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[In-depth Review] Macross Frontier

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So here it is, hopefully a detailed review on Macross Frontier.To begin with, I’m new to the Macross verse, so I’ll just review Frontier as a series on its own, without comparison or references to the other Macross series.

Story/Dev:75%
With that said, the story sure is rather simple, when compared to the other current mecha such as Eureka 7, Gundam series or maybe even Code Geass, but that’s what I like about it. Macross Frontier is pretty much the very definition of the good ol’ classic sci-fi flicks: aliens, star-trek-ish settings, travelling through space and different planets and such – the sort of sci-fi elements which I found that is not very common in current mecha anime. Indeed, Macross Frontier sure brings back the nostalgia of watching classic sci-fi.

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In addition to being new to the Macross verse, I’m also only a casual Gundam fan, not that well-versed in the Gundam verse, so I can’t make the judgment about originality.

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Characters/Dev: 60%
Now the characters on the other hand cause the downfall of the series. The characters’ development were rather shallow, particularly the protagonist. Personality wise, nobody in the cast left much impression in me. Rinka and Sheryl are just idols (singers, pop stars whatever you want to call them) which is ironic, because, on one end, that really are their positions in the plot, yet on the end, because of the way the story is done, I just see them as dolls on the stage, rather than proper characters with actual background other than their stage persona. Though I must admit that there is distinct character development in Sheryl, particularly in the later part.
However, one thing that caught my attention about Macross is how it handled its first episode. In general trend, Alto would be seen kicking ass despite being a newbie, but he didnt. He did save Ranka, the maiden in distress, but still need help fromt he SMK to really win the enemy. In short, more realistic without losing the drama.

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Frontier could have been much better if the series was longer (and maybe have more romance thrown in as well). The greatest pity however, goes to the protagonist himself. His personality was considerably stagnant throughout the series. He just lacks that “resolve”; his character simply lacked the impact to mark his presence as a protagonist.

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Animation/Graphics/Design: 90%
This is where Frontier drew in all its fans. One certainly cannot deny that the art quality is one of the finest. The explosions, the smoke, the CG for the mecha… …the quality is simply terrific! I particularly love the way the concert scenes were choreographed – fantastic music matched by all that bright colour foreground and the depth of black space background – truly brought out the essence and hypes of the concert. Throw in the innovative camera angels used: splendid I say, splendid! Though on another note, while the pitfall of Code Geass is that it has too much mecha, I’m lamenting on the fact that Frontier has somewhat too little mecha – but that’s just a minor issue.

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Music: 80%
I like the songs, particularly the duets between Sheryl and Ranka, especially the 3rd OP. However, I have to say that the BGM variety is rather limited: they were mostly recycling Ranka and Sheryl’s songs for the Themes and Inserts. Thankfully, I liked most of the songs so I’ll be lenient and not give a low score for this section. Nevertheless, it did give the impression that the production team placed all their efforts on the graphics, compromising on the BGMs. Or that they spent most of their budget on the animation.

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Summary:
Macross Frontier gave me the impression that it has more barks than bites. Sure, it’s got stunning visuals which are very catchy, appealing and all, but sadly, as mentioned it lacked characters to really make this series memorable. Fans of mecha genre needing a break from those with complex plots, and are looking for some classic good versus bad sci-fi, need not look further: Macross Frontier is worth the watch. Even if the characters were considerably forgettable, the superb visuals will more than make up for it.

Personal overall rating: 78%
A 7/10 bumped up to an 8 for the visuals and sounds.

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