MACROSS SEVEN ENCORE
EPISODE 1: ON STAGE
ICONIC SCENE: Basara’s first known photograph.
STORY DATE: Who knows? It could happen at any time in the later part of the series… or even after the series has concluded.
RELEASE DATE: December 18, 1995
1. So, about three months after Macross 7 the series ended (and on the same day that Vol. 11 of the TV series came out on home video), this two-episode compilation was released (the Japanese video store I went to never got it, so it was much longer before I saw them). The episodes, as far as I’ve been able to discern, are TV episodes that were never broadcast, but I’ve found nothing about WHY they weren’t shown on TV, or why they were later released. However, they do seem to belong together, if only because taken as a whole, they tell the entire story how all the members of Fire Bomber met.
And Veffidas has one line in each episode, giving her five lines total in the show.
And they have the official endorsement of Mylene’s voice actress, Tomo Sakurai, in a TV ad which proclaims, “The encore is fun!” And yeah, for the most part, it is.
2. So it begins with a crowd’s voices shouting for an encore, and then cheering wildly when the credits start. Other than that, it seems like any other episode. Fire Bomber is performing “Totsugeki Loveheart.” Except it turns out that it’s just a clip from a talk show called “Coffee Break,” even though the hosts all have juice in front of them, rather than coffee. As the camera pulls out, we see that Akiko is one of the guests… has she really sunk so low…?
Also as the camera pulls out, we see a stagehand working on the set, which immediately lets us know how cheap and tacky this show is going to be. He rushes off and one of the hosts says, “Well, it’s a live broadcast… these things happen.”
3. Then it all pulls back further, and it turns out that Miho Miho, clearly on her day off, is watching the show while pigging out on cookies.
Back on the show, we get an awful, cheap dramatization of Fire Bomber’s history. Seriously, whatever American “docudrama” shows you’ve seen that dramatize events, they are nowhere near as badly done as their Japanese equivalents (there was one that I would watch occasionally about crime in America that was so no-budget and terrible that I simply couldn’t tear myself away from it). And this really is a totally spot-on parody of such shows.
Away, right from the beginning, we’ve got some wonkiness, since they first talk about Ray’s old Valkyrie trio, the Pink Pecker Team, mentioning the date as 2030… which would make Ray about thirteen years old then…? That can’t be right…
4. Other than that, the dramatization seems to be fairly close to what we saw in flashbacks in the series: Ray’s friend (and Akiko’s fiancé) Stefan was killed, Ray became a wandering drunk, and met Basara, who was then still a child. According to the flashbacks, though, it wasn’t in a town, and it wasn’t snowing.
Akiko’s not sure how accurate the portrayal is, but the pompous music critic cuts her off and starts explaining Ray and Basara’s feelings. I love the fact that this guy is talking like he knows them personally, and yet we’ve never seen him ever before. The episode doesn’t come out and SAY that he’s full of shit, but that’s definitely the implication.
5. We cut to the real Ray, who’s frying up some rice and vegetables, wearing a cute apron with a cat on it. Then Mylene comes in wearing a World War I aviator’s headgear.
This episode is so weird.
6. Miho’s reduced to tears, but it’s unclear whether it’s the show that moved her, or the fact that she ran out of cookies. Luckily, Sally shows up with extra snacks.
Throughout all of this, Veffidas has been drumming on the rooftop on a building. Then Basara walks on and picks up his guitar.
7. A reporter visits the area where Basara apparently grew up, and finds out very little except that, yeah, he lived there, and yeah, he used to sing to mountains.
Then we get Ray’s ACTUAL flashback (again), which looks nothing like the dramatization. In fact, while the overall tale is close, pretty much every detail of the dramatization turns out to be wrong (big surprise).
8. And VEFFIDAS SPEAKS AGAIN! When she defeats a Zentradi guy in hand-to-hand combat, and he says, “I’ve always loved you,” she replies, without looking back, “Me too.”
9. And yes, the whole thing ends with a “Let It Be”-style rooftop show. Director Tetsuro Amino is an avowed Beatles fan, and so this is VERY deliberate. So much so that he’d re-use the idea seventeen years later in Macross FB7.
10. So yeah… after the dizzying heights of the final episodes of the series and then the movie, this is kind of a let down. At the same time, the script is clever and fun, and the satire of daytime Japanese talk shows is merciless. A nice example of how good writing can rescue a really mediocre-looking episode.
FLOWER GIRL SIGHTING: In the crowd at the beginning, watching Fire Bomber perform. Later, running to catch the rooftop concert.
EYECATCH: The female reporters from throughout the series/Gubaba