute guys. Tee Hee ^_^;). Power Rangers was a fun show but it also pioneered my curiosity about Japan. Still, Power Rangers wasn’t the lone culprit in this happening, it was also my love of video games. It was Nintendo that got me into the anime verse, wetting my palette, and teasing my soul. Think about those early “Legend of Zelda” manuals, you know, the ones with all the faux anime artwork. Even the lyrical weirdness of Mario which was Alice in Wonderland meet blue collar worker had a role in this. Back during those days the now defunct EGM often spoke of games from Japan that would never see the light of day here. One often mentioned was that of Ranma ½, and it all went south from there…

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coming Up: Anime Industry Then and Now

Okay, just to give you guys a heads up I'm doing the outline for an multi-part article series that will run through most of April covering my 15 year history as an anime fan and how things have changed since then. The article will be divided into 5 parts and each of those parts I'll cover different topics: The VHS Era, The Pokemon Era, The Anime Boom, The Anime Recession, and The Future. I will most likely not just focus on the article and continue my regular blogging so as to not bog things down but for those of you who have just become anime fans it might be a good read.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kickin' It Old School: Macross Do you Remember Love?

Where do I begin? “Macross: Do You Remember Love?” is, what I believe, to be one of the most definitive movies of the pre-Pokemon era anime fandom(y‘know, the time BEFORE Toonami, DVDs, Online Streaming and BitTorrent…those days existed people!). Even in present day its masterful artistic expression and execution holds up beyond many of the present day anime films. Much like Akira and Ghost in the Shell this movie is not just a classic but it is legendary.

So why is it that this movie hasn’t been licensed yet? Well, a brief history on the franchise. Macross, here, is better known as the 80’s TV phenomenon that is Robotech. Among anime fans this series has its own legendary history. It came about as part of a project from Carl Maecek (one of the pioneers of the American anime industry) to introduce Macross to the American public. During this time (about early 80’s) most of American TV had a standard for cartoons, 13 episodes of the Saturday morning lot and 65 for the syndicated (the Monday through Friday set). The Macross TV series fell very short of this (at a mere 36 episodes…sigh…if only Cartoon Network existed back then) so Maecek decided to take two completely uninvolved series produced from the same Japanese company (Southern Cross and Moesepeda) and adapt them all into one continuity. Since Macross was the series he intended to bring over it had the least plot and characterization changes made to this. Personally, before ADVs redub during the Anime Boom days (the early to mid 2000s) I considered the English dub of Robotech the definitive Macross dub.

So where does the movie fit into all this? The movie was a summation of the events of the Macross TV series. Unlike the Gundam Trilogy, which did pretty much the same thing, DYRL was a complete revamping of the TV series events with high quality animation. It’s not an exaggeration that even by today’s high quality HD standards this movie holds up pretty well. In the official canon universe this movie has been seen as a “movie within a movie” where the DYRL events were a theatrical release of the events that really occurred not so unlike movies like “Glory” and “X” (no, the Malcom X movie NOT the CLAMP glorified piece of crap) in our reality.

Despite the movie’s popularity among the anime fandom the movie has yet to properly licensed because it is stuck in licensing hell along with the likes of “Sailor Stars”. The fault lies within Harmony Gold and the Japanese company basically getting territorial over who owns what and refusing to outsource the license until this “bidding war” is resolved (which, it hasn’t been). As such, outside out of a badly dubbed, heavily edited release, this movie has NEVER seen the light of day in the U.S.

The movie opens up in the vast depths of space were the SDF-Macross (this large battleship that has the ability to transform into a giant robot AND has a city inside of it) is engaged in a space war with this alien race called the Zentradi. Now in the TV series the Zentradi were depicted as an alien species that only differed in size and skin color, here they are depicted much more organically giving them a much more intimidating feel. During the very beautiful (but not very realistic in terms of physics) space battle we are introduced to Hikaru Ichijyo the ace pilot of the Skull Squadron. We also are introduced to the genius pilot, Maximilian Jenius, their Captain Roy Fokker (…yeah, fun last name), and human meat shield
Hayao Kakizaki (more on this later). On the Macross bridge First Lieutenant, Misa Hayase, gives out commands to Skull Squadron, which Hikaru is not too keen on because…she is woman.

… yeah, Japanese culture in the 80’s and how they view woman rights in the future.

Aboard the Macross pop icon, Lynn Minmay, is giving a concert, which is cut short when the SDF Macross begins to transform (since the city is destroyed and rebuilt during every battle). Things go from bad to worse when the shelter that Minmay and her manager/cousin Lynn Kaifun took refuge in is destroyed by both the Zentradi and Skull Squadron taking their battle onboard the Macross. As Minmay and Kaifun make their escape a few Zentradi soldiers see them and are shocked to see men and women together in the same habitat (they literally start freaking out and drop everything they’re doing, apparently in their race the men and woman fight each other. They also don’t going around forming relationships since those emotions are not a part of their… CULTURE!). During all this chaos one of the air ducts are shot open and Minmay is floating away to her death. Hikaru goes to rescue her and the too end up trapped in an isolated part of the ship. Here we get a lot of exposition on what has occurred before this movie as the Macross is trying to make its way to Earth but there is concern over the Zentradi’s multiple attacks on the planet’s surface. Following the little interchange between Hikaru and Minmay we get some nice eye candy sequences involving “Magical Light Up Minmay” and THE NUDE SCENE! On the Zentradi end they managed to procure a Minmay doll, which they continue to be pussies about and start freaking out even more when it begins singing. . . O-kaaay…

Back to Minmay and Hikaru one thing leads to another and the two share a kiss (okay, on Minmay’s end she was “acting”) which is RIGHT at that moment to rescue team which is apparently composed of paparazzi find the two in a compromising position. Nonetheless this does not bode well for either Hikaru or Minmay who get bitched out by their individual parties on the bad PR. For Minmay she simply got a slap on the wrist from her manager, while Hikaru gets chewed out by none other than superior officer, Misa Hayase (who seems to show a slight shred of jealousy). Luckily Hikaru’s bros (the Skull Squadron) come to congratulate him on his progress…but then are disappointed when Hikaru didn’t take things beyond the initial kiss.

Later on at the bar Hikaru meets up with his “sempai” Roy but is intimidated when he sees Misa there. Roy, being the wonderful drunk that he is, forces Hikaru to join himself, Misa, and his love interest Bridge Operator Claudia for drinks. He then drunkenly goes on how Misa should adjust her behavior while off duty in a speech that would probably cause many Women’s Studies majors and enthusiasts to lynch him. In the end at least he shows that he has no racial boundaries when it comes to love as he proceeds to lead by example by making out with Claudia…and then do some freaky stuff under the table…while Misa and Hikaru watch. (No, seriously look at the scene and tell me this all seems kinda…odd!)

Luckily Hikaru gets a way out as he gets an emergency call from “family”. Turns out the “family” is Minmay is disguise wanting to escape the media assault and go on a normal “date” with a guy. Once again, we a presented with a sequence of eye candy moments (including Minmay and Hikaru wearing virtual wedding outfits) that eventual leads to Minmay and Hikaru taking a trip out to Saturns rings. It’s here that Misa and Kaifun intercept them in a transport ship to return them to the Macross. Unfortunately the Zentradi also find them. Roy comes to rescue them but is still heavily inebriated (honestly, is this a D.U.I or what?!). In the end all of them are captured by the Zentradi and taken into custody. This leads to the most amusing scene across all the versions of this series. Whether you’re watching this version, the TV series version, or the Robotech version there’s just a certain amount of hilarity involved when big epic aliens ask you about the process of sex and force you to make out to provide concrete examples of …PROTOCULTURE. In the end Minmay and her cousin (who ended up being the make out pair…yeah…Macross is all about the incest) are transported to one place while Hikaru and the others are transported to another. Then the Metran (the female alien race) attack the Zetran giving the three humans a chance to escape. In the midst of the chaos Roy is killed and Hikaru and Misa are thrown off the craft (because of the fold system, which is the usual sci fi way of going from one point of space to another) and end up on a decimated planet.

Much like Hikaru and Minmay’s bonding earlier in the film you have Misa and Hikaru trapped on the isolated dead planet. But to recreate the famous reveal from Planet of the Apes we learn IT WAS EARTH AFTER ALL! CUE THE EMO! No, but this part of the film was relatively done well (actually the whole film but this had some actual realistic character development). Misa begins to starve herself and contemplates over how the remainder of humanity is left on board the Macross. Hikaru cheers her up and the two finally begin to bond with each other. They end up uncovering ancient ruins that are tied to both the human race and the Zentradi. Misa tries to send a S.O.S to the Macross but seemingly fails. In a very subtle scene Misa finally breaks down feeling that the two may never see humanity again, Hikaru consoles her, and this leads to a real kiss between the two. At this moment the Macross lands on Earth and recovers the two.

This leads into the last half of the film where Misa and Hikaru reveal to Captain Global (who really has as little screen time as possible compared to the TV series, but hey, it’s all about the love triangle) how they were on Earth for a month and there are NO survivors. They also tell Claudia about Roy’s death, which comes and goes (they go into far more detail about how she coped in the TV series.). The female fleet attacks the Macross, which leads to Kanazaki’s death (which between the TV and movies goes to show he wins the award for shitty deaths in an anime series because it’s quick, people react, and then it’s quickly forgotten). Of course this leads to a fight between Max and Miriya (the ace pilot of the female alien fleet) and the Macross gets blasted from a sniper ship. Things look bad until Hikaru hears Minmay’s singing on his plane’s sound systems. While this is going on Max confronts a wounded Miriya and is enamored by her beauty (either version is pretty corny as to how they hook up) and in a later part of the film he is enlarged and fights along side with her (while it is the reverse in the TV series…oh and they have a baby…and many many more in the sequels).

Anyway, the Zentradi return Minmay and decide to have peace talks with the humans in order to get the Meltran to surrender to them. During the peace conference Global reveals how the ancient ruins Hikaru and Misa found had evidence that the Protoculture meant that the humans, Zentradi, and Meltran all originated from the same genes. Using the Zentradi technology to “micron” three Zentradi volunteers (these guys have a decent supporting role in the TV series) Global hopes this will help influence the Zentradi to accept culture. Minmay announces that the memory plate the Zentradi gave them has a melody with no lyrics, the lyricists onboard the Macross are trying to make lyrics to the song so Minmay can broadcast the song all over the universe. Minmay is then reunited with Hikaru and Misa and it is very obvious that something has changed. Later on Hikaru is about to take down his poster of Minmay when she stops by his quarters and confesses her love to him. At the same time Misa is in her quarters and looks at the memory plate she and Hikaru found in the ruins and somehow miraculously figures out…wait for it…THEY’RE THE LYRICS TO THE SONG! So of course she goes to Hikaru’s room to be the first to tell him when she sees Minmay embracing Hikaru. Misa, with tears in her eyes, tells Hikaru she found out the plates significance. When Hikaru tries to explain things to her Minmay runs out embarrassed and Misa bitterly tells him to go after her. Hikaru decides not to and confesses his feelings to her and the two embrace. Then, of course, the Meltrans and Zetrandi start to cause a small-scale intergalactic war right then and there.

Isn’t timing fun?

To make matters worse Minmay has hidden away somewhere on the Macross. Misa gives Hikaru the task of seeking her selfish behind out and giving her the lyrics to the song. Many explosions and a trip into space later, Hikaru finally finds Minmay and LITERALLY slaps some sense into her.

The last scene is just gorgeous and defines everything wonderful about the Macross franchise. Minmay aboard the Macross sings “Do You Remember Love?” and the Macross, Meltran, and Zentradi combine forces and annihilate their leaders in one epic sequence. In the end both Misa and Minmey exchange silent but respectful appreciations and the last line of the film Misa states it was a simple love song that saved the universe.

Despite my sarcasm meter being on high, this movie is just beautiful. Back when anime wasn’t all about moe fetishes, Shonen Jump bore fests, and mind frell. This movie harkens back to a simpler time when the art was fine-tuned and crafted to create a thing of true beauty.