SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 4: LYNN MINMAY
ICONIC SCENE: “Sashimi!”
STORY DATE: February 7, 2009~February 19, 2009
BROADCAST DATE: October 31, 1982
1. The immediately obvious thing about this episode is that there are no mecha battles in it. It’s all purely personal drama. Even in a series like this, where the staff insisted that they didn’t want to make just another giant robot show, this doesn’t happen often.
2. This is the first episode whose script is not credited to the script editor, Kenichi Matsuzaki, but to the show’s director, Noboru Ishiguro. It’s also the only one so credited. Now, it’s my understanding, based on the introduction to “My Fair Minmay,” that the actual scripts used for broadcast were collaborative, the process being much the same as it is in the US. The creators hash out all the plots, each of the writers writes a few scripts, and then all the writers get together and go over each script, adding or changing things, so the work of the original scriptwriter gets significantly altered and “credit” is not always easy to assign. In THIS case, I think Ishiguro had a big hand in this, because apparently, the younger writers thought that being trapped in some remote part of the ship with a cute girl would be fun, whereas Ishiguro insisted that AT FIRST it would be fun, until food started running out and desperation began to set in… Compare with the analogous scene in “Do You Remember Love,” where there’s no point in which pure survival becomes an issue, and that scenario is probably what the other writers wanted. Thus, rightly or wrongly, I think of this as the “Ishiguro version” and the movie events as the “Kawamori version.”
3. The art is back on model, thank goodness… So, um, I said before that the pieces were slotting into place… two pieces actually get fitted here. At the beginning, we’ve got the Daedalus and Prometheus being attached instead of the ARMD platforms, and at the end, we find that the city has been rebuilt inside the ship.
4. Minmay’s misunderstanding of what a “compass” is seems pretty silly… but again, neither of our two leads seems very bright so far.
5. Also interesting (which will be explained MUCH later) is the huge airlock (clearly meant for Zentradi-size people), plus a little staircase (meant for miclones.)
6. Every time I watch this episode, it makes me want coffee. Which is a problem, since I usually watch this stuff in the evening.
7. As Hikaru and Minmay are creating the shower, I like the little detail of Minmay taking off her heels. Clearly, she’s tough enough to walk for days through the hull in them, but busting a pipe, y’know, takes EFFORT. As far as the shower goes, Minmay’s butt is cute. According to “My Fair Minmay,” one of the Miss Macross judges calls it her “charm point,” and it’s hard to disagree.
8. So Hikaru gets the tuna (Tuna = “maguro,” which is close to Macross (“Makurosu”) and don’t think that this has escaped anyone on the staff’s attention…), kinda. Like the booster scenes last episode, there are some nods to scientific realism, but not quite enough to pull the scene off. And… since Hikaru was UNDER the tuna, I’m not sure how his suit got caught on its teeth…
As I kid, I had taped this episode off of TV (I didn’t have all of them, but I had probably about a third of the series), and I always tried to hold my breath along with Hikaru. At that time, I couldn’t do it. Now, even after twenty years of smoking, I can do it quite easily. Of course, I’m not exerting myself as much as he is, so I guess it’s not a fair comparison.
9. Minmay sings here for the first time, with Mari Iijima’s original song, “Cinderella” (which, I think, at least, sounds better a cappella than in the discordant version Mari recorded for her second album, “Blanche”). And then we get the wedding scene, because Minmay’s a traditional kinda gal, followed by her falling into craziness (even Hikaru is surprised).
I admit, I’ve never found either Minmay’s yearning to be a bride or her sudden flip-out to be especially convincing. I’m not sure the characters have much psychological depth (although one definitely can read a surprising amount into them), but neither of these details seem to square with her actions and decisions in later episodes. Maybe that’s part of the point, but if so, it’s never developed in any way.
And their long-expected kiss is interrupted by a falling warhead, in a bit of symbolism that will get revived in a different way later, in the dream episode. Anyway, Hikaru, you moved too slow. You snooze, you lose, and you won’t get another chance for YEARS.
10. So, yeah… no mecha battles, but no real complaints. I was somewhat impatient with this episode as a kid because there was no mecha, but now I think it’s a classic (despite the weird revelations about Minmay that don’t make much sense), and is necessary for the story. And the reveal of the city at the end is a great pay-off.
I remember, years later, showing the series to a friend of mine… she complained sarcastically about the Next Episode preview teaser from this episode, where the narrator dramatically intones, “Lynn Minmay: what kind of girl is she?” My friend retorted,”Yeah, that’s the big question, huh?” Well, for Hikaru, it kind of is, although, um, I’m not sure anyone in the audience agrees with him.