Most casual and hardcore anime fans that I’ve met that aren’t really Macross fans tend to like this oav. Personally for me as a Macross fan, and keep in mind I’m not speaking for all Macross fans when I say this, is that even though this is fan friendly to non fans of the franchise, I feel it offers very little of what Macross is truly about. For the most part, it exclusively takes place on a planet similar to earth and the aliens are not really emphasized enough, so it’s value of being a space opera, especially taking place 30 years after theoriginal doesn’t really feel all that present.
Also gone is that it isn’t really taking place during a war, but whatever action is present will mostly be between Isamu and Guld, but I’ll get into that a little later. But what’s still present in the tradition of Macross are of course the love triangles. But since the love triangle this time is between 3 former friends there’s a whole lot more directly involved in this one, while the love triangle between Hikaru, Minmei, and Misa in comparison to this feels more superficial which is the only thing I can say in which this installment is superior to the original. In this case, Myung is of course very hesitant who she loves, and seems to be more open to Guld, but still shows concern and care for Isamu. Guld is very more open about his feelings for Myung, while Isamu shows he does care, but seems to be more of a big brother figure to her and doesn’t seem to exhibit any romantic interest directly as much as Guld does.
The pacing overall is very balanced, though I think in the end with some of the twists needs more explanation rather than the convenience of speeding up to the ending. There’s really no explanation of some of the motivations of the guy who runs Sharon or anything and things get a little too convoluted at the end, and didn’t really feel necessary. But if you concentrated on the foundation of the love triangle, and the Top Gun competition in this oav, then this should be ok for you.
The character designs are simple, but still very stylistic with the costume designs and the resolution. All human races are well represented whether black, white, Hispanic or Asian, but I felt the series needed more Zentradis to expose newbies to the wonderful world culture of Macross. The pilot suit is more reminiscent to the style used in the old movie, Do You Remember Love with the shoulder pads, the color scheme, and the helmets. It still works pretty well and doesn’t at all look dated despite a 10-year age difference between the two. The design of the Valkyrie’s are more or less the same and still contain the same engineering features. The action is well coordinated, explosive, fun, and easy to follow. At some capacity, it’s what you could ask for in mech anime. Both Isamu and Guld are equally excellent pilots in their own way with their respective mechs which keeps the battles going. But despite their good skills, they got nothing on Max or Roy. Compared to them, Isamu and Guld are simply breakfast. But anyway just like in some AMVs out there, you’ll certainly have the Top Gun soundtrack playing in your mind when watching the high flying battles.
What also stands out in this anime being made in the mid-1990s is the use of cgi in certain scenes, especially in light speed mode. Granted they do look a little primitive and a little trippy, but I think it adds some novelty to this oav. It is appropriately used and it’s not really much to complain about rather than the superficial qualities of it.
And to conclude this part of the review, I’ll talk about the design of Sharon Apple. I’ll admit she’s quite original and quite exotic. It’s like somebody was playing too much Idolmaster and all of a sudden, he beat the game and makes big money off his idol. Her concept really takes advantage of how Macross always had a stand out soundtrack, which I will now transition to.
The music done by the great Yoko Kanno isn’t as uppity or as energetic as the original Macross, but it’s quieter and softer music is more invoking and more appropriate to the darker and emotional atmosphere this installment will have throughout. A certain song will also sound a lot like the opening theme of the first Ghost in the Shell movie and really suits the cerebral mood in which it stands out.
The voice acting is also appropriate to the characters and captures their personalities very well. Yamazaki Takumi, who I only remember as the voice of Ferrio from Rayearth plays Isamu. He can make him sound arrogant and passionate when appropriate. And also casted is Unshou Ishizuka, the voice of Jet from Cowboy Bebop comes across pretty well as Guld. He makes him sound more mature and serious, but knows how to express his anger when appropriate. And one last name I like to highlight is Fukami Rica, the voice of Sailor Venus as Myung. She really makes you feel for her character and can make you react to her both positively and negatively in relation to her situation and I thought the voice acting really highlighted on that.
Like I said before, this is probably the most friendly to non Macross fans because it’s a short OAV and covers a descent amount. Even though I do give this anime a high score which I’ll give soon, but compared to other Macross installments, I don’t think this is the best Macross has to offer. It sort of falls apart at the end and I can’t elaborate why because they would be spoilers. But it’s other qualities are still an eye catcher.