EPISODE 19: A Life-Threatening Date
ICONIC SCENE: Action Hero, Orange Shirt
STORY DATE: July 2045
SCENARIO TITLE: SILENT CITY
BROADCAST DATE: February 26, 1995
1. Well, Sivil is now loose in the ship, sucking spiritia wherever she finds it. Again, the scene where she attacks the train driver is pure horror-movie territory.
Oh, and I’ve been meaning to point out… in the credits, the voice actress for Sivil is listed as just a question mark. I have no idea why they wanted to make it a mystery, but I’m positive that she’s played by Akiko Nakagawa, who also plays the Flower Girl. It’s hard to tell from the series itself, because the Flower Girl sighs and gasps a lot, but never actually speaks, but she (of all people) was the host of the Macross radio show that was running concurrently with the series. I haven’t come across any recordings of the complete show (it was mostly a talk show, as I understand it), but one of the features they ran was a series of audio dramas (released on CD as the “Macross 7 CD Cinema” series), and the Flower Girl is a main character there, and she WILL NOT SHUT UP. Anyway, her voice is virtually identical to Sivil, minus the little electronic tweaking that Sivil’s voice gets.
And, in case you’re interested, on the drama albums, the Flower Girl calls Basara “Nekki-san.” Which I guess is like being, say, a big Elvis fan but only ever calling him “Mr. Presley,” even when you’re just talking to yourself.
2. The next scene with Basara not only has a NEW piece of background music (which won’t show up until “Music Selection from Galaxy Network Chart Vol. 2” gets released), but there’s also, um, a poster of Droopy on the wall… Y’know, the cartoon dog…? Weird.
3. Anyway, yeah, Basara shows up on a talk show, and immediately starts playing. I have to say that I really like the “solo guitar” version of “Planet Dance.”
4. Okay, when people describe this show as confusing, the next scene with Sivil is the sort of thing that I think they’re talking about: some guy nearly hits her with his car, and a then a truck deliberately rear-ends that guy. A big dude who looks EXACTLY like Guld Goa Bowman gets out of the truck, extremely angry. She walks around, and we see people (with the pale skin that denotes “Zentradi” in this series) suddenly grow enraged and smash up their cars. No explanation is given. Yet.
And that’s true for PLENTY of things in this series. Mysteries are set up and teased for, in the original broadcast, weeks or even months before they’re resolved. I mean, we’re over a third of the way through the series, and we don’t even know who the bad guys are yet.
Ideally, this sort of mystery should be intriguing, but perhaps it just leaves too many loose threads for too long. I dunno.
On a second viewing, all becomes pretty clear, but I get the feeling that a lot of people got frustrated and never even made it through their first viewing. Some Japanese fans even apparently liken the show to Picasso’s “Guernica,” in that there are so many baffling little things in it that trying to piece together what the whole thing means becomes a difficult exercise.
(And then you see comments from people who have claimed to have watched the whole series, but then still don’t understand how Basara got his VF-19, or say that no explanation was ever given for the Supervision Army from the original series… that, I can’t account for. I guess they just weren’t paying attention…?)
5. And then the show takes an unexpected turn and becomes a Hollywood action picture, as a bunch of terrorists try to take over the city office, and Gamlin gets to become Bruce Willis in an orange shirt.
6. Also, this is probably one of Milia’s finest moments, and she confronts the terrorists totally fearlessly. While the series often treats Max and Milia in a more comedic fashion than the original series did, they both have their moments when they really shine here.
7. I gotta admit, though, that the interior of the city office looks more like Liberace’s Dream House than a government building.
8. Gamlin really does play the badass action hero part well. My favorite is him hiding on the ceiling of the elevator, but the whole sequence is excellent. There hasn’t been anything like it in Macross before, and it’s great.
9. And as great as this episode has been, it tops itself when Sivil arrives in the city office and takes out the terrorists. Freeze-framing some of the scenes shows her contorting into some, um, very non-human shapes, bending her arms like they’re elastic, and basically being an unstoppable attack machine. The scene is tense and exciting in a way that I wish the scenes with the vampires in earlier episodes were.
10. So yes, overall, the show is still pretty uneven, but it’s definitely hitting its stride more often than not. Part of that has to do with the structure of the show, but I’ll talk about that later.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: With a crowd of girls waiting for Basara to leave the TV studio. For once, she actually shows real initiative and runs past the security guards, but then bumps into some TV actor who thinks the flowers are for him and takes them.