When Super Dimension Fortress Macross debuted on Mainichi Broadcasting System October 3, 1982, it was ahead of its time. It mixed pop idols in a story of space warfare and dramatic love. Beyond that, it was an earlier example of anime made by creators who grew up as anime fans themselves. We may not see many space opera from anime these days, but Macross was a vanguard of what anime has become over the last three decades.
In America, as Robotech, it was a significant step in establishing an international awareness of the appeal of anime.