Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Much Ado About Macross

Today I picked up the flier for Macross Frontier ~Sayonara no Tsubasa~.

I always hate it when they put those fancy squiggly things like "~" in titles, as it just looks twee, but aside from that inconsequential complaint the movie will hit screens across Japan from 26 February 2011.

The subtitle Sayonara no Tsubasa has been roughly translated in recent press statements as "The Wings of Goodbye", whatever precisely that means.

It's the sequel to last year's Macross Frontier ~Itsuwari no Utahime~ (more squiggling action, which actually does look better in Japanese: マクロスF ~イツワリノウタヒメ~).

That movie was directed by Shōji Kawamori (河森正治), previously the mechanical designer on Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor 2; he also acted in Oshii's Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters, created the original Macross Frontier manga - and apparently was responsible for the initial toy designs in the late '70s for the Transformers' Optimus Prime.

More importantly, Kuwamori was the creator, production supervisor, mechanical designer and writer of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross (超時空要塞マクロス, Chōjikū Yōsai Makurosu) TV series, a 1982-83 sci-fi melodrama of the finest sort that, according to Kawamori, depicts "a love triangle against the backdrop of great battles" during the first Human-alien war.

And really that tells you enough - it's an awesome romp that has mecha action wrapped up with base human emotions like jealousy, rivalry and anger.

I loved it when I stumbled across it (on VHS) back in Australia in the early '90s.

Even better, however, Kuwamori also co-directed the ground-breaking Macross Plus (マクロスプラス) in 1994 - with Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) - thereby creating a slab of absolutely essential anime.

Whether the new movie lives up to these original yarns is yet to be seen (obviously, since it hasn't even screened) but until the unveiling in February they have the website here for more pics/info... in Japanese.

In the meantime here's the bloody brilliant old trailer for Macross Plus; it used to feature on most of the 1990s videos released by Manga Entertainment in Australia (now better known as Madman).

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