Macross II: Lovers Again
Genre: Action, mecha, romance, science fiction
Animation studio: AIC
Episodes: 6 (OVA)
Air date: May 21, 1992 to Nov. 21, 1992
Every anime fan has heard of the series Macross at one point or another. For those unfamiliar, the Macross series is a science fiction “mecha” series that started back in the early 1980’s. The basic setting involves humanity expanding across space and usually fighting alien life forms for one reason or another. The franchise is not known for its innovative storytelling, but what has made the series stand out for over thirty years in anime is Macross’ strong themes of music (read: Japanese pop), love, and how both are vital parts of every culture. The Macross franchise follows a timeline so all the numerous series take place within one universe. However, if you are new to the Macross series, then do not let that intimidate you as each anime features its own independent storyline. References to older Macross series are thrown around due to the setting, but you will not be thrown out of the loop if you miss them.
Macross II: Lovers Again takes place in 2089, eighty years after the events of the very first Macross series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Peace has been maintained on Earth since then until a new alien race called the “Marduk” suddenly appears. The premise features reporter Hibiki Kanzaki, who while covering footage of the fight between Earth and the Marduk, discovers Ishtar, an “Emulator” that enhances the Marduk’s combat abilities through singing. After befriending Ishtar, Hibiki is directly tangled in the struggle for humanity’s war against the Marduk.
Like most Macross series, space combat and love are the highlights of the show and Macross II: Lovers Again does not stray far away from that formula. As a six episode series, the story paces itself briskly enough to always maintain interest with the viewer. And with a good intertwining balance of “boy meets girl” romance and mecha action, there was always something developing either with the characters or on the frontlines. Given the show’s short length, it is easy to be underwhelmed with the plot, which is far too standard, especially the villain who’s purpose to destroy Earth is just because he wants to destroy stuff.
The characters are more on the standard side as well, but they stand out more than the plot at least. One of the interesting things I like about Macross II is that the male protagonist is a reporter rather than a fighter pilot, as the other female lead serves as the ace pilot character on the show. This is a unique flip of roles that I do not see often in anime, and as such here the male lead takes a more background role when it comes to the war instead of directly fighting it out with aliens in the spotlight. Hibiki does have a piloting license and does pilot at a few points in the war, but as a journalist he is there to just observe and he does not engage the enemy.
Macross II is a series that aired back in 1992 and it definitely has the look of a series made in the 1990’s with the traditional color pallets and character designs that long-time anime viewers will be familiar with. This was most likely a great looking show way back then as the animation quality is consistent and fluid especially during the dog fights that take place in space. The action sequences do not stand up to the more recent Macross Frontier which are nothing short of exhilarating, but Macross II delivers a solid fare of action overall. Macross II is not by any means a bad looking show and it definitely has a dated look to it, but one can definitely appreciate how impressive its animation quality stood over twenty long years.
Macross II: Lovers Again is one of the earliest entries of the Macross franchise and it is also a solid one. This six episode series does not aim to excel nor expand the long-running Macross universe. The goal of Lovers Again is to just put out another entertaining Macross series, which it does. The storyline and characters are sufficient enough to engage the audience, but they remain far from memorable in the end. Macross II: Lovers Again is not one of the strongest Macross series out there, but it offer fans another taste of what makes the Macross series stand out as a whole in the mecha genre which is a pleasant mix of space mecha action, romance, and of course Japanese pop song performances.