Remembering Macross: Do You Remember Love?

There have been so many anime movies that have come and gone. A lot of them have, deservedly so, have been called classics and must-watch animes. You’ve got your My Neighbor Totoro, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Weathering with You, Your Name and Akira. They are undoubtedly classics in their own right and every anime fan needs to see them. But there always seems to be one anime film that’s left out of the conversation for one reason or another. I’m here to shine a spotlight on that anime that usually gets lost in the shuffle when people list down great anime movies.

That movie is Macross: Do You Remember Love?

But before I do talk about Macross: Do You Remember Love?, I do have to talk about my very complicated relationship with the first Macross franchise. Like most anime fans, the very first contact I had with Macross wasn’t actually called Macross. It was from Robotech. Now, Robotech was this weird mishmash of three animes, namely, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. The original Japanese animes had nothing to do with each other. However, the people over at Harmony Gold had the bright idea to attempt to link these three disparate shows. The writers did a good job with what they were given but this did greatly affect how the later chapters, more specifically the Southern Cross story, was almost totally revamped to retrofit it into the overarching story. Thankfully, as it was the first chapter in Robotech, Macross was hardly touched story-wire. Basically, if all you have is the Robotech version of Macross, you’re still getting pretty much the original story.

I also have to mention that my first experience with Do You Remember Love? isn’t by watching the movie. The first time I did see the movie was the Clash of the Bionoids dub. And, god help me, I loved it! I managed to catch this by pure accident while channel surfing when I was a kid. Seeing they actually pushed out a movie based on Robotech (because I didn’t know any better then) blew my mind and maybe that was a part of why I loved it so much. It would be an easy excuse to say I was young and foolish to like something as bad as the dubbing done in Clash of the Bionoids. But there’s just something so earnest in the performances! Oh, I also didn’t know they cut out a lot of stuff from the original film but, hey, I didn’t know there was an unedited version back then! Of course, now that I’ve seen the original cut, it’s hard to go back to Clash of the Bionoids unless it’s to kind of laugh at some of the dialogue.

Anyway, back to Do You Remember Love? and why I believe it deserves to be called a classic. For one thing, just look at it! Despite it being released way back in 1984, a good 35 years ago now, Do You Remember Love? still looks incredible. I can’t deny they touched up the film to bring everything into high resolution. But even so, you gotta admire the amount of detail the animators put into each frame of animation here! The number of little things, like lights flashing on the screen, the wires that stick out of a console, how the shadows lay on objects realistically, the tiny details of the Valkyrie stabilization thrusters looks outstanding.

The animation of how the Valkyrie also transform from mode to mode so seamlessly is also incredible. Of course, you also have to love those spiraling missiles the Valkyrie fire at the enemy Zentradi and how well animated those things are. Considering this was way before computer animation was a thing, that means you had a bunch of animators drawing up each and every frame of those missiles careening at wild directions while making it look real. They did a fantastic job on Do You Remember Love?

I also have to commend the writers of managing to streamline the entire 36 episode arc into something that would fit into roughly a couple of hours. Well, it’s not exactly streamlining as Do You Remember Love? alters the story quite a bit. But the changes they did do make sense. The movie actually starts right in the middle of the Macross’ journey back to Earth and ends after the defeat of the Zentradi leader Boddole Zer. This does leave out a good chunk of story but it also cuts out the more boring parts. We get to see the Macross transform without having the long, complicated episode explaining how they figured out to do so. We don’t have the Macross return to Earth only to be exiled to deep space. We also don’t get the aftermath of the Macross War and see the Zentradi have difficulty integrating in human society. These may be part of the entire drama of Macross. But, by cutting out these more slower parts, Do You Remember Love? gets into the meatier part of the entire story, which does makes things more satisfying.

Of course, no talk about Do You Remember Love? can be made without talking about the phenomenal final act of the film. The big battle where the loose forces of the Zentradi, Meltradi and remaining humans join forces to attack Boddole Zer while Lynn Minmay sings the titular song. There’s just something to the entire buildup to the song and the beautiful simplicity of the lyrics that makes it come off as more awesome than it should be. Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Mari Iijima, who does both the normal and singing voices of Lynn Minmay, sounds really ethereal with her performance of the song. There’s also a kind of beautiful message in the scene where a simple love song can touch even the hardest of hearts to make them do the right thing.

I’m not saying Do You Remember Love? is a flawless anime film. I actually have to say I have some problems with it. The melodrama can be irritating at times as the characters would suddenly start behaving like they’re in the middle of a cheap soap opera. Lynn Minmay can definitely be grating at times because of how bratty she comes off in certain scenes. And while I did give high praise to the writers for focusing on the more important elements of the series, there are a couple of times when things just seem to happen in order to move the story forward.

However, these shortcomings should not really detract from how great Do You Remember Love? actually is. There’s just an overall epic feel to the story and the animation, despite its age, seems to have richer details than the anime movies we get today. But it’s that really memorable final act that really clinches it for me. The song, while nothing great in itself, feels much more epic in scale because of everything that accompanies it. Honestly, I would’ve watched it for those final ten minutes and still feel satisfied with how well done everything is.

I honestly think Macross: Do You Remember Love? deserves a little love as it seems to have been lost in the shuffle of all of the other anime films out there. If you’re interested in watching it, you’re in luck! The entire movie is available on YouTube on the Macross channel. It’s not in super hi-def but the high quality animation will make you forget it isn’t.

Give it a watch if you can spare a couple of hours. You can thank me later.

Have you seen Macross: Do You Remember Love? What did you think of it? What other classic anime films do you think deserves a little more attention? Let me know in the comments section below!

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