SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 28: MY ALBUM
ICONIC SCENE: Ha! TAKE THAT!!
STORY DATE: October 2011
BROADCAST DATE: May 1, 1983
1. So it’s nearly two years after the last episode, and a lot has changed. This, again, was never part of the plan for the story until the series got extended. Even the 52-episode draft ended the story with the battle against the Main Fleet. I suppose it’s preferable to drawing out the road to the climax by nine episodes, or having nine clip shows, but I have some problems with this section…
2. The world of the story is interesting. Things have somewhat gotten back to normal, despite something like 99% of the world’s population getting killed and the surface of the planet getting razed. No, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that somehow everything looks like normal cities, just with more rocks around, but I don’t think we’re meant to scrutinize that too much. And it makes even LESS sense if you read Kawamori’s short story, “The Lost Two Years” in Macross Perfect Memory, which makes earth right after the bombardment a real hellscape with massive clouds of vaporized soil and plant and animal matter, as well as months of torrential downpour from the water that had been evaporated… it sounds really unpleasant, and much more like what we see in Do You Remember Love than we do in the series. Thankfully, there’s the hand-wave of the “Nature Reclamation Plan,” which somehow (pretty quickly, all things considered) restores the Earth back to its pre-bombardment state.
3. The problem, though, is not the world… it’s the characters. I’ll have (A LOT) more to say about this over the next clutch of episodes, but for now, let me just point out that at the end of the previous episode, Hikaru was pretty much over Minmay and had his arms wrapped around Misa. And yet, it feels like everything’s been reset, except that Misa has swallowed her pride and is CLEANING HIKARU’S PLACE for him. I always thought Hikaru was a little pathetic for clinging so long to his one good moment with Minmay (when they were about to die) and now it’s been over two and half years since that day and he’s STILL smitten. And Misa has apparently lost all of her self-respect in going along with this. I mean, there’s having patience and supporting the one you love, and then there’s being a total fucking doormat.
4. And most of all, it just FEELS like a sequel, and a distinctly lower-budget sequel. The visual highlights of this part of the story rarely match the highlights from the first 27 episodes. I appreciate that they tried, but, to me, they didn’t really pull it off. Most of the better character work seems to be done by Hideaki Shimada, who also illustrated a lot of the pictures in the This Is Animation Special books and the Character Portfolio. He’s definitely no slouch, but his style is distinctly different. Oh well, at least Misa’s gotten rid of the little whorls in her hair. We won’t see those again until Macross the First.
5. And then we get the photo album, presumably the same one we’ve been seeing at the end of every episode. And we also see the Minmay poster. At the 30th Anniversary exhibit, “Macross the Design” in Shibuya, they actually had a little nook with a replica of the album, the upside-down Minmay poster, and “Runner” playing in a continuous loop. I laughed out loud when I reached that section of the gallery. My girlfriend looked at me curiously then, and I said, “Watch the show. You’ll get it.”
6. As bad as Hikaru and Misa are, Minmay and Kaifun are at least as bad. Minmay’s playing to smaller and smaller audiences, and Kaifun’s an alcoholic with a temper. Seriously, it looks like Max and Milia are the only ones who turned out okay (at this point). They even have a little baby girl (only one. Again, at this point).
7. Oh, I should mention that the radio-drama-turned-CD “Macross Classic~Inside Story” also happens during those “lost two years.” I tend to think of it more as a real ’90s thing, because of the involvement of Millard (from Macross Plus) and the Flower Girl (from Macross 7) (yes, the Flower Girl) (really), but it does detail a story that happens between the last episode and this. I’ll get to it eventually. And it reunites virtually all the cast, except Mari Iijima, and features Arihiro Hase’s final turn as Hikaru.
8. This is also the first episode where the name “Macross City” pops up. The city aboard the ship was never actually named.
9. We also get a new Minmay song, “Farewell to Tenderness.”
10. I dunno… again, I think the overall story of the post-war episodes is interesting, and it’s rare to see a show like this follow the story of what happens after the big war is over, but I’m really dissatisfied with the characters, and, short as this section is, there’s still a lot of filler. There are a few important things that come up, though, so it’s not entirely a wash.