Macross 7 Dynamite
Okay, I've seen a lot of strange anime in my time. But one where the central theme can be summed up as, "The cosmic space whales are listening to my song" has to come close to winning some sort of award. It's just a pity that the rest of the anime doesn't make much more sense that that sentence.
Synopsis? for this? that goes beyond the realm of challenge. Okay, to begin with this is a sequel to Macross 7 in which we meet a rock band. And at the helm of this band is a weird guy who believes in the power of music. He believes so much that he spends most of his time flying his mecha into the middle of space battles and playing guitar at everyone. Exactly what he believes his music is going to accomplish, besides the expected confusion, is never quite clear....but that doesn't stop him.
Apparently, after the conclusion of the TV series, he's been bumming around the galaxy playing guitar at people. And when, on a particularly strange but sort of cool planet, he learns about the existence of huge space whales he knows he's got to sing at them. After all, while they look like huge (emphasis on really big) glowing masses of energy, he knows they'll be into his own brand of light rock. The fact that this puts him into the middle of a battle between poachers, police, and a strange family he probably just regards as an extra thrill.
It's not much easier to review than it was to summarize. However let's be quite clear, this video is extremely strange and very hard to like. Not only is the central story, and environment, extremely weird but it even tries to add to this effect. There's some `cosmic' moments, and background events (or heavy symbolism for the generous), to make the progression even less clear. It really tries to be deep, probably in order to take your attention away from the simplistic plot and the wandering story.
I'm really not sure why they made it, or who they were appealing to. Although to be honest the same goes for Macross 7 itself. It can't be the macross fans, because none of the classic characters, action or mecha fetish show up in this one. It can't really be for the action buffs in general, because the lead guy does little more exciting than sing. It can't really be for those who like mature anime, because it's all quite silly. It could be seen as the worlds longest and most convoluted video clip, but that would be easier to believe if the music weren't so infrequent and such light pop.
The weird thing is it has little sections of quality in it...and almost none of them have to do with the lead character. He's a complete waste of time, incoherent and in-expressive with no energy to him. I assume he's supposed to be cool but it doesn't work for me. On the other hand a young girl who adopts him, and her obsessed giant dad, are much better. Her boundless energy and life, and her fathers grim and obsessive Moby Dick fixation actually have a lot of presence. Likewise the world in which the show is placed seems quite novel and pretty interesting.
But at the end of the day we keep getting dragged back to the lead zombie and his fixation on playing atrocious guitar at everything and everyone. And he goes way beyond belief in how he's played. He wanders into situations, gets blown up and doesn't seem to mind, recovers nearly instantly and then goes back for more. He just doesn't make sense and we spend far too much time with him. And as far as I can see his playing makes no difference to how the story plays out, or the conclusion.
It is also worth noting that it tries hard to be mature and complex. This includes some piss-weak philosophizing in the dialogue which is quite poor. It also includes some nudity (him taking a hot bath with a very underaged girl) although there's nothing sexual to it. On the other hand this tape came very close to getting destroyed with one other scene. We see some scenes of the lead's band, basically proving that he doesn't care much about his friends and has left them without a lead singer. In order to fill up the space one band member, a young female, is the victim of an attempted rape by an older woman. And the conclusion to this event is left hanging between episodes. This is really disgusting because it has no basis in the story, and is simply added to be `risque'. It's really cheap and well beyond tasteless.
The animation is a weird mix of styles, but is fairly average for an OAV. Although the TV series had really bad animation, so it looks good compared to that. The level of detail is average, color is muddy and the action animation tends to be a weird montage of `segments' that's visually confusing. The technical design is interesting but doesn't really get much focus. The whales are attractive but largely inactive. The character art is reasonable, but once again the `family' seem to steal all the good scenes. You quickly get the feeling the animators enjoyed animating the young girl, there's some quite impressive physical sequences involving her that aren't really seen for any other character. The voices are quite reasonable. The music, well, it does nothing whatsoever for me. Emotive but meaningless lyrics to rock guitar with little of interest about them.
You might even want to consider downloading, should you find them, some of the shows music. If you actually like the music then this anime might be a lot easier to watch. There certainly are some quite long sequences in which the lead plays while the action unfolds around him.