Dedicated to all pioneers.
Title: Macross Plus
Format: OVA, Film
Episode Count: 4
Release: 1994 (OVA), 1995 (Film)
Studio: Triangle Staff
Director: Shoji Kawamori, Shinichiro Watanabe
Hotshot ace pilot Isamu Dyson is reassigned back to his home planet as a test pilot. There, he encounters rival pilot Guld Goa Bowman, reigniting a childhood love triangle between the two of them and Myung Fang Lone, the producer for hit virtual pop idol Sharon Apple.
Following the questionable reception of Macross II (Which was soon retconned out of canon by series creator Shoji Kawamori), production began on Macross Plus, an OVA series that would serve as the first true sequel to the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross.
Using experience gained from a trip to Edwards Air Force Base and the US Advanced Tactical Fighter program (The competition between Lockheed and Northrop that eventually gave rise to the F-22 Raptor fighter jet) as a backdrop, Kawamori (Who had no part in Macross II) and the Macross Plus team (Many of whom worked on SDF Macross and its movie, but not on Macross II) set out to create Macross Plus.
Combining the classic Macross trifecta of pop music, fighter jets, and a love triangle with the intensity that it did made Macross Plus an instant classic, and many fans today consider it the quintessential Macross. The dogfighting is high-speed, the competition between Guld and Isamu has the two dance with death, and Yoko Kanno’s score is unforgettable.
Plus also marked the directorial debut of Shinichiro Watanabe, who would go on to direct many fan favorites such as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, as well as his first collaboration with composer Yoko Kanno, who would join him again on Cowboy Bebop, Kids on the Slope, and Space Dandy.
Plus pioneered a combination of CG and traditional animation, blending the two seamlessly and accomplishing in 1994 something many shows still struggle to do.
Plus was released both as a four-episode OVA and as a theatrical movie. Both were licensed in the US and UK by Manga Entertainment, though the OVA is the only one of the two that received an English dub (Bryan Cranston, famous for playing Walter White in Breaking Bad, provided Isamu Dyson’s voice in Manga’s English dub).
The series and the movie are long out-of-print, but they’re easy enough to find online. Both come highly recommended for fans of sci-fi and action anime.