Anime Review 18: Macross, Tenchi Muyo, and Crest of the Stars

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross

This actually is from Macross II, which is an OVA.
This actually is from Macross II, which is an OVA.

Macross

This show got only a disinterested "meh" from me after 5 episodes. Being bored with this series after the first episode made watching the other 4 feel like a chore.

There was some action and fight scenes and stuff blowing up, but in 5 episodes you don't really know a lot about the characters. I felt like the characters in this don't have depth of personality, you don't find out a lot about their backgrounds and emotions. However, this IS a show aimed at little boys, so I guess feelings and personalities are too much to hope for.

I compared this show in my head to G Gundam, which is animated similarly and is the same genre. In that one, for whatever reason, I quickly identified with the protagonists and found the supporting characters dynamic and interesting. In this series, I didn't really feel that way. So in my opinion, G Gundam and other Gundam series are superior to Macross.

Macross has numerous sequels and spin-offs, just like Mobile Suit Gundam. I think Macross is the kind of unintelligent action anime that would probably only appeal to children who are excited by all the explosions. Perhaps later series are better. I'd pass this one up. It does exactly what other mech shows do, and not as well.

Tenchi Muyo

That cute thing in Tenchi's hand? It used to be a demon pirate spaceship.
That cute thing in Tenchi's hand? It used to be a demon pirate spaceship.

Tenchi Muyo

For a long time, I've been meaning to check out this series ever since a friend gave me the movie Tenchi Muyo In Love!/ Tenchi Forever!. I loved that movie and have been wanting for a long time to see the series it's based off of.

Tenchi Muyo is an ordinary high school student, who has no luck meeting women because he lives at the site of his grandfather's shrine, which is in a remote area only visited by elderly Shinto pilgrims. (Does working at the shrine make him a guy Miko? ^.^) He visits a cave with a locked gate, remembering that his grandfather had warned him never to unlock it. The story goes, Tenchi's ancestor had been a valiant samurai who had fought a demon and it's soul was imprisoned and at rest beyond that gate, further into the cave. Tenchi, who was most likely bored and most likely thought the story his grandfather had told him was just an old legend, steals the key and unlocks the gate. What he discovers is that the "demon" is a woman, a super-powered space-pirate and wanted criminal named Ryoko. She blows up his school and they have an epic light saber battle. And from there, it only gets weirder...

No, seriously. Ryoko is soon tailed by a snobbish princess from another planet, Ayeka. Even though Ryoko's 700-year-long dirt nap means that the statute of limitations has cleared her of all her previous crimes, Ayeka is still bent on revenge against Ryoko. The reason is, Ayeka wanted to marry her brother, Yosho (It's... a royal bloodline thing. I know it's weird just hold on a second.). Yosho, so she believes, was killed trying to fight and capture Ryoko 700 years ago. Yosho was Tenchi's ancestor from the legend. So, since Ayeka hasn't aged and Yosho has (spoiler: he's actually the grandfather) quite a bit, Ayeka instead falls in love with Tenchi and Ryoko becomes the main rival with her for Tenchi's affection. Ayeka's kid sister, Sasami, also harbors a crush on Tenchi.For those of you who aren't into incest and pedophilia though, I think we have a clear idea of who should "win" in this increasingly complex love dodecahedron.

To me, Tenchi defines the set-up of most Japanese "harem" anime, that is, anime in which multiple female love interest characters pursue and fight each other over a (usually remarkably dull/average) guy. You have Ryoko, who represents a character seen in almost every harem show, the Western/feminist woman archetype. She's aggressive, strong, and comes on to the protagonist. She's not afraid to "show off the goods" nor does she shy away from speaking her mind or making embarrassing jokes. Ayeka represents the more modest and feminine Yamato Nadeshiko archetype. She believes in familial loyalty (well in Ayeka's case this is taken to a... bit of an extreme. Brain bleach, please?), modesty, and is traditionally feminine in the gentle, passive way. Sasami represents the fact that there is almost always a loli character somewhere in there, possibly a younger sister or a girl who goes to the main characters' school because she's really smart and has skipped a few grades. She tends to be jealous of the older girls and try to say that she's cuter than them, calling the one's she's the most jealous of "old lady". Later in this series, they added a ditsy blonde girl, I think because men like to protect women, and perhaps they thought if Tenchi was surrounded by all these super-powered and smart girls, he would feel emasculated. Said ditz is an incompetent police officer from space.

The pet "cabbit" is named Ryu-Oki. He hatched from an egg. Ryoko joked that Tenchi was his father. This is not the case, the truth is even weirder. Ryu-Oki was Ryoko's ship, when it crashed, it had the capacity to re-create itself. Ryu-Oki is also a wanted criminal in space, so I believe he's a sentient creature that has taken many forms, but this time around, he's a cabbit.

I found every scene with him incredibly adorable.

So this show's a little weird, might get confusing at times, but it's very funny, entertaining, and has awesome characters. This anime is a classic that anyone should watch. I usually don't like harem anime's, but this one is really cool because of it's science fiction elements and the hilarious sexual humor. There's more awkward subtext in here than Freud could shake a cigar at. It's also fast-paced story-telling, a lot of stuff happened in just 5 episodes compared to the other 2 on this week's list, who were relatively slow-paced. There seems to be the right balance of action for the guys and romance for the girls.

Crest of the Stars

Above: Princess Lafiel.
Above: Princess Lafiel.

Crest of the Stars

Crest of the Stars is a Space Opera that seems to center around an adorable teen romance, but with both teens caught up in the terrors of intergalactic war. Princess Lafiel is a pilot cadet, who's the princess of a race of blue-haired aliens called the Abh. Jinto is an earth boy of noble ancestry who befriends her while they meet, work together, and then flee from a battle together, as both are considered non-combatants. Jinto is the son of the man who had surrendered to the Abh when fighting them as the United Humankind. Jinto becomes one of the first humans to ever work with the Abh military. He befriended Lafiel when they met because he asked her for her name, and she was moved because no one had ever done that before, everyone had always simply addressed her by her title.

An interesting thing about the Abh people is the way they're born. They are often born as combined DNA being used to make an embryo that is born from an artificial uterus. However, some of the Abh are "children of love" that is, made the old-fashioned way. Lafiel once asked her father, curious as to whether she herself was a "child of love". Her father told her her true genetic mother was a cat! Hilariously, this led her to think she was going to turn into a furry! However, it's later revealed who her mother is within the 5 episodes I saw. One thing I still wonder about Lafiel, though, is why the heck does she have pointy ears, when none of the rest of her people do? I think her father also had them, so it might be a simple genetic mark of royal birth.

Though not as much happens as quickly in this show, it had a lot of heart. I felt like Lafiel and Jinto were characters I felt for and wanted to know more about. So in five episodes, I'd say this one is off to a great start.

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