Delta Ep.9


MISSION 09: Uncontrollable LIMITS

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


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



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