Throwback Thursday’s: Macross 7 Review & Characters - LISTEN TO MY SONG!!!!


  • Episodes : 49
  • Genre : Mech, Sci-Fi, Action, Space Opera, Music
  • Airing Date : October 1994 – September 1995
  • Producers : Studio Nue, Production Reed

Macross 7 Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

In the year 2045, 36 years after the first Macross series (anyone remember a big even that happened in 2009?), the human race and the Zentradi continue to live a prosperous co-existence. This saga of space exploration now continues with the newest Macross spaceship, the Macross 7 co-led by Maximillius and Millia Jenus, the first inter-galactic married couple.

Despite their ground breaking accomplishment that helped pave the way for inter-galactic peace, they are presently separated and their personal lives and their respective political roles have further complicated their relationship. The only person who has a chance of saving their marriage is their youngest daughter, 14-year-old Mylene.

Mylene is a member of Fire Bomber, an up and coming rock band led by the care free and whimsical Nekki Basara. In the new cruise of the Macross 7, an unknown force that drains energy from people and puts them in catatonic states is now threatening them. Due to the nature of these attacks, the Macross 7 top brass refers to their enemies as vampires. And the only one who can stop them is Basara with his excellent piloting skills and his passion for singing.

Who does Macross 7 cater to?

In addition to fans of the original Macross series, maybe newer anime viewers who have only seen Macross F should check this out. If you want to see the origins of Fire Bomber, an oldies band in that series, this is a great opportunity to do so. Plus, if you love music centric anime like Nodame Cantabile and K-On, this may be the series you can enjoy but with a rock and mech twist.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

After the controversy that was Macross II, not at all under the supervision of Kawamori Shouji, the original Macross creator, he comes back to the franchise to give it a true sequel. But it's an anime that does something totally different from by being more music centric as opposed to being action centric, while the original series was more balanced in that regard. The series truly embraces its identity of being weird and different. Ultimately, it teaches viewers to be true to themselves, to never give up, to accept people of other backgrounds no matter how hideous they look, and make one’s own dreams come true no matter what the obstacles are.

Macross 7 Main Characters List

Nekki Basara

Voice Actor :Canna Nobutoshi (regular), Fukuyama Yoshiki (singing)

As the main hero of this story and the lead singer of Fire Bomber, he wishes to touch the universe with his music. Whenever there is an attack on Macross 7, expect Basara to go out on his custom Valkyrie and try to reach the enemy with a song that he is working on. Despite his excellent piloting skills and abilities in dodging punches in regular fighting situations, he refuses to fight back even in defense.

Every time he does, he gets frustrated expressing his failure with his goals as a musician. No matter how frightening the enemy is, he still wishes to make contact with them through his music.

Mylene Jenius

Voice Actor :Sakurai Tomo (regular), Kajiura Chie (singing)

Mylene is the youngest daughter of Max (the captain of Macross 7’s fleet) and Millia (the mayor of City 7), two returning characters from the first Macross series. Since her parents’ separation, she has moved out on her own in her dreams to become a musician. She serves as a co-vocal and the bass player for Fire Bomber.

She always has a tense relationship with Basara because of his whimsical nature and her more willingness to follow the rules in order to get gigs and record deals. Like her parents, Mylene is also a very capable pilot but always gets scolded by Basara when she attempts to fight back.

Gamlin Kizaki

Voice Actor :Koyasu Takehito

Gamlin is a hotshot ace fighter pilot and leader of the elite Diamond Force. Upon his introduction, he is also a suitor to Mylene at the recommendation of Millia and has feelings for her. Due to his strict military beliefs, he cannot stand it when Basara shows up in the battlefield because he could potentially be a risk and jeopardize military operations.

Because of his feelings for Mylene, he does not want Basara anywhere near her. Despite his uptight nature, he cares a lot for his fellow pilots, the safety of the civilians of City 7 and in his own way, Basara.


Contains Spoilers

Macross 7 Review

As a sequel to the original Macross, having any exposure to the first series is helpful but not 100% required. Fans of the original series can conclude the influence of Basara’s gimmick of singing from Minmei of the original series, but Macross 7 does get around to showing and explaining that quality in full detail, and singing is still a significant part in the newest Macross series, Frontier. On the other hand, to understand Max’s and Millia’s relationship in more detail (and see how awesome of a pilot Max was in his youth), then it is recommended to watch the first series.

The series does a great job of telling its own story with its own original cast at an appropriate pace that accommodates the character roster. While the original Macross anime was a mech/romance show, 7 is more about the music and mech though there is a love triangle to, from Gamlin’s point of view. Basara as a main character is pretty much an absolute with who he is but by no means a Gary Sue. He is very true to his beliefs and takes crap from no one.

He doesn't care about the glory or money with what the success of his music could bring him. All he wants is for people to listen to his song. His dedication to his music makes him both selfless and self-centered. He is selfless because he wants to use his music to help others, even the enemy, but he is selfish because he will skip out on practices or refuse to do certain performances because he doesn't like it despite the exposure it could give him. He refuses to sell out to the man and feels music in general should be expressed anywhere and anytime whenever one feels like it.

The rest of the cast has their own unique roles. Max and Millia both demonstrate strong leadership through their experiences and accomplishments, but express their flaws as a married couple. Mylene has to make a choice about her future if she really wants to be a musician. Gamlin, a strict military pilot cares about his Men and wants to beat the vampires, thinks of Basara as a nuisance to both his job and his relationship with Mylene.

The villains, initially called vampires, are a mystery through a good portion in the first third of the series. Their motivations on a foundational level are pretty clear. As the series progresses, they are given their own unique expansion and development.

Watching it in HD, the quality of the animation still holds up excellently. Mikimoto Haruhiko, the character designer of the original series, once again contributes to this franchise. His style is up to the date with the 1990s style of animation with its sharper edges around the face. Just like how the drawings of the DVD covers of "Do You Remember Love" were presented as paintings, the first ending theme brings back this quality and shows an excellent sense of continuity and consistency from the first series.

I really love the realistic expression in Mylene’s eyes. In the second ending theme, Basara is animated into real life filmed sequences and reacts to the weather and the environment which is both humorous and gives nod to the reasons on why he sings.

The series has a very excellent color palette that compliments both its bombastic cast and soundtrack, and looks great in high resolution. The mech designs are still true to the original but with bulkier updates and bigger power boosters, but still pretty sleek. Basara’s customized Valkyrie perfectly fits with his gimmick of being a musician and the pilot controls are modified to resemble a guitar.

With the battles, there is some abuse of recycled animation, but only just to show some of the poses after synching with a power up launched from long range. My biggest issue was the character design of the boss of the vampires, Geppelnich. I don't really want to get into it because it is a major spoiler. If you get around to this series and watch it, or you have already seen it, you will get why I have an issue with the design of this character.

Naturally, the heart of this show is the music composed by Yoko Kanno. If you're going to binge watch this series, Planet Dance, the first featured battlefield song, is nice at first but gets old rather quickly and you want Basara to hurry up and sing something new. But if you watch this series at a much slower pace, then I suppose it is more tolerable but as the series goes on, the soundtrack does progressively provide really cool songs like, Totsugeki Love Heart and Submarine Street.

However, when the soundtrack does expand, and sometimes reverts back to Planet Dance towards the end of the series, you may find a new sense of appreciation of it. My personal favorite song has to be "Submarine Street," because when I listened to the song, I was going through a break up even though I briefly knew her. I felt Basara’s motivations with why he sang it to Sevil, a villain, there was something that touched my heart and helped me get over my break up.

Initially, I wasn't keen on the idea that Basara’s regular voice and his singing voice were by different people. With his regular voice, he is played by the very talented Nobutoshi Canna, famous as Guts, from the original Berserk TV series, and as Shikamaru, from Naruto. I will admit that the singing voice, Fukuyama Yoshiki, a member of JAM Project which contributes to the Garo franchise, is still undeniably a talented performer and has me convinced that it could be Ueda Yuuji singing. I can't imagine anyone else doing it. Naturally, I did have concerns if this was meant to be a glorified advertisement for Fukuyama but hey, the guy is great.

Hayami Sho resumes his role as Max as does Takeda Eri as Millia. Their performances are still great and I have always loved Hayami Sho’s composure with his roles and Max is simply a role that was made only for him. Koyasu Takehito, another seiyuu legend who you may know was the voice of Dio in the newer Jojo anime series and as Zechs from Gundam Wing plays Gamlin. Gamlin is like Zechs in the manner that he is a soldier who follows a code and has an ego so his performance works with the character of this series as well.

1. The Flower Girl

A running gag throughout each episode of the series is the nameless flower girl. Ever since her introduction, her sole role is this series was something along the lines of comic relief. Her goal throughout the series is to give flowers to Basara but something or someone always gets in the way such as other fans crowding around her, or other celebrities taking them under the impression the flowers are for them.

The audience never really gets any background information on her other than she likes Basara. Maybe she's a representation that she's the first person that Basara’s music touched? Who knows but by the end of the series, she finally gives the flowers to Basara and he accepts them without hesitation bringing closure to her character.

2. Basara and Gamlin’s Relationship

If there is one thing that defines the character and relationship development in this series, it is the relationship between Basara and Gamlin. They are polar opposites of one another and Basara’s free spirit nature and Gamlin’s military discipline is the ultimate recipe for disaster. Plus, it doesn't help that Gamlin is in love with Mylene while Mylene does indicate some feelings for Basara despite their difficult partnership as bandmates.

However, Gamlin starts to see the positive effects of Basara’s music and even acknowledges him as a superior pilot. He even goes as far as admitting to Mylene of his jealousy showing a genuine sense of humility. Then as the series progresses, every time Fire Bomber performs on the battlefield, he puts their safety and their ability to perform as the number one priority.

3. Protodevlin

During the third act while exploring a remote earth-like planet, Basara’s song raises a temple from the depths of the sea revealing the true identities of the vampires, the Protodevlin. The Protoculture, the ancestors to both the humans and Zentradi who were in an intergalactic war genetically engineered their own weapons called the Evil. However, an inter-dimensional spiritual being took their bodies and became the Protodevil and started draining, spiritia, the life force of living beings as their own source of energy.


If you have been following my reviews since my YouTube days, then you know that music has always always been a big priority to me in my personal review criteria. My initial worry was that Planet Dance was going to be played like a broken record, but thankfully that wasn't the case and the soundtrack became more diverse. So if music is a high priority for you then check this out. If you want hardcore mech battles like in Gundam Wing, don't expect anything to that quality.

Justin

Writer

Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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