What’s it about ?
This is another iteration of a franchise that’s three-decade-and-a-half old at this point, but hasn’t had a proper TV series since 2007. Also, this won’t actually start until next Spring, but a “preview special” with most of the first episode aired over the holidays, so here we are.
For added fun, I’ve never actually watched any Macross ; I assume that by now there isn’t any particularly tight continuity beyond the general framework of “space opera with mecha and idol singers”, and this should be relatively accessible on its own terms. (Similarly to how Gundam reinvents itself every few years.) If not, well, it’s the show’s funeral.
Hayate, our male lead, is a slacker who’s just got fired from his slave-wage material handling job on some random backwater planet. Since this is his last day, he might as well enjoy it, and so he decides the best way to unload containers from a starship is to have his workplace mecha dance to the tune of super-famous idol unit Walkure’s greatest hits. As you do.
Freyja, our heroine, is a stowaway he finds in an apple container. She’s a HUGE Walkure fangirl and came here because there’ll be auditions for a fifth member in a week. Except she got to the wrong planet. Oops. For added fun, security forces are on edge because of random outbreaks of the “Var Syndrome” plague, which makes people suddenly go berserk and wreak havoc out of nowhere. Obviously, an illegal immigrant like Freyja is seen as a big security and sanitary risk. Cue chase scenes, with a somewhat befuddled Hayate helping her out because hey, what the hell.
As it turns out, Walkure are also undercover on this planet right now, investigating the Var outbreaks. They’re not just idol singers, but also the key members of a military unit fighting the plague off. The idol thing is way more than a cover : they’re basically magical girls fighting the plague with the Power of Song ! (With their bodyguards providing support from fighter jets and/or mechas.)
It’s obvious from the start that Freyja is indeed quickly going to become a new Walkure member, with Hayate as her bodyguard ; the preview stops just after a cliffhanger that gives a clue of how that’s going to happen. (Also, it’s plain to see that, in the same way that Walkure’s songs soothes the Var victims, it’s someone else’s song that also starts the plague in the first place.)
There are also a bunch of dudes who start bombing Walkure out of nowhere. Presumably they’re going to be explained in further episodes.
Very good. Sure, this isn’t the entire first episode, and we’re still missing proper OP/ED sequences, but it looks great, the action sequences flow well, and the animation has tons of energy.
Also, for a series built around idol songs, it actually sounds quite good ; Walkure’s last song as the credits run is quite catchy indeed.
This is an impressive start. I have no prior knowledge of the franchise, and this didn’t impede by enjoyment at all. It’s got fun characters, a fun premise, and enough energy to carry my goodwill along without breaking a sweat.
I’m totally watching this when it actually comes out, in April or something.