|If you find meaning in the TAB cans, congratulations. You've dug deeper into this image than I have.|
So, I chose Macross Zero as my "designated show to watch whilst working out." Overall, I enjoyed it. I'm not going to go into the gory details, but I'll make a few comments. Starting with my favorite (and only) Rubric for grading anime series:
-The CG robots looked pretty decent, and they were definitely a stepping-stone on the way to Frontier's amazing CG integration. They were done intermittently with animation and CG. This worked pretty well, though the animated shots looked WAY better than the CG ones, and that was probably its biggest weakness.
-There's more nudity than I expected, and it's fairly detailed (about what you'd expect from an OVA, but still). Watch Macross Zero in public at your own risk. Fortunately, I was working out at home when I discovered this, and not in a gym surrounded by people who could ask "why I was watching cartoon pornography." Reminds me of the time I saw a guy start an episode of Game of Thrones on his iPad in a gym. Then promptly stop about five minutes into the episode, and leave.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS:
-If I hadn't seen Macross Frontier (which retroactively explains some of the weirdness of Zero, mostly through information about the Vajra and the Protoculture), beforehand, I'd have thrown up my hands and cried "Bullsh*t" repeatedly throughout the series. As it was, I still had to forcibly suspend my disbelief, particularly at the end, since I couldn't in any way justify some of the events besides "magic." That is what it is, and I have long accepted that many anime finales will contain magic regardless of the original genre. I knew this one was coming, so the blow was softened considerably.
-The story was highly reminiscent of some other mecha anime that aren't from the Macross family, per se - Escaflowne, Eureka 7, and there was even a hint of Rahxephon and Evangelion. However, it probably reminded me MOST of a Miyazaki film. All of the allusions, parallels, and references to non-Macross series were relatively downplayed - at least in comparison to the blaring Macross motifs and emblems that adorned this nostalgia-piece. There has been a ton of analysis comparing it to Frontier (and I blatantly stole images from one of these analyses), and rightly so. It's a pretty deep series, though, and I think it's a fertile ground for comparative analysis in general.
-I don't think there is ANY J-Pop in the entire show. There was some singing in surprisingly understandable French, though. That made me think about how there won't be any new Wakfu until September, and I'll need to keep dipping into my archives for content for a while yet.
P.S.: The final panel was almost comprised of an image of Harvey Birdman, dressed as a magical girl, shooting Touhou lasers and blowing up the planet Earth. But I determined that this would be even more esoteric than what I have currently (which is already altogether too obscure), and would be considerably more time-consuming to create.