EPISODE 5: SPIRIT GAL
ICONIC SCENE: We’ve got some missiles and we’re gonna use ’em.
STORY DATE: March 2045
BROADCAST DATE: November 13, 1994
1. It’s weird to hear the Macross Plus ending theme, “After, in the Dark” being played as this episode begins. Again, generally, this show relies on Macross II (and a little dash of Macross Plus BGM) to fill in the gaps left from a lack of a score, so it’s unusual to hear one of Sharon Apple’s songs here (if, that is, “After, in the Dark” was meant to be a Sharon song. I’ve never been clear on that).
That said, if we take the liner notes for Macross 7’s first album release, “Music from Galaxy Network Chart” at face value, a new version of Sharon Apple (“Sharon Apple-R”) was popular in 2045. As was a song written by Minmay (!) on the Megaroad-01 (!!) called “Furusato” (“Hometown”) that was found (!!!) after the Megaroad lost contact with Earth (!!!!). That mysterious song was sung by “Tomo Cherry Spring,” an obvious analogue to Mylene voice actress Tomo Sakurai. And no, it was never actually written or recorded.
2. Mylene is again the audience surrogate at the beginning of this episode, demanding to know why Basara flies into combat and sings. And again, Basara is honest but evasive, saying he just sings when he wants to.
3. There’s no credible reason for the girl gang to go after Basara and Mylene, and the writer’s don’t bother coming up with one. I guess they’re just a gang, and that’s what gangs do.
4. The girl with the short hair in Rex’s gang who challenges Basara is named Colette, which reminds me that Mylene is (probably) named after the French pop singer, Mylene Farmer, who became somewhat famous in the late ’80s for not only making elaborate music videos, but also agreeing to appear completely nude in them.
5. During a barbecue, it turns out that Fire Bomber will be performing at the manufacturing ship. And it’s all because of the Valk. Mylene thinks it’s just a gimmick… she still doesn’t get it.
6. Ah-ha! Dr. Chiba identifies the enemy fighters as those sent to investigate the 4th Planet in the Varauta system.
7. So we saw the “Milky Road” between ships of the fleet in a previous episode, but this is the first time we really get a good look at it. And yes, it’s kind of silly, strings of lights denoting a “highway” for cars to drive along. At least now we understand why the cars can fly…
8. And of course, just as Rex asks Basara if he can put his life on the line for singing, the air raid siren sounds. And of course, the enemy just happens to attack the manufacturing ship (“Three Star”) where Fire Bomber is playing their gig.
The enemy attack is a little unusual, as they break into the ship and start shooting at random apartments.
9. During the battle, which for the first time happens inside a ship rather than in space, we see that the Fire Valkyrie has speakers in its shoulders. And we also learn that it has missiles in its legs. And just like last episode when he had to throw a punch, Basara has to use the missiles to save Rex’s gang from getting killed (or maybe spiritia-drained, but the enemy seems to be all about the carnage in this episode). And again, he’s angry about having to use them, even though it led to a better outcome than just singing would’ve.
Then he gets a kiss from Rex, which makes Mylene jealous.
For some reason, the scene where Mylene takes the controls of the Fire Valkyrie (because Basara’s arm got injured in the battle) and flies them both back to City 7 is one of my favorite scenes in the show. It’s no great shakes visually, there’s no wonderful dialogue or anything, but something about it just makes me smile.
10. So yes, this episode definitely looks better than the previous one, and Rex and her gang make an interesting addition to the story. But the enemy attack on the Three Star doesn’t make much sense, and the plot formula is beginning to get a little wearing. At least the battle had a lot of new animation, rather than the same recycled shots.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Standing way in the back at the sparsely-attended gig.