Macross Frontier – 01
In humanity’s past, there was a war with a race of giants called the Zentradi. With this first fight against extraterrestrial life, the human race experienced a crisis that put them close to extinction, so they entrusted their future to the advancement towards the cosmos. In search of a new world, they began a journey to every part of the galaxy. Now, in the year 2059AD, the gigantic 25th Immigrant Fleet known as Macross Frontier is headed for the center of the galaxy. On this particular day, the famous idol Sheryl Nome arrives on the Macross Frontier for a concert, and five guys who are going to be participating in the show are getting ready. One of them, a teen named Alto, wishes he could pilot a Valkyrie instead of an EXGear suit even though the EXGears are the same as those of the military. As he’s getting dressed by the concert hall, Alto encounters a girl named Ranka Lee who had gotten lost while trying to find her way to the concert after having gotten a ticket through her brother. Even though he’s angry with her for initially thinking that he’s a girl, Alto helps dry her wet clothes with the rockets on his EXGear and then shows her the way to the hall. To show her gratitude, Ranka invites Alto to the Chinese restaurant where she works, but for now, she rushes off to see the concert.
Unbeknownst to them, an emergency situation is developing outside the Macross Frontier: an enemy force has appeared and is taking out everything the military sends at it. The situation becomes so dire that military command contacts the Frontier President about it, and when an emergency message is broadcast across the fleet telling everyone to find shelter, it interrupts the concert too. Ranka’s brother Ozma, an ace pilot of the private military provider group S.M.S, is scrambled into action and soon finds himself in a heated battle against the enemy fighters. Though he and his wingmen fare decently and manage to take out some of their opponents, the other pilots aren’t so lucky. The larger enemies quickly blow their way through the defense fleet and head straight for the ship where the civilian population is. Alto meanwhile tries to confront Sheryl – who’s being whisked away to safety under heavy guard – for escaping while others are being left behind. Since arguing there accomplishes nothing, he flies up in his EXGear suit and watches as an alien creature lands and starts wreaking havoc. It soon notices him though and shoots at him, clipping the wing of his suit and sending him falling. Alto is saved when a Valkyrie VF-25 flies in and begins battling with the alien.
Unfortunately, the alien creature grabs onto the Valkyrie and forces its pilot to eject in his EXGear. Unfazed by the pilot’s rifle fire, the creature grabs and kills him by crushing him. It then turns its sights on Ranka who had fallen in the streets earlier and was slow to get back up. Realizing that his EXGear can work with the damaged Valkyrie, Alto jumps in and starts it up. Before the creature can do anything to Ranka, Alto saves her by distracting the alien with the Valkyrie’s guns.
You’ll have to pardon my language, but holy shit that was amazing. The music (by Yoko Kanno), the animation, the battles – everything was so incredible, and I can’t begin to fathom how much money was spent on this. It was movie-level quality. The first half did a good job introducing the story and characters (even for someone like me who’s not intimately familiar with the franchise, this was very easy to get into), but it was the entire second half that had me on the edge of my seat. I don’t think a single episode has hooked me as quickly as this did in a long while – at least not since RXJ anyway. And from the look of the preview, there doesn’t seem to be a distinct drop of quality for the second episode either. I’d say Macross Frontier has easily shot up to the top of my list of most anticipated shows for the Spring 2008 – maybe even more than GEASS.