EPISODE 45: The Ambition of Planet 4
ICONIC SCENE: Captain Milia!
STORY DATE: February 2046
SCENARIO TITLE: Varauta Escape Plan
BROADCAST DATE: August 27, 1995
1. We pick up pretty much exactly where we left off. Basara and Max are surrounded, and the other survivors have no place to go. It isn’t too long, though, before we realize that Gamlin is probably still alive.
2. Geperunitchi meets them face-to-face, and Irina Hayakawa greets him as “Advisor Gunther,” explaining that Gunther was with the Varauta expedition that first awakened the Protodeviln. All of this will get a closer look in the Macross 7 P*L*U*S short, “Spiritia Dreaming,” but as of this episode’s airing, that release was still another month away.
3. Geperunitchi explains the Spiritia Farm for anyone who hasn’t caught on yet: the Protodeviln will drain people’s spiritia, Basara will sing to the people, regenerating the spiritia, and the process can start again. Basara tries to approach (I don’t want to say “attack”) Geperunitchi, who throws a glowing ring at him that makes him lose his voice.
Well, there goes their best chance for escape…
4. Does Geperunitchi remember being Gunther…? It seems like he does…
5. Mylene sings “Kimi ni Todoke” to distract the soldiers, while Gubaba sneaks into the control room. I know he can be incredibly helpful at times, but this seems extraordinary.
6. And then, yes, a hand comes out of the snow, and Gamlin’s not dead!
I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I thought that killing him off was a pretty ballsy move, one which this episode undoes. It also fits his character story: he ends up sacrificing himself so that Basara can sing, something he never would’ve done when the series started. It completes him as a character.
On the other hand, he’s one of the best characters in the show, and it’d be a shame to lose him with several episodes still to go.
It IS too bad that they didn’t have anyone else they could’ve killed off and had it feel meaningful, but I honestly can’t think of who would fit that role. For a show with such a huge cast, the amount of characters here who really MATTER is pretty small.
7. Damn, we’re nearing the end of a really good episode, and then Gavil has to show up and almost ruin it. He’s in way too many episodes.
8. The big reveal comes next, as we finally find out what happened to the citizens of Macross 5. They’re all spiritia-drained in some kind of honeycomb-like prison. It’s absolutely massive, and pretty creepy.
In a great move, Gamlin hits Gavil with the spiritia-draining beam. It doesn’t kill him (and probably can’t, or else I’m sure Gamlin would’ve), but it sure does a number on him.
9. Did I say that honeycomb prison was creepy? It gets creepier, after Basara revives everyone and their spiritia just gets drained again. It still makes me shiver a bit. It’s probably the agonized screams.
10. Another great episode, and a fitting end to this three-part story. The animation is pretty stiff (lots of panning shots of still scenes, a lot of them silent – a sure sign of padding out an episode and cutting corners) and the art (especially for the mecha) is a little off-model, but having a good script helps ease that. Unfortunately, I can’t be as kind about the next episode.
THIS EPISODE’S GAVIL-ISMS: “Capture beauty,” “obedience beauty,” “destruction beauty,” “revenge beauty.”
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: The episode proper opens with her, still standing and waiting, looking very sad, and listening to “Spiral Answer.”