I finished rewatching Macross 7 Dynamite, and with that I finished rewatching the whole show. 56 episodes and a movie. It felt like the series would last forever, it just kept going and going.
This was the hardest series in all of my top anime rankings to rewatch. It's no wonder I only got around to it dead last. Macross 7 is not the reason Macross is great. It's actually a drag on the series, which would be ranked higher if it didn't even exist. But it's still an integral part of the series, not filler but canon, and so I'm obligated to watch and rewatch it if I'm ever to call myself a serious fan of Macross. Well, I'm that serious a fan.
There are good parts of Macross 7, it's not like Jojo's season 4 that was so bad it tanked the entire franchise. Mylene is pretty. Sevil is pretty. The music is so-so. Basara and Mylene's relationship is fun and humorous. Gamlin's kinda cool (and has one of the best voice actors, so that always helps). It's nice to see Max and Millia again. The flower girl was super moe.
There are a few good eps that really stand out, like Mylene and Basara getting stuck out in the cold and having to sing to keep warm. Or the episode where everyone was getting prepared to launch a hopeless assault on the enemy's home planet and the mood was properly grave and forlorn.
But the faults outweigh the qualities. The protodeviln look, act, and talk stupidly. Rather than a menace to the galaxy, they look like a bunch of circus performers. All the fight scenes with protodeviln, as a result, look ridiculous. It's impossible to relate to these supposed life and death struggles when the monsters are these feathered fools that keep talking about the beauty of this, the beauty of that.
The supervision fleet, which the Zentradi were supposedly at war with, are nowhere to be found. The series simply forgot their existence by the time Macross 7 came around. Which is absurd. They must have been everywhere, for a galactic empire as numerous as the Zentradi to not have defeated them yet. The Zentradi were defeated, or at last a large fleet of the Zentradi were, during the events of SDF Macross -- so where did the supervision fleet go? Shouldn't they have immediately filled up the void now that all resistance had ceased?
Using music as a weapon with weird super powers goes against the entire theme and purpose of Macross -- that music and culture and beauty and appealing to people's hearts is a better and more powerful primal force in mankind than any number of jets, lasers or missiles. In fact, in the first half of the series, Basara specifically says music is superior to trying to defeat your opponents with weapons. But in the second half there he is, using music as a weapon, a beam, a barrier, a trap, etc against his foes. It's so pathetic. Not only can music obviously not do these magical things, but they shouldn't have wanted to do it either -- not without destroying the entire ethos of Macross.
Macross has other unresolved love triangles, but Mylene's feels the most forced and obnoxious. It's obvious she likes Basara, but since Basara doesn't see her that way, she keeps playing Gamlin along as a backup plan. This rude disservice to Gamlin, jerking his chain all series long while never intending to reward him at any point, is repulsive and just plain painful to watch.
The endless repeat animation is a bother, but even more bothersome is the endless repeat situations. There are so many episodes in this series which are carbon copies of previous episodes. They could have been cut entirely and no one would have even noticed.
Why do Max and Millia not get along? They seem compatible. Max hasn't done anything he should be ashamed of. So why does Millia treat him like shit? It completely undercuts one of the best parts of the original series, to undo this romance. It's like how the Force Awakens randomly ruins the wonderful romance between Han and Leia that we watched three movies to build up. What happened to their happily ever after? Why would you steal that feel good story from us by mentioning, oh, and later it didn't work out and they got divorced, haha.
The movie is just awful. Dynamite is even worse. Space whales? Four episodes to talk about singing to whales in space? Really? The only good part of Dynamite was the onsen scene (both getting there and once they were there) which sadly is randomly interrupted by an attempted lesbian rape of Mylene where the perpetrator isn't even punished for her actions, arrested, anything. I'm fine with rape scenes in anime, but they should be treated with proper moral gravity, and they shouldn't just fly in from left field with absolutely no foreshadowing. The situation Mylene saw herself in was so vanishingly unlikely that I'm not even sure it's happened once in world history. When something that unusual occurs, it feels gratuitous and thus totally distasteful.
Too many fights were resolved without any mechanics, but just spiritia beams blasting against each other with absolutely no technique or skill involved by all actors. That's not good enough to keep a fight interesting.
Was there any real reason for Rex to even exist? Or the jamming birds? Or any of the other stupid sub-plots?
After watching 56 episodes and a movie, twice, which weren't actually much good, I feel like I have the right to voice a few complaints. Macross is the first great anime and the first anime I ever watched. I'm looking forward to the new Macross coming out next year. Just please, please learn from your mistakes made during 7. I don't want to watch a spiritual successor to 7 twice. At least spare me that.
With 7 done, my 'watch and rewatch all great anime' vow removes its last chink in the armor. I can't rewatch Ojamajo Doremi until Doremi Fansubs releases its HD version, and I can't watch Cinderella Girls until somebody releases it in blu-ray. Everything else, according to my own rules, I don't have to watch until 2019 or later. I could stop watching anime for a year and still be on schedule. Which means I'm caught up with all my halls of fame, from books to anime to manga to video games to movies to visual novels. Everything I've endorsed for others I've done myself first. This is a zero hypocrisy zone.