Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Last Frontier: The reason for my love affair with Macross

So I just finished up episode six of Macross Frontier and I like it.

But I shouldn't.

Not only do I like it, but it's been one of the three shows that I'm following religiously (Amatsuki and InK, being the other two.) It doesn't have the self-referential charm of Tower of Druaga. It doesn't have the weird mind games of Real Drive. And it certainly doesn't have the strangely cute, dystopian view of Library Wars.

Like I said previously, "It's Macross." It definitely has everything that a Macross show should have: an invading alien race, a catchy J-pop soundtrack, dogfights through asteroid fields. But I don't think it's just the action that makes me want to watch every episode. Action is great, don't get me wrong. But I could get action from any shounen fighting show; I don't need space battles to get that.

On top of that, I can't say it's the characters. Sure, Alto is a rebel. But he isn't a Steve McQueen "I'm the epitome of cool" type of rebel. Instead, he's more like an "I'm 18 and I want to go fight in this war, so I can fly" type of rebel. Don't get me wrong, I still think he's a citizen solider (which is interesting), but he doesn't have the moral contradictions of a Lelouch or Suzaku, or the type of heady idealism that I find in Library Wars. In a lot of ways, Alto isn't surprising. And if he's not surprising then Ranka and Sheryl are downright true to form. The entire cast seems like it was lifted straight out of a paint-by-numbers sketch of how a mecha show should go.

But still, I like it. And it's bugging me.

That was until I thought about one of iknight's old posts (complete with a Warren Zevon reference at the end, I might add). Now for a large part, he's right. Macross is a space opera and Macross Frontier is no exception. It comes complete with giant allies, faster than light travel and downright mystical singing abilities. But on top of that, it has something else:

A Camelot.

Now, I'm not sure if Camelot is really the best term for it, but the more I think about it, the more I become convinced that Frontier is a magical place. The streets are clean. Everything is bright and shiny. People are happy and dreams really do come true.

Now one of the big reasons why I think of Camelot, instead of say Avalon, is that Frontier isn't perfect. The government is crippled by red-tape. Mercenaries make up the best equipped fighting force. And there is definitely heart-ache and a touch of pathos.

But I'd still want to live there.

Which is what I think is the big draw for me. It's not necessarily the characters or even the society. It's the fact that there's this place where people coexist peacefully, where music does change lives, and love exists floating through the depths of space in a fragile glass shell.

And somebody wants to destroy it. More than anything else, it's that tension that draws me into the show.

Related Links

Anime wa Bakuhatsu's comparison between Do you Remember Love and Frontier.

No comments: