Half retelling of the original Frontier series, half new story. Conspiracies arise within the Frontier government when Sheryl Nome arrives to the colonial fleet for her concert and is soon marked as a spy for Galaxy while childhood friends, Alto Saotome and Ranka Lee both try to achieve their dreams as the battle between Frontier and the Vajra draws closer.
This movie serves as part one of the Frontier retelling and will conclude with the second, The Wings of Goodbye.
“The animations … the insert songs … this movie is simply amazing.”
Macross Frontier: The False Songstress is an excellent example of bringing a two season long TV series to the movie theater. Unlike many recent TV-to-theater adaptation in which a large portion of the movie is nothing but recycled scenes from the TV original, the staffs behind this Macross movie has dedicated their time in rewriting the story, revising the character relations, composing new songs and OST, and most of all, using completely new animation and scenes on ~90% of the movie. In other words, there are no more than a couple of minutes of
reused materials from the TV series in this 120 minutes movie! So don’t be fooled if you are told this movie is nothing but a retell/summary of the original because that is far from the truth.
While the movie is paced so that a first time viewer with no prior background from the TV series can still follow the story at ease, but at the same time it will not bore those who have already watched the 25 episodes original because the story is so immensely different on so many different levels. However, with that said, I personally still recommend watching the TV series first before proceeding with this movie so that one would have more time to get accustom to the terminologies in that universe (ie. Deculture!). To fully appreciate the skillful remake of the story, one would need to have a solid understanding of the original creation.
The Macross series has been well known to many as a futuristic action-packed, mecha, sci-fi space opera with a healthy dose of romance and lots of aliens in the mix. But what really make this series differ from other mecha shows are the superb songs, soundtracks, and OST. In other words, the music. Music is an integral part of each and every Macross title dating back to the first series aired in 1982. Following this old tradition, Macross Frontier and its first movie have set numerous sales records in the anime music industry. In fact, it is not an exaggeration when it claims that its success is nearly unmatched in the history of anime music industry. Many of its albums reached Oricon’s weekly chart top three positions and maintained those positions for weeks! Of course it is always possible to argue that the successes of the albums are thanks to the skillful J-pop singer, May’n and to a lesser degree, Megumi Nakajima, the winner of the “Best Musical Performance” award.
Character growth/development tends to be lacking in recent TV-to-theater adaptations and before watching it, I sincerely hoped Macross Frontier: The False Songstress will allow me to write something positive for a change in this category. Fortunately for me (and for all the viewers), the main casts are quite realistic albeit the girls seem a bit more moody than their TV counterpart. While not on the level as its music production, the main characters do show enough depth and personality to make me view them as something more than a 2D character with voice (2.5D?).
Much like the music compartment, the animation of Macross Frontier and its movie has been highly regarded as top notch in their respective category. The fluidity in mecha motions during intense battle scenes must have struck many unprepared viewers like an intense thunder. It is rare to see Cel-shaded animation used so well that they seem natural to be part of the environment. What makes the animation more praise-worthy is the fact that the studio did not neglect the other aspects of the show (ie. not just the battle looks great). Simply put, the animation is without doubt THE selling point of the show. Even if you are not interested in mecha or galactic warfare or singing diva, the animation alone is enough to persuade you that this movie is great in its own way.
This two hours long movie is certainly a thrilling ride and well worth my time. There were moments that threw me off my seat, moments that I cheered for certain heroic deeds, and a particular moment that I thought was slightly awkward. But all in all, the “pros” of this movie heavily outweigh the “cons”, or perhaps I was being a bit unreasonable with my expectations. For the action-minded, both the introduction and climatic ending will not be a disappointment. For the music-minded, there are enough new and old songs in the mix to tease you into buying the albums. For all other viewers whether you are new to the Macross franchise or a diehard fan, the combination of beautiful divas, awesome looking mecha, and a love triangle fighting to save the galaxy should be a pretty good recipe to stir up your appetite.
Okay, I'm not really a part of this website's community, I really just use it as an anime database. I also am not that good at writing reviews, but it's been weeks since this movie has been out on dvd and no one has written a review, so as a fan of the series and this movie I am going to have to do that. First of all, I can see why there are no reviews on MAL yet, this movie still isn't subbed. My Japanese skills are limited, since I'm not a fluent speaker yet, but I have been learning legitimately for about a
year and some months (I don't speak super kawaii desu), which means I can catch on to a lot of individual words and small sentences which helps me get an idea of what's going on. I also saw the series, which helped out. Well, anyway, to sum up, I am writing a review based on what I saw, I didn't understand every word of it (especially the big sciency words), but I did get the jist of the story.
First off, you don't even have to speak Japanese to tell this movie is rushed, although it's not as much of a wreck as Unlimited Blade Works, it's pacing is still kind of hectic, if you are going to watch this movie, whether you understand japanese or not, please watch the series first or you will be somewhat confused.
It is a remake of the series, so you will see some differences from the series, which to me are welcomed. I can't really say much or I risk spoiling the movie.
As with most Gekijouban, Utsuwari no Utahime's strong point is NOT the story, although the story isn't bad, what really takes it away is the presentation. This movie is a classic example of what you can do to a masterpiece of the series when given a lot more money to do a remake. The animations and fight scenes were absolutely amazing, probably the best animations I have ever seen. They were so good, at times I just found myself just completely awed by how good it was. Everything just went so far above the series, including Sheryl's concerts, the Frontier itself, the looks of the ships and vajra, the explosions, the macross cannon, ect.
The music was what stayed the most faithful to the series, although we get pretty much the same music maybe 1 or 2 new songs, it was not a letdown any less than the rest of the movie. Because one of the coolest things about Macross F was how they presented the animations during the music, such as concerts and ect. Well, they take it to a whole new level in this movie, what eyes can do to your music listening experience is just absolutely amazing, the director definitely knows this, and used it to their full advantage.
If I had to pick a weakness of this movie though was that there wasn't nearly as much action as I thought there was going to be. Especially for a gekijouban of a mech series. Mech Gekijouban usually say "screw the story" and give us action every 5 seconds. There really is only action in the beginning and end of the movie, with the middle being dramatic build up and story. Which isn't really bad, but they could have put a fight in the middle, that actually would have been pretty nice. Even if there wasn't as much action as there could have been, the action we did get was supurb, and the story was different enough from the series to constantly keep you somewhat on edge. The story goes up to about episode 7 in the series, when the Galaxy gets attacked by the vajra, but the ending is different than what happened in the series, so look forward to that.
Character-wise, Sheryl definitely played a bigger role with the vajra than she did in the series, but Ranka hasn't really done much in this movie. And Alto is the same Alto.
Overall, this movie was really damn good. If you are a fan of Macross F I strongly recommend you watch this whenever it's subbed. There is definitely enough changes to keep you interested. I now can't wait for the second movie, after watching this one, I wonder what kind of "different ending" they are going to give us, well, if anyone wants to give me a ticket to fly to Japan in February I'll gladly accept it.
You should definitely watch the anime series first. These films have so many points that were clearly made not for a new audience but for fans of the anime. A lot of character stories were revamped and this is almost like an AU where tons of awesome stuff you wish happened in the anime happens. Also, if you don't watch the anime first, a lot of things are not explained fully in the films and would probably not make much sense at all. Some characters are also kind of skipped over. If you've watched the anime, you know who they are and why they matter
and why changes to their characters for the film matter, but if you have not seen the anime, it's like the creators throw a giant cast at you and expect you to care about people you barely know for no reason.
Story: This is not just the first half of the anime series squished into the time slot of a film. The first half does greatly draw from the beginning of the anime series, even down to frame-by-frame shots taken (but enhanced) from the anime. Things are also a bit out of order. For instance, Alto's teasing and training is in the second film, even though it was in episode 3 of the anime, but film 2 is very much Alto's story, so this makes a lot of sense. A number of small things have been removed to make the plot more fluid, and also focus on the pretty art. The second half of the film is almost entirely new story, and it's pretty enjoyable. If you've seen the anime, you will probably cheer a lot during the second half of the film. It ends on a high note and a lot of good things happen.
I like a lot of the narrative decisions they made. My main quibbles are these:
1) Someone clearly thought that there was not enough fanservice and far too much manservice in the anime, and rectified this in the films. The concerts in the films are longer and more fanservicy (e.g., Sheryl is seduced by a male version of herself for one concert, wherein she wears a thong with a pom pom on the butt). It's to the point where it's cringe-worthy at times (although the animation is a lot better and worth seeing), but if you can get past it, it doesn't truly ruin the story. Plus, they added a few things for the guys later on.
2) Women do not do a lot of the action in the films. In the anime, Ranka and Sheryl end up saving Alto a couple times, and Klan and Catherine are far more noticeably badass. This is almost entirely gone in the films. Almost immediately after we meet Catherine the first time, she basically faints from surprise. The films are a bit better because Ranka is a much stronger character overall in the films: she really knows what she wants and pursues it, spending a lot less time confused about what to do. The same is true for Sheryl. But it was a little worrying to see the women pushed back so much.
Art: They had a much bigger budget for the films, and it really shows. While they took a number of scenes from the show, they added a ton of new content. The concerts are quite gorgeous and the fighting scenes are pretty fun. Sheryl and Ranka get a lot of neat outfits to wear and the overall look of the film is much more refined and gorgeous.
Sound: Honestly, I enjoyed the music from the anime a lot better. It's still great in the films, most likely because they reused a number of songs from the show, and I hear that a lot of people like the film versions more, but I just didn't hear anything that really stood out to me. I paid more attention to the narrative changes and art. That being said, if you have not taken the time to check out the soundtrack for this franchise, please do so. It's worth the time.
Character: A lot of character revamps occurred for the films. Ranka and Alto are friends before the narrative even starts, which removes some of the contrived meetings and better explains why they're texting and seeing each other so much. Brera is also introduced almost from the beginning, which better explains his story. It's stuff like that which was changed to just remove a lot of the clutter, give more reasons for cast members to be involved in the plot, and allow more focus for the central plot.
I liked a lot of the changes they made. Sheryl and Alto get to hang out more (this is very much a film series for SherylxAlto fans, since they do a lot of cutesy stuff). Brera's character was also re-done very well, and his relationship with Alto is a let better: less of a testosterone-fueled conflict over Ranka, and more of one of camaraderie. One of the best changes by far for the films is the revamp of Grace's character. Her story in the anime feels so contrived and silly. In the films, you actually like her, and her relationship with Sheryl is incredibly sweet. Yet she's still a beautiful, intelligent, powerful badass.
Enjoyment: There are some things that are missing from the beginning of the anime that I am sad to see gone, and I did not like seeing the ridiculous amount of fanservice, but overall, I liked this film a lot and I like this narrative a lot more than the first half of the anime. On its own, it's very enjoyable and beautiful. It's definitely worth a watch (along with its sequel), especially if you're a fan of the anime.
Huh.This is the first positive review I`ve given on MAL... and this is review #3... OK then... I apologize for the comparisons to the parent anime known as Frontier, but this is essential to reviewing this movie in particular.
Anecdotes are fun.
Have you ever heard of Evangelion? If so, you may have heard of the rebuild films: films that are an alternate setting to the original. The beginning ones retell the original story with some tweaks, while the later ones branch out to tell a whole new story, like with movie three, and the upcoming movie four. Why am I telling you
this seemingly irrelevant trivia? Because Macross Frontier had a similar deal. This movie, Macross F Movie 1: Itsuwari no Utahime, retells the first 10 episodes of the show, with many tweaks, for the first half. The second half of the film tells a new story. As for how well the film handled all of it, I`m sure you have some semblance of how I felt it did, given the score at the top right, but for those of you who want to know my full thoughts, let`s find out, shall we?
This movie decided to retell the first 10-ish episodes of Macross Frontier, and it feels rather choppy, not helped by the numerous yet harmless changes made. Retellings in general dock points since they simply recap material fans of the parent story already know, just in a choppy and (depending on the quality) sloppy manner. Luckily, the film doesn't feel too sloppy, just choppy... for the first half. The second half is a bit more interesting. Sheryl Nome and Grace O`Connor have been labeled as spies from Macross Galaxy. Why the people at Frontier would assume that Galaxy has ill will towards them is beyond me. After Sheryl`s date with main lead Alto, and that whole suspicion debacle, he starts doubting her, and that trust is compounded when he sees her seemingly attacking his friend Ranka only for her to scold his and the Frontier military for their seemingly false accusations. I say seemingly because well, we`ll get to that in Movie 2. The alien race known as the Vajra continue their attack against humans that started shortly before the events of the first movie, and in the climax, are eliminated by frontier... for now...
As for the main trio, not a whole lot was changed aside from Sheryl`s whole spy thing that gets resolved in the next film. Alto is still a seemingly rough guy with a heart of gold, Ranka is still the naïve upcoming songstress, albeit now, she`s childhood friends with Alto, and Sheryl is still the songstress with an ego problem yet still having a heart of gold. Everyone else from the original Macross Frontier is still kept in tact, even if we get less time for everyone to really develop and stand out. Overall, the are still the same people from Frontier, just with less development or time to get to know them.
One of the major problems in the art department as far as the Frontier anime goes is that while many scenes look good for `08 standards and other scenes look freakin` amazing, some scenes had to be sacrificed to look like something you`d normally see in some of Gonzo`s worst, even though this was done by studio Satelight. Luckily, this movie doesn't suffer from those problems. Now, it loos like a well done episode of Macross Frontier. The CG looks as brilliant as it did back in the original, and the actual hand drawn animation looks on par with that of `08-`09 standards. The performances done by Sheryl Nome look as great as ever, only with more emphasis on a style performance, however, there are no truly WOW moments in the movie aside from the astounding water effects, like say, Macross Frontier, or MF Movie 2: Sayonara no Tsubasa. Well, for what it is, the animation is still great.
Let`s get this out of the way. I only noticed THREE new songs in this movie. All of the songs were ripped straight out of the show, with exception to Universal Bunny (which is just ok; a bit weak by Sheryl Nome standards), the final song at the end, and the credits theme. However, the songs are still great, and that`s what counts. All of the songs are as great as I remember them, and the final song, while not quite as good as previous songs, is still a good track. Then again, a Macross installment without at least a decent soundtrack is nothing short of BLASPHIMA!!!
The first part of the movie was mostly entertaining, albeit a bit boring in places. The second half was pretty good, especially the climax. Even with how choppy and dull the first half was at times and how absolutely strange and somewhat irritating the mid-section's plot twist was, overall, this was still a decent movie, even if it's one of the weakest installments of the franchise, especially from an entertainment standpoint.
OVERALL: 7/10 RAW SCORE 74/100
Honestly, there`s not much left to say. I enjoyed this film, and it offered an interesting spin. If you enjoyed the show, give it a ride. Anything else I say will just be repeating things a third or forth time, so with that, I bid you adieu.