Macross Zero poster

Macross Zero

Taking place one year before the Zentraedi arrive on Earth, Macross Zero chronicles the final days of the war between the U.N. Spacy and anti-U.N. factions. After being shot down by the anti-U.N.'s newest fighter plane, ace pilot Shin Kudo finds himself on the remote island of Mayan, where technology is almost non-existent. While Shin stays on the island to heal his wounds, the tranqulity of the island is shattered by a battle that involves the UN's newest fighter - the VF-0. (Source: ANN)

Ranking 2634

User Count3321
Favorites Count16
Start Date21st Dec 2002
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank2634
Rating Rank2132
Age RatingR
Age Rating GuideMild Nudity
SubtypeOVA
Statusfinished

Episodes

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Reviews

The story of people from the "civilized world" stumbling upon the peaceful lives of a secluded, spiritual tribe, and bringing with them technology, commodity and destruction, is hardly uncommon. When it comes to anime though, this seems to be relatively unexplored territory, and "Macross Zero" is an anime that helps plug that gap."Macross Zero" is the prequel to the popular classic "Super Dimensional Fortress Macross", released for the latter's 20th anniversary. The story is set a year before the Zentradi's appearance in the original series, and follows the adventures of the young pilot Shin Kudo after his plane got shot down and he found himself on the remote island Mayan. On Mayan, he stumbles upon the peaceful lives of a secluded, spiritual tribe... and then the rest you can probably guess.The first thing to notice about "Macross Zero" is that it looks stunning. Second thing to notice... is that it looks stunning. Ok, I concede it may be the same point, but it's a point worth repeating because of how stunning it loooks. The character designs are drawn seriously and not in the typical giant eyed cuteness style of most anime - these characters even have noses!! Then there's the mecha. CG is often a hit and miss affair, especially around the time this show was produced, but "Macross Zero" pulled out all the stops and really showed how amazing it can look. Granted, the planes can look a bit plasticky at times, but overall, the iconic variable fighters of the "Macross" franchise has never looked better. The franchise has obtained something of a fearsome reputation when it comes to dogfighting action, and "Macross Zero" doesn't skimp out in this department either. I still think the dogfights in "Macross Plus" are probably the best I've ever seen, but "Macross Zero" pushes it pretty close with its incredible CG and breathtaking choreography.Looking past the stunning animation (which is damn hard... did I mention it looks stunning?) the rest of the anime isn't quite at the same outstanding level, but it certainly isn't weak in any department.The story may not be spectuacular, but it's not bad, even if it can be quite confusing at times. There's more of it than you would expect from a typical mecha show. The obligatory love triangles may not be as appealing as in other "Macross" titles, but the uneasy tension between Mayans and the "outsiders" and the mixture of sci-fi and tribal lore elements makes for interesting alternative points of focus.Though there's a year between the events of "Macross Zero" and the main story of "Super Dimensional Fortress Macross", this OVA series operates quite independent from the original TV series. I tried hard to see how the story fitted together, but to be honest, it doesn't seem to - it's more like a tag on. It does mean that people new to the franchise can get a lot out of "Macross Zero", as it doesn't require you to have seen the original TV series, but I would have preferred a stronger connection to it.One of the few connections it does have is the suave pilot Roy Focker (I always wondered whether the creators gave him this name because of his womanising ways...), who was a mentor to the protagonist in "Super Dimensional Fortress Macross". His presence in "Macross Zero" feels a bit like a shoe-in for the sake of featuring someone from the original series... but I can't deny its effectiveness - as a fan, it's exciting to see Focker make an appearance.Like most of not all the shows in the "Macross" franchise, music is significant to the story. The difference here is that the music is tribal as opposed to the usual music of pop stars. Though I've got nothing against pop, the tribal music is good too, and it's a nice change.In conclusion, "Macross Zero" is a great addition to the franchise, containing all the expected elements while giving some of them a good twist. It should should be checked out even by those who are not fans of mecha or "Macross" franchise because it feels quite fresh; and also because, you know, it just looks so stunning.

Before I started Macross Zero, I already knew it was a prequel as I took note of each entry that I was going to watch for my marathon through the Macross franchise. I didn't think much of it since it sounded the least like any Macross entry. Based on the premise only describing it being about a stranded protagonist and new, more powerful robots, it was hard to get excited. “Oh, that doesn't sound like so many other mecha series ever...” I was taking a break from watching Macross 7, that then did some of my internet antics help me discover the aesthetics for Zero. I then proceeded to drop everything I was doing. "Forget 7 for the time being, I need to watch this series" was essentially my reaction. So yes, it is about pilot Shin Kudo and him ending up on an remote island. However, it doesn't take long to realize this island knows more about outside culture than it initially seems, and from there do we have an incredible and fascinating story about the evolution of humanity. Macross Zero is mostly a science vs religion story, but it doesn't stop there with the parallels. The series has a message about how everything is connected and supports each other, and it stretches far and wide to find as many parallels as it can – either for opposing arguments or to show how alike we all really are. We see how the civilized humans and the islanders react differently to technology, superstition, war, and the blending of cultures. This is where being a prequel really comes in handy in looking at Macross in a whole new light. What was once the norm is now so unfamiliar that science fiction has essentially turned into fantasy. It all ties together splendidly with what we understand about Macross as well. The focuses on the in-universe Protoculture/birdmen, humanity's inclination for war, and music being a power source creates a lore and setting that rarely leaves me more engaged by the franchise. I don't mean to beat on the other Macross entries too much, but the inclusion of idols and rock stars has always been one of those boundaries that asks for a lot of suspension of disbelief from me. Up until Zero, I thought Plus was the only entry where it wasn't goofy. But here, as the music is slow and enchanting opera, I've never been more enticed by its presence. I wasn't sure who did the music, so I looked it up and found it to be composed by Kuniaki Haishima. I didn't recognize who that was, but I sure do recognize Monster's soundtrack. So encountering his work again was a treat. But there's more than just music that this entry takes seriously. This is honestly the most mature I've ever seen Macross be. There are mentions of rape and adultery, and easily the highest on-screen body count I've seen from Macross to date. But that can be fair war series stuff. What I was most shocked to see was a display of child nudity for one scene. It wasn't portrayed as anything bad either – wasn't even acknowledged to be honest. It's just one of those moments where you'll have to remind yourself that this tribal culture is much different from our own and it's up to you to not be offended by it. I'll move on to the characters now. Shin is clearly the one that develops the most out of everyone. He's starts as a bit of a loner, is very accustom to technology, and his initial interactions with the islanders leads to a small side plot related to fixing a generator for them. But after becoming more open-minded does he learn to respect everyone. Shin comes to understand that we're all people who feel the same emotions no matter our walk of life. His caring for the islanders and even being able to open himself up to others, without needing to change his ideals, is the ultimate point his character could reach and did. The Nome sisters are interesting oppositions to Shin and also to each other. Mao Nome is a fun and gleeful girl who dreams of the city and tries to interact with Shin as much as possible. Sara Nome on the other hand is very committed to her religion and wary of outsiders. She often expresses how dangerous she believes them to be and that she's upset to see the city steal so many people from the island, but that isn't the entirety to her story. Mao's my favorite of the two because of how she's not biased to one side. She seeks the convenience and entertainment that comes from technology but still appreciates the island's natural wonders. I think that's best exemplified when she takes her time to show off the island and the sea to Shin in what I find to be an incredible sequence. No one else is worth noting all that much, but for people who saw the original series, Roy Focker returns as a main character. It's not much of an origin story he has, but we get to see one more side of him on top of the many faces he already had in the original series. This is my second favorite entry in the entire Macross franchise. It's also incredibly accessible to anyone who hasn't seen any of Macross yet. Not all prequels are this privileged to be one of the best entries in its franchise, have no reliance on previous serial entries, and spoil nothing of the upcoming chronological entries. Thematically, I love how this series is just all about blending – to the point of which it's themes and characters even ooze out onto the product itself where it feels the least like Macross ever has despite it hitting all the same notes that every Macross has. When it all comes together it makes for a story that may only take place on Earth, in comparison to Macross's other space adventures, but the scale has never felt so epic.

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