Even these tapes cost something

  Macross in Clash of the Bionoids
1984 | Toho International Co.
macross in clash of the bionoids celebritys just for kids

I can't believe it! You had Macross as a kid's film? I'm so jealous.

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Inspired by the massive success of Sunrise's Mobile Suit Gundam TV show, Studio Nue sought to create their own Science Fiction series. Originally conceived in 1979 as Battle City Megaload the production floundered due a clash of ideas with the show's who preferred a comedy to drama.

Fortunately, after the original sponsors collapse, a new backer was found in advertising agency Big West, who were far less critical of the content.

Super Dimension Fortress Macross (Chou-jikuu Yousai Macross) debuted on 3rd October 1982 on the MBS (Mainichi Broadcasting System) station. The early success of the show was more than enough to convinced Big West to relax their episode restriction increasing the run to 36 from the original 27.

Thanks to the unexpected success of the TV show, a year after its conclusion a big screen adaptation was released. The movie titled Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (Ai Oboete Imasu Ka?) retold the key events of the series with the original vocal cast returning. Changes were made to not only the designs of many characters and mecha but also to the story itself in order to condense it into a 114 min big budget spectacle. Series director Noburo Ishiburo and designer Shoji Kawamori directed with Studio Nue producing the animation, with help from series partner Tatsunoko amongst others.

The film opened to selected cinemas on 7th July 1984 with a nationwide release following on 21st July. The home video release came on 11th August plus an art book containing colour illustrations and a 43 page interview with Shoji kawamori was released a few months after.

In 1987 Toho, the movie's distributor, released a video and laserdisc edition of the movie titled Super Space Fortress Macross dubbed into English. The dub, which had been produced on their behalf for possible overseas releases is believed to have been by a low budget studio in Hong Kong. This version was made available domestically for use as an educational tool.

A few months later Macross: Flash back 2012 was released. Essentially a music video collecting together the songs of the series and movie, it also showcased newly created footage of endings planned for the TV show and movie but were never used. These new sequences showed the launch of the Megaroad Colonisation ship and Minmay performing her farewell concert.

Five years after this video special Bandai unveiled Macross the Movie: Perfect Edition. This extended edit adds the Minmay concert to the ending as was originally planned.

The Macross movie made such an impact that it was chosen as the basis for a video game released to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the series. Designed originally for the Sega Saturn June 1997 it later saw release on the Sony Playstation May 1999.

Toho's international dub of Macross Do You Remember Love received its Western video debut in 1988 from Celebrity's Just For Kids renamed Macross in Clash of the Bionoids. This initial release was cut down by 22 minutes to remove most of the violence and Japanese singing, and to make for a more palatable running time for a junior audience. This edited version remained the only English language release of the movie for six years.

In 1994 anime distributors Kiseki released the film in the UK and Australia. For the first time it was available in two versions the Toho Super Space Fortress Macross dub, packaged under the Clash of the Bionoids title (title card is unaltered) and a subtitled print under the original Japanese title, both uncut.

In addition the subtitled version was the Japanese 'Perfect Edition' even though this was not referred to on its packaging. The ending for the dub version however featured English credits on a black background with an instrumental only version of the Angel's Paints song.

While the subbed version obviously lacked the terrible officially commissioned dub, the subtitles were not the best representation of the dialog and, as with all of Kiseki's subtitled releases, were rendered as Super Script (black backed white text) and were printed on top of the image.

The Clash of the Bionoids release was later re-issued in a Kiseki Macross box set which also contained their three, 2 episode, dubbed volumes of Macross II.

Clash of the Bionoids last saw release in 1995 uncut from Best Film and Video under the shorter title Macross. Unfortunately, due to complex ongoing legal disputes, it is unlikely the movie will ever see an official English language re-release.

  Macross Kiseki Clash of the Bionoids
Kiseki Macross Subtitled
Japanese Movie Poster
Japanese Laserdisc
UK Kiseki dubbed VHS
& subtitled version

Before we start, it's worth taking in this statement from the back of the inlay from the Kiseki dub:

"Kiseki proudly presents MACROSS, CLASH OF THE BIONOIDS. This video contains the original background music, sound effects and songs from the Japanese release. The original vocal track has been replaced with English dialogue which is a faithful translation of the Japanese dialogue and story. Kiseki is dedicated to the proper dubbing of the Japanese animation art form."

They can't have come up with that with a straight face! "... dedicated to the proper dubbing of the Japanese animation art form"! One of the single worst dubs ever cursed on man, referred to as "faithful translation". You should be reminded that the Australian branch of this company, much like Krypton Force, often sold films on used videos and officially bootlegged other company's releases of shows that they had acquired the licenses for!

The Just For Kids edit forgoes the short prologue scene that would normally open this movie. We don't lose much plot-wise but it does mean we're missing out on some great dubbing horrors; "Ti-ny pi-eces? That. Doesn't. Tell us. About. The women!" Never mind there are plenty more to come!

A squadron of fighters scrambles ahead of a shorter than usual sequence of travelogue footage, featuring typically Japanese advertising slogans like Sports. Do! Shoes center and R, that ends at the city's stadium sized concert hall. A famous pop idol is performing before a capacity crowd. The unidentified, and quite possibly Australian, singer barely has time to get one verse out before the performance is cancelled by the attack siren. The space fortress begins transformation to protect against an incoming wave of alien attack.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

Out in space Skull Angel & Apollo squadrons engage the enemy not realising the first wave is a distraction to allow the second to reach the Macross. Shouldn't that have been obvious? After all, isn't macross always the target? A number of pesky invaders are allowed to slip through. Macross bridge gives lead pilot Hikaru a direct order but he refuses to do as instructed complaining "I'm not listening to a woman!"

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The intruders break through into the enclosed city moments before the transformation starts. One of the three crashes through a shelter causing those hiding within to spill out into the streets. An alien pilot catches sight of a couple running for safety together. It's the idol singer Lynn Minmei (although the cast have decided it's Ming-Mei) and her cousin brother/manager (who isn't named). The aliens take particular interest in their movements and it's not because they're star struck, it's just that they've never seen a man and woman together before. The internet hasn't reached their part of space, it seems.

As the transformation begins the pair become separated outside their local branch of P. Pop Pub. Ignoring his orders Hikaru bursts in and attacks, taking out one of the aliens before the gravity control goes haywire. Without it, anything not suck down crashes sideways (did I mention the street is now vertical? - It's hard to explain) including Minmei. Hikaru rushes to her aid, catching her in his robotic hand but doesn't notice the on coming wall.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The two crash through the scenery and end up trapped in the service space. In the dark, Hikaru can't believe his luck, he's bagged a celebrity. An unconscious celebrity too. And it's dark. And there's no one around... He 'accidentally' breaks his torch and slowly reaches out his hand towards the sleeping girl... Argh! She woke up!

It becomes obvious the stark struck solider (so lost in admiration he get's his own name wrong "Hikaru Ichiko") and his damsel are trapped together. Hikaru identifies the walls as unbreakable Super Alloy (Chogokin?) so there's little use in attempting escape. Suddenly the gravity shuts off causing much awkwardness, confusion, 'unintentional' gropes - and a costume change.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The "Zero G Love" montage sequence is removed (that's right, including the highly important Minmei shower scene - how can we hope to follow the plot without it?). Alongside this is a scene aboard the alien fleet where Britai and Exsedol analyse footage of "Micro. Hu-man-s" taken while inside the macross. They find our obsession with reverse segregation of the genders disturbing. That and tiny singing dolls.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

So, with two Zentradi scenes removed we are missing out on some seriously bad dubbing, but don't worry here comes some terrible dialog to make up for it. In a cafe Commander Roy Fokker holds an informal meeting with subordinates Ben and Max on the fate of their missing squad mate. Bridge crew, Misa and Claudia overhear, Misa passes judgment that he has deserted (they live in a Space Fortress in deep space -where's he gonna go?).

"He'd be better off finding another job for which he is much more suited", she reasons. "Don't write him off, you're being too critical, that's why your lonely!" comes Claudia's cutting reply. This prompts Misa to reminisce about a previous lost love while someone repeatedly mutters something to do with hamburgers in the background.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

Meanwhile, behind the super alloy, Minmei tells of her hard life while Hikaru pretends to being thinking of anything other than trying to get it on with her. He comes up with a plan so transparent he may as well have asked to "Play Doctors". Against the odds it works and the pair are smooching within moments... just as the wall opens up revealing their steamy goings on to a conveniently placed and extremely lucky paparazzi horde. Later that day Hikaru gets chewed out by Misa for disobeying her order. The two clearly don't like each other - they could never fall in love, Hikaru even wonders if she really is a woman!

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

A short sequence of scenes hits the floor, all concerning the media fallout, nothing that interesting except for Roy demanding "You call yourself a moo-ann?".

That evening, Roy tries some matchmaking between Misa & Hikaru but somewhat ruins it with a drunken and sexist ramble. Highlights include "You're good. You're an excellent officer, even if you are only a girl. But don't go putting men down all the time." and "A man does come on strong... sometimes, that's his nature. But a girl has to fall in love so don't resist it, just let the man over power you for once." Fortunately Hikaru receives a call from a sick relative and has to rush off.

But the call wasn't from a sick relative at all but Minmei. They meet in the park and head off for a good-old-fashioned 1980's fun-time-in-the-city montage including all the old tropes like eating fast food, costume changes (holographic costumes since this is the 1980's of the future) and a Parisian Love Hotel. Ok, the last one is not such a cliche but it does happen, although Minmei turns him down. They top the night off with a trip to Saturn's rings in a loaned Valkyrie.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

Finally, the Zentradi get their first scene. Britai is ordered to recover some "MIcro. HUmans" for research and then receives word that the female fleet is approaching. "The females must not penetrate!" demands Britai.

Hikaru and Minmei are caught on their joyride by Misa and Minmei's brother (Kaifunn, I think). What are the chances they would be out for a ride around Saturn's rings too? Actually, the buzz-kills flew out all that way just to demand that the couple return home. If Hikaru thought this was bad, things are gonna get a lot worse. A squadron of evil aliens gatecrash their romantic trip to inspiration point and with one mission: to take the Micro Humans away for probing!

Hikaru attempts to flee the grabbing hands of their battle suits. He can't attack since he's piloting an unarmed training ship. A half wasted Roy comes to their rescue (who else is out there?) and does the best he can in his condition but, with no weapons and a drunken savior, their capture was perhaps a foregone conclusion.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

With all involved now their prisoner, Britai and Exsedol set about getting some answers. But their questions are pretty dumb; "Why can male and female micro humans be together?" "Why grow so small?" Misa answers with the equally lame brained statement "We're built differently from you, we haven't grown to be small."

The continued exchange between the micro humans and aliens gets more and more ridiculous. When Britai questions the interaction between the sexes it provokes all kinds of stupidly funny statements like "Well, you see, a man and a woman co-operate to make a bay-be!" and "A woman is for love, not for fighting!"

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

When questioned specifically about love Roy grabs Minmei by the arm and drags her to him. The alien's understanding of this foreign concept is understandably skewed by this, they need more input! They demand Roy kiss Minmei. He becomes uncharacteristically awkward at this suggestion so Kaifunn steps up. The aliens go crazy when they witness this ugly scene. I don't blame them, kissing cousins is one thing but in this version he is supposed to be her brother! Erlg! Realising there can be a such a thing as too much incest, the alien interrogators split the human party up and lock them away for further probing later.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

These plans are ruined by the surprise appearance of the female fleet who burst in uninvited and attempt to steal the micro humans for themselves. Practically all the ensuing action and violence is cut. The editing of Roy's death ends up more mangled than he was leaving him to bow out in background audio only. The Zentradi ship performs a space warp to dock with alien leader Dolza's fleet. During this, Hikaru and Misa, aboard his training Valkyrie, are separated from the main vessel and wind up on a deserted, barren planet far from the aliens and captive Minmei.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The odd couple wonder, for a moment, what planet this is before happening upon a distinctive landmark which spells out for them that this lifeless desolate planet is in fact Earth! You maniacs, you blew it up! God damn you all to hell!

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

While Minmei spends a lonely time in deep space with her brother, Misa and Hikaru start to get along. Well, he is now the last man on Earth. They discover a tower out at sea which holds the secret of what the Zentradi have been calling "Protoculture", the montage spanning explanation of which must have left kids mystified.

In short: We come from clones created by an alien race. The clone genders were kept separate as Zentradi and Meltrandi. The two tribes did nothing but fight. The creator eventually realised this was probably not a great idea and so dumped a load of them on the nearest empty planet and ran. That planet was earth and so these clones are our ancestors making us directly genetically linked to the enemy aliens. The tower was a handy Information Kiosk left behind by the creator.

Or at least that's how I understood it. If I'm wrong blame Toho.

An ancient city rises from the waves and the pair explore it. Misa's hard ass edge dissolves completely when given the opportunity to play house and she sets the table for her 'husbands' return. Sensing he has caught her in a moment of weakness, Hikaru ceases the opportunity and makes his move. I see a pattern here; he preys on lonely and vulnerable women. It was a close call though, as the Macross arrives to rescue them the very next day.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The female Meltrandi aliens invade Earth in search of anything micro human related. Ben gets shot down and no one seems to care much. Max takes on Miria, a high ranking Meltrandi pilot, and the two quickly hit it off before anyone gets too hurt. The aliens are forced to withdraw when Britai broadcasts Minmei's humming, it's sorta like a dog whistle to them.

The following day the Zentradi propose a cease fire.The Earth men readily accept and everything looks good. At some point during her captivity Minmei discovered an old SD card from the protoculture days, containing a tune but no lyrics. Misa has the un translated lyrics, found amongst some junk in the ruins, and sets about deciphering them. Any kids hoping for some action after over an hour of talking are out of luck as more soul searching ensues. There is a brief love triangle. Hikaru chooses Misa and Minmei runs away, just at the point that the song words had been translated.

It turns out that this truce was a trick all along. The Zentradi were waiting for the micro humans to reconstruct their medieval chart topper so that they could use it as a weapon of mass destruction against the giant women folk. But, now Minmei has vanished, they grow impatient and decide instead to go with plan B and just blow up the Macross instead. Inside the Macross Hikaru hunts for the missing singer while, outside, all hell breaks loose. He eventually finds her, the ship is only so big after all, and convinces her to sing the peace restoring tune (and this edit he doesn't have to give her a slap either).

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

It's a shame Misa put in so much effort recovering the song since most of it gets cut due to it being in 'foreign'. This also means that most of the action gets thrown out too. The Zentradi, realising their long lost love for sappy 80's pop music, defect to the good guys, turning against their leader Dolza. Empowered by the brief snippets of Minmei's singing that doesn't involve the Japanese language, Hikaru flies directly into the heart of the Dolza ship and unleashes a fatal barrage. For some reason the american editors choose to give the impression that Ichijo dies in the blast, he is not seen again after firing.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love

The war is won. The Zentradi reside themselves to searching the galaxy for lost fleets who haven't heard Minmei's singing so they can bring them "real culture". The film ends with the singer herself, alone in the spotlight repeatedly counting up to four. Maybe the end of the conflict was just too much for her fragile mind to bare.

Super Space Fortess Macross ai oboete imasu ka Macross in clash of the bionoids Macross do you remember love
Missing videos Missing videos

Clash Vs Clash: Scene Comparison
Comparing Roy's shock demise in the Just For Kids release and uncut version.

"Call yourself a mu-ain?!"
A collection of some of the best bits of bad dubbing. Honestly, it's difficult to choose.

It's Macross!
Great animation that still stands up
Stunningly bad voice acting
Lousy script
Messy edits
Cropped picture

When the Just for Kids editors were faced with the twin evils of violence and Japanese singing, much of Clash of the Bionoids ended up in the editing suite bin. In a movie where music and action are integral to the story this editing presents a bit of a problem. These big cuts leave the kids with little more than very badly dubbed people with weird names experiencing difficult emotions and discussing them through extremely bad dialog. In short: you get Dawson's Creek in space. Not the most exciting Sci-Fi adventure for the pre-teen crowd.

On top of this the editing itself is fairly heavy handed. It's obvious, even to those who have never seen the original, when things go missing or are at least not quite right. And, yes, the dubbing cast are terrible, and they're reading from a script that, at times, makes no sense at all. At best it seems to be a very literal translation.

Do You Remember Love is a companion movie. While it is still perfectly watchable without having seen the series, the events won't really mean much. After all, who cares if a couple of characters die when neither had any real screen time and only one had a name.

Clash of the Bionoids very narrowly avoids a 2 video rating thanks to the fantastic animation, It still looks impressive even after all these years! Even a dodgy, cropped transfer can't completely destroy it.

Ok, so, having sat through the whole sorry mess, maybe I'm not so jealous now. I would say Codename: Robotech was more than a fair exchange.