SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS II – LOVERS AGAIN
EPISODE 4: MARDOOK DISORDER
ICONIC SCENE: Feff is about to flat-out lie to Ishtar.
STORY DATE: …all the recent timelines place it in 2090…
RELEASE DATE: September 24, 1992
1. For some reason, whenever I get to this episode, I start feeling sleepy. That’s not an exaggeration, it actually happens. Admittedly, this is only the fourth time I’ve watched it, but yeah… always happens. The second time, right after I bought the DVD of “the movie,” I was genuinely having to force myself to stay awake during it. As I write this, it’s about one PM on a Sunday afternoon, and, even armed with my third mug of coffee, my eyelids are getting heavy.
Oh, and about that “movie”… as I think is pretty common knowledge, it isn’t a movie at all. There is no movie version of Macross II. It’s just the six episodes played back to back, with the credits and next episode previews cut. As such, it doesn’t really exist to me.
2. Hibiki’s been captured and is being tortured, although Feff lies to Ishtar and tells her that he was sent back to earth. I gotta wonder why Ishtar believes him… I mean, she knows the Mardook plan to conquer earth, right?
That said, Feff seems to have softened a bit now that Ishtar’s back. Last episode, he said he wanted to eliminate all life on earth ASAP. This time, he has a plan to brainwash Hibiki and send him back as a Mardook spy.
3. Sylvie rescues Hibiki (and I note that as per last episode, her Valk has yellow trim throughout this episode… the “Women’s Valkyrie,” according to Macross Chronicle), and they discover that the Mardook are using mind control on their Zentradi warriors. This SHOULD be a sublimely creepy moment, but it’s more just kind of an “oh, okay” reveal.
4. The language starts getting inconsistent here as well. When Ishtar and Lady Elenshe are talking, they speak in Japanese, even though there’s no reason for them to.
5. Meanwhile, Volf (who I guess is Feff’s superior…?) decides that Ishtar brought good ol’ culture contamination back with her, and wants to destroy the ship before it spreads. Feff starts fighting him. We haven’t really seen any contamination, except for Elenshe trying to convince Ishtar that the humans were lying to her, and to stop focusing on the “love song.” So yeah, Volf’s decision kinda comes out of nowhere.
6. Sylvie mentions her grandmother, who she says was Meltrandi. I’m assuming she means Milia, since her name in katakana is just “Jenius” with the last character removed (“Jiina” “Jiinasu”). Which brings up a point: In an interview in an early issue of Animerica (maybe even the first one…? I don’t remember), there was an interview with Mikimoto where he said that they weren’t allowed to use the original characters and mecha, or something to that effect, and I’ve heard that at least one original Macross character was meant to make a cameo, but that was scrapped. I have no idea about the ins and outs of this, but it does make me wonder if, somehow, they couldn’t use the name “Jenius” in the series. Although they use plenty of terms like “Macross,” “Valkyrie,” and “Minmay,” so I can’t see that it would truly be problem. I don’t know, but I do think that they’re strongly hinting that Sylvie is Milia’s granddaughter.
7. I guess this conversation is also where Hibiki and Sylvie start to fall in love, as Sylvie opens up to Hibiki for the first time, but it really doesn’t come across.
8. Ishtar starts singing (without lyrics, just like Minmay right after Max and Milia’s dogfight in Do You Remember Love) “Now, a Friend,” one of Wendy Ryder’s songs. Okay, NOW it’s clear that contamination is starting. And then we meet the Mardook emperor, Ingues, who decides to destroy them all.
9. Ingues’s ship destroys the ship that Ishtar was on, although she, Feff, Sylvie, and Hibiki escape. Elenshe isn’t so lucky.
10. So yeah, what is it about this episode? Sylvie and Hibiki’s escape should be tense and exciting, as should Feff turning against Volf. Certainly, a lot of it is the direction, which leeches the action scenes of any tension or excitement. It might also be the background designs, which are generally bland and featureless, even on board the Mardook ships, which should seem ominous, but just don’t. In addition, there’s several scenes of Ishtar and Elenshe just standing still (again, in an almost featureless room), just looking at each other, not even speaking. So yes, the episode feels like it was padded out to reach twenty-five-or-so minutes, and the scenes that should have real impact simply don’t. Overall, I think, the worst Macross II episode. But hey… at least I managed to stay awake.