One of the most notable aspects of the Macross franchise is the different renditions of Macross history it can tell. While the concept behind this is interesting and sometimes fun it also leads to interpretation which tends to be presumptuous, this is something even major fans do and I have as well. So while there is not much else to discuss Macross related right now I thought I would point out an interview that the creator of Macross Shoji Kawamori did back in 1998 that I feel fans of Macross should understand and what it means to this topic.
More of the interview in question can be found translated here. To paraphrase Kawamori he states that all versions of Macross we know of are fiction, they are interpretations made for some kind of in-universe production and all have their own bias and to this point specifically this quote.
Exactly. Thats what I have trouble getting people to understand. The real truth is somewhere else. They studied the history and made the fiction after the fact. While reasoning the facts, they have to make many compromises, like the limitations of a TV format, like the fact they have to sell toys, and so they have to adapt the story that way. So, in that respect, it doesnt matter if all the productions differ
The producers look at the real event and adapt the character according to their wishes. The actors and lines also change, so the character changes. Its that kind of feeling.
So while I think many people understand this to an extent the real problem comes in the practical application. To put it simply each Macross work is its own and any connection you may think they have to each other is just an opinion. That is where fans really look at this wrong, Macross doesn’t give answers, it can’t give answers because everything we have ever known is just interpretation and not fact.
Canon is a vague concept in Macross and in the end something that is probably not even worth the time to think about because I’m not even sure the creator can make canon once you make a statement like this nor do I trust he had one when making any specific story. For example the Macross 30th game is just another in-universe story by itself, asking if it’s canon is a waste of time. I mean if you think about it there are issues with it fitting in to any version of Macross F we know of but that is because it belongs to none of them.
No in the end Macross should just be looked at as individual stories and while it’s perfectly valid to compare and contrast differences between versions like I’ve done in the past you can not just take it at face value in any version as a clear answer to what you seek because none of it is “real” and it is all clouded by bias and adaptation. I mean these stories are effectively parallel worlds as much as the in-theory original is to us, something even Kawamori has brought up before.
Why is this important you may ask, well the problem is that Macross tends to leave a lot of mystery and unexplained events. Sometimes it may touch upon it later on or redo known events in a different version with a twist. This leads to fandom having a lot of conflicting views on what it all means. This has happen more often in the recent years after the franchise started becoming relevant again with the popularity of Macross Frontier and with the 30th anniversary celebrations. However if you think about it in the correct manner it all becomes simple, just enjoy each series to its individual merits and don’t worry about what canon is as it is meaningless to what happens in any future series. I think people often forget canon only has purpose or meaning in what can be written next and Macross has far less limitations to that point if any at all.
To put my own personal opinion on this while I am okay with choose your own adventure type stories, which this creates, I feel the way Kawamori goes about it is a bit dishonest. I believe he created a disclaimer to get around being restricted to canon just because he doesn’t like to do the same thing twice rather than a philosophy as he claims it is because I just don’t see it as a philosophy in his works. What I see are works that are different just to try out different ideas or such.
But not only is it a bit dishonest it also creates a negative side effect in that it allows for any random adaptation or smaller work that he may have done little but put his name on as having supervised it to be “official.” These works can be really low quality with clear bias in them and a lack of understanding of the work they are based on and that reflects poorly on the franchise. But of course such low quality works are okay to Kawamori because it’s just another interpretation in the Macross universe and maybe even interesting to him in some manner. I just wish this was more apparent to the average fan.
That being said most importantly I just hope people will understand that each Macross story is effectively its own separate entity and how it connects to the mysterious “real” Macross canon is pure speculation. Particularly when it comes to stories having conflicting or additional information, there aren’t facts here just renditions of unknown accuracy. Most importantly though you should keep in mind that this mystery canon matters very little as Macross series created in the future such as the anime that is currently in production may not necessarily follow canon and we have no idea how to even tell if it does.