Macross F is a perfect example of what happens to a franchise if it stays too much in the field. It eventually runs out of ideas and excitement and goes for cheap entertainment. While the original series was also light in nature and had some fan service, it was still a cornerstone in anime history for its good production values as well as its interesting cast. Well F is none of that. It came out in a time where its visuals, although good, are not awesome next to anything else that airs close to it, and its story and cast are hardly as captivating. One could say that it’s because nothing feels special and original anymore, or that there are several well made series annually to chose from, unlike back in the time when the original owned everything else that aired at the same time. Although that is a factor too, breaking down the facts of the anime still shows how it doesn’t hold up to its predecessor.
Speaking of that, F is indeed the sequel to the original, as well as Zero and Dynamite 7, a thing that it made clear with several allusions and references to the events that took place in the previous instalments. Although that is very good to make you feel familiar with the setting, at the same time they overdid it with the tributes. You clearly see that they deliberately rehash the plot of the original and even make a movie of the events of Zero. It’s as if F was focusing too much on the fans’ nostalgia and far less on continuing the story forward. That is just cheap.
Now about the actual story. It is messy! Really. It tried to be epic and mysterious and more mature than before by including a hive mind notion, yet ended up as nothing but a silly mecha show with shallow logic, corny romance, and unexplained events. Especially the fate of the lost SDF is enough to demand a series of its own. While the original had a storyboard that kept changing continually to something else, F wasted most of its duration on simple events, tributes to prequels, and silly romance. And while the original had events that led to an interplanetary war and the almost extinction of the human race, F feels like a few skirmishes around a small part of humanity. It is simply all too underwhelming.
I can go on comparing everything else that the original did better. Here, let me choose the Zedraedi for example. They were awesome adversaries in the original for being war-like, unable to think past their way of life, scary and mysterious, yet curious of our way of life. They were a huge contrast with the humans. In F though, they behave almost like us, having intergraded to our way of living. They no longer feel as anything more that huge people. Not only that but the only important alien character in the whole show is a Meltran female warrior, who for some genetic problem turns to a loli when she assumes human size. The conflict in her story was how she couldn’t do all the sexual stuff with the guy she liked. And that is aaaall the offer she had in the show. What a joke they made out of the once great Zedraedi.
Shall I go to the new adversaries of this season? They were a bunch of space bugs called Vajra. They have no personality because of their group mind and for the whole anime they hardly show any signs of interaction. They are completely boring! There is also a person with a hidden agenda who tries to exploit the whole linked mind notion to become a god and stuff, but the whole thing is shown so messy, you just don’t even care.
And then it’s the romantic interest in this season. Apart from the fact they are hardly memorable for following their stereotypes down to the finest detail, their very interaction is just silly. Where the original had a catchy premise of a normal young man having to choose between the mature military girl or the perky pop idol, here it is if he has to chose the butchy pop idol or his non-blood related loli pop idol. Well that is just silly; especially since in the end he doesn’t even choose one. Yeah, a goddamn harem ending is what you get. To the most part you see them only as pale imitations of the originals desperately trying to keep you interested with tired anime clichés around pop idols and corny romance as well as references to the original cast.
The only thing I have no problem with is the production values, which I found them very good. For their time the action and the ever present pop songs are very well done. There are some quality drops in animation later on but nothing much to ruin your already not so good impression further.
In all, it is not as entertaining or even as well planned as the original. Although it does have some cool action scenes and continues the story forward, it is messy and far more typical. Almost like an average space adventure albeit with good production values. I can same the same about any other show that followed the original Macross, simply because it was no longer directed by the most awesome Ishiguro Noboru (who also directed Legend of Galactic Heroes) but was switched to Kawamori Shouji. He pretty much directed all following major Macross projects and they were all hardly as interesting. He clearly lacks the talent of his predecessor and even made a fool of himself by agreeing to direct a very tasteless show called Basquash.
In all, I still recommend this anime but only if you have or plan to watch the rest in the franchise and only if your bar is rather low.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 9/10
General Artwork 2/2 (great)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (detailed)
Animation 2/2 (good)
Visual Effects 2/2 (epic explosions)
SOUND SECTION: 8/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (very good but not great)
Sound Effects 3/3 (fine)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (mediocre)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 1/3 (not much)
Rewatchability 1/3 (you will mostly rewatch it for the action scenes)
Memorability 2/4 (a nice tribute but nothing more)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 4/10
Mostly a dull rehash of older shows but it is fun half the time.