#11: MISSING BIRTHDAY
ICONIC SCENE: “Do you have a dream, Hikaru?”
STORY DATE: Mid-July to July 27, 2059
BROADCAST DATE: June 19, 2008
1. So after a week’s hiatus, the show is back, opening with a pretty racist Nyan-Nyan ad, now starring Ranka as the new Nyan-Nyan Girl, with, um, a Fu-Manchu mustache. And since “Tori no Hito~BIRD HUMAN” opened, it seems as though Ranka has definitely hit it big, with billboards all over the city. Interestingly, Megumi Nakajima, Ranka’s voice actress, said that it really WAS that sudden for her. As soon as she won the auditions for Ranka, from one day to the next, her life changed completely.
2. The episode’s title, of course, is a reference back to the original Macross episode, “Longest Birthday” (which itself was a reference to the WWII film, “The Longest Day”). And it’s worth noting that Macross 7 had a birthday episode as well. Although both of those were for the heroines… here, it’s (Princess) Alto’s birthday that’s coming up.
3. Oops. Sheryl has a small sneezing fit… and this is really the beginning of her personal journey. And just in case that didn’t set off any alarm bells, later on she nearly faints.
4. And Cathy hasn’t exactly broken up with Leon yet, but she’s agreeing to snoop around for Ozma, and earlier she seemed pretty sour while hanging with Leon, so… yeah. I think her mind is already made up, it’ll just take a little while for her to act on it (having been in Ozma’s place in a similar situation, I admire his forbearance and restraint here. He makes it seem so EASY…).
5. We also get the hint that Luca’s family is involved in technology, and extremely wealthy. He also mentions some “brothers,” who we’ll never see (although he has a cute older sister in the second Frontier movie).
Speaking of brothers, Alto’s brother, Yasuburo, shows up right after that. He tells Alto that their father collapsed, but is all right. However, he (Alto’s dad) wants Alto to visit him (Alto’s dad) on his (Alto’s) birthday, which, um, isn’t going to happen. Yasuburo’s theory that Alto is still playing a “role,” this time of a young man who rebels against his family, is kind of interesting, but nothing really gets made of it later in the series.
And they go up the scariest elevator ever and have coffee at the scariest café ever. Great view, though.
6. An interesting bit of Zentradi history gets brought up here (and then never addressed again, so far), that the Zentradi of Britai’s fleet who willingly supported humanity and the Zentradi who reluctantly joined later have split into two general factions, and are constantly at odds with each other, even now, at their third generation. Anyway, Klan and Nene are descended from Britai’s (and, I guess, Lap’Lamiz’s) fleet(s), whereas groups like the 33rd Marine Division (who Sheryl is going to entertain) are descended from less culture-shocked Zentradi.
7. Sheryl is incredibly thoughtful (towards Alto) and incredibly thoughtless (towards Ranka) here, as she’s talked to Ranka about Alto’s birthday (and in fact, wouldn’t have even known about it if it weren’t for Ranka) and knows that Ranka has something special planned… but later comes up with the idea to invite Alto as her escort to Gallia (or Gaul… but shown as “GALLIA” throughout this and the next episode) 4, so that he can fly in a real atmosphere. Which is indeed a better present than Ranka has planned (and of course it is: Sheryl’s a famous and rich pop star. Ranka isn’t (yet)). It still seem like a pretty big c***block from Sheryl, though (or, since she’s female, I guess it’s a c***block…?).
Interestingly, the DVD booklet counts this as one of the show’s homages, and it’s one I wouldn’t have thought of, nor one that I have seen anyone else mention: it’s referencing that most frustrating of episodes, 34 of the original series, “Private Time,” where Minmay asks Hikaru out on a date while Misa is waiting for him in vain. Misa made sandwiches and fed some of them to a dog. Ranka makes cookies and feeds some of them to Ai-kun. In that episode, Hikaru came off as a real douche, and Misa a doormat. Here, only Sheryl (in, ironically, the Minmay role, the only character in the original episode who came out with respect intact) really ends up looking bad.
8. And then there’s the famous line about Sheryl’s bust giving people “hopes and dreams.” I note that there was a photo posted on Macross World from Tokyo at the time, showing a display at a store of the Bandai model kits of the VF-25S, where they misspelled “Ozma” (“O-Zu-Ma”) as Obama (“O-Ba-Ma”), one character off, saying “ON SALE NOW: VF-25S Obama Type!” Hopes and dreams, indeed…
9. Conversely (again, according to the DVD booklet), Alto escorting Sheryl’s shuttle is an homage to Episode 24 of the original Macross, where Hikaru flew next to Misa’s shuttle for a while. So in a single sequence, we’ve got Sheryl representing both Minmay AND Misa, weirdly enough.
10. So yeah, Alto’s kinda stuck with a three-way dilemma (go with Sheryl to Gallia 4, hang out with Ranka, or have a long talk with his dad), but honestly, it’s not hard to figure out which one he’ll choose. I do feel bad for Ranka, though.
ED: “Cat’s Diary”
NUMBER OF TIMES RANKA SAYS “ALTO-KUN” THIS EPISODE: 11
AND TOTAL: 37
EYECATCH: A paper airplane and mopey Alto.
NEXT EPISODE: “Song of Departure, ring throughout the galaxy!”