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