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Anime / Super Dimension Fortress Macross

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The first installment of the Macross franchise, the seminal series known as Super Dimension Fortress Macross originally started as a parody of Space Battleship Yamato & Humongous Mecha series (notably Mobile Suit Gundam). It later evolved into a "serious" series of its own. The name was originally to have been Super Dimension City Megaroad; one producer, a Shakespeare fan, wanted to name the fortress Macbeth. Macross was the compromise.

The story begins in 1999, when a city-sized alien spacecraft crash-lands on Earth. Ten years later, after the United Nations has successfully established a One World Order, said spacecraft, now named "Super Dimension Fortress One (SDF-1) Macross", has been rebuilt and is getting ready for its maiden voyage. However, a fleet of giant humanoid aliens called the Zentraedi crash the launch party, having identified the Macross as a battleship formerly used by their enemies. In response, the SDF-1 overrides its crew's commands and automatically fires its main cannon at the Zentraedi fleet, starting a war that will change the destinies of both species.

First aired in 1982, the show was originally scheduled to run for 48 episodes, but budget cuts due to a sponsor dropping out then forced a projected cut to 26. However, with a last-second infusion of money from Tatsunoko Production (which inadvertently spawned a never-ending legal headache for all involved) and the realization that the show had become a huge hit, ten more episodes were produced.

In 1984, a movie adaptation, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, was released. Despite making significant changes to both the plot and designs, the film is regarded at least as highly as the original show.

In North America, it was prevented from being released properly for a very long time because the series was dubbed in the 80s by Harmony Gold as the first season of Robotech. For some time, Harmony Gold continued to block efforts to bring anything Macross-related to North America and was happy to file lawsuits against anything that even looked like it such as BattleTech, directly contradicting decisions made in Japanese legal courts. However Streamline Pictures and AnimEigo were able to release subtitled editions of the series to VHS and DVD in North America, as well as Madman in Australia, and ADV Films produced an uncut English dub in the early 2000s. These releases are now out-of-print though. In 2014, Harmony Gold themselves (alongside partners A&E and Lionsgate) released Vol. 1 of a new DVD series featuring unedited Macross episodes (in Japanese and English) alongside the Robotech versions. However, this was a manufacture-on-demand release and Vol. 2 has yet to be solicited. In 2016, the series, in subbed form, was released on Amazon Prime Video.

In 2003, Sega and Bandai worked together to create a Playstation 2 game based on the show where players take on the role of an unknown UN Spacy pilot known as Skull Seven. He's assisted by two fellow pilots in either Skull or Apollo Squadrons if players want to play scenarios according to the original version or with the movie version.

In 2009, a manga adaptation of the original series was started, drawn and written by Haruhiko Mikimoto, that kept the original designs (though often favoring those used in the movie) while jettisoning some of the more Zeerust aspects (everyone finally has cellphones in that far-off year of 2009, for instance).

One trope that the show is particularly known for is the Love Triangle. In fact, it has been described by Shoji Kawamori, mechanical designer and co-creator of the series as a "love story set amongst the backdrop of great battles."

This show provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: In the ADV dub, more often than not, the word "Macross" is pronounced "Muh-CROSS" (the accent on the second syllable). Mari Iijima, as shown in this interview, says it's meant to be pronounced "MA-cross", the accent on the first syllable. Even Robotech pronounces it the second way.
  • The Ace: Max is the standout example, but Hikaru has respectable abilities himself, and Roy Fokker filled the position before either of them. On the Zentraedi side, Millia is the primary ace, and Kamjin, surprisingly enough, is a capable pilot himself as well as a commander.
  • Ace Pilot: Skull Squadron, of course. Being comprised of The Hero Hikaru, unbeatable prodigy Max and grizzled veteran Roy Fokker, this was inevitable. Kakizaki helps too.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: This trope enabled the crew of the SDF-1 to perform an extreme low altitude space-fold jump, which the enemy Zentraedi thought was impossible. The humans still barely understood a portion of the alien ship's capabilities and simply didn't know using that system so close to a planet was considered an insane move. As it is, the humans seriously overshot their intended destination of the moon to just beyond Pluto and the stunned Zentraedi are left wondering if these supposed space warfare amateurs are actually tactical geniuses.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: The title is Super (adjective) Dimension Fortress (noun) Macross (Fred). Or maybe Super Dimension (adjective) Fortress (noun) Macross (Fred); itís hard to tell whether itís the Dimension or the Fortress thatís super.
  • After the End: However this version has a major modern city, complete with all the personnel you need to reestablish a technological civilization, surviving and working to rebuild.
  • Always Someone Better: Max, to basically everyone else. Hikaru learns to accept it, while Millia falls in love with him for it.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1. For the same reason mentioned above, Earth is devastated, and humankind faced the edge of extinction. They managed to recover though, through effort using the alien technology.
  • Armor Is Useless: Multiple ways. The giant Zentradi soldiers wear suits of armor that really should have armor thickness comparable to tanks, yet it offers them no survivability. Similarly, Destroids are much more heavily built than the slender Variable fighters in Mech mode, so logically should be more armored, yet they're routinely finished off in one shot.
    • In the case of the Destroids, at least, they are explicitly less armored than the Valkyries, being based on older designs that were created as testbeds for Valkyrie technology. The Destroids lack the 'Energy Conversion Armor' systems that allow the Valkyries to transfer excess reactor power to reinforce their armor. The use of Destroids is, for the most part, discontinued following Space War 1, with a greater focus on creating mission-focused enhancement packs for Valkyries instead.
  • Art Evolution: Mostly noticeable in some of the female character designs. Over the course of the series, Misa's hair grows less stylized and more realistic, as well as many of the bridge uniforms growing more intricate and detailed.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Zentraedi and Meltrandi are both giant-sized humans. This is the reason humanity built Humongous Mecha in the first place: they knew their foes would be that big, so they built weapons capable of matching them.
  • Bar Brawl: A military quarantine of the Macross, and the reaction of a civilian gang to it, triggers one in episode 16.
  • Battle-Interrupting Shout: The pop-music strategem has this effect.
  • Badass Pacifist: Minmay's cousin Lynn Kaifun hates fighting, but is a highly proficient Kung Fu practitioner.
  • The Battlestar: Nearly every ship is both a warship and a carrier for tons of personal combat mecha.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Roy. In Japanese he is even referred to by Hikaru as "Nii-san", despite there being no blood relation.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The three Zentradi spies are named Warera, Loli, and Conda, which put together reads as, "We have a Lolita Complex" in Japanese... whether or not they actually do is never confirmed, though they DO wind up being avid fans of Lynn Minmay.
  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Subverted by Captain Global. At Max and Milia's wedding he starts talking about how it's hard for humanity to forgive the Zentradi for all the people they've killed, and everyone is afraid of the seemingly hateful direction his speech is going in, but he quickly makes it clear that humanity must disregard any hard feelings in favor of the hope for coexistence represented by Max and Milia's love.
  • Bittersweet Ending: the series came to its conclusion with Hikaru and Misa getting their fairytale ending. Minmay decides to accept this and moves on with her life, even so, the couple remains on good terms with her until they all mysteriously disappear in 2016 with the Megaroad-01.
  • Bland-Name Product: Episode 20 has a scene at a burger stand named "Macross Nald's".
  • Break the Cutie: Minmay starts out quite innocent and loveable, but her cousin puts her through so much grief that she would probably wind up an old maid, since Hikaru Ichijo, the man she really loves, winds up marrying Misa instead.
  • Bridge Bunnies: The original ones! Shammy, Kim, Vanessa, Claudia, and at first Misa, even providing the trope image.
  • Broken Bird: Misa, though she slowly gets better as the series goes on.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Roy Focker is an open pervert and an alcoholic, and by far the best human pilot before Max joins the Spacy, and it's mentioned he once shot down five enemy aircraft with a raging hangover. Kamjin, in spite of his many quirks, is a capable commander, and the Macross barely escaped the first encounter with him due one of his underlings ruining the surprise effect and an improvised Deus ex Nukina.
  • Canon Foreigner: In the 2003 Playstation 2 game, three characters are made by Sega for the game. They consist of a female UN Spacy bridge officer named Emma Granger from Britain and two UN Spacy pilots named Bruce Rudel from Germany and Eddie Juutilainen from Finland. It also includes an unnamed pilot known as Skull 7. Read here for more details.
  • The Captain: Global. He's so good at his job that the civilians on the Macross tend to not be too unhappy with the martial law on board the ship.
  • Captain Crash: Hikaru gets his Valkyrie trashed a lot. Lampshaded in Hikaru's coma dream in the episode "Phantasm" as he even manages to crash a bicycle in midair — accompanied by an announcement over the Macross' PA to the audience reminding them to not try this at home.
  • Chekhov's Gun: a big planet-sized one, in fact: The Grand Cannon.
  • Child Soldiers: Some soldiers, such as Hikaru or Maximilian Jenius, are confirmed to be adolescents (16 years old) at least in the pilot series (with the later very likely having signed up when he was even younger).
  • Christmas Episode: With exploding Santas
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Kamjin/Quamzin, known as "The Ally Killer" by the Zentradi themselves.
  • Citadel City: The SDF-1 Macross becomes this, after the disastrous space-fold takes the ship and the island below it to Pluto. Following that, the city is rebuilt within the ship.
  • Clip Show: At least two.
  • Cool Big Sis: Claudia.
  • Cool Plane: Right over here.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: A Zentradi has his cigarette lit by a Valkyrie's main gun.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: The Earth gets attacked, bombed, and invaded several times over, with increasingly devastating damage to the population. But that doesn't stop everyone from managing to continue to live happy, completely normal lives with all the power and facilities needed to not only keep going on as usual, but to rebuild everything back virtually overnight. Even on the ship when people struggle to survive on military rations, they somehow manage to continue having a successful restaurant in space. Lord knows where they found the ingredients.
  • Culture Clash: The Zentradi have no culture to speak of, being a race whose express purpose is for military combat, and are often baffled by some of the stunts the Crew of the Macross pull in order to protect the civilians on board.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Zentradi are Human Aliens, but the males range in appearance from ugly to average to handsome, with the occasional odd skin tone and/or cybernetic aspect, while the female Zentradi are always depicted as beautiful. Macross: Do You Remember Love? is probably where this trope is the strongest for Zentradi design.
  • Deconstruction: The show was originally intended as a parody of Space Battleship Yamato & Mobile Suit Gundam, a plan which was abandoned early in production. Still, the show was radically different from the typical militaristic children's anime of the time and showed a conflict that is largely settled with culture: proving to the enemy that you're no different and that both sides deserve to live is what really leads to proper conflict resolution as opposed to the total annihilation of the enemy that was so prevalent in the show's day. The message resonated deeply with the Japanese public and the industry and the show's effects are felt to this very day. For that matter, the show deconstructs itself in its final arc, showing that despite one's best intentions you still can't solve all problems between two warring peoples just by saying they're the same.
  • Deflector Shields: Two kinds: the trackball-controlled pinpoint shields that were controlled by the Bridge Bunnies, and the full-on shield that blew up a Canadian city.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In what can probably be boiled down to a translation goof, a rather narmful line in episode 27 of the ADV dub falls squarely into this.
    Minmay: You've always been a friend to me, Hikaru... so I always thought of you... as a friend.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Kamjin takes over the Zentradi remnants in the final arc.
  • Dressing as the Enemy by way of Mugged for Disguise: Max conceals himself in bathroom after boarding Breetai's ship and knocks out the first Zentraedi to walk in. And somehow manages to get his Valkyrie to dress itself.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Subversion: our heroes actually fail to save the world from destruction, although they make the destroyers pay immediately afterward.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Zentraedi fleets generally avoid contact with planetary civilizations that haven't developed Faster-Than-Light Travel and Wave-Motion Gun technologies. They don't enjoy eradicating primitive species. This caused them to question the problem of first contact with Earth, until an automated defense program on the Macross fired upon them.
  • Expy: Roy Focker of Sleggar Law from Mobile Suit Gundam.
    • Also, all the planes used in the various series are based on actual fighters. Here, the VF-1 is based on the F-14 Tomcat with the whole variable-sweeping wings design.
  • Fanservice: The 2009 manga upped the level of sexuality to a PG-13 status. There's more focus to breasts and legs then there was in the 80s anime. Minmay is hit the worst, prompting a cry of "Haruhiko, you do know she's only 15, right?" (Although that would at least not constitute an obstacle to an relationship with Hikaru since he's only about 11 months older than her)
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: Ubiquitous. The show has a ton of Cool Planes in it, and it will show them off!
  • First-Episode Twist: Although it's not included on any of the DVD releases, the original television run of the first episode had a cobbled-together opening designed to hide the fact that the fighter planes are, in fact, Transforming Mecha.
  • First Girl Wins: In an unexpected way.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The ship's main gun, which can wipe out whole swaths of ships at a time. Justified that it is very unreliable with technology the crew barely understands and it requires that the ship reconfigure itself, which destroys much of the city inside the first time they had to use it. Eventually, the city was rebuild to accommodate both modes, but the ship used other tactics instead until the crew's overdependence on them backfired on them disastrously and they devoted all their efforts on getting the gun working properly.
  • Four-Star Badass: Breetai is an imperious commander Zentradi fleet, and proves formidable in hand-to-hand combat against humans piloting Valkyries.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: In episode 25, Max Jenius falls for Milia at first sight when he meets her in an arcade and beats her in a Valkyrie simulation game. He gets her to agree to meet him in a park later, not realizing she's a Zentradi pilot who holds a grudge against him for beating her in two dogfights. She challenges him to a Knife Fight, which he wins, and then—undeterred by the fact that she's an alien enemy who just tried to kill him—he succeeds right then and there in making her fall head over heels for him! Max goes to Hikaru for advice and tells him they've already decided to get married, and when Hikaru tells him that he can't marry someone he just met—especially since she's a Zentradi whose species' psychology and way of life are totally different from humans—Max insists that love will overcome their differences. Captain Global sponsors a lavish and highly publicized wedding for them because he sees it as a good opportunity to promote the idea that humans and Zentradi can coexist peacefully.
  • Forever War: The Zentradi have been scouring the galaxy for their Supervisionary Army counterparts for thousands upon thousands of years, and neither side has any idea that any other state of affairs can exist.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The original series is mostly Space Opera, but the last six episodes shift into the survivors of the near-destruction of Earth trying to restart civilization on a dead planet.
  • For Want of a Nail: Zentradi plans to capture the SDF-1 Macross would have succeeded without a hitch were it not for the unpredictable fighting methods of the defenders, as well as the singer Lynn Minmay.
  • General Ripper: The whole damn UN security council! First, they blindly refuse to accept accurate reports at how overwhelmingly powerful the Zentradi are, and then the Generals actually delude themselves to think they can intimidate that alien threat with their Grand Cannon.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In the backstory, the UN Forces, whom most of the protagonists work for, used the Zentradi's coming as a pretext to usurp the sovereignty of all the world's nations and violently put down any who didn't willingly go along with it. It mostly worked out for the best in the end, but still...
  • Glass Cannon: Destroids. They're the conventional ground mech's used by the UN Spacey, and carry significantly more armaments than Variable fighters, yet seem just as vulnerable to hits. Their lack of agility combined with this basically renders them mostly ineffectual in most combat engagements against faster Zentradi vehicles.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Because ADV left the Minmay songs in Japanese, in one of the later episodes, when Exedore sings "My Boyfriend is a Pilot", this was a necessity, for consistency.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Milia is about as attractive as Zentradi women get, and sports naturally green hair.
  • Grow Beyond Their Programming: The Zentradi who learn to move past fighting. Unfortunately, a few have trouble with this, leading to riots and revolts.
  • Handsome Lech: Roy is a hunky ace pilot who enjoys checking out women and using his charm to flirt. Nevertheless he is very loyal to his girlfriend Claudia.
  • HeelĖFace Turn: Millia is the first, but most of the Zentradi that had been pursuing the Macross for much of the show join forces with the Macross when the main Zentradi force arrives to wipe out humanity.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The Movie got one of these.
  • Human Aliens: Zentradi look just like humans, except that they have exotic skin and hair colors and are giants compared to humans. Turns out to be Justified when Humans and Zentradi are found to be products of the Protoculture, with practically identical genes and biology.
  • Humongous Mecha: Macross itself after jump problems has to reconfigure itself into a humanoid shape to use the Wave-Motion Gun. This is also something of a "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny; back then, the idea of a ship over 1000 meters long transforming, compared to the 120 meter tall Daitarn 3, was incredible.
  • Idol Singer: Minmay - Kyun, Kyun! Kyun, Kyun! My boyfriend is a pilot!
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Lampshaded and played with hilariously when Millia fights Max at an arcade game. The arcade owner laments his poor decision of opening an arcade that has games similar to variable fighter controls next to the base that trains pilots.
  • Improvised Weapon: Hikaru using his Valkyrie's gatling gun as a club after expending all the ammo.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: UN Forces took control of the media and declared South Ataria Island destroyed by anti-UN guerrillas. Global and Misa aren't happy with this since they also "announced" via media that all civilians in the island are dead.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Kamjin's introduction has him reporting to Breetai after his fleet "accidentally" defolded too close to Breetai's, causing serious damage on both sides. While the channel is open, a subordinate cuts in to claim his winnings from a bet on how many ships would be hit. Breetai is less than amused at their unprofessionalism.
  • Jerkass: Minmay's cousin, local Soapbox Sadie Lynn Kaifun, to the point where he berates Misa for rescuing him and Minmay from rogue Zentradi through force despite the fact that nobody was hurt, and the alternative was giving the Zentradi a warship that would have let them hurt innocent people.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Lynn Kaifun has a near-irrational hatred of military, extreme pacifism even when it does more harm then good, and Soapbox Sadie tendencies, and is often seen accusing the military of trying to extend the war and not understanding the situation they're in. While the soldiers on the SDF-1 hate the war just as he does, when it comes to the pre-Zentraedi Holocaust high command he's perfectly right, to the point that the first officer privately agrees with him and levies one of his points to the Spacy's commander, her father.
    • Bodolza reacts to the peace talks by coming with his entire fleet and firing all guns at Earth first before even considering the deserters. Considering that Macross 7 revealed the existence of the Protodeviln, extremely powerful aliens with immense brainwashing powers whose existance was hid to most Zentraedi but not their Main Fleet commanders, he had all reasons to think it was happening again and glassing the planet was the only way to nip it in the bud.
    • Kamjin is a violent Blood Knight, often seeking battle with the humans even when it doesn't benefit the Zentraedi, and tries to sabotage the peace talks under the justification that the Main Fleet will come and kill them all, both Earthlings and Zentraedi, if they catch wind of that. Not only does Breetai agrees with the latter point, but Kamjin is quickly proven right when Laplamis has the bright idea of informing the Main Fleet.
    • During the Mars battle Kamjin shoots one of his own battlepods whose pilot decided to jump the gun and attack early, with their hidden force being exposed due the resulting explosion and a recon plane being sent to see what happened spotting the battlepods. As the entire plan depended on a gravity mine charging up enough to keep the Macross from taking off, the guy who tried to attack early almost caused it to fail, while Kamjin shooting it gained just enough time for the gravity mine to complete charging. Kamjin even understood why the guy attacked (and made sure to only wreck the pod and spare the pilot), but he knew better than attacking too early and risk the enemy just taking off and foiling the plan (and Global did try it as soon as it became clear the Zentraedi were there in overwhelming numbers).
    • During the boarding of the Macross a soldier said he had seen there was a Minmay concert going on and suggested to go there, resulting in Kamjin shooting him on the spot, the rest of the group running away, and Kamjin starting to chase them while firing warning shots. The soldier had just announced his intention to desert during combat and proposed others to follow him, Kamjin was perfectly justified in executing him on the spot and was being generous in firing warning shots and demanding the troopers that had just deserted the battle returned to the fight.
  • Killed Off for Real: Roy Focker and Hayao Kakizaki. The former's death scene is a tear jerker capable of forcing Manly Tears from even the most macho of men.
  • Kissing Cousins: Kaifun and Minmay, though she seems less okay with it.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn's wedding march is played during Max and Milia's wedding.
  • Loud of War: The singing of Lynn Minmei was a psychological weapon of mass destruction to the Zentradi. In a meta-subversion, the voicework for Minmei's singing in the English adaptation Robotech, however, is considered by some to be so god-awfully grating that they totally relate with the aliens.
  • Love Triangle: Misa/Hikaru/Minmay, this was the main story, an unusual concept for the time, with the SDF-1 being the setup rather than the primary focus.
  • Loving a Shadow: Misa almost falls for Minmay's cousin Kaifun because he looks a lot like Riber, the fiancé she tragically lost
  • Low Clearance: Captain Gloval often hit his head while entering the bridge.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The very first one.
  • Meaningful Name: Max Jenius, naturally-gifted ace of aces among the Macross defenders. The Robotech dub (in which he's renamed "Max Sterling") possibly alludes to this:
    Misa/Lisa: Isn't Max supposed to be a genius?
  • Meet Cute: Hikaru's first response to Misa is to call her an "old lady", however by the end of the series they've proposed. Millia wants to kill Max pretty much right off the bat for being a better pilot than her, and they later get married as well.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: One of the first mecha anime to actually have characters switch mecha roughly middle of the way through the series. As with a lot of the tropes that Macross pioneered, downplayed:
    • Hikaru starts out with a VF-1D training Valkyrie (which he accidentally takes control of after being ordered to scramble), then debuts in the now-iconic VF-1J in his signature white-and-red color scheme in episode 5, and eventually gets the VF-1S "Skull Leader" custom after Roy's death and his VF-1J being totalled a few episodes earlier in episode 19.
    • Max starts in a custom colored VF-1A and eventually upgrades to a VF-1J in time for the final battle against Bodolzaa.
    • Max's wife Millia actually downgrades from a Meltrandi Queeadlun-Rau to a custom-colored VF-1J. Her switch can be considered a case of Discard and Draw however: in return for the Queeadlun-Rau's superior firepower, Millia's new Valkyrie has far more superior flexibility and can carry a FAST pack which more than makes up for the lack of missiles of the base Valkyrie.
      • The "upgrades" are actually very minor, with the differences between the three most used types of Valkyrie (the VF-1A, the VF-1J and the VF-1S) being mostly in the head units and the number of cannons carried on it, as well as the -J and -S types being somewhat more fine tuned (the S moreso than the J, hence why only squadron leaders flew on it - the J type is mostly reserved for flight leaders and the A is the redshirt variant) compared to the baseline -A variant.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The Macross itself.
    • Zentraedi ships tend to be large simply out of necessity, as the Zentraedi themselves are fairly large. Even their smallest warship, the Thurvel-Salan-class, is over two kilometers long. Bodol Zer's flagship really takes the cake for being over six hundred kilometers long.
  • Mobile Factory: The Macross is sufficiently large to include some basic production facilities. The Zentradi rely on massive automated factory satellites for their production needs.
  • Multinational Team. As befitting a United Nations Force. Hikaru, Misa, and Hayao are Japanese. Roy and Claudia are American. Global Is Italian. Max is "European". Vanessa is French, Kim is Finnish, and Shammy is from the "South Asian Federation".
  • Mundane Utility: At one point, a Valkyrie's gunpod is used to light a cigarette for a nearby Zentraedi.
  • The Mutiny: Thanks to the Zentradi's constant encounter with Earth culture.
  • My Brain Is Big: Exsedol's retconned form.
  • My Nayme Is: Breetai's first name is spelled "Vrlitwhai."
  • NaÔve Everygirl: Minmay, at least at first. By the end of the series she's much more well-grounded.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: The series always refers to nuclear weapons as "Reaction Warheads." The reason for this, apparently was an unstated ban by Japanese broadcasters on heroes using nuclear weapons (no such restriction, apparently, held for the bad guys).
    • However, according to Kawamori himself, Reaction Weapons are actually anti-matter devices where power is produced by colliding anti-matter extracted from Super Dimension Space with matter in real space.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Roy responds to getting fatally wounded by playing his guitar.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Minmay is one of the earliest examples to have this.
  • Pardon My Klingon: A dissatisfied Zentradi expresses his opinion by saying "rigujinaro" to a place he didn't manage to fit in after the end of the war.
  • Photo Montage: The ending sequence, a live-action segment which shows a hand turning the pages of an album of Minmay pictures. Uniquely, it turns out the hand belongs to Misa and the same thing happens in episode 28
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Many of Minmay's stage outfits.
  • Planet Spaceship: The Zentradi main base is hundreds of kilometers across. Of course, the Zentradi themselves are giants.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted in that the crew of Macross barely understand a portion of what the ship can or can't do, making each major move with a different function a dangerous shot in the dark that works just often enough to make it seem to their enemies that they could be tactical geniuses.
    • For example, in the first couple episodes, they fire the main gun, use the antigravity lift system, use the space warp, and transform the ship. Every one of these goes disastrously wrong on some level.
    • To be fair, Bruno Global is a tactical genius - he's just also really. Fucking. Lucky.
  • Post-Script Season: Due to the show getting unexpectedly renewed just as it was about to end.
  • The Power of Rock: Usually J-Pop.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of Minmay's stage outfits.
  • Punny Name: The non-flying, non-transforming, generally-not-as-cool-as-the-Valkyries mecha used by the human forces are called Destroids. Guess what happens to them in droves in every battle scene where they appear.
  • Ramming Always Works: The Daedalus Maneuver; ARMD ("Armed") Attack in The Movie. It works because they use the Deflector Shields to reinforce the arm when they use the attack, otherwise the bow of the ship would crumple just as much as the enemy.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Most of the Zentradi and Meltrandi leaders are more skilled at combat than the rank and file. However it's blatantly played up with Breetai, who was able to survive getting spaced, come back and beat down two Valkyries piloted by main characters with a metal club and his bare hands, and then survive one of those mechs exploding right in his face. That last instance is interestingly contrasted with a regular Zentradi soldier, who was further away from another exploding Valkyrie and wearing armor, that was killed instantly.
  • Recap Episode: Macross has two episodes which are constructed largely from clips of earlier episodes. The first is a basic, narrated clip show, but the second is a brilliantly-edited dream sequence in which events are replayed with different dialogue that radically changes their interpretation and reveals subtexts. This was necessary because Macross proved popular enough early on that the series received an order for additional episodes. The production staff had to figure out how to fill the space, because they didn't have quite enough story material for enough additional episodes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Millia/Max's color-coded mecha.
  • Red Shirt: All the 'Brown' coloured aircraft that fill up the ranks of the UN Spacey. Also the ground units who all take a pasting.
  • Retcon: Most of the character and mecha redesigns from Do You Remember Love? were eventually incorporated into the main continuity, replacing the original designs. This was later explained in-universe by Do You Remember Love? having been made as a docudrama by producers who didn't pay much attention to historical accuracy and shot it with later models of hardware and uniforms.
  • Roboteching: The Trope Codifier since it was one of the shows used to create the Trope Namer.
  • Science Marches On: Pluto is not a planet, guys, sorry.
  • Sensor Suspense: In Do You Remember Love?, the scene where Hikaru watches the radar blips representing his squadron's missiles approaching the radar blips representing enemies while his heart is pounding loudly.
  • Shipper on Deck: Claudia, Vanessa, Kim, Shammy, Kakizaki and Max ship Hikaru/Misa. Vanessa even confronts Hikaru on how Misa's feelings are affecting her.
  • Shout-Out: To the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Space Battleship Yamato, Captain Harlock, Lupin III, and others.
    • Roy's (later Hikaru's) Valkyrie fighter and Skull Squadron, with the black tails and skull and crossbones as well as the very shape, honor the real life F-14A Tomcats (Bonus points for being carrier-based fighters) and the VF-84 "Jolly Roger" squadron.
    • The Zentradi often speak with a slight echo, mirroring Gamilons from Space Battleship Yamato.
    • The main ship has a massive, ship-mounted Wave Motion Gun.
      • The transformation of Macross is inspired by a reader question in a magazine asking Gundam's director Tomino whether Whitebase can transform into a giant robot or not.(in which he answered "You watched too much anime, you should watch more Gundam".)
    • The whole concept of the "Pinpoint Barrier" system (the Macross first shield system) is remarkably similar to the 1980 arcade game Missile Command. That game played with a trackball and three buttons.
    • In some scenes one can see the Orguss Valkyrie, an Orguss Ogroid in Macross colors.
    • One of the Lupin III shout-outs was a video game in episode 24. It was intended to be similar to the game "Cliff Hanger", which uses footage of the car-chase scene from The Castle of Cagliostro. The character playing the game seems to be in Lupin cosplay, complete with smoking cigarette.
    • Episode 35 features a toy shop window that shows the Dynarobo in somewhat different colors sitting next to a rather awful toy version of the VF-1.
      • In the same episode, one of the decorative flags strung up around town has Pac-Man on it.
    • On the ADV dub side of things, in the final episode, when Kamjin's about to ram the Macross in the final battle, he says, "ramming speed!!", obviously a reference to Ben-Hur.
    • Also, when Hikaru is injured in battle, Roy Focker and his subordinates visit him to cheer him up in episode 18 ("Pineapple Salad"). It doesn't go too well. Roy muses that Hikaru's "got a case of the Mondays".
  • Show Within a Show: Shao Pai Lon (or Xiao Pai Long of you want to follow the current pinyin), starring Lynn Minmay.
    • Which has its own Title Theme Tune sung by Minmay, which is used in-show (but not in-in-show) against the Zentradi, bringing everything full-circle.
    • Later Macross series reveal that Do You Remember Love? is itself a movie in-universe (thus explaining its plot differences from the canon story).
  • Snap Back: The city inside the Macross is shown to be seriously damaged in many space battles, and in the first time the ship transforms. It's always fine in the next episode (there is significant time passage between some of the battles, though). The city was rebuilt to take transformation into account after the first catastrophe.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Humanity starts off facing just a minor Zentraedi task force sent to hunt down a missing ship. They eventually end up getting the attention of the Supreme Commander of the entire galaxy-spanning armada.
    • Bodolza is only the Supreme Commander of that one four million ship fleet, which itself is just a small fraction of the overall Zentradi forces. There are somewhere between 1000 and 2000 other fleets of equal size roaming the galaxy. There's no telling when another planet-annihilating force might suddenly show up to find out what happened to their comrades. This looming threat is what spurs the heavy focus on colonization and dispersal seen in the later series.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Kaifun incessantly preaches about how the military is evil and violence is always wrong, even if itís in self defense.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Many Zentradi names are designed to be completely impossible to reproduce in Japanese so as to sound more alien. This has led to some... interesting attempts to romanize them. Closer to home are the many arguments over "Ichijou" versus "Ichijyo", "Focker" versus "Fokker", and "Lynn Minmay" versus "Lin Minmei".
    • The character that makes up Minmei's surname got changed in the Chinese version of the series from the character 鈴 (bell) to 林 (grove). Why? Because the character for "bell" doesn't exist as a Chinese surname.
    • For that matter, is it "Zentradi", "Zentraedi" or "Zjentlauedy"?
  • The Spock: Exsedol, as the strategist, plays this role quite well. Even later in the series, when he's become more cultured, he tends to be logical and stoic.
  • Stripperific: Both averted and played straight. In the original TV series, female Zentradi soldiers wore uniforms essentially identical to the male ones, which were loose-fitting and covered the entire body except for the head and hands. However, the females' pilot suits for their Powered Armor were originally skintight, though fairly non-Stripperiffic otherwise...but the retconned female suits emphasize their sexiness and femininity much more. However, in all incarnations the Zentradi female powered armour itself is very bulky and only roughly humanoid.
  • Super-Toughness: Bretai. All Zentradi have it to some extent because they were genetically engineered for war.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Zentradi fleets depend on a galaxy-wide network of fully automated factory satellites and repair facilities; no Zentradi, even among the Archivists, has any idea how to manufacture or repair any part of their technological infrastructure, and over thousands of years the factories have begun to break down. For example, the Bodol Fleet has lost the ability to make new Glaug officer-model battlepods, and those that remain are hoarded. Another example is that after Max blasts through Britai's viewscreen, it remains broken for the rest of the series.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Partway through the story, the Zentradi begin to use "Micronization" technology that shrinks them down to human size. It takes the humans a bit of time to catch on when the Zentradi start sending spies aboard the Macross.
  • Throw-Away Country: The province of Ontario, Canada. All 917,741 square kilometers of it.
  • Title Theme Tune: MAA-KU-ROS! MAA-KU-ROS!
  • Time Skip: 2 years pass between episodes 27 and 28.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Roy Focker: "Medical treatment? Since when do injured pilots need medical treatment? Let's go eat some salad!"
    • And anyone whom he came in contact with on his final trip to Claudia's... "Gee, that man's dripping blood from three big ragged holes in his back. Oh, well, time to get on with my business..."
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: In the ADV dub, "Senpai" and "Kouhai" are left untranslated, since there's really no English equivalent. Though, one could argue that this is a case of Pragmatic Adaptation as well.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While she's still a Bridge Bunny, Misa in the 2009 manga is physically athletic and knows how to operate the controls of a Valkyrie (although she isn't an Ace Pilot).
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Because of how fast the VFs transform, very seldom is one ever struck by enemy fire in mid-transformation.
    • There is one very prominent piece of stock footage that averts this, showing a Valkyrie trying to transform to evade a capital ship beam weapon only to explode mid-transformation.
  • Transforming Mecha: From Jet to jet with arms and legs, to humanoid.
    • The toy of the VF-1 Valkyrie was re-purposed as Jetfire/Skyfire.
    • To both a lesser and greater extent, the Macross itself is a transforming mecha.
  • Translation Convention: There are indications everywhere in the metaseries that everyone is canonically speaking English, which makes sense considering that the Macross restoration and launch was an international project.
    • One of the biggest pieces of evidence is the handwritten lyrics that Minmay is holding to the song "Ai Oboeteimasuka?". At the tail end of the climactic battle scene, the viewer is treated to a good shot of the actual lyrics — written in near-perfect English. Meaning that Minmay was only singing in Japanese for the convenience of the real-world audience...
    • There are also indication that Chinese is quite prominent. Shao Pai Lon (Xiao Bai Long) is a Chinese song, and Kung Fu movies (with Kaifun) are very popular.
  • Tyke Bomb: Komilia Maria Fallyna Jenius. Sort of. Mainly in that she is used as a means to get the crew of a Zentraedi factory ship to surrender peacefully (if running away in pants-on-head-crazy terror counts as peaceful).
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: ( Riber and Misa knew each other since childhood and were engaged to marry. Then, some time before the events of the series started, he disappeared... and later, Misa finds out he's been Dead All Along.
  • Unplanned Crossdressing: a group of Zentradi spies sneak aboard the Macross and find human clothing to wear as disguises. Unknown to them, they had stolen women's clothing and walked around town that way until people got upset with them.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Britai tries to tell Kamjin that he doesn't want his help since he won't bother to ask for it when the Bodol fleet is deployed near Earth. Kamjin "objects" to this.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Humanity repairing the SDF-1 Macross restored the ship's main cannon and targeting system. This allowed the automated boobytrap to fire upon the Zentradi when they arrived. Earth firing the first shot and demonstrating possession of reflex weaponry, led the Zentradi to abandon non-violent first contact.
  • Vertical Mecha Fins: The SDF-1 Macross, who has shoulder spikes that double as a Wave Motion Gun.
  • Visual Pun: 'Romanesque' the three Zentradi spies are shown manning a toy booth that isn't exactly successful. Just before one of them explicitly points this out, he is shown holding a box featuring a Valkyrie in fighter mode on the front. Except it isn't called "Valkyrie" on the box, but "Harakiry"note .
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: The SDF-1 and the subsequent colonial ships, especially the Megaroad-01. The New UN took these as precautions in case of future Zentradi or Supervision Army attacks and to ensure humanity's survival.
  • Wartime Wedding: Max and Millia.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Macross cannon. Later it's revealed that most Zentradi warships have an equally-powerful gun on board.
  • Weasel Mascot: Minmay's young cousin, Yocchan, seems to be jettisoned in favor of one of these, a rabbity-weasely... thing named Koge, in the new manga adaptation.
  • Wham Episode: Roy's death. Followed by Kakizaki's death and the near-destruction of Earth.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The Zentradi suffer from this and it proves the key to "Victory".
  • Zeerust: We will still have LP records in the future, and no cellphones or Internet (though we do get cool self-propelled payphones and vending machines...) Avoided in the new manga adaptation, which, handily, started being drawn and written the exact year the events in the show were supposed to take place, so it actually is period accurate.
    • Actually, we STILL have LP records now (in 2012). Moreover, normal daily life wasn't depicted enough in the original to say one way or another (and inside the SDF-1 is another matter; Hikaru's handling of the payphone/visiophone actually lampshades this trope). A ten year global civil war could also have caused problems. Last, South Ataria Island being a military base in its entirety, it could have caused a ban on non-military radio communication.


Video Example(s):


Pineapple Salad

Super Dimension Fortress Macross features a number of scenes with Wraparound Backgrounds. There is one scene in the "Pineapple Salad" episode where this trope is made incredibly obvious by the fact that the perspective of the streetscape suddenly 'jumps' when the loop is restarted!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / WraparoundBackground

Media sources: