THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 151 – Flash of AXIA

Delta Ep.10

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 10: Flash of AXIA

ICONIC SCENE: Uh… SPOILER ALERT, I guess…

STORY DATE: August 2067

BROADCAST DATE: June 5, 2016

1. Ah, what would a Macross TV series be without a good fake-out episode… dating back to the original series’ “Pineapple Salad,” there’s always an episode which SEEMS to be about one thing (“Max vs. Millia,” “yet ANOTHER failed Varauta attack,” “Ozma’s death flags”) and then turns out to be about something different (“Focker’s death,” “City 7 being forcibly folded away,” “Ozma NOT dying”), and so it is here. If you were checking the story synopses that were posted on the macross.jp site every week, this episode seemed like the Delta equivalent of the “school festival” episode that is a staple of so many high school anime series (as well as being the basis for one of the greatest anime movies ever, Urusei Yatsura 2 – Beautiful Dreamer). And it is indeed about that. Until, at the very, VERY end, it isn’t.

2. But before we get there, let’s start at the beginning. It’s been clear for a while now that the Windermereans aren’t meant to really be bad guys, in that none of them seem outright evil. So when we’re introduced to Berger Stone here, with his oily voice and Middle Eastern clothing, we might think we’re being introduced to the Final Boss of the series (note that I’m not saying that Middle Eastern clothing is representative of a villain, but the show might be saying that).

And yeah, he’s an amoral weapons dealer, which is rarely a good sign (unless we’re talking about Iron Man).

He mentions the Sigur Berrentzs for the first time, which, from the name, we might assume is a Zentradi fortress, since Bodolzaa’s mothership in the original series was called the Fulbtzs-Berrentz. It isn’t, but you’re on the right track.

3. And NOW we’re at the Jellyfish Festival, which is very much a “couples” event. Heck, even Don the Mercat is hookin’ up!

The Rag-Nyan-Nyan booth is selling jellyfish buns, and seems a little under-crowded considering that a galaxy-famous pop group (excuse me, I mean “tactical sound unit”) is running the booth. And Reina is wearing an awesome jellyfish costume, which seems quite at odds with her cool demeanor. And, in advertising the buns, Chuck’s littlest sister, Elizabeth, even throws in a Sheryl reference (“We don’t do this kind of jellyfish bun service very often!”). They also all sing the rather existentialist “Jellyfish Dance” song, the main message of which is “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.” The whole thing is pretty silly, and that’s intentional.

4. And it looks like that after last episode’s freak-out, Messer is being transferred out of combat duty, to become an instructor in the Laramis System, which I guess isn’t close, since it’s not on any of the maps we see in the show. So yeah, we’re saying goodbye to Messer here, unless there’s some kind of twist in store…

5. And of course, Mikumo is off on her own, floating naked in the ocean. You’d think she’d have to be more careful… paparazzi can be pretty tenacious, and I’m sure there are plenty of magazines that would love to get their hands on nude pics of Mikumo. Although I can’t imagine her getting upset about that, or even caring at all.

6. And since Messer’s leaving, there’s a big focus on his saying goodbye to Kaname and finally telling her that “AXIA” is the song that saved him. The next day, he’s off on his shuttle. I suppose one could imagine that the two of them hooked up that night, but it doesn’t seem like it would be like either of them to do that, unfortunately.

7. Roid and Keith have a swordfight to determine whether or not Heinz should sing or rest in the upcoming operation. Roid is on the side of keeping Heinz healthy, Keith wants to use him as much as possible.

Keith wins, which really is something Roid should keep in mind going forward.

The duel itself is really well done. Every time we see the Windermereans in action, it’s always dynamic and fluid.

8. So another attack is launched on Al Shahal, which is one of the two planets left in the Cluster that have Protoculture ruins that haven’t been taken by Windermere (the other being Ragna, of course).

Before the dogfight, there’s something of a song battle between Walküre and Heinz, using the Protoculture ruins as amplification. It ends in something of a draw, but Heinz is knocked out of commission, which essentially ends Windermere’s attack, although the Aerial Knights press on a bit, hoping to take down Delta Flight, who without Walküre or Messer, are kinda hopeless.

9. And, of course, Messer comes roaring in to save the day. He’s turning Vár, and Mikumo and Freyja are in a bad way, so it’s up to Kaname to keep him safe with “Axia.” And that part of the strategy works.

The dogfight is extremely fierce, recalling nothing so much as the big battle between the YF-19 and the YF-21 in the last episode of Plus.

Ultimately, though, Keith pulls a samurai move of having a decoy in front of you that your opponent attacks, leaving them off guard for your thrust.

And one blood splatter later, Messer is gone.

10. And yes, as much as it appeared Messer wouldn’t survive to the end of the series, killing him off this soon shows some serious balls and, as far as I can tell, took EVERYONE off guard. One thing that may not have been obvious on first viewing but is clear in hindsight is that all of this is really more about Kaname and her development than it is about Messer. But in case that’s still presented too subtly, next episode will come out and say it.

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “AXIA ~Love and Hate~”

EYECATCH: Keith’s Draken III.

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Rag-Nyan-Nyan Jellyfish Dance.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 3

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 150 – Uncontrollable LIMITS

Delta Ep.9

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 09: Uncontrollable LIMITS

ICONIC SCENE: Don’t lie. You know you ship it.

STORY DATE: 2067

BROADCAST DATE: May 29, 2016

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”

1. I kinda fudged the title here, because in Japanese, nearly all of the titles have a Japanese word followed by an English word, like, say, “Senjo no Prologue” or “Kakugo no Audition.” Here, the title is “Genkai Uncontrol,” but the official subs give it as “Uncontrollable Limits,” so I capitalized “limits” in the hopes that no one would notice. Fingers crossed.

And yes, this is the episode that’s entirely about Messer. Now usually, when you’ve got an episode about one of the side characters (and I guess Messer is a side character…? Maybe…?), it means death flags are looming. I’m pretty sure no one expected Messer to get out of this series alive.

2. I like the meeting where Arad is telling everyone that the apple and water imports have been suspended, because Mikumo is sitting off from the others, clearly not listening. For all that she’s serious about singing, she’s only occasionally serious about other stuff.

The scene is interesting also for being one of the few times the show really pushes the love triangle aspect. Hayate, in the previous battle, resonated closely with Freyja (which puts Mirage out a bit), but Kaname says there’s no cure for the Vár, which Hayate and Mirage know that Messer has, but they’re keeping secret. They nod to each other and Freyja notices (which puts her out a bit). When Kawamori at an early talk pointed out that the triangle in the Delta logo was “broken” because the love triangle wouldn’t play out as people might expect, I’m not sure most viewers realized that that meant that the love triangle here would barely exist. Yes, there are a few bones thrown to Mirage, but it’s still mostly Freyja’s game.

3. The secret here, that Messer is already infected with the Vár, doesn’t really end up meaning much, because it’ll turn out that everyone in Xaos, from Lady M to Arad, already knows. Basically, Hayate and Mirage were the only people who didn’t already get it, so they’re keeping a pretty useless secret.

What IS secret is Messer’s mp3-playing bracelet, which has one song on it: “AXIA” (which is Greek (ἀξία) for “value” or “worth”). It’s sung by Kaname, and Walküre evidently don’t perform it anymore, since neither Hayate nor Mirage have heard it before. We’ve already seen that Kaname seems to like Messer, and this is the first indication we’ve had that the feeling is reciprocated.

Frustrated love where both characters like each other but can’t express it is always a big crowd-pleaser, isn’t it? In this case, it completely overwhelmed a portion of the fandom, and Kaname/Messer fanart remains one of the biggest subjects from the series.

(Likewise, when I was talking to some of the staff from Satelight at last year’s Anime Expo, they asked me who I thought was the most popular character among western Macross fandom. I said that it was probably Mirage, but that Kaname was becoming more popular. They looked at each other, nodded, and both said, “Hm. Messer.” They weren’t wrong.)

4. What the hell is up with Freyja’s phone and Q-Lulu? It’s weird enough that the phone seems to be picking up Freyja’s slang, but Q-Lulu also seems to have fallen for it.

For those attempting to keep track, someone at this time made an awesome chart detailing all the relationships in this show. Which, er, stops being relevant next episode…

Delta Love Chart

5. Next we get the rather sad story of Kaname, who wanted to be an idol but just never had that special something that turns someone into a real star. First she tried to be a solo idol singer, and that didn’t work out. Then there was Walküre, where she was the “ace” until Mikumo joined and became the star.

Naturally, this happens all the time in the real world. People who are good or even great, but just don’t have that certain star quality. Hell, one of my cousins, a very beautiful woman, tried for many years to break into modeling and acting, and whose claim to fame is just a very brief part in the opening to “The Love Boat” (I think she announced that the ship was launching or something… I dunno. It’s been a very long time…).

Kaname’s voice actress, Kiyono Yasuno, plays this scene perfectly: completely matter-of-fact, with no self-pity. The art here is also perfect, as she’s dressed casually, with a slightly wistful look on her face which isn’t overdone. The scene could easily be played for maximum tear-jerking, but it’s so understated and calm that it seems entirely realistic, and turns Kaname into a character that is easy to sympathize with and root for. If they had made a bigger fuss of it, she could come off like a selfish diva, but they sidestep that pitfall.

6. I just want to point out that in the scene where Walküre is singing to the underwater ruins, Mikumo’s hair is sticking out of her helmet, so I don’t really understand how her helmet works…? Knowing Mikumo, she probably doesn’t need to breathe or something…

Plus, the Protoculture ruins that we’ve seen in this series seem to be reminiscent of the City Ship Altira that Hikaru and Misa found themselves on in Do You Remember Love, except that that was just a space ship. These have “roots” that connect to the core of each planet.

7. Let’s be honest, as Hayate and Mirage point out, Messer is a powder keg waiting to blow. If he falls to the Vár in combat, he says that everyone else should shoot him down, but clearly, none of the other Delta pilots are skilled enough to do that.

8. The dogfight here has some really superb scenes. My favorite is probably Bogue skimming the surface of the ocean and then pulling up to fly over the Macross-Class city ship to attack Walküre. And then he lunges forward. That’s mah boy!

9. And finally we get the touching-yet-fateful scene where Freyja tells Messer that she’s too busy focusing on the here and now to worry about the future. Good advice? We’ll see…

10. Look, it’s pretty clear that Messer is doomed. The only question is when. Watching it again, the Kaname/Messer sparks are probably the most distinctive thing about this episode, but the dogfight, while short, is also really well-done, and Freyja’s misplaced jealousy is cute. As in the previous episode, there are also a number of plot lines begun here, primarily about the Protoculture ruins. Most of this episode is really a set-up for the next episode, though, as this is the beginning of what I think of as the “Messer Trilogy.”

EYECATCH: Don and Q-Lulu

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: AXIA

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 3

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 149 – Escape RESONANCE

Delta Ep.8

MACROSS DELTA
MISSION 08: Escape RESONANCE

ICONIC SCENE: Valkyrie vs. Walküre.

STORY DATE: 2067

BROADCAST DATE: May 22, 2016

1. I find this one interesting, because the script was written by Ukyou Kodachi, who seems to have become the official chronicler of Macross. I’ve mentioned him many times before, but in brief, he was chosen to write the novelizations of Frontier (coming out with a whopping’ EIGHT of them) and and also created the stories for Macross the Ride and Macross 30. Currently, he’s writing the Delta novels (as well as a rather mind-boggling array of other anime and game novelizations). Generally in Macross, the writers for the show end up writing the novels, and this is the only time it’s happened in reverse.

His main credit on Delta, though, is for “continuity.” When the staff wants to know when, say, the Megaroad was last seen or what was going on in 2047, he’s the one that they ask. I flatter myself by thinking that that’s a job that I could do as well…

2. One thing that’s clear at the beginning of the episode is what “superhuman abilities” the Windermereans have. They’re very quick and very strong, and Hayate and Mirage get trounced (deliberately?) comically fast.

Watching this episode a year ago, Bogue was easily the most annoying character for me, so seeing him get so cocky in this episode was… unpleasant. Watching it again, after I’ve come to think of him as fundamentally cute, but trying to be a badass (like when kittens start acting tough by hissing at everything and hopping sideways), this scene is more fun. A character like Bogue has to strike a delicate balance. As the show goes on, we’re meant to see that he’s really just immature and not terribly threatening, but that he’s trying to compensate by showing over-the-top bravado. And thus he ended up gaining my uneasy sympathy. However, if he were to go too far and actually kill one of the heroes, that sympathy would vanish completely. On the one hand, I find him a realistic character: an insecure kid who wants to hang with the big boys and, to that end, acts the way he thinks the big boys act: that is, as a total dick. The balancing act for the writers is in making sure that his “dick” side doesn’t overwhelm the “kid” side. Since at first, all we see is the dick, and the kid slowly shows through the cracks, having him be TOO effective could ruin the character. At the same time, they can’t just make him a total loser – there has to be a reason he’s one of the Aerial Knights, after all. So it’s an issue of making him ACT ruthless and making us see his capacity for ruthlessness, without actually having him do anything drastic enough that the audience would think, “Whoa, dude… NOT COOL.” It’s interesting that when they DO cross that fine line, it’s not in Bogue’s actions towards Walküre, but his words towards another Aerial Knight that do it. And yet, he regained my sympathy fairly quickly.

Still, it’s only on a second viewing that I realize how carefully a character like Bogue has to be written and performed (KENN, who is a singer first and an actor second, does an excellent job here) in order make us see his contradictions without them making him just seem arbitrary.

Here, I think his key line is the insult he hurls at Freyja (while his sword is uncomfortably close to her neck… and yes, I think there’s some subtext here), when he calls her “this impertinent brat that can’t even control her own rune?” Which of course is one of Bogue’s flaws as well. It’s a deft scriptwriting touch, making him sound tough, but also reminding us of a couple of episodes ago, when he was definitely portrayed as the “kid” of the group.

As a final note here, I also want to point out that he’s Minori Suzuki’s favorite character in the show. Make of that what you will.

3. Meanwhile, in the firefight with our other heroes, Messer gets hit in the arm. If I recall correctly, I (and I’m sure I wasn’t alone) was already seeing death flags around his character, especially clinched when he seems to go a little crazy while fighting off the Voldoran guards, and has flashbacks to a ruined city with himself covered in blood. I figured he wouldn’t last past Episode 20 or so. Ha.

4. Another deft scriptwriting touch comes when Bogue (beating Hayate rather sadistically) declares that Windermere’s cause is righteous in bringing freedom to the galaxy, and Freyja brings up the only part of their plan she really cares about: the use of apples to spread the Vár. On the one hand, she’s being naive in ignoring larger political concerns. But on the other, she’s got a point (as Master Hermann says). I wouldn’t call her a nationalistic character in the slightest, but (like many who leave the environment they grew up in for a very different one) she feels real pride in her home, centered on the fact that Windermere apples are a really popular export. I felt much the same way when I saw See’s Candies in Tokyo or when they were testing In-n-Out Burger in Harajuku for a day. Anyway, once word gets out about the apples’ connection to the Vár, their sales will plummet, and who knows what will happen to the poor apple farmers back in her home town? Her concerns are more localized than most of the characters’, but are still totally legitimate.

Kassim brings it back to the wider war, pointing out that his apple orchards were destroyed seven years ago, so all the apple farmers in his family are dead, rather than just out of work. It’s… kinda persuasive.

Also, does Bogue really believe the stuff he’s saying? My guess that he probably does. As we’ll see later, some of the Knights have qualms about Windermere’s methods, but none of them seem opposed to its ends.

5. Keith nearly executes Freyja here, acting of course like he’s doing her some kind of patriotic favor, only to stopped by Roid. Roid’s motives here were baffling on first viewing, and he says only that he wants to know more about Walküre. The second time around, it’s pretty clear that his plan of using the Star Singer is already in place, and that he knows that Walküre has some connection, but may not know WHICH Walküre member is tied to the legend.

And then we get the rescue of Hayate, Mirage, and Freyja, naturally staged as a Walküre concert. Again, music doesn’t work against the Aerial Knights, but distracting light shows and decoy holograms sure do. Bogue seems, more than the others, to be enraged (and slightly terrified) by the girls, especially Reina. This will be elaborated on later.

6. The fight between Messer and Keith (where Messer has a machine gun and Keith has a sword) is well-done and over much too soon. In what could be seen as foreshadowing, Keith gets in close and wins the match (to be fair, Messer IS wounded). However, they recognize each other and he lets Messer go, because, naturally, he’s an HONORABLE knight, and wants to defeat Messer in the air.

Er… usually when villains say things like this, they’re setting up their own defeat, plot-wise.

And oh wow… is that HUMOROUS BANTER that Messer and Hayate engage in before they launch…? See, I guess Messer really IS a good judge of character and knows how to motivate Hayate.

7. When the dogfight starts, Walküre changes into their “Rot Blume” (“Red Flower”) costumes, which are just a color swap for the “Blau Blume” costumes a few episodes ago. Later, we’ll see the black ones, called “Schokolade Blume,” or “Chocolate Flower.” I’m mildly surprised that, as of this writing, the toy companies have not exploited this and made variant color figures of all three versions yet.

Oh, and Messer looks really REALLY bad when the Song of the Wind starts up. And as the battle goes on, he definitely starts Vár-ing out.

The song used here, “NEO-STREAM,” is formally one of the oddest Walküre songs, feeling like three different songs welded together. It starts as a ballad, then picks up speed, before turning into some powerful ’60s garage rock chords (if not instrumentation, which, like most Walküre songs, sounds a little more disco, with a string section). It’s also mostly in English, which JUNNA as Mikumo sings incredibly well. Much better than, say, Nao “Reina” Toyama…

8. We never really get an explanation what “riding the Wind” means, but here is where we really SEE it (and the staff is confident enough that we’ll pick it up) as Keith and Messer both seem to transcend human limitations and move and react incredibly fast, essentially becoming Gundam-style Newtypes. In Messer’s case, of course, it’s incredibly dangerous, because while he’s using the Vár to enhance his abilities, it could overwhelm him at any point (which is the main reason that Walküre has to be singing here… although, I wonder… if Walküre’s song is TOO strong, wouldn’t that cancel his ability to “ride the Wind”…?). The show doesn’t bring up that it’s potentially dangerous for Keith as well, as using such abilities makes Windermereans age faster.

It’s also clear at this point that the dogfight scenes must be time-consuming to animate, which is why there are several shots where we pull out from the close-up shots and the planes are just represented by glowing dots. This doesn’t really bug me too much, because the closer shots are pretty gorgeously drawn and choreographed. In short bursts, this show looks even better than the Macross Zero or Macross Frontier movie dogfights. Quality over quantity.

9. A mind-controlled pilot almost gets Walküre, and wouldn’cha jus’ know it, it’s the SAME pilot whose kids were singing to him last episode. Hayate and Freyja see this, and so definitely don’t want to kill him, and Freyja gets her first real turn at being a singing badass who faces down a variable fighter with only “Giraffe Blues” (and Hayate’s pinpoint barriers) for protection.

It works, of course, although Bogue attacks. Hayate goes after him, and in yet another event that will developed later, resonates with Freyja so strongly that HE starts “riding the Wind” as well. They close in, yell at each other, and then Hayate, crucially, has a chance to kill Bogue, but hits his Draken’s leg instead.

(It’s funny, isn’t it…? In the US, though not in Japan, kids who saw Macross on TV (as Robotech) tend to note the lack of GI Joe-style parachutes being ejected from all the planes as one of the astonishing things about the show. Yet here, Hayate feels relief when he sees a parachute, and when he doesn’t kill an enemy pilot. You can see why his character might turn off some of the more, um, bellicose viewers of the show…)

And then we get the post-credit stinger, as Messer is back on the ship, very nearly going full Vár…

10. So, as I’ve indicated, a lot of plot threads begin here, although this is primarily an action episode. We also get the first real problem within Delta Flight itself, which is Messer’s susceptibility to the Vár. Although this episode didn’t make all that big an impression on me a year ago, now I see as one of the show’s most well-crafted in terms of balancing action, character, and plot.

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”

EYECATCH: The Macross Elysion.

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: NEO-STREAM

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 2

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 148 – Behind ENEMY LINES

Delta Ep.7

MACROSS DELTA
MISSION 07: Behind ENEMY LINES

ICONIC SCENE: Messer with cat ears.

STORY DATE: 2067

BROADCAST DATE: May 15, 2016

1. We open with an explanation of the Protoculture and how they uplifted a number of races in the galaxy… but where are the Zolans? Don’t they count?

Then we go to Reina breaking through Voldor’s defenses to the tune of “Silent Hacker,” the one song from the first half of the show that wasn’t on Walküre’s first album. Like “Idol Talk” not being on the first Macross Plus soundtrack CD, or (most crucially) “My Boyfriend Is a Pilot” not being on the first SDF Macross soundtrack album.

2. And okay, yes, the hacking scene here is entirely ridiculous. Hacking tends to be rather uninteresting, visually. And so Hollywood (and by extension, anime) tends to work very hard to make it look cool. And look cool it does, here. It may not be accurate, but it gives us a good view of Reina’s green chomping skulls. Heck, we even see her react physically to their destruction. I’ll be the first admit that it makes no sense, but I think the Rule of Cool is at play here. At least, as far as character development goes, it shows that Makina and Reina work together as a team in perfect synch.

3. So this week, we’re infiltrating the planet Voldor, whose natives are cat-people. Freyja naturally starts making a lot of cat-puns until she’s quickly (and thankfully) shut down. Now… the big question is why Walküre and the pilots from Delta Flight would be the undercover operatives of this mission. I mean, I understand that Walküre on Al-Shahal in Ep. 1 are undercover, waiting for the Vár Syndrome attack, but here, it makes very little sense, even with Arad’s idea that everyone needs to be “an absolute Johannes Fac-totum” (or, in this case, a jellyfish-of-all-trades).

Still, it’s hard to get away from the idea that the entire point here is to show our main characters wearing cat ears. Although I’m slightly sorry that the cat puns stop before Messer shows up (see Iconic Scene), since I would’ve loved to hear him bust out a few “Nyaa”s.

4. The real star here is Thomas Romain, for his excellent “world design.” Voldor looks nothing like the other planets we’ve seen, but is still totally appealing. It’s also, I think, the most like Tokyo in its blatant commercialism and its rows of pub after pub.

5. What the hell is “Seidznole”? Something to do with the Vár, apparently. We’ll get more info about this soon, but it never really gets explained well.

Oh, and we find out that the apples here are imported from Windermere. That’ll be important, no matter how much Mirage protests that it isn’t.

6. Interestingly, we get a Walküre song sung by fans before we hear the actual version (just like “Diamond Crevasse” in Episode 2 of Frontier). Here, it seems primarily thrown in as a sop for those who hate that Macross shows always end up with singing converting the bad guys and saving the day (something that, again, is deliberately disproven in the first episode, since singing works against the Vár, but not the Aerial Knights).

By the way, the song here, “Giraffe Blues,” is, despite the silly name, one of the saddest and most affecting songs in all of Delta. Up there with the aforementioned “Diamond Crevasse,” in my opinion.

7. Here we learn that Roid is a scholar, who has authored a tract about how the Windermereans, being the last lifeforms uplifted by the Protoculture, are their final, most perfected creations. Here, it gets broadened into ALL species in the Brísingr Cluster. But Roid doesn’t really mean that.

And yeah, in one way it seems strange and unlikely that we would suddenly meet a whole bunch of alien races a the same time. On the other hand, they’re all clustered (ha) together in one area of the galaxy… an area we haven’t seen before, because (in Seven and Frontier) we’ve been too focused on Emigration Fleets headed towards the galactic center. Much like the Unified Government, who also seem nonplussed that these other species have their own hopes and dreams, as well as agencies to carry them out.

Also, we get the first suggestion that Windermere detonated a Dimension Eater on its own soil as a false flag attack. This is gonna come up again…

8. We get a bit of backstory regarding Makina and Reina, that they used to apparently not get along. That will also come up again.

Also note that the explosive charges Makina sets leave bunny-shaped holes.

And, again, the song used here, “Jiritic Beginner” is the most-hated song among the staff working on the official English subtitles. I dig it, though.

9. And finally they discover how Windermere is spreading the Vár, through apples and water. At conventions now, I usually make a point of bringing apples and bottles of water, and give them to any Delta cosplayers that I meet. Or I just eat the apples for effect. Unfortunately, at the Anime Expo last year, a Makina and Reina duo that I was talking to didn’t get it, so it must have appeared to them that I was just munching the apple in a creepy way. Ah well.

And our intrepid team gets discovered, and Hayate, Mirage, and Freyja get separated from the others (while Mikumo is, as usual, off doing her own thing. Full clothed this time, though). One might expect that this will turn into another patented “people trapped and discussing things” Macross episode, but it isn’t. Instead, the Aerial Knights, led by Bogue, find them, and we end on a big cliffhanger.

10. So, a lot gets covered in this episode, including the Dimension Eater detonated on Windermere, and how the Vár is infecting so many people, but there’s very little action in this episode. Now, I’m not an adrenaline junkie; I don’t need explosions every five minutes to keep me occupied, but in hindsight, this episode is one of the first hints that Delta would become an exceptionally talky series, even before Berger makes his debut. Walküre and Delta Flight being the infiltrators gets explained, but still seems kind of implausible. It’s not a bad episode by any stretch, but as I said before, I think Thomas Romain’s brilliant world design does most of the heavy lifting, visually. And although we don’t fully hear it in this episode, I think “Giraffe Blues,” despite the odd name, is one of the most beautiful and affecting songs in all of Macross. Up there with “Do You Remember Love” and Sheryl’s power ballads.

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”

EYECATCH: VF-31J (Hayate Type)

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Giraffe Blues.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 2