Reviewby Mark A. Grey, Oct 10th 2002
Macross Plus OAV
In the return of the epic Macross saga, directors Shoji Kawamori (SDF Macross) and Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) have teamed up to bring a tour de force OVA. With music by the acclaimed Yoko Kanno, Macross Plus takes its original saga to a whole new level. Totally oriented around character development and storyline progression, Macross Plus is a series that brings you a new way to look at its original lineage. However, a viewer with no previous knowledge of the Macross Universe can still enjoy this series fully, as it is a stand-alone story, and everything that needs to be known from the original is explained within.
Isamu Dyson is an extroverted, hot-headed test pilot, who leaps before looking. Guld Goa Bowman is a composed, mentally advanced man with a abnormally strong psyche. However, Isamu and Guld share a scaring past that causes Isamu to be spiteful of Guld and leaves the only scratch on Guld's otherwise composed mind. That past is centered around Myung, a woman who at best, has tried to forget the both of them. Myung is the discontented producer of Sharon Apple, a computerized pop star who is currently the most popular celebrity in the galaxy.
The storyline is elevated continuously as Isamu and Guld both meet on their home planet, Eden, to test-pilot rival prototype airplanes. The “airplanes” are those comparable to the Valkyries in SDF Macross. The conflict between the two is brought to be even more forceful when Myung shows up on Eden as well. The storyline continues to evolve as all three characters are forced to confront their past and bring it to rest.
While the audio quality of Macross Plus is excellent, the dub quality is under par, simply because so many of the actors lines are cut or changed. At some points where emotion should be emphasized, the actors speak flat and monochromatic. Many who have seen the series in subs before would definitely be put off by this, as would those who would normally like dubs. Sub quality on the other hand is great, most would find it superior to the dub. The subtitle lines run well in time with the visuals, there are very few slim in the timing.
The audio quality of the sound effects is excellent. DVD is truly appreciated here. Jet engines roar and the slightest mechanical noised is crystal clear. The soundtrack was composed by the legendary Yoko Kanno, and features a diverse array of musical genres. It is very enjoyable music, especially the vocal pieces made for the virtual star Sharon Apple, which range from mystic to techno in genre. The Shinchiro Wanatabe influence can be seen in the traditional Shoji Kawamori Macross. Many of the characters can be reminiscent of Cowboy Bebop at times, especially Isamu Dyson. The importance placed on characters and their backgrounds will probably take the viewer back to some of Wanatabe's other works, as mentioned, Cowboy Bebop. The production team is exemplary.
The real shining technical point of the DVD is the visuals. The animation is drawn extremely well. The style is much like what can be seen in series like The 08th MS Team or the original SDF Macross. Shading is done well and faces are outstanding. The character designs are very pleasing. One complaint in the visuals is that at times the scenes are too dark. There are times where this can be really bothersome, like in dark rooms or plane hangars.
The extras are nice but repetitive. There are four commercials alone for the series, to give an idea of how anticipated it was. The image galleries are nice, and are rather extensive as well. The character profiles provide good back story without too many spoilers, but not much more can be expected of them. What I don't understand is on both DVDs Manga Entertainment has included an “Anti-Drug Trailer” which features bands of various natures telling kids not to do drugs. Do not ask me why this is on my Macross Plus DVDs.
If you enjoyed any of the original Macross or are a mecha fan in general then Macross Plus should definitely be on your list. If you like drama scenes or moving battles and characters, then you should not miss it. Macross Plus is an action packed series that never fails to fulfill its potential to be dramatic. It is the perfect OVA for a great lineage that has had some much recent controversy.
Overall (dub) : D
Overall (sub) : A
Story : A
Animation : A-
Art : A
Music : A
+ Great story, excellent production team, music is exemplary
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