ICONIC SCENE: Tina reappears!

BROADCAST DATE: October 9, 1983

1. At the beginning, we find out that the Glomar is now in Afghanistan, so Emann territory is close (which is odd… because I thought the Emann capital was in Thailand…). Then Leiia wonders if Sley is really dead, and Mai says she’s sure that he’s still alive… which is generally a clue that, no, he’s not dead. If he were, the show would be making a much bigger fuss about it. At the very least, though, at least the lame love triangle aspect of the show is gone for now.

2. And then we get a surprise battle… There was a reason they showed Captain’s rather awesome capabilities last episode. It was because this episode, we see about a half-dozen Mu robots laying a Terram city to complete waste. I know that killer robots bringing down human civilization is a venerable science fiction theme, but for some reason, this Mu attack reminds me a lot of the Terminator, which is interesting, since this aired over a year before the Terminator came out (and over a year and a half before it was screened in Japan). I don’t really think Terminator copied from Orguss, either; I just think they both have similar inspirations.

Anyway, the devistation is pretty good here, but again, I miss the work of Ichiro Itano, who was at this time busy making beautiful destruction for the Macross movie.

3. The Terram government realizes that time is running short, if a Mu advance scout team got to one of their cities, and so they really NEED to capture Kei. The Supreme Commander, though, gets a report (from Henry) saying that Olson had a chance to get Kei, and let him escape. This is of course setting up a split in the Terram leadership, which will hit sooner than you might think. For now, though, I’d like to repeat that I really love the Supreme Commander’s voice. The actor, Yasuo Muramatsu (who is currently 85 years old) has acted in a lot of anime (going all the way back to 1964), but rarely in large roles, although fans of ’80s anime might recognize him as General Revil in the Gundam Movie trilogy (though not the TV series) and Geronimo in Dagger of Kamui (people still watch that movie, right…?). He’s still working now, his most recent role being in Doraemon last year.

Oh, and he was Dr. Hayward (Donna’s Dad) in the Japanese dub of Twin Peaks, and Bernard in the Japanese dub of Lost. And Uncle Owen in a 1989 Japanese redub of Star Wars. See what I mean? Not really a star… but a great voice.

4. WHOA!! Just in case you missed all of the hints that Olson is same dude-with-the-afro from Episode 1, he has a photograph of Kei’s old flame Tina in his barracks, and tells it that Kei is still alive, looking the same as he did “long ago.”

Not the first hint that time travel is involved, on top of the dimensional wonkiness (that would’ve been the Terram soldiers calling Kei’s Bronco II an “antique” back in Episode 1) but the pieces are definitely beginning to come together, and subtle hints are becoming more overt.

5. That said, when Athena confronts him about his actions in saving Kei, he says, “I’ll tell you exactly what the Singularity Point is.” She (and the audience) lean closer to find out… but all he says that the Singularity Point is the key for saving the world, which we, the audience, already knew. Kind of a let down, Olson (even if Athena didn’t know… which she didn’t). Although he DOES say that the restoration of the world depends on the “will” of the Singularity Point, which makes this seem a lot like a proto-Evangelion. How Kei perceives each dimension (and how he feels about it) might determine its place if all the dimensions are separated.

This, I think, is kind of important once we get to the final episode. So file it away for future reference.

(By the way, a couple of times in this scene, we see Athena’s face reflected against the photograph of Tina. It’s a smart bit of foreshadowing. As is Olson reminding Athena of her mother’s wishes, and Athena calling Olson her “uncle.” And, as well, Athena’s form being reflected in his sunglasses… but again, I’ll talk about all this at length later on.)

6. Robert comes in, gleefully, and tells Olson (whose full name we finally learn: “Olson D. Verne.” I trust I don’t have to annotate the importance of the name “Verne” to science fiction) that he’s been relieved of duty. The fissure widens.

Oh! And Robert calls Olson a “Singularity Point”! WAIT, WHAT???

And on top of all that, Kei is now expendable to to Terram, since they have something called “Operation D” in the works. It’s all very mysterious right now, but it seems to be some plan to save the world that doesn’t involve using the Singularity Point.

7. Finally, Sley gets a bit of sympathy. It’s odd how Mimsy seems to be the only one who even seems concerned about him. Then again, it IS Sley…

8. The cavalcade of new Terram gerwalks continues, as we get the Command-Type Ishkick, and the Logwoods are featured more prominently. As they leave for battle, Olson requests that Athena not join them. He has a good reason for this, but he doesn’t reveal it yet.

9. Then the big battle starts, and absolutely EVERYTHING happens at once. Robert and Henry try to kill both Kei AND Olson, Olson more-or-less switches sides (not that I can blame him, really), Kei gets shot down, and most surprising of all (even to the characters), as they reach Emann territory, a whole squadron of Orgusses (actually the Orguss II, although we aren’t told this yet) show up to drive off the Terram. We end with Kei injured, and Olson wandering off on his own, unable to return to the Terram army.

Later, Shaia asks what took the reinforcements so long, and apparently there’s been a debate in the Emann government about what to do about the Singularity Point… and the two main groups opposing each other are Shaia’s Tove Family and Mimsy’s Rath Family.

10. So, when I was talking about Episode 12, I said the first REAL climax of the show was still to come, and this is it. This feels like it’s end of “Part One” of the story, or the beginning of “Part Two,” or WHATEVER, and it’s a real doozy, although more in what it promises for future episodes than for what it contains. That said, the answers to some of the show’s many mysteries are beginning to rise to the surface. Anyway, after a few episodes where not much seemed to actually happen, it’s nice to get a truly engaging episode like this one.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Yet another twofer.








BROADCAST DATE: October 2, 1983

1. So Orguss took the last week of September off, meaning that this episode aired exactly one hectic and eventful year after Macross premiered (October 3, 1982). I’m not sure if that has any significance, but it seemed worth noting.

2. After an opening scene that features Sley helping out Papty in giving one of her babies a bottle (and I’m not sure if this scene is meant to humanize him or feminize him…), we get to the issue of the episode: the Singularity Point jamming wave is too narrow, so someone has to go out in a small craft (a “Pakki”) some ways away from the Glomar and broadcast it out. This, of course, will make that pilot a sitting duck if the Terram come across them.

3. Sley takes a short toilet break, and it’s pretty clear that he’s going to volunteer for the job. Leiia even foreshadows this, but saying, “Is he…? No, it can’t be…” and chuckling. And indeed, we see what is clearly him (although he’s in shadow and we can’t see his face) meeting with Shaia.

4. Mimsy is horrified when Leiia tells her, and she she confronts him. He asks her to meet him in the “secret room.” Now… judging by the room, and the dialogue, I assume the “secret room” isn’t REALLY secret, but is probably a private room for couples to have sex in. The show is pretty vague about it, but the clincher (so to speak) for me is when Sley refuses to go in, thinking of Papty and her children, and thinking to himself that he won’t let Mimsy end up like that. Anyway, I’ll have more (MUCH more) to say about this in a few episodes…

5. We get a flashback to when Mimsy and Sley met, at what looks like a really swank party at Mimsy’s family’s house. To his credit, when talking about how they’ve grown apart, Sley never once mentions Kei.

Also, she obviously gave him her charm necklace sometime before, and he drops it (which seems like a death flag), but he leaves it on the door of the secret room for her to find, and after he walks away, a glint of light flashes off of it (which seems like good luck). (And yes, both will turn out to be right.)

6. Kei and Sley get into an argument about who will be the volunteer, and it’s probably the only good confrontation they’ve had in the show, since Sley a) realizes that Mimsy has fallen in love with Kei, and b) realizes that Kei, as the Singularity Point, is the most important person aboard the Factory.

7. When Sley leaves, Mimsy is wearing the necklace, and it glints again. Once more, this seems like good luck. Although I have to say… as Sley leaves, everyone is openly crying about it. Do they really hold his skills in such low esteem that it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s gonna die…?

Oh wait, it’s Sley. Yeah, they’re just being realistic, I guess.

8. The Glomar gets found pretty quickly, and we see a wide variety of Terram gerwalks in the ensuing battle. Not only Ishkicks and Ishforns and Athena’s Nikick, but also a bunch of Standard-Type Nikicks are there, as well as (making its debut) the Logwood Gerwalk in the background of a couple of scenes.

Also, Captain is finally convinced by Mome to go into battle, and he’s got a whole mess of missile launchers that are actually pretty devastating. He doesn’t seem terribly enthusiastic about it, though.

Oh, and an Ishkick surprises Sley just as he’s about to turn back. It fires, and he gives a pretty horrifying scream.

9. Of course, the BIG moment is when Olson sees Kei, and recognizes him. He tells Athena to break off the attack. Now… I wonder, are we meant to remember young Olson (with the afro) from Episode 1 and realize he’s the same as the man with sunglasses? Watching it week by week (and let’s face it: generally, in 1983, once a TV episode was broadcast, it was gone. VCRs were JUST becoming a household item). Although given things like magazine articles, manga, art books, novels, and film comics, the STORY wouldn’t vanish into the ether, so yes, I think we are supposed to realize that this is Kei’s old friend, looking nothing like he did when we first him.

10. Definitely one of the better episodes, despite the focus on Sley. I’m glad he finally got a little bit of dignity before vanishing in a blast of light. And with Olson recognizing Kei, it really feels like the plot is beginning to progress, after a lot of wheel-spinning.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Again, a twofer. Although it may actually be the same shot, reversed and recolored.







BROADCAST DATE: September 18, 1983

1. So they’ve now reached the Caspian Depression, which puts them a ways from “Fancy” (France) but not quite near the Emann capital, which is in Thailand (one wonders if it wouldn’t have have been faster for them to go west instead of east…?).

Mai gets sent out on reconnaissance (and her Mo-Lover is colored all red in some shots… Leiia’s gets miscolored, too, later on), and finds a huge Terram platoon, which attacks her.

2. Inside the Glomar, while they’re talking tactics, Mome keeps oiling Captain because he says he has “nerve pain” (again, he’s basically the comedic old man of the show). When he starts spouting off about the military, everyone makes an excuse and runs out of the room. Shaia hangs around awkwardly, but also runs off the first chance she gets.

Poor Captain. He really isn’t fitting in too well with the rest of the crew…

As they all sneak away, Sley and Llig confront Kei (and Sley seemed to have completely healed from having his abdomen sliced open two episodes ago…). They naturally tell Kei to leave the Factory.

3. Kei launches the Orguss to help Mai, and there’s a fierce battle, which is basically all recycled footage… sometimes the same scene twice or three times in this sequence alone. One of the things I’ve been doing while watching Orguss this time (and more about this in a bit) is trying to imagine how I would’ve felt about it if I were watching it as a kid. Everyone complains about the battles in Macross 7 getting recycled again and again, but the original Macross was much the same way (although not AS much). I don’t remember it bothering me too much as I was first watching Macross (as, of course, Robotech). Certain scenes, like Hikaru’s battroid entering an explosion and coming out as a gerwalk, I was happy to see again and again, because they were SO COOL. Some of the clips in Orguss are like that… SO COOL that you don’t mind seeing them over and over, but… the difference is that a lot of the best mecha bits in Macross were animated by Ichiro Itano, whose shots are crazy-detailed, crazy-action-packed, and just, well… CRAZY. The Orguss mecha animators are clearly trying to live up to that legacy, but they don’t quite make it. Itano’s absence is keenly felt here, even if I as a kid had no idea who he was.

Honestly, looking back on it, every scene that made me think, “Wow, this is why Japanese animation is SO COOL!!” as a kid was due to it being animated by either Ichiro Itano, Hideaki Anno, Hayao Miyazaki, or Yoshinori Koneda… (Katsuhiro Otomo came a little later).

4. Weirdly, when Shaia sits down with everyone to address Sley and Llig’s issue with Kei, Leiia is one of his big defenders… despite the fact that last week, she agreed with them. I guess the fact that he saved her sister this episode tipped her scales back.

There’s a deft character touch here, when Llig demands to know why Kei is so important, and, before answering, Shaia looks over at Papty, with her twin infants. It’s a reminder that they have lost people because of Kei.

(And, not to ruin the mood, but the plate in front of Shaia displays the names of a number of prog-rock bands. Strange that in Macross, all the signs said “Seiko” and “Akina” (famous Japanese idol singers), but all the signs in Orguss are western prog bands… I’m sure there’s an essay in there somewhere…)


5. We find out what we might have already guessed, that the “Singularity Point” is essential for saving the world. Mome seems to be the only one who’s happy about this.

6. Oh hey, the “Man with Sunglasses” is back! And this time, he’s got a subordinate, who looks (and acts) (but sure doesn’t sound) just like Millia! She launches in her Nikick Gerwalk, which should be well-known to every Japanese-robot-loving ’80s child, since it got bootlegged for a seemingly endless variety of Transformers-knock-off collections.

I think, though, that the problem with the Nikick is the same as the problem with the Orguss… it’s a cool robot, but when it transforms, it doesn’t look like anything. As I recall, Renato once said that the “Nikick Flyer” looked like a toaster… and he wasn’t wrong.

7. Before the big battle, Kei takes a bath and Mome butts in (so to speak). Kei at this point clearly thinks that Emann are all for mixed bathing, which won’t turn out to be true.

8. Leiia goes out to fight the Nikick, to avenge Mai’s earlier problems, and just as Kei had to go out to save Mai earlier, he has to go out to save Leiia here. He arrives ALMOST too late, since she’s already been shot down by Athena.

Oh, and the crew tells Captain to help out, but he says he’s not “air support,” and so he can’t. Can you tell that this will be a running theme with him…?

9. Then we get our first Orguss vs. Nikick fight, and it’s pretty awesome, if only because Athena is doing all the same moves Kei did earlier, and they’re completely evenly matched. It could go on forever, but Mimsy, trying to hit the Nikick, accidentally shoots the Orguss’s leg (shades of Macross Ep. 16!) and the Orguss falls. Athena almost kills him, but remembers the command of “man with sunglasses” not to kill the Singularity Point. So she doesn’t, and Kei shoots off the Nikick’s arm. She retreats, and so does he.

10. So, I believe that this is the ending to the first cour. It’s not as big a climax as any of Macross’s cour endings (in that a planet doesn’t get blown up, which happens at least once per Macross series), but at least there’s some momentum to it. The first REAL climax, though, will come a little later.

Interestingly, the “man with sunglasses” is listed in the credits as “Olson,” and if you remember Episode 1, that might give you a big clue as to what’s going on.

But I said I was gonna talk about how I’d feel about the show if I were watching it as a kid. I doubt the recycled footage or the wheel-spinning episodes would’ve bothered me much. I think I would’ve been confused by the overall premise, though, not realizing that it’s more of a literary SF conceit than a TV one (let’s face it… TV and movie SF has STILL not caught up to written SF, as far as being primarily an idea-based genre, although Westworld comes close).

Anyway, I think I would’ve enjoyed it… not as much as I did Macross, but close. And then later, I could’ve looked back and realized how much better I understood the show, and how much better I saw its flaws. Double-edged sword, maturity is.







ICONIC SCENE: He decided to die…

BROADCAST DATE: September 11, 1983

1. Oh, hey, the Terram are back! Still looking for Kei, of course. Shaia figures she’s got the solution, in the form of some kind of jamming system, that loads into the Glomar’s dashboard like a cassette tape. It doesn’t really, work, since it screws up the Terram’s Singularity Point radar, and they notice that something is amiss. They figure (correctly) that they’re being jammed, and decide to pretend to notice nothing but go back to the area later.

2. We get a bit of focus on Papty, the new mother with twin infants that we sometimes see in the background, and how she’s still mourning her husband (who died in the first Terram attack). Leiia becomes the newest member of the Factory crew to suggest selling Kei off to the Terram in order to stave off more casualties.

Unfortunately, this time, Kei overhears the chatter. Thinking quickly, he comes into the control room (I can never really think of it as “the bridge”) and says that he’ll die, so that the Terram will stop pursuing the Factory. Shaia agrees.

3. To that end, they flush out some deer and Kei captures one with a net trap (why didn’t they just shoot it…?). I’m not sure how we’re meant to view this scene. It seems rather callous, especially since there’s a shot of the netted deer trembling in fear and whinnying.

(And yeah, you get no points for realizing that they’re going to kill the deer and that that will be the stand-in (or, as the episode title has it, “dummy”) for Kei’s body. I’m not sure if the writers intend us to know that or not, though.)

Oh well, at least we don’t have to watch Kei actually KILL the deer. That might make the audience lose sympathy with him.

4. More Sley/Mimsy stuff: Sley wakes up, Mimsy’s been by his bedside all night, and then he rather forcefully grabs her wrists. She pulls away as Shaia walks in, and Shaia later tells Mimsy that she (Mimsy) has been pretty cold to Sley. Mimsy brushes it off, and Shaia angrily tells her not to fall in love with Kei.

5. Then the plan goes into effect. The Orguss launches, the Terram go after it. They try to just cripple it, but end up blowing the whole thing up.

The battle is no great shakes, visually, but I really like the ruined city in the background, whose crumbling skyscrapers disappear into the Conflict Border.

6. The next thing we know, Terram soldiers are all over the Factory. Robert finds the deer meat and (according to plan) assumes it’s Kei, but Henry isn’t so sure, since the Orguss was moving differently than it usually does. Still, they check the Factory, and find no sign of Kei.

7. Mome spells it all out after the Terram leave. They cobbled together a fake Orguss (which seems like a big job for such a short time… I mean, it looks like they only had a few hours AT MOST…) and put the deer meat inside it. Not EVERYONE on the Factory is in on the plan, though… most notably Mimsy and Sley, who really think Kei is dead.

8. Shaia and Mimsy have a conversation that’s pretty mystifying for first time viewers, about how Mimsy should marry Sley before she turns eighteen. Mimsy reacts badly, and says to stuff back to Shaia that, once you know what they’re talking about, is pretty insensitive.

9. SUDDEN VAMPIRE BAT ATTACK!! Mimsy, upset, goes out for a flight in the abandoned city, and a large colony of bats attacks her. Mome goes out with a bagful of blood to distract them, but it doesn’t work, so Kei leaves his hiding place and saves Mimsy in the Orguss.

Unfortunately, Henry has lingered behind after the other Terram flew off, and sees the Orguss, so he knows that Kei isn’t dead.

10. And so the entire episode turns out for naught… except that the REAL point of the episode isn’t the decoy operation, but rather to show that Mimsy has fallen in love with Kei. That said, we probably could’ve figured that out on our own.

I dunno… it’s not as unsatisfying as the previous episode, but it’s not really a good episode, either. As we get closer to the end of the first “cour” (which, as I’ve said before, is a twelve or thirteen week block of programming), the show really seems to be spinning its wheels. That’ll change soon enough, thankfully.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Mome works on the fake Orguss. And just in case you think this is a bit of a stretch as an ass shot, I’ll point out that her butt wiggles during this scene.





ICONIC SCENE: Sley remains ineffectual, even with a cool lightsaber.

BROADCAST DATE: September 4, 1983

1. After a brief recap of Drunk French History, we get an establishing shot of the Glomar flying through a canyon. I think this may be the first outdoors night time scene we’ve had, because I sure don’t remember that the stars were visible through the “Conflict Border” (called “the Divide” on the official subs on the Discotek set) that covers the sky. Interestingly, the Factory is shown to be running on some sophisticated autopilot, since everyone is sleeping, and no one’s manning the helm. Also interestingly, among the sleeping crewmembers is Mome.

This is gonna frustrate me no end throughout the series. She’s a robot! Why does she need to sleep?

Oh, and strangely, she’s not sleeping in the bunk next to her beloved Kei-sama, but between Gove and Sley. Kei is on the other side of Sley. It’s amazing Sley gets any sleep at all, since I’d imagine he’d be grinding his teeth in jealousy every time he turns to his right.

2. And then Taii (should I just give up and call him “Captain”? I think that’s what I’ll do… with the understanding that it’s the naval rank of “Captain,” (again, like Misa) and not the ship’s captain (like Global, who’s actually a Commodore)) wakes them all up, because he’s programmed for military regulations and the like. If we hadn’t realized before that his role is essentially comic, we might realize it here. His role is kind of as a fish-out-of-water, not so much as a robot (who, unlike Mome, LOOKS like a robot) living among humans (or “humans,” I guess… the Emann aren’t QUITE human), but as an old, grizzled veteran with a lot of self-discipline living in a more relaxed and casual society. I tend to grimace whenever westerners who have never intensively studied Japan make grand proclamatory statements about how an anime reflects their (generally limited, stereotyped, and ill-informed) understanding of “Japanese culture,” but it’s not hard to see Captain as a World War II vet of the type the staff probably had as teachers growing up in the ’60s. And if that theory is true, then the portrait they draw isn’t terribly respectful. But then, when we were kids, we all met that guy, right? The guy next door, or maybe our science teacher in elementary school, who served (honorably) for a few years, never saw any action, but was kind of envious of the guys who did, and still gets up every morning at four-thirty AM sharp, takes a cold shower, does his fifty push-ups and sit-ups, eats his unsweetened oatmeal, and faces the day with a fierce grimace. His life is one of routine and discipline. THAT’S Captain. Although the staff seems to have some cynical suspicions about that type of guy, which we’ll get to…

3. In the morning, we see Captain doing his calisthenics (SEE WHAT I MEAN???). No one got much sleep, but Mai says they’ll sell him off soon, as well as Mome. Mome’s not terribly happy about that…

4. Oh, hey, they’re playing squash (or racquetball)! And everyone has new “squash outfits,” because when you’ve got a show with very limited animation, different clothes for the main characters is a good way to create variety (which is why Mylene has a different outfit in nearly every episode of Macross 7).

The inept love triangle rears its head again, as Kei throws a towel (washcloth…?) to Mimsy, leaving Sley to give his to Llig.

Llig tells Sley what everyone else (including us in the audience) knows, that he’s losing Mimsy to Kei. He goes over and asks Mimsy to join him for a drive (where? Driving what?), but she declines, saying that Kei already asked her out.

An argument starts, Leiia and Mai tell Kei that he’s doing everything all wrong, Sley protests that Mimsy is HIS girlfriend, and Kei tells Sley to “resort to force” if he wants to keep Mimsy.

This plotline is, I gotta admit, kind of embarrassing. WAY more than the love triangle in the original Macross was. Misa and Minmay never got into a tug-of-war over Hikaru there (until the final episode, that is, and that was at least brief).

5. And then the real plot for the episode begins. They’ve entered some dimension where the people in this area are Mogol-type savages, and they actually manage to bring the Glomar down (mostly because Mai couldn’t shoot at a guy holding a hand grenade).

6. So, Shaia comes up with the great idea of having Captain attack the barbarians, but he says he’s mass-destruction, not anti-personnel, so he can’t do it. And suggests they recruit Jabby for the attack.

Everyone else jumps to the cause, though. And Mome is shown blowing a guy’s head clean off.

7. So they get on board, wreck the “devices” (meaning the Orguss, and Leeia and Mai’s Mo-Lovers), and set everything on fire.

One of the barbarians captures Mimsy. Sley has a clean shot, but loses his nerve and drops his gun. Sley grabs what is basically an oddly-shaped lightsaber and goes after the barbarian.

And the barbarian slices Sley through the stomach.

8. Shaia comes up with a plan, and when she looks at Jabby, the cover for the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer album “Tarkus” is behind him.



And he comes out, breathing fire again, which scares away all the barbarians.

9. And so, yeah… Sley can’t protect Mimsy, but Kei is kind to him, even as he’s actively trying to take Mimsy away from him. So we’re supposed to like Kei…? I guess…?

10. This is easily my least favorite episode so far. I understand WHY the barbarian attack SHOULD be interesting (low-tech versus high-tech, with low-tech winning), but to me, here, it isn’t. And Sley moves beyond “ineffectual” to “get this guy outta here, before he gets us all killed!” territory.

Look, “the Glomar being attacked by Mongol hordes” isn’t a bad idea. But again, it’s just an episodic little story, with no bearing on future events, except that Sley’s a drip, which we already knew.

The art is good, at least.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: A barbarian basically does the cartoon caveman thing of clonking a woman over the head and then dragging her home.





ICONIC SCENE: “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche…”

BROADCAST DATE: August 28, 1983

1. The episode opens with the Factory checking out what looks like the site of a previous battle. Shaia mentions that it’s not on the maps, so it probably transitioned into the area. There’s also a little in-joke: when Shaia is pouring tea, on the table, there’s a “nue,” the mythological creature that Studio Nue is named after.

2. And the disgruntlement is growing among the crew. Not just Sley, but Llig is also coming around to the idea that they’d be well-rid of Kei.

3. While scavenging, Mome notes a Mu robot (not like her… this one looks markedly less human) and tells Kei to take it.

Y’know, I remember when I was watching Cowboy Bebop for the first time with a friend, as the volumes were being released, two episodes per tape, on an erratic schedule, from, Bandai USA’s website. When we got to the episode that introduced Ed, my friend said, “I dunno… this could make or break the show…” since it seemed at first that Ed could easily become the crazy/cute/annoying anime girl. Luckily, my friend’s fears were unwarranted, and Ed quickly became her favorite character (besides, of course, Ein). But yeah… this guy, this guy… He becomes pretty annoying. Or maybe you think he’s great. I dunno.

4. Whiplash time! We’re suddenly at a futuristic castle that looks much less futuristic inside, and meet a queen. She agrees to meet with the Emann, and then asks about the citizens. Her aide says they want bread, and she busts out the famous “Let them eat cake” line (which, of course, the real Marie Antoinette never said (it comes from a story about an unnamed “great princess” in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions), although it’s a testament to her unpopularity that everyone BELIEVED that she said it).

We may not know what’s going on yet, but it should be clear that the Glomar has reached Paris, but (naturally), it’s weird, alternate-universe Paris.

Oh, and the country isn’t called France, it’s called “Fancy.” Subtle. And “Paris” is called “Para.”

5. When Kei and Mimsy leave the Factory to go to Para, Kei refers to Mome as “ano ko” or “that child.” Mimsy says that that’s kind of him (since he’s talking about her as though she were human), but again, the show itself absolutely treats her as human, too.

Then they get to Para (or maybe it’s “Paras”…? The silent “s” at the end of words in French…), and it’s a really run-down, crappy place. There are a lot of unwashed, dejected-looking people just sitting in the street, and they’re all women and children. Mimsy says that Fancy is a matriarchy and women do all the work… which is weird, because the rude soldiers we see (who are clearly not Terram soldiers… their uniforms look completely different) are men.

And then Mimsy and Kei get kidnapped by locals.

6. It turns out okay. The kidnappers are actually revolutionaries who want to overthrow the government, because the government has been oppressing people using their huge Demolition Gun… which was given to them by the Emann (and the deal expressly forbids it being used as a weapon. It’s supposed to be for mining and construction). So they decide to help the revolutionaries by stealing the gun back.

During the conversation, Kei offhandedly mentions Tina, which makes Mimsy furiously jealous. Again, Mimsy’s hot-and-cold reactions don’t make a whole lot of sense. People get on Minmay’s case for supposedly leading Hikaru on (even though she doesn’t), but Mimsy really is bafflingly inconsistent in how she reacts to Kei.

Oh, and Kei has to ask Llig to make a bazooka for him, and has to explain what it is. Considering that the Emann have a variety of guns, and their Devices have a lot of missile launchers, you’d think they would know what a bazooka is. To be fair, Llig immediately grasps what the bazooka is and how to make one.

7. Getting the cannon turns out to be pretty easy, although Mome gets shot down. She’s all right, though, and Mimsy shows her jealousy again by specifically pointing out that Mome is a robot, so of course she didn’t get hurt.

And I admit that again, I really don’t understand the Emann inertial control system. They attach little inertial controllers to the cannon, which… makes it hover…? How? They cancel inertia, not gravity…

8. At the same time as the Factory crew is stealing the Demolition Gun, riots start breaking out all over the city, and there’s a particularly brutal shot of a bunch of young women get blown away by tank fire.

However (of course), Kei arrives in the Orguss to save the day.

The Orguss gets knocked out of battle, but the Glomar shows up with the Demolition Gun attached to it, and it destroys the whole castle, Queen included.

9. In the wrap-up, we find that the lead revolutionary’s name is (ahem) “Jeanne Dark,” and that the Queen’s name was “Marian Toinette.” Kei says that it’s like something out of some country’s history, but… um… look, I’m no expert on French history, and maybe I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that Joan of Arc lived a good 350 or so years before Marie Antoinette…

Kei also forces a kiss from Jeanne, because OF COURSE he does…

And then, at the VERY end, the Mu robot that Mome picked up at the beginning shows up and introduces himself as “Taii” (“Captain,” in naval ranking… the same rank Misa had in the later episodes of Macross). We’ll get more into him next time.

10. I’d imagine that this episode is somewhat divisive. It’s better than the previous episode, but, really, only two things of consequence happen: the Glomar gets the Demolition Gun, and Taii joins the cast. Primarily, this is just an episodic story, with no real bearing on future events. Plus… it’s kinda… crazy, right? Fun-house mirror French history is not something we’d expect from our usual giant robot show. But to me, at least, that’s the fun of Orguss. The whole idea of the earth being a mosaic of dozens if not hundreds of alternate universes means that potentially ANYTHING can be around the next corner. And here’s where the show starts making good on that potential.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Slim pickings this time… so here’s Jabby’s ass.


Macross the First REBOOT! (#6 quamzin kravshera)


#6 quamzin kravshera

(previous synopses #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5)

Wow, this is a really talky chapter… unfortunately, between this and the Orguss Rewatch, I haven’t had as much time for the Do You Remember Love novel as I’d like… let’s hope the manga calms down a bit soon…

#6 quamzin kravshera(1)
Pages 1-4
The last of the battle pods are fleeing, so Misa recalls the Valkyrie squadrons. Global is relieved that they’ve made it through another day. Hikaru is exhausted from the constant battles, and Focker tells him he should relax. Hikaru says he has a date with Minmay the next day, and that they’re going to go shopping for some stylish clothes for him. Focker calls him a fool, and says that that’s just a pretext, and really, she wants to give Hikaru a “present.” Hikaru blushes.

Pages 5-7
Global discusses making changes to the city inside the Macross so that it won’t get damaged during the transformation again. Notably, he mentions the “refugees,” and then corrects himself to “Macross townspeople.” He then asks how the Miss Macross is coming along, and we meet the blonde dude who Hikaru saw Minmay with a few chapters ago. It’s Lynn Kaifun, and he’s listed as a music producer.
He says that they had already passed the first round of judging, and that they’re fortunate enough to have the majority of the people who were organizing the contest aboard the ship (the rest are dead, I guess…? He doesn’t say…) so that it will be a spectacular event.
Assemblyman Hymen Gwent (remember him?) says that he’s in charge of the committee for the contest and will organize everything. Kaifun takes him down a peg, saying that an Assemblyman shouldn’t concern himself with things like this. Gwent gets upset, and Global defuses the situation, saying that putting the civilians at ease is their top priority, and asks if there are any girls who are especially inspiring.
Kaifun says that there’s a girl under his wing who he thinks will do well, and Gwent accuses him of just wanting to get into this girl’s pants. Kaifun says that he has complete confidence in her, and that she won’t disappoint.
And just in case we weren’t sure who he was talking about, we switch to…

Pages 7-10
…Minmay, who’s meeting Hikaru. We get the scene from the TV series where there’s an announcement from the bridge that a group of battle pods have attacked, but that the Valkyrie squadrons have defeated them with no casualties or damage. Hikaru says that that’s a lie, that they didn’t even kill half of the enemy pods, and that plenty of Valkyries were shot down. Minmay is speechless.

Pages 10-13
They go to an arcade, and Hikaru plays a flying game, boasting about his flying skills. Minmay smiles and says, “You really love planes, don’t you?”
Minmay asks when they’re going to go shopping for clothes for Hikaru and he brushes it off. She notes that he doesn’t like shopping much, and asks if he likes artists. She puls out a photo of Kaifun and shows it to Hikaru. She calls him her “big brother,” but says that he isn’t really her brother, and that he’s a famous music producer. “You’ve seen him before, haven’t you?” she asks, as Hikaru fashes back to seeing her on the date with him. He loses concentration, and gets shot down (in the game). Minmay drags him away, and we see that the gamer he was flying against was Max.

Pages 14-16
They go shopping, and Minmay talks about how Kaifun has been helping her out, and even picked out her outfit for her upcoming birthday party. Hikaru, jealous, says, somewhat insincerely, that it must be great to have a diligent advisor pick her specifically out from the crowd. Minmay gets upset, and Hikaru asks why she brought him shopping instead of Kaifun. Minmay says that Kaifun’s busy organizing the Miss Macross Contest, but that he’s also giving her private lessons to prepare for it. She suddenly gets worried about picking out a present for him. Hikaru is nonplussed. Then she says she has to leave, since she’s doing directly to Kaifun’s room for her lesson, and says goodbye. Hikaru is shocked and jealous, especially when she tells him that Kaifun is staying in his old room above the restaurant.

#6 quamzin kravshera(2)
Pages 1-3
Hikaru works himself up into a jealous fit, and unthinkingly slams his coffee cup on the table, which makes everyone in the café turn and stare, including Misa and the bridge bunnies, who shout out (as you can see) “VT-102!” The bridge bunnies run over and gawk at him a bit (Shammy thinks he’s “cute”).

Pages 4-10
They press Hikaru into service, carrying their bags as they go shopping. They call him “VT-102,” and tell him to hurry up. Hikaru asks himself how this even happened, and concludes that they were just flattering him. Misa scolds him, “You’d rather be by yourself?”
Hikaru says that he was feeling gloomy, so he’s worried he’ll bring everyone down. Forgetting that he’s talking to a superior officer, he forgets to address her as “First Lieutenant.” She corrects him. Then she lectures him about wasting his time, when he could be reading or studying to improve himself.
Then she looks at the bridge bunnies, happily gossiping, and thinks that they should listen to her, as a superior officer, as well.
They end up in the (infamous) lingerie shop. The bridge bunnies tease Hikaru, asking if the place reminds him of the much-talked-about Minmay. Leeringly, they ask him what happened in the days they spent alone together trapped in the ship’s hold. He, for the umpteenth time, insists that nothing happened, and we get a shot of the bridge of the Macross as they shout, “WHAT!? REALLLLY!?”
Kim chides him for not taking advantage of the situation, Shammy wonders if he’s really a “healthy man.” He gets defensive, and Vanessa says that it’s rude to disagree with a woman. He stumbles backwards and falls…

Pages 11-12
Back with the Zentradi, Exsedol (as in the TV series) is horrified that their soon-to-arrive reinforcement is Kamujin “the Ally Killer,” and relates some of his more questionable episodes (again, as in the show). He wonders how Kamujin will fight.

Pages 13-14
Hikaru’s fall has dislodged the changing room curtain where Misa was trying on a bra. Everyone is shocked (as I’m sure you can see).

Pages 15-19
Narration informs us that the Macross has anchored itself to a large asteroid in order to mine it for minerals. The crew says it’ll take sixty-two hours to complete the operation. Vanessa worries what will happen if the enemy fleet attacks now.
Global says it’s okay not worry at least for one day. The crew says nothing.
Then Minmay arrives, with a delivery order from the restaurant. She checks to make sure that the order is correct, and Global murmurs that she’s the much-gossiped-about Minmay. Misa then yells at her to leave the bridge immediately, since only authorized personnel are allowed.
Global tries to calm her down, saying that it’s all right, but Misa is having none of it. Kim whispers to Minmay not to worry about it, it’s just because Misa had a bad experience with her (Minmay’s) boyfriend the other day. Minmay is confused, not knowing who Kim is talking about. Kim say, “You know, that guy you were trapped with.” Minmay replies, “Hikaru? But Hikaru’s just…”
Claudia interrupts, shouting that she’s caught a defold signature. Global commands the ship to battle alert, and Vanessa sees that the defold is right in front of them.

#6 quamzin kravshera(3)
Pages 1-6
The enemy ship nearly collides with the Macross, and as it passes, sends out strange mechanical tentacles that wrap around the Prometheus, pulling the Macross closer and immobilizing it.

Pages 7-9
The Zentradi ship launches its battle pods. Because the Prometheus is bound, the Macross can’t launch its Valkyries, so they order the destroids to be deployed.

Pages 10-14
The destroids attack, but are no match for Kamujin in his Glaug. He says he’s getting excited.

Page 15
The pinpoint barrier is still powering up, and the ships are so close that the Macross can’t use any of its cannon. Misa orders the Valkyries to exit the Prometheus in battroid mode to intercept the enemy. Global fears that if they aliens get into the ship, they could attack the city. Minmay murmurs, “Hikaru…”

Pages 16-19
Kaumjin faces off against a Destroid Tomahawk. He says he hasn’t had this much fun in 6 taarms (with the note that a “taarm” is about 1.25 earth years, so six taarms is 7.5.
In the destroid, the pilot estimates the enemy’s ability, and then we see that it’s Max.




ICONIC SCENE: Kei cools Mimsy down.

BROADCAST DATE: August 21, 1983

1. At the beginning, we learn that the Factory has to go around Spain in order to get back to Emann territory, and the Terram forces are going through Lyon, in order to cut them off. Still, the people aboard the Glomar seems pretty relaxed. Kei’s even playing a game of Go with Gove (who’s clearly winning). Strangely, when Mome tries to advise Kei on the game, he brushes her off. Again, she’s a robot. She can probably calculate easily how he could win.

Oh, and the Emann government is waffling about what to do with the Glomar (and Kei, the “Singularity Point”). But it doesn’t look like any help is coming any time soon.

2. Shaia, Mimsy, and Kei have a discussion about how to proceed, and I find it odd that Kei is helping to strategize, since he might know the basic geography of Europe, but he certainly doesn’t know the specifics of each area.

3. Then there’s another “comedic” scene with Shaia walking in while Kei’s taking a bath, and her utter obliviousness to his discomfort. By this point, really, they should realize that Emann customs aren’t his customs, and explain why Shaia feels no awkwardness about nudity around the men of the Glomar, but nope. They have to tease this little mystery out a while longer. We do a couple of hints, though.

4. Next we get the debut of another Terram “device,” the Ishforn Gerwalk. It’s very similar to the Ishkick.


5. And the love triangle continues wobbling unsteadily forward. Kei tries to flirt with Mimsy, and when she rejects his advances, he just grabs her. Sley is watching from a distance, but doesn’t confront Kei until Mimsy runs away. He tells Kei to stay away from Mimsy, and Kei says that if Sley want to protect Mimsy, he should do it with his own two hands. Sley just glares.

I don’t want to belabor the point, so I’ll just note again that none of this really “works.”

6. There’s another battle over the ocean, and some of the scenes from last episode are reused… heck, they even show the same shot of a Terram soldier getting (rather brutally) blown up TWICE in the space of about a minute. And then again a few minutes later.

7. In a series that’s given over to generally competent but unspectacular animation, the scene of the Ishikicks launching out from under tree cover is really nicely done, even if trees don’t actually behave like that.

8. Ultimately, the Terram base fires some powerful missiles, deciding that it’s better to kill Kei than it is to leave him in the hands of the Emann. This would also have the effect of killing Robert and Henry and their men, but the Terram commander say it’s their fault for getting the Terram into this predicament, so it’s okay to sacrifice them. Kei of course destroys the missiles*, but the Factory still has to retreat, forcing them to take the longer European route rather than just crossing the Mediterranean.

9. After Kei gets back to the Glomar, Sley tries (ineffectually, as always) to stand up to him. He’s also now of the opinion that the Emann are working too hard to try to protect Kei, and that he’s not worth the effort, even if he is the Singularity Point.

I have visions of Sley betraying the rest of the Emann,but nope, that’s not gonna happen. A pity, since it would have made him a more interesting (or at least, more decisive) character.

10. No two ways about it, this episode was almost painfully average. Nothing gets resolved, nothing even really gets developed. The only truly important plot point is that the Glomar gets turned away from their shortest path to safety. Everything else is just spinning the wheels a bit. Heck, I can’t even tell what the episode’s title refers to.

Or maybe I’ve just annoyed by the amount of screen-time the love triangle got here.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Shaia and Kei share a bath.


*An addition (July 31), at the request of VF5SS: he says, “I feel like you could have at least mentioned that Kei deals with the incoming missiles by chucking an Ishkick (presumably with the pilot still inside) towards the missiles and then shoots the schmuck and the explosion takes out the missiles. Like, yeah, this is war but… that’s just murder.”

He’s absolutely right. I should’ve mentioned it.




ICONIC SCENE: Obligatory ass shot.

BROADCAST DATE: August 14, 1983

1. Up until the last episode, the Glomar was definitely in Central America, and in this episode (which seems to follow directly on the heels of the last), they reach the ocean, and Shaia says she hopes to reach the Strait of Gibraltar without further Terram interference. So yes, they manage to cover the entire Atlantic Ocean just in the first half of this episode.

2. Both Mimsy and Mome are fantasizing about Kei… Mome I can understand a little more than Mimsy… I mean, she’s programmed this way, right? However, Mome’s fantasy, involving a romantic scene (all colored in pastels with pretty bubbles in the foreground) where Kei kisses her seems far too elaborate for an actual robot to imagine. Whatever. The show basically treats her as human, except at times where it’s convenient not to. She’s also shown having done Kei’s laundry, with at least a half-dozen identical Emann outfits. So at least we know why he’s always wearing the same thing.

Oh, and this scene was used at the beginning of the first Orguss Memorial (and more about that much later), which I found very confusing as a kid, since it very obviously was not the beginning of the story.

3. Kei hangs out gloomily on the deck of the Glomar, just as Jabby did last episode, and remembers good times hanging out with Tina in a motorboat, including making out with her while no one is piloting it.

Y’know, for all that Kei is presented as a real love-’em-and-leave-’em type, he seems awfully hung up on Tina (sometimes). Yes, yes, I know the audience needs to be reminded of her occasionally because she’ll become important later, but still, I thought it worth noting.

4. As Kei is exercising out on the deck, Mome goes up with a pot of coffee for him. Strangely, when thanking her, he says, “Danke, danke.”

And see what I mean about the show treating Mome as essentially human? She’s there drinking coffee with Kei… robots drink coffee?

5. Anyway, Kei compliments her, which makes her so all dreamy and spill hot coffee in his lap, which leads to her trying to yank all his clothes off so his package doesn’t get burned.

6. And then more of the uninteresting love triangle. Kei tells Mimsy he likes her, and she almost sticks with him as he and old man Gove deliver some goods, but remains with Sley instead.

Later, though, Sley and Mimsy have an argument that really doesn’t sound like one that would happen between a couple who are engaged, but more like a girl telling off a guy she’s not interested in. Kei overhears it, of course.

7. The Terram (and Robert and Henry) are waiting for the Glomar when it arrives at Gibraltar, though. The Gibraltar unit, you’ll notice, uses Sheekick gerwalks instead of Ishkicks.

8. The battle is kind of cool, since it’s a battle over the ocean, with lots of exploding fountains of water. A lot of it will end up being recycled, but it looks really good here.

The Glomar ends up retreating to Portugal and hides in some canyons. The Terram leave and regroup for another attack another day.

9. Strangely, a lot of the wrap-up is devoted to Kei becoming better friends with old man Gove. It’s strange because this hasn’t ever been brought up as an issue that needed resolving.

10. Not the greatest episode, again mostly because of how lackluster I find the love triangle. Usually, the battles are the least interesting part of a show like this (it’s always the same, right? A bunch of bad guys attack the hero, and get blown up), but the ocean battle is probably the best part of this episode.

And I’ll talk more about Mome later, but I do want to point out that there’s a certain “ick factor” in both the way the show appears to sometimes forget that she’s a robot, and in the way that Mimsy views her as a romantic rival.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: And then Jabby lands on top of her.





ICONIC SCENE: A tender moment…

BROADCAST DATE: August 7, 1983

1. We start with the Emann worried because they no longer have many things to sell. Leeia comes up with the rather alarming suggestion that they can capture some animals, slaughter them, and sell the meat (they have an abattoir aboard the ship…?). Luckily for the animals, the Glomar is in an area with no wildlife, but an unusually gloomy Jabby smells a nearby “grape forest” and they go harvest grapes instead.

2. You can tell that we’re nearing a story shift of some sort because the “level one boss” character, Robert, is now going personally out in an Ishkick to capture Kei. His subordinate, Henry, joins him. Y’know, I think the Terram would be a little more intimidating if they had more unusual names, but to a Japanese kid in 1983, names like “Robert” and “Henry” are probably exotic enough.

3. As the Glomar crew gathers grapes (providing plenty of scenes for the obligatory ass shot), Sley comes to the wrong conclusion that Mimsy isn’t terribly interested in Kei. Then Jabby’s tail starts tingling, and he’s sure that the area will be “transitioned” away. They don’t explain what this means yet, but Jabby illustrates with a flashback. While making out with his mistress (who’s concerned about their species going extinct), he gets surprised by his wife or girlfriend. To escape her wrath, he jumps into the ocean, just as the island that his lovers are on crackles and glows and vanishes, replaced with a different island from a different dimension. This scene is really odd in terms of tone, as the bit where Jabby gets caught two-timing is played for laughs, but the island disappearing is played absolutely straight and the actresses’ screams are really rather horrifying. And Jabby even now has no idea if his lovers are alive or dead.

4. Naturally, Kei mentions that this is like what happened to him, and yeah, I think Jabby cheating on his girlfriend was a deliberate parallel made between the two of them.

5. The Terram attack, and there’s too many of them. Kei tries to fight them off as best he can, and there’s a scene that will later be reused showing the Orguss reach a rock face and push off of it, while the Ishkicks, which can’t maneuver as quickly, crash into the wall. I think this, like the scene of the Mo-Lover grabbing a tree, is meant to show the ability of the inertial controller.

6. There’s another scene destined to be recycled that I think may be another Macross reference. Everyone remembers the scene with a battroid lunging forward, going through an explosion, and coming out of it in gerwalk mode. Well here, the Orgroid gets hit by a missile, is enveloped in an explosion, and then flies up and out in gerwalk mode.

7. As the dimensional phase transition comes, the seriousness of the situation is well-represented by suddenly limiting the color palette to grays and a pale yellow. It really makes it look like something big is about to happen.

8. It’s pretty unclear what happened to the Terram soldiers caught in the phase transition. On the one hand, it seemed like they were crashing into the side of the cliff, but some of them must have survived. Now, of course, they could be anywhere in the world, but they have their Ishkicks. It seems like they should be able to return, but Robert acts like they’re ALL dead.

9. And, looking back, the cliffs and the grape forest are gone, to be replaced by a mountain. With monkeys!

10. SO MANY QUESTIONS. I’d think a phase transition would just replace one area with that same area from an alternate dimension, but it doesn’t appear to work like that. It actually transposes two different geographical locations regardless of dimension. So what if a section of the ocean transitions with a city? Does the city sink and the area it used to be in get flooded? It’s really weird, and is yet another difficult-to-wrap-your-head-around concept in a show that’s full of them. And yeah, as a dedicated SF nerd, I really admire this show for bringing a lot of sophisticated high-concept ideas that you generally only find in written SF, but I still think it may have been a little TOO sophisticated and high concept for a general Sunday afternoon family program.

Oh, and also, about half of the character animation in this episode looks awful. Not Star Pro bad, but definitely not good.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: So many to choose from!