ICONIC SCENE: “Oh, you kept those…?”

STORY DATE: November 2011

BROADCAST DATE: June 5, 1983

1. And the worst post-war episode gets followed by one of the best post-war episodes. Apparently, even before the series got expanded, the staff was planning to do a flashback to Roy and Claudia’s early relationship, but I have no idea where they would’ve fit it in (I suspect the short scene in Episode 22 might have been it, considering how many big ideas from the original plot outlines get reduced to one scene, or sometimes one line of dialogue).

2. Hikaru becomes a real jerk in this episode, yelling at Misa while she’s on duty, and even making a fake pass at Vanessa (who initially seems thrilled, Lord knows why…). Yes, I know it’s all because he’s angry that Misa cut short his reunion with Minmay, and yes, he realizes later that he went too far, but really, he’s spectacularly awful here. Misa’s not much better, since she seems to agree that it’s all her fault, even though she was right last episode, that Hikaru pursuing Kamujin’s men really was more important than hugging Minmay.

And Vanessa becomes the latest in a pretty long string of characters to tell Hikaru flat-out that Misa loves him. As usual, he shrugs it off. For me, the problem here is twofold, and I’ll go into it more next time. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you should already know what I’m going to say.

(Oh… and if Hikaru really DIDN’T know that Misa loved him, why would he think she was jealous, or that coming on to Vanessa would upset her? Clearly, he knows… he just won’t admit it. And yet, he still shoves it down her throat… Nice guy.)

3. And Machizaki shows up again, this time covering his crotch in terror as Shammy threatens to tear his pants off.

4. Misa is clearly an inexperienced drinker, given that her cheeks begin to redden IMMEDIATELY after downing two glasses of wine (and yes, it’s true that many Japanese people’s faces start turning red when they drink).

Oh, and I’m really unsure if Claudia has really become an alcoholic spinster or if she’s just pretending to be one. Certainly, a big part of it at the end of the episode is her just trying to get Misa out the door so she would meet up with Hikaru, but I’m not sure if that’s ALL of it…

5. And then Claudia starts telling her story of meeting Roy. No idea where this is happening, or exactly when, but there are plenty of snow-capped mountains, and it’s probably meant to be somewhere around 2005 or 2006. They both look a little younger, and Roy’s hair is notably shaggier. There are also two new fighters here, the F-203 Dragon II (used by the Unified Forces) and the MiM-31 Karyovin (used by the Anti-Unification Forces). Neither of them looks much like anything anyone would actually be flying in 2005, but I guess they look like possibilities if passive stealth had never been a thing.

6. Claudia of course means her story to be an example to Misa, analogous to the latter’s relationship with Hikaru, and it kind of is, with some notable differences. (See? those “compare and contrast” lessons in middle school are USEFUL!) Young Claudia seems much like Misa here, prim, proper, and somewhat shy. Focker, on the other hand, seems virtually nothing like Hikaru, and much more of a ladies’ man (although a rather tame one. We never actually see him doing anything more than just hanging out with other women). And yet, they both have the same inability to share their feelings. However, that part of the comparison kind of falls apart under examination, because it’s not MISA Hikaru had trouble opening up to, it’s MINMAY. Right now, he’s so focused on Minmay that he barely even SEES Misa.

7. The timeline becomes easier to grasp as the episode continues. In 2007, when the Unification Wars end (based on his “It’s been two years” line in Episode 1), Focker gets transferred to South Ataria Island, and about a year later, Claudia does, too. So they’re meeting up in front of the VF-X-1 probably less than a year before the series begins. (There’s also a funny mistake when he’s showing the VF-X-1 to Claudia, and for one shot, he’s suddenly got the usual Focker haircut that we all know and love.)

8. That mistake aside, I think it’s no coincidence that the first time that we see “normal Focker” as opposed to “young Focker” is when he finally shows his vulnerability to Claudia. He’s finally grown up.

9. YES! It FINALLY gets through to Hikaru that Misa loves him! And he runs to see her! And they end up together! YAY!! THE IDIOT HAS FINALLY COME TO HIS SENSES!! AND THEY GO BACK TO HIS PLACE!! HAPPY ENDING!!

(Oh, crap… Screw you, next episode preview…)

10. All through this episode, something was bothering me… the art quality didn’t look as good as the A-teams at Artland, nor as bad as the Z-teams at Star Pro. It looks good, but not in any style I recognize. Checking the credits, it turns out it was done at AIC (Anime International Company), who also did parts of episodes 27 and 36, and have a frightening amount of other credits to their name (seriously. Just look ’em up on Anime News Network). And unlike Artland and Star Pro, they’re still around now. Anyway, they do a creditable if not spectacular job.

And yes, this is one of the best post-war episodes. It at least gives us a glimpse of the Unification Wars (not as detailed as, say, White Reminiscences, but that’s okay). Of course, this creates some problems when we get to Macross Zero, but that’s for later.

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