[Twelve] Beautiful Place in My Heart

lynn minmay, minmei, macross, do you remember love?, dyrl

“You know This is something I have trouble getting people to understand in magazine interviews. For example, you’ve got World War II, and then you have lots of movies based on that event, right? They are all fictional. They’re all based on a war that actually took place, but they are all different. For example, in period dramas you have Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, but there are so many Oda Nobunagas and Tokugawa Ieyasus. The producers look at the real event and adapt the character according to their wishes. The actors and lines also change, so the character changes.”

-Shoji Kawamori in a 1998 interview

What makes Macross, Macross?

When I came across this post, which included a link and quotes from the interview cited above, I had seen very little of Macross. Prior to this, the only Macross property I had seen was the movie Do You Remember Love?. It was at that time, and still remains, one of my favorite animated films of all time. As I had only a small amount of familiarity with the franchise as a whole, this concept of a continuous retelling of a history intrigued me rather than repulsed. After all, I had no existing idea of what Macross was. I only had Do You Remember Love? where Lynn Minmay was charming and sympathetic, an ancient love song won a war, and I couldn’t understand why everyone hated Lynn Kaifun.

Fans’ annoyance with Kawamori’s statements is understandable. He’s washing his hands of having to adhere to any continuity by saying, “They’re all different views on a historical event! Each character in Macross is actually an actor/actress playing a role!” It’s the opposite of being completely overbearing, and exercising control over every last detail of your series, leaving fans with no room for interpretation (hullo, J.K. Rowling), but only a slight step removed from, “And it was all a dream!”

Yet, a piece of me was completely charmed by this idea of an event in the Macross history being told, and retold, through generations. When I watch a series, I don’t want to be told how to watch it by the creator, and Kawamori’s hands-off approach was easy for me to swallow. I liked the idea of the same basic narrative being told in a myriad of different ways. This past year, I began to make my way through the Macross that wasn’t Do You Remember Love? beginning with the OVA series Macross Plus. This was quickly followed by Macross Frontier (both the television series and the movies), and lastly, the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

SDF Macross solidified what Macross was to me, along with a greater appreciation for the so-called “original story.” However, what makes Macross, Macross, to me, is not why I love SDF Macross. If someone were to ask me, “Which Macross property exemplifies what Macross is?” I would point them immediately to Do You Remember Love? as a distilled, undiluted drop of pure Macross. SDF Macross reaches its emotional peak in episode 27. The Earth is scorched, Hikaru Ichijou finds Misa Hayase on the surface, and while the two wonder if they’re the only survivors left, the Macross appears, with Minmay’s “Beautiful Place in My Heart.” washing over the two as they realize that the Macross has also survived. Joyfully, the two board Hikaru’s valkyrie and go to meet up with the others. The series could have ended here – with episode 27 having the similar, hopeful, message of Do You Remember Love? – but it doesn’t. Instead, SDF Macross shows the slog of reconstruction (and to some extent, cultural domination, although it refrains from fully painting our leads in the worst light) that occurs following a war.

At the end of the triangle, Minmay, Misa, and Hikaru all make the most selfish choices to fulfill their own personal desires and whims, and it’s their collective selfishness that inspires my love for SDF Macross. Watching as the series attempts to resolve the emotional messes of its three main characters is exhausting, and I love that.

As an aside, this is the first in a series of twelve entries about my favorite moments of anime I watched this past year. There will be one of these posts every day until December 25th. Enjoy!

9 comments

  1. There are many things I find charming about Macross, this continuity nonsense isn’t one of them.

    Without repeating any of the points expressed in my post you cited and its comments section, my opinion on this only grew stronger over time and clearly against the cavalier handling of the continuity.

    I really think it just doesn’t work.

    The post you perhaps should’ve gotten your teeth into was this one:

    http://ghostlightning.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/yack-deculture-lynn-minmay-did-not-sing-do-you-remember-love/

    It was the last piece I ever wrote on Macross, and it was a bittersweet act that doesn’t seem like “remembering love” at all.

    Just thing about it:

    Ai Oboete fucking Imasu Ka

    Minmay NEVER sang it. It doesn’t work. And if this can’t work, then what is Macross? What is love?

    It’s a lie, unless this is a love triangle between the fantasy of romance (Hikaru), the reality of war (Minmay, LOL), and the objective awesomeness of transforming robots (Misa, YES). This is a Macross I can remember love for.

    Then again it’s really just the douchey, bitchin’, diva asshattery of Kawamori (Sheryl).

    THE END OF THE TRIANGLE

    1. You are always the best. ^ ^

      I plan to watch Macross 7 this year, and then perhaps I’ll be able to respond to this in more detail, as it seems that I’m still missing a few pieces. The comments section in that post you linked was of particular interest as everyone throws in their two cents about what it means to them if Minmay did not sing, “Do You Remember Love?” I think I agree the most with Tzu’s comment regarding the Titanic. More people know of the film than the actual historical event, and so could this be with DYRL and Minmay, even with the Ranka reference in Frontier.

      I’ll get back to you again on this once I watch Macross 7. Thank you for the comment!

      1. You’re welcome. I’ve turned into a grumpy old Macross hater — of the truest kind because the most intense of hatreds comes from deep familiarity — and also because I love it so damn much.

        If you want more continuity nonsense (who should? BUT I CONSUME ALL OF IT), read Kawamori’s incredibly shitty but unputdownable manga “Sheryl: Kiss in the Galaxy.”

        REGRET NOTHING

        And then Macross 7 will set you free.

        (Btw I think agreeing with Tzu is like settling for jerky when you truly want and need a glorious, ribeye steak)

  2. Long time fan/reader, first time commenter🙂.

    I, too, am fine with the loosey-goosey nature of the franchise’s continuity. However, I much prefer the idea that DYRL is a parallel universe to SDF:TV, rather than an alternate folklore or actors reprising their original roles. In case of the latter, we have to get to know the characters all over again because they are sort of rebooted versions of the original ones. If the former holds true, however, I think we get the opportunity to get to know how a character we already know and love/hate would behave in a slightly different set of circumstances, thus enriching the character and our experience with the show.

    In case you are curious, I argue my case here using the Frontier TV series and films as a jumping off point: http://rayoutblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/multiple-universes-and-character-canonicity/

    1. Ah! I’m happy to hear from you! I’ve stalked your blog for quite some time, but never commented because I’m a terrible commenter… ;_;

      What I love the most about the post you linked, is the idea that each instance of a character’s appearance in a different timeline/parallel world/property allows for their reaction to different circumstances that are presented. As you say, the character’s essence, or essential self, remains the same, but reacts differently based on what that particular story offers them.

      I’m not a person who worries all that much about continuity between different properties – including supposed reboots like the Eva franchise – as long as the continuity within the narrative of that property is sound. Example: I don’t mind if SDF Macross differs in continuity from DYRL, but I would mind were something within SDF Macross itself to conflict, continuity-wise, with another event in SDF Macross.

      Thank you so much for the comment. ^ ^

      1. I am flattered that you have been reading! Thanks very much. I value your opinion, so your readership makes me happy. Also, I too, lack confidence in my ability to post interesting comments, so no worries🙂.

        An interesting place to apply my theory would be the Leji Matsumoto metaverse. As you probably know, the character histories seem to flatly contradict each other from one story to the next. Occasionally, even their personalities seem radically different between properties. I do wonder, though, if any of the characters have event series that are persistently logically consistent, such that one could argue that it is the same essential character placed within different parallel universes.

        But, this is neither here nor there nor Macross ^_^

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