#16: RANKA ATTACK
ICONIC SCENE: “Skull Leader to all units…”
STORY DATE: 2059
BROADCAST DATE: July 24, 2008
1. According to the DVD booklet, the title of this episode is a reference to (the otherwise unacknowledged) Macross II, with its “Minmay Attack.” Of course, the Minmay Attack is also mentioned in Macross 7…
2. I think the implication with Birla is that he’s supposed to be kind of an otaku type. His servants are dressed as French maids, and he’s into trains. A couple of years before, there was an immensely popular story (that, weirdly enough, started as a 2chan post) called “Densha Otoko” (“Train Man”), about an otaku falling for a “normal” woman. Thus, I think, the trains here are shorthand for that. And, let’s face it, as the owner of SMS, he also has the galaxy’s best collection of Macross toys ever. We’ll also find out much later that he’s a Minmay fanboy. And “Maid Cafés” were definitely a “thing” by this point. It’s also interesting that even though he’s an old man, he refers to himself as “boku,” the form of “I” or “me” generally used by young boys.
In general, though, he reminds me most of Isaac from Escaflowne, in that he’s the mysterious old guy who watches everything, his eyes occasionally widening in surprise, and saying “OHHHHHH…”
3. Having Brera as a bodyguard, especially in class, seems to be a big problem for Ranka. I’m assuming that, although no one mentions it, his “chest window” outfit is rather distracting (seriously, between the show and the movies, Brera has THE WORST fashion in Frontier, and probably in all of Macross. Yes, it’s worse than Kaifun’s purple suit).
4. Ranka, now with government backing, is seeing her career rise amazingly, even as it’s turning her into someone she doesn’t necessarily want to be, as symbolized by “Aimo” (which is, again, the only memory she has of her childhood) getting turned into a nationalistic, militaristic anthem.
5. And as Ranka’s star is on the rise, Sheryl’s is on the wane. She escapes the hospital and gets found by Alto just before she passes out. I said before that I think Sheryl becomes such a great character that she kind of outgrows the series itself, and here’s where it starts.
6. There’s the experiment here, testing Ranka’s singing on Vajra behavior. When I first saw the show, I thought Grace had put certain frequencies or something into “Aimo OC” that would affect the Vajra in specific ways, but no, the truth (as we’ll find out at the end) is much simpler than that (just like in Do You Remember Love, where WHAT song it was turned out to be totally irrelevant, any love song would’ve done).
7. Klan brings up the Protodeviln, which again seems to go against what Ozma and Bobby say in FB7, that the situation with the Macross 7 Fleet and Fire Bomber is not well-known. Although I’m guessing that most of FB7 had already happened by this time, so maybe they just know NOW…?
8. The experiment works completely. Ranka sings “Aimo,” and the Vajra stop attacking, allowing everyone to just pick them off. This is also the first mention of a voice (in this case, of course, Ranka’s) emitting a “fold wave,” which is how the Vajra can “hear” her. Vocal fold waves will of course be a major part of Delta.
9. And, at the end, we get the great exchange where Monica compares Ranka to Minmay. Bobby interjects with, “That’s too old-fashioned! You mean like Basara-sama, right?” And Ram mutters, “That’s STILL old-fashioned…” Time marches on…
Oh, and we also get the new ending theme, “Northern Cross,” which is a wonderful, dramatic Sheryl song. Strangely, the new ending credits have a fair amount of live-action dancing (by May’n, singing voice for Sheryl) along with shots of some of Risa Ebata’s pencil sketches of Sheryl.
10. This one really has the feeling of a transitional episode, as Ranka becomes a tool for Grace and Leon, and Sheryl’s illness gets worse. And a sort of sick, grotesque feeling permeates the episode, especially the battle, because of the revamping of “Aimo” from a tender song into something much harder and uglier. We’re entering the final stretch here, and things are about to get a lot worse, from nearly every conceivable angle.
Oh, and the day after this episode aired, July 25, 2008, the first DVD and blu-ray for the series came out, featuring Episode 1. JUST Episode 1. In three different versions. So finally, as the series broadcast is getting near its conclusion, everyone could see the complete version of the first episode.
And then, two days after THAT, on July 27, the first Macross Frontier concert (“Macross Frontier Debut! Ranka Lee with Sheryl Nome”) was held at Zepp Tokyo in Odaiba. That show has never been released in full, although a ten-minute “digest version” is on the “Live at Budokan” DVD. I wasn’t there, but I’ve been to Zepp Tokyo, which is a very nice concert venue that holds about a thousand people (I kinda wish it had seats, though. It’s standing-only). I think the important point of this concert was the debut of “Lion,” which hadn’t turned up in the series yet. There’s also a funny exchange where Hiroshi Kamiya (Michel) asks Yuichi Nakamura (Alto) which girl he likes better. Nakamura hems and haws for a while, saying one and then the other angering, alternately and very vocally, the Sheryl and Ranka fans in audience, before finally saying, “I like Cathy.”
ED: “Northern Cross”
NUMBER OF TIMES RANKA SAYS “ALTO-KUN” THIS EPISODE: 2
AND TOTAL: 61
EYECATCH: Ranka Kira! with the SMS Theme.
NEXT EPISODE: “Song of Destiny, ring throughout the galaxy!”