MISSION 20: Impulse EXPERIMENT
ICONIC SCENE: Mirage blurts it out.
STORY DATE: 2067
BROADCAST DATE: August 14, 2016
1. So I’ve been saying for a while that Hayate Vár-ing out from Freyja’s singing is the most annoying plot thread, and here we get to why it’s so: they ground him until they can figure out what’s going on.
Now, let’s face it… when you’ve got a show about pilots, and it already seems to be skimping on the action, the last thing the plot should do is keep the main character from flying. And yet, here we are.
2. I’m of two minds about this… on the one hand (and as Mirage points out towards the end) Hayate’s real purpose is to fly, just as Freyja’s is to sing. Threatening them with losing that seems like a good way of forcing them to deal with their fears. And yet, the whole sequence is neither convincing nor compelling. So I get what the creators are going for, but I don’t think they succeed.
The other members of Walküre trying to find out what happened to Mikumo is more interesting, and actually goes somewhere this episode.
3. The Aerial Knights are also standing around discussing what’s going on. Bogue’s theory is a good one (although wrong), that Xaos has analyzed Freyja’s rune and has made an artificial one. Mikumo’s power, of course, goes a little deeper than that, but yeah… why DIDN’T Xaos try that? Probably, I’m guessing, because it’s a very “bad guy” thing to do.
4. We also get more with Heinz, and the machinations at the castle. Since the royal doctor discovered something last time, he’s been replaced, and Keith is determined to find out why. Again, I think the staff is going for some “Game of Thrones” style political intrigue (and just as I wondered how much Battlestar Galactica had an influence on Grace in Frontier, I wonder how much of Thrones’s DNA is in the Windermereans). But again, it’s not as compelling (to me) as I think it’s meant to be.
I think the problem here is that there simply isn’t enough variation in the Knights’ attitudes. They’re not entirely in lock-step about Roid’s plan to conquer the galaxy, but they’re all willing to go along with it. The biggest issues are Hermann and Kassim murmuring about how they don’t really like the plan, and Keith wanting to preserve Heinz.
And THAT’S an interesting point, but it’s never really explicated. In the first half of the series, Keith was gung-ho about using Heinz for his singing, whereas Roid wanted to deploy him sparingly at best. Now it seems reversed. No reason for the switch is given in so many words, but I think there’s enough to allow us to piece it together. First off, I think Heinz’s conversation with Keith (back in Episode 15) about how he can no longer call him “brother” had a profound effect on Keith, to the point where he actually begins to think of him as such (and remember, the “Parting Resolution” of Episode 15’s title HAS to refer to that conversation, and Heinz’s decision. Nothing else in that episode fits). But also, all Keith ever wanted to do was free the Brísingr Cluster from the earth government, and he was quite willing to push Heinz to his limit to do that. But now that that goal has been accomplished, he sees Heinz killing himself for no damn good reason. For Roid, conversely, liberating the globular cluster was just a first step, and he wanted to make sure Heinz had enough power left afterward to take on the galaxy.
5. What the show does do a good job of presenting, though, through a series of small but effective flashbacks, is showing Keith’s loyalty to Roid, going back to when they first met as children, and Keith’s growing realization that that loyalty might be misplaced.
6. I do like the scene where Makina and Reina convince Kaname to join them in their scheme to free Mikumo, but I really don’t think Kaname needed all that much convincing.
7. So Freyja decides she’s going to quit singing for Hayate’s sake, and Hayate decides he’s going to quit flying for Freyja’s sake. It’s all very “Gift of the Magi,” isn’t it?
8. Mirage finally interrupts them, and talks some real sense into them, telling them that she loves them, and will protect both of them. As Macross super-blogger Karice has pointed out (the second time I’ve brought this excellent piece up), Mirage is perhaps making a promise she can’t keep, considering that there is nothing terribly special or gifted about her, but that’s what makes her promise so exceptional.
It’s interesting how a huge part of Mirage’s issues in the show is people’s reactions to her being a Jenius, and placing huge expectations on her just because of that name. And then you see fans doing the same thing, complaining that she’s not the badass that she should be and seems like a minor character in her own show. As Karice points out, this is missing what is most special about Mirage: her very ordinariness and her pledge to rise above it.
Also, as Renato pointed out on the Speaker PODCast, Asami Seto, Mirage’s voice actress, performs this excellently, turning what could’ve been a sappy and mawkish speech into the most compelling scene in the episode, and one of the most memorable in the entire series.
9. Walküre’s infiltration operation is much as you’d expect, and an excuse to get Makina in a nurse’s outfit. It’s a dopey, overused plot, but I’m a sucker for it. To the show’s credit, it doesn’t work for very long, and Makina’s disguise is uncovered extremely quickly, leaving Kaname to find Mikumo alone.
And find her she does, in a moving scene with Mikumo floating in the same tank we saw her in last time, singing softly along to “Giraffe Blues.” And things definitely LOOK dire for Reina and Makina, both captured by armed guards. This is the first time anyone’s gone expressly against Lady M, and you’d imagine there’d have to be some pretty serious consequences for that. You’d imagine…
10. So yeah, probably the least-interesting episode so far, although last five or six minutes are pretty good. I still think Kaname finding Mikumo would’ve been better if we hadn’t seen Mikumo at the end of the previous episode.
This episode also was the one aired after Walküre’s full concert debut, at Zepp Nanba in Osaka (if it seems weird to have the concert on the same night that an episode airs, remember that first, Japanese concerts start earlier, generally around six o’clock or so, and that Macross Delta aired on Tuesday nights in Osaka anyway. Only in Tokyo was on Sundays). I’ll talk about the three-stop “tour” later, though.
OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”
ED: “Destruction of Innocence”
EYECATCH: Keith’s Draken III
NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 10