Golden Age Theater
Directed by Shoji Kawamori
The film was released in 1984 as an alternate universe to the original series. The stories follow the same plot line but characters, events, and motivations, are all changed slightly. This lets the film work as a stand alone, and with all new animation it often feels different. On release, the film was seen as the best animation and one of the last Golden Age blockbuster films.
The Macross series as a whole is quite vast, featuring many series and film, including Macross Plus that launched the career of Shinichiro Watanabe. Do You Remember Love acts as the central point of the franchise for introducing the universe and story. The dynamic background animations, smoke and missile tracking, and swirling camera movements make it a pretty fun ride.
A Story of Love?
Macross: Do You Remember Love? is a stand alone film, but it doesn’t feel like it. The story follows a simple love triangle, played out over a grand space battle and the survival of the human race. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t really go beyond that. Small montage moments and lots of action give us the basic premise, but the condensed plot is clear. Major characters of the series hardly require a mention, and our central three serve to frame the action more than anything.
Minmay, a new singer idol, gets caught up in battle and trapped with a fighter pilot named Hikaru. They spend three days trapped inside an engine room, become romantic, and continue dating after being rescued. The two of them get captured along with three other friends by a giant sized race of male green cyborg people!
This leads into the Male vs Female giant armies of death, and Hikaru escaping with his commander. Hikaru and the commander fall in love over the course of a month, return to the ship Macross, meet Minmay, and somehow save the universe while killing everyone.
A really interesting story that leaves you wanting more can be great, and Macross certainly fits the role. Even if the story is a bit wanting.
A Story of Art
While the story was crushed down to its most basic form, the battles and light show are the real center of the film. Gundam has always been the big name in Mecha, and it is refreshing to see a drastically different philosophy in design.
The film revels in these interesting and mechanical designs of the ships that make the battles feel really large. Each fight feels like it requires more than the screen can handle, while perfectly framing the key moments.
Again the story is too brief to properly build the tension. Even as I watched a fantastic final battle scene, it never clicked that this was the big moment. Hints are within the film, leading Hikaru to battle the champion of the Female Giants, but the film doesn’t have time to let it really sink in.
A beautiful film that suffers from a lack of time. Macross might be better experienced through the series, and the film as a nice visual treat afterwards. The story is a bit lacking in depth, but the action is packed full. A Golden Age popcorn blockbuster.