ICONIC SCENE: Was there ever any doubt…?

STORY DATE: October 2009

BROADCAST DATE: December 5, 1982

1. First shot we get is of the unmanned Ghost fighters. This is the last easily visible time they will appear. Later on, there’s one more scene with them, but you have to go through frame-by-frame to see them.

Then, Hikaru and Minmay meet up in “Coffee & Tea VARIATION,” the cafe making its debut here. One of the things I like about the series is places like Variation cropping up every few episodes… it makes it feel like a real town. Also, Variation itself looks like a really nice place. So did Escarp.

I also note that Minmay is wearing her school uniform again, but it has a completely different color palette than it did the last time we saw it. And then in the next scene, it’s back to the first version.

Then Hikaru notices the artificial sky, which (rightly or wrongly) I always thought was stuck in there to make things easier for the animators.

(Also… why does every cafe in this show play an instrumental rendition of “My Beautiful Place” as their background music? I don’t think the song’s even been written yet…)

And Minmay orders Irish coffee, which Mari Iijima apparently didn’t know had alcohol it in when they recorded this scene.

2. And then we hear about Jamis Merin, the Hollywood star who ended up aboard the Macross. She plays a much bigger role as the main villain of “My Fair Minmay” than she does in the series. Heck, there we even find out that she has a current hit song, called “Hibiscus Lady.” Her apparent granddaughter or something will end up gaining vengeance for her loss today.

3. The editing here is a real tour de force: short snippets of conversations, constantly cutting back to the promo for the Miss Macross Contest (with that weird Dixieland Jazz music). It really gets across how dominant this news is to everyone aboard.

4. The Zentradi (somehow…) pick up the transmissions and send out a recon unit… and thus we meet Warera, Loli, and Conda, the crew of that unit, who will turn out to be some of the most pivotal figures in Zentradi history. It’s interesting that while later, their reactions to earth culture are played mostly for laughs and they become comedic figures, here, there’s virtually none of that. They’re serious, competent, and a real threat to Hikaru. (It also affords us our second glimpse of the Quel-Quallie Bug-Eye Theatre-Scout.) They also are the first to reveal to us that Zentradi are segregated by gender, and don’t really “get” bikinis.

Oh, and their codename is “Aoi Kaze,” i.e. “Blue Wind,” which is also the title of episode 13. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t “blue wind” when you fart on a lit match and the fire turns blue…? Not that I’ve ever done it or seen it done, but that was the talk on the schoolyard…

5. According to “My Fair Minmay” (sorry, you’ll be reading those words a lot for the next few episodes), the Great MBS Hall is located in the central section of the Macross. The city is apparently spread out in three sections, the other two being in the legs. Also, in the book, the Miss Macross Contest plays out a little differently. There’s a somewhat more humiliating talk that Minmay has with the judges, and at the end, Minmay and Jamis are virtually tied… until three last minute votes come in. It’s also made plain that Roy’s suspicion is right, and Jamis has indeed fixed the outcome… as much as she could (not enough). And some of the other contestants are shown to be horrible, horrible people.

(And in one of those embarrassing, pedantic moments, I counted the number of girls on stage. the announcer says it’s 28, but it’s really 31. I don’t have OCD. Honest.)

Most of the girls’ names are, of course, puns on the names of the staff and cast. Entry #4, for example, is “Shoh Blackstone.” “Sho” is another reading for name “Noboru,” and “Blackstone” is “Ishiguro” in English. Of course, that name will later be used as the director of “Shao Pai Long.” Entry #13, Hiromi Rockfield is a pun on Macross’s producer, Hiroshi Iwata. I think my favorite, though, shows up in “My Fair Minmay”: “Mika Dora.”

It’s nice to see Yot-chan and his parents in the crowd, as well. They’ll all show up once or twice more (before he becomes the Ramen King of the Galaxy).

6. I never understood why the prize for the Miss Macross Contest was a prop plane. They’re on a spaceship that’s out near Mars. Where is ANYONE going to fly it?

(And yes, “Ikki Takemi,” the designer, is a kanji anagram for “Kazutaka Miyatake.”)

Immediately afterwards, we get the first mention of Global’s rank: he’s a “junsho” (commodore), although the words on the screen say “CAPTEN.”

7. Minmay at one point mentions “a cousin who’s just like a big brother.” Ominous words…

8. Awww, yee-aah… The Armored Valkyrie, totally underused, but beloved by all. Don’t look for it again ever in the series, but it shows up for a few seconds in the movie, and you’ve probably already bought a toy or model kit of it.

(Speaking of which… I love the ad for General Products, “the store that kinda has a lot”!)

9. And of course, Minmay wins. Say goodbye to her, Hikaru… she’s going, she’s going, she’s gone. I love Jamis, preparing for victory, only to fall short.

10. Okay, for me, at least, this is the most “Macross” episode we’ve had so far. First, it’s got the A-Team working on it, since Mikimoto obviously did the character work and Itano just as obviously did the mecha scenes. Moreover, it really nails that Macross sweet spot, somewhere between cute girls, mecha combat, and personal drama.

Unfortunately, it also seals the fate for any Hikaru/Minmay shippers (at least for a while). It’s not for no reason that Hikaru has to keep switching back from the beauty contest to Hayase’s huge face.

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