The Macross You’ve Never Seen

MCR_35

I wish things were different. I wish everyone could have seen the Macross musical, over six years ago. I wish there had been a DVD or blu-ray release of the play.

But there wasn’t.

As such, I think I could count the number of Western fans who saw Macross the Musicalture, during it’s brief one-week run, from October Third, 2012, to October 8th, on one hand, and two of THEM were watching it with me.

(As such, when I wrote my synopsis on Macross World, I added spoiler tags, since I thought that it could be released soon on BD. But… I was wrong.)

The website, amazingly, is still active, although it no longer has the songs that it used to.

The main story, however, is still there. And since, these days, one person on Macross World is giving his interpretation (which doesn’t fit with the facts) as gospel, I want to repost my own review, given right after seeing the play, six years ago. And so:

http://www.decultureshock.com/macross-the-musicalture-report-2/

If you want a (slightly) different take, here’s Tochiro’s:

First, the good news: the musical was good. Better than any of us were expecting. Act I was great. Act II was somewhat disappointing.

MCR_22
Ai Hasegawa as Sonia Dosel

Now, the bad news: the theatre was only about half-full, and one of Gwyn’s friends, who got tickets for ALL EIGHT performances of the show, said that every day has been much the same. The broad, spoiler-free overview: it’s a side story, much like Macross Generation. Nothing of any serious consequence to the Macross universe happens, but there are some interesting ideas that could be developed further. As I’m sure everybody knows, the story is set on the Macross 29 Fleet, which is a pacifist fleet (i.e. no Valks), and is having serious economic problems. A nationalist Zentradi group called “Neo-Zentran” is gaining prominence, despite their violent tendencies. The main characters are Sakura Crawford, a girl who dreams of being an idol, Ash Anderson, a delivery boy at Nyan-Nyan, and Vigo Walgria, leader of the Neo-Zentran group, and formerly friends with Ash and Sakura.

Other characters are Serge Corban Glass, the Mayor of Macross 29; his spoiled daughter Charlotte Marion Glass; Vigo’s sister Daryl; the Nyan-Nyan manager Sonia Dosel (granddaughter of Loli Dosel, who, according to the official program, fathered three children on Vanessa); El, a “female-type robot” (!!!) found in a junk heap and repaired by Ash; A-fro, the “Bobby” of the group, who wears tie-dye, works at Nyan-Nyan, and is gay in a really homosexual, Oscar-Wilde-reading, Noel-Coward-listening, Wizard-of-Oz-watching kind of way; Zegand, the second-in command of Neo-Zentran; and Bodom, a homeless Zentradi guy. Oh, and the winner of the “Actress Wing” of the recent Miss Macross contest shows up to do Ranka commercials every once in a while.
I think we all agreed that Sonia was the hottest, although Adrian and I also liked Charlotte, and Gwyn seemed rather partial to Daryl and her camel-toe.

Daryl
Risa Uesugi as Daryl Walgria

There were two original songs: the Neo-Zentran anthem (which you can hear in the Youtube clip (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)), and El’s introductory song. The rest were all culled from various Macross shows (but mostly Frontier).
Also, we were effectively watching the show with two understudies. The actor playing Vigo dropped out a few weeks ago, and Sayaka Kanda (playing Charlotte) left the day before performances began, due to gastroenteritis. Despite this, Save said that he thought Charlotte’s actress was the best cast member, and both Tochiro and I noticed how much bigger her breasts were than Sayaka’s.

The set was really good, and very versatile. Pieces of scenery would pop in and out as needed, and the two-level set was used effectively. The costumes, likewise, were excellent…up to a point. The Neo-Zentran soldiers had great uniforms, but when it came to the battle scenes, they looked very “Tron,” and were wearing simple bicycle helmets. And Sonia didn’t wear her black midriff-baring top and short-shorts NEARLY enough for my liking.

(Oh, and although we had almost front row seats, I wish we hadn’t been so far on the right side, and right in front of the speakers. Every time a gun went off, I shuddered.)
I have no idea how (or even IF) this musical will be preserved for posterity. We only saw one camera, and it wasn’t very big. However, if they were to release it on DVD, they probably would’ve recorded one of the rehearsals (as they did for the Youtube clip). I hope that one way or another, it gets some kind of release. It was good, and deserves to be placed among all the other Macross stories.

So now…the nitty-gritty. Spoilers abound.

Act I:

Mayor Glass introduces the story, tells us to turn off our cameras and stuff. Then he said he would perform a transformation. He laid down on the steps and then proceeded to get up and swivel his arms around. By this point, he’d won over the crowd, and he proceeded to steal the show as it went on. Then the five main girls (Sakura, Sonia, Charlotte, Daryl, and El) come out and sing “Welcome to My Fan Club’s Night” (ending it with “I’m on stage,” which indeed they are). Then story starts.
It’s 2062. The Macross 29 Fleet is in serious trouble. We first meet Charlotte (singing “My Boyfriend Is a Pilot”) and her father. Then we see Vigo and his Neo-Zentran group of militants. Ash is working at Nyan-Nyan (and Sakura drops by, ostensibly because she likes the ramen, but really because she wants to see Ash), and then goes off to see El, a robot that he found in a scrap heap and fixed up. El seems to like Ash as well. Then it’s back with the Neo-Zentran group, as Daryl sings “Holy Lonely Light,” which captivates everybody, especially Zegand, who TRIES to tell her he’s in love with her, but ends up telling her brother Vigo instead (he had his eyes closed. She walked off-stage, Vigo walked on. Hijinx ensue).

The backstory emerges, thanks to a flashback from Sakura: five years before, Vigo and Ash were working together to become professional dancers. Then the previous leader of the Neo-Zentran group attacked them. They tried to disarm him (and Sakura sang “DYRL” to him, which definitely weakened him for a little while), but he managed to fire a shot that took off Ash’s leg, ruining his dreams. He has a cybernetic leg now, and is still very active, but it can’t be the same. But now that Vigo has joined Neo-Zentran, Ash hates him.
Sakura visits Vigo, and discovers that he has a plan: he initially wanted to join Neo-Zentran to destroy it from inside, but he realized that if he demolished the group, another one would just spring up in its place, so instead he’s been slowly introducing culture to the group and making it less militant.

However, a homeless Zentradi guy with a gun (Bodom) attacks Nyan-Nyan. Neo-Zentran shows up and captures him. Zegand tells him to escape, winking that they’re really on the same side. Bodom pretends to deck Zegand and makes a run for it. Zegand then shoots and kills him, which raises Neo-Zentran’s standing in the public eye, as they can get stuff done.

Meanwhile, Mayor Glass is coming upon election time, and he’s very unpopular. His daughter Charlotte suggests that if they held a Miss Macross Contest, it could boost morale and raise his popularity. And of course, she would have to be the winner, right?
The Contest is announced and everyone’s excited about it. In the Neo-Zentran group, however, everyone’s despondent because it seems like it’s just another victory for culture over militarism. Vigo, though, says that they can use this opportunity to show the fleet that Neo-Zentran has culture, too, so Daryl agrees to join the contest. Zegand, meanwhile, privately thinks that this is a perfect opportunity to disrupt the contest, kill a bunch of people, and show the Fleet that Neo-Zentran means business.

Daryl and Sonia, it turns out, have a long history together, and Sonia is always nattering on about her grandfather and how he helped bring culture to the Zentradi. Sonia and Daryl talk, and Sonia decides that if Daryl’s joining the contest, then SHE’LL join it, too.
Sakura wants to be a singer, so OF COURSE she’ll compete. El wants to understand what real singing with real passion is, so she joins, too. The five girls all sing “Diamond Crevasse.” End of Act I.

Act II:
Mayor Glass comes out into the audience, chatting with them, asking them to vote for him, refusing to shake hands… Again he was AWESOME.

Oh, and he also gives all the finalists (besides his daughter) some “Starlight Natto.” He tells them it’s in “thanks,” but he’s clearly trying to bribe them in some way… whatever is inside those husks, I’m betting it ain’t natto…

The Miss Macross Contest starts, and everyone sings a song. During Daryl’s song (“Obelisk”), the Neo-Zentran group moves in, taking the whole audience (i.e. us) hostage (and yes, they came off the stage and into the crowd, and one of them was pointing his gun right at me). A power struggle ensues as both Daryl and Vigo try to convince Zegand to abandon his tactics. Zegand, predictably, declares that Vigo is soft, and names himself the new Neo-Zentran leader. The girls come out and fight the Zentradi. Ash shows up and says that HE’LL kill Vigo. Zegand likes this, and lets Ash have his gun. Finally, Ash turns the gun on Zegand, only to find that the safety is on. An all-out brawl erupts (to the tune of the “Sayonara no Tsubasa” medley), but when Zegand tries to shoot Vigo, El gets in the way. Her arm is shot off, and she’s clearly dying. She tells Sakura and Ash to love each other, and then short-circuits or something. The fight continues (for far too long). Finally, Sakura starts singing “DYRL,” which weakens the Neo-Zentran troops. They are defeated, and Zegand is arrested.

Mayor Glass decides to postpone the Miss Macross Contest until the following week… but he decides that whoever the winner is, she’ll do a tour of the galaxy. And Vigo and Ash will have to be her back-up dancers. And of course they’ll sell merchandise, which will fix the Macross 29’s economy.

And then El comes back, right as rain.

Everyone sings. Everyone comes out for the curtain call. And Charlotte was TOTALLY checkin’ Gwyn, Adrian, and I out.

The end.

Conclusion: The first act was great because it introduced all the new characters and made us care about them. The second act was kind of let-down because it resolved itself in a way we’ve all seen before, using even the EXACT SAME MUSIC from the end of “Sayonara no Tsubasa.” Everyone else thought the final fight lasted too long. I don’t quite agree, but I see where they’re coming from. All in all, though, it was really good, and (as I said) much better than any of us were expecting. I’d like to see these characters again, and I still fervently hope that this performance doesn’t vanish after the final performance on Monday.

So… you’ll notice that the pacifism of the fleet is in no way connected to their poverty. Some may try to put those together, but again, those people didn’t see the show, and didn’t look very hard at the website. I’m grateful to that guy for linking to this blog, but an idol show is an idol show, and if you see someone saying that the pacifism of the Macross 29 fleet led to their poverty, then you’re seeing a lie. He won’t post this on Macross World. No, I don’t know why he’s being that way. Again, very few western fans saw this (probably fewer than ten), and it’s not like it affects the Macross “universe” much anyway, except for the humanoid robot.

ANYWAY, if you had told me, as a child watching Robotech, that in the year 2012, I would be living in Tokyo, watching an honest-to-goodness MUSICAL about Macross, I wouldn’t have believed you.

MCR_1

Advertisements

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 24 – DESTROYER

Ep.23

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 23: DESTROYER

ICONIC SCENE: Tina’s house… with Mu???

BROADCAST DATE: January 8, 1984

1. After a week off for New Years, Orguss is back, reaching the year 1984 which has since been hailed as the greatest year ever for Japanese animation. I’m not sure if anyone cites Orguss among the best of the best, though… the top three are generally considered to be (in no particular order) Nausicaa, Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, and Macross: Do You Remember Love.

2. The opening scene of THIS episode, though, seems to go on a little too long, focusing on Kei popping snacks in his mouth, repetitively (and acting awfully moody). However, we find out that Llig is working on something called the “Dimension Conversion Equipment.”

(Mai also mentions that they’re nearing “Atlantis,” which is strange, since in the early episodes, it was “Atlanta.”)

3. It’s been so long since Operation D got mentioned, that I think the audience might be forgiven for not remembering it, but it finally gets explained. It’s kind of an opposite dimensional bomb. Instead of blowing an area into another dimension, it brings areas from other dimensions back into this one. Notably, they say that there’s no human element to it, which in most science fiction is usually a bad sign.

Ep.23USH
When they turn it on, there’s a brief shot of (I think) Yui from “Highschool! Kimengumi.”

4. They turn it on, and while on the Glomar, Kei and Olson suddenly feel intense pain and have a lot of twinkly lights appear around them, the Terram brass find themselves in front of Tina’s house jut as Kei is making his escape, twenty years earlier. It all seems fine, until suddenly two Mu robots appear. They’re not in the past, though, and even when the machine is switched off, they’re still there.

The Mu attack the Terram base, and it takes a squadron of Nikicks to take them out. When one of the Nikicks gets hit, this spills out of it…

Ep.23PEN

5. Mome checks out Kei and Olson (and some pretty weird stuff shows up on the computer, but I can’t really make much of it out), and it turns out they’re okay. Kei runs off with Mome and Mimsy wonders aloud why Kei’s so moody. Olson hears her and says that Kei is is having a very difficult time, without many people to talk to.

6. He goes off to cheer Kei up, but three Mu robots attack the Glomar.

You might notice that very suddenly, the Mu seem to have become more of a threat then they were originally. Kei even points out that now that the Terram are out of the picture (for the Glomar, and for the moment), the Mu seem to have taken their place.

7. And with no explanation, Olson has his own Orguss II. It don’t look all that great in this episode, but its blue-gray color makes it my favorite of the Orguss variants. I had the model kit when I was younger, and really loved it.

8. The Mu infiltrate Fudol’s ship, forcing everyone to evacuate. Kei and Olson try to hunt them down, but have a hard time finding them. It turns out the Mu’s mission is to destroy Llig’s Dimension Conversion Equipment, which means the Mu must be doing some pretty amazing intelligence work, since WE don’t even know what it is.

9. The ship gets sacrificed, Llig’s equipment gets destroyed, and Fudol is killed, but Llig himself manages to escape with all his notes. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Fudol’s ship falling.

10. Throughout this episode, I kept finding my attention wandering, which is odd, because a lot happens here. But it all seems disjointed… which makes sense, since it’s introducing the conflicts that will take us through to the end of the series. It also reuses a lot of scenes from previous episodes, but not enough really to make it a clip show. And I get that, too. Everyone (I hope) took a week off for New Years, and so I think the episode was written with recycling footage (like Kei escaping Tina’s house, or the Mu attacking the Terram base, using exactly the same shots used when they attacked the Terram city several episodes ago) in mind, in order to give the animators a break. But still… it feels a little low-energy, and the battle scenes, while trying to do something different, didn’t seem as exciting as they should. I guess my biggest issue, though, is that I have no idea how the D-System is meant to fix the dimensional confusion, especially since it seems mostly like a time machine.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Really, the only one in this episode. Sorry.

Ep.23ASS

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Delta Movie And Crossover Live!

img_1974
Thanks to @gwyncampbell for the photo!

So this isn’t really a news blog, but this is pretty big: at the Walküre event last night, they announced a Crossover Live on June 1 and 2, 2019, as well as a new (COMPLETELY new, according to the sign) Delta movie.

I assume this will push further back the “2018 TV project” that was announced back in 2017 (if it hadn’t been pushed back already… that was announced before the first Delta movie, so it may have been off the table since then), but I think the success of Passionate Walküre caught everyone by surprise.

There’s no date listed yet, nor any information about the movie itself. Any of that will probably be a long time in coming.

For the concert, though, it’s going to feature Mari Iijima (Minmay), Yoshiki Fukuyama (Basara), Chie Kajiura (Mylene), May’n (Sheryl), Megumi Nakajima (Ranka), and the five members of Walküre. If it’s anything like previous concerts, there will also be surprise guests, like perhaps Yoko Kanno. Me, I’m hoping that Holy Raz (Sara) is there, since she seems to have fallen off the face of the earth (or just been whisked away across the dimensions).

Anyway, good times ahead!

(And as always… for the latest Macross News, check decultureshock.com. It will ALWAYS be there first!)

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 23 – DECIDE

Ep.22

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 22: DECIDE

ICONIC SCENE: Mome echoes Kaifun in shouting “GO HOME!!”

BROADCAST DATE: December 25, 1983

1. At the start, we get hints at another version of what Kei and Olson have to do. Here, it sounds like if they split the dimensions back up, only ONE dimension will survive. This is very different from what they’ve been saying before, but no one’s really come out and explained it… primarily because it seems like no one in the show really understands what Kei and Olson have to do to save the earth. Which is fine… but I wish there were at least one scene where they sat down and said, “Here are the theories of what will happen when the dimensions are separated again…” Much as Episode 15 was already overstuffed with info-dumps, that still seems like it would’ve been a good place to put it.

2. Manisha has a framed photo of a guy on her desk that she shows a lot of affection towards. If you think this will become significant, you’re absolutely right.

3. The Glomar’s reinforcements stay behind to fight off Manisha while the Glomar itself begins its journey back over the Atlantic. The battle (like all of the art and animation in this episode) is very nicely done, with several beautiful (and time-consuming to make) shots of ships passing by the camera. There’s also another missile in-joke: this one says “MISSILE WA BAKUHATSUDAN TARO OKAMOTO”, or “Missiles are explosives.” Taro Okamoto is, I assume, the animator who did this scene, but he doesn’t seem to be listed on Anime News Network (since I further assume that he’s not Taro Okamoto the fine artist, who designed the famous “Tower of the Sun”).

Ep.22MIS

4. Henry razzes Athena about being in love with Olson before telling her that he’ll kill both Singularity Points himself. Interestingly, Athena thinks to herself that she won’t let him kill Olson, which implies that she’s still totally fine with Kei getting blown up.

5. In a scene that mirrors that, Mome susses out that Mimsy is in love with Kei, after the little robot bangs a frying pan yelling at Olson to leave, since she thinks he’s going convince Kei to save Terram at the expense of Emann.

6. Olson tries to shake some fear into Shaia, but it doesn’t work. She remains remarkably calm about the idea that Kei (and Olson) could erase her and her world from existence. She (and Mimsy) just trust that he won’t. And this really is one of the most endearing things about Orguss. Just as Macross’s “message” was that culture, when given a chance, can overcome brute force, Orguss’s seems to be that if you treat people decently, you’ll be treated decently in return.

7. Manisha’s forces surround the Glomar and it looks like she’s got the upper hand, and she again berates Shaia for running away before and leaving her to lead the Tove Family, but then Mimsy blurts out the truth: that Shaia left because she thought Manisha was the better leader, and because Manisha’s now-husband was in love with her (Shaia). In other words, Shaia sacrificed her fertility so that Manisha wouldn’t have to.

Unfortunately, the gambit doesn’t really work. Manisha goes into denial mode, and wants the Glomar wiped out.

8. Shaia takes Kei and Mimsy and goes to speak to Manisha in person, and it ends up working. As a Terram force closes in, Manisha decides to cover the Glomar as it escapes.

9. There’s a big battle with Manisha’s forces versus the Terram, and again, it’s brief but very well-animated. And ultimately, both Kei and Olson are won over by Shaia’s faith in them: they’ll work to save the earth, rather than for victory for either Terram or Emann.

10. And it feels like we’ve reached the second climax of the series. The major plot threads that were laid out in Episode 15 have been resolved (or at least addressed). Kei and Olson are on the same side, Kei and Mimsy love each other, and the episode literally ends with the Glomar flying off into the sunset. What a nice note to end 1983 on, right…?

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: They love each other!

Ep.22ASS

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 22 – FATHER

Ep.21

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 21: FATHER

ICONIC SCENE: “No… HE is your father!” (You knew I’d have to reference Empire Strikes Back at SOME point, didn’t you…?)

BROADCAST DATE: December 19, 1983

1. At the beginning, Olson gets rescued by Mome. However, since they’re both stuck in Para now that the Glomar has escaped, they both get taken in by a family (what’s the adjective for someone from Para, anyway? “Parasian”…?) so that Olson’s wounds can heal. Somehow, the family has a Singularity Point jammer on hand, so that neither the Emann nor the Terram can find Olson. At least, I think they just happen to have it on hand. We sure didn’t see Mome carrying one.

2. Kei decides to go back to the city to get Olson and Mome, and Athena arrives and attacks him, hoping to down the Orguss and force Kei to take her to Olson. Kei ends up telling Athena that she’s his daughter. She of course refuses to believe it… at first.

3. One thing that’s odd about this episode is that the people of Para here don’t seem to have much connection with the people of Para that we saw back in Episode 9. There, you may recall, they all wore very simple clothing, and (more importantly) were all women. Here, there are a lot more men on the street, and many of them are wearing what look like basic late twentieth century business suits. Has (Queen…?) Jeanne made some sweeping social reforms, or did the staff mess up? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

4. Back with Olson, he’s reading what looks like a fashion magazine with bizarre, unreadable letters on the cover…

Ep.21MAG

…and hears the dogfight going on between Kei and Athena. This makes him leap out of his sickbed and go off to try to stop them. Normally, in a show like this, this would fly death flags about him like nobody’s business, but here, we know that, as a Singularity Point, he’s important for separating the dimensions, and thus CAN’T die yet. Or maybe we’d think of the still-mysterious Operation D, and decide that yeah, they COULD kill Olson here. (SPOILER ALERT: they don’t.)

5. HOWEVER, right before the commercial break, he gets between Kei and Athena, and Kei accidentally bumps into him, knocking him out of the sky.

6. The crash looks pretty bad, but he doesn’t seem to be injured any further. Both Athena and Kei land and Athena’s prepared to shoot Kei, but then Olson tells her that it’s all true: Kei is her father.

7. And we FINALLY get more about what’s happened to Tina, as Olson has a flashback to Tina being sick in bed (while Athena – who should be about fifteen or sixteen here, but looks about twelve – gathers flowers outside). It should be obvious by this point that she just wasted away waiting for Kei to return, which is kind of a lazy way to kill her off, but there ya go.

Ep.21ATH

8. Mimsy arrives and shoots the gun out of Athena’s hand. Who knew she was such a crack shot?

So Athena runs off (and Tina’s ghost or something tells her that yes, Kei IS her father), and Mimsy tells Olson that Athena’s in love with him. Then Kei complains that if Olson marries Athena and they have children, then HE’LL be a grandfather at twenty. He also complains that he has a daughter who doesn’t even talk to him like he’s a person, but… I’m pretty sure that’s a normal occurrence for parents the world over, no matter what time or dimension they’re from.

9. As Mimsy gathers flowers (echoing the flashback where Athena was gathering a similar type of flower), Kei and Olson talk again about how separating the dimensions could conceivably wipe out entire worlds. Olson has been moved by the kindness of the Parasian family that took him in, and no longer just cares about Terram, which of course is a good thing, although it makes his work harder.

10. This was a good episode marred by absolutely atrocious character art. Seriously, it’s ALMOST Star Pro level bad. But, as is usual for Orguss, the focus is really on the characters and plot rather than visual spectacle. And while Athena follows a rather generic path of “character receiving an unwanted revelation who at first refuses to believe it but finally accepts it,” it’s still well-done. And again… great shot, Mimsy!

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: You ever wonder why you never see any Kei cosplay…?

Ep.21ASS

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 21 – BROKEN THROUGH

Ep.20

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 20: BROKEN THROUGH

ICONIC SCENE: Glomar, meet Olson…

BROADCAST DATE: December 11, 1983

1. At the start, Mimsy and Mome are arguing about who’s going to serve tea to Kei, and comically end up throwing the teapot in the air, which Kei catches, burning himself. Hilarious.

Mimsy’s also jealous because Kei’s been talking about how beautify Athena is. He isn’t really as smooth as he wants to be, is he?

There’s also another King Crimson and ELP reference on the walls:

Ep.20ELP1

(Later, there are a few more ELP references, including the cover of Tarkus (again) and the famous H.R. Giger cover for Brain Salad Surgery.)

Ep.20ELP2

2. Llig finds Olson on the scanner, and he’s being pursued by the Emann, so Kei, Leiia, and Mai go out after him. There’s a big battle shown between Olson and the Emann that puts an emphasis on the transforming abilities of the Nikick (which seems like a toy commercial more than anything else… look at all the things this robot can do, kids!).

Oh, and at one point, when Kei’s turning off his communicator, for one frame, we see this:

Ep.20WTF

No idea, folks… but the same shot will show up twice more in this episode.

EDIT: anime historian and Speaker PODCast compatriot Renato informs me that the girl is Petite Angie, from the 1977 anime of the same title:

 

Further, VF5SS points out that the character was also used in the parody short, Super Lolicon Fortress Rangie:

3. There’s a rather horrific bit where Mai apologizes to the Emann soldier she’s about to shoot, and she deliberately hits his Demora so that it will be disabled but not destroyed. But then he loses control and flies up into the Conflict Border, where he dies anyway. Mai shows a little consternation about this.

4. Then Manisha shows up with the main fleet! A freak thunderstorm hits, though, and Kei, Leiia, Mai, and Olson all escape into the clouds and ditch the Emann.

5. So we finally get both Singularity Points aboard the same ship, making the Glomar even more wanted among everyone else. Although Olson’s rather brusque with the crew, and shares a sour look with Mimsy. Don’t tell me she’s jealous of him, too…

6. The rudeness turns out to be because in fixing the dimensional chaos, Olson might end up erasing Emann from existence. He’s still very focused on the idea that Terram earth is the primary one, using the logic that it was their earth where the dimensional bomb exploded.He accuses Kei of wanting to save the Emann just because he likes Mimsy, which is… kinda true. I mean, Kei’s experience with the Emann has been mostly positive, but there was that whole brainwashing stunt they tried to pull on him…

7. The Glomar needs to restock its supplies and decides to head back to Para (Paris). We see Jeanne again, who’s now in charge (is it still a monarchy…? They don’t say…), and is naturally quite willing to help them. However, when Mimsy goes to tell Kei about all of this, she finds him and Olson having a pretty rough fistfight. Kei gets thrashed, which apparently endears him to Mimsy, and we get to see their first (voluntary) kiss.

8. Later, as their taking on supplies (which include boxes labeled “coffee” and “Dr. Depper” [sic]), Olson tells Kei what we’ve all known: that Athena is Kei and Tina’s daughter. I have to point out that for all Kei’s been missing Tina throughout the series, he hasn’t ONCE asked Olson where she is or how she’s doing.

9. The ending battle is pretty great, even though (like pretty much all the battles in Orguss) it recycles a lot of animation. The Glomar has reunited with Mimsy’s family’s soldiers, but Manisha surrounds Para and gives Jeanne an ultimatum: give up the Glomar, or the city gets destroyed. Jeanne refuses, but Manisha definitely has the advantage. Olson suggests calling in the Terram, which they do. The Terram (including Athena and Robert, although they don’t do much here) and Manisha’s forces get into it with each other, allowing the Glomar to escape. Manisha retreats, and Para is saved.

Olson’s Nikick, however, gets shot down and he ejects and gets badly injured. Kei orders Mome to rescue him, which later worries him, since he was trying to treat her as though she were human. This plot point seems to wander in out of nowhere, and I can only assume that it’s there to remind the audience that Mome is indeed a robot.

10. Definitely a good episode. The art looks very good, even which all the reused battle footage, and the script is well-written and exciting. The only really big change in the story is that Kei now knows that Athena is his daughter (which, admittedly, is a damn big change), but it’s always nice to see a well-executed episode.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Shaia gazes out at Europe.

Ep.20ASS

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 20 – TIME SLIP

Ep.19

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 19: TIME SLIP

ICONIC SCENE: Goodbye Mama (I’m Off to Yokohama)

BROADCAST DATE: December 4, 1983

1. So Orguss took another week off after the last episode, and comes back with one that partially resolves a mystery that probably isn’t THAT mysterious. We start with Athena pursuing Kei, Kei fighting back, and Olson trying to stop them. Then Jabby gets that tingling sensation in his tail, and warns Shaia that the area is about to go through a dimensional transition, just like in Episode 6. Everyone gets away except Kei and Athena who get pulled into it (or fly directly in…? The scene is a little confusing).

2. The area between dimensions seems like the Bermuda Triangle or something. We see lots of debris floating around, as well as trucks, trains, prop planes… clearly a lot of stuff from many time periods gets pulled in and doesn’t get deposited in other dimensions… which doesn’t give us much hope for Jabby’s girlfriends.

3. I’d imagine that the duel between the dimensions probably looked really cool during the scriptwriting stage, but the backgrounds in this scene don’t look quite as bizarre as I assume they were meant to. That plus the over-reliance on recycled shots of the Orguss and the Nikick make this a little disappointing.

4. They arrive is a pretty inhospitable area, with a volcano erupting and the ground splitting open and rivers of magma and fun stuff like that. True to cliché, Athena keeps attacking, while Kei realizes that their environment is too dangerous to keep fighting in. And when Athena’s Nikick is about to get devoured by hot lava, Kei naturally rescues her.

5. Her cockpit is revealed, and for a moment, Kei thinks that she’s Tina. Again, I assume that everyone in the original viewership has already put together that Athena is Kei and Tina’s daughter, so this scene shouldn’t have had anyone scratching their heads.

6. There’s a lot of hand-wringing back with the Glomar crew, especially Mimsy and Mome, who think that Kei might very well be dead. Jabby remains optimistic, and I don’t get the feeling that he’s lying to cheer Mome up. Ya gotta feel for Mimsy though… she lost Sley, and now she thinks she’s lost Kei, too. She must be thinking that being her boyfriend is bad for one’s life expectancy.

7. Athena and Kei go through another dimensional rift and find themselves in the past, running afoul of a team of P-51 Mustangs. I’d guess that the staff just wanted to draw some classic fighter planes, and these scenes are drawn especially lovingly. The fighters also actually do pretty well against the futuristic robots, shooting a few holes in the Orguss’s hand, and actually downing Athena’s Nikick.

I also love the cigar-chomping pilot of one of the fighters.

8. Athena’s slightly wounded, so she and Kei take refuge in a cave, and Kei cares for her. He also, being his usual self, begins to make a pass at her, but he stops himself when he puts things together that Athena might very well be his daughter, although I’m not sure he consciously realizes it yet.

9. Another dimensional rift appears, and Kei and Athena fly through it, and find themselves, rather TOO easily, back where they started. They part, but they seem to part as friends. It’s clear that Athena’s going to turn good at some point, but it’s still uncertain if she already has or not.

10. So yeah, if there was any doubt that Athena is Kei and Tina’s daughter, that should be dispelled by now. The evidence is piling up thick and fast, and I’m sure that by now the staff knows that we know.

The “time slip” of the title doesn’t end up being terribly important, except, as I said, to allow the staff to throw in some WWII fighters. The bonding between Kei and Athena is much more important, but really could’ve happened anywhere away from the Emann and the Terram.

And yeah… the temporary truce between two enemies, forced to aid each other in order to survive is a well-worn plot. This doesn’t add any new wrinkles to it, but it kinda had to happen sometime. Not a great episode, not a bad episode, but a necessary one.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Stupid sexy Jabby…

Ep.19ASS

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 19 – SISTERS

Ep.18

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 18: SISTERS

ICONIC SCENE: D’awww…

BROADCAST DATE: November 20, 1983

1. So now Manisha is dedicated to finding Shaia, bringing her to justice, and capturing Kei. She has a cute flashback to her and Shaia as little girls running through a field of flowers (and, since they’re both almost thirty, I assume this is our first glimpse of pre-catastrophe Emann). At this point, it seems like Manisha’s character could go either way: she could harden her heart against her sister and become an unredeemable villain, or she could have second thoughts and become a good guy. One thing I like here is that while the overall story is about huge, earth-shaking events, how those events play out is solely contingent on small, personal decisions made by the characters.

2. Speaking of which, Kei is struggling with his new role as both the Singularity Point who must save the world (although he doesn’t know how) and as the guy most likely to get Mimsy pregnant and save her from single life. Thinking isn’t really Kei’s strong suit, so he eagerly jumps at the chance to pay with Mome instead. Mimsy sees them and feels jealous of Mome, although she at least has enough self-reflection to know that she’s being silly.

3. Mimsy’s kinsman from sat episode, Fudol, task to Shaia about what her plan is, and the next stage of the plot is laid out for us. Unsurprisingly, it involves another quest: she wants to locate Olson, and then go to the space elevator (which we haven’t seen in the series since Episode 1, although it’s featured in the opening credits, so presumably the audience doesn’t need to be reminded of it). This will allow them to get to space, getting past the Conflict Border, and get to the Big Singularity Point.

And we find out that the space elevator is in South America, which of course is where they started (naturally, since Kei was at the space elevator when he got sent into the future). So yes, after spending all this time getting out to Emann, the rest of the series will be about them returning (although not along exactly the same route).

4. Back with Olson, he’s still hiding out away from everyone, although he has a meeting with Athena here and it’s pretty obvious she’s been heaping him out for a while now, bringing him supplies and equipment when he needs it. She’s also definitely not acting like the fierce warrior woman we first met in Episode 12; here, she’s rather motherly towards Olson, including wiping some machine oil off of his face with a frilly pink handkerchief (!!) and generally seeming cute and sweet. If it suddenly seems like there may be a love story in here somewhere, that’s pretty intentional.

5. We follow Athena back to camp, where the Terram soldiers are making merry, and suddenly she’s all business again. That said, the first thing she does is go to the bar and order (in English) “bourbon on the rocks.” The bartender must not have heard her, though, because he pours it and then puts what is very clearly a bottle of Jack Daniels next to her.

Ep.18JACK
Work… booze… work… That’s all I ever do…

(And yes, yes, I know bourbon is just whiskey made in Kentucky, but STILL…)

6. Anyway, some soldiers make fun of her (behind her back, but within her earshot) about how she used to dote on Olson, but now hates him. In a nice bit of play-acting, she slams down her drink, yells at them never to mention that traitor’s name again, and storms out of the camp. It’s an effective scene that shows how closely she’s playing her cards here… she has to deceive EVERYONE in the Terram army, from her subordinates to her superiors, and has no allies or confidantes among them. Like Olson, she isn’t really part of Terram anymore.

7. Some Terram scouts (in a gerwalk which, maddeningly, I’m unable to identify. It kinda looks like a Nikick, but it’s not shown in the This Is Animation Special book) find the Glomar, and tell Athena, who tells Olson. Pretty soon, both Robert (remember him…?) and Manisha know, too, and everyone moves towards Warsaw in an attempt to cut them off.

8. Manisha gets there first, and has an exceedingly tense tea-time with Shaia. She reminds Shaia of when they were children and Shaia wanted to help an injured dog, and was bitten. Shaia says that even knowing that she would be attacked, she’d still help the dog. They says their farewells, and it sure looks like they will never be allies again.

9. Then the Terram arrive, and there’s a battle that seems like it should be really important (since it involves the Glomar, the Terram, Olson, and two opposing Emann factions) but is over fairly quickly and seems to be there primarily to allow the Glomar to escape amid the chaos. Although, at the end, we see that Olson and Athena have evaded the net as well, and are hot on the factory’s trail.

10. So now we’re past the halfway point of the series, and, as I said, the plot is now about getting the Glomar back to the space elevator. But it’s obvious there are still plenty of twists to come, since loyalties could shift at any moment. The intrigue is well done here, not just with Athena betraying every one of her comrades in order to help Olson, but also in Manisha’s obvious anguish about opposing Shaia. After last episode, it feels like the series is back of firmer ground.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Another two-for-one!

Ep.18ASS

 

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 18 – SEVENTEEN

Ep.17

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 17: SEVENTEEN

ICONIC SCENE: Hot flashes.

BROADCAST DATE: November 13, 1983

1. Man, I’ve been dreading this episode… It gets into a rather icky plot development that I have been dancing around for a while now. Of course, the show itself has been dancing around it, too, but today, they lay the cards on the table.

In less uncomfortable territory, this episode also features a pre-OP section that quickly lays out the premise of the series. I still can’t really imagine anyone starting to watch the show at this point and being able to make head or tails out of it, but perhaps some weekly viewers needed a refresher course.

2. And the first person we see as the episode proper starts… is SLEY!! No, this isn’t the icky plot development, but still… I wasn’t sad when he left the show last time.

Another thing we notice almost immediately is that the characters in this episode are definitely drawn by the B-team. Again, the show never sinks to the depths of the Star Pro episodes of Macross (once more, think “knife fight”), but this episode doesn’t look “good” by any stretch.

3. Kei and Mimsy get into an argument over Kei leaving to go find Olson, and Mimsy ends up passing out. Her tentacles curl up strangely, and she gets a high fever, and no one will tell Kei what’s going on. And then, the Tove Family attacks!

4. Kei goes into a naturally-occurring rock labyrinth to evade them, and runs into Sley (of course). Kei tells Sley that Mimsy is sick, and takes him back to the Glomar.

5. And here we get the icky plot development: Just before Emann girls turn seventeen (hence the episode title), they come down with a high fever. Another one will come a few months later, and after that (if they don’t get pregnant in the meantime), they’re infertile, and are no longer seen as women in Emann society. They will never be able to get married, and will be essentially sexless for the rest of their lives.

Now, okay… before we lose our collective head and start decrying a show that’s thirty-five years old as sexist, let’s take a step back. Emann society is not OUR society, nor is it utopian. This aspect of Emann biology is, indeed, considered a very dangerous and in all ways unpleasant thing. So… sure, menopause means no man will ever want you. Okay. That’s not (entirely) my problem with it.

No, my problem with it is that it makes no evolutionary sense for any primate to have such a short window for reproduction. And I think the staff knows it… they’ve been setting up this reveal for a LONG time, and trying to cover for it, first by showing how many twins (especially FEMALE twins) are born, and also by Mimsy saying that in Emann, women outnumber men two-to-one. So the staff is trying to show us that this is a viable species, and they wouldn’t go extinct just because women have a short window of three or four childbearing years. However, wouldn’t you assume that there would be a lot of Emann girls getting married (or at least having children) as soon as they hit puberty, in order not to cut things so close to the wire…? But we never see that. Mai and Leiia sure aren’t married…

Anyway, to me, it’s a dumb plot thread. All the more dumb because the staff KNOWS it’s dumb, since they had to build up a lot of background to even BEGIN to make it make any kind of sense.

(It’s even worse, really, because it’s not even about Mimsy, really, but about Kei: the big issue for him now is whether or not he can leave behind his philandering ways and become a good husband and father, before it’s too late. His mission now is to “rescue” Mimsy from a life of unfulfilling spinsterhood. And that kinda makes me roll my eyes.)

6. Oh, and yes, this is the reason why none of the men thought that bathing with Shaia was awkward… she never had a child, so they don’t see her as a woman. Ugh.

7. Sley gets reunited with Mimsy while she’s delirious from her high fever, and she has a weird fever dream (is there any other kind?) where she’s confronted by a bunch of Tuxedo Mask cosplayers who tell her she’ll never get married.

Ep.17TM1

Some of them look pretty odd:

Ep.17TM2

Then, in real life, she asks Sley to marry her. He takes her at her word, even though, again, she’s clearly delirious. Kei overhears, and takes it seriously, too… mostly because I think he’s not quite ready to settle down immediately, and so he’s “off the hook,” as it were.

8. The Glomar gets trapped in what looks like a dry valley, but which becomes a lake at sunset (there’s some waffling about whether this a completely natural phenomenon, or whether it’s due to dimensional weirdness). Mimsy’s Rath Family arrives to hep them escape the Tove Family, but it still looks bad, so…

9. SLEY FLIES OUT IN AN ORGUSS II AND CRASHES STRAIGHT INTO THE TOVE FAMILY SHIP!! Killing both them and himself (for good this time). Finally, Mimsy wakes up with no memory that Sley was ever there, let alone that she said she wanted to marry him. Oh, cruel irony!

10. So yeah… not my favorite episode. Which is a shame, because the battle over the temporary lake is pretty good. Anyway, the plot of Orguss takes another hard turn, as getting Mimsy pregnant is now a crucial goal. Again, ugh.

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Just before Mimsy passes out.

Ep.17ASS

ADDENDUM: A scene from this episode (using what I assume is a very bad sub) became something of a meme in an old chatroom I used to be a part of… It still makes me giggle.

neverbefertilized

THE GREAT ORGUSS REWATCH 17 – MY FACTORY

Ep.16

SUPER DIMENSION CENTURY ORGUSS
EPISODE 16: MY FACTORY

ICONIC SCENE: The Parent Trap, Emann Edition

BROADCAST DATE: November 6, 1983

1. The episode starts so peacefully that it’s clear SOMETHING bad is gonna happen. Kei’s feeding some pigeons in the park (playing a rather cruel prank on them… once he’s done with his peanuts, he blows into the paper bag and pops it, scaring them off) while an Emann kid watches happily. Meanwhile, Mome’s bought some baguettes for everyone, and Llig temporarily moves in (???) with Mimsy.

And sure enough, some police (I think) show up and tell Mimsy to hide the Singularity Point. And then Kei gets ambushed by a bunch of goons working for Shaia’s Tove Family. He puts up a good fight, but they end up nabbing him.

2. In a strange bit, Mome goes looking for him and sees the the thug’s hovering ships taking off. They seem quite distant, but somehow, she knows Kei’s inside. Oh well, she IS a robot. She probably has some way of IDing him from a distance, although that doesn’t explain why she’s flying around calling “Kei-sama!” while looking for him…

3. The Tove Family really bungles trying to get Kei on their side, or else they’re just trying to make it LOOK like they asked him and were refused. Again, they want to brainwash him into thinking positively about Emann, so that when he rectifies the dimensional mishap, they’ll all continue to exist. After kidnapping him, they ask for his help, and he says no, SOLELY because they were violent about capturing him. See what I mean? If they’d asked nicely, he probably would’ve accepted. So either they’re incompetent, or they were always planning on brainwashing him, and are just covering their asses here.

4. Among the Tove Family is someone who Kei initially mistakes for Shaia (even though she has a totally different hairstyle), but who is actuay her twin sister, Manisha. If you include Papty’s infants, this is the third set of Emann twins we’ve met in the series. Again, there’s a reason for that…

5. When the Glomar crew finds out that Kei’s been taken, they all resign (or at least, all the main characters do), but Shaia says that she’ll handle it. It helps that Shaia is actually opposed to her family’s actions. If she agreed with the rest of her clan, that would be the end of the Glomar’s crew right then and there.

6. So they strap Kei down and start giving him what looks like some kind of shock therapy while he yowls in pain. I can’t tell Emann brainwashing techniques are really advanced or really primitive…

7. Shaia confronts her sister Manisha about their treatment of Kei, and Manisha accuses Shaia of always running to her when she needs help… which, we’ll find out later, is EXTREMELY unfair. Shaia kinda backs down (even though she absolutely shouldn’t), and listens as Manisha paints the situation in terms of Terram versus Emann, and only one society can survive.

8. Shaia ends up punching Manisha in the gut, stealing her clothes, and posing as her to rescue Kei. Which, again, is kind of weird, since they have completely different hairstyles, but maybe the on-duty guard hadn’t seen Manisha in a long time. Implausibly, Shaia also takes the time to dress an unconscious Manisha in her own outfit, boots and everything.

9. Anyway, she rescues Kei and brings him back to the Glomar, which is now a wanted ship. The crew agrees to band together, even if it means turning traitor against the Emann (or at least one faction of them), and they take off. They have to use the Demolition Gun to get out, and the animation of it firing is clearly taken from Episode 9, since it still shows the cannon blast blowing away Marian Toinette’s missiles. The Tove Family sends out a bunch of Demoras (which are similar to the Mo-Lovers), who all get punched out of the sky by Kei. Not sure why they didn’t send out any Orguss IIs…

10. So, after the infodump(s) and radical change of course in the last episode, this one seems primarily transitional. It does introduce Manisha, who will remain a major character, but mostly it’s about getting the Glomar on the Emann government’s bad side, so that the crew of the factory have no refuge, and everyone is against them. The plot continues to thicken, as they say…

OBLIGATORY ASS-SHOT: Nothing that really stands out (so to speak), so here’s Mimsy in a bathing suit.

Ep.16ASS