Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Super Robot Profiles: Macross

Macross is an anime from 1982-83 which was adapted into the first part of Robotech for North American distribution. (This is a simplification-the first Macross was followed by at least two "non-sequel sequels" [basically new series set in the same or a similar universe] and about a bazillion retellings of the same stuff, the latest one of which is slated for this summer.)

Created by Tatsunoko, this series follows what I think of as "the Tatsunoko Rule." The Tatsunoko Rule is as follows: The robots from a given Tatsunoko Productions series must fight enemies at least twice their own size, preferably at least five times their own size, and if possible a few thousand times their own size. This, despite the series ostensibly being one of the earliest "real robot" series, which changes the focus from a single, essentially magical robot to a large number of mass-produced robots that are fairly clearly technological.

The Tatsunoko Rule extends even to the enemy warfleet that attacks Earth in the series.

(Image yanked from Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions, specifically the -10X page. The SDF-1 Macross, the ship used by the protagonists, is on the bottom.)

That big ship on top? It's one of the Zentradi's medium-sized ships. And to be fair, while the Executor dwarfs even the massive flagships used by the Zentradi, the Zentradi "home base" is literally four to ten times the size of the Death Star. (You can use this page for a visual comparison of the two structures' official sizes.)

The really interesting part, though, is that that, as a species, the Zentradi themselves follow the Tatsunoko Rule. The Zentradi, while more or less the same species (in some insane Japanese way) as humans, are approximately the same size as the mecha piloted by the humans. This obviously helps account for some of the usage of the Tatsunoko Rule here, which really is more than can be said for any other Tatsunoko series. (Part of the irony here, of course, is the fact that the big ugly mecha used by the Zentradi [ugly in the best possible sense-they're charming designs] are, while faster and more agile than their opposite numbers, pretty much a cinch for their tiny and less technologically advanced enemies to destroy.)

Other than that, blah blah love triangle blah blah fishcakes.

Also, one of the later Macross series featured the protagonists controlling and powering their fighter mecha by playing guitars.

I'm sorry, but that's a little too silly even for me.

-Signing off.

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