#07: FIRST ATTACK
ICONIC SCENE: “Rather abrupt!”
STORY DATE: 2059
BROADCAST DATE: May 15, 2008
1. The intro here explains the Macross Galaxy, mostly telling us stuff we already know (although we actually SEE it for the first time, and it looks nothing like any other Macross ship we’ve ever been shown), in that its main purpose is scientific and technological advancement. In a way, I think, this is kinda the Macross Zero conflict rearing its head again, in that Frontier is “natural” and Galaxy is “technological” (of course, just as in Macross Zero, it’s complicated by the fact that Frontier, while it has a lot of natural surroundings on board, is still completely technological and artificial itself).
2. During her mike chatter between songs, Sheryl says “Macrosspeed” (all one word), which was used in one of the trailers for Do You Remember Love (“Minmay: Macrosspeed!”).
And Ozma named his formations after Fire Bomber songs; the first one they execute is, of course, “Planet Dance.”
3. Luca’s Ghosts have rather Biblical names: Simon, John, and Peter. Simon Peter was John’s son, but I dunno… Luca himself is, of course “Luke,” so “Matthew” and “Mark” would seem to make more sense than Simon and Peter… Unless there’s some connection I’m not getting…
4. And Canaria busts out the Koenig Monster (from the game VF-X2), the only fully transformable destroid (although we won’t see its battroid form until the very end of this series). It’s got the rather ironic callsign of “Rabbit-1.”
5. When Sheryl is talking to Grace backstage, the camera lingers on Grace’s smile just a little TOO long… It’s slightly suspicious…
6. Okay, when the Vajra battleship defolds, I have to wonder… how does a Vajra battleship work? Is it alive in its own right, or does it have a Vajra crew piloting it? I’m guessing the former, although either idea strikes me as a little weird. Maybe it’s connected to a Vajra Queen, kinda the way Bodolzaa and Lap’Lamiz WERE their fortresses in Do You Remember Love…? That seems most likely.
7. Sheryl starts crying on stage and Ranka’s dress seems to kinda bunch up around her stomach and glow a bit. She shouts Sheryl’s name, which makes the latter’s earring glow. That, a bit later, makes the earring Alto has in his cockpit glow as well, and it seems like Sheryl’s singing reverberates through his immediate area, which makes the Vajra pause long enough for him not to get killed. On first viewing, this sequence was supremely odd.
A few years before Frontier, a then-fifteen-year-old May’n had released three (decidedly NOT “hit”) singles (under her real name, Mei Nakabayashi), all of which I had managed to track down by this point (it wasn’t easy, trust me). The second one, “Sympathy,” had a cover of the Madonna “classic,” “Papa Don’t Preach” as a B-side. Right after this episode aired (i.e. before we knew what the deal was with Ranka’s tummy), I got it into my head to cut a Frontier AMV to that song, editing it so that it looked like Sheryl was singing about Alto getting Ranka pregnant. I never ended up making it, though. And now it’s probably much too late.
8. Luca gets captured (or, “eaten,” as Ozma puts it) by the Vajra battleship, and Alto, not QUITE against orders, but not on anyone’s direction either, breaks in to rescue him. And he finds a bunch of already-killed Vajra. This of course is the handiwork of Brera, who makes his debut here (except in the opening, where at first, big surprise, I thought he was a girl). He remains mostly hidden throughout this episode, although he does step in to help Alto free Luca’s Valk (and we also see “Slave Mode,” where someone can hook up a VF to their own EX-Gear and control it directly with body movements, which is kind of a cool innovation).
The thing that’s strangest about Brera right now, though, is the fact that on the fold back to wherever he came from, he pulls out a harmonica and plays “Aimo,” which only Ranka is supposed to know. It’s even weirder when you realize (as we’ll see later) the fact that he’s actually wearing a flight helmet and only a hologram makes it appear that he’s not, so playing the instrument should’ve been impossible (a fact that apparently eluded at least a few Delta viewers, who complained that the Aerial Knights don’t wear helmets. Like much of the Delta “magic,” the technology has already been presented; it’s just a matter of putting two and two together).
9. The Macross Quarter undergoes a transformation, and so does its helmsman, Bobby. Now the fact that the Quarter transforms isn’t a surprise, but seeing the amount of pure MOTION that it has sure is. After the original Macross and Battle 7, neither of which were terribly agile or mobile, seeing a Macross ship (even a small one like the Quarter) spin and twirl like a battroid is something of a shock.
And Bobby, who, as I’ve mentioned before, has been rather outrageously effeminate so far in the series, ties a headband on and suddenly becomes rather outrageously MACHO, shouting deep-voiced battle cries, and controlling the ship with his mighty thews. As soon as the battle’s done, his girlish charm returns.
10. So this episode was storyboarded by Kawamori himself, and it’s an excellent battle episode (in any Macross series, is there an episode that focuses on a big battle that actually LOOKS BAD…? If so, I can’t think of one. Even the combat-centered Macross 7 episodes are remarkably fluid and adept). A few mysteries get introduced, and the might of the SMS is displayed, especially through the use of the Monster and the Macross Quarter (weirdly, Pixie Team is there in their Queadluun-Rheas at the beginning, but then quickly vanish from the episode). As I said, I think the Vajra battleships are a little unconvincing (or at least I wish they’d been explained better), but other than that, no complaints. A thoroughly compelling episode.
NUMBER OF TIMES RANKA SAYS “ALTO-KUN” THIS EPISODE: 3
AND TOTAL: 16
NEXT EPISODE: “Song of Havoc, ring throughout the galaxy!”