SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
ICONIC SCENE: Farewell, Minmay…
STORY DATE: September 2012
RELEASE DATE: June 21, 1987
1. So it’s 1987, and nearing the fifth anniversary of the Macross TV series. Shoji Kawamori decides he needs to learn how to edit video, and thus, this release is born. These days, it doesn’t really seem like much, I’m sure, since virtually anyone can make an AMV. At the time, it was pretty cool, though, and it’s heaps better than, say, the Mospeada music video collection, “Love Live Alive” or the earlier Macross Mech Graffiti, both of which mostly played scenes from the shows with little regard for how they fit the music. Flashback 2012 is definitely more MTV style, with lots of quick cuts timed to the songs.
But even in 1987, the anime landscape had changed from what it had been in 1982. The easy availability of VCRs had created a market for direct-to-video animation, which was where the “Anime Generation” showed off the best, with more personal projects that didn’t have to cater to toy companies and the like. And of course, many of these involved staff from Macross, although Studio Nue never created a show after 1983’s Super Dimension Century Orguss.
After Orguss ended, Tatsunoko attempted to turn the “Super Dimension” label into an ongoing thing, with 1984’s Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, but when the toy sponsor for that show went bust, the funding vanished and the show was quickly wrapped up. The (again, highly unusual for anime) two PM slot that all the Super Dimension shows had run in was filled with a quiz show.
All of which has very little to do with Flashback 2012, really, although it has a lot to do with my experience with it. By 1987, I was a full-fledged anime nerd with a network of sources who I had met at cons and the local comic book shop (no longer Another World in Eagle Rock, but Book Village near Pasadena City College). I was still in the honeymoon stage where absolutely everything seemed awesome, and I was amassing a huge collection of OVAs and movies, and some scattered TV show episodes (it was nearly impossible to track down EVERY episode of a TV series at this point… remember, even Macross didn’t come out on home video, complete, until 1989). Anyway, one day one of my friends told me there was a new Macross, and I got really excited… until he told me it was only half an hour long. He hadn’t seen it himself, he was waiting to get a copy from HIS source, and then he would loan it to me. So we didn’t know yet that it was mostly a clip show. To me, 30 minutes REALLY didn’t seem long enough. Macross was a sprawling epic, and any follow-up needed to be at least as long as the original series.
A few weeks later, I saw it, and was initially disappointed, but thrilled at the same time. Everyone talks now about what a great send-off Flashback is, but at the time, I thought it was primarily a prelude to a new series that would eventually come.
And of course, it wasn’t.
2. The new animation at the beginning and the end is stunning, easily equal to anything from Do You Remember Love, and with new designs that never get used again. I especially love the pull back from the concert at the beginning and seeing the Macross, with crowds just hanging out on the outside of it, applauding Minmay’s performance… Now THOSE are nosebleed seats…
3. As for the music videos, they lean far more on Do You Remember Love than they do on the TV series, and who can blame them? The movie just looks better. But even in the new animation, all of the visual style comes from the movie, which, back in ’87, convinced me that the movie was “canonical” (later, of course, I’d learn that that term meant nothing in Macross).
Of the videos, “Zero-G Love” is probably my favorite, just because it’s so clever and fast-paced and downright funny. The weirdest one is definitely “Cinderella,” with its images of handcuffs and clown doll spinning on top of a record. Is that supposed to be somehow symbolic of Minmay…? If so, I don’t quite get it.
4. It’s also interesting that the version of “Love Drifts Away” here is a different recording than the one used in the series. I think it’s also slightly better, with its ironic use of military-sounding snare drums. The ending duet of “Runner” is also new, although it sounds awful when the two voices are blended together. Thankfully, the version released on “Macross the Complete” a few years later just has Minmay singing that part solo.
5. And then we get to the good stuff. The new scenes showing the Megaroad-01 taking off. Everyone loves the Megaroad and VF-4 designs, and the characters look great as well. There’s a bit of confusion about whether Minmay is on the ship or not, but every source on the subject agrees that she is.
The VF-4 is especially sought-after and enigmatic. Hell, it was ten years before we even saw what the gerwalk and battroid modes looked like. It was also the final toy made by Yamato for they went under, and the news that Arcadia is going to reissue it was met with joy.
So yeah, they take off. And we’ll never see them again.