EPISODE 12: SPIRITIA FARM
ICONIC SCENE: He’s a pet AND a homing beacon!
STORY DATE: May 2045
BROADCAST DATE: January 8, 1995 (the series skipped a week because of New Years, although Plus Vol. 2 came out.)
1. If the previous episodes have had one overriding flaw, I think it’s that there really hasn’t been much sense of a larger story so far. In the first Macross series, starting in Episode 3, there was a problem to solve: the ship needed to get back to earth. That sense of a goal gave the story momentum and raised the stakes for the characters. “Momentum” has been something missing from Macross 7. Nothing seems terribly urgent, nothing seems to have reached a real crisis point. The enemy attacks, the enemy leaves. The vampires are there but only show up occasionally (and we rarely see anyone genuinely worried about them). Now, obviously, part of this is that the higher-ups are hiding a lot of information from the public, but even Max and Milia seem more mystified by the enemy than alarmed.
But we’re nearing the end of the first “cour” (the term for a three-month block of programming), and even though it doesn’t really FEEL like we’ve been building towards a climax, we have. And this episode is the first step towards raising the stakes.
A friend of mine who saw the first couple of episodes of Macross 7 and then tuned out asked, when a few of us suggested he give it another chance, “When does it get good?” And I would say that this would be a good start, except that I think you kinda need those introductory episodes to appreciate what happens here and in the next episode.
I recall my mother going through a Jane Austen phase decades ago – well before Austen adaptations became a “chick flick” standby – and telling me about reading Emma, saying that she was finding the book dull and pointless, until suddenly, halfway through, everything that had been built up fell into place and it became excellent. I’ll talk more about this next time, but I think Macross 7 is at least somewhat like that. The early episodes are self-contained, meandering, and low-stakes so that it can take you by surprise later.
At least, that’s the plan, as I see it. Whether it’s effective here or not is a different question.
2. Meanwhile, Mylene discovers that driving in a kimono is not easy.
3. During Mylene and Gamlin’s awkward date (seriously… she’s lying, and he knows it. If I were him, I’d cut my losses and move on. It’s not like they’re actually going out yet or anything), we find out what the deal is with Gubaba: given to her by Max, as a “souvenir” from the Pukirases system. Of course, Gubaba’s sorta psychic connection to Mylene becomes important later on in the episode.
4. YES! FINALLY! A vampire attacks Mylene and doesn’t just stand around uselessly for thirty seconds or so while she cowers and then runs! She doesn’t get her spiritia drained… she’s just stunned, but hey, at least the vampire DID SOMETHING this time.
5. Geperunitchi finally reveals his plan for the “Spiritia Farm Project,” and it should be pretty simple to grasp what it is. Keep a bunch of people around to drain spiritia from, and then rejuvenate them and do it again. I’m not sure if Geperunitchi yet knows HOW people’s spiritia gets regenerated, though… I mean, they did that test with Alice Holiday, but did they realize that it was Mylene’s singing that revived her…?
6. A few people saw a truck leave at about the same time Mylene was kidnapped, so the police decide it must be involved. Detective work at its finest!
7. Aaaaaaaaand, the cat’s out of the bag that Mylene is in a (*GASP*) “rock and roll band.” Can Gamlin get with the times and forgive her?
8. Basara’s plan, naturally, is to sing, and hope that Mylene can respond. And naturally, it works.
9. Mylene is showing her own bravery in singing in the face of danger more and more… there was the dogfight last episode, and her singing here even as she and the other kidnapped people are being loaded onto the enemy ship.
And then Basara comes out in his Valk, DOESN’T sing, shouts “PINPOINT BARRIER PUNCH!” and quickly rescues Mylene and the others.
Everything is all wrapped up, happy ending, everyone laughs, and then… Battle 7 (which we don’t know exists as a separate ship yet) is forced to detach from City 7, and City 7 folds away.
Given the show so far, it’s a pretty shocking ending, even if we have no clue what’s going on.
10. I remember the first time watching this, and not really sure if I wanted to continue the series. Again, I was renting the series from a Japanese video store in downtown LA, about twenty minutes drive away, and all through Vol. 3 (episodes 9 through 12), I was really beginning to debate if it was worth the time and effort to see the entire series. That ending convinced me to keep going.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: She’s kind of amazing here. With the band way out near the port and warehouses, searching for Mylene, she arrives within SECONDS of them starting to play… That’s almost creepy. How did she know they were going to be playing there? Did she just follow them…?
EYECATCH: Mylene/Max and Milia