Known for its intense mech battles and love triangles, but if there has been one other significant quality that has contributed to the legacy of the Super Dimensional Fortress Macross franchise, it most certainly has to be its soundtrack. Outside of Macross, all other war-related anime just happen to end because the good guys persevered and went all out. But in Macross, wars are won by the power of music!
The inspiration of this quality happens to be Vera Lynn, a UK pop singer famous during World War II who was loved by Allied, German and Italian forces alike. As a matter of fact, upon publication of this list, Lynn is still alive at the age of 99 and is still active in not just her singing career, but with her charities with veterans, special needs youth, and breast cancer. As the saga continued expanding, so did its deeper diving into using its music. With the characters who do the performing, they all have their own personal motivations on what brings them to sing on the front lines of battle beyond just winning a war, and for today’s list, we will cover the best 10 from the entire franchise.
10. “Ichido Dake no Koi Nara” from Macross Delta
Starting from number 10 is the first opening theme from Macross Delta, Ichido Dake no Koi Nara, or If It’s a Once in a Lifetime Love by the in-series idol group, Walkure (modern German for Valkyrie, the fighter jets from the original series). Its lyrics capture all of the series qualities of romance, soaring through the skies, and exploring the stars. With anything that can happen in an intergalactic war where anyone can die at any given moment, experiencing a love that could only come once could not be more appropriate as a theme.
If you are the type of anime viewer that likes to judge an anime based on its opening song or have music that is high on your criteria, this song should seal the deal. The song does an effective job serving as a preview of what the series has to offer with its intense lyrics and energy. The song does a great job of exhibiting each performer’s talents and how the pitches of their voices fit within the group and individually. The fact that not just the Delta series but also the Macross saga itself can fit into this song is why we blast off with Ichido Dake no Koi Nara.
9. “Seikan Hikou” from Macross Frontier
an Hikou. Though intended to be used in her official debut concert, due to circumstances with Alto’s birthday and being stuck on a mission dealing with some rebellious Zentradi, Ranka comes to the rescue and demonstrates that her singing abilities has the same capabilities as Minmay’s from the original Macross in which she can calm down hostile situations. It’s melody and lyrics perfectly compliment Ranka’s feelings for Alto and her adorable natural charms.
A majority of the performance is presented like a music video with special effects with stars coming out of her winks. The lyrics share how Alto catches her eye and how his presence makes her feel. The performance also demonstrates that despite being a relative newcomer to the idol industry, she already has a strong fanbase to the point that her abilities are effective in combat conditions. This song would later be paid homage through Freyja in Macross Delta, who is a fan of the song.
8. “Watashi no Kare Wa Pilot” from Macross
If there is one song that became a breakout hit in the original TV series, it has to be Watashi no Kare Wa Pilot (meaning My Boyfriend’s a Pilot). The song is an obvious reference to the relationship between Minmay and Hikaru. The song is very cute as an idol song appropriately should be, and appropriately reflects the style of the most innocent style of the 1980s. The tune is very simple but catchy.
The song could have been universal within the series itself since some of the girls aboard the original Macross could have either a boyfriend that were pilots, or pilots were the ideal men with young-ins like Hikaru and manly men like Roy. But as a means of being cute, one of the lyrics also happens to sing about how the boyfriends are crazier about their plane than a girl, which could also symbolize a likable quality that they are serious about their jobs.
In Macross 7, the song would pay homage to one of the main leads, Ranka Lee, at an idol audition. Like Minmay, Ranka also comes from humble beginnings, has her own brand of cuteness, and happens to have a crush on a pilot showing that its themes are timeless in its own world.
7. “Totsugeki Love Heart” from Macross 7
Appropriately ranking in at number 7 is Totsugeki Love Heart from Macross 7. Though Canna Nobutoshi would voice Basara, Fukuyama Yoshiki sings the character’s songs. Fukuyama is a collaborator of the JAM project, consisting of many artists famous for composing anime music. Fukuyama’s talents do an amazing job of convincing viewers that it could be Canna himself singing. If anything, Totsugeki Love Heart could probably best serve as the image song for the character himself.
The instrumentals bring a party like feel and just want you to get up and air guitar to its sick chords. Through these lyrics, Basara sings about wanting people to put aside their differences and enjoy life. The song teaches its audience and its cast members on the battlefield to cast away all negative emotions, listen to some awesome music, and let love take over. Its universal message and sense of optimism in a dark world are what makes this song an amazing addition to this list.
6. “Submarine Street” from Macross 7
At a solid six, we have Submarine Street from Macross 7. This is a song that perfectly blends the masterful singing and guitar playing of Fukuyama Yoshiki. In addition to its regular rock version, there is an acoustic version as well to present the song in a calmer and softer tone.
The regular version of the song has a wonderful hook with its high-pitched guitar cords that get your attention and then eases itself to its romantic lyrics of wanting to be with that special someone. While a Protodeviln named Sivil is in a deep slumber, Basara repeatedly tries to wake her with this song. This song and the use of it is a great representation of Basara’s true character who wishes to move everybody with his music no matter who they are. Even though Sivil tries to repeatedly slaughter him, he is willing to let that go and demonstrate that he wants to extend his heart.
Outside of the context of the story, what also makes it a great song is that many people have someone they want to be with, and not only does this song express that, it also shares how that loneliness can tear someone apart on the inside exhibiting the desperation someone wants to be with the person they hold dear.
5. “Axia ~Daisuki De Daikirai~” from Macross Delta
At number 5 is Axia ~Daisuki De Daikirai~ which was a song Walkure released prior to the beginning of the series and mostly features Kaname when she was the leader. The role of this song is to show how much Arad, one of the top pilots of the Delta Squad, has feelings for her because he secretly has this song stored on a bracelet that serves as a communicator and MP3 player.
The song itself has its own unique story that Arad uses it to calm his Var Syndrome because it was the song that calmed it down the first time he got it a couple of years before the events of the series. The lyrics and melody are a great representation of Arad’s and Kaname’s feelings for each other that despite having a deep connection, they still have a complicated love for each other due to their circumstances. The song is very relatable because relationships themselves are complex and the song does a great job of exploring those realities.
4. “What ‘Bout My Star” from Macross Frontier
Though there are solo versions with Sheryl and Ranka singing it, the song would be solidified as a duet between them. The duet version demonstrates a great chemistry between Nakajima Megumi and May’N with their talents and energy. Though their characters physically differ as if they were a child and an adult (despite being 3 years apart in age), when they bring their talents and passion together, all of that disappears.
The lyrics are all about how crazy they are about a guy. This is pretty obvious in episode 15 when they start singing the song to Alto exhibiting a friendly rivalry for his love. The song is pretty blunt but it’s all about having fun and being with that special guy. Though the opening verse is rather soft, but it gets progressively louder and when it gets to the chorus, its captivating energy entices you to how innocent the song really is and you just want to go out and have a good time.
3. “Ikenai Borderline” from Macross Delta
Coming in at number 3 is the song that introduces the Walkure idol group into the battlefield is Ikenai Borderline. With a catchy fast paced hook that keeps the tone consistent and accompanied by some sexy brass instrumentals, on a foundation the song does a great job of complementing the fast paced high octane action of Delta and pumping up the adrenaline of Hayate (who goes as far as dancing with his mech) and Freyja (who sings along with the idol group).
This song also demonstrates that Walkure’s role is not just to calm down the battlefield, but how their singing and their combined power with fold receptors are used to calm down the symptoms of a bio weapon called the Var Syndrome. The lyrics are appropriate for the situation because it talks about love being capable of breaking down all barriers. The song can also be interpreted to symbolize the developing relationship between the co-leads with how they are trying to cope with their feelings and surroundings which make it one of Delta’s best songs.
2. “Giraffe Blues” from Macross Delta
If any song has to be one of the most emotional songs in not just Delta but all of Macross, it is mostly certainly Giraffe Blues. The great thing about this song is that it can work as both a group song, and as a solo. Probably for some fans and for some of you listening for the first time, this is probably a song that you’d probably want played at your own funeral. The song beautifully shares that it is ok to share your pain with others and ultimately carries a message of hope once you open your own heart.
This is just one of those songs that you just have to listen to really get it. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, the presentation of this song is just enough to let listeners know what the song is emotionally sharing. When Freyja tried to sing this song at the blast zone in her own home planet, and was assaulted by one of the Aerial Knights, that moment alone just proves the point of this song and how powerful this song truly is and why it should not be on a list of best Macross songs, but of best anime songs.
1. “Do You Remember Love” from Macross: Do You Remember Love?
If there is one song that solidified Macross and has to rank in at number 1, it is Do You Remember Love from the movie, which is its namesake. The role of this song happens to end the war between the humans and the Zentradi. As Hikaru and Misa discover some Protoculture ruins, they happen to find an artifact that contains song lyrics and another artifact that plays a melody that goes with the lyrics and it is decided to have Minmay sing it.
Upon the final battle, Minmay gives it her all and shows great enthusiasm and passion into its emotional lyrics of re-discovering love the first time. The song also symbolizes the Zentradi re-discovering their roots and that they share a similar origin with humans despite their differences. It is a great song to listen to when you feel you are down and don’t know what to do, it can lift your spirits up by taking you back to what put you on your feet and get you back up again! Not only did this song help Iijima Mari’s breakthrough in J-pop, it paved way for the relationship between anime and other forms of popular music, which continues to this very day.
With all the war going on in today’s world, sometimes fans wonder if the power of music can really get people to throw down their guns and embrace one another. If it is possible, it has to be a song that touches ALL hearts. Can it happen? If the right song is there, then maybe it can. Unfortunately, no government will ever realistically put an idol group on the front lines of the battle to calm down a situation but hopefully, radio broadcasts and the likes can maybe do the trick. With the power of social media sites like youtube and twitter, maybe it is possible.
Unfortunately, some countries have them banned like in China. But where there is a will, there is a way. So which songs do you think can change the world for the better that are from Macross? If you got any ideas, please feel free to leave a comment.