Eight years after the events of Macross F, a mysterious phenomenon known as the Var Syndrome is gradually consuming the galaxy. It's up to a new generation of highly capable Valkyrie pilots to deal with this universal menace. And if they didn't have enough on their plate already, the Aerial Knights Valkyrie fighter team from the Kingdom of Wind have come to challenge the Delta Squadron.
One sentence to describe the series: <<A show that had promise but was ruined by bad planning.>>
As someone who got genuinely hooked by the original Macross TV show and have watched all of its successors, this is the stance I would take as I write this review.
1. Story: 4.5/10
The best way to describe the story of Delta is fictional ISIS vs fictional UN. On the drawing board, it certainly looks like an enticing concept where great stories can unfold, right and wrong muddle together in the gray area, emotions are faced with hard cold reality. Unfortunately, in Delta, the staff tried to chew more than they can. What resulted of this was an unfocused show, many subplots unresolved, characters remained to their shell-like personalities until the end, opportunities to explore the lore of Macross in a deeper level have been squandered due to mismanaged storyboards and screen time, pacing issues,some main characters are even pushed to the side to give even more time to the under delivered couple that this anime features and finally, characters are killed for the sake of creating drama and not steering the cast into a resolve. Added to this is the many recalls to older series’ moments and songs which makes some of the old fans laugh in sadness and contemplate what show this has become to use this move to keep their attention. The laid back and comedic atmosphere of the beginning didn’t help for the latter since it couldn’t bring the viewer to realize how dreadful the situation have become at the end of the show. The ending was rushed with the only closure being the result of the love triangle. All of this complies into a boring and unpolished show which at the end of a 8 years long wait, is not the masterpiece that many fans of the series have hoped for.
We always had a colorful cast in a Macross series and Delta is no exception. Hayate, the blue hair human protagonist, has a nonchalant attitude towards most things but have a unyielding desire to fly. Freyja, the energetic Winderemere girl who loves to sing and wants to be in the ranks of Walkure. For the Delta squadron, we have the captain Arad, second-in-command Messer, the joyful Chuck and at last, Mirage, who’s from a family of legendary ace pilots. For the idol group Walkure, we have the mysterious lead singer, Mikumo, the caring group leader Kaname, the friendly Makina and the cool but expert hacker, Reina. We also have the fleet captain, Ernest, in the mix.
For the Windermere side, we got Heinz, the prince and his father, the king Gramia, the Aerial Knights which ace pilot is named Keith or White Knight. There’s also Roid who help the king and the prince with battle tactics and politics.
With all this said, the characters remained much to their cliché-like personalities until the end. There’s little to no development on their part. They are like blank sheet of paper and as the story progresses, only few of them get some gribble on it while some of them get thrown in a fire pit while they are potential platform to create meaningful relationships between them or get their back story explored. For the lack of better words, the staffs wasted the materials on their hands. As for the viewers, there’s little to relate to these characters due to their bland, unrealistic and uninteresting personalities.
3.Love Triangle 5/10
As for the love triangle we come to expect from this series, it is very much a linear line with a firmly marked line between Hayate and Freyja and a line composed little uncanny dots between Mirage and Hayate, closed with sometimes tense and loose line between Mirage and Freyja. Yet, the reason for weak link for Mirage to the two other characters is not because her character ,itself, is unable to express her feelings until the end. It is the consequence of her badly written and little-to-none development that everyone of them suffers but out of all of them, she’s the one who suffer the most because all she ever gets is one-liners and barely enough screen time to prove her relevance compared to the other two mains.
4.Character Art 7/10
I won’t spend much time on this since it is not my area of expertise but the characters do have a lot of popping colors. You’re kinda looking at a candy show to be honest. Sometimes, it even detracts the viewer and break the show immersion when they bring in the serious moments since the characters looks so funky. Costume designs are ok. The main gripe I have and that is personal ,is the doodling on their nails when they are in some of their costumes aka nailpolish. Since those colors are meant to pop and to catch your attention. Closeface shot of their hand with their face on camera inevitably draws your attention to their nails instead of their intended focus of their faces. This may cause you to wonder if the artists have too much freetime on their hands and doodle them on the characters.
5.Mecha design 3/10
For this series, we got the VF-31 Siegfield, which is, the mass production model of the experimental YF-30 Chronos from the PS3 Macross 30 video game. The VF-31 is essentialy it’s predecessor, with a forward swept wing design, the ability to deploy drones for Walkure use, a beam cannon and a wireless recharger for the drones on its foldable backpack system instead of the missile pods in the backpack(called multipurpose container), a pin point barrier system for shielding, a combat knife in the forearm and a fresh coat of paint. It has only one pack, the super pack, which give it additional missile pods. It also incorporate the fold crystals which where present since the YF-29 Durandal. Fairly disappointed for the lack of innovation in this domain and the lack of packs since we were so spoiled by Frontier with its multiple packs.
For the Windermere side, we have the Sv-262 Draken III which is a new design, with a delta wing design, have 2 drones on each wing tips that acts as secondary boosters and can be deployed for combat. It is also equipped with a gunpod and 2 small gunpods located in the nose of the plane.
Then we have Macross Elysion... Just imagine Macross quarter and twice its size. That’s it. Move along....
6. 3D animation + battle choreography: 3/10
The 3D animation + models we’ve gotten have not been improved since Frontier. In some ways, it is even a step back. In all the battles, it seems like the animators have too much fun with the shading and made all the colors too dull and lifeless + a white filter that tries to bring the dull colors back to life and the result is a unattractive product that has uneven blend of gray and dull colors that make you question the effort put into it. The 3D models do not mesh with its surrounding. Beam effects and explosions are underwhelming at best and terrible at worst. There’s no sense power or magnitude coming from them. It seems dumb down. No soul. No spirit in these works. Well, at least the particle effects after the VF-31 look ok. That is the only effect that I deemed original.
As for the battle choreography, there’s none of that fluid 3 mode Valkyrie battles we come to expect. In Delta, what you have the majority of time is a watered down version of the dogfights from Top Gun. Gerwalk mode and Battleroid mode are barely featured in the entirety of the series. When there are of it, the sequences are incredibly short. Valkyrie battle choreography is one of the fundamentals of the Macross franchise. In this case, it is not taken seriously and the end result shows it.
7.Sound and songs: 6.5/10
For the sound effects in this series, it is perhaps the most forgettable thing of them all. Why you may ask? They reused the sfx from Frontier or slightly modify it it and call it a day. To make it worse, they even forget to add sfx for the moving Valkyries. Normally, when mechanical parts move, you have piston sfx for the hydraulics. When you go into boost mode in your plane, you should hear the engine roaring. If you break the sound barrier, there should be a sonic boom. Yet, in Delta, they completely forgo the use of that because the songs played in the background are way more important than adding realism. The sound balancing was an issue during the first court of the anime. It was either too quiet or too loud or inconsistent at all.
This finally leads me to the songs. They are based on the popular idol group trend. Therefore, they are going for those catchy lyrics. As music is based on personal taste and experience, this will be my opinion. Due to the fact that previous Macross series had legendary songwriters/composers ( The recent one being Yoko Kanno who composed for Macross Frontier), Delta music feels underwhelming in comparison to its predecessors , though few of its songs are quite ok like “Hametsu no Junjou”, “Giraffes Blues” and “Ore no Senjou”. Yet, you gotta ask yourself: “Is it alright to ruin a song because you want it to follow a certain trend?” Because, Delta songs have a bad habit of doing this. The prime example is “Ichido dake no Koi nara” which started with a beautiful transition of voices, building up to the refrain with a dramatic fashion and it gonna be ecstatic to listen but the listener is greeted with some generic cute idol trick that ruins the momentum of the song and that’s repeated throughout it. “Ikenai Borderline” suffers greatly as a whole for the cute idol group singing style. How disappointing for the few decent songs the series have to offer, they get covered up by more of the mediocre idol group trend songs. Plus, a lot of these songs cannot convey the emotions they carried since the singers themselves are young, ranging from twenties-something to the youngest, 15. They do not have the the singing experience nor the life experience to pass the emotions in these soulful songs. But, I would say they do a decent job for an Idol group and considering the numerous blank music time have to be fill in with dances and stage choreography. As for the song that the prince sings, it is quite impressive, compared to Walkure songs, but it gets spammed to non stop and gets quite annoying by the end of the series.
Unfortunately, after 8 years of waiting, this may be the worst entry of this franchise but it is by no mean an awful anime in and out of itself. The show was planned to be a 13 episode anime + a movie but they decided to be a 2 court anime by the middle of it. Therefore, it is why I presented my thesis quote in the beginning of this review : << A show that had promise but was ruined by bad planning.>> They simply didn’t have enough time to plan the second court and it was kinda made on the fly, At the end, if not for its “ok” music and the few good moments it has, it would landed itself in the very bad category. But, with the flaws it present and the lack of novelty it brings to the franchise as a whole, I give it a 5 out of 10. It will be awhile again for the next Macross series... *sigh*
Suggestion for those who wants to watch more Macross:
If you want story, I would suggest the original Macross TV show. It has, overall, better story, character developments and what establish the reasons older fans have fell in love with the franchise. When you finish it, take a look at the movie “Do you remember love”. It has some of the best tracks of the franchise.
For laidback and some fun like Delta, try the sorta sequel to the original, Macross 7. It has its quirks + rock and roll music in contrast of the more pop music. It should be a fun ride.
For dogfights and epic airplane maneuvers, Macross Zero and Plus are what it’s all about. Ace vs ace aerial combat.
If you’re more into recent pop music or wants some breathtaking 3 mode fluid Valkyrie battles, I would suggest Macross Frontier and its movies.
That’s it for me. Hope y’all got a good read. If you want to discuss about Delta, you can find folks in the forum. Who knows, I might even join in.
I haven't watched such a terrible show in years (I don't really watch too many tho). It is so terrible that I have to get on a public website and rant about it. The story is OK, but the way the story is told is awful. I do not feel emotional at all to all the plots, characters in this series what's so ever. By comparing with Macross F, I was hooked at least from the first six or seven episodes. I watched this series simply because it's Macross - I wanna know the plot, period. The staff seem very strong yet I'm very disappointed that they made a show that is so plain, tasteless. The struggle of all the characters are all too cliche. I bet any high school student can write this kind of juvenile story. Storyboard, I guess, is the one to blame. Unfortunately the director, Kenji Yasuda happened to be a terrible storyboard. Therefore he can only direct a show with mediocre storyboard and thus a dull show. read more
Narrative formulas; conventions; archetypes; genres. In the event that a fictional narrative turns into a series, then later a franchise -a brand of its own so to speak- it comes as no surprise that eventually the formula which had more or less distinguished the work from others will then arrive at a point wherein it is forced to change completely, adapt to contemporary circumstances, attempt to maintain the status quo, dissolve into a state of total irrelevancy, or end for good and become fondly remembered by many faults and all. Such is the case with Macross Delta.
Macross Delta is representative of the 'Macross formula' in the late stages of its existence, by that I mean that the Macross formula, if one continues to comply to it to a T as it has so done since its inception, only makes the formula age badly. Why? Because unfortunately at this moment in time, Macross as a whole has inexplicably entered into a dire situation of Catch-22. To change or not to change? IF we change, then HOW MUCH SHOULD we change? Do we leave Macross as it is and END it RIGHT NOW, or PERHAPS LATER? The extent of the questions that had ultimately left the Macross formula in this state ultimately consummates into what can simply be deemed as "If we change Macross then we'll end up upsetting the fans, but if we don't change then Macross will start to become stale"
This raises several questions. For one, just what about Macross ESSENTIALLY defines it as Macross? And for that matter, if we experiment around and create variations of the ESSENTIALS of Macross, will that in turn result in Macross no longer being 'Macross' too, or will Macross continue to remain as 'Macross' regardless of how many or what Macross series are produced? With all of this in mind, we can thus say that the first Macross series introduced the audience the general outline of an archetypal Macross plot -which is itself somewhat of a Jungian archetype- as well as the themes and concepts it wishes to tackle. From there, it can be observed that all Macross series are variations of those ESSENTIALS, with Macross 7 being the most zany and balls-to-the-walls one, Macross Plus showcasing Macross in its simplest and perhaps most esoteric form with degrees of experimentation, Macross Zero being Macross at its most somber and poignant, Macross Frontier highlighting Macross at its zenith with the successful revitalization of the classic formula that propelled Macross into the world stage, and... Macros Delta with Macross retreading the same old formula in hopes of replicating the success of Frontier but ultimately fails due to the various components that the creators have used in an attempt to differentiate Delta from the rest- hence the formula showing its age REALLY BAD. That, and well every aspect of Delta's concepts -from plot to characters- is very simplistic which puts it in the same vein as Macross 7, but thankfully enough Macross Delta is nowhere as infuriating of an experience compared to Macross 7 so that's that.
In any case, to expand upon the reasons as to why the formula has clearly shown signs of its age with Macross Delta, it can be said that there is just simply not much to expand FROM, without resorting to the constant homages and the mere repetition and toying around with motifs, plot points and the various structures in place, in addition to having to maintain a linear timeline of events, unlike Gundam- but even then, Gundam too is stuck in this stage and both will forever continue to remain so as long as there is no CHANGE.
I'd personally rather not discuss about Delta's plot considering the above reasons, but I believe that nonetheless, whatever plot points that were introduced to us in Macross Delta were adequately developed with straightforwardness in mind, thus allowing viewers to be able to understand it well, even though the scripting of and the actual creative value of events is as textbook Macross as it can get, simply uninspired. In addition, Macross Delta in contrast to Macross 7 left us hanging with quite a few plot points that were simply left unresolved, which makes us question as to why in the Milky Way did the creators designed the plot in such a way so as to add them into it to begin with. There were several heartfelt moments emanating genuine sentiment but with the way the plot's designed, there's just simply not enough of that to bring the plot out of uninspired hell.
When it comes to the overall tone of Delta, it is generally much, much more lighthearted, carefree, optimistic (especially optimistic and carefree) and poppy which likens it to Macross 7, but considering the narrative structure and the various events scripted into it, results in a different product in the end because if there ever was one thing about Macross which gave it its distinctive identity is that as the plot nears its end, the situation becomes SIGNIFICANTLY DIRE thus giving the necessary emotionality to the bleak end game situations, whereas in Delta due to its very nature and uninspired and stock plot design results in the emotional charge of the plateau deflating before the plot had even begun to enter its climactic stage. In short, just every single aspect of the narrative in Delta simply does not lend itself to the sense of sheer dread and desperation that previous Macross series had, hence the emotional blandness of the show.
The overall dialogue is frankly serviceable as it is simply not creative enough and once again, uninspired throughout to warrant much of viewers' attention, not to mention that due to the tone of Delta, comes off as quite cartoony. I just roll my eyes most of the time, hah.
Indeed, despite the inherent potentialities that lies within a much more carefree approach to Macross, it is regrettable to say that all of that is wasted in an unresolved Catch-22 problem resulting in a trite work which adds little towards fanning the infernos of nostalgia to Macross's past or even towards igniting the embers of Macross's future on fire. Absolutely disappointing- hhmph!
But hey, there's at least some of the songs and all so yeah, let's just move on and talk about that down below. Junbi wa ii ka nen?
Okay, so before we get down to the music and sound, let's just talk about the visuals for a bit. For one thing, this show actually has very consistent visuals throughout, in the form of consistent animation both hand-drawn and computer-generated, consistent drawings, backgrounds consistently full of features, and constant inclusion of plenty of well-done visual effects. Once again, I'd like to reiterate that I'm simply no expert or even that deeply knowledgeable about these technical aspects, but simply put, Macross Delta is competently produced. It's just that, while it is indeed competently produced, it doesn't have many standout and highly creative visual features either, barring the straight-to-TV Macross shows of the pre-2000 years.
But wait, if there was anything about Delta that I could consider to be very creative, it would have to be the first ED sequence. It's basically a very well-made sequence featuring one of the main characters Freyja Wion going about locations in real life, in which all of that is animated via a technique that I'm frankly not knowledgeable about but can be described as utilizing captured video footage to set up as the visual basis for the sequence, then after animating and inserting Freyja into that footage, having the footage go through intensive post-processing with image filters and such which ultimately gives the sequence its highly distinct look. Very interesting and quite impressive I'd say.
Art & Animation Rating: 7
The overall sound design in this show is once again, just like the visuals competently produced- voice acting included. As for the music, wherein due to the tone of Delta, it is essentially designed to be as contemporaneous and poppy as possible- what with electronic and brass based music timbres, dance pop based song structures, generally faster time signatures, group based synchronized vocal performances in the style of so-called idol groups and whatnot. Not all of Delta's music consists of such style of pop music however, as there's some slower, more soulful songs as well, in particular the general vocal track sung by the opposing faction featured in Delta, as well as one Walkure song which is composed as more of a ballad than the more electronic dance pop based fare.
As for me, I generally really liked a fair bit of Walkure's songs, particularly Ikenai Borderline as well as the first OP song, and both main ED songs.
The drive to constantly recapture the success of the original Macross in the post-2000s straight-to-TV Macross shows has resulted in the Macross formula becoming increasingly stale and trite, unless it changes or utilizes the formula to tell more different narratives like Plus and Zero did. In fact, one could even say that Macross Delta is ironically the antithesis of what was sooooooo extremely archetypal -in the Jungian sense- of the original Macross; Frontier came close to replicating this, but it was ultimately created in such a fashion so that it may stand on its own, i.e., with its own sense of identity, so as to become a fine addition to the over-arching narrative of the setting of Macross.
Speaking of which, you know what all of this "formula aging badly and getting stale" reminds me of? The entire post-1990s career of the rock band U2 and -in a different way but still quite the Catch-22- the Resident Evil series of games as a whole, go figure. That and well, there's just waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy less combat-based action in this show compared to previous ones.
And with that, I shall bid all of you farewell and thank you for reading. Till next time then!
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