Can someone fill me in on Macross? I'm afraid I'm not up to speed there.
The Macross series started with a TV series called "Super Dimension Fortress Macross" in 1982 and is one of the progenitors to both transforming mecha and virtual pop stars. It is also famous for its classic love-triangles between its main characters.
In 1999, an alien space ship crash landed on South Ataria Island out of nowhere. Most of the planet united (more or less, though not easily) after this event and worked together to rebuild the space ship, now dubbed the SDF-1 Macross aka "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross."
10 years after that event is where the series starts. At the launch day celebration of the SDF-1, a fleet of alien ships jump into orbit of Earth and a sequence of events launches the people of Earth into a war with this unknown alien race, the first time ever that humans have come into contact with life from beyond Earth.
It's an anime that was HUGELY popular in Japan during 1982 for a number of reasons. In fact, it was so popular that it got extra funding just so that they could extend the episode count another 10 episodes making the total episode count 36 instead of the usual 26 episode run that anime TV shows are known for.
Here are some of the differences from other mecha anime that made SDF Macross stand out.
1. Macross is a mecha anime that is heavily focused on music and the role of culture in our civilisation and why it's important. All Macross series are filled with music and songs by pop stars and rock stars that EXIST inside the show. For example, the first Macross series had many songs by the character Lynn Minmay who became a pop star who inadvertently influenced the course of the events of the series with her music. Minmay's real life voice actor, Mari Iijima, was scouted for her singing/musical abilities when cast as Minmay.
2. A huge aspect to the series is the love triangle that occurs between some of the series main characters that is weaved into the overall storyline of the greater war that is happening around these characters.
3. Mecha and giant mecha are present in Macross and is an important part of what makes this series, but it's not paramount. However, that doesn't mean that the mecha is insignificant, in fact the mecha designer and one of the series creators, Shoji Kawamori, spent many years making transforming toys before he helped creating SDF Macross. In fact, he's the man who created the original toys that became Optimus Prime and Starscream (and Jetfire, though that's actually another story lol, I'll put that at the end of this post).
SDF Macross is also the first anime to feature transforming mecha, it was kept such a big secret that the opening intro for SDF Macross cut out all references to transforming mecha until after one of the VF-1 Valkyries transformed in the show. Before this moment, the only mechs that transformed were very simple toys with other mecha shows only showing combination transformations such as Getter Robo.
After the TV series was made, a movie adaptation of the TV series came out called "Macross: Do You Remember Love?" in 1984, the same year that Transformers started in the USA. DYRL? is where a lot of what the TIE Fighter anime video takes a lot of inspiration from in terms of overall art style and presentation.
In 1987, a music video collection called "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Flash Back 2012" that acts as a kind of epilogue to DYRL?
in 1992, an unofficial release called "Macross II: Lover's Again" was released, however, this is not considered canon since Shoji Kawamori and others didn't approve its creation and weren't a part in the making of this 6 episode OVA.
In 1994, "Macross Plus" was released and started the revival of Macross as a series. Headed by one of the series creators, Shoji Kawamori, it was co-directed by Shinichiro Watanabe and features music by Yoko Kanno. Actually, pretty much every person who worked on Macross Plus except for Shoji Kawamori later went on to create Cowboy Bebop three years later. Macross Plus was Macross "grown up" and featured a storyline that was a little more adult with characters that were older and had been through a lot more.
Along with Macross Plus in 1994, a new Macross TV series was released called "Macross 7" which is extremely campy and low budget and features quite a lot of "space magic" compared to previous series. It's a pretty hard watch if you prefer the more realistic tone of all previous (official) Macross titles, but it's awesome in its own ways. Great music.
in 2002, Macross Zero was released and as the title suggests, is a prequel series to the first series made back in 1982. It goes back to the more serious and realistic tone of Macross Zero... mostly.
in 2007, came "Macross Frontier" which is probably the most famous Macross series aside from the original due to its heavy marketing in Japan.
The next Macross TV series is called "Macross Delta" and it's still in production. We don't know when it will come out, most likely in early or mid 2016 at this stage. I can't wait for it to come out cause... as you can probably guess, I'm a HUGE Macross fan lol.
Lynk, that's intriguing. I'm not normally a particular fan of anime, but you really caught my interest with your description of Macross. I'll be sure to look into it soon, probably tonight. You're right, though, the art style is cool, and it screams retro (I mean that as a good thing). Thanks for the information!
To be perfectly honest, Macross is OLD. The original series was made back in 1982 and has the low quality TV series level of animation that mid to low production series had back then. But if you can get pass that level of awkwardness, it's got an intriguing storyline and some pretty awesome/classic moments that, at the time, was ground-breaking for anime and for a TV series in general.
I would definitely start there with Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and if you like it the rest of the Macross series is easily watchable. Just make sure to watch everything in release order since it makes most sense to watch it that way due to minor retcons and spoilers from previously released series.
If you're willing to go all the way, go with this watch order...
1. Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982): Original TV series that started it all, best place to start. 2. Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984): Retelling of the TV series, has a different plot but tells a similar story, good to watch after the TV series because of its awesome animation quality. 2.5. Optionally: Macross: Flash Back 2012 (1987): It's a music video collection, so if you like the music from the TV show and movie and want to see a kind of epilogue to the show and movie as well, this is it, otherwise it's easily skipped since it doesn't show all that much in the "epilogue" parts. 3. Macross Plus (1994): At this point in time, Macross fans have grown up and Macross Plus reflects this as it's a more serious and adult orientated show compared to the original. There are TWO versions of Macross Plus you can watch, the 4 episode OVA or the movie version... either one is fine to watch, take your pick. OVA version is a little more fleshed out but has plot holes, movie version cuts out some stuff and adds in new stuff but is better paced and has a more awesome death scene for... someone (I can't say who or what lol). 3.5. Optionally: Macross 7: It's a 52 episode TV series but its extremely campy and kind of hard to swallow, especially if you're not really into anime. You can try, but it's better just to watch Macross FB7 after Macross Frontier to get the gist of what happened here if you'd like. 4. Macross Zero (2002): Takes place before the events of SDF Macross, fleshes out some overall plot points of the series. 5. Macross Frontier (2007): Very popular TV series, a bit more cliche anime but is still a very well made Macross series well worth watching, especially if you've come this far, it has A LOT of references to past series that are all important. 5.33 Optional: Macross Frontier The Movie: The False Songstress (2010) and then Macross Frontier The Movie: The Wings of Goodbye (2011): A set of two movies which retells the Macross Frontier series much like how DYRL? retold the original SDF Macross TV series. 5.66 Optional: Macross FB7: Listen to My Song! (2012): An odd "music video movie" where the characters of Macross Frontier are given video tapes to watch that contain an edited version of the events of Macross 7 featuring a lot of music and the main plots of that series. 6. Macross Delta: If you've come this far, you'll be waiting for Macross Delta to be released some time in 2016 so you can watch it along with me and many other people lol.
Or... like I said... just watch Super Dimension Fortress Macross by itself at the very least. It's old, but it's still a hell of a show. One of the classics you can't miss IMO. But yeah, like I said in my other post, there's a whole bunch of other Macross related stuff such as an OVA and movie related to Macross 7 as well as the game released on the PS3 in Japan called Macross 30 which is considered its own canon event in the series, but you don't really need to get into that unless you become a big fan of the series.
EDIT: Oh, I also forgot to explain how Jetfire at the end. Hasbro, who were the ones to fund the creation of the original Transformers cartoon signed a deal with Takara Toys to use transforming toys from the Diaclone and Microman toy lines. As mentioned before, Shoji Kawamori, one of the creators of Macross had made toys for the Diaclone toy line and some of them became Transformers like "Convoy" who became Optimus Prime.
However, in 1985, a second line of toys was commissioned and some of the molds sent over to Hasbro actually belonged to other shows. One of these toy mods was of a VF-1S Valkyrie from Macross that ended up becaming Jetfire in Transformers. After Bandai bought Takara Toys and Macross gained popularity again in Japan, they basically told Hasbro that they'd have to redesign Jetfire so he no longer resembles the VF-1 Valkyrie from Macross.
Aaaaaalso, Macross did make it outside of Japan back in the 80s... however, most people outside of Japan know Macross as the first third of the Robotech saga. Robotech took Macross and two other unrelated anime series and basically cut them together one after the other to make an entirely new show. While Robotech has its fans, and truth be told, Robotech is my (and many other peoples) first experience with Macross, it is also what keeps Macross from being a Japan-only thing, so screw those guys.
EDIT 2: Also, here I go again, I've hyped myself up on Macross so much that I'm watching SDF Macross yet again
I'm actually planning to watch the original series tonight. If it's anything. Like the TIE fighter fan film, I'm very excited to see what the show entails. Old finds like this (well, maybe not so much by your standards) usually catch my interest, not the least of which is due to the art style that you don't see anywhere anymore, the sounds, and the retro vibe of it.
Is there still a fan base for the franchise out there? Has it become more obscure over time?
Lastly, could you suggest any place I might find the original thirty-six episodes?
To be specific, if you're looking at art style alone, then "Macross: Do You Remember Love?", the movie adaptation of the TV series is what you're looking for. But I only recommend watching that after watching the original TV series, "Super Dimension Fortress Macross."
The animation quality of the TV series ranges from great to downright sloppy due to fluctuating budget, but DYRL? has steller animation, though the TIE Fighter animation is misleading in that it captures the art style very well, but not the actual animation movement of 80s anime very well. With the TIE Fighter animation treats every frame as a key frame while anime tends to use a lot of cost/time saving tricks. That TIE Fighter animation is kind of a hybrid of western and Japanese animation that doesn't exist in the real world outside from fan creations.
As for a fan base... Macross has a very large fan base both in and out of Japan, so much so that the most recent Blu-ray releases of various Macross series/movies, although not selling outside of Japan, actually have English subtitles as standard on them.
The majority of the Macross fan base outside of Japan go to: http://www.macrossworld.com/ which is still very active because new Macross stuff gets released all the time. Like I said in previous posts, a new Macross TV series "Macross Delta" is coming out at some point in the next year.
Macross merchandise is extremely popular as well, with a lot of people, including myself, buying up transforming Valkyrie toys despite the cost... I have A LOT of them... like 30 of them *looks around*
As for where you can find the original SDF Macross... I'll PM you the info.