MISSION 12: KING OF THE WIND
ICONIC SCENE: Macross Elysion, hasshin!
STORY DATE: August 2067
BROADCAST DATE: June 19, 2016
1. So right after the Messer Trilogy, we get the two-part finale for the first cour. Watching it week-by-week a year ago, I recall some people complaining that this episode was too slow and the next was too frenetic, but if you watch them together, the pacing and build-up are expertly done.
The opening scene here is a tour de force, as we pick up where we left off with the Sigur Berrentzs about to take care of the NUNS forces around Al Shahal. The ship itself is exceedingly powerful… it doesn’t just have a barrier, for example, it actually creates a dimensional fault around itself for protection. Coupled with Heinz’s Song of the Wind, which causes the crews of the various defense ships AND the inhabitants of the planet to Vár-out, and Al Shahal falls quickly. In under fifteen minutes.
2. Xaos is definitely preparing for the big battle, as forces are gathering on Ragna. As we see the pilots all greeting each other, there’s one particularly attractive green-haired woman who gets focused on a couple of times, and I think the going theory last year was that she would probably end up being Messer’s replacement, but nope. We never see her again.
3. Xaos’s plan is good: launch as soon as possible and attack the Windermereans while they’re still at Al Shahal. Pity it doesn’t work out…
4. Mirage gets a promotion to Delta 2. I’m guessing that Chuck is not really in the running, since he’s got reconnaissance, and also I think Arad knows that being in command of Delta Flight would mean more to Mirage.
Unfortunately, they never change the numbers on the planes, which makes things slightly confusing later on.
5. I may not get another chance later, so let me say that I really like King Grammier’s character design. He really does look like he’s in his thirties, yet he also looks old. I think the “Grayscale” does most of the aging work, but I salute character designer Chisato Mita (who for some reason always has “CAPCOM” after her name) for managing to tackle what must have seemed an impossible task: “Make the guy look old but also thirty-five.”
6. I do wonder… Roid is adamant about not overexerting Heinz (which would shorten his life). Now, he’s got his own reasons for this which we’ll get to later, but… if Heinz dies, who takes the throne? Keith, even though he’s the King’s bastard son? Some relative we haven’t met? I suppose we could assume at this point that Keith is coveting the throne for himself, but that turns out absolutely not to be the case.
7. And then we meet the show’s standard NUNS asshole higher-up, Major Lauri Marin, and yes, he’s a total jerk. Just like the brass in every other Macross series. He delivers the plan that the Protoculture ruins on Ragna are to be destroyed, even though (as we learned before) they’re connected to the core of the planet and no one knows what blowing them up would do.
8. We get the history between Captain Johnson and King Grammier, and also learn that Johnson seems to have a knack for being on the losing side of any conflict. Grammier, however, seems to have a lot of respect for him, echoing Keith’s regard for Messer.
9. And then, finally, we see the Macross Elysion take off and transform. And it’s glorious. One of my favorite bits is the shot of the gravity control system, which is very obviously patterned after the gravity control system on the good ol’ SDF-1.
They fold to Al Shahal, and it looks like the big battle is about to start… and they arrive to find that the Sigur Berrentzs is beginning a fold to Ragna.
10. Every Macross TV series, before a really action-packed fight (usually at the end of a cour) has a “girding one’s loins for the battle ahead” episode, and this is no different. The rationale is easy to see: as I’ve said before, the big-battle sequences take a lot of time to animate well, so a calmer episode before it not only builds tension, but gives the animators more time to work on the important stuff. That said, this one doesn’t seem half-assed to me at all. From the writing angle, the characters trying to sum up their feelings before what could possibly be their last mission feels urgent and real (I especially love Reina’s rare outpouring of emotion for the planet she has come to think of as her home), and art-wise, there are also many great scenes. Anything with the Sigur Berrentzs stands out, but I also love the Ragnan houseboats gathering together as everyone tries to evacuate the city.
In Japan, after this episode, the whole series so-far was re-run online in preparation for the end of the first cour. Among western fans, an odd rumor sprung up that the series would take a break after Episode 13 and return in six months or a year or so. That seemed odd to me at the time because no official sources said anything like that, but watching this now, I can see how people could get that impression: the show really feels like it’s building towards a grand finale (and that would help spawn OTHER false rumors later, which I’ve talked about before… and probably will again). So yeah… after the first couple of minutes, there’s no action in this episode, and there isn’t even any singing. But we sure end on a hell of a cliffhanger.
OP: “If I Love Only Once”
ED: “When My Rune Shines Bright”
EYECATCH: The Macross Elysion.
NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: None. In fact, for the first time ever, Walküre don’t sing at all here.
NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 3