Macross Flashback 2012

Those of you who know me personally or have read most of my work here at The Anime Review know I love Macross. I was introduced to the series through Robotech, and it is the reason that this website exists today. In all likelihood, without it I would never have become an anime fan. It got me through a miserable time in middle school (but did anybody have a good 7th grade year?) In its bringing me into the anime fold, it has changed my life.

So we come to Macross Flashback 2012, a 30-minute music video filled with songs from the TV show and the movie Do You Remember Love? It is a personal favorite based on my own experiences with the show, and I originally gave it an A+ rating way back in the early 90s when I started writing reviews. Does it still earn that high of a grade? Not quite, and for reasons I'll discuss in a moment. But surprisingly, it still holds up very well based on both the quality of the original program and the incredible music contained within.

Macross Flashback 2012 takes several of the best-known vocal performances from Macross and puts them against a backdrop of footage from the show and movie. Not all that interesting, right? Wrong. The show cleverly drops in some very short live-action shots and intriguing segues between various bits taken from the source material. Most of it will be instantly familiar to those who've seen all of the original Macross saga in its two incarnations, but it is a great refresher course.

The ending is the real kicker, however. The final song contains all-new material that was originally intended to run under the credits of the film but was never completed. Although there's no dialogue, we finally get to see the Megaroad, the ship designed to take the Earth forces back into space. We see Minmei who's finally grown up and gotten on with her life giving her farewell concert. We notice a beautiful Misa Hayase and impressive Hikaru Ichijo, ready to head into the great unknown. It's a much more fulfilling spot to close the initial chapter of Macross than the previous endings. It's so well done, in fact, that it makes all the sequels pale in comparison; none of them have captured the real spirit of the original.

Macross became a sensation because of the music, and Mari Iijima became quite the superstar both in Japan and America due to it. But how many of us listen to music from 1983 today? 20 years later, all but a couple of songs really stand up against modern competition and crush it. There are a couple of "cute" tunes that really don't do anything, but nothing feels stuck in the 80s. These are the timeless songs of a true diva, not a fly-by-night pop star. Considering that the music was written for an animated TV show with budget problems, it's stunning.

I still have to take down my rating just slightly from the original to be fair to the problems a music video of this nature inherently has. Except for the last five minutes, the footage is rehash...reinterpreted very well, mind you, but still rehash. And now that Macross TV is available in the US, there's a much better means to hear the majority of this music in another (although sometimes abbreviated) format. Since 2012 has never had nor likely ever will have an American release, buying the TV set from AnimEigo is by far the easier choice.

Although Macross Flashback 2012 will not do much for someone who's never seen any of the original show or the feature film, it's a real treat for those who've loved either one. My imported DVD has seen quite a few uses, and I expect it to be a treasured part of my collection for a very long time.

Macross Flashback 2012 -- violence, brief nudity -- A-