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