EPISODE 28: New Sound Weapon
ICONIC SCENE: IRRITATION BEAUTY!
STORY DATE: October 2045
SCENARIO TITLE: SOUND BOOSTER
BROADCAST DATE: April 30, 1995
1. NEW CHARACTER BEAUTY! Hoo-boy… at the beginning of this episode, since Glavil has already been awakened, Geperunitchi (somewhat reluctantly) uses some newly-harvested spiritia to wake up Gavil. Gavil, as we’ll find out later, is actually part of Glavil. The two of them form one being. And Gavil, as we’ll find out almost immediately, is one of the most annoying villains in this or any other Macross series. Whether it’s his tendency to add the suffix “bi” (meaning “beauty”) at the end of nearly every word he says, or his tendency to get his robot blown up by Gamlin (but always escaping), or just the fact that he looks like he belongs in Elfquest rather than Macross, he will greatly overstay his welcome before the series is done.
There IS kind of a cool bit, though, when Gavil first wakes up and doesn’t recognize Geperunitchi, and Gepernitchi’s eyes go spacy and some eyes inside another ice mass light up and say, “It is I.” Again, baffling for first-time viewers, but on a repeat watch, I’m grateful that the staff obviously knew EXACTLY what the Protodeviln were and how they worked from the beginning of the series. Say what you will about Macross 7, but you can’t say they made it up as they went along. There’s too much foreshadowing and absolutely no contradictions in the backstory. The writers really know what they’re doing here, and while you could argue that they tease the audience for too many episodes, it’s clear they knew what the payoff would be.
Another new character gets introduced soon after: Colonel Burton of the Unified Forces. He’s a pain in the ass, too.
2. EXTRA PARTS BEAUTY! The “new sound weapons” of the title get introduced pretty quickly. The sound boosters, which are kind of like FAST packs for music. The problem with them is that they require a massive amount of Chiba Song Units (100,000… and remember that “average” was mentioned to be three or four hundred) for power. Don’t worry… Basara’s a passionate guy. He can do it.
3. UNRELEASED SONG BEAUTY! In rehearsal (during which Mylene is very obviously really steamed at Basara for not paying attention), we again her parts of a Mylene-sung “Planet Dance” that are not on the “duet version” from the “Let’s Fire!!” album. And this is kind of an ongoing thing: Chie Kajiura ends up singing a lot of Basara’s songs throughout the series, and none of them have been released anywhere. Considering just HOW MANY Macross 7 albums there are, I’m kind of surprised they didn’t cash in on that and release some kind of “Mylene Jenius Sings Basara Nekki” mini-album.
4. COMEDIC BEAUTY! I love the scene where Dr. Chiba and Colonel Burton are telling Ray and Mylene about the Sound Boosters while Veffidas practices, and Burton finally yells at her to stop playing.
5. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BEAUTY! I’ve seen plenty of people complain that Basara never grows and changes throughout the series, but I think that’s wrong. Here, he’s clearly shown struggling with what to do next, and really, the third part of the story (episodes 27-38) is all about Basara going on his own “journey through the underworld” as he tries to figure out why he’s singing anyway.
6. COINCIDENCE BEAUTY! And he immediately gets kidnapped by Gigil. And gets lost and runs into Sivil, still comatose and cocooned in a tree. He starts singing “My Soul for You” to her, but it won’t be too long before he writes an entirely new song to serenade her with.
7. REUNION BEAUTY! Glavil somehow regenerates from last episodes defeat (by draining a lake…? I guess…?), and then Gavil finds him, pointing out, “You are my flesh.” And thus begins the nattering on about “beauty” that will characterize his dialogue for the entire series.
8. FASHIONABLY LATE BEAUTY! Sound Force launches without Basara, reckoning he’ll show up eventually, but he’s got a captive alien audience now. He’s singing the acoustic “Totsugeki Loveheart,” which again only got released on an exclusive CD that you got if you bought early-bird tickets for the movie.
And yes, he does show up to the battle eventually.
9. REVERSAL BEAUTY! Basara gets so frustrated he actually fires his missiles again (blowing up Gamlin’s gunpod), and Gamlin, for once, tells him to sing. And Basara’s singing is powerful enough to enable the Sound Booster to work. In a sequence that we will see plenty of times over the next twenty-one episodes, the Sound Booster gets launched, transforms, and attaches to the Fire Valk. And that works, driving off Gavil and Glavil.
And the bit where Basara tells Gamlin to raise his hand, and then gives him a high five is one of my favorite scenes in the whole series.
10. CONCLUSION BEAUTY! So, yeah, a mixed bag here… although more for what it portends for the series than the contents of the episode itself.
Okay, I’ve been tiptoeing around it, because the series hasn’t revealed it yet, but I’ll be plain here: the Protodeviln designs don’t work for me. And indeed, Miyatake’s original designs for them (as seen in the Kazutaka Miyatake design book) are better than the final product. Invulnerable space demons? Sure, I’m fine with that. In fact, I think it’s awesome. But I wish they LOOKED as terrifying as they’re meant to be. As it is, the Protodeviln, as revealed, just get sillier and sillier. And Gavil really is intensely annoying. So much so that the fact that he’s one of the three Protodeviln to survive the series (and he’s even a featured player in FB7!) STILL kinda bothers me.
THIS EPISODE’S GAVIL-ISMS: “ferocious beauty,” “ultimate beauty,” “throbbing beauty,” “light beauty,” “ultimate beauty” (again), “intense beauty,” “know beauty,” “absolute beauty.”
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Getting into creepy stalker vibes, she’s actually waiting outside Basara’s apartment building. Just as he’s exiting the building, Dr. Chiba pulls up and thinks the bouquet is meant for him. She just shakes her head and runs off.