Right now, writing about Macross Delta is strange to me on a lot of levels. For starters, I started Macross 7 at the beginning of the year and am still in the middle of watching it right now. Though, I am nearing the end. In comparison, I sped through Delta. That fact has to do with 7 works better watching it weekly because of the nature tv media in the 90’s vs Delta is more recent and is easier to binge watch. I also know that Delta is either loved or hated by people in the Macross Fandom just like 7. Watching the show, I can see why considering how it pulls things in different ways then a lot of Macross series usually do. For my own watch, I felt like it was poisoned in a positive direction by watching something I consider terrible right before it. It took me a while to come up with a more solid opinion of it and I just decided that it was good. Not fantastic, but far from average. Let’s discuss why in this post.
Macross Delta takes place 8 years after the Frontier colonization fleet encountered the bug monsters called the Vajra in what is known as Macross Frontier. In terms of time line, Macross Delta takes place in 2067 and currently is the latest Macross series. It takes place 59 years after the war between human kind and the massive Zentradi fleet was resolved through the power of culture and music in 2009 in SDF Macross. Macross Plus takes place in 2040 and revolves around a small encounter between the AI Sharon Apple and a love triangle made out of two aces and a former songstress. Macross 7 takes place in 2044 and involves a space city and battle unit searching for a place to colonize, but encounters the Prodevilin which they fight back with the power of rock and roll (more on this in July). I am saying all of this because everything in Macross is in the same universe, besides Macross 2, and this show is the natural follow through to all of this. All of this was started from the seeds planted by the protoculture!
In a universe where Var syndrome, which causes people to become zombies, is rampant, a chance meeting between the Windermerian runaway who wishes to sing for the Walkure named Freyja Wion and a guy wandering from place to place but loves music, Hayate Immelman, meet. It’s the classic romance trope of a part time worker finding a runaway idol in a transport bin leading to Hayate being fired. What happens? Both of them finding a purpose or following through with their own dream after a showing with the Walkure idol unit and the pilots of Delta Sqaudrant, all apart of chaos, saving a planet from a Var syndrome spread. After both of their encounter with a certain Mirage Farina Jenius, the granddaughter of Maxmillian and Milia Jenius from OG Macross and Macross 7, Hayate joins Chaos after showing some skills and Freyja joins the Walkure. So the adventure begins
What both of them didn’t expect after achieving a direction or their dream was an all-out war against the Windermere Kingdom and their Aerial Knights. Freyja is instantly called a spy or a traitor so she must work harder with the Walkure and Hayate must be trained heavily to fight at least a basic level of skill in the war itself. The first half is filled with this really good drama and mystery of wondering why the Windermerians are attacking and/or spreading the Vars syndrome to carry it while great character actions are in motion. Plus, there is some fan animals and creature on the planet Ragna as well. Struggle and war can create some interesting avenues of character progression through drives to improve, pursuing peace, wondering why they are doing all of this in the first place, and many other things and Delta delivered on all of that.
There was a lot of good grounding to make the first half hit pretty hard as well. For instance, Freyja and Hayate’s relationship started with the two awkwardly laugh at each other in seeing the other achieve their dream. Now that they have both found what they wanted, seeing Freyja and Hayate interact a lot more romantically by comforting each other during their struggles. There was an attempt at a love triangle with Mirage thrown into the mix with her stern military and serious nature, but unlike other love triangle members here, she wasn’t developed enough or ever challenged the relationship between Hayate and Freyja at all. They do end up enjoying each other’s company though and I wish Delta went for the OT3 instead. Mirage is the rock the other two. It would make more sense in this version.
The rest of the characters and the world around are developed enough to understand or care about in the first portion of Delta, but they are not exactly the best characters. With at large of range of characters, that is quite an achievement honestly. The Walkure’s members are partially fleshed out through not only the reasons why Makina, Kaname, Mikumo, and Rei sing, but also their backstories, who they have or do not have relationship’s with, and what things they can do other than singing to fight against the world. They are a singing unit of idols treated like magical girls and they are so cool honestly. Mikumo maintains being mysterious throughout for reasons we see later on. Kaname and Nesser from Delta flight also have a heart breaking non spoken romance that ends in tragedy and the first half of the story. Lastly, the planet Ragna is a location with lots of different creatures and locations on it. Very wonderful, very tropical. I wish I could know more about them because I really like all of them.
The second half is where things get a bit more controversial for a lot of fans. (You know, besides the magical girl singing idols which are amazing honestly). It’s a lot slower compared to the very go, go, go first half. Some would say it stops, but I would consider it a lot more contemplative. It’s a lot more Gundam like then a lot of Macross stories usually are because the Windermerians and Chaos are on equal levels of play and intelligence with how they fight the war. The two fight in the atmosphere in jet mode. This is where the reveal of the dimensional bomb that set the story in motion 7 years ago is mentioned creating the tension between the Windermerians and the other members of the Protoculture races. That seeking of revenge for a past action by the Neo United Nations is at the heart of all of this. Same with the weapon power provided by the Walkure and Mikumo specifically. The Protoculture ruins from 7 come more into play and are weaponized through singing. Delta is taking powerful weapons developed during Macross, singing and otherwise, and taking them to task finally.
While Chaos and Delta Squadron always had an opposing position and developing some sort of natural rivalry with each other due to fighting against each other, but this second half is where that relationship gets examined under a microscope. The Windermerians have a very strained relationship with each other that falls apart towards the end and the ideals between the individuals in either side aligns with each other as well. It makes the show feel more complicated and thought out then “oh, they are invading again”. That is fun in its own right, but it doesn’t have as much girth or power behind it. The romance, the music, the emotions, the drama, and the real realistic feeling controversies, there is a lot in Delta’s story that I like and it does it in a way only Delta can compare to every other Macross show.
The visuals behind Delta are great. Especially with its colorful cast (in a lot of ways not just visual), idol dancing, fantastic music choices, it’s an experience that not a lot of series can do. Heck, this is such a gorgeous looking show with fantastic character designs, thoughts behind the world, and the Valkyries (fighter jets that transform) transformation and incredible flight scenes and dog fights with excellent CG. I really do like Delta. The combat with Macross is a little more realistic in scope considering that it takes place in different atmospheres so the Valkyries transformation into human robots doesn’t make sense in the long run. There are some moments that show that the mecha are capable of the human form when the units fire weapons from arms and weapons from different positions. Those are moves which show a pilot’s skill.
There are only two reasons why I would give Macross Delta a good instead of a solid and that is the ending and the lack of Macross canon action. Let’s call that a tentative good though. The ending of Delta would be an excellent midseason or 2/3rds finale, not an ending to a series. It added more complication to Macross Delta and the universe around it, but the war hasn’t ended yet. Whether or not this gets a solid rating in the future depending on how good the movie that comes out this year is. There were also only two Macross canon firings in Delta and it makes sense considering the focus on skies instead of space, so that was disappointing to me. I wish that there could have been at least two more Macross canon shots against enemy ships. Oh well, it happens. Other than that, big thumbs up on all of it. In a controversial statement, Macross Delta feels very underrated to me. Can’t wait for it to appear on blu-ray or something in the future if it can happen. Let’s see how that deal with Big West comes into play now.