Thursday, 19 August 2010

Revisiting Macross 7

As some of you might have read, at the end of last year I reviewed what could be considered the marmite series of the Macross franchise - the 51 episode, 6 OVA and 1 mini-movie saga that is Macross 7. If you read this, you'll know that at the time I had some pretty harsh criticisms of the series, going as far as calling it "one of the worst anime series I've ever watched." Now since then I like to think I've grown a little as a writer and a reviewer, and 8 months later I find myself sitting at the computer listening to Fire Bomber (the fictional j-rock band from 7) almost non-stop. Surely this is a huge leap from my last post concerning the series where I also called the music "horrible 80s sounding j-rock". Well in short, yes it is. But allow me to clarify my change in heart a little.

To begin with - I still have a strong distain for the series, but it's now more a sense of wasted potential than outright hate. Some of the concepts are interesting (if a little silly), but I still believe the show would have benefitted far greater from being around 25-35 episodes long rather than the 51 it stands at. This would have cut down on some of the less interesting filler, and maintained the story's main plot at a consistent pace. Even the design of Basara's VF-19 Kai Fire Valkyrie has grown on me (the other sound force Valkyrie remain as repulsive as ever in my eyes though).

What I think the series really would have benefitted from the was more diversity in songs. Macross 7 has by far the largest range of songs of any Macross series, and if it had utilised this a little bit more my initial thoughts may not have been so harsh. Episode after episode Basara sings mediocre songs like Planet Dance, Submarine Street and Remember 16, but there are far better Fire Bomber songs out there. The frequent inclusion of the excellent Totsugeki Love Heart (one of, if not Fire Bomber's best offering) and Holy Lonely Night try to make up for it, but by then Planet Dance had done its damage. Other songs such as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 Nights I'd also like to have heard of more.

Take the music away from the series and the albums are actually very good listening, especially Second Fire!!. Let's Fire!! and Dynamite Fire!! also have some great moments, but aren't quite as consistent in my opinion. As far as consistency goes, their best offering is also their latest - 2009's Re.Fire!! feels like the musicians never stopped their roles from the series. Too bad it came so long after the series...

So without a doubt I've certainly been converted to a fan of Fire Bomber. Who knows? Maybe one day Macross 7 itself will follow suite....


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