Love triangles, J-pop & giant robots shouldn't normally work together, but...
Director(s): Shoji Kawamori, Noboru Ishiguro
Company: Studio Nue, Tatsunoko Production, Topcraft, Artland
Macross is one of the most iconic Japanese franchises. Over 30 years ago, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross debuted as a 36 episode television series. (It has since been followed with various other incarnations over the years, each along a different point within the fictional world's timeline.) As a result of its popularity, the show was rewarded with an expensive, high profile animated feature. The film follows the same plot, but is reduced to fit within a two hour runtime. Because of this, the film has a few chronological differences and is set in medias res. Macross: Do You Remember Love? takes place in the future. Humanity has evacuated Earth and is in the midst of a war with the male Zentradi and female Meltrandi. The U.N. Spacy, a successor of the United Nations, is in charge of defending Earth and general peacekeeping.
A young pilot named Hikaru Ichiyo is one of U.N's members. Despite newly joining, he is rather talented. However, his carefree attitude often gets him in trouble, particularly with his superior, Misa Hayase. One day, the Macross is attacked by a group of Zentradi. In the chaos, pop idol Lynn Minmei is rescued by Hikaru. After spending a couple of days together, the two develop a relationship. However, it becomes increasingly threatened by Minmei's busy life, Hikura's duties, and the impending pressure of the war…
Lynn Minmei, the forerunner of Hatsune Miku.
Eat your heart out, Gundam.
The backgrounds are gorgeous, and often give off a melancholic feel.
Do You Remember Love? is, of course, also remembered for its use of pop music via Minmei (or rather her voice actress, Mari Iijima) and its tightly choreographed intergalactic battles. Macross's ability to easily switch between genres allows it to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. The film also makes great use of contrast regarding its narrative flow. The first half of Macross is a lighthearted romp akin to a typical teen romance film with some action a la Star Wars. However, the later portion of the movie is more solemn and slow paced. The songs Minmei sings take on a sad, empty tone. Hikura and Misa are left searching for life on a seemingly abandoned Earth. When the action does return, it is more fast, more brutal. (Certain rather graphic scenes were even edited out of a recent Japanese DVD release.) Only by making peace with the Zentradi and Meltrandi can Hikura, Misa, Minmei and the rest of humanity hope to survive.
The dogfight scene between Max and Milia.
The characters, while not as fleshed out as in the TV series, are likable and believable. Hikura is fairly levelheaded, unlike many other shonen protagonists who tend to be short-tempered or entitled. He shows a surprising amount of maturity after the plot takes a darker turn when his squadron is captured by the Zentradi. Hikura manages to escape with Misa, however, Minmei and her agent, Kaifun, are left behind, and Hikura's role model, Roy Focker, sacrifices himself to the enemy. Eventually, Hikura comes to realize that his infatuation for Minmei was merely puppy love and that he shares a more deep, meaningful relationship with Misa after they experience hardships together.
Minmei and Misa are opposites in many ways. Minmei has a fairly cheerful personality. Her music serves as a morale raiser during the war and confuses the Zentradi and Meltrandi to no end, because they have never heard music before. (Not to mention, they find the idea of women and men existing together disgusting because they are separate species and mortal enemies.) Although seemingly naive, Minmei comes from a poor family and has become weary of all the fanfare surrounding her relatively new found fame. She sees Hikura as a way out of her chaotic lifestyle, a way for herself to return to simpler times.
It's sort of refreshing to see a love triangle with two girls and one guy rather than two guys and one girl, as more common in Western media.
All in all, Macross: Do You Remember Love? is essential viewing for anybody who considers themselves to be an anime or animation fan. Even though the film's soundtrack is dated and the plot sometimes requires a suspension of disbelief, DYRL is highly enjoyable and can be surprisingly insightful. Dare I say, as cheesy as it sounds, there is something sort of touching about a story in which love and music save the universe.
Yes, I do remember love.Rating: 4.5
About the Dub:
Oh God, you're not actually planning on watching it are you? While not as infamous as Robotech, the English version of Do You Remember Love? is not good by any means. This was because the film was dubbed cheaply in Hong Kong, making the characters sound like they have come out of a bad kung-fu movie or else they have awkward British accents. (Poor Minmei.) Worse, the version released in the U.S. by Celebrity Home Entertainment's "Just for Kids" label cut out half an hour of the film and renamed it "Clash of the Bionoids." The result is similar to the transformation of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind into "The Warriors of the Wind." At least they left the songs intact in their original language, but that's literally the only good thing about this dub.
Speaking of Robotech, Macross DYRM is currently unavailable for purchase in the United States due to the infuriating legal mess that Harmony Gold has got itself into. This is a shame considering that a Blu-ray edition of the film was recently released in its home country. Fortunately however, the film is fairly easy to find online and an unofficial 'fan import' can be purchased on Amazon for a relatively cheap $24. It will have to do for now.
Do I have to remember this dub?