ICONIC SCENE: “I have officially lost everything.”
STORY DATE: 2040
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 1995
1. We open with the same gunshot sound we left off with, nearly two months before, followed by ambulance sirens. Isamu looks terrible when we first see him, hooked up to tubes and lying in a pool of black goo in the hospital. He looks worse here than he actually is, and I think everyone watching this probably drew a sharp breath when they first saw him, and then a sigh of relief when they realized that all his limbs are still attached.
2. Guld, for his part, comes out and lies to the court about his role in adding live ammo to the YF-19’s gunpod. I note that, even with three albums and one maxi-single of overlapping material, the music in this scene has not been released.
Millard, at this point says that fighter pilots are the most self-confident people around. “Men who, even when they’re hurt, think they can beat their opponent.” This line of course gets played out later in the episode.
Anyway, the upshot is that General Gomez (who’s not in the movie, even in name… at least one line has been changed that referenced him) halts the project while they check the software that would’ve malfunctioned and loaded the ammo to the 19.
Guld and Millard talk, and while they’re evasive, it’s clear that Guld was lying and Millard knows he was lying. However, they don’t really explain anything, leaving the situation the horribly confused mess that I described some weeks ago. And then Millard says something about the Unified Forces thinking there’s “no room for manned fighters” in the future… Hmm…
3. Isamu and Myung drive off together, and we get the “quiet moment where the characters begin to fall in love.” At least, Myung vents her frustrations, and Isamu responds with what, for him, passes for sympathy. Then he sees a giant dino-bird and he’s off chasing it.
There’s also a scene with Jan (as always, official spelling aside, I refuse to accept it as “Yang”) and Lucy talking about Isamu running off, and the way it’s handled is a great example of the difference between this series and Macross II. Macross II had plenty of scenes of characters in empty rooms, standing still and talking. Here, there’s a lot of motion from both characters, and they’re talking to each other from either side of a huge fish tank. I’m sure this scene was way more expensive, but it’s always visually interesting… which is important, since this is anime, not a radio show.
And then we get the fist fight, referring both to Millard’s earlier line about pilots thinking they can win even when wounded, AND replaying the almost-fight from Episode 1. There, as you’ll recall, Myung jumped between them, and Guld stopped his punch. Here, she does the same thing again, but too late: Isamu smacks her right in the jaw.
When Myung breaks down and tells everyone Sharon’s dirty little secret, I note that no one shows any compassion for poor Jan, who’s most likely just had his greatest dream completely shattered.
4. Myung seems to get a lot of flak for being primarily a mopey sad-sack, but honestly, that’s the part of her character that DOES make sense to me. Yes, she’s outwardly successful, but the sham is tearing her apart inside, and she literally has nothing else in her life. Of course she’s going to be bitter, depressed, and angry to come back to her old home and confront memories that she really doesn’t want to face again. As I said before, the part that really doesn’t make sense to me is her solicitousness towards Guld, but I’ll go into that next time.
Anyway, I wonder if part of the problem might be the voice actress… while the Macross Plus English version is one of the true high standards of American anime dubbing, Myung’s voice actress (Riva Spier, who now has her own fitness program in Studio City, called Rivafit) is good, but not quite as good as Rica Fukami from the Japanese dub. Fukami’s voice sounds truly raw and painful. The English version sometimes comes off as whiny and perhaps a little insincere.
On a lighter note, the airport departures sign in the scene when Myung is waiting for her flight shows, in Zentradi, that some destinations from Eden include Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagoya.
So Guld proposes, and Myung leaves for Earth. And, um… how long has she been on Eden, anyway? Since before the project started, and that seems to have been going on a while. I guess it all depends how compressed time was in those montages.
5. And then the project is cancelled, all due to the Ghost X-9. About the Ghost… it gets a reputation as a real killer thanks to this series, but it’s easy to forget that there were Ghosts in the original series, as well. I didn’t even know those were unmanned until well after I saw Plus… Anyway, those Ghosts are never seen doing anything terribly spectacular. So, yeah… the Ghosts are not a new idea for Macross, but their speed, agility, and firepower sure are. And that will inform other Macross shows to come.
6. And of course, Millard tells them precisely where the unveiling of the Ghost will be held, and adds an obligatory “Don’t do anything we’ll regret,” although I’m sure he knows EXACTLY what Isamu’s going to do with that information.
7. And then Lucy tells Isamu that she got the message Myung was leaving and didn’t tell him. I kinda sympathize with her… Isamu did toss her aside pretty quickly.
And the POV shot of Isamu falling backwards is really well-done.
8. Ha! When we get to Earth, there’s ANOTHER mention of the New Unified Government, as established thirty years previously. This is remarkably consistent with the original series… until we get to Frontier.
The Spaceport near Macross City is named after Global… does that mean he’s dead…? He’d only be 81 at this point…
Macross City itself has grown considerably over the last thirty years, and now looks like a true metropolis. The crisscrossing highway leading up to the Macross is, according to the This Is Animation Special for the Plus Movie Edition, based on Orlando, Florida.
And it should be clear to everyone that Marj has gone a little bonkers by this point, talking about his dreams being realized. To her credit, Myung kinda gives him a strange look, but it’s not until he murders Sharon’s owner, Mr. Reymond, that she KNOWS he’s a bonus disc and a director’s commentary short of a blu-ray box set.
Sharon, by the way, seems virtually omnipotent now, in that she can seemingly project herself anywhere, take over any computer system, somehow make cables move the way she wants them to… Some people complain about “magic” in Macross, but Sharon’s powers seem WAY more magical than, say, the floating rocks in Zero, or Walküre’s transformations.
9. Meanwhile, as anyone might have guessed, Isamu steals the YF-19 to interrupt the demonstration of the Ghost X-9. What IS surprising is that Jan is hanging out in the back seat, and I definitely love the bit where he stands up to Isamu and says that the 19 is not Isamu’s plane alone.
Honestly, as I said before, Isamu, as charming as he can be, kinda, is truly a self-centered, arrogant jerk, and it’s nice to see him get that flung back in his face for once.
They leave using the Fold Booster… but I thought that was experimental in Macross Seven, five years later…?
10. And, the first time I watched it, as the percussion for the ending theme began to fade in, I actually shouted at the TV, “NO! Don’t end here! DON’T END HERE!! DAMMIT!!” This really is the best cliffhanger in the entire series, and the fact that I was yelling at my TV is the best compliment I can give it, since honestly, I never do stuff like that.
So yes, a quieter episode than we’ve had, but man, does it build to its climax. The wait for the next episode was excruciating.