MISSION 14: Drifting EMBRACE
ICONIC SCENE: WALKÜRE!!
STORY DATE: 2067
BROADCAST DATE: July 3, 2016
1. Well, I gotta admit, I’m a little apprehensive about this part. See, I haven’t rewatched the second half of Delta in full until now. When I watched it as it was airing, I enjoyed it, but I also couldn’t escape the nagging feeling that not enough was actually, y’know, HAPPENING. I’m not sure how I’ll feel this time.
It’s no secret that even a lot of viewers who enjoyed (hell, LOVED) the first half of Delta really didn’t like the second half. You see a lot of people blaming “rushed scripting” because the series was expanded from the original concept of thirteen episodes plus a movie to twenty-six episodes, but as I’ve said before, that doesn’t mean what everyone says it means, nor did it happen as late as everyone says. But still, the fact remains that the second cour of Delta has much less in the way of action, and more in the way of people standing around talking. Does it “work” better watched over a shorter span rather than week by week? I don’t know yet.
The last time I was feeling a little bit of trepidation in the Great Macross Rewatch was when I started Seven, wondering if having to write about each episode would kill the show for me. As it turned out, despite some longueurs, it didn’t, and if anything I ended up liking Seven MORE than I had previously. Will the same thing happen here? Only time will tell…
2. Right off the bat, though, we get a new mystery (or a development of an old one) as Mikumo has a very odd dream in which she’s singing what seems to be a Windermerean song in front of a Protoculture temple.
Then we get the opening, which I find to be astonishingly clever. It’s the old theme, “If I Love Only Once,” but it’s the version Freyja sang last episode, and instead of the normal opening titles, it’s pretty much a recap of the previous episode. It’s a technique for addressing “The Story So Far…” that I’ve never seen before.
3. The main issue here is that the City ship (named here as “Island Jackpot,” which is a pretty strange name) is having power troubles. The Elysion could provide enough power for both ships (which reminds me of the modular system that enabled the main cannon to fire on the original SDF-1 Macross if it transformed), but Island Jackpot’s docking system has been damaged.
They’ve also got refugees to deal with, just like in the original Macross, but it’s dealt with a little more realistically here, as everyone is waiting in makeshift camps, rather than in a cozily rebuilt town.
By the way, I really like the effect of the power outages, as the fake sky in the City’s dome flickers in and out of existence.
4. There’s a section about politics that doesn’t really get expanded on, where it turns out that Xaos had been hired by the Brîsingr Golbular Cluster Coalition, but the Coalition itself is falling apart thanks to WIndermere’s conquest. Technically, Xaos is still on the payroll, but they might never get paid. And in their current reduced state, they couldn’t return and liberate Ragna even if they were ordered to.
5. Luckily, some time has been bought for our heroes, since the Knights have to return to Windermere for both the funeral for King Grammier, and the coronation of King Heinz.
Oh, and Keith is alive, but in a coma. Serves him right.
In the next scene, Hayate says that Island Jackpot hasn’t flown in thirty years, which, based on the basic Macross timeline, makes more sense than the “fifty years” that they had said previously. In 2037, New Macross Class ships existed. In 2017, they didn’t.
6. Er… didn’t they actually show two mercats mating…? Yes, yes they did…
And we find out a little about Hayate’s dad. He was in the military and where he was at any time was apparently a secret.
Also, after many months of speculation among the fans about whether Hayate’s pendant is Fold Quartz, he just comes out here and says it is. No biggie.
After that, there seems to be a deliberate callback to the first episode, with Hayate repeating his speech that he went lots of places and did lots of things, but nothing seemed to click. Then he quotes Freyja’s line that “You have to go somewhere you really wanna be.”
7. The gravity for one of the blocks fails, just like in Do You Remember Love, and for a moment, this LOOKS like it’s going to turn into the traditional Macross “trapped in a blocked-off area of the ship,” but Delta is the first Macross TV series not to have one of those. Instead, Freyja gets out quickly, and Hayate and Mirage are in a good place to reconnect a broken cable that’s necessary to regain full power.
And then, just as the civilians begin to panic, Walküre puts on a command rooftop performance, singing “Neo-Stream” (and, as I said about the song before, JUNNA (as Mikumo)’s English is impeccable. Is she really only a junior high school student…?).
Now, nearly every episode of Delta has a song at some point, but this one seems the most shoehorned-in so far. And it’s worth noting that the first Walküre album, “Walküre Attack,” was released later this week, so you could think of this as an extra push to advertise it. That said, it’s a lovely sequence, done mostly in the dark, with the girls lit from lights underneath them, which gives the artists a lot of interesting shadows to work with.
8. And while we’re talking about gratuitous scenes, there’s also Hayate and Mirage (still in Zero-G Friendzone) stripping off the jackets and throwing them to give themselves some kind of forward momentum. It all ends up being a little “Three’s Company,” as Hayate and Mirage are exerting themselves and grunting and moaning a lot and basically sounding like they’re having sex, as Freyja listens in, able to hear them but not see them, with a horrified expression.
9. Anyway, it all works, and the Elysion’s crotch docks with Island Jackpot, solving the power problem.
Plus the gravity comes back on, as well as the lights, letting everyone see Mirage and Hayate, half-naked, hanging on to each other. Mirage is mortified, of course.
And Xaos finds new clients who hire them to take the Globular Cluster back from Windermere.
Oh, and when the Elysion moves in to dock, I think this may be the only time in the show where we see Arad’s Siegfried in battroid mode.
10. Now, look… we all know how TV anime production works, and so after the action-packed previous episode, I was expecting something without as many animation-intensive (and cost-intensive) scenes for an episode or two. Every TV anime show is this way. And indeed, there aren’t many Valkyrie shots here, and no aerial combat at all. That said, it’s a fine episode, with plenty of cool scenes.
This was also the episode that aired mere hours before I finally met Shoji Kawamori himself (in L.A.) at the Satelight Animation booth at Anime Expo, which was definitely THE highlight of the con for me (second was meeting Yoshitaka Amano, one booth over. It was a good con for meeting the people who made me fascinated by anime). We didn’t talk long. I thanked him for his work, told him that I was really enjoying Delta, and that I was looking forward to his upcoming series, The Next. I received an autographed copy of the program for his recent museum exhibit, “The Henkei.” I felt a little presumptuous asking for a photo, but I’m glad I did. Unfortunately, thanks to being exhausted from working the booth all weekend, I look terrible here…
Oh, and the new ending theme, “Destruction of Innocence,” is meant (both instrumentally and lyrically) to be a sorta response to “Forbidden Borderline.” Personally, I think it may be the best song in the whole series.
OP: “If I Love Only Once” (Ep. 13 Freyja Version)
ED: “Destruction of Innocence”
EYECATCH: VF-1EX (Hayate Type)
NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Destruction of Innocence.”
NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 4