The latest entry in the popular Super Dimension Fortress Macross franchise, which concluded Japanese airing on September 24, 2008. The series began airing during Macross' 25th anniversary and has proven immensely popular (its Blu-Ray release was the single best selling HD release in the entire Japanese marketplace in 2008, and one of its soundtracks sold as many in its first week as an Evangelion soundtrack - a decade-old record). (1)(2) It even spawned two movies (see below).The story is set in 2059 aboard (and in the space surrounding) the titular Macross Frontier, one of the many colonization fleets heading from Earth towards the centre of the galaxy in search of a new home to settle. However, Frontier's mission is suddenly disrupted when it comes under attack from a bug-like alien race known as the "Vajra".There are three main characters: Alto Saotome, an ex-kabuki actor turned sky-pilot who feels oppressed by the domed skies of Macross Frontier but also an obligation to protect them; Ranka Lee, a spunky young girl with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder and a dream of becoming an Idol Singer; and Sheryl Nome, a popular and headstrong Idol Singer from the neighbouring Macross Galaxy fleet who is known as "The Galactic Fairy".The stories of these three intertwine amist the Vajra attacks on the Macross Frontier, slowly revealing dark conspiracies that seem destined to determine which direction mankind will move forward into the stars.This clip features a great many visual examples of several of the tropes listed below. Note that this is merely part of one of the less intense battles of the series...A movie version was announced at the airing of the last episode of the series. It was initially expected that it would largely be a clip show of the series with some new scenes, similar to Macross Plus, but as the project developed it eventually became more of an Alternate Continuity retelling that was split into two movies. The first, The False Songstress, was released in November 2009 and covers the range of episodes 1-7 in the series, including numerous new and altered scenes as well as several new songs. Some scenes were altered quite drastically. For instance, Sheryl Nome's fall during her first concert in episode one was caused by Alto accidentally knocking her off during a stunt, while in The Movie she jumps off the stage by her own free will. The second movie, The Wings of Goodbye, was released on February 26, 2011. It resolves the Love Triangle that has hounded the show since the first episode.Oh, and they also made the battles even more awesome.With the release of the TV series, several PSP and PS3 games were released consisting of Ace, Ultimate and Triangle Frontier. Trial and Last Frontier were bundled with the two movies when they released to the public, and an upcoming stand-alone PS3 crossover game (done in the style of the PSP games), Macross 30: The Voice that Connects the Galaxy is scheduled for release in 2013. A few mangas/light novels/drama CDs were also released, contributing to the storyline of the show.The crossover movie, Macross FB7: Listen to My Song! premiered last October 20, 2012, set in the middle of the TV series.Please contribute to the Character Sheet!Note: Refrain from calling Word Of God in this article unless you can provide confirmation, as a number of "interviews" were actually fakes orchestrated by a then respected person in the Macross Community. More information can be found here and here For a general overview of the fake interviews go on the Trivia page.
All There in the Manual: Following normal Macross procedure most of the extra information can be found in the supplemental materials, like novels, manga and Drama CDs which include extra information such as what happened to Sheryl's parents, and when Alto started to taking flying lessons, also everything about Grace.
Alternate Continuity: Happened when the series made the jump to theatrical movies and retold the story of the series.
Arc Number: 25. The series celebrates the 25th anniversary of the franchise. Therefore, there are 25 episodes, the setting is the 25th Migration Fleet, the heroes pilot the VF-25, Ranka is one-fourth alien (25 percent) and the Macross-class ship is called the Quarter (also 25 percent); it also aired at 1:25 AM (or 25:25 as it appeared on Japanese TV clocks).
Played straight in episode 1 and 2, when Ranka (and a good part of Island One) is threatened by the first of the series' signature Big Creepy Crawlies.
Subverted with glee in episode 5 as we find out that sections of the Frontier are designed so that the Zentradi population can live as normal people... while macronized. Highlights include Zentradi-run farms and macronized Klan hanging out with Alto and Sheryl... and in order to be at eye level with Klan, the other two have to sit on a third-story balcony.
It's played straight in Episode 21, when a macronized Klan dons a VF's FAST packs like an oversized EX-Gear and starts fighting Vajra.
Bedsheet Ladder: Alto uses the one in episode 12 to escape rogue Zentradi custody.
Bee People: The Vajra fit this very well. However, while they do have a queen, it oversees the operation of their collective consciousness shared by each, as opposed to controlling them like mindless drones. When Grace hijacks the Queen at the climax of the story, she opts for the "control like mindless drones" option.
Bishōnen: Alto and Mikhail, but especially Alto, lampshaded by Alto's nickname "Princess".
Bishie Sparkle: Mikhail gets one of these during his introduction in Macross Frontier while flirting with some girls. Alto uses them a few minutes later when meeting Ranka.
Actually, what appears to be a Bishie Sparkle for Alto is just him shaking water out of his hair. The effect remains the same, however.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: Possibly a subversion, as this occurs on Klan of all people, and only when she's micronized and four and a half feet tall.
Bilingual Bonus: Nearly everything written down in the show is written in English (despite the fact that the franchise is eternally locked in No Export for You past Macross Plus), though it's, of course, Japanese in dialog. Sheryl's mirror message to Grace in Episode 2 is written in French. One or two lines are actually in English.
Bittersweet Ending: Movie-verse only. Alto is dead/missing, Sheryl is in comatose, and Ranka lost the love triangle. Not exactly a happy ending here. Also not everyone lives this time around. But at least the Love Triangleended, and this time Klan and Mikhail got to be together.
It's less bittersweet if you read Kawamori's latest interview in Animedia. Word Of God seemed both amused and surprised that people's sadder (and inaccurate) interpretations when he assumed he was "obvious". He confirmed that Alto is alive and Sheryl awoke from the coma at the end of the movie. There was a hint of the characters outcome in the credits... We can "imagine" the rest.
Body Backup Drive: Grace, who was killed by the dimension eater in ep. 13, and gunned down by Leon's troops in ep. 21 - she showed up alive, well, and fondling her own boobs by the end of the episode. Of course, she's transhuman, backed up all over the place, can download into multiple bodies, and is shown onscreen to be just the front consciousness for an entire conspiracy riding along in her body.
Body Horror: the Vajra bits infected Ranka in utero. In a gigantic fake-out, they turn out to be quite nice as they are considered antibodies. They even heal Sheryl's more traditional version.
Boobs of Steel: At full size, Klan is significantly better endowed than the other Zentradi members of SMS. Guess who the ace is?
Also played with a bit, as when Klan micronizes, she's not only unusually small in stature, but in the chest department, too, being the only girl flatter than Ranka.
Boom, Headshot: Inverted. Headshots don't kill Vajra, center of mass shots do.
Dramatic rescuing of women by catching them as they fall through the air.
Sheryl tries to disguise herself in public by putting on a big pair of oversized sunglasses. Her outfit also includes a number of elements, such as a big beret, that were worn by Minmei at one point or another.
Ozma is a fan of Fire Bomber and thus names a formation "Totsugeki Love Heart", and the episode focused on him uses Fire Bomber music.
The useage of pineapple-based food to suggest death. Key word being "suggest," heh heh heh.
In the movie, formation MMJenius for Michel and K.K.
In the movie, the Macross Quarter does a pinpoint barrier punch followed by destroids filling up the enemy mothership with ordnance from the inside.
K.K. uses Mylene Jenius' bass while the drums are manned by the strongest woman of the team. Michel dresses up as Basara.
Formation Big Wednesday is similar to Isamu Dyson's plan to break through Earth's defense grid.
Alto folding out with the Vajra Queen is similar to the ending of Macross Zero
Macross Frontier does enjoy playing with its tropes, however, so of course it's the Camp Gay who has a tendency to go from fruity to BURNING RIGHTEOUS FURY at the drop of a hat, to the shock of anyone not familiar with him (and the terror of the object of his ire).
Canon Immigrant: The VB-6 König Monster first appeared in the Playstation game Macross Digital Mision VF-X. Macross Frontier is the first animated Macross series in which it has appeared - see above link for it in action. Fan theory holds that it got in due to its awesome, gigantic toy.
Macross VF-X2 PS1 Game protagonist Aegis Focker appears in the Macross Frontier Light Novel as a Colonel.
Also Macross 13 Earth defense fleet commanded by Lt. Gen. Kim Kabirov in the Macross Frontier novelization's depiction of the battle over Earth.
Macross 11, only mentioned in Macross Dynamite 7 and Macross English Anticipation manga, also appears.
Alto catches another falling star in a more traditional manner in episodes 1 and 8.
The Non-Serial Movie does this a lot. Sheryl even invokes the trope by intentionally jumping off the stage in this version, but she has a backup plan in case he fails.
Chekhov's Gun: Hung aroung the walls in bunches. And still counting.
With Chekhov's BFG being Sheryl's earrings, a small token of The Lady's Favour that ultimately ends up saving Alto and prove crucial to saving the fleet because they're made of Fold Quartz. Doubly so given the earrings are in Macross Zero.
Cherry Tapping: Ozma's Crowning Moment of Awesome in Episode 17 is this, as he uses the VF-25's combat knife and head lasers to kill a Large-type Vajra. Though it wasn't entirely by choice, since the Vajra had become immune to nukes, missiles and guns.
Child Soldiers: Several of them in SMS. If we're taking by the under 18 thing, then they'd consist of Alto, Mikhail and Luca. Out of the three, Luca's the youngest SMS contractor as 15 with Alto and Mikhail at 17.
Chromatic Arrangement: Alto is blue, Sheryl is red, Ranka is green. Goes even for their hair mostly. Although Sheryl's strawberry-blond somewhat deviates, some of it still shows as pink, which is an acceptable substitute for red.
Maj. Ohgotwai, the Zentradi commander in ep. 12, looks nearly identical to Breetai Kridanik and stands on a bridge with the same design with a shorter, slightly deformed advisor. Tehmzin, the rebel leader, is also suspiciously similar to Kwamzin Kravshera. This might be justified by the free use of cloning among Zentradi, who could just use the same genetic pattern, though.
Frontier also continues the running gag of all Zentraedi being raging otaku, most notably the owner of the SMS, an otaku obsessed with model trains and lost pop star Lynn Minmei
Ozma is a devoted fan of the ''Fire Bomber''. Also, Sheryl likes to quote Basara's Catch Phrase "Listen to my song!" when she gets into serious Idol Singer mode. Bobby refers to Basara as "Basara-sama."
She modifies it using the more appropriate "atashi" than Basara's "ore," though.
It doesn't end there in the manga it is explained that Alto's father knew Isamu in the past
When Luca unleashes his Ghost AIF-7S's against Grace's Ghost V-9's, he calls them something along the lines of "the terror of Macross City."
The series aired on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Let's see now... Frontier is the 25th colonization fleet Earth sent out, Ranka is one-quarter Zentradi (1/4 = 25%), we have Macross Quarter (same as before), the series has 25 episodes, it aired at 1:25 AM on Friday (25:25 Thursday, according to how the Japanese write their TV guides), the main Mecha in the series is the VF-25 Messiah... the writers really went to town with the anniversary Shout Outs.
The Macross Attack is the Daedalus Attack/Maneuver with less dakka.
Blink and you'll miss this one: when Leon is talking to an unknown informant in the Macross Zero movie shooting episode, the Hydra is said to have come from a certain planet called Eden.
According to Kawamori, the VF-25's reporting name, "Messiah", comes from Minmei's song "Little White Dragon".
In the Movie, Klan and Mikhail use the "MM Jenius" formation.
The hand gestures used to remote-control the VFs are based on the ones Isamu used to visualize his flight in Macross Plus.
Speaking of Macross Plus, in the Wings of Goodbye film, there is a brief cameo of a VF-19 joining the final battle, with its pilot heavily implied to be none other than the infamous Isamu Dyson himself.
Ranka works for the "Nyan-Nyan" noodle shop. The original, of course, was owned by Lynn Minmay's aunt and uncle, and was a frequent hangout of the cast of the original series..
In one episode, Ozma tells the others to use the formation Planet Dance.
Cool Car: Sheryl Nome's Ferrari California in Nyan Cli. It's a stick. As well as Ozma's Lancia Delta.
It's painfully played straight in one of the drama CDs. Grace delves into her time with Sheryl in one, and admits that after ten years of spending time with Sheryl, she's started to care for her and feels that these feelings may get in the way of her mission. She rewrites her own personality to delete them.
Alto also has a bit of one with his father and his former Kabuki career. Its more apparent in the movies when he talks about it with Ranka, where its a borderline Nightmare Fuel story of a Loss of Identity that verged on Critical Existence Failure.
Dark Reprise: Aimo O.C. and Ai Oboete Imasuka ~bless the little queen~. The former changes the lyrics to absolutely gut-wrenching effect. In the latter, the lyrics are hardly changed at all; the impact is all in how and where it's used.
Deconstruction: Most Macross shows contain at least one time-relevant deconstruction, and for MacF that was Klan Klan, who is, on the whole, an absolutely vicious taking-apart of the Moe Moe archetype, at times almost to the point of being mean-spirited. Episode 17 also blasts apart overly foreshadowed character deaths that especially use cooking metaphors, which ironically SDF Macross had made popular two decades prior. Of course, in episode 20 it then applies the other half of this trope with the absolutely shocking and heartbreaking death of Micheal Blanc.
Arguably, Ranka herself is a pretty fierce deconstruction of Moe, this may or may not come from the fact that even though Ranka was created to appeal to certaincrowd,said crowd ended up being the fans that disliked her the most. They would claim that despite her many "Moe points", she still royally screws up in the last few episodes.
Did They or Didn't They? After episode 22 many shippers practically ripped their hair out trying to figure out Whether or not Alto and Sheryl had sex. They did.
In the light novels to the AU movie that is clear. As far as the TV Series goes that was left to 'viewer interpretation'.
Correction: There are two versions of the light novels. The original 4 volumes were dedicated to the TV series, and it was revealed clearly to the readers that the deed was done. Then there are 2 more books for movies. There is also no such thing as Macross AU except Macross II. Per an interview with Kawamori in Chaos Anime Taizen published in 2009, he stated that any given Macross TV series do not hold a higher canon status over subsequent movies, and both consist the interpretation of events occurred within a timeline.
Do Not Go Gentle: The opportunity to help save the fleet comes to Sheryl, because her V-type infection has entered the terminal stage, which gives her the side effect of being able to affect the Vajra with her song.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mikhail's training regimen in episode 4; a mild subversion in that Alto and Mikhail are friends otherwise, and it isn't so much that Alto needs training as it is that he needs a bit of a humility lesson.
Ending Spoilers (Movies): Esoteric Happy Ending, Potentially: Story goes that the fandom had quite an outcry at the ending to the second movie, which left Alto apparently dead, Sheryl in a coma, and the ending bit is pretty much Ranka being ever the optimist and saying she's sure Sheryl will wake up when Alto is back, and she's sure he'll be back. Everyone cried. An interview with Kawamori not long after basically said "Dudes, Alto didn't die, and Sheryl woke up. Where did you get these crazy notions?" He also once said he thought Sad Endings stuck with people more, so YMMV.
This is also the same Shoji Kawamori that may have had Hikaru, Misa and Minmay sucked into a black hole in the manual to Macross M3 just so he could get fans to stop asking if they would ever appear in another Macross production, so, yeah.
Ending Spoilers: Everybody Lives: The end of episode 24 hints strongly at Kill Them All, but then the last episode plays out and in the end none of the good guy cast ends up dying. Even the terminally Ill Girl is suddenly cured.
Falling into the Cockpit: Deconstructed; here it's a bit more like a willing leap, and it's because Alto was in the area that the VF-25's pilot got killed in the first place. Also, he's hardly inexperienced; he's been training to fly for a couple of years and is second in his class after Michel, so he did have a pretty good idea of what he was doing; Ozma and Michel even note that he's pretty good for somebody who just jumped into the cockpit. Afterwards, when he was brought to the SMS base to explain what happened that led to Gilliam's death and he demanded to be given a Valkyrie when a scramble order was issued, Ozma socked him in the face and had him thrown out; it's only afterwards that Ozma offers him a chance to prove himself, and that involves Training from Hell and having to go toe-to-toe with one of SMS' best pilots before he is considered for pilot duty.
First Girl After All: In the movies, Ranka is introduced as a friend of Alto's from the start, and Sheryl the outsider. Turns out Sheryl met Alto years before when they were kids with Sheryl fangirling over him and bringing him flowers. Sheryl apparently remembered this all along, but Alto doesn't realize Sheryl was that fangirl until the end of the second movie.
First Girl Wins: Sheryl Nome. In the Movies one of the girls met Alto several years earlier while Alto was doing Kabuki. She gave him flowers.
Fluffy the Terrible: A mechanical exemple in the codename of the SMS' own Konig Monster (a mecha that whose basic ordnance is antimatter warheads, and is otherwise so powerful to be considered a weapon of mass destruction), Rabbit-1.
Freudian Slip: Alto makes one in Episode 22. He mistakes Sheryl for his mother. Guess what happens next...
Funny Afro: Averted, because nobody talks about Bobby's hair.
Future Slang: At the time of first contact, "Deculture" was a Zentradi expletive used to express shock and awe, but is now being used as a slang term with more positive attributes.
Gainaxing: Ranka's classmate Nanase, Sheryl, various Miss Macross contestants, and Klan Klan. Oh my GOD Klan Klan.
There is a unique version of this early in Episode 1 with a close up of Sheryl's cleavage as artificial gravity gradually changes from zero-G to 0.75-G.
Genre Savvy: Michel/Mikhail Blanc certainly seems to be - his comments to Cathy in Episode 17 about how tragic it would've been if Ozma had really died point to this. Perhaps that's why he avoided confessing to Klan Klan until Episode 20: it resulted in Going Down with the Ship and he invoked four or five death tropes as he expired.
Alto also shows some of this, telling a fellow pilot about the "Valkyrie pilot's curse" that teasing a pilot about his girlfriend will result in getting shot down, a reference to Kakizaki's death in the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross.
Glamorous Wartime Singer: Sheryl does some war recruitment advertisements/propaganda and dedicates some of her songs at concerts to the troops. Then in episode 20 she has her Music for Courage scene, and in episode 22, the aftermath of that attack, she throws a concert for charity. Sheryl goes to do this more traditionally to a Marine Regiment, but when she faints from illness, Ranka has to come in to sing instead, successfully causing Nose Bleed.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Vajra get this in the first episode to show they mean business, and other Vajra ended up getting these too in Episode 20, as the Frontier-born green Vajra go on a murderous rampage through the ship. Even Ai-kun gets them in Episode 23, and kidnaps Ranka shortly thereafter despite her asking him to tell the Vajra they mean no harm.
Gory Discretion Shot: Often used when the Vajra squish/vivisect/otherwise end human lives. Mildly subverted when the Vajra run amok in Island 1, where you get the usual blood-only scene: the next is of the man's blood dripping onto an innocent bystander below, who looks up just to see the man's torso hurled over the edge, as seen here◊.
Graceful Loser: Appropriately enough, Grace O'Connor — after having thrown everything including the kitchen sink at the heroes, she gets to stare down the barrel of a VF-25's sniper pod long enough to realize what's coming next, and simply gives a resigned sigh of defeat.
Gratuitous English: Everywhere, usually on printed documents and signs, most of which are printed in English. Some spoken English as well.
A hilarious example is when Leon looks over some background papers, one of a random nobody, and one of Ranka Lee. Ranka's is brutally engrished as if someone had written it in Japanese and then used Google Translate for expediency and cost, while the other guy's is a copy and pasted perfect English Shout Out to jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie.
Groupie Brigade: Sheryl has one, and she often conceals her identity in public early on.
Half-Human Hybrid: Ranka is one-quarter Zentradi, and Mikhail's ears are more than a bit suspicious; also, thinking about how humanity was almost wiped out in the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross, about sixty years before the start of the series, and at how many people there are currently in the series' universe — two planets and 25+ colonization fleets — it's likely that most of Frontier's population has at least a small part of Zentradi blood.
Heel Face Turn: Brera in episode 25. Justified the little device on his head that allows remote control of him breaks.
Heroic Resolve: Shown by multiple characters in the series, best exemplified by Alto, Sheryl and Ranka in the 2nd movie when faced with annihilation by a merger Battle Frontier and Vajra Queen.
Alto: "With the fire in my heart, I'll deliver your song."
Sheryl and Ranka: "Alto!"
Alto: "That's my dance in the sky."
Ranka: "Wind to your wings!"
Sheryl:"Song to the Galaxy."
Sheryl get's another on earlier in the movie where when questioned by Alto on the safety of singing while she's already weak and dying, she declares that "Don't you get it, if I die, it should be on stage!".
Heroic Sacrifice:Go with God in all the dark places you may walk, Michael Blanc. Klan will not forget your sacrifice.
Hive Mind: Each Vajra hive is effectively a single being composed of uncounted thousands or millions of drones and a Hive Queen. Grace O'Connor's eventual plan is to turn humanity into one of these, by taking them over using the Vajra as soldiers, then instituting mandatory cybernetics implantation, with herself at the top. The Galaxy conspiracy she is a member of appears to be one already.
Also, unlike most Hive Minds, they are more akin to true insects in that they actually do have individual minds, but are in constant communication with each other and the Queen. As a result, they don't really get individuality.
I Am Who?: A recurring internal conflict between Alto, Sheryl and Ranka.
I Didn't Mean To Turn You On: If being stuffed in a cramped locker with Sheryl weren't already enough, Alto's cellphone has the misfortune of going off while his hip is wedged right between her thighs...and it's on vibrate.
Infinite Supplies: Averted and explained - the Frontier fleet seems to reside near substantial asteroid belts for raw building material, multiple Islands are devoted largely to agriculture, the closed biosystems of the Islands assists in air reclamation, and we are even shown that the dead are broken down and recycled for various purposes. Later on, major hull breaches on the islands that can't be patched immediately are shown to have fairly dire consequences in terms of water supply and air quality.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alto and Michel/Mikhail/Michael/how-the-hell-EVER you want to spell his name both play this trope fairly straight, respectively demonstrating the Angsty Pretty Boy and Too-Cool Ladies' Man variants.
The Lady's Favour: Sheryl does this twice to Alto, the first when he and the SMS soldiers were sent to aid the attacked Macross Galaxy Fleet and the second before the Final Battleagainst the REAL Galaxy Fleet and the mind-controlled Vajra horde.
Lampshade Hanging: Noted above but there's a lot of shades in this show. There's Alto and his "Princess" callsign/nickname, and there's also a conversation between Klan and Mikhail in which Mikhail points out "If we ever became romantically involved, I'd probably be arrested for pedophilia.", which netted him a very literal Armor-Piercing Slap, as Klan slapped the head of his Battroid so hard he got bashed around in the cockpit. Even later on, Ozma nearly gets killed in the exact same way as Roy Focker once did, and the camera then cuts to the hospital with Michael mentioning that it'd be tragic if Ozma had actually died.
Later on, Alto one of Alto's wingman gives him some light-hearted grief over Sheryl being his girlfriend. His other wingman reminds him of the Valkyrie Pilots' Curse: trashtalking about your bro's girlfriend gets you killed. Sure enough, it happens.
Like You Were Dying: Sheryl lives out her last days as if she had won the Love Triangle. Alto either plays along out of sympathy or she really did win his heart, depending on your interpretation (or which ship you support).
Limited Wardrobe: Many of the characters are never seen out of their school uniforms unless they're meant to suit up for battle (or the beach/pool).
Loss Of Self: This is Alto's whole backstory. His coping with who he is is his personal plot line, and probably significantly contributed to his lack of decisiveness on a certain other matter.
Love Hurts: When Ranka sees Alto and Sheryl holding each other somewhat intimately, it absolutely breaks her heart (made more painful by the fact that she was about to confess her love to him). These emotions inadvertently end up calling the Vajra.
Lyrical Dissonance: The first opening, Triangular. Sounds upbeat and happy, but in reality it's about a girl who's being tortured by her lover's indecisiveness and throws herself at him in an attempt to not feel desperately lonely.
Mad Scientist: Grace, naturally. She has at least two papers in the (Cosmo) Nature, which already sets her higher than most (if the Nature would keep its reputation in the next half century, as it does so for at least last century and half), and certainly fits other requirements, at least about proper megalomania.
Mauve Shirt: Alto gets a couple new wingmen in Episode 23, one a fanboy of Sheryl Nome complete with Nose Art of her on his plane. They get killed by V-9 Ghosts in the last episode.
The "Kira~" gesture, coupled with memetic mutation.
The Nyan Nyan dance goes along with the Nyan Nyan song.
Sheryl's pose in the Diamond Crevasse single cover is something of a lesser meme, with an Affectionate Parody on a Lucky Star album. Also popular with Sheryl cosplay.
Memetic Bad Ass: Machida, the only NUNS pilot that knows what "Transformation!" means. He's on screen for maybe 30 seconds in a single episode (in which he is Bad Ass), and we never see his face (though he does get a Bad Ass Boast and a Isamu Punch), but his memorable moment transcends space and time like Chuck Norris such that anyRed Shirt extra piloting a vehicle who does something Bad Ass was clearly Machida.
Mid-Season Upgrade: Subverted by Alto and Luca DOWNGRADING from the VF-25 to a VF-171 variant, the VF-171EX. It actually still ends up being a badass plane objectively, but even Alto complains that it's a jalopy.
But from the perspective of the NUNS pilots...played straight, as the basic VF-171 had become useless against the Vajra.
Non-Serial Movie: Two of them, in fact. Unable to fit everything into a single movie, we get The False Songstress and The Wings of Goodbye set in an Alternate Continuity where things happen very differently.
Nose Art: A fair bit, and if you count the extra merchandise or the VF air show clip you get a fair dose of Type 3. Notable examples:
The Koenig Monster gets pinup girls, namely the show's Idol Singers. Ranka in the series, and Sheryl in the movies.
Ozma's VF-25 has the traditional skull of Skull Squadron painted on his Valkyrie (and his car).
Alto's Mauve Shirt wingman he acquires in Episode 23 is a huge Sheryl Nome fanboy, and has her painted on his VF-171EX.
The VF Air Show has a full dose of Type 3, with two Valkyries featuring full body paint jobs, one of Ranka and one of Sheryl (merchandising does this in several other versions as well for the inevitable scale model Vakyries).
Jossed, eh, Graced. In episode 15 she comments that Frontier is quite alone with such restrictions, and was selected by her because of that.
Nuke 'Em: As the series progresses, nukes are the only thing able to hurt the Vajra.
Oblivious Adoption: Maybe— Ozma isn't Ranka's real brother, but it's unknown if Ranka knows this.
Given Ranka's past, which includes her real family being wiped out with the rest of the 117th Deep Exploration fleet, and the resulting Trauma Induced Amnesia that has taken all memories of her childhood, this appears to be a given.
By Episode 23, she's getting a clue that Brera may really be her brother, as she's remembered that Ozma wasn't her 'real' big brother as she's recovering memories from her childhood.
Old-School Dogfight: While clearly very aware of space and its properties in a lot of the technical specifications (such as Super Packs, designed for space and generally useless in an atmosphere due to all the drag it adds), visually it still looks like this as they're Doing It for the Art.
The only fighters that everbehave as if they're really in space are the Ghost V-9s and occasionally Brera's VF-27 Lucifer, both of which generally kicks everyone else's ass. The increased maneuvering is explained as being able to tolerate higher G-Forces. The Ghost V-9s especially, as they don't even look like they have mass let alone suffer from atmospheric friction, leading to some interesting theories as to why that is.
Weirdly enough, Episode 13 appears to actually invert the trope. Brera's VF-27 dodges Alto's gun burst sideways in an atmosphere.
Our Weapons Will Be Boxy In The Future: Partially. Standard assault rifles and handguns look much like they do today, but the heavier rifles carried by EX-Gear-equipped troopers play this trope straight.
Her opening number in the second movie, "Forbidden Elixir" is loaded with enough suggestive lyrics and imagery to more than give Universal Bunny some stiff competition. Not least of which includes Sheryl practically being ravished by a gender-swapped version of herself.
Point Defenseless: Sometimes played straight, at other times averted. In Episode 7, a Vajra Carrier unleashes HUGE amounts of More Dakka, to the point where everyone says making a fighter run on it is suicide. Alto attempts it anyway to save Luca, and succeeds, though he ends up having to ditch his FAST pack and gets half a wing shot off in the process. Later played pretty well straight as Battle Galaxy never even puts a shot in Alto's direction as he boards it, rescues a hostage, and escapes UNTOUCHED, and later Grace spams judicious amounts of bullets and missiles in Alto's direction and never gives him a scratch. Heck, her guns are even outright SHOWN to be spammed across a multiple kilometer radius like her gunnery training came from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
Subverted and played straight, with the Macross fleet. Ordinary escort ships can be seen shooting down the smaller yellow Vajra drones, but are completely ineffective against the red leader types. Macross Quarter downs a few reds but still needs Ozma to save the bridge from a point blank attack.
Power Fist: More like a weaponized Power Aircraft Carrier, but later played semi-straight when Battle Frontier obliterates Battle Galaxy with its fist. Don't you just love Point Barrier Systems? Especially fitting as Battle Galaxy had just nearly obliterated Battle Frontier and Macross Quarter in one shot from its Macross Cannon. Fist beats Macross Cannon apparently. Presumably the fist of an EX-Gear is no joke either, as even Sheryl can do some serious damage to a wall (and eggs) with one.
Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Be scattered to the ends of the galaxy." Delivered by Brera just before he finally shoots down Alto.
Private Military Contractors: SMS, among the type that have improbable access to the latest toys, justified as the manufacturer of the VF-25 uses their "services" to perform field testing in live combat.
Proud Warrior Race Girl: Klan, sort of. She's not always a raging berserker (although she does have her moments, especially after Michael dies), but she is very proud of her Zentradi heritage and does seem to enjoy pointing out Zentradi combat superiority whenever possible.
Rags to Riches: Part of Sheryl's backstory and can be taken quite literally.
These two are also a Shout Out to Max and Milia. Human guy in a blue jet and Zentran girl in a red mech.
Also Brera and Alto as blue and red, respectively, in the second opening.
Red Shirt: Poor Gilliam... also done to a member of the Pixie Squadron in episode 14, whose shirt was so deeply red the producers never bothered to even give her a voice actress.
Red Shirt Army: The UN Spacy forces are invariably hilariously ineffective against the Vajra, and their ineffectiveness is even used as a plot point to explain the existence and necessity of SMS.
Subverted slightly in Episode 14 — The NUNS can actually be effective, once they break out the reaction weaponry. Or maybe it's the fact that this was Diamond Force, an elite squadron first mentioned in Macross 7.
Then played straight by Episode 17, as the NUNS becomes ineffective again. By Episode 23, as now Alto's leading a pack of them and they've got new anti-Vajra VF's and weapons, they're a bit better than they were, but...
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Klan really did love Mikhail, and those Vajra took him away from her. What's a macro-sized Meltran to do? Strap on a VF-25 SuperPack, pick up a Valkyrie's gunpod, and kill every last one of them. This is why humans needed Battroid mode.
Rule Of Cool: The last episode has what boils down to a singing contest between the two female leads which determined whether the series' evil aliens up to this point are allied with the good guys or not, turning into an extended space battle set to music, and Alto sniping the Big Bad of the series who has now become a super-dimensional galactic being. Oh, and the Love Triangle omnipresent in the series is never resolved. And it's Awesome.
Rule of Three: Averted and played straight. The New UN Spacy forces follow the mecha version of this trope to a tee, with fighters flying in three-man vics. The SMS forces however fly in four man flights similar to how modern air forces fly (making sure that each pilot has a wingman).
Sensor Suspense: When unmanned probes are first launched to examine the Vajra threat, all that is visible is a 3D display of their progress, followed by their symbols suddenly stopping and changing to say "LOST."
Done hilariously as a movie of the adventures of Shin Kudo during the events shown in Macross Zero, with Ranka playing Mao Nome and scenes basically ripped straight out of Macross Zero.
Done doubly so, by episode 24 and the Blu-Ray re-release of Macross Zero as it's revealed that Sheryl is Mao Nome's grand-daughter, somehow abandoned on Macross Galaxy... and the earrings in Macross Frontier were edited into a shot of Mao Nome's mementoes of her family in the Blu-Ray release of Macross Zero.
The final episode contains several shout-outs to the climactic battle scene of Do You Remember Love? It also has a shoutout (or three) to episode 27 of the original series, Love Drifts Away, whose events were chronicled in said movie, when Alto has to cut a human-size entrance through a bulkhead to rescue the girl, just as Hikaru had to.
The whole concept of the villain being an immortal transhuman with a robotic body is lifted directly from Macross Plus.
Two references to Aquarion here too: first is a cargo vessel which Alto and Brera fight over, it resembles the segments of Aquarion Sol's Mugen Punch folded straight. The second is the 'Dimension Eater', which resembles shielding units for the cities. Not surprising seeing as how Kawamori designed the mechs for both series (which in turn has a Macross references, as one Aquarion combination resembles a Valkyrie Gerwalk).
The ring that appeared over the bride and groom in Sheryl's concert in the second movie is the same ring that appear whenever the Shadow Angel attack the humans.
Yoko Kano did the music for both series too.
There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Shout Out to Neon Genesis Evangelion towards the end of the first episode. One shot of tanks firing on a Vajra is an almost exact replica of a shot of tanks firing on Asuka in The End of Evangelion.
And there's a little matter of Giant Ranka during the finale too, a shoutout to Sharon Apple manifesting as a gigantic hologram in place of the SDF-1 Macross itself.
Episode 17, amusingly enough, contains a Shout Out to Robotech: The episode is a Whole Plot Reference to the episode of the original Macross where Roy dies. The equivalent episode in Robotech was named "Farewell, Big Brother", while the Frontier episode is titled "Goodbye Sister".
One of the SMS fighters in the Alto and Ozma scene near the middle of Songs of Goodbye bears the (slightly modified) Mirage Knights' Blood Cross.
There's also Call Back to Macross 7 in the second movie. Ranka and Alto are the only members of the group not dressed up in slightly modernized versions of Fire Bomber's outfits. (Fire Bomber is the band most of the main characters of 7 are in.) Mikhail's hair is even styled like Bassara's.
Sleep Mode Size: Klan Klan, an... extremely mature woman as a thirty-foot-tall Zentradi, becomes a physical and (slightly) mental preteen when she's micronized. She isn't completely immature when micronized, though, and some of her finest scenes are while "human-size".
Smug Snake: Leon Mishima is this, especially as of episode 20. Also kind of played for comedy in that episode as it shows that Leon does not react to sudden changes very well and isn't nearly the Chessmaster he thinks he is. this makes his receiving of his comeuppance in the last episode even more delicious.
Space Opera: Epic space battles? Check. Oversized heroes and villains? Check. Awe-inspiring places? Check. Insanely gorgeous women? Definitely check. Big love stories? BIG CHECK.
Spell My Name with an S: Klan Klein? Klein Klan? Klan Klan, Klein Klein? Kuran Kuran, DURAN DURAN? While official sources do help some now (coming down with Klan Klan), it remains a spot of contention with quite a few fans.
As does Mikhail, whose name has been spelled (and pronounced in-series) at least three different ways on this page alone: Mikhail (Russian), Michel (French), Michael (English spelling in-universe).
A magazine scan rendered it Clan Clang.
Sheryl Nome suffers a different version of this. While the fandom knows what her name is, official sources are known for misspelling it. The Lion opening title erroneously writes her name as "Sheryl Noam". Some early artwork also had a habit of writing her first name as Cheryl, taking the trope to its direct equivalent. Her last name in the Lion opening title was eventually fixed in the Blu-Ray release, although the album art shown very briefly in episode 18 is still misspelled.
Spotlight Stealing Star: Sheryl accidentally does this in episode 8. Ranka has just changed school, Mikhail has just called her the star of the school and declared he, Luca, Alto and Nanase would show her the school... And Sheryl appears to take a look around and make poor Luca have less than pure dreams about her relationship with Alto.
She does it again at the end of the episode. After all, Sheryl was there just for a day, right? Wrong: she was looking around because she was about to enroll the school.
Starfish Aliens: The Hive Mind known as the Vajra, though they turn out to be quite nice and understandable after two-way communication is established.
Stock Footage: Some. Specifically, a few of the NUNS fight scenes and a group of shots where a Vajra blast tears through Island-1 see quite a bit of use.
Stripperific: Sheryl, when performing on stage, alto calls her out on it after she slaps him for unexpectedly seeing her topless.
10-Minute Retirement: Sheryl announces to Alto she doesn't want to sing anymore, though she doesn't tell him the exact reasons in episode 19. By episode 20 (chronologically later that same day) she finds a new reason to sing, and does so.
Theme Music Power-Up: Omnipresent. Whenever someone starts singing, expect Awesomeness. Works for both sides by the end, thanks to Ranka's link to the Vajra hive network. Then she joins up with Sheryl to power Alto by singing a medly of pretty much every major song sung by either Rankan or Sheryl in the series called, amusingly enough, Nyan-Nyan Service Medly. Deculture indeed!
Mercilessly subverted in episode 14: Sheryl tries to fight the Vajra in a Variable Fighter, and her theme music (Sagittarius 9 PM) kicks in... only to fade out as Sheryl is hit and forced to eject literally five seconds later.
Basically this is a sort of expectedDeconstruction: since here music really can power up your side, a an off-show power-up just won't cut it.
The Power of Friendship: Alto seems to power-up his piloting skills when a friend's in danger. This also helps Sheryl get better at the end of the series.
To re-affirm that the triangle is fully concluded and over, the soundtrack for the movie is called "Wings of Goodbye - the END OF TRIANGLE".
This might have been Jossed. Sheryl is Only Mostly Dead and an interview with Kawamori shortly after the film says Alto lived, and similarly said that the credits (which was only Sheryl and Ranka singing the end title song) was also part of the epilogue, implying that Sheryl woke up. This might make it qualify as an Esoteric Happy Ending.
In episode 16, The Owner's ( President Richard Bilrer) room, has a half-human-sized train tracks with toy trains running around. Then he activates the hologram depicting the galaxy, with the trains still running about.
Wave Motion Gun: Superdimensonal Converging Beam Weapons, aka Macross Cannons, used by both the Macross Quarter and Vajra motherships. Some are in the style of a...
Wave Motion Tuning Fork: Classic versions on the VF-27 and later the battle cannons on Macross Quarter in the movies, and finally the YF-29 in the second movie. Macross Quarter's BFG is something of a triple-pronged version.
Wham Episode: Episode 13 is perhaps the first major wham of the series, being mostly notable because it definitively reveals the Big Bad. In addition, the episode ends with Grace (aforementioned Big Bad, though we had some inklings before) destroying a planet with a bomb branded by LAI, which she stays behind to detonate, letting herself be consumed in the blast (this was before we realized that she could download into a new body). Furthermore, Ranka has been kidnapped by the Vajra, who turn out to have a huge fleet including several of the type of carrier that gave them huge trouble in episode 7, and Alto is about to be swallowed up by the death blast of the previously mentioned planet.
Episode 18 represents a more personal wham episode for Sheryl. All at once her career is forgotten, Grace (who for all intents and purposes raised her) gleefully betrays her, rips into her, and then tells her she's going to die (because Grace intentionally infected her with the V-type virus years ago). Sheryl later in the episode has it confirmed: Grace wasn't making it up, she really is going to die. The character is never quite the same afterward, but she was made a better person for it in later episodes, after she recovers from the wham.
Episode 20 broke the needle because the HSQ hasn't invented numbers for that kind of episode yet. Sweet loving Jesus Christ. Episode 20 could also count as Mood Whiplash given how incredibly grim the situation is now. Practically everyone is bereaved of a loved one at this point and it seems impossible for the show to have any of its old lighthearted, optimistic tone anymore.