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Dated 29 April 2008: Macross Zero revisited

Shin dodges missiles
Shin dodges a Macross missile swarm.
There's more where that came from, guy.

I haven't started Macross Frontier yet, but did stop watching Flashback 2012 over and over and moved on to re-watching the last Macross series prior to Macross F: Macross Zero.

Plying gals with Coca-Cola won't be effective for another 40 years, Focker.

Macross Zero left a lot of viewers unsatisfied, largely due to its somewhat convoluted mystical-songs plot. As mecha/dogfighting porn, it's top-notch, but the main story about birdmen and ancient legends and floating rocks and alien influence on human evolution is a little difficult to keep straight when there are six months between each installment of the five-episode OAV. Re-watching all the episodes in a more-or-less straightforward manner makes the story much more accessible and leaves me more impressed with the actual story this time than it originally did. (Although episode five still comes out of left field.)

This is a lot less freaky when Belldandy does it.

This is not to say that I haven't re-watched at least some of Macross Zero in all this time. Like I said, the dogfighting and mecha porn are top-notch. I've re-watched the initial air battle from the first episode countless times, and still marvel at seeing the venerable F-14s' initial dominance quickly negated by the arrival of the first Anti-Unification Force's variable fighter. Shin's dismay at being so grossly outmatched by the new machine could not have been greater had Arika and Nina launched off a Windbloom carrier to a "MATERIALISE" duet and quickly double-teamed him with a BOLT FROM THE BLUE to the face and a Dash Cold Water Spout to the rear. That's the kind of traumarama simple Haromatherapy can't cure.

Arika and Nina
The last guy Arika and Nina double-teamed fell into a coma, Shin.

The first on-screen VF-0 transformation (courtesy of Cho Jiku Yosai favorite Roy Focker) is the proper way to invite slo-mo mecha ogling. (C.f. the ridiculous amount of time it takes Shinn Asuka to assemble Impulse in Gundam SEED Destiny, even at combat speed. And don't try to tell me Lunamaria is quicker at getting tab A into slot B later in the series, either. Oh God, WHAT AM I SAYING?)

Roy transforms his VF-0
Roy Focker initiates a VF-0 transformation.

On the whole, Macross Zero isn't as bad as its reputation makes it out to be. The fight sequences are excellent, and the mystical mumbo jumbo isn't heavy-handed until the final episode. Personally, I think there should have been a greater emphasis on the power of song, although Sara's bit in episode five is an atavistic Minmay Attack if you squint really hard.

Sara is a lot more mature than Minmay, but she's sort of a hippie.

Finally, anyone still confused about an F-22's chances against a VF-1 should watch Macross Zero. Pay attention to Yellow-1's helpless cry about stealth in the first episode. Note the dime-turning thrust vectoring in the fifth episode. And be thankful the duel isn't a three-way free-for-all adding a sexually-frustrated teenage girl clutching a giant novelty sword in her quivering fist. However, viewers entirely new to the Macross universe should not begin with Macross Zero despite its chronological primacy—watch the original Cho Jiku Yosai instead.