SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS
EPISODE 31: SATAN’S DOLLS
ICONIC SCENE: You win this round, Kaifun…
STORY DATE: November 2011
BROADCAST DATE: May 22, 1983
1. The New Earth Unified Government gets its first mention here. Considering that both Macross II and Macross Frontier briefly reference a “New” unified government, like it’s a recent development, it’s a little weird that it crops up in the original series.
2. This is also the episode that features some kind of logo, “AnsweR,” throughout. It’s on ships, buildings, everything, and no one seems to know what it means. Renato even brought it up to Itano himself, and he said he had no memory of it… so we’ll probably never know the, um, AnsweR.
3. We meet a new character here, “Machizaki,” who’s a total wimp who gets bullied by the Bridge Bunnies. He’s based on the script editor for the show, Kenichi Matsuzaki, who’s also credited as the writer of most of the important episodes of the show (the first three and Episode 27 among them). He’s also the one who created the idea of “Minovsky Particles” in Gundam. And while this is Machizaki’s first appearance in the series, he also appeared on the “Miss DJ” album (set somewhere around episode 22), as a caller asking Minmay for date advice (which ends up as a really uncomfortable scene on the album…), although his voice is totally different.
4. This is also the first time we see the Zentradi “sidewalks,” trenches next to the highway for them to walk in. There’s some pretty detailed schematics for them in the art books, and a few original pieces of art in “The Lost Two Years,” but they rarely get seen in the show.
5. Then some Zentradi steal the miclone device from Trad City, and Hikaru goes in to stop them. Oddly, he tells his men to stop them with warning shots, and then runs up and has his battroid kick one of the guys in the face, knocking loose his teeth and apparently killing him.
Anyway, they get it back just in time for Kaifun to show up and be a dick, because he’s Kaifun. And he DOES kind of have a point – in fact, the crowd is already turning against Hikaru before Kaifun even joins the conversation – but it’s clear he’s just doing it out of spite, since he notices the way Hikaru and Minmay are looking at each other.
Anyway, it all blows up soon enough, but unfortunately, he learns virtually nothing from the experience.
6. Okay, and we get a VERY odd scene, with Hikaru and Minmay fantasizing about flying into each others’ arms. Odd because Minmay’s desire for Hikaru is pretty much welling up out of nowhere. “The Lost Two Years” tries to explain it as Minmay realizing around the end of Episode 27 that she really DOES love Hikaru, but I really don’t see that in the show itself. If it weren’t for developments over the next few episodes, in fact, I’d write it off as Minmay just being sympathetic to Hikaru and embarrassed because Kaifun’s being such a douche.
7. Oh, and there was a rumor going around that the Mayor of Trad City here was voiced by the same guy that voiced Mayor Glass in Frontier. It’s not true. (I think that might be one of those Shaloom-isms, but I’m not sure.)
8. Then we get the bombshell: not the literal attack from Kamujin, but the information that Misa’s original theory about the Zentradi was wrong. Way back in Episode 12, she theorized that they used to be like humans, but made themselves giants in order to be better at war. It turns out, of course, that that’s not the case. In fact, the Zentradi are genetically engineered warriors created by the Protoculture to fight for them, and their war with the Supervision Army ended up destroying the Protoculture themselves. (This still isn’t the ENTIRE story, but that will come much later.)
Additionally, we learn that the Protoculture somehow screwed with human evolution on earth as well, which is why humans and Zentradi are genetically compatible. Now… the idea of ancient astronauts is an old and famous one, as is the idea that life on earth was seeded by extraterrestrials. “2001” is of course the most famous example, not including stupid shows on the History Channel. Ultimately, it’s a silly idea (less so in “2001” than in, say, “Chariots of the Gods”), but it’s resonant, and it’s probably the easiest way to connect humans with the Zentradi and the Protoculture.
That said, I kind of miss the earlier hypothesis, as I said back in Episode 12, because it seemed like a warning about militarism pushed to an extreme, where as the ultimate fate of the Protoculture here seems like fairly typical “he tampered in God’s domain” stuff, right out of a ’50s mad scientist movie. So again, I wonder if this was the initial plan from the get-go, or if they changed the history for the extended episodes. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, since this is what the sequels (and prequel) take their cues from.
(And again, Misa draws a parallel between herself and the Zentradi, but here she includes Hikaru in the role of the Supervision Army, since the two of them are always fighting.)
9. And Kamujin gets the miclone chamber, and, equally disastrously, Minmay seems to finally have fallen for Hikaru. Kamujin’s plots are mildly interesting, as he grows in power over the next few episodes, but for Minmay, her story is kind of tragic, in that she very nearly becomes the selfish, thoughtless girl her detractors say she’s been from the get-go. I’ll explain later why I think that’s still mostly on Hikaru, but for now… yeah, the only reason she’s suddenly getting the hots for Hikaru is because of she’s dissatisfied with her position and her place. Doesn’t she understand, it’s not his problem?
10. Again, a very nice-looking episode, and one of the few post-war episodes that really adds something valuable to the Macross tapestry, in the form of the history of the Zentradi. Again, all of this got kinda muffled in Robotech, so I didn’t really know how important it was until I saw the AnimEigo version much later. (Seeing it raw in the ’90s didn’t help, as I didn’t understand enough Japanese to know what anyone was talking about). And and that point, it wasn’t really that big a shock, since I’d already seen Do You Remember Love and Macross 7. But it really lays the groundwork for a pretty large amount of the sequels.