The Shit Hits The Fan In A Big Way
Well here I go finally with my first real summary of a Macross Frontier episode. I should mention it’s kind of hard to find appropriate pictures from the episodes because everything pretty much always looks amazing and thus any picture just sort of lacks context outside of it being in a given animation sequence. What I’m trying to say I guess is that there’s no definitive screenshot you can find to convey a scene because it just doesn’t work outside of the animation sequence. That’s part of the key to Macross, that the animation, music and artwork are woven together to create something greater than the sum of their parts. A screenshot just doesn’t cut it for this series, but nonetheless I will try.
That Tends To Happen When You Use The Death Blossom Strategy
In Case People Don’t Know, This Is The Beginning Of A Light Version Of What Is Generally Known By Old School Macross Fans As The “Itano Circus”. Named For The Style Of The Person Who Invented It, Ichiro Itano, It Basically Refers To The Missile Trails And Their Haywire Trajectory Commonly Scene In Macross, But Also Some Series Like Eureka Seven. Mostly It Just Looks Cool And That’s All People Really Need To Know
Summary: So the part before the opening is just the usual recap of the First Space War and after the sequence of voice cracks set to a Visual Novel opening we are put back into the do or die situation Alto was in at the end of the first episode. We actually see Ozma’s perspective first as he realizes that Ranka is the one under siege from the alien, and Alto isn’t exactly doing a good job of helping as he quickly exhausts his magazine before he can do any real harm to the bogey. (So he’s basically Max’s looks combined with Kakizaki’s style of fighting) The thing then puts him in a headlock as Ranka seems to react to the violence before her and cry’s out for it to stop. Soon enough he’s up though and unloads his missile pack on the creature (Yay for Itano Circus) and marvels at the armament of the Valkyrie. Up above Michel is trying to contact Gilliam, but Ozma comes in saying that the pilot isn’t Gilliam but some noob.
Alto: I’ll Save You!
Doesn’t This Seem Like Some Sort Of Kidnapping Scene When Taken Out Of Context?
Lelouch Isn’t The Only Person Who Likes To Blow Up Buildings This Season
Save Her Already!
Way To Close
I Bet You That Thing Never Comes In Handy Again
Alto then picks up Ranka with the Gerwalk modes hands and tries to make his escape while Ozma holds off the creature, but soon finds himself under siege from other ones. Michel opens fire with a sniper rifle like contraption, but can’t seem to hit them so Alto puts on the fancy moves and flies straight up the side of a building (shattering it’s windows on the way up) to try and shrug them off, but of course it doesn’t work. What’s worse, they manage to shoot off the Valkyrie’s arms, sending Ranka into a tumbling deathspiral (upward death spiral that is as they are so high up she is floating off into space now) reminiscent of Minmay’s in the original series. Luckily with some quick maneuvering and a few tries followed by a rocket tether to return her to safety, Alto is able to be the hero after all.
Just Cruisin Along When…
Oh My God No! And He Seemed Like Such A Great Guy Too. Say No To Date Rape….Wait This Isn’t A Rance Game
Finally Somebody Get’s The Idea To Go For Melee Combat After Missiles And Bullets Have Proven Completely Useless
Yum…Wasn’t There A Race In Star Trek That Was Supposed To Have Blue Blood. Was It The Romulan’s. Or Is That Oil?
As the head back down one of the creatures comes by for one more pass and unable to defend himself it looks like they are done for, but Michel get’s there back with his sniper rifle and one of the creatures is finally put to rest. Alto takes the lull that has finally come to ask Ranka if she’s okay and she says she was scared. She starts referring to him as brother before she realizes it’s not him and she accidentally slaps his hand out of the way causing the Valkyrie to lurch and him to cop a feel on her. (There’s where the opening theme sort of comes in I guess???? ) Seriously though, that was straight out of a harem series right down to the scream and pan up into the sky (No idea what’s up with the way her hair stands up. We’ll just say she’s part Zentradi or something until I know for sure) Anywho back down below Ozma is finally able to put an end to the red creature with a vibro knife of sorts and they finally back off of the Macross Fleet. The girly kid who reported the retreat (I don’t know his name, but Rolo’s looking kind of manly now) asks if those monsters were Vajra and Ozma says they are and teases the boy by telling him he’ll give him some candy later.
Could’ve Been Worse
Oh….Well I Guess When You’re Up Close Things Come Into Perspective Better
If They Came From Bandai Channel You Might Want To Recheck Those Measures
Ozma asks Michel how Ranka is and he says she’s fine, but won’t go to meet her because he doesn’t want Ranka to know about his job. Elsewhere on a cliffside Ranka confesses that she’s one quarter Zentradi (which would explain a lot to some about he almost being sucked into space was no big problem for her) and she finally thanks him for rescuing her. Alto gets bashful, but then in a quite reflection for the death of Gilliam says he’s not the one she should be thanking. She asks his name (I guess she either doesn’t recognize him or can’t see very well in the dark) and says she’s Ranka Lee as he scurries off. Soon Alto hits the damaged area of the city and vomits at the sight of all the destruction. Elsewhere the Mayor is talking with a staff member (that’s Sugita Tomokazu in a rare calm moment) about how the Vajra have finally besieged the fleet and that they will need to rely on something called the Birla now more than ever. The staffer gives him the relevant reports and states there are measures in place to protect sensitive information from leaking onto the internet. We see another area of the Macross Fleet and in the corner of a ship a pair of eyes can be seen and an ominous growl heard. The next day the state of emergency is rescinded and people are starting to go back to their daily lives, talking about such things as the Sheryl Nome concert and the Valkyrie’s victory over the invaders. A girl in the class (With breasts so large she looks like she’s guest starring from Dragonaut….although in that show she’d be teased for them being “small” or something. Yeah Dragonaut was different) looks over at Alto when she hears the rumour that he was involved and he is merely glancing out the window with a troubled expression on his face.
For Real? That’s The Eyecatch? Crazy….
Making Him An Offer He Can’t Refuse I See
Pointless Light Fanservice Moment
Yeaaaaahh! And Who Said Sunrise Had A Monopoly On Bishoujo Pilots. Studio Nue Says OWNED!
Hmmmm, That Face Looks Familiar Somehow. Where Have I Seen It Before I Wonder? :p
The Idols True Personality
After the eyecatch Alto is approached by the army, specifically a rather serious looking officer who tells him they’d like a word with him. Meanwhile Ranka is being examined after her incident and tells Ozma (indulgently so) about Alto, the “Princess” who rescued her and asks him to look into who he is. Meanwhile he passes right by them as Cathy (the serious officer from before) brings HIM in for an examination. Oh and Sheryl is also having a nervous breakdown/tantrum when she’s seen unable to find a video from her concert. Back with Alto we learn that the military has looked up on him, his history as a Kabuki performer, his decision to change his studies to piloting, and his good grades. However the identity of the creatures is a military secret when he asks about them. (Ah the military, such a one-sided deal with them) What’s worse is they plan on indicting him for hijacking a Valkyrie….that is unless he doesn’t mind joining the military to make it legal. (Where have I heard this one before?) Things get more complicated though when Ozma barges in saying he has business with Alto too. Apparently he’s not part of the military proper and belongs to something called SMS (Private Army?) to which the Valkyrie was attached.
By they way, that song you are hearing during the driving scene is from Macross 7 and it’s called Totsugeki Love Heart. (It’s also my personal favourite song from the series along with Try Again) If you are wondering what the full version sounds like then here’s a video of it:
I Put This Up Because It Looks Like A Perversion Of The Old Zentradi Military Logo. It Also Makes Me Wonder About The SMS If It Is Indeed There Logo As Well And If They Perhaps Are A Special Zentradi Army Group Still Maintained By UN Spacy
More Pointless Fanservice
And Mangled Almost Illegible French….So Sheryl Is French…..Wait? Don’t Anybody Say Anything….We Aren’t All Like That….Well At Least As Far As Half-French Canadians Go That Is, But Even Still, Stereotype Much?
TELL US HOW IT HAPPENED OR DIE!!!!!
For Aya Hirano Fanboys She’s The One On The Left With Purple Hair With The Expression On Her Face That Say’s She’d Rather Be Elsewhere.
Anyway so of course Ozma has taken responsibility for Alto and while driving along Alto asks him how a military subcontractor got ahold of a machine that should still be in the testing phase. Ozma chuckles and asks him how it was trying it out…..if if it wasn’t thrilling. They head down into a labratory (also some purely Yoko Kannoesque music hear of the kind I’ve never really cared for) and Sheryl is complaining to Cathy on the phone (Wait…what ties does this pop princess have to the military) to Cathy about Alto’s entrance into the concert and has left to try and sort matters out for herself whatever those might be. (For god sakes why should the military care?!). Back in the hangar, Ozma wants Alto to tell everybody about what happened to Gilliam, and everybody gathers around (somewhat menacingly) to hear the story, before they are interrupted by a warning siren. The Vajra are back and it’s time to scramble. The bridge bunnies are coordinating things (Aya Hirano stands out like a sore thumb in all this, but in case you couldn’t tell she’s the purple haired one that sounds like she has a put on voice and is wobbly and confused sounding in her speech) now as Ozma gives the order as Skull Leader. Alto makes up his mind that he wants to try piloting and tells Ozma, which earns him a punch and reprimand for asking something so stupid and has his men take Alto to a holding cell. (Well after all the previous cliches of the second half of this episode that’s the first thing that seems almost normal)
You Know, One Part Of Me Seems To Think She Knows, But Another Part Of Me Thinks That If She Can’t Recognize Alto And Sheryl Because Of A little Extra Attire Then It’s Possible She Never Will
Pretty Instense Disguise Eh?
You Know, This Song Along With This Short Scene Of Ozma Saluting (Specifically The Lyrics “A Long Long Good Bye”) Makes Me Feel This Is His Last Goodbye Gesture And That He’s Going To Die In Battle Next Episode
Elsewhere Ranka shows again just how bad she is at seeing through thin disguises (We need a seen in an SRW of Char pulling the Quattro disguise on her and her being the only one that never figures it out) as she talks to Sheryl about….Sheryl and how much she admires her. Sheryl compliments her on her cuteness and they soon wind up at a window overlooking the launching of the Skull Squadron. At this time Ranka gets depressed and relates how her older brother “used” to be a military pilot but now works in an “office job”. She starts to sing a song and soon Sheryl joins in and Ranka FINALLY notices who she really is. The episode ends as Alto shows up, Sheryl declares (with flair) that she’s finally found him, and we see the Vajra looking menacing as the Skull Squadron approaches.
Well I did like this episode, just not as much as some of the more recent mecha series episode I’ve seen. For one the middle third or so feels like it has to much goofy harem comedy type moments, what with the breast grab and pan up, Sheryl’s service, Ranka’s service, Sheryl acting like a crybaby, the whole pretty boy imagination moments, the faggy little kid pilot (He just blows Rolo out of the water in terms of whiny effeminate shotaness, and considering I’m actually starting to find Rolo a bit cool that says a whole lot more) that Ozma offers to give candy. I find it ridiculous that Gundam 00 came under fire for having bishounen characters and female fanservice/girls with huge breasts when this series easily trumps it in it’s entirety in that regard in just under 8 minutes and arguably indulges in it a lot more, whereas in Gundam 00 it was pretty nonchalant. It doesn’t bother me that much though since I don’t really care about pretty boy pilots and fanservice that much, but it does feel out of place and a bit inconsistant with the type of atmosphere seen before and after it. Then again I’ve always known Macross TV series for being a little goofy in this regard so we’ll see. It was a let down portion of the episode though to be sure.
I also find the notion that Ranka can’t see the obvious before her in at least 3 circumstances to be a little far-fetched as well as taken to far. It screams plot device for later drama more than anything, but I guess I’ll have to live with it. In Sheryl’s case I find her behaviour a bit childish, but then again I’m not terribly surprised as that’s not terribly far off from how some idols act in real life when they think nobody can see them, if not even more subdued. It clicks with me I guess we can say. I think those are the only things that really irked me while watching the episode.
Ozma seems almost ashamed of his occupation and I wonder if he thinks Ranka would lose respect for him if she found out he was a hot-blooded soldier. She seems almost like a pacifist so I guess he feels it would sadden her and make her worry about him. Just one more feather in Ozma’s cap for being the garest characters of the season for me. Not only does he kick ass in combat, have a major battle lust, protect his wingmen and have the definitive manly title of Skull Leader (Legendary gar pilot Roy Focker’s legeacy), but he has a soft side for his sister and wants her to keep her peace of mind. Protecting the innocent in mind and body is a key point to truly achieving gar status. Some day I’m going to right a list on how I score characters on the gar scale so people can understand where I’m coming from.
The Skull Squadron seems to take Gilliam’s death really hard and I can’t help but feel sorry for Alto in his getting caught up in their desires to find a scapegoat and the tug-of-war he goes through between the SMS and the military. The guy obviously never really planned for this kind of life and just wants to be left alone, but that can’t happen anymore now that he’s gotten involved so much, and really he’s got himself to blame. Luckily he doesn’t take it in an emo way, just a really hard way as we see in his reaction to the destruction of the city when everything slows down a bit for him to have time to think about things. I find when Alto is present is arguably when the best moments in the episode are happening as he’s the type of practical hero I wish we could see more often in recent mecha. He doens’t wallow in self-pity, but pity for the suffering of others and is a true altruistic hero without being obnoxious about it. He sort of reminds me of Hikaru Ichijo (the original Macross’ hero for those who don’t know) a bit in this regard of being flung around by the events of the plot, having a bit of a wishy-washy personality, but also being able to make the right decisions when it really really counts. When the time comes I think we’ll see him take charge more and start influencing the events rather than being influenced by them, much like Hikaru.
Oh and I also want to say that I think Megumi Nakajima is doing a tremendous job in her debut in a starring role as is Aya Endo. I like that Megumi isn’t just another new squeak tan and gives an air of naivety to Ranka that I think is perfectly fitting. She’s also a damn good a cappela singer if you ask me as is Aya Endo in the episode. I really hope that Megumi Nakajima has a good long and prosperous career ahead of her and I know for sure Aya Endo does. (I knew even as early as Miyuki in Lucky Star and how different and arguably more professionally she played the character compared to how the other 3 girls did there’s that she was headed for greatness) Heck I’m even liking Sugita Tomokazu in this. He can be really good if he just keeps the screaming down as once he does that it really sounds to fake and forced. He just doesn’t have the right stuff for screaming like other seasoned Seiyuu like Nobuyuki Hiyama and Seki Tomokazu does. Maybe he will someday, but the time isn’t now. Aya Hirano of course was once again jokes to me. Somewhere along the line she completely seems to have lost the ability to do character acting and now just sounds like herself trying to come up with new voices instead of trying to just act. Luckily she’s a third tier character so it doesn’t really matter, but I worry about her. I honestly thought she was going somewhere and it doesn’t seem like that’s the case now. I guess she really isn’t going to amount to anything more than Kadokawa’s darling little man-made idol (think how Miley Cyrus is to Disney and you’ll see what I mean in terms of their relationship). Gaaaah, who else, Ozma is of course manly, I kind of like Cathy. For the most part the acting in the show is phenomenal and some of the best of the season if not THE best. Oh yeah and the BGM proper in this episode is pretty damn good other than that one piece that played during the Sheryl Nome sequence. This looks like it may be an OST worth owning depending of course on whether Yoko Kanno decides to get to Yoko Kanno-y or not.
And that’s it. Cliffhanger ending to. ZOMG for the second time. Of course since it’s not Sunrise it’s perfectly okay. No really actually it is, I’m just talking about other peoples hypocrisy in getting pissed off at Code Geass for it and not Macross Frontier. Really it shouldn’t be either but hey. So until next time then.
Oh wait one more thing, did anybody notice how many death flags Ozma threw up in this episode. There was the whole Brother-Sister bonding moment, his desire to avenge a comrade, his “Long Long Goodbye” moment. God if he makes it another half an episode I’ll be surprised. Anyway see ya….
Rating: Seven And A Half Out Of Ten