EPISODE 6: FIRST CONTACT
ICONIC SCENE: Gamlin doing his Guld impersonation.
STORY DATE: March 2045
BROADCAST DATE: November 20, 1994
1. This is of course the second Macross episode to be titled “First Contact” (third if you include “Contact,” the first episode of Macross II). Although the “first contact” here is not with the aliens, but with Gamlin and Basara, or Gamlin and Mylene.
So at the beginning, we have Milia bringing up the arranged marriage for Mylene again, although it appears that there’s a new candidate (or Milia just didn’t get around to telling her until now): Gamlin.
2. We then switch to Gamlin at his computer searching for info about Basara in a scene that seems deliberately designed to echo Guld checking up on Isamu, both in story and in art style. However, he’s less successful than Guld… In trying to find out how Basara got a brand-spankin’-new VF-19, he runs into a security wall, and ends up getting all the info he had found wiped.
This SHOULD give him (and the audience) a big hint that whatever is going on with Basara is being conducted at VERY high levels that it would be unwise to pry into, but Gamlin is undeterred.
3. Diamond Force takes out the tuned-up VF-17s for a test flight. Now, these are very obviously based on the F-117 Nighthawk. Apparently, Kawamori never really liked the looks of Nighthawk, and had to confront his distaste for it in designing the VF-17. Interesting then that variants of the VF-17 will be around for a long time to come…
4. Again, Fire Bomber is playing a gig on one of the other ships of the fleet, in this case, the Mark Twain (which is shaped like a riverboat, because of course it is). I’m guessing that performing outside of City 7 is some mark of success…?
5. I’ve always liked the girl band that sings “Banana Moon of Love” here, especially the guitarist with the witch’s hat. Apparently they’re called, appropriately enough, “Witches & Princess.”
6. When Gamlin picks up the “pamphlet,” it cycles through a very fast series of images, including parodies of album covers by Yes (here styled as “No”) and Queen (or “Quoon”) as well as some made-up ones, like Zap and Vanana Moon and the aforementioned Witches & Princess.
7. Gamlin and Basara talk a bit, neither knowing who the other is. We learn that Gamlin really hates rock music, which seems kind of… old-fashioned? I like the bit where he asks Basara if Fire Bomber has played yet, and Basara says, “Yeah. They sucked.”
8. Then a saxophonist comes out and plays the intro to Wendy Ryder’s “For Now, a Friend.” This gets played a number of times throughout Macross 7, but always cuts out before the vocals start. ALWAYS.
9. Eventually, Gamlin confronts Basara and gets very little info out of him, mostly due to asking the wrong question: What’s Basara’s military affiliation? Basara of course has one, but he doesn’t know or care anything about it, so he honestly can’t answer. Not that he’d want to, mind you.
Then Gigil attacks, and Basara actually participates in the battle, first by shielding Gamlin from Gigil’s fire, and then by firing another missile. It seems that the former move is acceptable to Basara, but the latter definitely isn’t.
Gamlin ends up in the hospital, where Mylene goes to meet him, and immediately starts lying to him, saying that she’s in school and omitting anything about Fire Bomber. They’re, um, not off to a great start…
10. I really get the feeling that the episodes like this (and the last one, and the next one) primarily exist to give us an idea of the world of the Macross 7 Fleet, with all of the goofy little ships surrounding it. And I definitely do appreciate how much effort the designers went to in order to make the fleet seem like a full, vibrant world. For a show that often looks kinda cheap, there really is a huge variety of settings and locales. Design-wise, at least, I’d even say this is the most ambitious Macross series, bar none.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Standing a couple of tables away from Basara after the gig. She actually approaches him, but Gamlin accidentally blocks her.
EYECATCH: Gamlin/Basara (FINALLY! A new eyecatch pic!)