ICONIC SCENE: Oh, just come out and SAY it, Hikaru!

STORY DATE: January 2010

BROADCAST DATE: April 3, 1983

1. Wow, does this episode ever look great! A nice change from the previous two (and the next one).

2. Misa not telling Hikaru that she’s leaving seems like kind of an awful thing to do, especially after all the bonding they’ve been doing lately. Claudia realizes it, too, although she doesn’t say anything.

Also, while pretty much everyone except Misa is saying she’ll be back to the Macross soon, I note that she indeed doesn’t get back, at least not until it’s grounded. Which is a fun thing to point out to people watching the show for the first time: “Oh, I’m sure she’ll return soon.” “Nope, she won’t. Ever.” “!?!”

3. We get the introduction of the Super Valkyrie here, equipped with extra armor, boosters, and missiles, and it’s a joy to behold. So much so that we might not notice that Max’s new VF-1J is also introduced in the same shot (although first time viewers wouldn’t, of course, know it was his until the next shot, and we can only see a small part of it, anyway).

I have to admit that when I was first watching the show, I didn’t even realize that Max had gotten an upgrade until a few episodes later. Which, in retrospect, is weird, because I totally had his VF-1A color scheme memorized (I repainted my Gerwalk kit to look like it, as I mentioned before). Anyway, back to the Super Valkyrie, one of the things that I like about Macross Valks, from then to now, is the way they can be augmented with different equipment. This, of course, gets much expanded on in later shows, and even in Macross the First, which has some really interesting ideas revolving around strapping Destroid parts to Valks.

Misa’s shuttle is also very cool. I especially like the hatch being the Macross “kite” logo, which I’m sure is something EVERYONE loves about it. Although I admit to being slightly baffled by the emergency seat protection that surrounds Misa. Maybe it’s heavily armored as has its own life-support system, but if the shuttle gets blown up, I don’t think it’s going to help much.

4. Hey, Hikaru’s wearing clothes we’ve never seen him in before! How long has it been since THAT happened? (I’m thinking episode 6.) Too bad it’s a really awful ’70s-lookng leisure suit.

5. When Max launches to escort Misa’s shuttle (affording us SO MANY views of his new Valk that I *really* don’t understand how I missed it as a kid), we also see a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of two Ghosts launching as well. And let’s be honest… if it weren’t for Macross Plus, absolutely no one would care.

6. Even before Hikaru comes roaring in with the “Booby Duck,” this battle is one of the best in the series for pure motion and detail. Ichiro Itano at work, folks. He may be a mediocre director, but he’s still a top-notch artist and action choreographer.

The bit where the Super Valkyrie brakes upon arriving at the battle scene is also the first time in the show we’ve seen any of the pilots dealing with some serious Gs. We’ll see a bit of it in DYRL, but you can see a huge leap in showing this more realistically starting with Macross Plus (that is, AFTER Kawamori and Itano got taken up in fighters themselves and felt what it was like).

7. After the commercial break, the episode completely shifts gears and turns into Max and Milia having another duel, sort of, and Milia finally gets it, and realizes who this mysterious miclone pilot is. There are tons of fun details in this scene, including the return (and final appearance…?) of Yot-chan. The building across the street from the arcade is called “Himitsu no Hanazono,” which was, at the time of this episode’s airing, Seiko Matsuda’s latest single (it had come out about two months previously). The Lupin III game (or “Cliff Hanger,” maybe…?). And then there’s that thunder god watching Max and Milia’s competition…

The games look fun, if not quite exactly what people would be playing circa 2010. The oddest thing, of course, is that they reward you with tokens, a business model employed by no arcade ever.

The video game duel itself is of course a classic scene, as Milia is reading Max’s moves and putting two and two together, and Max is thinking of different moves and putting different things together.

Also, I note that although everyone seems to treat Max’s date like it’s a sure thing, if a woman acted to me the way Milia did before storming off, I would figure that she had no intentions of showing up. At the very least, I don’t think I’d be trying on outfits the night before to see what looked good, as Max does at the end of the episode.

8. Misa wins a sort-of victory here. High Command is open to peace negotiations with the Zentradi, but only after they’ve fired the Grand Cannon, which they think will terrify the aliens with its destructive might, and have them begging to surrender.  Misa is against the use of the Grand Cannon completely, but it does end up proving useful, to a degree.

9. Leave it to Claudia to come out and say to Hikaru what everyone’s been thinking:  forget about Minmay and go for Misa. Especially since it’s clear that Kaifun’s intentions are less (more…?) than familial, and Minmay, while shocked, will probably come around.

And, of course, that’s Misa’s just a better match for him than Minmay is.

10. Again, a really excellent episode, with a lot happening, and all of it looking excellent. As a kid, watching this, for some reason I thought the video game duel was pretty romantic, although watching it now, I have no idea why I would’ve thought that. It’s still magnificently geeky, though.


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