Mecha Fridays: Catching up to Shoji Kawamori and the fate of Macross Delta

The visionary creator talks about the creation of Macross and what’s in store for the fans of Macross Delta.

For such a long time, creator Shoji Kawamori is credited as one of the biggest names in anime culture after the success of his brainchild, the Macross franchise. Having been in the industry ever since his intern days at Studio Nue, Kawamori’s work did not limit itself to the Macross franchise but also tapped into other popular mecha series, from anime to gaming, such as Eureka Seven, Genesis of Aquarion, Daimos, and even Gundam wherein he designed the RX-78GP01 “Zephyranthes” and the RX-78GP02A “Physalis” units for the OVA series Mobile Suit Gundam: 0083 Stardust Memory, which is kind of a big deal since Kawamori himself IS a Gundam fan.

Well, to be honest, I’m surprised he didn’t have a hand on designing the Wing Gundam.

Now speaking of Mecha, it is without a doubt that the Macross series offers one of the most unique mecha design concepts in classic anime, with the Variable fighter concept which has your regular looking fighter jets transform into bipedal robot suits, although the most interesting form I would say is the Gerwalk mode.

It looks both stupid and practical.

I mean would you look at that, the plane still looks like a plane but with Arms and Legs, honestly they could have just used the mode on other known Airplane or fighter jet-based robots such as Transformer’s Starscream. But how did Kawamori arrive at such mecha design? Well according to him, this was the result of a contest between him and other mecha designer Kazutaka Miyatake with his main inspiration drawn from skiing all the time, to the point that he’s coming up with excuses to take a day off from work just to ski.

Exhibit A: A skier who is not Shoji Kawamori in a ski pose.

Now putting aside the Gerwalk mode, the outer space battles, and the dogfights, one of the most iconic things about the Macross franchise is the use of songs, not as background themes to create tension or set the mood of a scene but in actual battle sequences complete with a singing idol or band or group, depending on the series variation.

Who cares about levers and buttons when you can pilot your variable fighter with a freaking guitar amirite?

Now the question that fans have been asking, as much as they are pleased with the concept, is, how did the idea to combine songs and mech fights came to be? And as per Shoji Kawamori himself, that was not always the idea when Macross was still in it’s embryonic phase, when it was still a concept running inside his head waiting to be unleashed. Although Kawamori did think about using songs to solve the problem of War, wherein an Idol uses music and singing to inject culture into enemies who he describes as having “no culture” resulting in peace, having robots play a part was not always part of the original concept as using mechas with powerful weapons rushing head on to battle became quite the during the era, especially with the success of Yoshiyuki Tomino’s Gundam and the strong popularity of Super Robots. However, being a Gundam fan and being a mecha enthusiast first before even landing a job in design and animation, Kawamori himself may have realized that he loves Robots as much as he loves his concept and so after years of being in development, we got ourselves Macross, starting with Super Dimensional Fortress Macross up until the latest iteration, Macross Delta.

Do you remember Delta?

Y’all remember Delta right? Or probably trying to forget it, but either way, one of the biggest problems that plagued the series, was how it continuously teased the super obvious Lady M but did not really reveal who she was (hint: Lynn Minmay) or how she managed to create the Star Singer clone Mikumo Guynemer, and how Mikumo almost ended up with Hayate and how we almost ended up with that sweet, sweet loli angle knowing that Mikumo is technically only 3 years old.

Which begs the question: is she legal?

As confusing as the series have been, Kawamori assures fans that these questions would be resolved as he is preparing what is possibly a movie sequel to Macross Delta, which is also quite the tradition in the Macross franchise, let’s just hope though that this one truly expands on the story’s crucial points and not change the plot, which is also a tradition of the Macross Franchise.

Knowing that there’s more to Delta, this could easily mean that Kawamori’s Macross journey is not over yet, and perhaps we can get new Macross series in the future, that is if he still doesn’t find the proverbial successor which he also considers.

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