THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 144 – Whirlwind DOGFIGHT

Delta Ep.3

MACROSS DELTA
MISSION 03: Whirlwind DOGFIGHT

ICONIC SCENE: A winner is you!

STORY DATE: April 2067

BROADCAST DATE: April 17, 2016

1. The opening flight, as Mirage tries to scare Hayate into giving up, is both pretty hilarious and pretty accurate. Again, one thing that Macross has, I think, gotten right ever since Plus are the actual physics of flying in a jet fighter and the stresses that the Gs put on one’s body.

2. Well, now that we’ve finished the auditions for both Freyja and Hayate, we get to the training. And honestly, both of them kinda suck. And when they meet up, Hayate says, “Aren’t you the lucky one?” for the second time… a line Freyja will throw back at him at the end of this episode.

They get picked up by Chuck and Kaname, and I dunno about you, but I think Kaname looks especially good in a fedora.

Anyway, they all go to “Rag-Nyan-Nyan,” the Chinese (?) restaurant of this series, probably tied to the Nyan-Nyan of the original Macross and of Frontier. The name is a pun on a couple of levels: first, obviously, “Rag-Nyan” is meant to sound like “Ragna.” But second, the kanji used for the “Ra-Gu” part of the name means “eat naked.” Considering that everyone we see in the restaurant is fully clothed, either it’s not meant to be taken literally, or else no one on Ragna speaks Chinese.

(Also: while the Rag-Nyan-Nyan jingle is nice and catchy, it’s still nowhere near as good as Frontier’s Nyan-Nyan jingle… which of course became Frontier’s first widely-spread meme.)

Here we also get the REAL introduction of Hayate’s main rival, Don the Mercat (presumably named after the children’s song, “Señor Don Gato,” about a cat that dies, but comes back to life when his funeral procession passes through the fish market. Weirdly, it’s almost EXACTLY the same story as the Irish song “Finnegan’s Wake,” expect there it was whisky that reanimated Tim Finnegan). Anyway, Don really is fun, and a lot of this episode is Hayate accidentally learning air combat techniques from trying to hunt Don down. He’s as much Hayate’s instructor as Mirage and Messer are.

3. We also get another bit between Kaname and Messer where Kaname all but gives Messer an engraved invitation, and yet he refuses. It also seems like Chuck’s sister, who appears to be the manager of Rag-Nyan-Nyan, also has a thing for Messer. Shippers, though, don’t ship them as much.

4. We get some interesting tidbits about the Walküre members’ sleeping arrangements here: Kaname (and now Freyja) stay at Rag-Nyan-Nyan with Delta Flight, Makina and Reina (*ahem*) live together, and no one knows where Mikumo lives… as Freyja says, she’s the “Mysterious Venus” (and I love the way Minori Suzuki delvers that line).

We also meet the mercat Q-Lulu, who seems to be everyone’s shared pet (although mostly Mirage’s). I’m still not sure if Q-Lulu is male or female, and if he (or she) is supposed to “cute” cute or “face only a mother could love” cute. Certainly, she (or he) doesn’t look anything like any of the other mercats we see in the show.

5. When Mirage and Hayate are flying in their VF-1EX Valkyries, again, the physics of flying is the highlight, especially when Hayate shuts off the autopilot. As I often point out, there’s no real NEED for these scenes to look this good or be this accurate. This is what happens when you get a dedicated staff of professionals who really care about the project.

VF5SS of CollectionDX and The Veef Show says he think the CGI models used for the VF-1EX here may be the same as those used for the SDF Macross pachinko game that everyone flips over. Gwyn Campbell of the Speaker PODCast said that he thinks they’re different. I don’t know either way… definitely, these seem to be textured a little more completely, lacking the computer-y sheen that the pachinko versions had.

6. Even though it doesn’t fully play out as a real part of any love triangle, I like the Hayate/Mirage dynamic. Essentially, if this were a chick-flick romantic comedy, Mirage would be the uptight businessman who doesn’t know how to enjoy life, and Hayate is the manic pixie dream girl who teaches her how to stop and look around once in a while. Except it doesn’t really work out like a typical romantic comedy. But yeah, him challenging her about whether her type of flying is “fun” is a central issue at this point. And it bleeds into Freyja’s training as well. Is singing in Walküre “fun”? Isn’t it more fun to dream of singing next to Mikumo than it is ACTUALLY singing next to her, especially when she’s sighing and saying that you’re no good? It’s one thing to dream of realizing a particular hope… but once you DO realize it, you now HAVE what once you only dreamed of. And once you have it, you have new problems that you never expected.

As Kawamori said at the fan club talk show before the debut, with a Macross show, you can no longer surprise viewers with the idea that singing can succeed where firepower fails. People EXPECT that of Macross. So here, we start with the Vár which CAN be defeated by song, and quickly introduce the Aerial Knights, who AREN’T defeated by song. And so, what are we gonna do now?

Likewise, we start with Hayate, who decides he wants to fly, and Freyja, who KNOWS she wants to sing with Walküre. Once their wishes are granted, where do they go? How do they deal with the reality versus the dream?

Again, for the thirty- or fortysomething guys who saw the original show as kids, this issue may not seem so urgent… but for the young adults who Delta is aimed at, this is a vital problem. Is your college major REALLY what you want to do for the rest of your life…?

And so, for the older fans, I think Mirage’s answer (essentially, that this is what she does, and “fun” isn’t part of the equation) is pretty persuasive, and that Hayate seems too flip and unrealistic. And that for the younger viewers, Hayate’s question is pretty important, and Mirage’s response is evasive (at best) or a surrender (at worst).

7. And yeah, Mikumo is a pretty stern judge. One might be tempted to compare her to Sheryl, but Sheryl’s playful side showed up in episode 5 of Frontier. For Mikumo, it will take much longer to unravel the mystery, and I’m not sure she’s ever “playful.”

For Walküre, of course, the Fold Receptors are EVERYTHING, but Freyja’s only activate when she’s agitated. So, as Kaname points out, she might only come through at points when it’s truly a life or death situation. Which isn’t exactly something you’d want to bet on, but is better than the reverse.

8. The thing is, for anyone following the supposed “love triangle” (especially if they ignored Kawamori’s statement that the love triangle wouldn’t play out in a traditional way), Hayate and Freyja seem totally made for each other. Far more than any other Macross couple. It’ll get sealed later on, but even at this point, it should be clear that it’d take some SERIOUS shake-up to split them apart. It definitely helps that they’re both newcomers to an unfamiliar world, and it’s a world that all the other characters have grown used to.

9. Apparently, the original plan was to have Hayate versus Messer instead of Hayate versus Mirage. Which, yeah, would’ve ended with Hayate getting thoroughy trashed within a few seconds. I mean, Messer still shows up and demonstrates that he’s a badass, but in general, he’s a lot better than Mirage and the contest wouldn’t have even been a contest.

(And yes, PLENTY of people point out that Mirage’s color scheme is nearly Jetfire. But hey, Macross did it first. It’s also nearly Hikaru’s. Also, they’ve got that Max and Milia blue and red thing going on…)

(Oh… and I have to wonder about Makina’s attachment to donuts, since way back in the early 1980’s, Devo (never a feminist band) used “Donut” for a girl’s name in one their videos because donuts more-or-less seem like vaginas, since they’re basically holes.)

(Seriously, check it out. Devo’s video for “That’s Good” got banned from MTV back in 1980 because it showed a banana penetrating a donut. Nine years later, the B-52s showed the same thing in their video for “Roam,” and it was okay. Changing mores? Or money talks? YOU BE THE JUDGE!)

Anyway, Hayate and Freyja both help each other out of the holes (ha!) they’re in, showing that they are SERIOUSLY in synch.

Don’t expect a twist. This is the real deal.

Although Hayate still gets shown up by Messer, and apologizes to Mirage for missing her classroom teachings.

10. Oh, you think the episode’s done? Not quite. After the ED, we get a bit on Windermere, where we finally meet Prince Heinz, who talks to Roid about waking “the Great Wind.”

Apart from that, the episode is formulaic in a good way. People complain all the time about teenagers climbing into robots in anime and suddenly knowing how to drive them. In this case, we get not only Hayate learning how to fly, but Freyja learning how to sing, and how their talents are closely tied together. And their trials here neatly parallel each other. If neither of them are seasoned experts by the end of the episode, they’re at least a lot better than they were at its beginning.

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”

EYECATCH: VF-1EX (Hayate Type)

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Uncertain COSMIC MOVEMENT” (kinda), “Our Battlefield.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 1

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