THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 13 – BIG ESCAPE

Ep.12

SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 12: BIG ESCAPE

ICONIC SCENE: Misa’s teasing Hikaru about “Miss Macross-san.”

STORY DATE: November 2009

SCENARIO TITLE: PROTOCULTURE

BROADCAST DATE: December 26, 1982

1. Okay, even as a child, I thought Misa’s objections to kissing Hikaru in order to escape were pretty childish. Oh, and when Kakizaki says he’ll kiss Misa instead, and Hikaru calls him a moron, the term he uses is “Aho,” which is Osaka slang. Since Hikaru shows no other indication of being from Osaka, the line stood out with fans of the show as a curiosity.

And then Max comes in as they’re kissing, and completely misunderstands the situation (or not…?). This was another scene (like “Mr. Lingerie”) that I found SUPREMELY uncomfortable as a kid.

Then, Max’s “I didn’t know you were into older women,” while making prefect sense to me the first time I watched it, sounds awfully silly now. Dude… she’s 19.

2. Bodolzaa MUST know that his plan to send spies to the Macross is awfully risky, especially since he has no idea what powers the Protoculture have, just that they could easily cause the destruction of the Zentradi. Either he’s not very superstitious (disbelieving the warnings about staying away from miclone planets), or he is REALLY desperate to get his hands on reaction weapons.

It’s easy to forget that the Zentradi are still fighting a war against the Supervision Army (especially since nothing is ever made of it, EVER), but getting reaction weapons could presumably end this war that’s been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, and for Bodolzaa, that might be worth the danger.

3. When the Zentradi guard tries to stop Max, we get a couple more Zentradi words, “Muetema” (which presumably means, “hey you!” or “Stop right there!”) and “Adoua” (which seems much the same). None of the Zentradi words from the series will find their way into the movie, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of the same language, I guess.

And when Max breaks through Britai’s bridge, he of course shatters the glass in the front. In a nifty bit of continuity, it remains shattered for the rest of the show. A few scenes later, we see the glass getting swept up, so the Zentradi may not know how to repair things, but at least they know how to clean.

(And I have to admit… I feel kind bad for the poor schlub who gets blown away by Max’s exploding Valk… as well as, later, the dude who gets SHOT IN THE FACE by stone-cold killer Hikaru Ichijo.)

4. Then we get the miclone chamber, showing how the Zentradi become miclones. And yes, the system makes no sense, really, in that it creates a wholly new body for the Zentradi. What happens when they change back? Do they somehow get the old body back, or do they get another new one?  If it’s the old body, where and how is it stored? How is their consciousness transferred between bodies? None of this is explained, of course. All we really need to know is that it makes them smaller. And, yes, if DYRL and Dynamite 7 are any indication, it can work the other way on non-Zentradi miclones as well.

5. Bodolzaa, having already made one fatal blunder in thinking that further dealing with the Macross is a good idea, compounds it with another one: removing Britai from the front and replacing him with the colossally ineffectual Lap’Lamiz (whose name, by the way, is a little hard to figure out. Some of the official books and materials give her name as Laplamiz, others as Lap Lamiz… which is why, I’m assuming, the good folks at AnimEigo threw that apostrophe in there).

She and her fleet are of course the first female Zentradi that we see. Generally, we just get to know Lap’Lamiz and Milia… or, really, we just get to know Milia. Lap’Lamiz remains a pretty underdeveloped character throughout the series, even though she’s pretty pivotal at the big climax.

Milia, on the other hand, is a huge fan-favorite, both for her attractiveness and her ruthlessness. The fact that she flies THE best Zentradi mecha certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

6. Misa begins to piece everything together, as tells us essentially what Bodolzaa told Britai, Exsedol, and the three spies last time: that the Zentradi must have started off as miclones, but changed to become more powerful in order to fight the Supervision Army. It’s not EXACTLY what happened, but it’s close enough. In this scenario, though, “Protoculture” seems to refer to they way they lived before, rather than the beings who created them. And the series runs with that for quite a long time.

And then she’s interrupted by the aforementioned grunt who Hikaru SHOOTS IN THE FACE. Misa sure does get picked up by Zentradi a lot in these episodes, doesn’t she…? No one else does…

She also drops the micro-video camera, which brings about another case of of the “let me die”s. Thankfully, this is the last suicide fantasy she’ll have in the series, but it sure is annoying… This is also the second time (the first being the Miss Macross Contest) where characters spend a good deal of trouble filming the enemy, only to have the footage be destroyed before they can give it to anyone.

7. And now we finally get the moment of connection between Hikaru and Misa, and it pretty much all comes from Misa’s end. Her hair’s down, making her look less prim, and Mika Doi’s delivery becomes softer than her usual Misa voice. As she starts teasing him about Minmay, she even leans in close, her body language almost screaming that she likes him (to quote Cher Horowitz, “that is an unequivocal sex invite”). She goes so far as to ignore it when Hikaru pretty much ruins everything by telling her she should act more feminine more often.

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(Why is it that Hikaru can only get women interested in him when they’re trapped in some dank forgotten area of a spaceship…?)

Anyway, they actually TALK, instead of yelling at each other, and this is the turning point: from here on in, they’ll get along. Mostly.

(Another important point: Misa now realizes that a purely military victory against the Zentradi is impossible, and starts lobbying for negotiation rather than war.)

8. Kakizaki licks his finger to see which way the wind’s blowing… but he’s wearing a glove…

But yes, everyone reunites, and manage to hitch a lift on one of the ships heading back to the Macross, AND steal a battlepod while they’re at it. Talk about luck! (Said sarcastically… all the worry I went through after last episode was obviously unwarranted.)

Oh, and since they’re on one of the women’s ships… why are there battlepods even there…? We never see the women use them, but I guess that doesn’t mean that they don’t… (although there IS an error, in that the guards they kill while escaping are almost certainly male).

9. And while trying to reach the Macross, they pick up “My Boyfriend Is a Pilot” on the radio, and the ensuing scene apparently caused something of a shock among the show’s original audience, as the unabashedly cutesy pop song played as the soundtrack to a space battle. Seriously, the audience had never seen (and heard) anything like this before, and it became, among the fans, kind of a signature scene that set Macross apart from other shows at the time… Can you see where this is going…?

10. And the “First Contact” trio of episodes comes to a close, with a much clearer view of who the aliens are and how they operate. We’re fast approaching the first real climax of the series, and it’s strange to note that Britai and Exsedol, who up to now had been our main antagonists, won’t be there to see it.

As I said before, I’m not sure the society of the Zentradi is really all that plausible or coherent, but as a metaphor (and what are ANY alien races in fiction except extended metaphors?), it works. What’s interesting to me is that what they’re a metaphor FOR changes slightly as the series continues. Later, when we discover about the ACTUAL Protoculture, it becomes a fairly standard “What hath science wrought!?” idea, but here, with the theory that the Zentradi themselves CHOSE to become like this, it seems more a caution against unchecked militarism. Misa drawing a parallel between the Zentradi and herself also opens some interesting implications, especially in regards to Kaifun.

(All of this of course gets somewhat muffled in Robotech, which of course is how I first saw this, where Protoculture becomes some sort of flower, or fuel, or SOMETHING… Dolza there shouting, “This results from Protoculture?” makes absolutely no sense in terms of what Protoculture is in that version… just one more reason I don’t buy the idea that Robotech is, as some have said, greater than the sum of its parts. The creators here are, as I said, talented near-amateurs, but they generally know what they’re doing (with the occasional misstep), whereas the Robotech script adaptors often appeared not have actually seen the show they were adapting. But all that’s neither here nor there, really…)

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