THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 26 – VIRGIN ROAD

Ep.25

SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 25: VIRGIN ROAD

ICONIC SCENE: “So I have my answer… I’m walking on air!”

STORY DATE: January 2010

BROADCAST DATE: April 10, 1983

1. As everyone knows, holy hell, does this episode look awful. Star Pro at its absolute worst. It doesn’t help that this is a pretty damn important episode, and also has some script problems. Great visuals could’ve helped smooth those over (or at least distract from them), or a great script could’ve made the poor art bearable, but having both makes this the least satisfying episode in the series (maybe… there’s at least one later that rivals it, I think).

2. Let’s start with the visual problems: everyone looks sincerely butt-ugly, especially Milia. The knife fight is laughably bad, and its conclusion was already a little creepy without Max’s face looking kinda weird and horny. And the absolutely surreal scene where they float off the ground (metaphorically, I’m guessing, but who really knows?) before embracing… the music is dramatic, the voice acting is dramatic, but the hideous art makes it funny, and not in a good way. One of my friends, who watched Macross for the first time a couple of years ago, thought at first that this was a dream sequence, and she was laughing as she watched it.

It’s important to note, though, that, at a fan club event, Sho Hayami (voice actor for Max) picked the knife fight as his favorite scene in the show. When asked what was it about Milia that Max thought was cute, he replied that it was because she cried, going on to mention that the saline content of tears caused by sadness differs from that of tears of joy or frustration. I have no idea if that’s true, nor can I tell if it’s awesome or creepy that he knows that.

3. The scripting problems really begin with Hikaru objecting to Max’s wedding and then changing his mind just because he thinks Milia is cute. Again, the visuals don’t help, as everyone involved looks totally ridiculous, even without Hikaru spitting out his coffee and dropping his mug, and getting so excited to meet Milia that he knocks over the table (and Max).

4. So, next, we have the wedding. This is the third scene of the episode, and only about two and half minutes after the knife fight ended in a kiss. Are you beginning to see the problem…? It’s rushed. REALLY rushed. I mean, this is one of the most pivotal moments in the show, and it feels like the staff forgot about it until the last minute and had to toss it together as quickly as they could.

5. Now, Max’s Valk during the “march down the aisle” (as it were) is meant to be his third Valk (that we’ve seen) in the series: a VF-1D. It’s impossible to tell that, though, because Star Pro, never good at getting the Valk heads right, continually draws it as a 1A. The Skull One is also shown as a 1A, whereas the cannon fodder along the procession line look like 1Ds. So (again) who the hell knows?

6. And then, Britai and Exsedol come out and state everything plainly: that the thing that’s tripping the Zentradi up is this crazy little thing called “love,” and that THAT, more than pop idols and candy and reaction weapons, is the real dividing line between the Zentradi and the Protoculture.

7. Pretty much the only place where the episode comes alive the way it was meant to is during Global’s speech, which starts off stirring the crowd’s anger and hatred towards the Zentradi, before twisting it around into a message of tolerance. It basically says the same thing that Britai and Exsedol just did, but in a much less ham-fisted way.

Most of the people on the ship seem overjoyed that the Macross is accepting the defectors, except for one guy who kicks a fountain in disgust. Misa’s dad doesn’t really get it, either.

Oh, and Max and Milia’s wedding cake is flat-out incredible. I remember seeing photos a few years ago of someone who replicated it for their wedding, and I was more than a little envious.

And of course Minmay shows up to sing, this time performing a rendition of “Runner” with completely different lyrics (also maddeningly unavailable on any release).

8. Back with Bodolzaa, he really doesn’t seem to see how he himself caused all of this to happen by not heeding the copious warnings to stay away from miclones, and decides to go all out and destroy both the Macross and the Earth. Seriously, EVERY SINGLE DECISION he’s made has involved breaking that taboo, trying to overcome his own feelings of revulsion, and attacking the Macross in every way he can think of, none of which has worked. He sent Britai, he sent Lap’Lamiz, he sent Britai again, he had miclone prisoners and lost them, troops are defecting to the Macross… and his solution is to flat-out destroy them. Um, okay, bud. Hope it works out.

9. So far, though, it doesn’t look like it will, as plenty of Britai’s men, each clutching a Minmay doll, refuse to fight. Britai himself seems conflicted, as well, but the decision is ultimately made for him as enough of his troops mutiny and demand a cease-fire with the Macross. Britai, having been fighting the Macross since day one, and being a smart commander, realizes that there really isn’t any use continuing the battle, and calls his troops off.

Even the ruthless Milia seems to have mellowed a lot, since she doesn’t want to kill the battle pod pilots, instead showing Max how to shoot them “in the fleshy part of the thigh” (so to speak) and disable them without hurting them. Again, isn’t all of this coming a little TOO quickly…?

(And yes, this is the episode with famous “nose lasers” that a lot of Robotech fans seem crazy about. It’s just an animation mistake. Really.)

10. So yeah, an awful, rushed episode. Not completely worthless, but close. As a kid, I was positive that Milia hadn’t gone over the side of love and peace so easily, and that she would probably try to pull a Clytemnestra and murder Max in the bath or something. That, of course, turned out not to be the case.

And I’ve really only briefly touched on how creepy the relationship between Max and Milia is, based as it is on her utter humiliation and defeat, as well as having NO IDEA what she’s getting herself into. I mean, fans joke about how awkward their wedding night is going to be, but Max is going to have to be as smooth and seductive (and patient) as he knows how in order to not traumatize the poor girl. She seems to be all right in the following episodes, so, um, in the short term, at least, he must’ve figured out a way to make it work…

And finally, BLESSED RELIEF! Hikaru is in the same room with Minmay in this episode, and yet he’s still thinking about Misa right before he falls asleep! That’s progress!

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