When The Very First In Episode Screen You See Is Something That Could Pass As The Title Screen For An Eroge Then You Immediately Know Where Your Expectations Should Be Set
So if people think I’ve been putting this episode off….you’d probably be right. I had heard a lot of things about this episode that made me wary and now I’ve finally sat down to actually give it a look. Let’s just do this thing shall we…
Gah It’s A Terrifyingly Off Model Ranka
Giant Lolis….OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD WHAT DO WE DO?! *Runs Away Panicked*
*Whispers* Yeah I’m Hiding Too…..
You Know If She Were On Model I’d Say She’s Pretty Easy On The Eyes In That Hotaru Tomoesque Outfit
Alto Is So Unimpressed He Can’t Even Keep A Straight Face….Literally
Summary: The episode starts with Ranka in a carrot costume singing a really goofy and annoying (but at the same time kind of catchy) song as per whatever her contract with the Zentradi shyster stipulated and nobody including the Zentradi children are buying into her bit. Later during her break she calls to check in on the SMS and apparently all of them are doing fine…perhaps even Michel is a little jealous of her, though Ranka’s look shows nothing but disappointment. Suddenly the shyster himself appears and says that Ranka has passed and that seems to mean she’s gained admittance to the Mihoshi Academy in the Entertainment program. Alto is visibly distrubed by this.
Why……No Really Why? (Also Note That Ranka’s Face Looks Like An Emoticon)
Here Comes Sheryl To Fulfill The Snooty Rich Girl Role
Wow He’s Not Even The Right Build
Alto Looking Half Dead Here And Everyone Else Just Looking Disinterested As I Am In This Development
A quick overview of just what the Mihoshi academy specializes in is given by Sheryl’s assistant and that seems to be…..cultural teachings (I’m shocked). Sheryl also seems to be entering into the high school. Meanwhile at least Nanase is happy to have Ranka in the same school as her and Luca looks on at the happy couple (I could almost use that term literally given what transpires). Eventually Sheryl’s limo pulls up and Alto is again unsettled by the fact that his other life is suddenly merging with his civilian life. (And so am I but more on that later) Elsewhere the debriefing of the crew of the ship the SMS rescued is concluded but the Galaxy Fleet’s whereabouts still remain unknown. Katherine also reports to Leon about the mystery fighter that Alto saw during the mission and in response he invites her out to dinner just as Ozma (a very weird looking rendition of him rather) enters the room. (So ummmm do you even care about the mystery fighter Leon) Embarassed she says she’ll call him back. Back at the school Sheryl is talking about how she’s transferred to the school and asks her “Slave” Alto to show her around. In response the students start making cat calls to their “Queen” to make them her slaves too. *Starts polishing a revolver*
Cast Reflectaga You Bastard And I’ll Cast Haste On You So It Will Bounce Onto The Series And Hopefully Bring About Some New Plot/Character Dynamics Quicker
It May Not Look So Obvious But The Way The Egg Is Dripping Just Looks Cheap In Episode….Yes That Is Supposed To Be Egg Yolk
When The Eyecatch Animation Is Arguably More Inspired Then The Rest Of The Episode You Know You’ve Got A Problem
Alto ends up pulling Sheryl aside and they get into an argument a little about how he lost her earring and how she’s referring to him as a slave while everyone watches on. As Nanase wonders what Sheryl and Alto’s relationship is Michel asks Ranka if she’s interested and she says she likes Alto but not in that way. *Bullets Go In* She also thinks she notices something, but later chalks it up to her imagination (but we get to see the Carbuncle lookalike hiding in the bushes) Cue a really awkward jump cut to footage of Alto and Sheryl’s talk about the earring from Episode 06 (to save money the Gundam Seed Destiny way I imagine) where Alto apologizes about the earring and she says she feels that Galaxy is fine (for the nth time) and Alto wonders why she wants to pass the time at his school. Not really concerned with what Alto thinks, she says she’ll have him show her “that”. “That” later turns out to be her trying out the X-Gear and her first test is to see if she can avoid breaking some eggs as a test of dexterity. After that fails she hops in the shower and the eyecatch comes up. (God even the eyecatch seems depressed at this episode)
Kaioshin: *Smacks Head* HANG IN THEIR KAIOSHIN! COME ON! HRRRRRGGGGGGH! *Psych Up Is Successful*
Even The Fanservice Is A Lost Cause Because Of The Poor Animation
Where The Heck Is She Even Looking? From This Perspective She Looks Like She Should Be Staring At The Median Between Ranka And Sheryl, But Obviously She Should Be Talking To Sheryl Who Is To The Immediate Left Of Where She’s Looking
Back from the Eyecatch Sheryl, Ranka and Nanase are still sharing the showers and Sheryl starts to ask about how Ranka is doing with work and when Ranka admits she isn’t doing well she offers to give her a slot on her upcoming show. Suddenly Nanase appears and tells Sheryl not to make fun of her (Ummmm she wasn’t making fun of her you moron she was trying to give her popularity a boost cause her agent sucks. So the dialogue barely even matches the context of the scene now along with all the other problems this episode has) and chastises (and I use the term loosely) her for being stuck up. Sheryl responds by asking Nanase if she is interested in Alto too and says she has a nice body, to which Nanase in return responds to not look at her with lustful eyes. *Points Revolver Towards Head*
You Might Want To Rework That Scale A Little…..She’s Not A Macronized Zentradi
Too Far…..She’s Not One Of The Little People…..How Hard is This? Really?
Those Must Be Some G-Forces
At Least The Landscape Still Looks Decent….Although Those May Be Pre Drawn
This is Apparently What I’m Supposed To Be Cheering For In Terms Of Personal Victory For A Character This Episode
Since When Has Sheryl Ever Been This Stupid?
Since She’s Needed Alto To Hope Out And Rescue Her To Satisfy A Cliche
Later Ranka talks with Sheryl in the laundry room and says she is grateful for Sheryl trying to help (as is the proper response unlike Nanase illogicalness), but would like to try to make it on her own. Sheryl smiles and says she thought as much and says it’s best to follow ones own path. (Yeah we’ve been over this with many more subtle metaphors and better scenes for discussing this already) Suddenly Carbuncle pops out of the laundry basket and makes off with Sheryl’s underwear. *Trigger Finger Twitching* The students take notice and want to go after the “Treasure” and Sheryl hijacks some X-Gear to try and get the pair back first. (I honestly can’t believe I’m typing this for something other then Moetan or To Love-Ru) As the chase goes on Ranka eventually gets a call from her manager and learns that Sheryl’s show has been preempted and the producer wants her in Sheryl’s place. Meanwhile Leon is going over the ghost fighter data and decides to have Ranka looked into even more. Meanwhile Sheryl is rampaging through the hallways looking for the Carbuncle and causing all kinds of damage and eventually locates it on the roof. (This is somewhat amusing I guess….) Sheryl jumps off the roof ejecting the X-Gear and getting the pair back, but then realizes what she’s done and starts to fall, but is caught by Alto. Some silly dialogue later and she offers to forgive Alto for the earring.
Wasn’t His Hair Colour Silverish In The Last Episode?
Brera (?) This Episode
Brera In Episode 7
Speaking Of Plot Developments That Come Out Of Nowhere, Since When Has Sheryl Been Interested In Being A Pilot And Why Is This A Bad Development In Terms Of The Individual Roles The Characters Have Forged For Themselves So Far? That’s A Trick Question By The Way
Elsewhere and later Ranka runs into the Carbuncle (at least I think it’s the same one even though it looks different. Why? Well because everything else in the episode is so inconsistant that it’s just a safe bet) and ends up singing her song for it. Suddenly the ghost fighter pilot (at least I think it is given the Harmonica….you know despite the fact that he looks completely different now though and with a different shade of hair) and later on Sheryl states that she’s transferring into the flight school program. *Unloads all six bullets on the screen*
Bullet Number 1 The Animation: What the hell happened to make this episode look so awful. Inconsistant, slideshow-like, awkward transitions, just purely 100% awful. I’m absolutely beside myself at how they could let this happen. Now I understand that the last episode must have cost a lot of money, but this is absolutely unacceptable and showcases some of the worst looking art I’ve seen in an anime since the turn of the century. This is simply not how you do anime. I mean I appreciate the fact that the space battle episodes look amazing, but if they have to put so much money and effort into those that it makes other episodes like this look so terrible then it defeats the purpose in the long run. I’d rather have good looking battles versus orgasmic ones like seven if it would just allow for some consistency throughout the whole series.
Bullet Number 2 Character Development: For everyone else other then Ranka it was merely a pile of empty cliches. The whole earring thing was handled rather poorly I think and the whole idea that it was a symbolic tie of friendship between Sheryl and Alto and a memory of the one true link she had to her family seems to have been discarded just so they can carry on the plot without it. She doesn’t even react all that strongly to the idea that it was lost other then just using it as an excuse to justify playing Rich Girl A from High School Comedy series for this episode, which I find horribly out of character for how important it was to her earlier. Something, anything should have been done, perhaps a scene that showcased the idea that it was symbolically discarded for lack of need anymore, but no. There’s the akward and silly argument between Ozma and Katherine and while it seems like they might still have feelings for each other it’s handled in the usual cliche manner of such strained ex-relationships and nothing comes of it. Then we have the rest of the crew. Leon sticks to his evil persona, Luca to his increasingly annoying and unfunny shota one (I actually don’t like this character much at all frankly, I have to admit. What? He hasn’t really contributed at all to the series like his wingmen in Michel has. Heck even Klein has contributed more in giving them a competition and helping Alto level up as a pilot a little during it…) Michel doesn’t really do much besides tease Ranka, Nanase is so retarded in her scenes I don’t even have anything to say, Ozma is in all of one scene too and Klein is absent entirely. The only solid character development scenes belong to Ranka in that she knows her work isn’t going well, but seeks to be successful on her own. Later though she looks guilty about the idea that she may be hurting Sheryl’s career and then she runs into Brera. What a waste.
Bullet Number 3 The Dialogue: Random and rife with cliches. You’ll find none of the subtle symbolism such as Alto’s paper airplane or metaphors about the open sky in this episode. Nanase’s scene stands out as the worst for me as her reaction is totally out of whack with what is going on. For one Sheryl was trying to be friendly and help her understudy get a better start then her agent was offering her and Ranka knows this, but Nanase suddenly buts in with totally bizarre and out of context dialogue just as something is about to happen between them and then we get the cliche “your body is so nice/oh it’s embarassing” dialogue. Why is this in my space opera. Leading into the next one….
Bullet Number 4 The High School Harem Comedy Cliches: Please for the love of god script writers, if this is the path the series is going to go down, keep the above mentioned as well as all the other cliches like horny high schoolers, snobby dominatrix girls, yuri implications, panty thieving monsters, smarmy upperclassmen and ALL of those Harem comedy out of this series and just stick to the Sci-Fi/Space Opera dynamic. The character relationships have been developing so well and so much more realistically (debatable, but just my opinion) then the average ones that it would be nothing short of a dire shame if Macross Frontier’s love triangle were to degrade to the level of a cheap Ecchi Harem comedy.
Bullet Number 5 Plot Development: None really. Nothing new happens in terms of the Vajra who are almost completely forgotten about, as are the events of the previous episode which are barely mentioned or reflected on by the principle cast….as if they never happened. You’d expect Alto to go a little bit over how his first real deployment with the SMS went or maybe Sheryl to approach him and ask him a little more sincerely about what happened, but not so much. Instead we are just dumped right into this weird high school comedy environment where suddenly Ranka has enrolled in Alto’s school and so has Sheryl. Oh the hilarity somebody stop them. No seriously please….. leading into the last bullet I have to fire at this episode.
Bullet Number 6 Contribution To The Narrative: Dangerous is how I’d describe where the series sits now. Obviously they are trying to further the Alto, Sheryl, Ranka love triangle by forcing them into the same school together, but I think it’s a regressive move against the overall character relationships. For one, they had a good thing going with Ranka’s girl next door persona and Sheryl’s dual idol/civilian life thing with Alto and her work, but now they’ve broken down the wall that seperates their three lives just a little and I think it’s for the worse. I liked the subtle approach the series had been taking with the love triangle of three characters with seperate but equally important roles to play in the grand scheme of things coming together in an unlikely but mutually progressive character building relationship. Now this episode paves the way to turn the civilian half of the series into a cheesy High School comedy rather than the Science Fiction/Space Opera type daily grind life they had going. I don’t like it one bit…..seriously this episode is so out of whack with everything that has come before it that it almost screams parody, though I know it isn’t one…but I wish it was, oh god do I wish it was.
I don’t know what it is with Episode 08′s seeming to be throwaway episodes in a lot of shows, but that’s what most of this episode feels like it should be. As it stands this episode fails to work for me on almost any level with the sole saving grace being Ranka’s scenes. Perhaps if they hadn’t kept interrupting all of her attempts meaningful dialogue with barely amusing “comedy” (As I said the only scenes I found funny were Sheryl trying to work the X-Gear and the Eyecatch) then maybe we could have had something. Instead this episode stands as one of the most disappointing in recent memory. I guess they figured that last episode was a hard one to follow so they didn’t really even bother to try….I guess….
Rating: Two And A Half Out Of Five