The Macross series stands as one of animes longest lasting and most beloved series. Its standard hallmarks are epic space battles, acrobatic dogfights, transforming Valkyries, love triangles, and the power of song. So, how do you rank the Macross series? Here’s my list
1) Macross: This is the original story and it remains one of the classic anime stories of all time. Everything about this show was epic. The designs for the SDF-1 and the original Valkyries are one of the most recognized and loved mecha designs in the world. The love triangle between Hikaru, Misa, and Minmay is one of the great anime love triangles. There are so many great and shocking moments on this show: the rain of death, Roy’s tragic death, Kakizaki’s sudden pointless death, the first appearance of a Zentradi, the Zentradi’s reaction to a kiss, and of course, the epic duel between Max and Milia. This series had it all and remains the classic foundation for all that follows.
2) Macross Frontier: Quite simply, this show is a celebration of nearly every great idea that ever happened in the Macross series. I loved the SMS. Ozma and his mercenary fighters were simply badass! I especially loved Mikhail’s sniping ability with his Valkyrie and Bobby’s extreme piloting of the battleship, Quarter. This series also benefits from having one hell of a good villain, which I will not spoil here. Let’s just say that someone is using the Vajra for their own nefarious scheme, and it’s a doozy of a scheme. We’re talking galactic domination here. The show returns to its J-Pop roots with catchy tunes from not one, but two idol singers vying for the affections of the main hero, Alto. There are nods galore to all the previous series. The only real faults I find with the series are that Alto is a boring main hero, the rivalry between Brera and Alto wasn’t really much of one, and the over reliance on fan service at times.
3) Macross 7: Here it is: the polarizing sequel of the franchise. Fans either love or hate this series with a passion and it all comes down to one question: Did you like Basara Nekki? If you do, Macross 7 is one of the most entertaining series you’ll ever watch. If not, this series is an eyesore. No other sequel depends so much on its main character as Macross 7. I fall in the camp that loved Basara. I loved his music, his attitude, his philosophy, his red VF-19, and everything about him. This series also had a great supporting cast. Mylene, Ray, Veffidas, Gamlin were great new additions to the Macross universe, and the best part is that we got to see more of Max and Milia Jenius. And Max gets to prove once and for all that he is the best pilot in the Macross universe with one hell of a flying stunt at the end of the series. The series does suffer from a slow start though as the writers set up everything, but once you get to the point where Lord Geppernich starts getting devious, this series really gets fun. Lord Geppernich is one of Macross’ great villains. He sets a number of clever traps for fleet 7. Also, I really, really love the music of Fire Bomber. Imho, Macross 7 had the best music of all the Macross series.
4) Macross Plus: Oh what an enjoyable side story this is. This small OVA had one of the best rivalries in all of Macross: that between the cocky Izamu Dyson and Guld Goa Bowman. Also, since this was a small, four episode OVA, the production team went all out on animation and music. This is one of the most beautifully animated Macross series out there, and they melded that beautifully with Yokko Kano’s unique style of music. Overall, it was a visual and musical treat and it would be the best Macross sequel if that is all you focused on. Once you get past all the gorgeous animation and catchy music though, it’s hard not to notice that the story is rather lackluster, from Myung’s nearly constant whining to the ultra-convoluted plot of Sharon Apple to give Izamu his greatest desire.
5) Macross II: the only Macross series not involving Studio Nue and thus it is not part of the actual Macross continuity, for which most fans are please about. One of the things that fans hated was that the story’s main hero, Hibiki Kanzaki, was a journalist. I actually liked this about Hibiki. His character made sense. He underwent one of the franchise’s best growth spurts, going from ratings driven media whore to growing up to becoming an actual true journalist seeking the truth (as rare in the Macross universe as our own world). It’s a fascinating journey to watch. The series does suffer from having too many similarities to the original story. It basically is Macross retold with a twist, the enemy has been brainwashing their Zentradi with song, so the Minmay attack doesn’t work. Despite this, it’s one of the better Macross stories and one I continue to enjoy to this day.
6) Macross Zero: This is the one misstep of the franchise, imho. Yes, Macross series should be serious, and introduce wild ideas, but this one overdosed on both. There is a big case of WTF opened with a small island legend becoming a real alien super weapon. It’s also supposed to be the big unveiling of the UN forces unique fighter, the VF-0, only to find that the anti-UN forces also have variable fighters of their own. Huh? How did they even come up with those without access to the alien tech on the Macross? This is one time that the visual spectacle of variable fighter dogfights could not draw away from a bad story.