THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 160 – ETERNAL SONGS

Delta Ep.19

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 19: Eternal Songs

ICONIC SCENE: Probably the girl group that did the original version of “Do You Remember Love”…

STORY DATE: November 2067

BROADCAST DATE: August 7, 2016

1. We open with some exposition regarding the end of last episode: after Mikumo destroyed the Protoculture system, everyone on Voldor was freed from mind control and the Windermereans retreated, but Hayate is still unconscious, and Mikumo has been whisked off by Lady M to parts unknown, ostensibly for medical treatment.

Get used to exposition, it will continue throughout this episode.

Yep, this is basically the clip-show episode. Like Frontier’s Episode 15, it’s more of a half clip show, and is something of an info dump.

2. The big reveal here is that the Epsilon Foundation, and its oily-voiced (for now) representative, Berger Stone, is not only selling weapons to the Windermereans but also to Xaos. We also find out that they’re a very wide-ranging business, even selling mercat-style smart phones, along with space battleships and such.

There’s also a subtle Macross Zero reference, where Berger talks about the Sv-262 Draken III as being a continuation of the development from the original variable fighter… which, as was said in Zero, is the SV-51. Considering that when this episode aired, some fans were saying that it somehow (I never understood how, exactly) cut Zero out of Macross continuity, this and several other references definitely show otherwise.

It seems like there’s an important scene missing, though… first, we see Berger approach Mirage and Freyja in what is apparently an off-limits area. In the next scene, he’s addressing Captain Ernest, Delta Flight, and Walküre, and ends up giving them a long presentation, complete with visual aids. Why is he there? Was he coming specifically to address Xaos? If so, why? Or was he taken to the captain because he seems a suspicious individual? The whole premise is unclear.

Also weirdly, Berger doesn’t do ALL the talking, as his presentation is intercut with Roid also talking (to Keith, for some reason) about the same subjects. Is Roid listening in? Or is he just happening to be talking about the origins of the Vár as well?

3. Anyway, Berger’s point is that music may be the ultimate weapon, and he bolsters this assertion by walking his audience (and us) through Macross history. Honestly, he makes a pretty good case.

He also, by stating this, manages to neatly address one of the issues that many long-time viewers have about Macross: the use of music. You know what I’m talking about… generally, in any online Macross discussion, there’s usually that one guy (and it’s ALWAYS a guy) who asks why Macross always has to have singing in it. They’ll say that every Macross story is the same, in that the good guys sing at the bad guys and that makes them turn good or go away or whatever. Leaving aside the real-world considerations that music is the primary way that Macross distinguishes itself from other mecha shows, and leaving aside that the music is nearly always extremely popular, there’s now an in-universe rationale:

The Protoculture used music as a psychological weapon, and so their descendants do, as well. The use of music during interstellar conflict is something that has been programmed into our genetics, and so it’s something we do. If Berger’s theory is correct, then the question of why Macross shows always use music has been neatly answered, and no one will ever complain about it again. Right? Right.

There’s a lot of other stuff packed in here as well: we learn that when the Vajra folded off to another dimension at the end of Frontier (bye, Alto!), they left some fold bacteria behind, which entered human hosts and became the Vár Syndrome. Also that the Protoculture structures on all the planets here were created to subdue any Zentradi threat. And that Runes are small fold receptors. And that Mikumo’s singing quality is somehow different from Freyja’s, and seems close to the Windermerean “Star Singer.” And finally that the mysterious Lady M, who has been studying the effects of music since the end of Space War I, is said to have created an artificial life form (or perhaps android) that is the ultimate singing weapon.

4. Afterwards, we get the scene where Mirage visits Hayate in the hospital, and he wakes up after she pleads with him to wake up and argue with her like he always does. Again, Delta generally eschews the homages that were Frontier’s stock in trade for a while, but this scene seems too reminiscent of the scene in Macross Seven where Mylene is begging an unconscious Basara to “Say ‘fire’… say ‘bomber’… say SOMETHING!” for it to be a coincidence.

5. Well, you either fall for the nostalgia-bait of classic songs (with new art painted by Risa Ebata and Hidetaka Tenjin) or you don’t. I see it as a ploy to get new viewers to go back and buy the previous shows, but still kinda dig it even as I realize I’m being manipulated. Again, I’m not really persuaded by Berger’s sudden power-point conference, but as Macross clip shows go, it’s at least as good as Frontier’s, and way better than Seven’s. Still not a patch on the first series’s “Phantasm,” but that’s the greatest clip show in the entire history of clip shows.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “The Wind Blows Without Warning”

EYECATCH: Hayate’s VF-1EX

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “The Wind Blows Without Warning.” And also, not entirely new but new to Delta, “Macross” (instrumental version), “Love Drifts Away,” “Do You Remember Love,” “Wanna Be an Angel,” “Try Again,” and “Lion.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 9

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THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 159 – Sense EMERGENCE

Delta Ep.18

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 18: Sense EMERGENCE

ICONIC SCENE: The “Ranba Ral” scene.

STORY DATE: November 2067

BROADCAST DATE: July 31, 2016

1. We’re back on Voldor, but it’s quite a bit different, since the Protoculture structure has somehow been affecting the core of the planet and causing the climate to change. Is that true of all the planets with the ruins? What will happen if they’re not taken care of? And Kaname points out that the last time they were on the planet, Messer was with them.

2. She’s also worried about Hayate and Freyja working together, since they all just learned that Hayate’s father was the one who dropped the bomb. Honestly, though, Freyja doesn’t seem too concerned about that.

When Kaname presses Arad about Hayate’s father, he points out that all large organizations have skeletons in their closet. She asks if the same is true for him, and he more or less admits it, leaving her looking crushed. Is this the end of the Arad/Kaname ship…?

3. Kassim expresses misgiving about the current mission (much in line with the conversations he’s been having with Hermann), and Bogue insults him. I expected Hermann to come in and tell Bogue to knock it off, but he doesn’t. I guess he’s really taking the “I’m not your master anymore” thing to heart, but still… Bogue is being a little shit, and needs some disciplining.

4. Anyway, Kassim walks off and meets up with Freyja. He doesn’t attack because he says that he’s currently not a knight, but this is just a conceit. Quite frankly, I think he’s lonely and wants someone to talk to about something other than this war that he’s not sure he supports anymore. And he and Freyja discover that they lived relatively close to each other and knew plenty of the same people. And Kassim becomes the only other Windermerean we’ve heard to use Freyja’s term “gori-gori” (or, technically, “gori-delicious”).

5. When Hayate shows up, he gets subdued pretty quickly and they all have a fairly reasonable talk. The whole scene is highly reminiscent of the scene from First Gundam where Amuro meets Ranba Ral, except there’s no ambiguity here. Each one knows the other is an enemy. Still, Kassim offers to help Freyja go back to Windermere. Naturally, she refuses.

6. Mikumo approaches the Protoculture structure (temple…?) and gets an uneasy feeling, along with some quick, indistinct flashbacks. Then she starts singing “Giraffe Blues” ahead of schedule, resonating with the structure, forcing the rest of Walküre to hurry to reach her, and alerting the Aerial Knights.

7. Bogue, clearly trying to get vengeance for being called “cheap” last time, focuses on Reina and nearly gets her. Honestly, again, his rehabilitation was won me over by this point, but any goodwill on my part would vanish if he actually managed to kill any of the main characters.

8. Heinz starts singing and the Protoculture structure starts REALLY resonating. Walküre sings back, and things get very weird. Mikumo seems to have another flashback, Hayate starts going Vár, Freyja goes all wonky, bio-fold waves start spreading across the planet, synchronizing the brain waves of all the Voldorans, and ALL of the Protoculture systems start resonating with each other.

What all of this MEANS is left for later, but it’s made plain that something very big and very ominous has happened.

9. And just in case THAT isn’t enough, Mikumo mutters “Rudanjaar Rom Mayan,” starts singing as if possessed, and blows the entire structure up before collapsing herself.

Emphasizing that she’s probably not okay is the ending credit sequence, for the new song “LOVE THUNDER GLOW” (listed as “LOVE THUNDER GROW” during the broadcast), which is nothing but previous scenes of Mikumo, as if in memorium. Ominous indeed…

10. Well, it’s nice to get some Valk action again, and there are even a fair amount of gerwalk and battroid scenes here. The scene with Kassim is well-done and convincing. That last sequence with the battle, though… even having seen the rest of the series, it’s really strange and more than a little confusing. Roid has his key to controlling the entire globular cluster now, but that isn’t revealed yet. And the unhealthy resonance between Hayate and Freyja is about to get super-annoying.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “LOVE THUNDER GLOW”

EYECATCH: Keith’s Draken III

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “LOVE THUNDER GLOW”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 8

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 1

Delta Mini 1

DELTA MINI-THEATRE (VOLUME 1)

ICONIC SCENE: “This is SCIENCE! Not MAGIC!”

RELEASE DATE: July 26, 2016

On the Macross Delta BD/DVDs (along with EXCELLENT English subtitles) there are some fun short films. They’re done with VERY limited animation, in a style close to a lot of the extra Frontier material (like “Macross Fufonfia” and the “Super Dimension Seminar”), so much so that I thought at first that they were done by the same studio, the memorably-named I Was a Ballerina Co., Ltd. But no, these are done by Studio PuYUKAI, who I’d never heard of before.

Most of it, naturally, is just silly jokes, but the first installment here of “Go! Aerial Knights” contains a lot of information about Walküre’s body suits (which are said here to be bullet-proof, despite what happens later in the series), their gas jet clusters, and their “fold projectors” that create the holographic costumes.

The part that I love, though, as my “iconic scene” indicates, is when the Aerial Knights say that Walküre’s outfits seem like magic, and Reina sternly cries, “This is science, not magic!” Considering how often I’ve seen viewers say they hate the “magic” in Delta, I laughed out loud when I first saw this.

Like the Macross 7 P*L*U*S shorts, I’d say that these aren’t essential for watching the series, but I think they’re a treat, and it would be a shame to miss them.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 158 – Infection ON STAGE

Delta Ep.17.png

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 17: Infection ON STAGE

ICONIC SCENE: Sex sells.

STORY DATE: November, 2067

BROADCAST DATE: July 24, 2016

1. In an unusual opening, we start with narration from Roid, explaining the Windermerean’s dilemma: that they are so powerful, but that their lives are so short. And that “solving the Protoculture system” could rectify that.

And indeed, Windermere is beefing up its conventional forces, with a few dozen more Drakens. Bogue’s pretty thrilled about this, but Kassim points out (to Hermann) that Roid was the only one who heard the King Grammier had wanted to conquer the entire galaxy, and who knows if he’s telling the truth about it?

Roid, for his part, is studying Walküre’s performance. Berger tries to figure out why, but Roid is holding his cards VERY close to his chest (and will continue to for quite a while).

2. Xaos, now somewhat back on track, hatches a plan to infiltrate the planet Voldor. If this sounds familiar, it’s because they did it ten episodes ago. One thing to note about Delta is that certain scenes and situations (and even lines of dialogue) repeat later on, but play out differently. I already noted Hayate’s non-lethal attack on Bogue versus his shoot-to-kill attitude with Keith, and his repetition of his and Freyja’s Episode 1 dialogue in Episode 14. as we move forward, there we more of these parallels, some more obvious than others.

3. The plan this time, at least, is entirely different. Unable to sneak in as they did last time, They hijack the Galaxy Network and Walküre stages a concert broadcast, and the broadcast date carries a virus that will break through the security systems. Thus, what was done in a small and secretive way back in Episode 7 is done in a much bigger and flashier way here.

4. When Makina adds a little “service” to the broadcast, getting people to spread the virus faster by clicking for risqué pictures of herself, there’s one shot of the crowd that has a fun little Frontier reference… one guy’s phone looks like a carrot, another guy has a taiyaki-shaped phone (like Sheryl’s), and a third guy’s looks like Tama, the cat (frog…?) stuffed toy from Aquarion EVOL.

Delta Ep.17a.png

5. I’m glad we get a full (mostly) Walküre concert here, because I was beginning to miss some of the earlier songs, like “Jiritic Beginner” and “When My Rune Shines Bright.” We also get a new song from Makina, “Onyanoko Girl,” which is good, but sounds a little too much like it’s trying to be a song by the J-pop trio Perfume to me.

In the middle of it, though, we get a flashback to last episode, where Mikumo said she never remembered anyone celebrating her birthday. Here she goes on to say that she has no memories of her childhood or her parents, either. It was a fan theory from the beginning that there was something… artificial, shall we say, about Mikumo. Either that she was a clone or an android or SOMETHING.

Oh, and I’d like to take this moment to note, first, how good the Walküre choreography is, and second, how good the motion capture is. The first should be kind of a given, considering that Frontier gave a lot of fun and now-iconic dance moves to Sheryl and Ranka, but the second is new. Even in the Frontier movies, a lot of the dance sequences were pretty obviously film of real people, painted over (in the old hand-drawn days, of course, they called this “rotoscoping” – you can see it a lot in, say, Ralph Bakshi’s “Lord of the Rings” movie – but I’m not sure if the digital version is still called that), whereas with Walküre, it’s seamlessly integrated with all the other animation. I didn’t even realize that it even WAS motion capture until I watched one of the “Making of Macross Delta” shorts that profiled the dancers who “play” Walküre.

6. Oh, and during Freyja’s song, Hayate bugs out a bit again. Again, this plot thread isn’t annoying yet, but soon will be.

Oh, and in another subtle homage, the drink bottle that Hayate gives to Freyja is good ol’ Appale Genki, from Earth Girl Arjuna and Macross Zero. I always find it amazing when pre-Space War I brands managed to survive after the Zentradi destroyed earth.

7. Hayate makes a big faux pas when he tells Freyja that he hasn’t seen his mom in “only” a year or two, since that’s a rather large portion of a Windermerean’s life. She looks down, but snaps out of it quickly. It’s still a reminder to him that Freyja doesn’t really have all that long to live.

There’s also a nicely-observed bit where Freyja says that when she first came to Ragna, she thought old people were a different type of alien, since she’s never seen anyone much older than thirty. The fact that it’s a Ragnan COUPLE that brings this to her mind is moving, since she’ll never know what it’s like to grow old with someone.

8. The flat-out best section of this episode, even better than cheesecake Makina, is Bogue’s horrified reaction to Reina. I mentioned the rehabilitation of Bogue before, from annoying would-be killer to hormonally embarrassed teenage boy, and this is where that transition gets cemented. When he finds his men watching the Walküre concert, first he’s enraged, but when the hologram of Reina “looks” at him, he’s immediately terrified. It’s also a great scene to cite (as I have before) when you’re making fun of the Macross (or, more often, Robotech) fans who think that Macross is gritty, hardcore military SF and get uncomfortable around idol singers.

9. At the end, there’s another twist in the all-important story of the Dimension Eater dropped on Windermere. Remember, first we heard that Windermere did it to themselves as a “false flag” attack. Then we heard that the N.U.N.S. dropped it. Now, we find out that, yes, it was the N.U.N.S., and the pilot who made the bombing run was Hayate’s father. He destroyed a N.U.N.S. base and also killed countless Windermerean civilians. It’ll be a while before this gets untangled fully, but I’m not sure how convincing any of it is. Even when first watching the show a year ago, I never really thought that Immelmann Sr. was ever trying guilty of this war crime. Perhaps because of that, I never found the subplot all that compelling. What would Hayate do if his dad WERE guilty? Quit Delta Flight? The stakes aren’t clearly defined, and so the issue lacks weight. The resolution (near the end of the series) is really touching, but until that point, it just doesn’t seem as crucial as the show wants us to think it is. I freely admit, though, that if I could have seen this when I was in my teens, and first truly beginning to see my parents as flawed human beings (as we all must do, sooner or later), it might have grabbed me a little more intensely. Again, it’s always good to remember that people like me aren’t the show’s target audience, and that audience’s priorities aren’t necessarily my priorities.

10. One of the common complaints about Broadway musicals (especially older ones) is that every time a song starts, the plot stops. I can’t quite say that this episode, which is the biggest all-singing all-dancing extravaganza in the series, completely avoids that charge, but I still find it a lot of fun, with some excellent scenes. As I said, I think Bogue is the highlight, but Freyja and Hayate’s scenes together are warm, and the concert scenes are well-done (if not quite the delirious weirdness of, say, Sheryl’s concerts in the Frontier movies). Still, the last battle we had was a couple of episodes ago, and it was extremely short. Let’s get those Valkyries back in action…

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Destruction of Innocence”

EYECATCH: Hayate’s VF-31J

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Onyanoko Girl,” “Hear the Universe”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 7

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 157 – Reluctant BIRTHDAY

Delta Ep.16

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 16: Reluctant BIRTHDAY

ICONIC SCENE: Netabare Album ~The end of triangle~

STORY DATE: November 1-3, 2067

BROADCAST DATE: July 17, 2016

1. Well, every Macross TV series apparently has to have a birthday episode, and now Freyja joins the exclusive club of Minmay, Mylene, and Alto in having her birthday party televised for our entertainment.

And we open with her wearing the good ol’ Nyan-Nyan waitress uniform, made famous by Ranka (and Nanase. And, less canonically, Sheryl and Alto).

Meanwhile, Makina is planning a surprise birthday party for her, and if you look closely when they show Freyja’s profile from the Walküre website, the text is just copied from the English Wikipedia entry for her.

2. As far as the war goes, it appears that Heinz needs to recover before Windermere can attack the rest of the galaxy, which gives Xaos a bit of time to execute Mikumo’s plan of trying to use the one of the Protoculture ruins to Walküre’s advantage.

3. The shopping scene is a little strange… it’s clearly an attempt to try to generate some romantic tension between Hayate and Mirage… except that they’re shopping for Freyja. I’ve said it before, but again, it doesn’t really seem like Mirage was ever in any kind of love triangle here, no matter how much Chuck, Reina, and Makina seem to ship them. And indeed, by the end of this episode, any hope for a triangle will be well and truly closed. If I understand them correctly, some Mirage fans seem to think that this makes her a poorly-written character, but I don’t really see it. As the excellent Macross (and other things) blogger Karice says, Mirage’s story is not that of a love-triangle contestant. There’s nothing “special” about her, and that’s what makes her important.

(Seriously, read Karice’s post. It’s great.)

I *think* what the Mirage fans wanted was for her to first become a kickass pilot, and then swoop in and steal Hayate from Freyja’s grasping clutches, which of course doesn’t happen. It’s possible they wanted other things from her, too: one gent who proclaimed often and loudly how terrible Delta was decided to hire a model, dress her up as Mirage, and do a photo shoot, saying that he would do justice to the character (since the show didn’t). Apparently, his idea of respecting the character was in taking semi-undressed cheesecake photos of the model. Er, okay…

*Ahem* Anyway, the scene is fun and charming, made more so by Chuck and Makina (and Reina) following Hayate and Mirage and making up romantic dialogue for them. Also charming, if a little implausible, is that Mirage’s phone looks like Q-Lulu, and that there is apparently Q-Lulu-themed merchandise for sale.

Oh well, I guess it’s like if you have, say, an Airedale or a Scottish Terrier, and there’s plenty of stuff you can get with those breeds of dogs on them.

4. The mall they’re in is also fun, with lots of intriguing-sounding shops like “Flying Ragna,” “Retro Girl,” and “UNIVERSEDUO.” There’s also an odd Fed Ex parody called MadEx, but that was already in Episode One. Oh, and apparently, the top girls’ fashion magazine in 2067 is called “Daisy Daisy.” And there’s a “Mercat Fair” going on at the mall, whatever that entails.

5. Mirage comes out and asks if Hayate likes Freyja, which is refreshingly direct for an anime character (and, often, your average young Japanese woman). Hayate doesn’t really “get” what she’s asking, or at least pretends not to.

6. One plot development that will become important-but-annoying starts here, where Freyja sings and Hayate, some miles away presumably, starts getting woozy. I’ll get into WHY this is annoying later, but I’m sure you can guess what I’m gonna say.

7. Funnily enough, when they actually surprise Freyja, she had forgotten that it was her birthday. Then Mikumo shows up (which in itself is kind of a shock) and sings “Freyja’s Birthday Song,” an a cappella song that really lets Mikumo’s singing voice, JUNNA, show off her pipes. Last year, after Macross World Con (now called Super Dimension Convention, being held this October in Torrance, CA… come if you can! It’s always fun!), a bunch of us went out to eat, and the Walküre cosplayers with us did an impromptu (and great) version of this song in the middle of the restaurant, which made the other diners think that it was actually someone’s birthday, and so the whole place erupted into applause after the song.

Similarly, when Freyja’s birthday, November 3, rolled around last year, a Japanese fan actually made a replica of Freyja’s cake. And it looked delicious.

8. Oh, one think I’ve been meaning to mention but haven’t had a chance to… often, when Freyja is trying to keep it together or motivate herself, she’ll slap her own cheeks. This apparently is something that her voice actress, Minori Suzuki would do, and it was a habit given to the character.

9. Hayate arrives late, but he has a pretty awesome present: he’s rented some snowmakers and turned the front of Rag-Nyan-Nyan into a Windermerean winter scene. Freyja is ecstatic, and when Hayate touches her Rune, she doesn’t flinch or call her a perv. Basically, this is like getting to second base. I think. And Arad, I’m pretty sure, knows it, considering the “You’re gonna get lucky, Bro” smile he flashes at Hayate.

Mirage looks on from afar, but it’s over now. The love triangle (such as it was) is done, and Mirage never really had a chance. Note, however, that she doesn’t really seem that upset, and she watches Hayate and Freyja with a rather wistful smile on her face. She does quietly start crying a bit later without realizing why, but really, this is hardly a tragedy for her.

10. As far as the space war plot goes, this is the most digressive episode we’ve had, as it barely gets brought up. However, as I’ve said, it’s entirely crucial for the love story. Hayate and Freyja won’t do much with their potential relationship for a while, but the events here will definitely have a huge impact on Mirage.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “God Bless You”

EYECATCH: Don and Q-Lulu

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “The Wind Blows Without Warning” (kinda), “Freyja’s Birthday Song,” and “God Bless You.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 6

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 156 – Parting RESOLUTION

Delta Ep.15

MACROSS DELTA

MISSION 15: Parting RESOLUTION

ICONIC SCENE: Triumph of the Will, Windermere-style.

STORY DATE: Late October to November 1, 2067

BROADCAST DATE: July 10, 2016

1. It’s about time we got an episode focusing primarily on the Windermereans. The series introduced them as a “mysterious threat,” but has been trying to humanize them since about halfway through the first cour. But it was clear from the get-go that they were never meant to be evil and unsympathetic, if for no other reason than that there’s a manga about them. I don’t think the show develops them QUITE as much as it should (the twins especially remain firmly in the background throughout), but some of them become full characters.

Oh, and the new opening gets unveiled here. Funnily enough (as pointed out on the SpeakerPODCast) the name “Walküre” appears well before the name “Macross.” The song, “Absolute Zero θ [“theta”] Novatic,” is good, although it tends to move in fits and starts, which makes it an odd choice for an OP (I always think the best OP songs are the ones that start slow and speed up, or at least gain complexity of instrumentation as they continue). Still, the single was a big hit, so what do I know?

And, a while back, Craig of the Repacked Podcast and the SpeakerPODCast asked me if Bogue lunging forward in this OP counts for my tally. And the answer is, “Yep.”

And the last shot in the opening is by Risa Ebata, who came back to do several stunning pics of Walküre. Here, I like that the outfits are definitely inspired by the usual stage costumes, but show an elaborateness that would be extremely difficult to capture in animation.

2. It’s interesting that although this is Windermere’s moment of victory, the episode is suffused with melancholy and regret. Some of it is tied to the past (Bogue, for example, has lost his entire family), but there’s also a lot of uncertainty about the current war, especially given its underhanded methods of using the Vár and mind-control.

3. Keith is now out of his coma, but he’s lost his right eye. Naturally, Windermereans being as superhuman as they are, this doesn’t affect his flying. He can literally fly with eyes closed and be all right.

4. A lot of effort goes into making Windermere look pretty down-at-heel. Even the colosseum where Heinz’s coronation takes place looks plain and not as impressive as you’d think it should. Just in case you think this may be a failure of design rather than a conscious choice, there are huge chunks ripped out of some of the walls. Windermere is not a kingdom of riches, but is barely scraping by, trying its best hold on to some sense of pride and glory.

5. Back on Island Jackpot, we get to see a Ragnan bed, which is a small pool of water. Mikumo mentions that she has a plan for reclaiming the Brísingr Globular Cluster, and Walküre is moving into Rag-Nyan-Nyan. The best part of this scene is Reina’s huge array of bizarre-looking plush toys.

6. Roid gives his big speech, and seems to prove that the NUNS were behind the dropping of the Dimension Eater seven years prior, since it was delivered by a VF-22. This will go back and forth for a while before we get a clear resolution, but Roid is indeed right that the NUNS is lying in saying that Windermere did it themselves.

7. There’s still some potentially shady business, though. For all anyone knew, Windermere’s war has finished. They’ve conquered (er, I mean, “liberated”) the entire Cluster and are free of NUNS control. However, Roid now says that they need to conquer the whole galaxy (which, using the Song of the Wind and the Vár, they could potentially do). And he says it was King Grammier’s final will to do so. Is Roid lying…? It’s not like anyone else was around to hear…

8. The newly-crowned King Heinz sings, and suddenly those odd structures from fold space appear around all the Protoculture ruins on the planets of the Brísingr Cluster, which could strengthen the song enough to put the entire galaxy under mind control.

Oh, and Mikumo thinks the structures seem somehow familiar…

9. At the end, there’s a brief-but-fierce space battle with Keith rushing in and taking out the NUNS fleet’s fold jamming systems to allow the Song of the Wind to get through. It’s probably the best part of the entire series for seeing the Draken kick ass in battroid mode.

The fleet gets ripped to tatters (including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gruesome death for one of the pilots), but there is a survivor, who gets rescued by Hayate. And that survivor expresses shock that Arad would work with Wright Immelmann’s son… setting in motion a major plot thread for the second half of the series.

10. This is the first episode that I think isn’t really all that good. The lack of visual flair in the scenes on Windermere is deliberate, but even the writing seems a little drab. Hints and references are made to the larger Windermerean society as well as to the relationships between the various Aerial Knights, but they remain hints. I would’ve preferred less about the coronation ceremony and more about the knights themselves. There’s a lot here that could’ve been interesting if it had been expanded upon better, primarily among the knights’ families, who we still have yet to see. Bogue’s scene at his family’s grave should be heartrending, as should Heinz’s realization that Keith is now his servant rather than his brother, but they lack emotion. As it stands, the episode fills in some blanks and moves the plot along, but little more.

It’s also, I note, only the second episode where Walküre doesn’t sing, although Heinz does.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Destruction of Innocence”

EYECATCH: Keith’s Draken III

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic.”

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 5