SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS II – LOVERS AGAIN
EPISODE 6: SING ALONG
ICONIC SCENE: Huh… never seen it do THAT before…
STORY DATE: After the events of Episodes 1 through 5.
RELEASE DATE: November 21, 1992
1. Now THIS episode doesn’t look very good, especially after the previous one. It’s not Star Pro level bad, but it’s notably worse than the previous episodes.
2. Syvlie rescues Hibiki and they go to start the Macross up. I had no idea that it could fly with only two crewmembers on board, but as we’ll see, that’s not the most stunning of surprises it has in store for us.
3. After it lifts off, they prepare to fire the main cannon, and it unfolds in the oddest way, more like the old Takatoku toy than anything we’ve seen previously. I guess it’s not really a problem, but after seeing the original TV series and the movie, I’d like to think we knew what the Macross looks like in virtually every position, and the limits of its capabilities. I guess it could’ve been refitted with new weapons sometime in the last eighty years, but… why? It’s pretty clear it was never meant to go into battle again.
4. It’s a little weird when Hibiki and Sylvie go in for their kiss while Ishtar is spying on them. Plus, Ishtar seems to think they mostly kissed because the “power of the Alus” is love. That makes as much sense as anything I suppose, since there really isn’t any chemistry between Hibiki and Sylvie. I’m pretty sure the bridge crew from the original series didn’t start making out with each other, though…
Oh, and I got confirmation, via someone who worked on the English version of Macross II back in the day, that yes, the Ship of the Alus IS the Macross. As in, the ACTUAL Macross. Make of that what you will…
5. And then the Macross gets destroyed. This seems to bother a number of fans, but I’m okay with it. Overall, this is such a cautious and timid sequel that it seems amazing that they’d go that far. I’m more confused by the fact that the bridge survives, and can fly on its own as some kind of escape ship.
6. Ingues starts annihilating everyone and everything, and Ishtar, standing on the same stage on the bridge that Minmay was on, sings “Mou Ichido – Love You” and that works because of course it does.
7. So yes, Feff switches sides and joins the Unified Forces against Ingues, and it’s all stunningly obvious that we’re watching a retread of Do You Remember Love.
8. After that, it kind of turns into Roman Holiday again, at least in a way, in that Ishtar has to go back with her people, and Hibiki gives her the photos that he took of her. It’s nowhere near as tense and emotional and flat-out brilliant as the end of Roman Holiday, but it’s okay, I guess. Either way, Hibiki’s got Sylvie and Ishtar’s got Feff, so I guess that’s that.
9. Except, this isn’t QUITE the end. In a rather usual move (for Macross, at least), scriptwriter Sukehiro Tomita ended up writing five Macross II novels. The first two retell the series, and the next three tell a sequel of sorts, as Hibiki and Sylvie investigate a Chinese mafia group called “Black Panda” that is run by a man claiming to be Minmay’s grandson. I haven’t read these yet, but I plan to get around to them.
In the fifth book (published in late ’93), there’s an interesting afterward where Tomita says that the Macross II timeline is more-or-less getting scrapped in favor of Plus and Seven, and asks the readers to support those.
There’s also the US sequel, published by Viz, called “Macross II: The Micron Conspiracy.” I haven’t read that, either.
10. So yeah, an underwhelming finale to an underwhelming series. Again, it’s not bad, just kind of flat and lifeless. For this rewatch, I watched it in Japanese, where the voice cast is pretty good. Watching it in English would probably have given me a somewhat different impression. Maybe next time.
Anyway, as I hinted above, this managed to be the official Macross sequel for about a year and a half, but then was relegated to being an alternate universe sequel (or “parallel story,” as they put it) once Plus and Seven arrived on the scene. I can understand why Kawamori wouldn’t want to have to worry about trying to make sure the shows he was creating in ’94 would line up with this series which he for many years said he had never even seen.
However, an odd thing started happening later… while Macross Chronicle magazine (2008) has it in its own, “parallel story” timeline, the first issue of Macross Ace magazine (2009) places it in the same timeline as everything else. Then, in 2012, many of the thirtieth anniversary events also included it as happening in 2090, thirty-one years after Frontier. When the complete Macross-overview TV series “The Super Dimension Seminar” (frustratingly unavailable on DVD or BD), which was hosted by Sheryl, got to Macross II, Sheryl went “into the future” to discuss it, rather than into another universe. And finally, when we saw Kawamori give a talk at the “Macross the Museum” exhibit in Takarazuka, our friend Howard asked him point-blank about Macross II, and said that since virtually every Macross story (or VERSION of Macross story) was just as “canonical” as anything other one, of course Macross II was included along with everything else.
So there you have it. After being shunted off (and, in Japan at least, mostly forgotten about), it’s now back in the fold, just as much as anything else is. That doesn’t make any more (or less) watchable, though.