In memory of 2011 その12: サヨナラノツバサ

And my favourite of the year is…Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa. Representing, of course, the entire Frontier experience.

It was obvious, wasn’t it? That it would come to this. Right from the end of last year, where Macross Frontier took the first spot on my first ’12 days of fandom’ review.

That said, it was only in 2011 that I really dove into Macross, particularly Macross Frontier. After seeing the first film at the cinema in January 2010, I really put it aside completely until October of that year (when the DVD/BD came out), to the extent that only one of the books, magazines and media that I brought home from Japan was about Macross – the Perfect Triangle guidebook for the first film. (A friend of mine in Japan has recently been finding out just how stupid that decision was – there has been a fair amount of eye-rolling and laying into me for that.) And then the Frontier Rewatch began, and I started to see the series and characters in different ways.

Perhaps it would help to take a look at my Macross ‘obsession’ over the last year:

  • Finishing of the Rewatch on AS
  • Making a detour to Ikebukuro to watch the 2nd film, and backtracking again a week later to visit the Sunshine 60 exibition
  • Translating comments, interviews and information to share with the non-literate
  • Watching SDFM, DYRL, Macross Plus and rewatching Macross Zero
  • Committing myself to clarifying the ‘canon’ issue
  • Rewatching both films several times once October 20th came by
  • Heavily editing the translation for the 2nd film because the first sub was…incredibly disappointing (I will also be editing the most recent one out, even though it’s much better)
  • Listening to the soundtrack over and over and over and over again

Hm…I think that’s about it. But it’s certainly a far greater involvement in the franchise and the fandom than I expected when I walked into that cinema on February 28.

And so, the story of two songstresses,
and also of a sword dancer, continues out of our reach…

Ultimately though, that one detour is what it comes down to. If I had to do the impossible and narrow it down to one moment that represents 2011 in anime for me, it would be the giddiness I felt when I walked out of the cinema, the feeling encapsulated by “OMG Kawamori-sensei, you didn’t just do that…”

But that’s precisely what he did. Give us the perfect way to end the Frontier story, that is. Though whether you feel that way or not may well depend, IMHO, on whether you ‘get’ what he has done. It’s taken me just over three years to make my way from weekly anticipation, through great disappointment, and ambivalence…all the way to possibly the greatest satisfaction I’ve ever felt for a series. Yes, it rivals Code Geass, Hagaren and Honey and Clover in my book. Technically, Macross Frontier is not perfect – is anything ever? – but basically, the feeling I had when I finished the Hagaren manga – that’s what I feel for Frontier now. Thank you, Kawamori Shouji, and お疲れ様でした!! I’ll definitely be looking forward to whatever you have in store for us this year!

p.s. That said, the one thing that Frontier did not achieve, at least in my book: better dogfights than the king of them all, Macross Zero… Even though he completely dissed the series that made my year, I have only one word for Itano Ichiro: AWESOME!

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

12 Responses to In memory of 2011 その12: サヨナラノツバサ

  1. Xard says:

    I absolutely agree with your top choice here. No experience this year came quite close to seeing this in cinema.

    Perhaps the best single moment (related to film) I got to experience was during the fourth and last viewing in theatre when mother nature assisted with special effects with immaculate timing. Sheryl’s final AISHITEEEEEERUUUUUUUUUUUUUU as we get the shot of Varja departing the planet coincided precisely with start of small tremor. The sound system’s blasting coincided precisely with the theatre *really* starting to tremble a bit and it took me a while to realize that oh shit there was minor earthquake going on and I wasn’t just imagining things.

    Soon the tremors were over so the film wasn’t stopped or anything

    Great moment.

    (ps. I finally replied to you on MW)


    • karice says:

      Wow, that’s quite a coincidence!

      And well, for me, seeing it a second time at the cinema would definitely have beat the first, I think. I can’t remember how many times I went ‘Oh, so that’s what it was!’ when I was finally able to see the film again! But I’m happy I had the opportunity to see it. ^_^

      (p.s. don’t need to worry about letting me know. I’ve got the settings for both this blog and MW such that I get an email for comments/messages I get, and I check that email every day ^^ Almost done with my reply.)


      • Xard says:

        yeah I really think Sayonara is a film that needs to be seen at least twice to be fully appreciated. It has such depth.

        You’re right about MacF never topping Zero when it comes to dogfights (though my number one favourite dogfight ever is the Isamu vs Guld from Plus) – I think MF as a whole wasn’t much into them as far as the action goes. There were only short Alto/Brera duels and the Ozma/Alto dogifght in ep 22 that count at all… it’s a bit like the original SDFM in that respect where only major dogfight was the one between Max and Milia. The action is more large scale so to speak.

        (ahh, good. I’m a bit lazy when it comes to checking my email so it’s just that ^__^’)


      • karice says:

        Zero was my gateway to Macross, so-to-speak, and watching it again recently, the CG dogfights just blew my mind. Plus was amazing for non-CG dogfights…but I’d have to echo an old friend for that: remake Plus PLEASE x infinity!!

        But valkyrie dogfights weren’t really the point of either SDFM or Frontier – that’s probably why they were so short. It’s like Michael House said, of all the sequels, Frontier comes closest to the overall point/message/feel of the original, though it doesn’t surpass it. (Though I still like Frontier better, for various reasons…)


      • Xard says:

        Wow, I didn’t think Zero could ever act as a gateway to franchise for anyone, it’s always felt like such a… fan intense project for me. You know, seeing young Focker, learning more about protoculture background of human race etc. are its main pulls alongside with tons and tons of VF combat.

        I don’t want remake of Plus though. That thing was made with practically unlimited budget and that level of hand drawn mecha sakuga is just nearly impossible to produce in today’s industry.

        My opinions on animus seemed to be very different from those by mr. House, generally speaking, so “ehh, whatever”. 😛


      • karice says:

        I consider Zero my gateway because it was the very first Macross I saw. But whilst I appreciated both the story and the quality of the animation, it really didn’t bring me much further into the franchise. Admittedly, watching DYRL without seeing the original TV series back then (something like 8 years ago now) was probably a mistake. I basically dropped Macross until Frontier came out, and only watched Frontier because (1) everyone was talking about it, and (2) I still had fond memories of Zero. Of course, now I understand the importance of Zero in the Macross universe a lot better, but as a stand alone story, it was still quite engrossing.

        I don’t want remake of Plus though. That thing was made with practically unlimited budget and that level of hand drawn mecha sakuga is just nearly impossible to produce in today’s industry.

        That’s why I want to see what they could have done if they’d been able to use CG back then – I think that those dogfights would be glorious in CG. But I’m fine with what Zero gave us ^^

        My opinions on animus seemed to be very different from those by mr. House, generally speaking, so “ehh, whatever”.

        Before I say a few little things about Mr. House’s ‘opinions’, just one little comment. Just because most of what someone says doesn’t agree with you, that doesn’t mean you have to dismiss everything that he says. I personally find what he said about Macross to be quite accurate, and the very last thing he talks about – translation and learning Japanese – is excellent too.

        The interesting thing is wrt Eva is that it’s not just his opinion he’s relaying, but the general opinion/comments of the people who worked with Anno. As for FLCL and Karekano – I haven’t seen them in ages, but my experience with them hasn’t left me with particularly positive impressions either. I don’t think I ever saw the entirety of Karekano, but the dissonance I felt when I found out about the later developments in the manga really made me question my initial enjoyment of the anime. And if the mangaka herself was unhappy with the later episodes… As for FLCL…let’s just say I enjoyed the WTF of Abeshou a lot more…


      • Xard says:

        Ahh, good. Nice enough to hear that. I’ve always suspected Zero would feel sort of…half-empty as singular storyline for those not already into Macross. It’s nice to hear that isn’t necessarily the case.

        Before I say a few little things about Mr. House’s ‘opinions’, just one little comment. Just because most of what someone says doesn’t agree with you, that doesn’t mean you have to dismiss everything that he says.

        ahh, sure. I wasn’t quite precise enough, I think. The parameter by which House judged the Macross sequels (how well they adhere to original vision) is not one I agree with which is why I didn’t agree on his judgement on other Macross titles that came after original nor are they of much interest to me. The differences in evaluation of other anime titles mentioned was just further reason for me to think we judge titles by very different standards.

        It was interesting read in any case


      • karice says:

        Hm…looking back now, I should have used ‘original intent’, as Mr. House actually put it.

        Interesting. What do you think the vision/intent of SDFM was then?


      • Xard says:

        A love story set against the backdrop of great battles, of course! 😀

        Intentions or whatever the word doesn’t really matter either way to that though: I just don’t agree on the evaluation approach. Macross Plus is very different tonally and in terms of writing from original Macross but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow worse because of it. Since they always want to do something new with each Macross title it would be wrong to expect adherence to original’s style and nothing more. I think original, Plus and Frontier are all great and the best Macross titles but I’m really taking them on their own terms for that evaluation.


      • karice says:

        So that’s what you mean by vision. Sure, in terms of what the story is about, i.e. ‘a love story against the backdrop of great battles’, they all accomplish that in their own way (and I personally think Plus and Zero do it best).

        But I (and Mr. House) meant ‘intent’ of the work. I.e. what do you think is the overall message that Kawamori tries to convey in his works in the Macross universe? (and possibly in his other works too, perhaps…)


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