The following impressions come from SpeakerPODcast regular & Gubabablogger Richard.
I got to the theater twenty minutes early, hoping to get some Macross swag, but there was none. All the stickers and posters and movie programs were for Harry Potter. Feh.
While hanging out in the lobby, along with a few young geeks, a number of 40-ish men who were clearly old-school fans, and a whole lotta high school girls, I stood near the “Wings of Farewell” Ranka-as-Magical-Girl poster. Four high school girls walked up to it, cooing, “Kawaii!” And then they took pictures of it. I guess we now know what demographic that poster appeals to.
The theater was nearly full, but not completely. There were two empty seats behind me, and a few others scattered around. But it was a big theater (oddly, it was EXACTLY THE SAME theater where I saw Eva 1.0 a little bit more than three years ago. Funny).
There were previews for some movies I don’t care about (like the Kamen Rider movie), but, as I expected, there were trailers for May’n the Movie (which got a laugh from the audience because it was projected at the wrong angle: the bottom of the image was about halfway up the screen…thus, when May’n spoke, it looked like the camera was avoiding her head and focusing on her chest. The projector guy quickly fixed the problem) and “Wings of Farewell” (I was hoping for a new trailer, but it was the same old one we’ve all seen).
And then “Nyan Cli” started.
A lot of reviews of “The False Diva” compare it to DYRL. “Nyan Cli” seemed like it would be the equivalent of “Flashback 2012,” so comparing the two seems apt. As you may know, FB2012 was essentially a music video collection, sandwiched by a few minutes worth of new (and stunning) animation. “Nyan Cli,” it turns out, is nothing like that. Probably more than 50% of the footage is completely new. None of it is essential, but most of it is a lot of fun.
Remember those new pics of Sheryl sitting on a Ferrari, and Ranka in a school uniform on a train? Yeah. This is where they come from. We open with Sheryl driving her Ferrari across a lengthy bridge on Frontier. When she stops, she gets interviewed. The interview sections continue throughout the movie: the screen turns black, with a question printed on it, and then Sheryl (and later, Ranka) answer. Most of the questions, unfortunately, flashed by too quickly for me to read them, but a lot of them were simple interview questions: “What is ‘singing’ to you?” “What is love?” “What does ‘Sheryl Nome’ mean to you?” (Sheryl’s answer to that one was great: something like, “the voice, the instruments, the melody…when all of it comes together. That’s Sheryl Nome.” Ranka’s answer was something like, “You’ll have to ask someone else, really”).
After a few questions, “Universal Bunny” started, and it was pretty much exactly the same concert scene as in the movie, going so far as to include Ranka looking embarrassed when Black Bunny Sheryl kisses White Bunny Sheryl. And it also made me realize that nearly all the songs in “Nyan Cli” are shortened versions: “Universal Bunny” only lasted about four minutes.
Ah, but then, the film took off. “Iteza Gogo Kuji Don’t Be Late” was truly exquisite. No new animation, really, all those same clips from episode 1 of the show (like Sheryl pulling away from the mike as she sings “laaaaaaaate!” But they were simple white outlines on a black background. Then the white started changing to other colors, the camera pulled out, and the dancing Sheryls formed patterns, with the camera swooping in and out, zooming around one pinwheeling cluster of Sheryls, diving through another. It was completely abstract, and completely mesmerizing.
Then they introduced Ranka, and “Anata no Oto” was next (which shows Ranka literally walking on water), followed by “Koi no Dogfight” (the only song which was longer here than on the CD). That one was cool…a hot pink VF-25 flying through the air, shooting hearts and and love missiles at SD versions of all the characters. It was great.
Likewise, “Seikan Hikou” was wonderful, kind of a mix of episode 12 and the OP for ep. 17…just with MORE hearts, MORE stars, and Keitai-kun breakdancing.
Then we got to some of the ads, which ran occasionally throughout the whole thing. Remember episode 1, with the “Nyan Nyan” ad? Yeah, it was like that, but funnier. (And in case you’re wondering, the mini-Rankas in the Youtube preview are two of the seven colors for the Zentradi-sized carrots…yes, each color has a dancer). The natto ad was especially disgusting, and the shot of Ranka on the train comes from the Daruma Seminar ad.
There’s also the trailer for “Bird Human”…mostly footage taken directly from Macross Zero, with Ranka, Miranda Merin, and whoever the dude was who played Shin put in where the Mao, Sara, and Shin were originally. And yes, you get to see Miranda’s butt.
The CGI Sheryl (in “Northern Cross”) and Ranka (in “Anata no Oto”) were not as dreadful as I feared. Still unconvincing, but the camera rarely lingered on them. And in all other ways, the “Northern Cross” video was great…set on the ship from the final concert scene in “False Diva,” except this time, the ship actually TAKES OFF and flies through the air, with Sheryl at the wheel.
But the one that you’ll all love is the “Diamond Crevasse” video, which is the one with Sheryl playing piano. She’s wearing a lovely masquerade mask through a lot of it, and wandering through an empty, moonlit Venice, and the whole thing is excruciatingly beautiful.
It closes out with “Lion,” which is probably the most standard (i.e “Flashback 2012”-like) video of the bunch, and one of the least impressive. But it hardly matters, really. There ARE weaknesses in the collection, but overall it’s so charming and so much fun that it’s difficult to complain.
So yeah…very different from what I was expecting. The way the credits were separate for each video (and that each one had different staff) makes me think that this is really just a way for the different animators at Satelight to strut their stuff and try to outdo each other. And as a short, fun “jam session,” it works beautifully. If you like Sheryl, you’ll love at least some portions of it. If you like Ranka, you’ll love some others. If you like both, then this is a must-see, since it’s really a forty-minute love letter to both of them.