EPISODE 49: A Singing Voice that Reaches Across the Galaxy
ICONIC SCENE: “Mountain! Galaxy! LISTEN TO MY SONG!!”
STORY DATE: February 2046
BROADCAST DATE: September 24, 1995
1. Well, here we are… the end. Sort of. It’s not really the end… there’s a lot more Macross 7 to come (and it seems like once you think you’ve found everything, there’s always still more, usually in audio-drama format. Or maybe in the pages of “Comic Bon-Bon” magazine, and never reprinted). But this is the end of the weekly TV series, and what a grand finale it is.
2. We begin with cross-cutting between Basara as a child trying to move a mountain with singing, and the attack on Battle 7. Interestingly, Max commands “pinpoint barriers at maximum!” and we see that the ship has at least nine of them. Something tells me they’re no longer controlled by shrieking girls with trackballs any more…
The fight on the planet’s surface is pretty fierce, from what we see of it. Gavil’s VF gets blown up for the last time and some VF-11s get destroyed, but the important thing is that Battle 7 gets hit too many times and Max commands everyone to abandon ship.
And then the entire Macross 7 Fleet folds to Varauta IV.
3. Docker’s VF-19 gets destroyed by Gavil. It seems like he dies, but we’ll find out he’s okay during the end credits. Kinryu and Physica were really the only main good guys who died during the series (and honestly, neither of them really count as main characters).
4. Oh hey, Milia has a VF-22 also! For the first time in the series, we see Max and Milia together in battle, and it’s glorious.
Meanwhile, their daughter gets hurt pretty badly, and her Valk is pretty much destroyed. So Veffidas has to create song energy through her drumming, which seems like it’s a difficult thing to do.
5. And Gamlin starts singing “Planet Dance” (badly) in an effort to wake Basara up. Mylene joins in, and then Basara’s mouth starts moving. He wakes up, and then we hear all the citizens of City 7 singing “Planet Dance” as well. Including the Flower Girl… making this the only time (in the show, at least) where we hear her speaking (er, singing) instead of gasping or sighing, as she usually does.
6. Geperunitchi’s body explodes with tentacles that destroy a bunch of ships and pull Zomd and Goram to their deaths. Thankfully, they never laugh at all during this episode.
But yeah, Geperunitchi is now a threat to all life in the galaxy, which not even he wants to be. Honestly, I think this is pushing things a little too far (which also will happen in Frontier). We’re invested enough in the fate of the present characters that a threat to them is strong enough… they didn’t need to make the threat SO all-encompassing.
7. So while Basara is attacking Geperunitchi directly, Mylene leads the Jamming Birds in the only effective singing they’ve done in this entire series. Even Max and Milia join in and start singing.
And again, it doesn’t work. Soon everyone is drained of spiritia, even Basara, and one of Geperunitchi’s tentacles smashes through the Fire Valk.
Only GaviGla and Sivil are left. And then Sivil starts singing “Power to the Dream.” And suddenly gains power.
8. Basara flashes back again to trying to move the mountain with his singing when he was a child, and starts singing “Try Again,” and creates new spiritia for himself. What follows is one of my favorite scenes in the entire show, as he shouts for the mountain and galaxy to listen to his song.
Seriously, the first time I watched the series, I didn’t enjoy it much. It seemed too silly, it was too meandering, the songs were repetitive, and Basara was beyond annoying. But then, with that line (“Yama yo! Ginga yo! ORE NO UTA WO KIKÉ!” i.e. “Mountain! Galaxy! LISTEN TO MY SONG!”) I smiled, and a part of me thought, “Good for him!” And suddenly, I got it. A little bit late, but the show got through to me. The next time I watched it was much less painful, and every time I’ve seen it since, I’ve liked it more (although, I admit, I never want to do this kind of episode-by-episode analysis for it ever again. For some of these episodes, it REALLY was not easy to come up with ten points of discussion).
9. The Fire Valk gets completely destroyed, but Basara is rescued by Sivil, they both sing “Try Again” to Geperunitchi, and even Geperunitchi starts singing. Again, this is all totally ridiculous. It’s also totally awesome, in pretty much exactly the same way that Hikaru rescuing Minmay in midair in episode 2 of the first Macross is ridiculous and awesome. No, it’s not “realistic,” but I don’t demand realism from giant robot cartoons. All I demand (and this is a much taller order, I think) is TO SEE SOMETHING AMAZING THAT I’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE, AND COULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED ON MY OWN.
10. And this show certainly delivers that.
In the end, Geperunitchi realizes he can create spiritia himself, and suddenly, the Protodeviln no longer have a need to hunt for it. From what he says, it seems like they’re leaving the galaxy, but sometime later, one of them (at least) will come back.
Sivil tells Basara she’ll never forget his song, everyone reunites, and Basara says “the galaxy is singing.” We see everyone picking up the pieces during the end credits (including discovering that Docker survived), and then the final card reads “to be Fire.”
Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore!
FINAL. When reviewing the original Macross, the contrarian point that I argued throughout is that Minmay really doesn’t deserve all the hate she gets from western fans. During this series, my contrarian point has been that the series as a whole doesn’t deserve the hate it gets from western fans. And boy, does it ever get a lot of hate. Is it perfect? No. The story could’ve been tightened up A LOT, and there’s much too much filler. But, honestly, I’ve never seen a four-cour anime (or even a THREE-cour, not even the original Macross, in the post-war section) that didn’t suffer from the same problem. A lot of longer series (like, say, nearly any ’80s mecha anime) usually start out strong, sag in the middle, and then either arrive at a strong ending or an incoherent ending. That’s just how it works. With Seven, each of the four climaxes is great and better than the last one, and the ending truly brings it all home in an immensely satisfying way. One thing that’s clear upon rewatching the series is that the staff definitely had everything planned out beforehand. Every set-up has a payoff, every payoff has been set up, and every mystifying reference gets revealed. On an episode-by-episode level, yes, it sometimes gets tedious or trite, but it’s still a very well-constructed show, one of the best I’ve ever seen. BOMBAA!!
THIS EPISODE’S GAVIL-ISMS: “Pillage beauty,” “frenzy beauty,” “combine beauty,” “the end of beauty,” “all beauty,” “overwhelming beauty,” “ultimate truth and beauty.”
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: Outside the hospital at the beginning, but the important point is when Basara leaves the hospital on his hang glider. She runs towards him with a really determined look on her face and throws him the bouquet. In a hilarious anticlimax, he catches it and just keeps flying. Forty-nine episodes of hard work and effort finally paid off, and she gets… very little out of it.
EYECATCH: A lot of Bridge Bunnies/Basara and Mylene