Why does anybody really watch a mecha show? Is it for the deep stories that examine the relationships between people? How about the destruction that war causes and how it impacts the soldiers in the middle of it all?
Nope, it's none of those things. Sure, those things help make a show good, but a lot of people are there for the robots. Now, it just so happens that most of the series in the Macross franchise are quite good, but it also helps that there are some damn fine mecha designs. I mean, take the Valkyrie. You take a plane, which has its own charm. Then, you make that plane transform into a bi-pedal robot. That is quite awesome. On top of that, you can make said plane/robot turn into an in-between version of the two. It's easy to see why people would fall in love with a design like that.
So considering this is Macross Week, I'm going to show you guys ten different Valkyries across the entire franchise that rock my boat. Hit the jump to see which 'bots make it onto my list!
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
Considering that this is the daddy of the entire franchise, there's a lot of nostalgic love for these suits. Whether it was through the original Japanese version or through the controversial American Robotech, many people will recognize Valkyries from this show. While I find a lot of them a bit plain for my tastes, there are two Valkyries that stick out in the pantheon of variable transforming planes.
Besides having a punny name that has the subtlety of a punch to the face, ace pilot Max Jenius has a nice color scheme compared to the other versions of the VF-1A that appear in the original Macross. On top of that, Max's Valkyrie went under cover by tossing on a Zentradi coat in order to save several pilots during the original show. Just for that amusing moment, it made this list.
I would be slapped about a dozen times if I failed to mention this beaut. The VF-1S was flown to two different pilots through the original series, but it truly belongs to only one guy. That dude is none other than Roy Focker, pimp and senpai supreme. He's a drunk, he's a bad ass, he's a ladies man, he's the guy you want to cover you. Just don't feed him pineapple salad.
This is where a lot of people I know first got into Macross. Released during the big OVA boom of the mid-90s, it came out at the right place and the right time for the US market. Featuring gorgeous animation and fantastic music by Yoko Kanno, it has definitely stuck with a lot of people. But what about the 'bots? Well, the two main Valkyries being tested are a pair sexy beasts, believe me!
Piloted by the brash Isamu, the experimental YF-19 has some pretty nifty additions in its arsenal. Besides the addition of some heavy weaponry, the FAST pack version you see here makes this an even zippier suit that can act in space and on the ground.
While most people dug the YF-19, and for good reason, I was always more of a YF-21 kind of guy. I love the dark colors, the vaguely evil-looking BATTROID mode and, well, the general design of the whole thing. While it didn't win the military contract at the end of Macross Plus, you'll see its influence in later suits.
This is probably the most divisive entry in the whole franchise. Shying away from the fighter pilot aspect and focusing more on the music, Macross 7 has more to do with a band than anything else. It's lead character, the hot-blooded rock-star Nekki Basara, prefers to use his music to get through to his opponents, much like the famous songstress Lynn Minmei. Don't let that fool you; there are some fantastic looking Valkyries in this show!
Remember how I mentioned that the YF-21 would have influence on later suits? Well, here is one suit that definitely takes something away from that great suit. The VF22 was given to some pretty skilled pilots, as you can see from the names above. While starting out as a rival, Gamlin evolved into a hot-blooded pilot in his own right. Max and Millia, of course, were the aces from the original Macross series who hopped back into the pilot seat for the final fight in Macross 7. They needed something that could match their skills, so they got a pair of custom VF-22s in their preferred colors. It's a sight to see, believe me.
Being the mayor of a city has its advantages. In the Macross world, one of those advantages is getting a ship to pilot when the city needs defending. During a pretty rough time in the show, Millia gets back into flying in order to keep her citizens safe. Showing that absolutely none of her skills have dulled, she gets the VF-17 repainted in her colors and tears the Protodevilin a new one.
Notice a theme here? While I'm not normally a big fan of the color red, the best suits in Macross 7 are red. Milia's VF-1J in particular manages to look great in a show filled with newer mechs, which says a lot about how well the original Valkyries were designed. It's also here because Milia was able to hold her own against the enemy in a decades old mech. She's easily one of the best female pilots I've seen in any mecha show.
The last suit from Macross 7 I'll mention is Basara's Valkyrie, the VF-19 Excalibur Custom. Besides being colored a snazzy red, Basara has had his Valkyrie customized to fire speaker pods instead of bullets. The pods stick on to his opponents, drill into the suit and begin pumping in the music that Basara plays from within his suit. The whole thing is VERY super-roboty, which is always good in my book. As if that weren't great enough, when the pods won't do, Basara brings in the big guns. When the going gets tough, the tough get Speak Pod Gamma. This giant missile houses an appropriately huge speaker that unleashes the most powerful of metal. Man, I love Speaker Pod Gamma.
Finally, I'll get into a pair of suits from the latest entry into the Macross mythos, Macross Frontier. While there were some problems with Frontier, it was an overall good show that helped breathe new life into the franchise after Macross Zero kind of fizzled. There was a good balance between the music (which was particularly good) and the battles, which were sufficiently big by the end to please me.
One thing that I really like about Frontier was how the bigger, bulkier upgrades looked. I typically like my suits to be sleek and fast, but there's just something awesome about watching the VF-25F Armored Messiah wreck fools. The thing just plainly looks mean. While the pilot might leave something to be desired, the Armored Messiah is just what I want.
Last but not least, the VF-25S has got to get some love, especially the Super Messiah version. Definitely calling back to Roy's VF-1S, the VF-25S belongs to Frontier's senpai, Ozma Lee. While he isn't as much of a ladies man as Roy, he's definitely got the skills and the hot blood to make up for it. Ozma's also immune to the fatal effect of pineapples, which gives him the leg up on poor Roy.
So now I toss it out to you guys: What are you favorite Valkyries from Macross? Let me know in the comments. Feel free to add any other ships, whether from the Zentradi, anti-UN forces, Protodevlin or the Vajra. Well, the Vajra are kind of like the ships themselves, but you know what I mean.
From other sites around the web