So, with a cup of coffee in hand, the internet’s laziest anime reviewer rides forth once again, a look of steely determination in his eye, to actually write something for the site he said he’d write things for. This week, I’ll be taking a look at something a little older than I normally do while I wait for this season to end so I can give a full overview on the various series that are currently running. As you may have noticed from the title, I’ll be reviewing 1984 space mecha flick, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, which I will refer to as DYRL from now on, because writing that out over and over again will probably cause me to lose whatever will to write I have managed to summon from the depths of my lazy soul.
DYRL is a movie version/alternate telling of a chunk of the first series in the long-running Macross franchise, and is set in a future where Earth has been bombarded into a wasteland by a mysterious race of space creatures, the Zentradi. As a result, people have been driven to live in space in the giant spaceship-which-can-turn-into-a-robot, the SDF-1 Macross. The story follows a pilot aboard the titular space fortress, Ichijyo Hikaru, as well as his friends and love interests. The story’s primary conflicts come in the form of the space aliens, of course, but the secondary (and actually possibly more interesting) conflict comes in the form of the love triangle that forms around the poor pilot after he meets space-idol Lynn Minmay.
While I can’t seem to get a solid figure on the budget, the production values appear to be stellar, with the typical beautiful high-budget 80′s cel animation in full effect. While it’s not quite Akira, it certainly does look lovely, with incredible attention to detail on the various sci-fi doodads and whatnots, and incredibly smooth animation during the action scenes. The movie definitely looks a treat, and is a definite must-see for anyone who claims to be a fan of 80′s anime films.
However, while some things about the 80′s certainly were nice, it’s the second part of it that might be a bit of a turn-off for some people. The film is, of course, very, very 80′s in concept and execution, and may seem cheesy at parts. Depending on your tolerance or fondness for that particular brand of cheese (I, for one, really enjoy it), you may or may not like the story. It is also very 80′s in its incorporation of music; while I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone looking to watch it, music plays a pivotal role in the progression of the plot. Depending on your enjoyment of slightly-overblown 80′s themes, you might have an utter blast with this film or may find your enjoyment reduced.
Another word of warning for those of you looking to watch DYRL: while it does have lots of action scenes, and while they do look utterly gorgeous, it isn’t a total action movie. The sci-fi space battles are a wonder to behold, but a lot of the substance of the plot of the film comes in the form of the drama that the romance creates. If you’re looking for a love film with a space-based war as a dramatic backdrop, look no further, but if you’re just looking purely for explosion eye candy and boisterous mecha fighting, you could do better even if, as I said, the parts where the fighting does occur look utterly fantastic.
DYRL is a bona-fide anime classic – it was one of those few films that managed to permeate into the budding anime-enthusiast culture of the West back when it was released, and it’s easy to see why. It does, however, feel like it’s from another age, but I would be hesitant to chalk that up as a negative. It has retro appeal in spades, and is certainly something that you should watch at least once, especially if you enjoyed other 1980′s anime movies or series. For me, at least, anime feature films from that era are some of the best parts: I love their incredible attention to detail in each individual background, I love the smoothness of the animation while preserving that detail and I love the total and complete lack of glaring CGI (on that note, has anyone seen the new Berserk film yet? It looks like it was animated in Miku Miku Dance). While I wouldn’t argue that the industry could do with a total return to the earlier paradigms of animation, I’d find it hard to come up with a good excuse not to like the way that the 80′s handled anime.
To summarise, Macross: Do You Remember Love is a very retro, nostalgic movie, and is a must-see for anyone who has an interest in 80′s anime. While some of the ‘vintage’ almost-melodrama might make the plot seem a little too retro, that sort of thing is enjoyable in its own right. If you ever feel like watching something a little older, you can do a hell of a lot worse than DYRL.