AKA Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Super Dimension Fortress Macross the Movie, Macross: Clash of the Bionoids, Super Spacefortress Macross
Starring Mari Iijima, Arihiro Hase, Mika Doi, Akira Kamiya, Osamu Ichikawa, Eiji Kanie, Ryūnosuke Ōbayashi
Directed by Shōji Kawamori & Noboru Ishiguro
Here it is: Macross. The holy grail of sci-fi anime. It may not have as much mainstream recognition as some others, but within the industry, Macross is the preeminent giant robot anime. In America, it was turned into the first part of the Robotech series, one of the more popular cartoon shows of the ’80s. It even impacted the Transformers. The character Jetfire was created from a Macross toy, and while Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf have been using the Transformers franchise as their own personal commode lately, that Macross inspired character is still around today.
There is no Robotech version of this film, which is an adaptation of the original Macross TV series, but because of the various copyright conundrums, it never got a proper American release. It did get an English dub under the title Macross: Clash of the Bionoids, but one version going by that title was edited into oblivion. (If someone makes a list of the most confusingly published movies, this one better be on it.) I didn’t have much trouble getting a DVD of the original Do You Remember Love, but it is an all region disc, so I think it’s an international release that somehow sidestepped the copyright problems. Sadly, that “perfect edition” is far from perfect. While it does have some good quality video, the subtitles are abysmally timed. The worst part is the karaoke subtitles, which cannot be turned off under any circumstances. Maybe someday we’ll get a good remastered Blu-ray edition in America, but don’t hold your breath.
It’s not often that you see a ferocious battle played out to a gentle love song, and you might expect the two tones to clash, but nothing could be further from the truth. The song becomes an excellent counterpoint to the death and destruction, making that final battle more tragic than exciting, more desperate than triumphant, and it underscores the entire purpose of the story. The simple use of that love song makes the end of the movie more tense and emotional than any fast and hectic tune could have ever done.
The romantic moments are savored, perhaps more so than the action scenes, drawing them out so the relationships feel developed and believable. Despite being a good thing, this may be the biggest problem with the film. Action fans will likely find themselves bored by the slow romantic parts, while romance fans will be just as bored during the action sequences. And there are some damn cool action scenes. How many films have a shootout in a pitch dark airlock, lit only by the muzzle flash of the guns? To truly enjoy the film you will need to appreciate both the romance and the combat.
With great moments of animation and an accessible plot for the unfamiliar, fans of space opera should search this one out, as there has rarely been a film that embodies the term so well. Others may not find it as interesting though, and it remains primarily a treat for fans of the original, capturing the most heartwarming, and heartrending, moments of the series with flare and beauty. It’s a great watch for anyone that fondly remembers Robotech, and anyone that likes epic space warfare will also find a lot to love.