SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 27: Love Drifts Away
ICONIC SCENE: It’s great to see young people get together, isn’t it?
STORY DATE: February 21, 2010
SCENARIO TITLE: CHORUS TRACK
BROADCAST DATE: April 24, 1983
1. Oh, where to start, where to start? The staff shows the courage of its convictions by having the entire world get blasted, but you already knew that. They also deliver on their promise to the fans of movie-quality animation, but you knew that, too. There are dozens of in-jokes here as well, but you probably know all of them and freeze-frame the shots to show your friends. You probably also know that a lot of the best art in this episode was done by Hideaki Anno, future director of Gunbuster and Evangelion.
One thing you may NOT know is that Kawamori was working so much on this episode that in the week before it was finished, he got three hours of sleep. Not three hours per night, three hours TOTAL. Even when I was twenty (as he was, here), I don’t think I could’ve pulled that off.
2. With only twenty-three minutes to tell the story, no time is wasted in wrapping up plot threads. Two minutes in, Hikaru FINALLY TELLS MINMAY HE LIKES HER. Or actually… he uses the past tense, since he’s pretty much moved on to Misa at this point (fingers crossed…).
She rejects him, of course, but she’s at least nice about it. And he says it’s all his fault and he should’ve made his feelings clear, which is the first sensible thought he’s ever had about this whole Minmay infatuation. Dude, if you had just said this back in Episode 5 (nearly ONE YEAR AGO in story time), she would’ve rejected you then and you could’ve moved on, saving yourself (and us) plenty of grief.
Still… she eventually kisses him, so I guess that’s something.
3. The detail in the scenes of the Destroids getting ready to mobilize is stunning, and of course there’s that famous shot of the Monster breaking the floor as it steps forward. I like to think that this is the same Monster (and crew) that show up in Macross 7, but that’s just me. Still… I think even at this point, there were only three Monsters completed, so it’ has a 33.3% chance of being true.
4. And then, as a mournful theme plays, we get the spectacular destruction of earth. It’s marred slightly by reusing some of the shots from episodes 1 and 2, but only slightly. And let’s face it: destroying the Earth is a pretty ballsy move, especially in what is nominally a family show (remember, folks: 2:00 PM, Sunday afternoons).
Of course, the initial plan for the series, back when it was going to be fifty-two episodes, was that in their travels around earth, plenty of famous locales (including London and Machu Pichu) would’ve gotten destroyed, finally culminating in the earth getting blasted. And the barrier overload would’ve taken out the Moon rather than Ontario. I’m kind of glad that that version of the story never got made, because it would, I think, reduce the shock of this scene.
5. Interesting that the idea to have Minmay sing is Hikaru’s, and the idea to have the kiss comes from Exsedol. The big question, of course, is if they REALLY wanted to shock the Zentradi, why not broadcast porn? According to Macross the First, the answer is that sex is SO far outside their frame of reference that they completely don’t understand it. It doesn’t shock them; they just think it’s some kind of hand-to-hand (as it were) combat.
There’s also a weird mistake when Minmay is getting ready. The three spies come to cheer her on, but right after she thanks them and gets called to the stage, we see Kaifun next to her instead of them. I wonder what the deal was there…
Oh, and Minmay’s yellow and green outfit here is based on a nearly identical costume that Akina Nakamori was wearing on her current tour.
You know… I sometimes wonder how much Seiko and Akina know about Macross, and how they feel about their role in it. For Akina, I have no idea. But Seiko MUST know about it, since her daughter was supposed to play one of the leads in the Macross stage musical a few years ago (but got replaced by her understudy, officially because Seiko’s daughter, Sayaka Kanda, came down with a sudden case of gastroenteritis, ONE DAY before the musical’s debut).
6. So the Grand Cannon DOES end up doing some good. It fires too late and barely scratches the Bodol Main Fleet, but it does create a path for the Macross and Britai’s fleet to fly through. So Misa’s dad wasn’t entirely misguided. Just mostly misguided.
7. So… Minmay’s most important concert set list: 1. My Boyfriend Is a Pilot, 2. Shao Pai Lon, 3. MC~The kiss with Kaifun, 4. Silver Moon Red Moon, 5. Love Drifts Away, 6. My Beautiful Place.
8. Kind of amazing that Misa appears to be the only survivor of Alaska Base… This, by the way, is where the prologue of “Misa Hayase – White Reminiscences” ends.
Oh, and Kamujin (the coward) reappears, calling “Love Drifts Away” a “nice song.” I thought he ran away last episode…? Oh well, he runs away here. For now.
9. And it all wraps up neatly, doesn’t it? You’d think this would be the end. But it’s not.
10. Honestly, if the show had finished here, I’d be fine. It feels (and looks!) like a final episode, at any rate. It’s hard to overestimate the power of that scene where the Zentradi destroy the earth, though. It really was unprecedented, in Japan AND (especially) in the west. Again, it’s not a terribly serious show, but this sequence is done with complete conviction, and it really is pretty horrifying. As good as Macross may continue to be, it will never top the sheer balls of this part.