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[ café reviews ]



Macross Plus
Part 4

Copyright: © 1995 JVC (Japan), © 1996 Manga Entertainment (North America)
Length: 45 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Sharon Apple's first self-aware concert open on Earth, on the 30th anniversary of the armistice. For the first time, Sharon is no longer a puppet under the guidance of Myung. Her powerful computer network takes over not only the Macross intelligence net, but her new-found emotions and ability to manipulate her audience has entranced the whole city, and as a consequence she gains control of the entire defence net -- including the new experimental Ghost X-9 AI controlled fighter.

Meanwhile, Isamu and Yang head towards Earth to settle a personal grudge against the unmanned fighter -- the awarding of the UN contract to the X-9 has effectively put Isamu and Guld out of a job. Intent on spoiling the X-9's debut, Isamu and Yang hijack the YF-19 and head for Macross City. Only one ship in the fleet has a chance to catch them: The General Galaxy YF-21. Guld is ordered to power up and take them down.

[ capsule review ]

At last, the climax of the series arrives. A final showdown between Isamu, Guld, the X-9 and Sharon. This episode features some of the slickest animation I've seen in a long time, with careful attention paid to ship movement and cockpit controls. Computer animation is blended throughout this episode; indeed some of the most effective scenes are done through CGI (such as the Earth defense forces going to a state of readiness). Music is done in likewise fashion, with a well-chosen piece playing during Isamu's descent through Earth's atmosphere, and also during Isamu and Guld's dogfight. The best scenes, understandably, are during the dogfight between the two manned fighters, especially when they're flying amongst the buildings in Macross City.

Perhaps it's the skillful build-up that occurred during the first three episode, or maybe my attention span get shorter as I get older, but the final plot resolution left me feeling disappointed. After the dramatic finish to Isamu and Guld's personal grudge match, everything becomes all too predictable. I kept hoping that the screenwriters and director would prove me wrong as the story unfolded, but it was not to be. Guld's final sacrifice, and Isamu and Myung's happily ever after ending was completely expected. Luckily, the directing is as good or better than the previous three episodes, so you'll find that you're still glued to the set. Sharon's revelation as to her motives are chilling, and present a wonderful counterpoint to Myung's own feelings. What Myung had buried deep within, Sharon expresses through music and machines. Sharon's personality is as complex and well developed as any of the other characters in this series.

Sharon Apple's birth (as well as the completion of the Ghost X-9) carries with it a not so subtle warning about technology. It may be too early to feel a sense of panic about the possibility of computers becoming self-aware, or being able to manipulate us emotionally, but the potential is there. It seems that we're developing better and more complex MMI's (man-machine interfaces) all the time. Advanced virtual reality was barely dream a ten years ago, now we're seeing basic forms being used in computer games, and more complex versions in simulators. Even pop stars don't have to be real -- Japan's Date Kyoko isn't. While Kyoko may not be as powerful as Sharon Apple, who would have thought that a computer generated entertainer could have songs on the hit charts? It's this kind of forward thinking that the Macross universe has brought to the anime world, and the Macross Plus OAV series carries on this tradition. A superior and entertaining series! - AN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 5 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 5 stars N/A
Music: N/A 5 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 5 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 4 stars N/A

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Page last modified 1999.10.24