MISSION 02: Resolute AUDITION
ICONIC SCENE: Hayate “Rides the Wind” for the first of many times.
STORY DATE: April 2067
BROADCAST DATE: April 10, 2016
1. We open exactly where we left off last time, with Hayate and Freyja falling. Mirage rescues them, and for all that she’s portrayed as a good-but-not-great pilot, she’s pretty badass here. But my favorite bit here is Hayate’s absolutely realistic pose, looking horrified and trying to hang on to the windshield. Having been in rough turbulence before (including one very sharp drop), I really RECOGNIZE his body language here.
And the battle that started last episode is almost immediately here called off, because the Aerial Knights have gathered enough intel. Odd, since it seemed last time that their goal really was to kill Walküre.
There’s a really breathtaking bit of animation when they retreat, as Bogue’s Lil Draken drones come back and reattach themselves to his fighter before he takes off.
2. And we now have an official OP and ED. My first thought when I saw them was, “Man… this is NOT going to placate the ‘not my Macross!’ crowd.” The opening is nice, if not terribly innovative, showing some action scenes plus scenes of each of the main characters relaxing or having fun. The ending, “When My Rune Shines Bright,” is, to me, the second real break-out song of Delta, following “Forbidden Borderline.” It’s bouncy and jaunty with lots of scenes of Freyja hanging out in an otherwise-empty high school. It’s probably the cheeriest ending sequence since “Dakedo Baby…!!” Many fans immediately noticed the similarities between it and the Earth, Wind & Fire classic, “September,” leading to several different mash-up versions, all of which are pretty great. But yeah, I can totally envision the viewers who wanted something gritty and hardcore grinding their teeth into jagged splinters while watching it. It’s great.
Oh, one thing about the OP: it shows pretty conclusively that, like Brera, the Aerial Knights are wearing full flight suits and helmets, but that holograms make it look like they aren’t. We’ll see a little more about that later.
3. Hayate and Mirage continue their hostile relationship… boy, it sure looks like they’re going to end up as a couple, doesn’t it?
The thing is, Mirage is right: Hayate really was jeopardizing the operation (although Freyja would surely be dead if he hadn’t), and his response about Mirage’s lag time is a non-sequitur at best. But that is our first hint at Mirage’s main conflict, that she’s a good pilot but not a brilliant one. And yet, her name makes everyone assume that she’s a genius as well as a Jenius. Some viewers were let down that she wasn’t the ace pilot of Delta Flight, but I find it realistic. Talent for things like this isn’t necessarily hereditary.
4. In retrospect, knowing how popular Kaname and her particular love triangle will become, it’s kind of interesting to look at the interactions here once she gets back to the Elysion. Arad greets her warmly and offers her some dried jellyfish. She politely declines and thanks Messer for his aid earlier. He looks uncomfortable, turns away, and says, “Just doing my duty.” There’s a lot going on here under the surface, of course, but we won’t get to it for a few more episodes. One thing that IS clear, though, is that Messer is less “Iceman” and more “Emotionally-Constipated Man.” We don’t yet know that he has a good reason for it (and for once, it’s not because of a childhood trauma or something).
But Kaname has a purpose: introducing Freyja to Arad. It’s obvious at this point (even if you didn’t know she was the heroine) that Freyja is destined to join Walküre, and that the audition is all pure theatrics. The whole thing is, as Trump would say, rigged. There are some points where they’re not entirely sure about her, but there’s never any doubt that she’ll be hired.
Also, Arad requested info about the Valk-dancing kid, and seems to recognize the name “Immelmann”… Hmmm…
5. Planet Ragna looks lovely, doesn’t it? A lovely vacation spot. Mostly, it’s based on Malta, especially Valletta (which is a near synonym, in Japanese, for the capital city of Ragna, Barrette City). In a way, I think it’s a shame that “Ragna” is the official romanization, since, based on the environment, it really SHOULD be “Laguna” (which of course would be spelled the same in Japanese). But yeah, beautiful seaside, cute mercats, lots of local color, even some kid swindlers. I always thought that the Macross Frontier fleet seemed like the most appealing Macross place to live in, but Ragna seems equally nice if not better.
Notice that the first thing we see on Ragna is a New Macross Class city-ship. Apparently, a long-range emigration fleet reached Ragna fifty years prior, which seems much too soon, honestly. I mean, wouldn’t they still be using Megaroad ships in 2017…?
And when they show the dried jellyfish shop, the signs are tough to read because the entire Ragnan alphabet as not been revealed (at the time of this writing), but one of the signs says “IKA,” which is the Japanese word for squid.
And when Hayate arrives, he immediately sneezes since he’s allergic to cats. First-time viewers would miss it, but the closest mercat (who gives Hayate a dirty look) is his soon-to-be nemesis Don.
A last bit: it happens quickly, but after Hayate and Freyja run away from the Ranka-quoting phone kids (who turn out to be Chuck’s siblings), there’s a shot of Barrette City with a skyway car going past, displaying an ad for “Kinoko [mushroom] Café,” where a lot of the characters will be hanging out.
The Macross Elysion itself pretty great, although it’s difficult to believe that it can just stand upright like that. We’ve never seen a Macross on land like that before, usually they’re in a lake or something.
Freyja also explains a little bit about her Rune, including that Hayate is a “perv” for staring at it. If it’s supposed to be a little sexy and indecent, doesn’t that make you wonder about the ending song…? Where she sings about how her Rune is shining and “it’s your fault”…? Is it like the Windermerean equivalent of “My Humps” or something…?
And finally, I note that when Chuck says “So many cuties,” what he says in Japanese is “kawaiiko-chan,” which is a somewhat old-fashioned and unusual term that was most famously used by Isamu Dyson.
5. I’m a little sorry that Delta’s resident bridge bunnies (introduced here) don’t have a bigger role. Indeed, you have to look to secondary materials to even figure out what their names are. Weirdly, one of them (Mizuki Yuri) has a jellyfish on her head. I assume it’s not real, but (like Ranka’s or Freyja’s cell phones) only APPEARS to be alive. However, Nina O’Brien very definitely carries a mercat around with her everywhere (the last one, Beth Muscat, is the only one with a truly identifiable character trait in that she’s a VERY heavy drinker).
6. I love it when Captain Johnson tries to charm the Walküre applicants, but just ends up scaring them (and what kind of name is “Ernest Johnson” for a Zentradi, anyway…? Oddest Zentradi name we’ve had since “Matthew Langley” back in Macross 7…). I should point out that his voice actor, Unsho Ishizuka, is not only the narrator here, but also played Guld in Macross Plus (and Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop).
He also unfortunately can’t seem to find a chair in his size during his interview with Freyja.
7. Now, some pretty important info comes out during that interview, primarily that Windermere had a war of independence and seem to have closed themselves off from outside influences.
8. While Freyja gets kind of a mindfuck audition, Hayate gets classically headhunted for Delta Flight, with Arad all but begging him to join. The big question of course is WHY, since Hayate definitely has promise, but isn’t a patch on any of the current Delta pilots…
One of the few scenes in the series that seems badly composed to me happens here, as Arad is standing near the edge of the ship and Hayate is standing some paces behind him, but the way the shot is set up, it just looks like Arad is nine feet tall or something.
The scene with Hayate “riding the wind” is pretty cool, and is one of the scenes, of course, that was in the earliest promo clips for the show. As in the Miyazaki film “Castle in the Sky Laputa,” I’m envious of the Delta characters’ seeming indifference to heights. Me, I get freaked out just watching YouTube videos of people doing parkour on the top of skyscrapers.
9. For the final step/fake-out of Freyja’s audition, it should be clear that it’s all a set-up, since the scene switches back to Hayate and no emergency is going on THERE. However, it does look awfully authentic. And I really like everyone’s disguises.
Pity that Freyja doesn’t get a say in her own stage costume, though.
And when I first saw the episode, I noticed that Freyja’s slow version of “Love! Halation THE WAR” is a completely different arrangement than Walküre’s, so I assumed it would be on some album at some point. But so far, it hasn’t been released.
10. This feels very much like a set-up episode – much more than the first episode, actually – in that we have to get Hayate and Freyja into Xaos as soon as possible. As such, it’s a dialogue- and exposition-heavy episode: once the opening battle is finished, there’s virtually no action, unless you count the fake Vár attack at the end. But it feels necessary… after the first episode throwing the viewer into this unfamiliar world, it’s good that the show takes a step back and explains what’s going on a bit. And hey, it took Hikaru six episodes to join the military. Aren’t you glad Hayate made his decision much more quickly?
OP: “If I Love Only Once”
ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”
EYECATCH: Don and Q-Lulu
NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “If I Love Only Once,” “When My Rune Shines Bright.”
NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 1