EPISODE 11: MINMAY VIDEO
ICONIC SCENE: Kyun, Kyun…
STORY DATE: May 2045
BROADCAST DATE: December 25, 1994
1. Well, the industry event last time apparently paid off, since Mylene got the lead role in “The Lynn Minmay (or, here, “Linn Minmei”) Story.” So yes, this is the one that the old school fans have waiting for, except it’s kinda not.
2. Let’s get the big issue out of the way… canonicity. Before this point it was kind of unobtrusive, both here and in Plus, but it becomes obvious here (and will continue to become more obvious) that there’s a mix of stuff from the original TV series and from Do You Remember Love. Now, I’ve already talked about my dislike for the “official” explanation that Do You Remember Love was a movie-within-a-movie, and my preference for Kawamori’s spoken idea that every iteration of Macross is equally valid. This view, however, seems to piss off a number of people, so let me quote something that’ll show more of what I think Kawamori has in mind:
“Just as 2010: Odyssey Two was not a direct sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so this book is not a linear sequel to 2010. They must all be considered as variations on the same theme, involving many of the same characters and situations, but not necessarily happening in the same universe. Developments since 1964 make total consistency impossible, as the later stories incorporate discoveries and events that had not even taken place when the earlier books were written.”
Arthur C. Clarke – Author’s note from 2061: Odyssey Three.
And that’s the most sensible way to look at it, I think.
Otherwise, there’s always the “repeat to yourself, it’s just a show. I should really just relax” line of thought… but considering that I’m writing thousand-word essays about each episode, obviously I’m too far gone for that advice.
3. There are cameos galore in this episode, both Macross and not. King Ghidorah shows up early on, for example. One bit that I really like is where Mylene is awestruck upon meeting two full-size Zentradi for the first time, and then later wonders if her mother used to be that big, too.
Oh, and the voice actor for the Zentradi who’s playing Kamujin is indeed Yuichi Meguro, voice actor for Kamujin (Britai’s voice actor had already passed away, or else I’m sure he would’ve been invited back as well).
4 Basara correctly pegs the production as a propaganda film, and Mylene points out that the parts about Max and Milia are the only accurate bits in the entire script. If you’ve ever watched a Japanese TV docudrama, you know exactly the level of quality this “Linn Minmei Story” is going to be. If you haven’t, think of the tackiest, cheapest reality show you can think of, and lower the technical skill a few notches.
5. I really enjoy the scenes that try to replicate Do You Remember Love here. They’re definitely done in the Macross 7 “style,” but with what appears to be a higher frame-rate than the usual animation, and it seems like the staff was really trying to impart some of the “feel” of the movie into these scenes. Which is especially fun since they don’t actually replicate any scenes from the movie (except Minmay singing). The dogfight scene is not the same dogfight as in the movie, and Max and Milia’s wedding didn’t even appear in the film (although it was storyboarded).
6. And yes, there’s confirmation that Max and Milia have basically split up, but are keeping it a secret.
7. And then Mylene meets Bobby, who got chosen for the role of Hikaru Ichijo when Basara dropped out. There’s an added level to this, of course, too, since Bobby is voiced by Arihiro Hase, who played Hikaru in the original Macross series (and this, of course, was one of his last roles before his death).
It’s a rather inspired bit of casting, not just because Hase played Hikaru and is now playing someone who’s playing Hikaru, but also because of the vast gulf in personalities between Hikaru and Bobby, since Bobby is not just a spoiled brat, but also a date-rapist. I mean, Hikaru suggested a love hotel with Minmay, too, but didn’t try to force the issue when she refused.
And really, the area he takes Mylene to looks way more like a red-light district than, say, “Love Hotel Hill” in Shibuya.
(Oh, and a translation note here: the Central Anime fansubs continually throughout this scene mention “cake.” But Bobby doesn’t say he’s going to take Mylene out for cake, but to rehearse. “Keko,” not “keeki.” The scene makes a lot more sense if you know that.)
8. Bobby gets his spiritia drained by a vampire as he’s attempting to take advantage of Mylene (not the last time this will happen to her, alas), and then the vampire does the usual vampire thing of looming over Mylene menacingly and taking forever to do anything, giving her time to come to her senses and run away, and for Basara to show up and rescue her.
9. Eventually, of course, Basara takes the role of Hikaru, and there’s the great image of him dressed in a Macross the Movie flight suit, with Mylene dressed as Minmay on his lap, in the cockpit of the Fire Valk decked out with VF-1 FAST packs.
And we get what I believe is the only appearance of original Macross music to appear in the show, as the karaoke version of “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” plays, with Chie Kajiura singing over it. Another track that has unfortunately never been commercially released.
And Mylene finally gets gets why Basara is singing, kind of. As Exsedol asked back in Episode 1, “Is he trying to follow in the footsteps of Lynn Minmay?” She starts singing along with him. She’ll end up backsliding a bit as time goes on, but this is a big breakthrough.
Oh, and a question: we see Ray and Veffidas playing back in the apartment in Akusho while Basara is singing… I’ve never understood if Basara is singing along to an instrumental track, or if the band is always meant to be playing live back on the ship. Sometimes, it seems like it’s one, sometimes the other. What gives?
10. So yes, a fun episode with lots of nostalgia appeal (double nostalgia appeal these days, since even Macross 7 itself is a couple of decades old). I do know of one Japanese fan of the original series who absolutely HATED this episode, feeling that it wasn’t respectful enough, and avoided all Macross completely after this (although he later got into Frontier), but I’d imagine that he was in the minority. I’d also imagine that for most older fans, this series would’ve been more warmly received if it had MORE episodes like this.
What strikes me most about it now, though, is not the homage to the original, but the utter cynicism of the show’s view of the entertainment industry. “The Lynn Minmay Story” is a cheap, lame, made-for-TV movie with a staff that doesn’t care, and the lead actor is a total sleazebag. “My Fair Minmay” had a view of the entertainment world that was extremely harsh, dark, and seedy, and while Macross 7 doesn’t go quite as far, it comes really close. This isn’t the last time that the crassness of show business will come up, for sure.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Waiting in the spaceport in the entertainment ship. She runs to meet Basara, but misses the group as they get into a taxi.
EYECATCH: Max and Milia/Basara