All you gotta do is cut the engines and ride the wind...
The first official sequel to Super Dimension Fortress Macross
, Macross Plus
is a four episode OVA series released for the tenth anniversary of the series, and a theatrical movie released the following year, which added around 20 minutes of new animation, particularly during the climactic battle at the end of the story.Macross Plus
forgoes the background of interstellar war present in the rest of the franchise for a more personal story based on the rivalry of two childhood friends ó Isamu Alva Dyson and Guld Goa Bowman ó both in their work as test pilots for the latest variable fighters, and in the central Love Triangle
with their mutual friend Myung Fang Lone; as well as facing the obsolescence of manned pilots against artificial intelligence-guided, unmanned fighting craft.
The animation consisted of a then groundbreaking combination of traditional cel animation and computer animation, and paved the way for much greater integration of CGI in Japanese animation. It also launched the directorial career of Shinichiro Watanabe
and the composing career of Yoko Kanno
(her work for Please Save My Earth
was released around the same time and didn't have as profound an impact.) To this date, Macross Plus
is still widely regarded as the pinnacle of the Macross
franchise and one of the finest sci-fi anime ever made.
This show provides examples of:
- Action Survivor: Myung lives and breathes the trope in the end.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot - Virtual Idol Singer Sharon Apple is fitted with an experimental military AI processor to attempt to mimic emotions more completely. This was not a good idea.
- All There in the Manual: Several of Yoko Kanno's songs for the film feature vocalists Speaking Simlish. Official translations (into Japanese, natch) are available in the CD booklets.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - Reversed during their final duel when they start yelling at each other about things such as not returned CDV's and who bought who lunch the most before getting to the heart of the matter.
- Awesome, yet Impractical - The YF-21 interface. It allows for super fast maneuvering at the speed of thought, but stray thoughts from the pilot can make it do erratic things.
- Batman Gambit - Potentially there was one, but never fully explained in the incident with the live round loaded in Isamu's gunpod. It's strongly implied that Guld did it, but why he did it is uncertain. Either he expected to blame Isamu for trying to murder him, or perhaps he expected the round would initially jam and Isamu would not keep trying to fire it, then when Guld wrestles the gunpod away and uses it to murder Isamu, it would look like Isamu had tried to do it, and Guld could have gotten away with murder. The latter qualifies, but this whole incident was literally swept under a rug, and thus we may never know.
- Beam Spam - The Earth defense network is truly a marvel to behold... unless you're an invader or a random piece of debris. The YF-19 also has to navigate a Beam Spam from the Macross during the final encounter.
- Berserk Button - Guld's is Isamu, until he finally remembers that it wasn't Isamu who broke the three of them up, it was him.
- Brainwashed and Crazy - The entire population of Macross City during Sharon's Space War peace treaty anniversary concert. Sharon has an... effect on people.
- While she always did, after the upgrade she most likely used her holograms to actually BAC everyone.
- Broken Bird - Myung.
- Canon Immigrant - The telepathic helmet Guld Goa Bowman uses to control the YF-21 was originally a concept that debuted in the American Robo Tech tie-in novels in the late 1980s.
- Character Depth - Surprising huge amounts of it with the given length of the show.
- Come Back to Bed, Honey - Lucy, to Isamu when he gets a call right ater they had sex. Bad thing? It was from
Myung Sharon, impersonating Myung, who was in huge danger. Good thing Guld decided to answer the other call.
- Sharon was attempting to either bring Myung and Isamu together, instigate a fight between Isamu and Guld when the both showed up to save her, or kill Myung outright; Sharon was the one who overloaded a circuit and started the fire, then attempted to kill both Myung and Guld when Isamu didn't show up.
- Cool Plane - Oh so very many, especially the YF-19 and the YF-21.
- Da Chief - Chief Miller spends much of his day chewing Isamu out for his recklessness, though he eventually reveals that he was much the same when he was younger and covers for Isamu when he steals the YF-19 prototype to follow Myung to Earth.
- Don't Say Such Stupid Things - Isamu snaps at Myung's self-pity by telling her that sometimes life isn't fair and that she needs to deal with it, instead of feeling sorry for herself.
- Drives Like Crazy - Isamu. Oh, like you're surprised.
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: Sharon Apple's performance of "SANTI-U" features a full screen of this for ten straight seconds.
- Expy: The planes featured are strongly inspired by real world fighter jets.
- The VF-11 looks quite like the Russian Su-33.
- The YF-19 resembles the Su-47
- The YF-21 resembles the YF-23.
- Future Music: The second OVA (and film) features a six-and-a-half minute section dedicated entirely to Sharon Apple's concert performance. Her second concert in the fourth OVA is intercut with the climax of the whole story (though the film adds a bit more concert footage, as well as one more song during it.)
- Good Old Fisticuffs - The rivalry between Isamu and Guld gets so bad they just resort to this. Being Macross, at one point they do it with Giant Mecha twice.
- Half-Human Hybrid - Guld Goa Bowman.
- Heroic Sacrifice / Mutual Kill- Guld. He disables his craft's limiters to crash into the Ghost. He suffers fatal injuries due to the extreme g-forces involved before crashing into X-9...
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl - Guld is quite a bit bigger than Myung.
- Humongous Mecha- it's a Macross series, after all.
- Hypno Fool - Sharon is able to mesmerize the crew of the Macross and the crowd watching with her music, and manipulate guards and even Yang into hostile actions. She even manages to lull Isamu into a trance only for Myung's countersong to pull him out. It is unclear if she was responsible for Marj's high dive.
- Idol Singer - Sharon Apple. Myung wanted to be one, but it was all a Tragic Dream
- Insufferable Genius - ISAMU. The man shoots off enemies that are grappling his squadmates, sketches a giant bird-monster with his thruster exhaust on his first flight with the YF-19, and can fly inches from the ground, at top speed, while upside down, with his cockpit literally nearly scraping the floor, all to outdo Guld. He often gets called out for endangering lives and equipment.
- Improbable Piloting Skills - It's a very close contest between Isamu and Guld. They're not the Nova Project's top test pilots for nothing.
- Guld has the Justification in that he's using a computer and literally piloting by thought.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Lucy's reaction after seeing the depth of Isamu's affection for Myung. But not before she calls Myung out via telling her that Isamu loved her all along. "It was you... it was always you!"
- Lucy nothing, this was Sharon's motive too, but she was completely insane.
- In all fairness, that wasn't actually her fault. That's the fault of her template's issues, Neumann's hacking and Gueldoa's illegal chip. Those are sort of beyond her control.
- Jerk Ass: Both Isamu and Guld, until near the end.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Guld's barbs at Isamu wouldn't be as effective if some of them weren't hitting close to the truth.
- Kick The Wrong Dog - When Isamu and Guld get into a huge fist-fight in the parking lot, Myung throws himself between them to make them stop - and Isamu punches her right in the face by accident. Just when you thought the bad blood between them couldn't get any worse ...
- Life Isn't Fair - Isamu snaps at Myung's self-pity by telling her that sometimes life isn't fair and that she needs to deal with it, instead of feeling sorry for herself.
- Love Makes You Crazy - Dear sweet god Sharon.
- Love Makes You Evil - Sharon Apple ends up being the main antagonist for the Grand Finale because of her love of Isamu.
- Love Triangle - Once again, it is a Macross series.
- Which also warps into one weird Love Dodecahedron; Sharon's AI is based of Myung, so she 'inherits' her affection for Isamu ... just a lot more intense.
- Macross Missile Massacre - Can't have a Macross series without them as well, can we?
- Madness Mantra - Sharon Apple's emotional programming, once complete, is discovered to simply read, "ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU ISAMU", endlessly.
- Man Child - Isamu and Guld both have this problem when it comes down to it. When they finally fight it out, they're trying to kill each other with paint bullets and arguing over who bought the other one lunch more in school.
- Manly Tears - One has to be a real cynic to not shed even one for Guld.
- Meaningful Name - The planet it's set on is called Eden, and Sharon Apple's name is a two-for-one Biblical reference: "apple" as in the one from the Tree of Life and Death, and "Sharon" might be from Solomon 2:1: "I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley."
- Ms. Fanservice - Sharon Apple was designed this way.
- Murder the Hypotenuse - Subverted (with several strongly implied attempts). Guld's YF-21 tries this when the Brain Direct Interface picks up on his idle thought of knocking Isamu's VF-11 into the ground at high speed, it's never made clear who loaded the live round into Ismau's gunpod (it was probably Guld, as he looks at the gunpod as if knowing it was loaded, though it could have been Sharon's attempt to murder Guld for whatever reason), and finally subverted again when Guld very consciously tries to blow Isamu straight to hell in one of the most epic dogfights ever depicted. Would have been played straight if not for Isamu's skills.
- Sharon also tries to do this to Myung over Isamu. Myung goes Action Survivor and escapes..
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes - Sharon's 'gift' to her beloved Isamu is to give him a variation of one of these, killing him so he could have one perfect moment of pre-death euphoria.
- Near-Rape Experience - Guld's attempted rape of Myung resulted in his Trauma-Induced Amnesia and the breakdown of the friendship between Guld, Isamu and Myung.
- No Endor Holocaust - The climax fight between Isamu and Guld takes place in a city full of empty buildings; maybe they all went to the next town, to watch Sharon's concert.
- The greater Macross timeline actually provides a perfect explanation for why there would be an entirely abandoned city for them to fight in. Specifically, it has only been thirty years since the total population of Earth was reduced to less than a million. Using Zentradi cloning technology and captured factory satellites, Earth consistently sends out at least one colony ship with a million+ colonists every single year. The deserted city is likely where the cloned colonists were housed prior to the launch of the colony ships. By the time of Macross Plus, the cloning has been discontinued, so the city is currently unused.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo - Aside from the usual Reflex/Reactive weapons bit, one of the stated goals for Project Super Nova is to deal with problems without having to use them.
- Oh, Crap - Yang's reaction to seeing the Macross under Sharon's control; also, Guld after his stray thoughts of squashing Isamu while piloting the YF-21 are turned into actual commands by the prototype's Neural Command interface.
- Omniglot: Sharon can sing in English, Japanese, Zentraedi, and French Gibberish. Justified given that she's a computer.
- Playful Hacker - Jan, the designer of the YF-19, has this as a hobby. Causes considerable trouble for all involved when his attempts to hack Sharon during a concert first get her to notice Isamu.
- Product Placement: Heckler & Koch exists in the series as a major contractor of small-arms for the U.N. Spacy.
- The Rival - Isamu to Guld and vice versa, in nearly every aspect of their lives.
- Short Anime Movie - Averted. The movie edition runs about 2 hours.
- Shout-Out - Main characters Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman take their names from SF author Freeman Dyson and David Bowman, the main character of 2001, and Sharon's AI casing bears an uncanny resemblance to HAL 9000's red eye.
- Thomas Alva Edison and John von Neumann.
- Project Supernova is a shout out to the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter Project in name (Advanced Variable Fighter) and implementation: the Real Life ATF project also involved a flyoff between two competing fighter designs.
- The YF-21 is also a shout out to the YF-23 Black Widow. Both also lost their competition in favor of the more conventional fighter (YF-19/YF-22 Raptor).
- New Edwards AFB on Eden is based off Edwards AFB, the USAF's primary testing facility (and the site of the ATF Project).
- There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it nod to Aphex Twin: an ad for the fictitious Selected Ambient Works Vol. 23 2038-2040◊ appears for a split second on a bus stop before turning into an ad for Sharon.
- Shown Their Work - More than a few.
- Isamu playing airplanes with his hands before flying, while this may seem like quirky character trait, real life aerobatic and test pilots often do visualize their flights this way before actually going up.
- Guld removing the limiter on the YF-21 seems like just a cool way to show how good the plane is, however real fighter planes do have this, it's called an "Alpha Limiter" and it's meant to prevent pilots from doing maneuvers that will pull more Gs than their bodies can handle.
- Speaking Simlish - Some of Sharon Apple's songs are in a made-up "language" of nonsense words chosen only for their sound and the emotional tone they conveyed. This was done to represent the Zentraedi culture present in the series.
- Stalker with a Crush - Both Guld and Sharon.
- Super Prototype: Both the YF-19 and YF-21 are this, as is the Ghost X-9 for autonomous drone fighters.
- Super Robot Wars - Alpha, Alpha Gaiden and Alpha 3.
- Teen Genius - The YF-19 was designed by one.
- Jan Neumann is another Shout-Out — to famous Hungarian-American mathematician, John von Neumann (Neumann JŠnos).
- The Three Faces of Eve - Sharon manifests three different holographic forms, each echoing one of the faces. That said, they are all controlled by the same unified personality.
- Alternatively: Lucy is the Child (youngest of the group, youthful, carefree), Myung is the Wife (Broken Bird, the link between Isamu and Guld), Sharon is the Seducttress (wishes to seduce Isamu and give him the ultimate thrill even if it kills him)
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia - Guld spends most of the story being unable to remember (the full version of)a traumatic incident from his shared past with Isamu and Myung for which he blamed Isamu. It was, in fact, his own attempted rape of Myung during a berserk rage, only remembered during the climactic battle, at which point he breaks off combat with Isamu to sacrifice himself to stop the unmanned fighter under Sharon Apple's control.
- Two Guys and a Girl - One of the more emotionally complex (if not complicated) executions of the trope. It doesn't help that they used to be the °Three Amigos! before it all went to hell.
- Unstoppable Rage - Guld is prone to this. It's his Zentradi blood acting up. It's worse when he's not on his meds.
- Virtual Celebrity - Sharon Apple, obviously
- Yandere - Sharon, for Isamu.
- Yoko Kanno - one of her early soundtrack works