And here we are, now roughly three-quarters of the way through Delta. The first DVD/blu-ray is out, as is the first Walküre album. The second single is due out this week. The Bandai transformable kit of Hayate’s late, lamented VF-31J is out, and the Hasegawa kit of the VF-1EX will be out soon. The merchandising machine is cooking along nicely.
The show? Well, that’s something of a different story. After the spectacle of Episode 13, which could very well rank among the greatest Macross TV episodes of all time, I suppose nearly anything would be a let down. But the following six episodes have been especially slow and talky, yet without solving many of the mysteries that still hover over the series.
Now, of course, it’s too early to tell if this is going to be a problem or a wrong direction or anything. I mean, if we don’t yet know the destination, we can’t very well say that they’re taking the wrong route to get there, can we? On the other hand, while I’m still definitely enjoying the show, I’m not enjoying the second half (so far) as much as I enjoyed the first half. But for all I know, this could all be necessary set-up, and everything from here on out is going to bring it all together brilliantly. Or it could end up being a huge mess. We’ll find out over the next six or seven weeks, won’t we?
Anyway, it’s clear that everything is leading back to the Windermerian War of Independence seven years prior, and Hayate’s father’s role in it. We’ll see where it goes…
In the show’s favor, the music remains great (I was a little iffy about the second opening at first, but it’s grown on me), and the characters remain endearing. You can see all of this most clearly, I think, in Episode 16, about Freyja’s birthday. It’s a fun, utterly charming episode, with some serious undertones. And even the most recent episode, despite being mostly an info-dump/slideshow, has a good time revisiting previous Macross series.
The sales of the Walküre album (reaching Number One on the daily charts and Number Two on the weekly) are promising, as are the DVD/BD sales. Sales aren’t as great as they were for Frontier, but that was an anomaly. Two things really nice about the DVD: first, there are official subtitles on it, and unlike the main fansubs, they’re actually REALLY GOOD. Second, we finally get a complete version of Episode 1. No real surprises with it, if you’ve seen both Mission 0.89 and Mission 1, you know what to expect. Still, I would STRENUOUSLY recommend fans (especially fans outside of Japan) to buy it. Putting the subs on it is something we want to REWARD them for, and we want them to keep doing so, yes? Big sales are the best way to make sure that that happens.
The show still has its detractors, but they seem to be dwindling in number. I think most of them have simply stopped watching the show, although a few are still continuing to, heaven knows why. I really don’t want to paint the issue as a generational thing, but it does seem like most of the haters are somewhat older than most of the fans (i.e., they’re around my age). Again, a few are clearly just overenthusiastic Robotech fans bitter that Macross is healthier than Robotech right now, and who seem to think that they can actually convince people not to like it. A few others are definitely of the “I hate every new anime” school. Anyway, there’s no way to please either of these groups, so it’s probably best to just acknowledge their biases and then move on. The show is clearly thriving, despite the efforts of some to tear it down (or, at least complain about it loudly and often).
So yeah… no REAL complaints here, although I hope the pace picks up a bit as we enter the final stretch. Fingers crossed…