EPISODE 3: FIRE SCRAMBLE
ICONIC SCENE: A public debate.
STORY DATE: March 2045
BROADCAST DATE: October 30, 1994
1. We start with Basara getting to the point where he has something to prove, since he’s gone into battle twice, and the enemy retreated before he finished his song both times. His goal is different than just wanting to win a war through the power of culture shock, he wants to truly move them.
2. City 7 seems to be built with its own Macross II-style “Culture Park,” since we see the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben right near each other in one of the interior shots. The city itself is fairly nondescript, but so was the city aboard the Macross in the first TV series. But it’s still got some fun things about it, like the trains running through the tubes in the ceiling and the skyscrapers so tall that they stick out of the top. I don’t look at it and think, “Man, I’d like to live THERE” (that’s Frontier), but this episode has plenty of “scenery” shots, and honestly, the place looks like a charming place to live.
And I really dig the overall design of City 7… designed, of course, by Miyatake.
3. We also get a taste of the City 7 music scene beyond Fire Bomber here, when they go to play “Super Nova Live.” (Or, at least, we see the hard-core fans of two different bands, “Queen & King,” and “Mosaic Band.” And the nice thing is, looking at their fans, it’s pretty easy to infer the two groups’ sound, as well as their mode of dress. I love the Mosaic Band’s parachute pants…) Basara, of course, doesn’t want to go, but Mylene has already arranged for his Valkyrie to be taken to the venue. She may not understand him yet, but she’s already figured out how to manipulate him.
4. The roving drink machines make a comeback here… this time as a juice machine that can speak and, um, wag its tail. And corner people.
5. Meanwhile, Mylene gets to watch as her parents get into a raging argument on live TV that’s being broadcast everywhere. She takes it remarkably well, but yes, this is the first we learn about Max and Milia having separated.
6. Basara’s attempt to win over the fans of the other groups by singing to them, a cappella, outside the train station probably isn’t the best way to go about it. And it doesn’t work anyway…
7. Among other things, Macross 7 is the story of a young band navigating sudden success, and, really, Super Nova Live is their first test. It’s mentioned at the beginning of the episode that they only got the gig because of the Valkyrie. When Basara’s late, a producer (?) suggests they grab someone from a different band, since everyone will be looking at the Valk, and no one will really care about the music. They really do have the ultimate novelty there, and they could exploit it if they chose to. Thankfully, Akiko (in her debut) steps in and simply shuffles the band order, clearly as a favor to Ray, with whom she has a past. Pitfall #1, avoided successfully.
8. Meanwhile, Basara has united the Queen & King and Mosaic Band fans… against him. It’s all fine until Mylene tries to stop the brawl and gets shoved to the ground. Basara attacks, and beats them all up. Then, of course, he gets angry at Mylene for MAKING him hit the guys. Yes, Basara is being unreasonable here, and our allegiance is firmly meant to be with Mylene. Again, the writers are going out of their way to make Basara unsympathetic.
I’ve seen people try to draw a link between Basara and Kaifun, and this scene kind of invites it, since in Episode 16 of SDF Macross, Kaifun the pacifist likewise took down a roomful of thugs, but the comparison ends there, I think. Kaifun wanted to flaunt his superiority, Basara wants to connect with people through his songs. He’s not about pacifism as an ideal (he’s not theoretical enough for that), it’s more a matter of reaching people through one medium alone: music. If he can excite people with his music, he’s happy. If he can calm people down with it, he’s also happy. If he can end a war with it, great, but as I said earlier, he got the enemy to retreat and he still wasn’t satisfied. His goals are vastly different from Kaifun’s.
9. Then the space battle takes place, with mostly the same footage. We do find out that Gigil is not exactly on the same page as Geperunitchi, and there’s some friction there. And in the end, of course, everyone is the crowd is won over by Basara going into the battle zone in his 19. The ultimate point here, though, is that the enemy have infiltrated City 7.
10. So yes, the pace is more deliberate than the original SDF Macross series, but so far, I’m enjoying that. I like that we’re getting views of daily life aboard the ship, and the band stuff is interesting, if a little simplistic. And hey… no “Planet Dance” in this episode!
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Waiting outside of Super Nova Live, looking in the wrong direction and totally not seeing Basara.