As a long-running anime franchise, Macross is well remembered for not only its portrayal of war, action-packed transforming machines (mechas) and engaging storytelling but also for its use of love triangles to emphasize the human element of the saga.
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross anime TV series (1982-1983) would have ended up looking generic with other robot anime series had it not featured the love triangle of Hikaru-Misa-Minmay. That love triangle was clearly the centerpiece of the saga and each member got developed individually throughout the 36 episodes.
Over a decade later, the sequel Macross Plus was released in the form of a 4-episode original video animation (OVA) (and in reimagined form via a theatrical version in 1995) and it featured a brand new love triangle with Myung Fang Lone, Isamu Dyson and Guld Bowman.
Spearheaded by the legendary Shoji Kawamori as co-director and mecha designer, Macross Plus was a more challenging story to sell to fans and anime enthusiasts given the fact that it had no conflict of good-versus-evil nor hero-versus-villain. There was not even a war to focus on. Instead its conflict was more centered on the love triangle.
The background is like this. In the year 2033, Myung, Isamu and Guld were close teenage friends until something terrible happened to them which not only destroyed their friendship but led them to taking separate paths carrying pain and unforgiveness deep inside.
In the present day of 2040, military pilot Isamu got re-assigned to his home planet of Eden as a test pilot for the prototype fighter plan the YF-19. This re-assignment happened because Isamu was too reckless and dangerous to be in active duty. Shortly after arriving he encounters Guld who is also a test pilot assigned with the stealthy YF-21. Right from the start their bitterness and rivalry intensifies.
The stakes grow even higher when Myung returns to Eden as a producer of Sharon Apple, a powerful computer designed to project holograms of a digital lady who could not only sing but also express emotions. She’s described by her handlers to be a living artificial intelligence but behind the scenes her programming is incomplete and Myung herself has to provide the emotions and singing.
Enough with the plot. Let’s move on to my analysis of the love triangle.
The love triangle
Let’s start with Isamu. On face value, he’s a handsome young guy who has achieved a lot when it comes to flying and combat but he is too risky to be with due to his impulsive nature, love for danger and recklessness. His cocky personality reminds me somewhat of Maverick (played by Tom Cruise) from Top Gun but the difference is that Isamu is much more dangerous.
Oh yes, Isamu also acts childish. This is evident during the first test flight of the YF-19 and most of the time he was playing around, cheering and expressing himself instinctively. The very ironic thing about his childish act is that he got to push hard the technical and technological capabilities of the YF-19 with regards to how it moves, how fast its speed is and how efficient its functions are.
But is Isamu an ideal man for a lady to spend her life with? Absolutely not. He loves fun too much and his being a loose cannon is a headache for his military superiors. His lack of self-control alone will make any relationship end quickly. At least in the context of Macross Plus, Isamu is not meant for marriage nor love but for dangerous fun. Still there are certain aspects of him that show he can still change for the better such as daring to find answers to be certain and pushing forward with life even though painful times strike along the way.
Next is Myung. She is an example of a very talented young singer who failed to become a professional artist. As a teenager she loved to sing and was described to have sung during her sleep. Somehow the violent falling out she experienced with Isamu and Gul impacted her ability to make it big in the world of entertainment. Think about it. While there are many talented wannabees who made it as singers but did not achieve super stardom, there are others who never qualified to be singers.
In the present day, Myung still carries pain and unforgiveness deep inside. She deals with her pain by burying herself with her work as a producer and rides along the tremendous success of Sharon Apple who is not even real. As such it is no wonder why she felt uneasy being reunited with Guld and Isamu. During her time in the forest with an injured Isamu, she got to try a fruit (which she suspected to be sour) after being told by him (who already had a fruit) to do it. Upon tasting the sour thing, she expressed that she always hated how Isamu dared people to try something even though he already knew the answer or what would happen. Before going to the forest, however, Myung was the first person Isamu saw after sleeping for days in the hospital due to a test flight accident. The mere fact she attended to him proves that she has feelings for the hot shot pilot.
Finally we have Guld, the half-human half-Zentradi person with grayish skin. Like Isamu, he has the passion and skill for flying. He does not have the recklessness and impulsiveness of Isamu, but he could be very violent due to the warlike tendencies (example: rage or outburst) he inherited from his Zentradi heritage. Remember in Macross, Zentradi was a race of artificially made giants produced through cloning and because they were bred for war and militarism they were devoid of culture.
As test pilot of the YF-21, he is oriented to control the plan mentally and this allows him to actually feel the machine as if it was his own body. Remember how Guld sped right into a barrage of rockets and got away untouched with the YF-21? That was the result of not only the YF-21’s stealth features and ability to predict the direction of the missiles but also of Guld’s extension with the aircraft.
Still Guld has feelings and he is far from being a living killing machine. Right from the start of his reunion with Myung, he expressed his feelings for her and swore to protect her (even though she did not need such protection). This shows that he was willing to adjust for Myung, forget the past and move forward. Guld does not have the charisma of Isamu but that does not make him less human nor does it make him an undesirable person. He also does his best to be something that Isamu cannot be – an honorable pilot.
Overall the love triangle of Guld, Myung and Isamu is still engaging to follow whether you watch Macross Plus in its OVA format or in its theatrical version (titled: Macross Plus: The Movie, Macross Plus: Movie Edition). At the same time this triangle is geared towards adults and one of the themes behind Macross Plus is growing up or coming-of-age. Other moral lessons worth learning: dealing with the painful past, maintaining discipline while doing your duty and learning how to forgive.
In reality, unforgiveness or the unwillingness to forgive truly causes more harm than good. There really is no escaping the negative effects. Repenting and forgiving each other go together and only then will healing happen. Forgiveness is emphasized in the Holy Bible. Below is a scripture for you all.
bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Colossians 3: 13 (NKJV)
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Author’s Note: This article was originally published at my old Geeks and Villagers blog. What you read on this website was an updated and expanded version. In other words, this newest version you just read is the most definitive version.