There are many aspects of Macross 7 that I didn’t care for, but one decision made that struck me as rather bizarre at the time has stuck with me since, and I even think of it as sort of brilliant now. That is, the choice to integrate Macross: Do You Remember Love? into the Macross canon as a literal movie filmed in the Macross universe. Even though it creates a whole host of logistical issues (they must have found some great lookalikes and soundalikes for everyone who died/was evil), I like to think that all the major players in SDF Macross played themselves in the Do You Remember Love? movie.
Almost since the invention of motion pictures, individuals and groups — particularly governments — have taken note of the potential of movies to be powerful tools of propaganda. (Note that while the term “propaganda” is often used pejoratively, for the purposes of this post, I’m taking a neutral view of it — that is, “propaganda” is a work created to further one’s cause, damage another cause or both. No judgment of positive or negative value here.) Think of Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin, Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, the numerous American-produced movies about World War II, the direction of movies following the Vietnam War and so on.
Although the general public is likely much more media savvy than even 20-25 years ago (much less 50-80 years back), movies and the images they portray still wield a great power. It’s one thing to read accounts of soldiers and civilians in war torn areas; it is quite another to see brutal images for ourselves, exaggerated or not. Probably very few people left, say, The Hurt Locker not shaken up at least a little bit. That’s the power of a movie: It can put us in another world, where we see and hear all that goes on. If done well enough, the audience is totally immersed, and that’s almost instant identification. A movie doesn’t even have to be overt propaganda to stick with us and affect us, really.
And that’s where the brilliance of Macross 7‘s decision comes in. Macross is about romance, but it’s also about celebration of culture, and what better way to celebrate and disseminate culture than through movies? It’s a window into a culture’s thoughts and views, however narrow or broad that window may be.