EPISODE 44: Nightmare Invasion Plan
ICONIC SCENE: Blue Gazer!
STORY DATE: February 2046
SCENARIO TITLE: Varauta Invasion Plan
BROADCAST DATE: August 20, 1995
1. Ah, the arming of the Valks… this scene is really well done, cutting back from speeches and personal preparation to show missiles and ammo getting loaded onto the Valkyries.
(More interesting Japanese in romaji script on the screen: their destination is “GEPE’s ROOM – this is the most suspicious room. Because it’s a mystery, no one controls it.” The map for the “Spilitia [sic] Pool,” showing where the Protodeviln are sleeping, also gives away the names of the last two, who we’ll meet in a few episodes.)
2. Uh-oh… Mylene wants to talk to Gamlin about the diamond ring, but he says “Let’s talk about it after the operation.” Later, his good luck charm from Mylene breaks. Death flags are beginning to fly for him…
3. Basara and Gamlin’s encouragement to each other turns into a real pissing contest, as Mylene watches in befuddlement.
4. The attack is supposed to be completely stealthy, but Geperunitchi picks them up instantly. Seriously, this mission really IS doomed for failure. Even if they get the reaction warhead into the chamber where the Protodeviln are sleeping, it won’t kill them.
5. Max asks about “Blue Gazer,” saying that if the force is reduced to less than ten percent of their ability, he’ll initiate it. Since there are twelve groups of (I think) three Valks each, that basically would mean that the equivalent of eleven of the groups would have to get wiped out or otherwise thwarted. Yikes.
6. The launch itself is pretty great, as the Valks are inside huge booster rockets that open up after the enter the atmosphere. Most of the VF-11s naturally get taken out pretty quickly, first by the defense beams, then by running into the canyon wall, then by running into Gavil and Glavil. Sound Force, just as naturally, avoids the nominally safer canyon route, flying high and dodging the beam attacks. And Basara is singing a new song, “Light the Light.”
7. When they go back to the stealth frigate, and everyone’s reporting that many of the units are unable to proceed, they show the captain’s chair… which is empty.
And that’s because Max is FINALLY back in the pilot’s seat. They tease his fighter for a while before revealing that it’s a VF-22 Sturmvögel, which is mostly the same as a YF-21 but without quite as many brain controls.
And thus begins one of the most legendary Macross action scenes ever, as Max navigates the ice cave. Again, the filler of Episodes 39 and 41 would have been problematic if it didn’t pay off in scenes like this.
8. And as he’s done at least five times before, Gamlin attaches that orange thing to his gunpod and fires, but this time it doesn’t work. Then Gavil dives at Mylene, but it’s feint. He turns around and apparently kills Gamlin.
And if you watch the scene closely, you will see that there is no way Gamlin could’ve escaped.
9. And Max gets in there and deposits the warhead. At the last possible second, Geperunitchi folds it out and in front of the stealth frigate, killing everyone who isn’t already on the planet, and effectively stranding the survivors.
AND VEFFIDAS SPEAKS! FOR THE THIRD TIME: “Mylene, right now, you’d just get in the way.”
10. This is the first Macross 7 episode that’s virtually all battle, and it’s astonishing. Really excellent stuff. A lot of the show’s detractors dislike Macross 7’s lack of “realism,” despite the fact that “a realistic show about planes that turn into robots” is an oxymoron from the get-go. HOWEVER… I think what they really mean is not realism, exactly, but a sense of seriousness, especially in the mecha scenes. Ichiro Itano, in the original series and Plus (and again in Zero) could animate scenes with a seriousness and attention to detail that can even convince one that even something as ridiculous as the mid-air catch of Minmay is somehow plausible. This episode captures that. The mecha scenes are gorgeous and utterly convincing. And the fact that the heroes try their last-ditch strategy and LOSE… Well, that’s just awesome.
That said… I wonder if the DVD has changed the “next episode preview” from the original, because I distinctly remember that they showed that Gamlin had survived on the VHS tape, but he’s nowhere to be found here on the DVD.
THIS EPISODE’S GAVIL-ISMS: “Annihilation beauty,” “action beauty,” “explosion beauty, fire beauty, light beauty” (that’s all one line), “learning beauty,” “battle beauty,” “beauty,” “destruction beauty.”
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Sitting in the empty concert hall, looking very pensive and sad.