Today’s Saturday morning cartoon is the opening to the classic Super Dimension Fortress Macross! I recently finished watching this series for the first time since I saw the early Robotech episodes in 1985.
I have very specific memories of going to my Grandma’s house after school and watching Robotech in her basement. I absolutely loved the show, but back then it was impossible to rewatch or see repeat episodes. I think many of my memories of the show actually came from reading the later novelizations. So when I was watching some episodes of Macross I could tell that I was seeing them for the first time even though I’d read the scenes before, like most of the Max and Miriya romance.
I’d put off trying to rewatch this series for a long time. I think I tend to put aside some of the things I was into as a kid, just because I don’t think adult nostalgia will ever measure up to the first experience of discovering a new fictional world. I’m leery of tarnishing memories, and think that sometimes reliving childhood fandom isn’t the most productive use of one’s time. There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling of finding out that something you loved as a child is actually a little bit lame. I remember this sinking feeling all too well when I realized that Aslan in the Narnia books was Jesus a couple years after I first read and loved the books, which was probably around the same time I first saw Robotech. So that was one reason for my trepidation and procrastination about watching Super Dimension Fortress Macross as an adult.
I was surprised at how well this series held up. Part of it I think is due to some of the appealing character designs. It is easy to overlook the occasionally glitchy animation when the character designs are so strong.
Of course, what looks not very fluid today was absolutely groundbreaking to a 10 year old in 1985. Watching the series again, I was able to see how it really lay the groundwork for later philosophical fighting mecha shows. Macross has plenty of space opera, but for all the scenes of transforming mecha fighting aliens, at the core of the show is a longing for peace and a lot of heart. I was glad to finish rewatching Super Dimension Fortress Macross with the knowledge that my 10-year-old self did have excellent taste in after school cartoons. Macross is the reason why I to this day think that airplanes that transform into fighting robots are awesome. Really, it doesn’t get much better than that.