Episode 4: Macross Frontier / Part 1

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Iteza gogo kuji don’t be laaaaaaaaate for part one of our Macross Frontier spectacular!  While Vorgelia couldn’t make it for this one (she’s off making video games) Shadon and Doc are joined by a couple of outstanding special guests: Jimmy Nome and Gwyn Campbell.

Folks, the fix is in: we’re all in the tank for this show.  Even relative Macross neophyte, Shadon, really really digs Frontier.  In fact, all of us gush about our love for Macross Frontier and other iterations of Macross.  We talk about what Macross means to us, our first encounters with the series, Harmony Gold, how Macross distinguishes itself from other space opera, whether Frontier should be your first Macross and more.

Since Gwyn lives in Japan, he brings a really cool perspective about Macross and its fandom there as contrasted with its fandom abroad.  He talks about how Frontier was received, who was watching it, the Frontier fan gatherings and live concerts, pachinko and what we thought was HUGE and game-changing information about the Macross canon.

Direct Download | iTunes | Stitcher | YouTube

anime we talk about:
Macross Frontier, SDF Macross, Macross Plus, Do You Remember Love, Macross Zero, Macross 7, Mayoiga, Ojamajo Doremi, Mobile Fighter G Gundam

video games we talk about:
Ys SEVEN, Trails of Cold Steel, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator, Resident Evil VII

sheryldeshou

Time Codes:

00:00:00 – Wave Motion Cannon Ad: Live from Galactic Fairy Tour
00:01:56 – In the beginning was the song…
00:02:25 – “Every Day Night Night” Michael Kelly / Garoad (our usual opener)
00:03:01 – Introduction / Catch up with the hosts
01:03:47 – “Seikan Hikou” Platina Jazz (an AMAZING version of the show’s best song
01:04:18 – “What is ‘Stay Dead’?” Giant Bomb…who again is not paying me to run these spots; I just like them
01:05:17 – That’s pretty arrogant…I like that in a pilot.
01:05:53 – “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins was removed to to copyright restrictions on the video being played in Germany. I like Germany, so, in order that anyone there have the ability to play the video, we removed this bit of the song.
01:06:33 – Macross Frontier discussion, spoiler-free of course. We talk about what Macross means to us, our first encounters with the franchise, Harmony Gold, should Frontier be your first Macross, and so much more!
02:18:28 – “My Girl Is Calling Me A Liar” by Chromeo was removed due to copyright restrictions
02:19:15 – NOTHING BUT GARBAGE
02:20:10 – “What is a triangle?” BodhaGuru Learning
02:20:41 – “Boyfriend” Best Coast
02:21:09 – SPOILER WARNINGS – There are spoilers for the Frontier TV series and second film in the following interview, but they are toward the end.
02:21:42 – Gwyn Campbell from The Speaker Podcast joins us from Japan to talk Frontier, Macross fandom east and west, pachinko, Macross canon, concerts, and so much more! Special thanks to Gwyn for sharing his unique perspective with us, as he has professional proximity to Macross that none of the Warui Deshou Team have.

And that’s all for part one! Stayed tuned for part two.

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2 thoughts on “Episode 4: Macross Frontier / Part 1

  1. Right, so I’m not sure why I feel like tossing this into the ether, but Macross is big and weird for me, and you didn’t do quite enough justice to my “F Harmony Gold” email, so here goes. 8-Þ (Also since I won’t be following the actual podcast into Frontier plot and spoilers, since I haven’t watched, I have nothing else to chat about.)

    I am pretty much exactly the right age and type to be one of “the people who swear by Robotech up and down” that you mention. While I don’t count Robotech as my first “otaku experiences,” it is probably the largest part of why I got in as quickly and deeply as I did starting high school.

    Technically my first anime experiences would have been Star Blazers and some Speed Racer reruns broadcast out here when I was a tyke, but both of those kind of disappeared into the blur of “too young to recognize much” alongside other Hanna Barbara shows, and my tinybrain trying to figure out why I stared at Princess Ariel from Thundarr the Barbarian and Tara from the Herculoids just a bit harder than the other characters.

    Robotech first aired when i was ten, which I contend was the perfect age to get utterly goddamn consumed by that. I was already heavy into space legos, and of course spaceships are cool as shit, and Robotech fired beams of HOLY SHIT THIS THING TRANSFORMS FROM A JET PLANE INTO A ROBOT IN MIDAIR AND SHOOTS EVERYTHING directly into my little boy pleasure sensors. I guess I’d technically seen some of that from Transformers, but these weren’t crazy alien things, but human ships that we could pilot! If a snotty little jerk like Rick Hunter could pilot one of those things, why couldn’t I?!

    I was riveted by the show, and pursued it eagerly through all the stages. Of course even though it was a bit weird to see things change so much between The Macross Saga and Masters and The New Generation, they all followed one after another, and at that time I’d have no way to know how the show was constructed. Didn’t matter. Dana Stirling continues the story into transforming hovertank robot gun platforms? Fucking awesome. The Invid invasion forces humanity to go all guerilla warfare with transforming motorcycle suits and new Alpha and Beta veritechs that could transform and fucking COMBINE?! FUCKING AWESOME. And hey, that theme followed all the way through, so how was I to know?

    Speaking of which, that theme? That theme~! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuWlcZRuiVI
    There is almost nothing I recognize faster, or hits my reptile hind brain harder than this thing. You could probably induce a drooling coma in me still by forcing me to listen to it on repeat for an hour. (Oddly none of the other songs from Robotech stuck with me, for which I am glad. This would come in later with Macross.)

    I was admittedly in largely my own world with Robotech until high school, at which point a few things combined:
    A) The Robotech novels had been published, and as a voracious reader I would consume these over and over again up until HS, and lend them out to friends.
    B) I gained a wider variety of truly geeky friends, played more PnP RPGs, and picked up a whole Robotechin’ crew. We would play campaings in the First, Second, and Third Robotech Wars, and in the Sentinels timeframe as well. (This also caused me to buy a lot more Palladium RPGs.)
    C) A friend a grade up from me who I met through comic book interests had access to a college club that was ripping and sharing a lot of raw Japanese broadcasts, and I’d toss him a bunch of blank tapes to make a copy for me of whatever he was getting. Through my true otaku cherry popped.

    So at the same time I’m consuming and sharing Robotech, I’m learning about the true origins of the show. And after things like Dirty Pair, Venus Wars, and Megazone 23, a new transforming-mecha presence would overpower me.

    Obsession, thy name is Macross: Do You Remember Love

    This is still in my raw Japanese-watching days, but I had the format basics from Robotech anyway so it was easy to slip into, and this one was popular enough right away for me to be able to download and print translations I obtained from BBSes. (Haha, proto-internet serving otaku interests even back then!)

    Everything. EVERYTHING about Macross: DYRL seeped directly into my bones, and largely blew my otanewbie noodle. I could barely figure out how animation could be this good-looking, how ADULT the characters were now, how UNFORGIVEABLY HOT Minmei now was (my Protoculture proto-waifu), how UNNERVINGLY EXCITING that shower-scene-behind-the-metal-curtain now was (15 vs 10 y.o. boy brain now, eh?), how slackjawed some scenes and music could make me (especially this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBmEjZIcrtY – especially the CLIMAX of that scene with the wedding dress hologram. Didn’t hurt that the girl I had a crush on in HS was in the trumpet section with me, and there were full on trumpet harmonics)

    Even without knowing the dialogue, the sights and sounds and depth of experience of DYRL was still pretty tremendous, and I watched it a lot. An awful lot. (I mean technically I watched ALL my first stuff a lot, since I didn’t have a brimming collection back then. Though DYRL was probably beaten out only by the one tape of Kimagure Orange Road I had.)

    You know how the Robotech theme hits me? Well while it gives a swift kick to my hind brain, the close of DYRL just causes a constant wash of emotion over me to this day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxahwxY_5jg

    Their parting. That song. That combat. THAT SONG. That sway-dancing. The Zentraedi’s fate. The SDF-1’s charge with them. THAT SONG. The mechs. THOSE MISSILES. THAT SONG. Max and Miriya ❤ ❤ The final charge. I LOVE YOU SO.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4… roll credits

    (this song too, but not quite as much. Though amusingly it will introduce me to the Minmei/Minmay discrepency.)

    –ahem–

    And so I eagerly pursue anything else Macross-related that comes to shore.

    Macross II lands before I'm out of high school, and you know what? I like that a lot too. The new veritech design is kickin', Ishtar's outfit makes me shift a bit more nervously in my chair when I watch it, and Silvie helps me slowly come to accept that not all blondes in anime are annoying crap-piles. (Which C-ko, Mihoshi, and Hikari from KOR have helped reinforce.) Admittedly I am still largely in "consume all anime" mode, and not being terribly picky. 8-Þ

    Macross Plus would show up, blow my mind some more, and lead me further into a weirder "extended universe" of things Robotechy and Macrossy. I mean, at this point I know what kind of AU Robotech is, and am largely OK that we didn't get the original Macross on US shores since, frankly, between the Robotech show and novels, I thought it held together better as an overall story. Had more meat, more direct plotting paths, and the Jack McKinney writing duo helped fill a lot of holes and cover ground in a more adult fashion. I got to see a lot more of the original characters, and I really appreciated the Sentinels books and the way everything concluded with End of the Circle. I got a lot more Rick and Lisa and Minmei, a lot more explanation of the Zentraedi and what the SDF-1 represented and why, more care with the tech and the plotting…

    Which may make you think I'm a Robotech do-or-die-er, but hold on we ain't done yet!

    When I started collecting Macross 7 tapes, it was during my "pirating everything through Chinatown fansub rips" days. A train ticket might cost a bit, but when you could buy a stack of fansub anime rips from a hole in the wall store in NYC's Chinatown for less than five bucks, while two episodes of years-late anime at your local Hollywood Video cost 40… To the weakly-employed college-dropout otaku, there was no other way. I would collect scads of SonMay bootleg CDs as well, and the multi-disk Macross collection would become one of my most-played, and some of my most-enjoyed songs. When a Macross 7 soundtrack became available, it is possible "Dakedo Baby" would play at ear-bleeding volume from shitty car speakers with the windows open while travelling to freinds' houses to play M:tG, Talisman, and some version of Street Fighter. (Macross Plus soundtracks actually appeared in the US, so would be two of the only legal anime CDs I'd have for a while.)

    Even at this point, each Macross didn't feel at all like a cohesive running plotline the way Robotech did. Especially since Macross 7 was pretty obviously of cheaper quality, and utterly goofy in many ways (oh so many ways), they felt like re-imaginings under different circumstance, and not at all like "sequels" or even really "in the same universe" in any meaningful way. But what DID bug me was that we weren't getting them out here.

    It would take a while longer to learn the actual legal shenanigans going on. At the time I just figured Macross 7 was not considered a good pickup. (And in truth it probably wouldn't have been.) But as things like Zero came and went, and as Frontier showed up but was nowhere to be seen out here… Everything being missing (including reissued old stuff) was just getting more palpable. I wasn't even terribly interested in Frontier (since the last thing I could assume it would be like is 7, which was fun at the time with a bunch of my friends consuming everything around with me, but I had lost my simulwatching crowd by then, and the prospect of another 7-like experience was eyerolly), but I noticed it around and about a lot anyway.

    And these days, with damn near EVERYTHING coming across, it's just goddamn inexcusable. We don't get the games, and Japanese imports have a really good history in recent years. We don't have ANYTHING Macross, and there are blu-rays to be purchased and streams to again enable simulwatching with friends anywhere in the world! And so… As much as I was–and still am to a degree–a huge Robotech fan and did–and still do to a degree–think it was better put together than Super Dimensional Fortress Macross was as an overall story… Still I must shout most emphatically…

    FUCK

    HARMONY

    GOLD

    You had your time. And it was a GOOD time. And it probably helped me and many others, more than anything else, appreciate anime in general as it slowly seeped onto our shores.

    But you have done nothing since. You never made good on Robotech/Macross cross-issued DVD sets. You couldn't produce The Sentinels even at a time that made sense, and even though the story was already laid out and already good. Every single attempt at expansion either failed or was uninspired ratshit. Carl Macek is fucking DEAD NOW, you couldn't pull off a meager Kickstarter during the HEIGHT of Kickstarter funding, and you're still juggling that live-action movie possibility around for a goddamn decade, to no effect.

    You have fucked over your fans at every opportunity, and failed at every proposition since basically 1986. (When even fans didn't hear about and couldn't figure out WTF was going on with that movie that tapped Megazone 23 footage.)

    You have had nothing to lose for AGES at this point. Minimum 20 years. Macross 7 would not have impeded your projects. Macross Frontier would not have done anything but made people more INTERESTED in something Macross-adjacent, like a well-handled Robotech project. While Macross Delta is airing, not even your most ardent fans of the past–WHO GUESS WHAT PRETTY MUCH WOULD LOVE MOST IF NOT ALL OF MACROSS AS WELL–think of you as anything but a desiccated corpse and a blight on the industry. Which industry? Every industry you touch. No one would care about the Robotech live action movie excepting that it will basically tell the story of the original Macross series/DYRL well enough anyway, and might be interested in that. And you know what would get them more intested? RELEASING THAT SHIT ON BLU-RAY OUT HERE. REMASTED. HI DEF. FOOTAGE. GIVE ME MY DYRL YOU UTTER SHITS.

    –ahem–

    I suppose what I am truly getting at, and you might be able to piece together from my nuanced comments about them is…

    FUCK

    HARMONY

    GOLD

    Like

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