THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 152 – Jellyfish REMINISCENCE

Delta Ep.11.png

MACROSS DELTA
MISSION 11: Jellyfish REMINISCENCE

ICONIC SCENE: PROTOCULTURE!!

STORY DATE: August 2067

BROADCAST DATE: June 12, 2016

1. And here we are at the final part of what I think of as “the Messer trilogy,” although by this point it’s obvious that it’s more about Kaname than about Messer. We start off with a short snippet of Messer’s funeral, but it’s everyone else’s reactions at the post-funeral gathering that are more important.

After the opening credits, however, we get into the mental connection between Heinz and Mikumo and Freyja from last episode.

I remember a couple of people wondering about the resolution of the battle from last episode, but it seems to me that that was already basically over. Once Heinz gets KO’d early the in fight, it’s done, except for Keith taking on Messer.

If you’re into the Kaname/Arad relationship, I think their conversation early in this episode is important. He asks her if she needs a break, and she looks… surprised? Taken aback? before smiling and saying she’s okay. And when she asks Arad if he’s okay and he says he is, she gives him a covert look that seems pretty worried.

2. And it turns out that Keith had managed to shoot Messer directly through the heart (even though the beam he fired seemed a lot larger than that). Hayate doesn’t take this well, and we’ll see later how he’s changed because of this.

However, I’m sure Hayate sees contempt in Keith’s precise shot, and that simply isn’t true. Keith shows profound respect for Messer, even getting on Bogue’s case about it.

3. Following that, we learn that the Sigur Berrentzs is able to be activated, and that King Grammier doesn’t necessarily trust Roid all that much… And of course, he shouldn’t, but he doesn’t follow up on it at all. Up to this point, Roid has seemed loyal, but he’ll get shadier and shadier as the show goes on.

4. I find the part where Arad says that their first priority is to find a replacement for Messer in Delta Flight a little odd, because of course that never happens. And there’s the fact that Messer accounted for a whopping 37% of Delta Flight’s effectiveness. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to view Hayate, Mirage, Chuck, and Arad as lovable losers, like the Bad News Bears or something, or if Messer really was absolutely top-tier and everyone else is really good, but just not quite at THAT level.

5. And wow, Walküre training is tough, dragging tires through the mud and rain. The Jamming Birds were shown to have a lot of physical training, but there it was just jogging. This is real boot camp stuff.

6. Windermere’s plan here is finally made explicit. The stuff about the Song of the Wind resonating with the Protoculture ruins is a little baffling, but all we really need to know is that is Windermere takes control of all the ruins, then the entire Brísingr Cluster will be open to their mind-control attacks. And currently, only Al Shahal and Ranga remain free. It still seems small potatoes compared to their declaration of war on the entire galaxy, but that’s for later. From a storytelling perspective, the show is treading a thin line: if the Windermere threat seems too small, then the story lacks tension. If it’s too large, then there needs to be a reason why the NUNS don’t just come along and bomb the shit out of Windermere (similarly, in the first series, there was the excuse that the Zentradi wanted to capture the Macross, not destroy it, or else the show wouldn’t have lasted past Episode 1). That said, there’s no indication that an attack on Windermere would work, considering the dimensional barrier surrounding the planet. But still, at this point, it’s something that the brass seem to figure is a local skirmish, not worth getting involved in. By the time they come around, it’ll be mostly too late.

7. And then we see it: the Sigur Berrentzs. It’s an impressive ship, built at least 500,000 years before by the Protoculture, and, as such, probably the most powerful weapon currently existing. One of the cool things about it, from the production side, it that it was designed by Kazutaka Miyatake, one of the original Studio Nue members, and designer of pretty much all the mecha from Macross (and Plus, and Seven) that aren’t the Valkyries, including the Zentradi ships, which is probably most important here. He’s mostly retired now, although he did design the Bird-Human in Macross Zero (and the Dragons in Cross Ange, and general design in the upcoming anime “Knight’s & Magic”). Anyway, it’s a great throwback, being reminiscent of the Zentradi designs (and the Bird-Human) while not looking QUITE like them.

8. With the big threat revealed in the first half of the episode, the second half is devoted to the traditional Ragnan send-off for Messer. Among the traditions is a little boat that looks like Messer’s VF-31F, to be floated off to sea. Unfortunately, there’s a design flourish on the cockpit that has a red dot pretty much exactly where Keith hit the real thing. The characters are much too polite to point this out, thankfully.

9. The service is mellow and reflective, as befits a memorial. My favorite little touch here is Beth Muscat (the hard-drinking bridge bunny) showing inordinate interest when Chuck notes the twenty-year-old banana sake.

(And er… I know there’s banana liqueur, although I’ve never tried it, but… can you actually make banana WINE…? I dunno… doesn’t sound great to me…)

My second-favorite little touch is the acoustic “Remember 16” that Huck and Zuck play. Another song that maddeningly is not on any of the Delta CDs (yet…?).

My third-favorite little touch is how sharp Captain Johnson looks in his white suit and in his fedora. Two things that keeping coming up in Delta fashion: fedoras and girls wearing ties.

And although we get the expected “Oh, Messer seemed like a real jerk, but he was a nice guy underneath the gruffness” type stuff, the REAL revelation comes when everyone is wading into the ocean singing “Giraffe Blues” and Kaname runs to join them, asserting that there are people who love her songs.

I mentioned a couple of episodes ago how understated the scene where Kaname reveals that she was never popular as a solo singer and that Mikumo is Walküre’s “ace,” and the sense of resignation that she puts into that scene may obscure how important the issue is to her. She had given up, and was okay with it. But not REALLY okay, as we see here. No, there’s still a lot of turmoil under the surface for her, and thanks to Messer, she finally has the courage to face it and really give her all to Walküre as a singer as well as a manager… although this won’t become REALLY important until the end of the series.

And then, in the post-credits scene (although, strangely, the blu-ray version doesn’t have any credits, unlike the TV broadcast), the Sigur Berrentzs attacks Al Shahal, and things don’t look good.

10. We spend a lot more time with the Windermereans in this episode than we have previously, which is necessary since they’re about to launch their big attack. Pretty much all the plot here involves them, whereas the scenes with Xaos are more focused on character. The reveal of the Sigur Berrentzs is pretty amazing, and I like the juggling of different tones in going from that to the quiet memorial for Messer. There’s virtually no action in this episode, but that’s okay… we’re building towards the end of the first cour, which will make up for that.

OP: “If I Love Only Once”

ED: “Giraffe Blues”

EYECATCH: Hayate’s VF-31J

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: Um… does “Remember 16” count…? If not, then none.

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 3

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