Anime / Macross

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/macross_2.jpg
And that's just what they look like before transforming.

The Macross franchise is a long running television series created by Shoji Kawamori with designs made by Kazutaka Miyatake and Haruhiko Mikimoto. The first show, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, first aired in 1982 under the Mainichi Broadcasting System. Since then, it has led to numerous sequels (both anime television series and OVAs), mangas and video games.

Anime
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross, the original series, set in 2009. It is regarded as a classic among mecha fans, depicting a war between humanity and giant militaristic aliens known as the Zentraedi.
    • Macross: Do You Remember Love?, a movie adaptation of the original series, with significant plot and design changes, yet is regarded just as highly (if not higher) than the series itself.
    • Macross: Flashback 2012, an extended music video for Minmay, which also acts as an epilogue to the series.
  • Macross Plus, a short OVA (and later movie) sequel set in 2040 (thirty years after the series), focusing on a contest between two prototype planes.
  • Macross 7, a full series sequel taking place on a colonization fleet in 2045, which encounters the enemy the Zentraedi were fighting before humanity. Something of a black sheep in the series due to being less serious in tone, with plot elements that push it toward Super Robot Genre. Fans usually either Love It or Hate It.
    • Macross Dynamite 7 (OAV), a short sequel to 7, taking place in 2047 and focusing on thwarting a group of poachers trying to hunt literal Space Whales.
  • Macross Zero (OAV), a prequel to the original series set in 2008, depicting the tail end of the UN Wars mentioned in the series backstory, and offering some more insight into the Protoculture and their contact with ancient humans.
  • Macross Frontier, a full series sequel set in 2059, nearly 50 years after the original series. It is also set on a colonization fleet, and depicts humanity's encounter, and clash, with a new alien race known as the Vajra. Something of a "modern retread" of the original series in many of its themes.
    • The False Songstress and The Wings of Goodbye are a pair of Compilation Movies for Frontier. As with the original series, the movies follow a different plotline and resolution.
    • Macross FB7 which acts as a sort of Crossover between Frontier and 7, while also acting as a Compilation Movie for the latter.
  • Macross Delta, the fourth full series, airing in the Spring of 2016. It takes place in 2067 (eight years after Frontier). It covers the exploits of the Walkure squadron, a group of Idol Singers whose songs can counteract a mysterious "disease" spreading around the colonies known as the Var Syndrome, which causes extreme aggression and violent outbursts in those it affects.
  • Macross II, an OVA and manga series that was made without the original creators' authorization, and has since been placed as an Alternate Continuity. The story takes place in 2090, nearly 80 years after the first series, and follows a news reporter as he gets caught up in a war against the Marduk, who use enslaved Zentraedi soldiers to fight for them.

Related Works

The general plot of each series concerns a conflict between humans and aliens, a battle waged using Transforming Mecha. In the middle of it all, The Power of Rock comes into play, as does the Power of Love. Thus forming the three main elements of Macross: Humongous Mecha, superpowered music and Love Triangles.

It is probably worth mentioning the Robotech series is often associated with Macross by Americans due to Robotech's initial (and most famous) arc being an altered version of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. However, Robotech is a separate franchise and is not considered part of the Macross franchise by any stretch.

The Macross franchise is the Trope Namer for:


Tropes applying to the franchise as a whole:

  • All There in the Manual: A good amount of background material covering the science and technology in each series as well as the events that take place in between them is revealed in the various editions of the official Macross Chronicle data books.
  • Artificial Gravity: It's how massive cities that look like normal cities on Earth can exist inside spaceships.
  • Background Magic Field: Fold Waves, a naturally existing energy wave in super dimension space that travels effectively Faster-Than-Light. This serves as the basis for the series main form of Faster-Than-Light Travel (folding into super dimension space). Additionally, the ability of certain people to generate this through song (Human Space-Time Resonance also known as Fold Receptor Factor) is used to explain the more mystical things added to the franchise such as Anima Spiritia from Macross 7 and the Mayan priestesses powers in Macross Zero.
  • Black Sheep: Either Macross 7, which was much lower-budget and more Super Robot-like than the rest of the franchise, or Macross Zero, which is far more character-focused and lacks an emphasis on J-Pop music, instead having tribal island hymns.
  • Broad Strokes: Macross tends to play fast-and-loose with canon. This started as early as the original series vs its movie adaptation Do You Remember Love?, which depict the same war but with vastly different events taking place. Macross Frontier and its movie adaptations similarly depict mutually exclusive sets of events coming to pass. Macross 7 tried to explain away Do You Remember Love? as an in-universe movie, thus rendering its progression of events fictional, but the Zentraedi keep their movie exclusive designs and ships, rather than the original series' look.
  • Cool Plane: When the series isn't showcasing Humongous Mecha, it's showing off incredible dogfights between futuristic fighter jets (which transform into the Humongous Mecha).
  • Deconstruction: The Macross TV series tend to take the popular anime and Idol Singer tropes on their day and deconstruct them.
    • Decon-Recon Switch: After deconstructing those tropes, the series will happily reconstruct them as the finale nears.
  • Human Aliens: Almost all intelligent species in the galaxy, humans included, look like the Protoculture. Justified as the Protoculture messing with everyone's evolution to make them look that way.
    • By later series, humans and Zentraedi have integrated so much culturally and genetically that it's hard to see the latter as "alien" anymore, especially once other Protoculture derived races appear that show even more physical differences.
    • The only known exceptions are the Vajra and possibly the Gyararashi (it isn't clear whether they have animal or human-level intelligence).
  • Enhanced Punch: The SDF-1 can focus its forcefield on its fist to give it a powerful punch into an enemy's hull, where it then unloads its missiles into the enemy. Later Macross and New Macross-class ships, as well as smaller mecha like the Macross Quarter and even later models of Variable Fighters, can also perform the same maneuver (except the VFs generally skip the missile part).
  • Inertial Dampening: Starting from Macross Frontier, most variable fighters now have something called the "Inertia Store Converter" that not only functions as this, but converts inertia into extra power.
    • Averted in earlier shows. The lack of this actually plays into the plot of Macross Plus.
  • Love Triangle: One omnipresent trope in the series is the love triangle: pretty much any Macross story is guaranteed to have this in some form or another. They usually avoid becoming a Romantic Plot Tumor, as equally as much attention is paid to the characters' relationships as is paid to the overall space opera.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo:
    • Due to this tropes, the series uses the term "Reaction Weapons" instead. Word of God is that these are actually anti-matter pair annihilation weapons that are, ironically, more destructive than nuclear weapons. When this was pointed out to Shoji Kawamori, he simply stated that "Nobody's protesting about anti-matter weapons".
    • Dynamite 7 actually shows the use of an honest to goodness nuclear weapon, but it's okay since it's the bad guys using it. Macross Zero also features missiles that are explicitly identified as nuclear, and while they are used by the good guys their use is not treated as a good thing.
    • Later series seem to have traded out Reaction Weapons in favor of Fold Weapons as the fictional WMD of choice. Fold Weapons are even more destructive than antimatter bombs, given that they operate by distorting space-time and are capable of planetary-level destruction.
  • The Power of Rock: The other ubiquitous trope in the franchise is music and singers playing a major role in the central conflict. It isn't always rock music, but that gets used a lot since it tends to go very well with incredible aerospace battles.
  • Real Robot Genre: It straddles the line between Super Robot and Real Robot. There are a number of fantastic plot elements but the technology and pseudo-science is mostly internally consistent, even if it resorts to Hand Wave on occasion. Yes, this includes Macross 7, Super Robot-y as it is, the ideas it introduced to the series are picked up and used (in a more subdued manner) by later stories.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Exactly what happened to the Megaroad 01, and with it, the original series cast? Thirty real-life years later and nearly fifty in-universe years later, and all anyone knows is that it disappeared without a trace a few years after its launch. No Macross series has touched that plot thread since its introduction.
  • Shown Their Work: Shoji Kawamori was an engineering student and, according to some sources, graduated with a degree in aircraft engineering. The result is that most Macross variable fighter designs have very plausible looking fighter modes compared to most Transforming Mecha.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Oddly, its American adaptation, Robotech, became this as their timelines progressed. In Macross, the Zentradi become more like humanity, while in Robotech, thanks to repeated invasions, humanity is becoming a warrior race like the Zentradi.
  • Transforming Mecha: It was among the first Real Robot series to feature transforming mecha, and the Macross itself was, at the time, the largest transforming mecha that had ever been seen (over ten times larger than the next contender).
    • The popularity of the original's toyline (helped by the fact that Shoji Kawamori helped Takatoku make an actual transforming Valkyrie toy) may have helped popularize this trope, seeing as Takara made their Diaclone line in response to this, that later became the basis for the Transformers.
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