#18: FOLD FAME
ICONIC SCENE: “I don’t want to see something like that happen to Minmay…”
STORY DATE: 2059
BROADCAST DATE: August 7, 2008
1. The confrontation we ended on last time doesn’t go well for Sheryl, as Grace pretty much tosses her aside and tells her that she’s going to die. I think Grace underestimates how resilient Sheryl is, though, and if she says that Sheryl is just a manufactured pop idol (totally true, by the way), then Sheryl is just going to… grow into something more.
(All this gets addressed in a really interesting way on the second Frontier drama album, which also got adapted as a manga, in which Sheryl’s history with Grace gets told, and [SPOILER ALERT!!] Grace finds herself loving Sheryl too much to actually cause her harm, and so actually REPROGRAMS HERSELF to not care about her.)
2. We’ve got another new opening this week, “Lion,” a duet between Megumi Nakajima (Ranka) and May’n (Sheryl). It’s one of the best songs in the series. The single was originally planned for release a few weeks before, but got pushed back until after this episode aired. Fans who had gone to the Tokyo gig a few weeks before, though, had already heard it.
And just to show you how far the music execs will go to make you buy EVERY SINGLE CD… just as “Sagittarius 9PM Don’t be late” was on the “Diamond Crevasse” single in its studio form, but on the first album as part of a “live” medley (i.e. fake crowd noise is placed over the track), “Lion” wasn’t even ON the second soundtrack album, and the version of “Northern Cross” had a different ending. Then later the Macross Frontier Vocal Collection came out, which has both songs, but “Northern Cross” is a THIRD version, with ANOTHER different ending. If you are the type of fan (like, *ahem* your humble narrator…) who wants to have every version of every track, you need to get all the singles as well as all of the albums.
The new opening titles have a lot of reused footage from the show, but digitally manipulated (moved around, combined with other scenes, changed color palette) so that it looks at least somewhat new. Of particular note among the new artwork in it is a shot of Battle Frontier in “Storm Attacker Construction,” which we haven’t yet seen in the series (and won’t, until near the very end).
There’s also one but where the names “RANKA LEE” and “SHERYL NOME” come up, written out in Roman letters. In the televised version, it initially said “SHERYL NORM,” but this was fixed in later episodes and for the DVD and blu-ray.
(Although, as you can see in the “iconic scene,” they failed to fix Sheryl’s name on the CD cover.)
3. Luca seems to have pretty much gone over to helping out Leon and Grace, even creating a plan for them (“Operation Cinderella’s Horn”) using Ranka as its center.
4. The government decides to perform a long-range fold six months before schedule. There isn’t enough energy for this, really, so the city is basically going to war-time status: strict energy conservation, suspension of commercial activities, and food and water rationing.
5. As Bobby points out, there will also be pre-fold clearance sales Among the things we see, as shown above, are Sheryl’s album with a 50% off sticker covering a 30% off sticker. The album, by the way, is called “Snow and Dew.”
6. Klan gets back to Michel about the medicine, and they dig pretty deep into the V-Type Virus, finding a thesis written about it twelve years before by Dr. Mao Nome, with assistance from Dr. Ranxue Mei and Dr. Grace O’Connor.
Mao, we’ve met already. Ranxue is Ranka’s mom, of course, and Grace… well, that’s some career jump, from bacteriological scientist to celebrity management…
(About Ranxue, though… the fact that she looks a lot like Sheryl, but with green hair, and that her name is pronounced “Ran-She” (i.e. “RAN-ka and SHE-ryl”) is pretty stunningly obvious, but doesn’t lead anywhere. And if it’s meant to be a red herring, it’s one they never really capitalize upon.)
Then they find a report from six years prior on an actual patient, and of course it’s Sheryl.
7. Who, by the way, is getting worse and worse very quickly. In the episode commentary in the book “2059 Memories,” Kawamori mentions that he thinks scriptwriter Hiroyuki Yoshino “had a lot of fun torturing Sheryl,” and he really does give her a wretched time here, far darker and deeper than any other character in the show gets (yes, even Michel).
And I mentioned before the scene in Episode 8 where Ranka’s TV appearance get cancelled and she’s shown, sad and upset, surrounded by images of Sheryl. That scene gets its mirror here, as Sheryl, depressed and ill, is surrounded everywhere by Ranka posters.
8. Sheryl thinks Alto finds her, but it’s really Alto’s brother (this MAY be an homage to scene, in the first Macross Episode 21, where Minmay is rescued by Kaifun but sees Hikaru for a moment, but it’s not in the DVD booklet. However, there it mentions that the whole subplot about Sheryl losing popularity is meant as a reference to post-war Minmay).
9. The Vajra attack, and again, as of last episode, the only effective weapon against them is Brera’s gun. Until they (FINALLY) bring out Battle Frontier and have it fire its main cannon, which is pretty darn spectacular. They fold away, ostensibly eluding the Vajra at long last, but as we know (and as the show reminds us here) there are still a whole bunch of Vajra eggs aboard the ship.
10. Sheryl’s story becomes the most compelling thing here, and it drove the Sheryl shippers into a frenzy at the time. I would say that no one actually thought she was going to die, except that apparently a lot of people did. To me, it seemed like just, y’know, science fiction storytelling as usual: “give someone an incurable disease and then cure it,” but again, that’s me. I think that while Macross sometimes gets dark, it never gets completely bleak. But yeah, the series as a whole, while still relatively “light” (gotta love Cathy going wild during the clearance sale…) continues its drift into deeper and murkier waters as we get near the end.
ED: “Northern Cross”
NUMBER OF TIMES RANKA SAYS “ALTO-KUN” THIS EPISODE: 0
AND TOTAL: 64
EYECATCH: Sheryl singing “Aimo.”
NEXT EPISODE: “Song of Yearning, ring throughout the galaxy!”