EPISODE 23: SOUND FORCE
ICONIC SCENE: “Kisu…”
STORY DATE: September 2045
BROADCAST DATE: March 26, 1995
1. Well, this is it… the episode where the staff says, “Fuck it… LET’S ROCK!” If you’re still iffy about Macross 7 for not being “gritty” enough, this is likely where you’ll lose all patience with the show and give up.
2. I mean… not immediately. It begins fairly normally, with Fire Bomber giving a concert and playing “Planet Dance,” and Sivil working her way through the crowd, drinking the audience’s spiritia.
Oh, and I just want to point out that that there’s a ramen shop shown in an early part of the episode that totally makes me homesick for Tokyo.
3. And this is where we more-or-less get an answer about why Basara has a VF-19. Ray and Max are talking about how it’s time to try out “Sound Force.” Max already knows about this and has made all the preparations. Just as, we can infer, he did for Basara many months ago. Yes, the whole idea was Ray’s, but everything was set up by Max, including get a custom VF-19. Now exactly WHY Max decided to support this venture is still an open question… Maybe he just trusted Ray to know what he was doing…?
Anyway, this detail seems to fly past many of the show’s detractors… I’m guessing either they never got this far, or they didn’t stop to put the pieces together.
4. Additionally, we get more info about the enemy… Exsedol recognizes Sivil as a “Protodeviln,” who “make Zentradi lose their minds” (explaining those road rage incidents and terrorist acts we saw a few episodes ago). Naturally, he also says it’s forbidden to say anything more, meaning it’ll be a while before we get more answers, but he’s clearly terrified. This is a guy who was there when the Bodol Main Fleet attacked, so his fear should not be taken lightly.
5. Next we get another plot thread revived from a previous episode as the Macross 5 Fleet contacts the Max. Now, before (in Episode 20), it was shown very briefly, not identified, but marked by Geperunitchi as part of his plan. For first-time viewers, since the scene was so quick and subtle, I doubt there was anyone who would’ve connected that scene with this one. On a repeat viewing it’s clear: Macross 5 is already marked for doom.
Anyway, Macross 5 (which is a fleet manned completely by Zentradi, although they never come out and say this here) has found a habitable planet, which they’ve named “Lux,” and they invite the Macross 7 Fleet to come by and replenish supplies. Oh, and they want to see a Fire Bomber concert, too.
6. Basara is completely okay with Sound Force being sponsored by the Unified Forces, thinking they’re beginning to come around to his way of thinking.
7. And then the first real confrontation between Basara and Sivil happens. It’s a weird scene, but very dynamic. She flies to Basara but can’t reach him because of some barrier (that looks to be surrounding HER rather than him). It’s kind of Dragonball Z style, in that the area around them starts getting destroyed from all the power they’re throwing off, and yet they remain unmoved.
Until, finally, with a shout of “Ecsta!” (despite what Central Anime’s fansubs say, she never says “ecstasy”), she breaks through and kisses Basara. A kiss so hot that it breaks Basara’s glasses, knocks over the Fire Valk, and rips all of Sivil’s clothes off. Unfortunately (I guess), it also drives her away (and into some kind of coma, as we’ll see later). Basara is left lying on the ground, completely dazed.
Damn, man. We should all be so lucky.
8. Basara being too weak to pilot himself, Mylene takes him out in the Fire Valk when the enemy attacks the city, and passes (barely) her final test for Sound Force: she doesn’t fire any missiles (although she does hit one of the Elgezorenes with WAY too many speaker pods).
Additionally, the Basara/Mylene duet gauges so high on the spiritia/Chiba Song Unit chart (I’m assuming that “Chiba Song Units” are essentially the same thing as what the Varauta forces have been measuring) that it forces the Elgezorenes to retreat.
9. And then, to the solemn strains of Yoko Kanno’s “National Anthem of Macross” from Plus, we finally see Sound Force: THREE candy-colored Valks with faces!
(And again, all of the “gritty, hardcore” people finally shout “Screw this!” and turn the TV off.)
Again, I came to the series sometime in ’96, and I had already bought all the model kits, so I was surprised when it took this long for Mylene to get a Valk. I’m also sorry no one ever made a kit of Ray and Veffidas’s VF-17T (the so-called “Storm Valkyrie,” apparently).
The big problem of course is with Mylene’s Valk, since it’s not an adapted VF-11C, it’s an adapted VF-11MAXL, which to this day, no one has ever seen (although I’ve seen at least one fan-made idea of what it would look like). It seems like it’s basically as VF-11 with delta wings…? Perhaps…? Anyway, yeah, it’s kinda weird to see a variant of something whose original we never saw.
10. So yes, very, VERY important episode as we prepare for the climax of the second “cour” of the series. The story really has a lot of balls in the air, and this episode goes through a lot of them, as though checking off plot boxes.
When I was first watching this raw with a friend, he figuratively threw up his hands at Sound Force, and I kinda can’t blame him. But really, at this point, it seems like kind of a natural development… and isn’t everyone’s complaint about Macross 7 that it’s the same thing over and over? Well, here’s something different, for sure…
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: In the audience at the beginning of the episode. And in the crowd at the end.