Hello everyone. I’m currently enduring some computer troubles that is making it difficult for me to take pictures right now (I’m actually running safe mode at least until night while I get everything burned off for a format) and I didn’t want to skip by this episode. Instead I’ve decided to talk briefly about the Deculture Edition from memory. (I can’t run multimedia right now) Everything should be fixed and ready to go with Code Geass.
So first let me just get it out of the way…..I hate the opening theme to this series with a passion having actually heard it. It strikes me as uninspired and more suited to a dating sim series as some other people have suggested. The visuals during it don’t wow me all that much and just seem slapped together and the singing by Maaya Sakamoto (who is definitely not at her best since I normally love her) is just high pitched and hurts my ears. Combine that with an also uninspired composition by Yoko Kanno (I find her vocal songs to be really hit and miss. They are either good or really really bad) and this is an unexpected skipper opening for me.
Luckily the rest of the music in the series is decent, right down to the oddly addictive Nyan Nyan song by Ranka Lee. And with that lets get to talking about the characters. Ranka has of course been announced as the heroine of this series and is a rather young greenish haired girl that works in a Chinese Food restaurant with aspirations of becoming a singer (remind you of anyone?). Ranka to put it bluntly is at the moment cute and spunky, much less annoying than Minmay could be in earlier episodes of Macross Frontier. She seems to be the embodiment of a singer who sings from the heart and that is notion that has generally been corellated in Macross as having the power to overcome the greatest of adversity that faces humanity at any given period in the franchise (Culture Shock with the Zentradi, A gift of life to the Protodeviln, A challenge to the discord and chaos of Sharon Apples music, and something or other with the Bird Human). Contrasting Ranka is Sheryl Nome, the somewhat spoiled and self-interested galactic idol who visits the Frontier during this episode and is seemingly stuck there in the end. Sheryl’s music is tacky and rife with idol pop glitz and glamour and her personality seems to match as she is all good looking on the outside, but selfish and conceited on the inside. I liken her to Sharon Apple as I liken Ranka to Minmay, although I doubt she will prove to be any sort of villainous character and is likely to come around to realizing their is more to life than just herself.
Alto Saotome seems to be our main male lead and is a pretty boy with blue hair (much like Max Jenius only longer) to the point that the episode actually stops to make fun of him by having it glitter in the sun when he meets Ranka. Alto is a pilot trainee and uses what must be one of the coolest contraptions ever throughout the episode in the X-Gear which is like a personal flight device complete with wings that allows him to fly around the city and even dock with a Valkyrie.
This proves necessary after he is introduced to Ranka briefly (she thinks he’s beautiful) as the Frontier fleet soon finds itself under attack from an unknown possibly bio-mechanical alien “mecha” which proceeds to wreck havoc on the city. So much damage is caused in fact that one wonders how the Frontier fleet is going to recover from it any time soon. Anyway Ranka’s brother Ozma who is a pilot for the Frontier fleets defence force does battle with the alien “mecha” outside the city before losing site of it and his wingman Gilliam begins to chase it towards the rest of the fleet (in one of the most stunning scenes in the episode I might add) before getting downed by it and mercilessly crushed as it tries to eject. Alto then takes matters into his own hands in an effort to try and protect Ranka and docks with Gilliam’s downed fighter before opening fire on the alien as the episode ends on a cliffhanger.
All things considered it’s a pretty thrilling episode and introduces us to the main players and a bit of new technology in the long-running franchise. There’s a lot of mystery as well as to what’s going on with the new enemy and in leaving this up in the air until now the creators managed to hook me even more than I probably would be had the series just started this week. I sure hope the long wait is worth it and look forward to seeing what happens once episode 2 finally roles around.
– Music is tolerable (outside the opening) but not quite up to par with the rest of the franchise
– I’m still getting used to some of the character designs in the series
– Absolutely stunning animation throughout the episode that makes it almost look like movie quality
– Likeable male lead cast and a well written vain character in Sheryl Nome
– X-Gear is an incredibly cool piece of technology
– Just being able to see a Macross Fleet in action again. I missed the whole City Seven atmosphere and can’t wait to see what the Macross Frontier (Macross 25) looks like in it’s battle mode.
Rating: Eight And A Half Out Of Ten