SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EXTRA: BOOKS AND ALBUMS
I’d like to note that if you want more of the original Macross, there is more to be had, in a few books and albums, most of which (*ahem*) have been translated.
The albums aren’t terribly rewarding, unless you’re really starving for more, but the books are (mostly) great.
1. Dreaming Prelude ~ My Fair Minmay (by the Macross Scenario Staff): released during the end of the series, it’s probably my favorite, telling the story of what happens to Minmay that we didn’t see, from her birthday up until Hikaru, Misa, and the team escape from being Zentradi prisoners. It’s WAY more interesting than it sounds, mostly because it’s written by the same people who wrote the show, and manages to incorporate a lot of ideas that never made it into the series.
2. Misa Hayase – White Reminiscences (by Hiroshi Ohnogi): nominally a novella about Misa and Riber, it also gives a lot of backstory and information about the Unification Wars. And even Macross the First references it. And again, being written by one of the show’s writers, it feels completely authoritative.
3. Macross Perfect Memory: The “Outside Story” section has two short stories, one by series script editor Kenichi Matsuzaki (about Global as a sub captain during the Unification Wars) and one by Kawamori (and what happened in the two years between episodes 27 and 28). These aren’t QUITE as good as the other books (I find the sub story rather dull, and dislike the way Kawamori sets about cracking the love triangle back open) but there’s still some nice details, and at least they’re short.
4. The novelization trilogy (by Toshiki Inoue): I started translating these a few years ago, and got about fifty pages into the first one, before I realized there wasn’t really anything special or interesting about them, except for the first chapter, which tells a bit about what happened before the first episode. They’re very thinly written, almost like the script of the show with just enough narration added to explain what’s going on. Minimalist novels, if you will. All the books are the same length, but Book One covers episodes 1 through 5, Book Two covers 6 through 13, and Book Three crams in everything else up to Episode 27. Ugh.
For me, the weirdest part about these is how they begin. In the mid-’90s, swept up by Macross fever, and thinking it was “almost perfect, but not quite,” I started planning a fanfic novel series that would harmonize the TV series and DYRL (three books), fill in the timeline between 2012 and 2040 (one book), and adapt Plus (one book) and Macross 7 (four books), making the later more “serious” and “realistic.” I had it mostly planned out and had even written some of it before I realized that it was mostly my ego talking (thinking I could swoop in and “fix” all the story problems I saw, like I’m goddamned Mighty Mouse or something), and that writing NINE novels based on Macross really wasn’t the most productive use of my writing time. But one of the parts that I had finished was the prologue, about the Macross crashing. Instead of just a dry narration, like in the series, I wanted to add a little something to it, and so wrote it from the point of view of Minmay, at five years old, in a sandbox in a playground, seeing a bright star in the sky which just got brighter and brighter…
At this point, I had no idea that actual novelizations of the series existed. It wasn’t until years later, when I was visiting Tokyo in 2007, that I happened across them at Nakano Broadway. Six months later or so, I started translating them, and discovered that first chapter involves the Macross crashing… witnessed by five-year-old Minmay… playing in a sandbox. Weird feeling…
Anyway, the author, unlike the other books here, has no real connection to the Macross staff, so I finally just settled on translating the beginning, and leaving the rest alone. Here’s the first chapter:
5. The Do You Remember Love novelization (by Sukehiro Tomita): I, uh, haven’t read this one yet, although it’s high on my list. Looks interesting, though. And the fact that it’s written by the movie’s scriptwriter bodes well.
The albums (all of which have scripts by Sukehiro Tomita):
1. Macross Vol. III – Miss DJ: not quite a drama album, but not quite a soundtrack, either, it purports to be an episode of Minmay’s radio show aboard the Macross. Again, like the books, it manages to fit some ideas in that had to be cut from the show, which is kinda cool, but also has a lot of stretches where very little of interest is happening. I dunno, maybe it’s not as excruciating if you’re not listening to it over and over trying to catch what they’re saying in order to translate it. The songs are nice, though, and the ads are pretty funny.
2. Macross Vol. IV – Distantly Fading Memories: also not quite a drama album, this one focuses on Misa. I haven’t finished translating it yet (I’m about three-quarters of the way through) (UPDATE: AS OF JULY 10, I’M DONE), and the story is… okay, I guess. Nothing special. The real draw, I think, are the two new songs (sung by Misa!!) and the background piano music by Kentaro Haneda, composer for the show, which, maddeningly, is unavailable without the character chattering over it.
3. Macross Vol. V – Rhapsody in Love/Macross Love: the first disc is new music (including a wonderful medley that was used for one of DYRL’s trailers), the second is just a dramatization of highlights from the series. Trying to cram everything into forty minutes leaves it rather incoherent as a narrative. Like the novels, I started translating it, but lost interest quickly. I might finish it one of these days.
4. Snow Falling in the Galaxy: the first Macross Christmas album, based on the TV series, but released in 1985. It’s not very good, honestly. The songs are pretty cheesy, and the drama sections spin their wheels without going anywhere. The short story included in the liner notes, by Noboru Ishiguro, is fun, though.
The album: Snow Falling in the Galaxy(v2)
The short story: Macross White Christmas
So yeah, if, as I said before, Macross is a sundae, with the series as the ice cream, the movie as the hot fudge, and Flashback 2012 as the cherry, I guess these are the nuts and sprinkles: not really necessary for making a good sundae, but still tasty in their own right. Dig in!