Macross Delta (2016)


Macross Delta (2016)

Director: Keni Yasuda
Studio: Satelight
Starring: Yuma Uchida, Minori Suzuki, Asami Seto
Episodes: 26

A listless young man joins a stowaway with dreams of joining the tactical sound unit Walküre to counteract the spread of violence-inducing plague Var as her homeworld gears up for war with the New UN government.

A lot of people were turned off by the premise of this show. Yes, a story centered around a combat pop idol group is dumb, but if you really think about it, the premise for the original Macross was kinda dumb too and Macross 7 was really dumb, but the former was a key part of my childhood and I watched through all of 49 episodes and three OAVs of the latter and actually enjoyed it fairly well, so why not give this one a shot? That was my thinking at least. I won't deny that I have a laundry list of complaints about the show and you're about to hear a good selection of them, but let's take the good with the bad. While some people don't seem to like the resolution of the series' love triangle, I did like the dynamics with Hayate, Freyja and Mirage. While the CG was rather iffy as it almost always is in anime, there are some very impressive displays of aerial combat.

My biggest gripe with the series is the antagonists' side. If the Windmereans were meant to be sympathetic, the writers failed miserably. Oh, I'm sympathetic enough to the general populace, the old soldiers Helman and Qasim were cool and I generally warmed up to Keith by the end, but I hated Bogue with a passion and couldn't stand that castrato half-pint Heinz. More importantly, I found their goals to be hypocritical bullcrap. They whine about the NUN's sins (and they're not entirely unjustified on that count), but the NUN isn't the one brainwashing the "liberated" peoples of the galaxy with a hate plague and going on master race tirades. Basically, the Windmerean higher-ups are Space Nazis. Screw them and their moral bankruptcy. As bad as the NUN is implied to be, from what we get, the Windermereans are far worse. I probably wouldn't be this angry if I didn't think we were supposed to be at least somewhat sympathetic toward their vision. But speaking of the NUN, I consider it a little cowardly of the writers to have our main characters in a PMC and take away much of the moral conflict on the protagonists' side. There could've been some greater complexity that way, but so it goes.

As far as the rest of the cast goes, I thought I'd find Freyja annoying, but her genkiness proved to be infectious. Among the other Walküre members, I only liked Kaname. Mikumo was thoroughly unlikeable most of the series and I tended to find Makina and Reina annoying. The team's love of reverse V hand signs provided scads of unintentional hilarity. The songs ranged from okay to sub-par and their costumes were terrible. I realize I don't really get the idol group scene, but bleh.

There is a fair bit of continuity porn for long-time fans of the series, but especially in light of the vastly superior Macross Frontier that preceded it, I feel really disappointed with this. It's definitely the weakest entry in the franchise, though I admit that it still puts it above a lot of the rival Gundam franchise. (I know Gundam has the bigger name, but I like a whole lot less of what they have to offer.) I was going back and forth on the rating to give it, but the more I think about all the stuff I didn't like, I honestly can't give it a strong endorsement. If you're a Macross fan, you may want to see it through, but I honestly don't think it'd hurt to skip it. It may actually help preserve your overall regard for the franchise. Better luck next time, gang.


P.S. It could be that due to the Windmereans' runes, I was drawing parallels to the bloody Smurfy cats of Avatar and that's a parallel you don't want me to make. (As you might infer, I friggin' hate Avatar, except for the glorious Hero of Humanity, Colonel Saint Miles Quaritch.)