Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 2

Heavy Spoilers: Second part of comparing the Macros Plus OVA vs. the Movie

The movie jumps directly post this to Isamu getting scolded by Millard and getting banned from flying for three days followed by his and Lucy’s date while the OVA goes post the introduction to a sequence with Isamu researching the fighter craft and a simulation training which he does badly in making Yang yell at him for not taking things seriously. Both narratives converge at the date sequence which is just Isamu driving rashly and catching a note of Sharon’s song which reminds him of Myung.

The next scene is in the cafeteria where Guld’s colleagues are joking about Isamu being pulled up and their chances of winning being good. In the movie, they are happy Isamu has been banned for 3 days while in the OVA it’s more about just him screwing up. In both, Guld warns his colleagues to not underestimate him. This is a very powerful scene because while both have just been shown fighting each other passionately in both versions, this scene is Guld’s quiet acceptance of his past association and familiarity with Isamu. It’s a very private moment of him delving back into a time when things were better between them.

Myung’s press conference is running in the background of this sequence in both versions and Guld becomes aware of it, realising Myung is there in the city and managing Sharon. The conference is played out similarly in both versions with a reporter raising concerns on a computer-generated voice being emotionless and Raymond defending it claiming Sharon’s feelings will be hurt by the claim.

The OVA then proceeds with the scene of Myung and Sharon showing up to the crowd which is shown at the beginning of the movie followed by shots of Sharon’s concert being set up and the scene with Myung supervising Sharon’s adjustment. Marge shows up but just to inform Myung her taxi is here with no warning on the media. She departs and goes to Star Hill followed by a sequence of Isamu and Lucy flirting with each other while on their date.

The movie on the other hand skips to a sequence which does not happen in the OVA between Raymond and Myung where he asks if she would prefer to sing in place of Sharon and she informs him her singing days are over. She talks to him about how Sharon has won so many hearts mentioning that she will be out of work if Sharon does become complete but she is happy as long as fans are happy. Raymond wonders why Sharon doesn’t awaken even though her system is complete which Myung attributes to her own emotions perhaps not being strong enough. Raymond also seems to have a romantic interest in Myung which she sort of pretends to ignore and divert by focusing on a fake flower in his vase.

There are three key themes of the series addressed in this one scene. One is a woman’s consent and unwanted romantic attention, the second is a human-dependent machine’s efficacy being as good as the person it relies on to run (Sharon functioning inadequately since Myung’s emotions are lacking and Guld’s craft not performing optimally due to his own tripping up at the hands of his Zentradi blood), and third is the redundancy of a human at the hands of a machine. Makes it a rather important scene and hence I feel it adds value to the movie. I also find it interesting that Raymond mentions Sharon’s AI is complete in this scene while in the OVA it is clearly mentioned it is incomplete and hence there is a need to rely on Myung. Since both versions do feature the microchip later, I get confused if the intention is to show Sharon’s AI in different states in each.

Both versions again converge at Star Hill for Guld and Myung’s meeting followed by Isamu and Lycy showing up which is played out in the same way so I won’t go into it much. Notable here is Myung’s attempt to appear as if all is ok and Guld realizing nothing is alright and offering to help her which makes for a very powerful sequence during a rewatch. I am always struck by how much reconstruction Myung has done for herself after being abused by one friend and abandoned by the other. Guld informs Isamu he will get neither Myung nor the project, almost reducing her to the status of a commodity while Isamu claims he is only interested in the project. Myung stays caught between the egos of these two men, another major theme in the series.

There is one change here which is in the dialogue when Guld first accosts Isamu. Since the first dialogue of Guld calling Isamu a traitor didn’t happen in the movie, it was changed. This dialogue is actually quite significant since it foreshadows the understanding the audience later get of Guld believing Isamu to have assaulted Myung when actually it was him.

The next sequences in the movie is a fairly benign mashup of the two YFs being test piloted by Isamu and Guld which are actually clips from much more dramatic sequences in the OVA. This is shown as a montage sequence occurring over some time interspersed by Myung being immersed into the AI in preparation of the concert.

This is followed by the scene of Guld looking up Isamu’s records and his Zentradi blood acting up which was shown earlier in the OVA but it’s interspersed with scenes of his memory of Myung’s assault which he believes was done by Isamu. In the OVA the trigger for his Zentradi blood seems simply to be his rivalry and hatred for Isamu while in the movie it’s specifically shown to be triggered by this sequence again enunciating slightly different motifs.

On the other hand, the OVA takes a very different approach depicting Isamu and Guld’s first test flight together where Guld is easily able to outshine Isamu initially. He is more focused on the task at hand in this sequence than Isamu who is lagging and trying very hard to match up to Guld out of rivalry. However, Guld loses control of the YF-21 as there is disruption in his brainwave connect and he flashes back to the scene of seeing Isamu with Myung right after the assault. He is angry since under the impression Isamu was the culprit.

He goes into free fall as a result and Isamu rescues him finally on Millard’s orders. However, just as they land safely Guld imagines a scenario where he causes Isamu to have an accident and his craft responds by manifesting it. Isamu is livid, accusing Guld of having done it on purpose. The other man mocks him but also apologises stating it was an accident. This is again a pretty critical scene going back to the motifs of fragile masculinity and ego clashes between two men. Guld takes a step back in this case and apologizes.

Guld flies the YF-21 and the sequence is followed by Myung supervising Sharon Apple’s programming where Marge shows up to warn her that reporters are catching on to there being a flaw in Sharon’s software so she should be careful during the press conference.

I won’t do a separate observation bit here. Rather, I’ll post the third and fourth parts and then do a combined observation bit.

Other articles in the series

Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: 1 #Mechamarch2022

The Beginning

If you are here reading this I don’t think I need to explain the above two images to you. They are common in both versions and pretty iconic for Macross Plus. The Macross Plus OVA begins with the song Voices and a sequence from the main trio’s past where Isamu is flying a makeshift aircraft that looks like the Pterosaur bird of Eden. We come to see the two boys side by side in what looks like a rivalry sequence initially but turns out to be just the three of them having fun with Guld and Myung waving at Isamu as he flies off. Incidentally, this is actually the last scene in the movie but we will come to that.

The Macross Plus movie starts on a different note. Instead of the song, we have just the melody, no words. Young Myung makes a brief appearance for a few seconds commenting on blue skies and then we directly move to Myung and Sharon Apple appearing in front of the crowd followed by a sequence of Guld flying the YF-21.

We are shown sequences of him tuning into his aircraft which runs on his brainwaves, imagining parts of the aircraft as parts of his own body to controls it. He is seen using the same association in a later battle too.

Isamu’s Introduction

Unlike the movie, the OVA begins with Isamu. Post the childhood sequence, the OVA narates why Isamu gets sent to EDEN in the first place, a sequence which is completely cut from the movie. We start with a mecha battle in deep space during the year 2040 featuring Isamu where it’s pretty clear to see this is an arrogant/overconfident and rather reckless fighter. Aptly, it is followed by him in his supervisor’s office hearing his transfer orders accompanied by his instances of infractions being listed out and a warning that he should have been court-martialled already. No one wants him so they have decided to send him as a test pilot to New Edwards base. It’s supposed to be an unsavoury prospect but Isamu is overjoyed by it. That sequence in the OVA is followed by the one of Guld tuning into his aircraft already shown in the movie, which is largely same in both versions, just somewhat more detailed in the OVA.

Isamu’s introduction in the movie is not quite as dramatic. We see him standing in a field making airplanes with his hand, already a test pilot. He and Guld seem to be on the same base though they have apparently not met yet. Isamu takes his test flight during which he launches into showing off, flying the craft erratically to draw the Pterosaur in the sky. Guld, who is watching from the control room, is shocked to see this, getting reminded of Isamu doing something similar with his aircraft (same as the one seen at the beginning of the OVA) to do a sky drawing as a kid with him and Myung watching from the ground. He wonders if this is the same person though doesn’t seem happy about it. Incidentally, the same scene happens later in the OVA too but without the childhood flashback.

The Frenemy Reunion

I am talking, of course, about the first time that Isamu and Guld interact (though honestly it can apply beyond that too since everyone seems to be frenemies here). In both the movie and the OVA, this is again played out radically differently. Personally, I prefer this sequence how it plays out in the OVA versus the movie because it allows more of a chance for character development and understanding of these two as individuals.

The movie sequence is rather short and simple. Isamu lands from his test flight all happy, alights from the YF-19 by stepping on Yang’s head even as Yang is yelling at him for his barbaric flight, asks Lucy if she saw his Pterosaur claiming it was for her and then casually mentions a date, not seeming particularly romantically interested in her. Guld shows up in the hangar and Yang introduces him as the rival team’s pilot. Isamu says Guld’s name without being told and we see a sequence hinting that they know each other and there is an ongoing animosity with Guld calling Isamu a plague and Isamu getting very angry at that.

In the OVA, the meeting happens in a completely different way. Their first encounter is just a quick accidental brush. Isamu is heading to the base and Guld flies past him making him realise this is the test aircraft he is here for and become excited again. They don’t speak or even see each other though.

Once at the base, Isamu reports for a meeting of the two design teams of each aircraft. As they start, Chief Millard introduces himself and again these sequences help establish Isamu as a character rather well. His first question is to just ask when he gets to fly. Millard is cautious and mentions maybe Isamu should take a break since he has a reputation for being a hothead. He mentions Isamu does not want to get a promotion and the younger man responds it’s because then he won’t be able to fly. So overconfident, irreverent, hotheaded and loves flying is the context set for him.

There is a presentation giving background to the two fighters YF-19 (Isamu’s) and YF-21 (Guld’s) which are to be tested. Deepening his dubious image, Isamu insults Yang, calling him a kid only to find out he is the Design Chief for the YF-19. While this is going on Guld shows up and it becomes very clear from both his and Isamu’s reaction that they know each other and are not happy to see the other.

Their rivalry is pretty apparent but Guld calmly walks to his seat giving his report to Millard. Honestly, at this point Isamu does not seem too interested in fighting and he just reponds to Guld directly stating it must have been him that he saw in Area Seven earlier while coming. He says this in a pretty benign way, the way you would address a friend or a colleague you were on good terms with. However, Guld ignores him and instead tells the Chief Isamu would be a waste of time leading to an explosive reaction from Isamu. Guld just calmly enjoys the situation stating Isamu is just proving his point. Lucy observes that they seem to know each other.

In the OVA this sequence is followed up by Guld looking up Isamu’s personal record and his Zentradi blood acting up, something which the movie shows much later.

Observations: The OVA begins on the note of childhood and goes deep into character building, especially for Isamu. We get a good understanding into his reckless and irreverent nature, why he ended up here etc. Having seen the scene of their friendly childhood at the beginning, when you are suddenly confronted with their abject animosity, you do wonder what could have happened to those children which resulted in these adults. The OVA also gives a fair bit of context into the aircrafts themselves, who Yang is etc. Without all this context-setting, the beginning of the movie feels a bit rushed.

Also, the movie begins with adult characters largely except the one shot of Myung so that note of loss of innocence is missing. It does build this up a bit with the sequence of Isamu drawing the Pterosaur in the sky but for me personally, that impact is not as strong. Where the OVA seems to set an expectation that people and their relationships will likely be a big focus area for this story with a lot of time spent on interactions of people with each other, the movie seems to set a context that the focus will be on the man-machine interface situation since that is where it begins with Myung and Guld. Not saying it stays there but watching the two back to back, that’s the impression I got.

Since this is a multi-part series, if you’d like to keep tab you can subscribe with your email ID in the menu on the left.

The Macross Plus Series:

  1. Introduction: The Macross Plus Series
  2. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Introduction
    1. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 1
    2. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 2
    3. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 3
    4. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 4
    5. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 5
    6. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Reflections
  3. Macross Plus: Key Themes
  4. Macross Plus: Characters and Relationships
  5. Macross Plus vs. Macross Franchise
  6. Macross Plus: Creators and Legacy

Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: #Mechamarch2022

Comparing the Macross Plus OVA and the movie has been an informal anime life goal for me. Why? Because while both are constructed from mostly the same material they are somewhat different creatures. Not entirely different but enough to not make them the same experience. There are times when each enunciates on different themes or presents the same situation divergently, representing or developing characters a bit distinctly, and telling the same story in but in different ways.

macross plus ova and movie

Background to Both Versions: Macross Plus was initially released in 1994 as a four part OVA (of around 40 mins each) in Japanese and subsequently in English for International markets. It was initially conceived as a feature-length piece by Keiko Nobumoto and hence in 1995 a Movie Edition was released which is 1 Hour 54 Minutes long featuring mostly the same footage as the original but often realigned or restructured and with 20 minutes of new or alternate footage.

When I started writing my analysis on Macross Plus I realised I simply cannot do justice to some of it without doing this analysis first so here we are. This series will go sequence by sequence over a set of articles analysing the variations, their significance, and impact. I’ll keep each short so they are easier to consume. Not sure if something like this already exists but I couldn’t find it. Please share with me if you are aware of something.

A big thanks to Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews for showing enthusiasm about my plans to write about Macross Plus (though he now needs to judge how justified that was) which was a great bit of motivation. He does an annual event called Mecha March which you should check out. I’ll tag this and the next post with his hashtag #Mechamarch2022 in honour of that.

This took me a good four weeks to get through since it meant watching bite sized footage of each simultaneously, making notes, screenshots etc. but I’m happy I did it. Not sure how many Macross Plus aficionados are out there who would want to go this detailed and actually read it all. If I make mistakes please bear with me and just point them out. I’ll go back and fix them. I will be doing more detailed analyses on some of the overarching themes/characters etc. of Macross Plus separately so might not go into too much detail on those here beyond comparison/observations in these pieces. You can check the list of planned articles below.

Since this is a multi-part series, if you’d like to keep tab you can subscribe with your email ID in the menu on the left.

The Macross Plus Series:

  1. Introduction: The Macross Plus Series
  2. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Introduction
    1. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 1
    2. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 2
    3. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 3
    4. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 4
    5. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Part 5
    6. Macross Plus OVA vs. Movie: Reflections
  3. Macross Plus: Key Themes
  4. Macross Plus: Characters and Relationships
  5. Macross Plus vs. Macross Franchise
  6. Macross Plus: Creators and Legacy