Full of spoilers, but do you really care?
In Macross 7 a good rock song can detect and free hostages, undo brainwashing, heal coma victims, put people into comas, cause orgasms in people possessed by aliens, charm ladies of any species, cause battleship fleets to retreat, raises ancient cities, causs people to gain enlightenment, and makes magic laser beams. It can also stop punks, aliens, soldiers, vampires, monsters, and freaky looking sprite princesses with the power of pure awesome. Rock is the Swiss Army Knife of Macross 7. Music is like the power of friendship in shonen manga or shooting things in the Metroid series. It solves any problem and more effectively than any other power in the universe.
The Macross 7 world is also a place that has apparently forgot that Rock n’ Roll ever existed before. It as if the mind-set of the 1950’s has taken over most of the population. But thank God Basara has invented rock. People condemn it, don’t understand it, and are even tortured by it. But they are also moved by this strange new sound! I kept picturing the town from Footloose, but being opposed to rock rather than dancing. Macross is also an endless parade of bad 90’s clothing trends, ugly aliens, and horrendous hair.
35 years after the conclusion of the original Macross series Earth has decided to send several fleets of immigration ship out into the galaxy looking for new planets to colonize. One of these fleets is the Macross 7 city. After seven years of exploring the galaxy the Macross 7 fleet is attacked by a previously unknown enemy called the Protodeviln. The Protodeviln seem to be able to drain the life force from people and leave them as comatose husks. At first they seem a near unbeatable foe but that is until they feel the might power of J-rocking Basara Nekki. Every time the Protodeviln attack Basara jumps in his custom Valkarie and tries to stop the enemy attack with his songs. When Basara is not trying to win over aliens with the power of rock he is a member of the struggling band Fire Bomber.
This is the first, and only, time we see male singer as the driving musical force. But Basara loses none of the cocky, reckless pilot attitude to his peace-loving musical genius. Basara swings from biggest jerk ever to sensitive musician from episode to episode. This looks to me like what happens when you overbalance a character. Who can compete with all that wrapped up in one package? The answer is, of course, no one. He also has insane hair that could probably double as a weapon.
Basara is best summed up as Rock and Roll Gandhi. He is a pacifist but instead of using nonviolent resistance he uses guitar riffs. Basara is also a huge prima donna at times and the most chill dude in the universe at other times. I feel that Basara is somewhere in between being a shonen hero and a seinen hero. Basara has the “awesome at what ever I do from episode one” of the seinen hero but the clueless nature of the shonen hero. Hell he is Hiraku and Minmay (and even a little Misa) all rolled into one character. Everyone else in the show is just along for the ride.
Mylene, firstly, is the only character in the show that gets more than two outfits. They are literally obsessed with sticking her in every single fashion statement ever made in the early 90’s. Though there is that one time when Basara had a pink shirt, but I think they just ran out of green paint. She is a great big brat who is constantly clashing with Basara over music and everything else. She is thrown one and the other depending upon the plot of the week. But she does prove her worth in the band by Basara actually being able to sing with her. Which he basically finds impossible with anyone else. She also has a pet called Guvava who resembles a tribble, he has mad skills like making angry eyes and getting keys from unwitting guards.
Mylene confuses me even more than Basara. They basically make her yo-yo back and forth between being a helpless brat to a kick ass woman who can take care of herself. I suppose it can partially be chalked up to her being a 14-year-old but it’s mostly the writers making her as capable as the plot needs her to be. I’m not sure if I like Mylene. I’m definitely rooting for her but I also want to smack her in the face. For reasons that we all know but refuse to acknowledge they constantly focus on Mylene’s adolescent bum. It’s best encapsulated by the episode in which two sleaze balls go around selling “choice” pictures of Mylene. Thank you Tetsuro Amino. You clearly saw the unfulfilled need of three screens filled with multiple pictures of her arse.
Basara and Mylene seem destined for each other from episode one, you know how with some shows you can just tell. Never mind that they practically hate each other. Never mind that they can’t get along for an entire episode. Never mind that they give each other the littlest amount of respect. None of these things seem to deter what is the proverbial writing on the wall for them. And then there is Rex! She is so freakin’ awesome you’d wonder why anyone would pick Mylene over her. There is really no reason for me to want Basara and Mylene together. And yet the show just convinces me that is should be so. But yet it convinced me of little else.
Basara and Mylene don’t really ever grow as characters. They just wildly oscillate between various states throughout the series usually within the same episode. They don’t grow as characters as much as learn to put up with the eccentricities of the other one and sometimes go longer without going from one state to another. You better like Basara and Mylene in episode one because that is who they are throughout the 49+ episodes of Macross 7.
Ray Lovelock and Veffidas Feaze are the other two member of the band. As much as Basara and Mylene change their moods every 10 seconds Ray and Veffidas are as constant as the stars. Ray’s role is to be the level headed daddy figure. His pragmatic thinking is obviously the only reason the band ever made it anywhere. When ever someone needs to talk some sense into one of the characters or someone needs to be a responsible human being in the band then it will be Ray. Veffidas drums. Constantly. Probably even during sex, being on fire, or while dying. I have nothing to prove the last three but I think it’s still a safe bet. And she does nothing else. Oh I guess she is strong as well but it hardly ever comes up.
Ray’s purpose is also be the original connection to the military. Apparently part of their retirement plan is to let you handle Valkyries and give you access to fix them anytime you need to. Veffidas is only there because they have to have a drummer. To my recollection, she was only important three times in the entire series. One, to tell Mylene to calm down when she wasn’t listening to anyone. Two, to open a set of really heavy doors. Three, at the most dire moment you find out her drumming can produce rock energy. That is it.
Gamlin Kizaki warrants special attention because he is without a doubt one of the lamest characters in anime history. Gamlin is an elite pilot that Mylene’s mother keeps trying to hook her up with. He has awesome hair that Narutaki thinks just might be the coolest hair style to ever grace the universe. He is so square he actually makes taking out a building full of terrorists lame and boring. He also seems to take double damage from rock music. There is supposed to be a love triangle between Mylene, Basara, and Gamlin but I don’t think anyone in their right mind expects Mylene to end up with Gamlin. Heck, I think Fire Bomber’s blonde groupie flower girl has a better shot with Mylene.
I hate to admit this, but Gamlin is the only character in the series with actually character development. Everyone else is basically who they were when we meet them, but Gamlin changes, becomes more laid-back, and actually slightly likable. Though I don’t think I would put him on my favorite characters list. I am convinced they toned down the hair as the series progressed. But there was still no chance in hell he would end up with Mylene. Why I even cared about that “love triangle” is completely beyond my brain’s understanding.
The alien forces show up like Sailor Moon villains. Everyone is sent to do the same thing, farm Spiritia until we get to the next villain sent by the bigger villain to farm Spiritia. Let’s see, we have the “vampires” who are the most generic Spiritia suckers; then there’s Gargamel…I mean Gigile who seems to be the only villain that actually stays dead; then there is this white ape looking dude who is obsessed with beauty (like he knows anything about it?!) who lives way too long. And the most annoying of them all is green, screaming, alien girl Sivil who possesses people, but only people that can get close enough to make-out with Basara. And after she finally does she is blown into a coma from the sheer force of rock that Basara exudes. I could not make this stuff up. Oh and let’s not forget our big baddie the ever effeminate Gelepnitch, who is so womanly looking that the fan-subber had to note at the top that it is supposed to be a dude! Did I miss anyone?
There are four other Protodeviln but they are basically just there to be less interesting than everyone else and to have someone new for Basara to use the power of the Rock on. Essentially they are the monsters of the week. Oh Sivil. I am firmly convinced that they introduced Sivil because they realized that no one believed that Gamlin had any chance of winding up with Mylene. So they introduced an equally silly and implausible love interest for Basara (because for some reason they foolishly decided not to have more Rex). But she mainly goes around screaming off key while saying some combination of anima and/or spirtia. Later in the series Basara seems to get some sort of mild obsession revolving around Sivil but since Basara has not grown into being the seinen hero he will become I can’t really call it love or lust. She runs around being freaky, spends most of the beginning trying to posses humans to make out with Basara, spends most of the middle in a coma, and most of the end saving Basara and randomly flying around in space. She is a very odd and silly character in an already very odd and silly anime.
When Sivil was introduced I almost died laughing. I think the people making the show actually liked her and thought she was hot. I distinctly remember a moment when she first showed up, a guy actually described her as a beautiful woman. I’d like to know where these people have been that Sivil passes as good-looking. She is so annoying I really enjoyed her time in a coma. But why did this alien woman have to infiltrate the last few episodes of the show. The “dramatic ending.” Of course the ending was silly and cheesy, really couldn’t be any other way considering the entire series is that way. But it really freakin’ irked me and it was her and Basara that saved the universe.
I think I would have been slightly disappointed in the series has end all serious business style. After Mylene and Gamlin revive Basara from his coma by singing they all go out to fight the out of control Berserker Gelepnitch. Everyone tries using Planet Dance but like an alien Simon Fuller he is unaffected. Even Planet Danceis not strong enough? Just as everyone is being drained of their spirita Basara remembers why he sings and gets his second wind. After Basara convinces Sivil that it is Rock that is needed to defeat Gelepnitch, not violence, they perform a duet version of Try Again. This Human and Protodeviln performance is so powerful it causes Gelepnitch to transcend into a Rock n Roll Buddha after he joins in singing as well. Gelepnitch then flies off with the Protodeviln so they can all be gods of rock. You cannot make this stuff up.
The Encore OAVs are three episodes that occur during the time of the TV series but were not included in the original run for one reason or another. One episode was about Millia thinking she was dying. It was the most throw away of the three. The second was rather amusing Behind the Music style episode where a news show tries to discover the origins of Fire Bomber. We finally get the story of how Roy and Basara met. We also get Veffidas’s back story which is hilariously over the top in typical Macross 7 fashion.
The Encore stuff is nothing supremely special and the animation isn’t any better either. So they are really only called OVAs technically. And the history of Fire Bomber was good but you then find out that most of it was just made up to be a good story. Also there is that tiny episode of Mylene getting ready in the morning where we are once again introduced to her butt. The only one totally worth seeing is the one with a fleet of women that move from wanting to kill Basara with a passion to wanting to have his babies.
Without a doubt the best reason to watch the Encore episodes is Fleet of the Strongest Women. The Macross 7 is attacked by a fleet of some of the strongest Meltrandi warriors. Basara tries to use his song energy to stop them but it has no effect. So he uses the Minmay Attack and turns the fleet into Fire Bomber groupies. By the end of the episode they are a screaming pack of rabid Basara fans all but tearing off their clothing for him. Pure. Comedy. Gold.
The Macross 7 movie is also set during the TV series. As Fire Bomber is performing experiments on how sound energy can be used to effect plant growth, Basara and Dr. Chiba discover a strange signal coming from a nearby planet. Basara recognizing the signal for a song immediately rushes off to investigate. The whole story is essentially unimportant. It’s mostly an excuse to meet Emilia, Mylene’s sister. Emilia is giant sized and is also a musician. She of course falls in love with Basara after a musical battle as is the law in Macross 7. Oh, and there is some little kid named Pedro who is a Fire Bomber fan. He runs around with Basara and saying “Listen to My Song” so Basara does not have to.
You forgot the other mind-boggling part. If there was another person who could use sound energy, why they heck did they not take her with them? Also why is Mylene’s sister living on a random planet and in giant form? Whatever. And the before mentioned child was just annoying.
I swear to whatever Kami-sama there may be that if I ever hear Planet Dance again, it will be too soon. In fact, I think after watching the Encore episodes, Planet Dance can be held accountable for this entire story taking place at all. Some of the songs are pretty good however with sweet guitar riffs and passionate 90’s singing you can’t go wrong. My favorite being Holy Lonely Night because Basara goes AHHHHH AAHH! constantly and My Soul for You with the beautiful lyric of: If you were the wind, I would want to be the endless sky. Also loved Seventh Moon, the opening song which is never played any other time, and Try Again, which does in fact save the universe.
I can’t say that I hated Planet Dance. I’m not rushing out to import the single but it did not annoy me as much as it did so many others. I really liked Seventh Moon as well and also wished they had played it a few times in the show itself. I also liked the fact that it was Try Again which saved the universe because I think it was one of my favorite songs. It clearly has enough Rock Powa.
For some reason, I find myself strangely drawn to this show. I didn’t mean for it to happen but I kind of like it. I think it flies in that very hard to reach zone of “it’s so bad that it’s good.” I mean it is really hilarious to watch and discuss the insanity that is each and every episode. Though I think you have to push yourself to make it through 10 or so episodes before you pick up speed. And boy am I glad I did! Now I can pick up on all those Macross 7 references in Macross Frontier. Planet Dance formation!
Two major oddities about Macross 7 made me interested in watching it. The first is Macross 7 has always been one of the few shows that almost everyone considers an impossible license in the United States. Even when total long shot shows like Kodocha and Lupin the Third got picked up everyone still knew that Macross 7 did not have a chance. The other reason I was interested was it has a horrible reputation in American among most Macross fans. Old school Macross fans tend to despise Macross 7 with a hatred reversed for rapists, murders, or Peach-Pit. With Macross 7’s unpopularity combined with its enormous licensing costs (and a major legal battle due to uncertain rights issues in Japan) it seems that Macross 7 is doomed never to come to the United States.
I have my doubts about Macross Frontier getting licensed let alone this oddity. And tack on the fact that the Japanese actually did really like the show, you have a price tag that no one wants to deal with. People in America don’t seem interested in Macross anyway, atleast not enough for the hefty sum they demand. That is why everyone must run out and watch it on fan-sub! And then you will know its magnificence and we can storm the gates of anime companies everywhere and demand our Macross 7!