Reviews: Macross II

Macross: A New Translation, but overall serviceable

A better title for this series is simply Do You Remember Shoji? or Macross Again. Macross II's biggest offense is that its plot is basically a part re-skin/part-retelling of the original Macross. The series re-uses the usual Macross tropes/Aesops, which is unfortunate due to the wasted potential. One example: the Big Bad is practically exactly like Macross I's Bodole Zer in terms of motivation. The writers could have used him and his Marduk to have a more balanced, thorough exploration of cultural imperialism—one of the darker sides of cultural exchange.

That said, I don't see why this series gets so much flak from Macross fans. One of the main things it has that the original didn't is excellent animation (for its time). The often out-and-out awful animation present in the original series is replaced with stunning, high-budget visuals which allow for very interesting and chaotic battles. Plus, Silvie Gina is a very satisfying female co-lead who can hold her own and lacks the inconsistent, abusive personality that befalls many modern anime women. And if you're open to late 80s/early 90s-era music, you won't be disappointed in this series' tracks.

But please please PLEASE watch this in Japanese if you can find it, especially if you're nostalgic for the more classic seiyuu. Even by '90s standards, U.S. Renditions' sound direction is atrocious. The deliveries are extremely uninspired all around, while the actors struggle to match the Mouth Flaps; it's like they didn't have ADR! This is unfortunate as a lot of tension-heavy scenes are ruined and made into Narm. Steve Blum's portrayal of Feff is by far the best one, but even he shows signs of awkwardness. The classic mech sounds are replaced by rather flat, uninspired sound effects which really take away some of the excitement of the battles.

Basically if you're a fan of the original and you want a prettier, more compact version of it there is no reason not to watch this AU sequel, especially if you tire of later Macross/robot series that want you to "listen to MAH SONG!!!" or overemphasize fangirl-friendly MANservice(there aren't even a whole lot of boobs). If you're not, it may be less accessible if you don't know of the original's ending, but it's still very watchable.