Original Post: Did Macross Frontier Open a Frontier for the Macross Franchise
August 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm
I do believe that whenever a show tries to change itself for a new generation it also stands the chance to lose their older fans, and in some cases there are shows that don’t really have to change their formula, not only because what they came up with was timeless, but also because their series might not be as aged as they think. There is also a problem with following new trends in that it dates a work, if by looking at it you can tell exactly when the work was made it might not make it as enjoyable to future generations, especially after the trends change. There are certain characterizations that one can get away with depending on the type of series it is.
For instance while the inclusion of Klan Klan’s character who was both the loli-moe type character and also the mature female character was a twist on a old trope, and she also validated the previous installments of Macross in regards to the Meltrandi and can be seen as the end product of that Meltrandi that have been fully integrated into society. Yet Klan Klan’s appearance and tsundere attitude in her macronized form also follows today’s trends, but everything else about her is not dated.
The same can be said about Sheryl as well, Sheryl is pretty much a normal young woman. I have seen a little bit of Sheryl in many strong and proud females who have ever survived a brush with death (read: cancer). Or even her haughty personality and ego in people who have come from nothing and worked their asses off to become successful. Sheryl may in fact appeal to a lot of people especially women (she has a lot of female fans both on both sides of the Pacific) because of this, because some women recognize that strength or her struggles and they like her because she overcame it. Sheryl could be a person you know, and that appealed to the new generation who wanted someone they could identify with.
Alto is one where made a mistake. There is such a thing as being too reserved, thing is to make a character likable they have to be somewhat accessible to the average viewer. The time they spent showing him yelling battle cries in the cockpit is the time he should have spent showing us his inner thoughts. Actions speak louder than words true, but words are also very important, we wouldn’t have the skill to communicate with one another if it wasn’t needed after all. The inability to show his inner thoughts (which they novel rectifies) makes him seem wishy washy and frankly inaccessible. Its sad because if the novel is anything to go by Alto is more interesting than the anime and his issues far more complicated than shown by the anime. Alto has a bit of an identity crisis in terms of being a male this was revealed in the novel, and when one stops to think about it was shown in the anime in the form of Alto being upset about being mistaken for a woman but it was never elaborated on. To go into context for this when Alto at one point in time in the novel Alto refers to himself using different pronouns: Ore- masculine male way to refer to himself, then Boku- more polite way to refer to himself, Watashi- gender neutral way to refer to himself. He does this in his own mind when referring to himself. With this it makes more sense why Alto would want to get away from his home, not only because he wanted to be a pilot but also because he realized that he was going through a gender identity crisis. His relationship with Sheryl later on helps him get over this. The fact that Alto has also played a female for most of his pre- and post- pubescent life is also why he knows the female psyche better than most males. He is also pretty good at telling what a girl’s personality is from talking to them (he pretty much defines Ranka’s character to the audience with frightening accuracy in the novel even though they haven’t known each other for very long at that time). Alto could have been the male version of Klan Klan made for fanservice but much more than meets the eye, instead though Kawamori went the symbolism route which alienated Alto’s personality from the audience. The series would have been a lot more interesting if Alto got more focus, it should be known that even though Alto is the main male of the series he is not the main focus.
Bobby was just an amusing character. Elmo was also very interesting and like Klan represented the successful integration of the Zentradi race into human society. Ozma was a character that could also speak to the new generation in his status of young unprepared surrogate parent. He with his guilt as a reasoning spoiled Ranka, and shielded her from the harsh realities, while making her the center of his world. Him doing this destroyed his relationship with Cathy who he had planned to marry. The problem with him making Ranka his entire world was that Ranka became used to being the center of attention for everyone, and in a way expected it from others. Its sad that Ozma worked his ass off to provide for her only to have Ranka step all over his hard work. Its sad because Ozma marrying Cathy would had not only made him a happier man it would have also would mean that Ozma wouldn’t be able to spoil Ranka as much. Cathy was the typical character who was stuck in a relationship with a guy she didn’t really love it was really the typical story I’d seen in many movies (minus the my fiance assassinated my father part of course).
Grace was interesting and the more I learn about her the more interesting she is. Her worth as a villain is only proved in terms of her duping Leon, infecting Sheryl with the V-type virus, raising her into a pop sensation, then dropping her for someone better (its worse if you’ve listened to the audio drama or read the manga special about it http://community.livejournal.com/macross_f/218292.html). A lot of what happened to her she blames on the Mei family (and the Nome family simply because of association) because she tried to convince Ranshe Mei to learn how to control the Vajra, not only to save Ranshe’s life but also because of the possibilities it offered in terms of communication with loved ones and then Ranshe lets Ranka sing which then enrages the Vajra and gets their fleet destroyed on the same day mind you. She’s a bit like Alto though in that her story is never told in the anime, but in the novels and the CD dramas. It does make you think negatively about the Mei family because its members have made others suffer so much for their own bad decisions. The more you find out about why she has her vendetta the less sympathetic you are towards Ranka. She is the personification of hell hath no fury. This is a new type of villain for the Macross series, which would have been much better for the series had we known more about her, it doesn’t stop her from appealing to fans both new and old though.
Ranka is a character that would have been better off in another series, or playing another role. The problem with her in this series was that the society she lives in makes no room for being childish and immature especially during dire situations. It doesn’t help matters that she doesn’t behave like a normal teenager (or look like one) in her world, and her selfish personality which rears its ugly head at the worst of times where a normal person would be more worried about their loved ones rather than their own feelings. In other words she is tropehttp://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpoiledSweet- Spoiled Sweet minus the fact wealthy parents. She is a sweet girl as long as things are going her way. She’s not used to being told “no” has has a total disregard for the rules which maintain life in Frontier. What’s ironic about her is that her disgretions would not be so obvious if she wasn’t the main focus, and therefore the main character (she has the most screen time, and the appears in the most advertisements), she is the first person people see before they watch Frontier. She would be better off not in the one sided love triangle with her resembling a younger sister who has a crush on her older sister’s boyfriend. It also doesn’t help that the writers chose to use Alto to validate her character, made even worse by the fact that Alto only pays attention to her when she asks for advice or needs to be saved. She was actually made to appeal to the same people that make up most of Sheryl and Klan Klan’s fandom but alas not many people bought into it. She is the opposite of the other characters in that the more you find out about her the less interesting she seems. She was inaccessible to both new and old fans.