Macross Plus

OVA (4 eps x 39 min)
1994 - 1995
3.795 out of 5 from 3,577 votes
Rank #2,198

After years apart, childhood friends Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman reunite as rival pilots, each showcasing an experimental plane for the military. But their mutual love for longtime friend Myung threatens to spin their already tense feelings out of control! Now, each battles to secure Myung's affections, but even more dangerous than their own dark secrets is a clandestine plot involving superstar singer Sharon Apple that threatens all of humanity!

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Macross Plus is a terrific little mecha anime, but it's the music that makes it something special. Released in 1994 as a direct sequel to the original Macross TV series, Macross Plus predates the mythology and themes that would start with Macross 7 and continue into subsequent series such as Macross Frontier and Macross Delta. Instead of the space opera that is the hallmark of those later series, it presents a more intimate tale, but still manages to weave in some high stakes for its climax. By having a smaller scale, Macross Plus manages to invest its story with reasonable depth in 4 episodes. At its core, it's a story about lost friendship, woven around an external threat that provides the backdrop against which our protagonists - Myung, Isamu, and Guld - sort out their issues. Macross Plus is not just a sequel in name only; it is steeped in Macross continuity. Fans of Macross get plenty of callouts to the original series, including the half-Zentraedi character Guld, heavy showcasing of the original Macross fortress amid the backdrop of the 30th anniversary of peace with the Zentraedi, and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it karaoke moment with Lynn Minmay's hit single "My Boyfriend is a Pilot".  The animation is mostly good, but there are some jarringly poor moments here and there. Character scenes bear this burden; the mecha action is sharp throughout. Mecha fans get some great action setpieces in episodes 1 and 2, and episode 4 is action-packed throughout. Though it predominantly uses cel animation, Macross Plus does integrate some early CG here and there without it being jarring. There are some really well-designed shots throughout, particularly in the concert scenes for virtual idol Sharon Apple and throughout the final episode. Fun side note: Episode 1 of Macross Plus previews the starship designs that would comprise the Macross 7 fleet. Macross Plus really shines with Yoko Kanno's outstanding music. From its sweeping orchestral score to its ecletic collection of original songs, the music of Macross Plus elevates it above being just another mecha anime. The importance of music to the story and in the production is the series' strongest tie to the feel of Macross. The main characters are a deeply flawed bunch. Myung wallows in self-pity; Isamu is self-absorbed and doesn't really relate to other people; Guld's fawning need for Myung borders on the obsequious. In truth, they're not a really likeable trio, but that makes them a bit more real. Episode 3 dives a lot into the characters while setting up the climax to shock them out of their insular little world. The villains of the story don't get a lot of development, but they ably provide the conflict that helps resolve the story for the protagonists. All in all, Macross Plus was a key moment in the rise of the 90s animation boom in North America, but unfortunately has become lost in the shuffle since. For any fan of mecha, music, or Macross, Macross Plus is well worth spending your time on. Footnote: Macross Plus has no relationship to Robotech at all. None of the Macross sequels are related to Robotech. Harmony Gold incorporated the footage from the original Macross TV series into Robotech, and that is their only link. Harmony Gold did not release a sequel to Robotech until 2006, 12 years after Macross Plus.

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