THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 105 – Cemetery

D7 Ep.2

MACROSS DYNAMITE SEVEN
EPISODE 2: Cemetery -CEMETERY-

ICONIC SCENE: The VF-5000 vs. the VA-3C.

STORY DATE: 2047

RELEASE DATE: February 25, 1998

1. Mylene has a completely different bass now… I wonder why? Did the old one get destroyed with the Mylene Valk and I just didn’t notice…? Or is it just because it no longer matches her wardrobe?

Anyway, while Mylene is getting depressed and screwing up her part, we see Basara getting rescued by having some pink goo launched at him. And then he’s in some kind of medical tank that looks very similar to the one Isamu was in in Episode 3 of Plus.

2. When we first see Elma here, she’s singing “Yume no Michi” (“Road of Dreams,”) which was the first song Yoshiki Fukuyama, singer for Basara, ever wrote, and one that he performs at every (non-Macross) concert he does (pretty much the ONLY stable feature of his live sets. Unless you see him at a specifically Macross gig, you never know what songs you’re going to get. It’s completely different every night). And in a surprise move, her motorcycle/truck thing turns out to be amphibious.

3. We meet Lawrence, a scientist studying the space whales, and who also obviously has a crush on Elma’s older sister Liza. It seems he’s trying to prove that the space whales are conscious beings, rather than just similar to plants, as is commonly accepted. Liza doesn’t really care, and I’m betting you don’t, either.

4. Gamlin doesn’t like seeing Mylene depressed, and goes off to find Basara in his brand-new VF-22 (in Diamond Force colors). I’m not sure I realized, the first time watching the series, that it indeed was a VF-22, and I remember being confused when I got the Hasegawa kit of the fighter, and it having decals and painting instructions for the “Gamlin Type.”

5. Basara leaves his hospital bed and comes back to Elma, but he’s clearly in really, REALLY bad shape. More so than the VT-1C battroid, which somehow made it back, although it seemed blown up pretty thoroughly last episode.

6. The next scene (and in fact, this whole subplot) seems to come out of nowhere. Mylene is filming a video for the song “Koi no Mahou” (“Magic of Love”), and ends up talking to some manger-type person, a woman named Sazapi. Why she’s with Mylene is never addressed in the series. Probably as far back as fifteen years ago, I read that there was a manga, called “Mylene Beat” that was supposed to explain all of this, and in 2008, I finally picked up a copy, and yes, it does. The manga is all about what happens to Mylene during Dynamite 7, focusing mostly on the time that this episode takes place. Sazapi is trying to get her to leave Fire Bomber and go solo (using the Jamming Birds girls as backup singers: “Mylene Jenius with Jamming Angels”), but the whole thing is a ruse: Sazapi is working together with Colonel Burton (remember him?) to create an EVIL series biological weapon/monster. Somehow, Mylene’s emotional states help feed the monster; the more extreme the emotions, the more it impacts the monster. After that, it kinda falls apart as a parallel story, but I’ll get into that next time. It’s a good manga, though, with very nice art by Mizuho Takayama, who also illustrated the Dynamite 7 novelization.

Anyway, the tasteless upshot here is that Sazapi ends up drugging Mylene and trying to rape her, which is the cliffhanger of the episode. This series is overall so sweet and charming that this subplot REALLY doesn’t fit. In the manga, it seems like Sazapi isn’t actually trying to rape Mylene, but rather just get the strongest emotional response she can… which ends up making the monster break its bonds and escape captivity. Honestly… yes, it’s an explanation of sorts, but it doesn’t really excuse the subplot, which never should’ve made it past the brainstorming stage.

7. The Zola Patrol’s VF-5000s fight the poachers’ VA-3Cs. While it’s cool to see some rather rare designs in action, the battle isn’t really all that impressive or memorable.

8. Then there’s the OTHER scene that makes people uncomfortable. Basara is infected with the bacteria from the space whales, so Elma carries him to a healing hot springs (incidentally, when first picking him up, she says, “I can’t move,” again paralleling Mylene’s current plight. I can see that the writers are trying to create a comparison between them… but again, I just can’t figure out what it’s supposed to mean). Anyway, Elma and Basara (and Graham, although they don’t know he’s there yet) all take a bath in the hot springs. This seems to bother a lot of (western) fans, although it’s not a prurient scene at all (and wouldn’t be at all out of place in rural areas of Japan… and Zola is indeed rural). I mean, yes, there’s nudity in this scene, and (technically, at least) there isn’t in the Mylene scenes, but the Mylene scenes seem leering and ugly, whereas this scene doesn’t. To me, at least. I don’t see anything sexualized about it.

9. Then we get one of the best scenes of the whole series, as Basara sings “Feel Universe.” Various shots of Zolan animals living and killing each other play out over the song. Yes, all very National Geographic/”Circle of Life” stuff, but the animals and the settings are drawn gorgeously, and the exoticness of the Zolan setting helps make it work. It’s lovely and a little shocking, because it doesn’t anthropomorphize the animals at all, or sugar-coat anything (I especially like the cute baby bears eating still-twitching fish, with blood dripping down their adorable little chins). And it sets up the ending, where Graham leads Basara to the graveyard of the whales.

10. Overall, I think is episode is better than the previous one. There’s more happening, we get to see more of Zola, and there are several new songs. The main storyline, involving the space whales, still fails to really grab me, but the episode is so gorgeous to look at, and has so many clever little moments, that that barely matters. The Mylene subplot nearly ruins it, but not quite.

ELSEWHERE IN 2047: In the game Digital Mission VF-X, some rogue Zentradi kidnap an idol group called the Milky Dolls, and it’s up to YOU to save them!

VF-X

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