TRANSLATION: Macross Delta Vol. 1, Chapter 3

Girl of Al Shahal Chapter 3

And here it is, FINALLY: Macross Delta Vol. 1 – Chapters1-3, the novelization by Ukyo Kodachi. Yeah it’s been over a year since I posted the last one… I’ll try to stick to a more regular schedule now.

Anyway enjoy! And note the bizarre little cameo from a character you’d never expect to show up in Delta!

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THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Anison World Matsuri ~Japan Kawaii Live~

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ANISON WORLD MATSURI ~JAPAN KAWAII LIVE~

ICONIC SCENE: “We love hamburger!” (Pic from the Anime Expo Facebook page.)

PERFORMANCE DATE: June 30, 2017

There was something of a sonic boom among western Macross Delta fans (yes, they exist) this last spring, when it was announced that Minori Suzuki and JUNNA (Freyja and singing-Mikumo) of Walküre would be performing at Anime Expo at the elaborately named “Anison World Matsuri ~Japan Kawaii Live~.” They’d be performing on the opening night (or “Day 0”), June 30, 2017, in an idol-themed concert along with IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, Wake Up Girls!, and Aquors (from “Love Live! Sunshine!!”). And I think that’s the most exclamation points I’ve ever used in a single sentence that WASN’T sarcastic…

Anyway, this was greeted with a lot of shock, despite the fact that, when you think about it, the majority of Macross singers have performed in the US at least once (and, in Fire Bomber’s case, actually recorded an album, “ACOUSTIC FIRE!!” here). In this case, of course, it wasn’t the entire Walküre group, but I think we were all pretty happy to take what we could get.

Since I got my ticket last-minute (i.e. on the day of the concert), I wasn’t going to be sitting near the front like some of my friends were. In fact, the only seats available were on the “mezzanine” (although it looked more like a “second balcony” to me), while everyone else was in the orchestra section. While it meant I was pretty far from the stage, it did give me a good view of the audience.

The show was nearly sold out, but not quite. I’d say the mezzanine was about half or two-thirds full, while the rest of the place was packed. The Microsoft Theater holds 7100 people, so I’d say that a little under seven thousand were there.

How many people were there specifically for Walküre is an open question. Just talking to random people, it seemed like Aqours and Wake Up Girls! were the biggest draws, followed by Walküre. That said, while the audience was appreciative of Cinderella Girls and Wake Up Girls!, they seemed to go especially wild for Walküre.

A lot of this, I’m sure, had to do with their performance. Now, all of the groups performed well (as far as I know… I left right after Walküre, thus missing Aqours), but the first two were… a little impersonal. The impression I got was that they were both doing pretty much the same set that they do in Japan, just shorter. They performed their hits, introduced themselves in Japanese, and did a couple of skits, also in Japanese. Walküre seemed set to do the same, coming out and singing a couple of songs, and then JUNNA said, between songs, “We love HAMBURGER!!” This led to a long conversation about where to get a good hamburger.

Well, Californians know what’s what, and so the crowd started shouting “In-n-Out! In-n-Out!” The thing is, Minori and JUNNA had apparently already tried In-n-Out, and loved it. I think this was lost on most of the crowd, who seemed to think they were recommending something new to the girls, rather than affirming that they’d already had the best.

(Incidentally, in case you’re curious, my favorite hamburger in L.A. is not In-n-Out, although it’s quite good (especially “Animal Style”) but the plainly-named “Pie ‘n’ Burger” in Pasadena. Excellent burger, and well worth the trip if you’re in Los Angeles.)

Anyway, more than the music, this bit of mike chatter totally won over the crowd, and Twitter was ablaze with people who had never heard of Walküre or Macross, but were now inspired to seek it out.

I said before that the concerts were really a communal focus point for Macross, solidifying the fans together in a way that just watching a show on TV could never do, even if you talk about it on social media afterwards. And I think that was proven here. It seemed like most of the crowd hadn’t previously known the show (although A LOT of the crowd had their glowsticks turned to red or purple and Minori was visibly moved when she tried to teach the crowd how to do the “Whoa-whoa-WhoaWhoaWhoa!” bit for “When My Rune Shines Bright” and it turned out that many people already knew it), but I’m sure there were many, MANY new fans made that night.

We’ll see what happens in the future. For right now, with a movie, a series, and another concert on the horizon, everything seems fine.

(If you want to hear more, including our friend Nicole’s amazing personal encounter with Minori, be sure to check out the podcast here at Decultureshock.)

Anyway, the Macross Rewatch has now once again come to an end. Thanks for reading! It will be revived again later, and I’ll have a different series rewatch coming up next year. First, though, will come some long-awaited translations.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 8

Delta Mini 8

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 8

ICONIC SCENE: Jellyfish!

RELEASE DATE: February 24, 2017

Included with Volume 8 of the blu-rays, this is probably the weakest of the shorts, although the “Mirage’s Diary” has some visuals that are worth a chuckle or two. I also like how Captain Johnson is so tall that his head never appears in the frame.

Oh… and earlier this week, news about the Delta movie was announced at an event. We still don’t know a whole lot, except that it’s called Macross Delta Gekijo: Gekijo Walküre (“Gekijo” meaning both “theatrical movie” and “passionate,” depending on which kanji is used), and that it will tell a new story, using both old a new footage… so, I’m guessing it’ll be a lot like The False Diva. It’ll come to theaters February 9 (followed a couple of weeks later by two Walküre concerts, again at Yokohama Arena), which makes me wonder how long they’ve been working on it… Since the end of the TV series? Just recently? Anyway, I’m looking forward to it, although I’m going in with fairly low expectations.

You can follow any developments on Decultureshock.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – WALKÜRE LIVE 2017

Walküre 2nd Live

WALKÜRE LIVE 2017: “WALKÜRE Won’t Stop” at Yokohama Arena

ICONIC SCENE: Do You Remember Sobs?

PERFORMANCE DATE: January 29, 2017

(DVD/BD RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2017)

Remember back when the Frontier TV series ended, nine years ago now, and after the final episode there was a little blurb announcing a Frontier movie? So even as it finished, we knew more was going to come? There was no such assurance at the end of Delta, leaving everyone a little uncertain of what was coming next. Oh sure, the toys, model kits, and figures were still being released, but new productions…? We had no idea.

So it was pretty exciting for Delta fans when, towards the end of 2016, a “rare tracks” mini-album by Walküre was announced, along with a two-night concert at Yokohama Arena.

Yokohama Arena, by the way, seats 17,000 people and thus is several magnitudes larger than the Zepp concert halls that they had played before, and even (slightly) larger than Budokan, where the biggest Frontier concerts happened.

The video release of the concert, which is a massive three-hour thing, is of the second night of the concert, which means that unfortunately Minori “Freyja” Suzuki’s duet with Megumi “Ranka” Nakajima is not on it, since Megumi was only there the first night.

But other than that, I think it gives any Delta fan everything they could want in a Walküre concert. Nearly every song is performed, with much more elaborate choreography than the Zepp shows, and there’s even a surprise appearance by Melody Chubak as Heinz and Yoko Hikasa as Claire. Most importantly, they play with a full band, unlike the Zepp shows, which used prerecorded tracks.

The emotional climax hits when JUNNA is talking about how grateful she is for Delta and Mikumo, and starts crying. Then, during “Do You Remember Love,” she starts all-out sobbing. Then Kiyono “Kaname” Yasuno and Minori start losing it, too. Throughout the concert, the performances are virtually flawless, but JUNNA can barely sing her part here, she’s weeping so hard. Remember, she was only fifteen, and it was just a little over a year previously that she had been performing at tiny, cheap “idol festivals” as half of a duo called Twintail… and now she’s got a couple of number-one albums and is singing in front of a crowd of fourteen thousand. It’s gotta be kind of awe-inspiring.

So yeah, really wonderful show on every level. And as much as some fans grouse about the emphasis on music in Macross, I think the music is really vital, not only in itself, but also for the communal aspect of things like this concert. Having been to a few, there’s really something energizing and even moving about being in a huge crowd of people waving glowsticks, swaying with the music, and getting that direct connection that’s really only possible through live music. It’s an experience beyond what just the anime can give, and I think it’s easy to see why in the last few years, so many idol anime shows have been created. But still, nobody does it quite like Macross… but I’ll talk about that more later.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 7

Delta Mini 7

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 7

ICONIC SCENE: Mikumo demonstrates lack of embarrassment to Mirage.

RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2017

And the blu-ray releases continue… This short, despite yet another bit about Mirage’s lack of self-confidence, shows that the conventions of the “Mini-Theatre” are standard enough that they can begin to play with them, as when Reina interrupts Bogue watching the Walküre channel (showing that yes, she can indeed see him through the TV screen, as he’s been fearing for a while now).

Still no big belly laughs or anything, but better than the previous bunch.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 6

Delta Mini 6.png

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 6

ICONIC SCENE: Another covert operation for Mikumo…?

RELEASE DATE: December 22, 2016

Volume 6 here was released on my birthday, so that’s something. This collection of shorts features Mirage blaming Hayate for eating her dessert, Freyja doing a broadcast lecture on runes and getting told off by Bogue, and Mirage trying to figure out what a “selfish kiss” is, while Mikumo looks on. Like the last one, a little generic. The rune segment seems promising, but doesn’t end up telling us much that we didn’t already know.

I really appreciated the Macross 7 P*L*U*S episodes because they got stronger (mostly) as the series went on. The Delta Mini-Theatre shorts, in contrast, start off great, and then begin to wobble a bit.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 5

Delta Mini 5

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 5

ICONIC SCENE: Stylish!

RELEASE DATE: November 25, 2016

I think I like the shorts better when they actually present some background info, like about Walküre’s equipment, but here at least, the Draken III glasses are pretty fun, and I’m surprised no one has made them yet.

Other than that, the jokes are a little generic, involving Mirage feeling embarrassed for being outs in a tank top and sweat pants, and about everyone’s horrible ideas for a new jellyfish dish at Rag-Nyan-Nyan. Still cute, though.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 4

Delta Mini 4

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 4

ICONIC SCENE: Kaname’s embarrassing past…

RELEASE DATE: October 26, 2016

And this was really is just fluff, although we get a scene of what Kaname had to go through to (try to) become a star, we see the twins with apple hats, and Reina dresses up as a sausage to try to make Messer smile. And we DO see Messer smile… just not at Reina.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH – Delta Mini-Theatre 3

Delta Mini 3

DELTA MINI-THEATRE 3

ICONIC SCENE: Messer, expert pizza delivery man.

RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2016

So, two days after the show finished airing, the third DVD and blu-ray disc came out, featuring one short in which we discover that Xaos has branches in so many different businesses, from entertainment to military contracting to pizza delivery, that NO ONE really knows where it begins and ends. And the video tape sneaked out by the Jussila twins this time promises to have more info on the VF-31 Siegfried, but all we find out before Reina shuts it all down is that the Siegfried is adapted from the VF-31A Kairos, and that it has a fold adaptor which increases its power in connection with Walküre’s singing.

Again, hardly essential, but definitely fun.

THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 167 – Eternal WALKÜRE

Delta Ep.26

MACROSS DELTA
MISSION 26: Eternal WALKÜRE

ICONIC SCENE: Gets ya right in the feels…

STORY DATE: 2067

BROADCAST DATE: September 25, 2016

1. Another episode (like Mission 1, or 13, or the last episode of Frontier) that has no OP sequence. I don’t care WHAT anime series you’re talking about, that always means “strap yourself in!” The lead-in to the title also mirrors the first episode in its choice of music and the way that the title appears.

And Heinz has already decided to start peace negotiations. Unfortunately, he’s decided to start them AFTER the Star Song is used… basically, after Windermere wins. That said, it does seem like feeling the deaths of everyone in the NUNS fleet has seriously rattled him.

And Roid connects himself to the mechanism that allows him to control Mikumo, and sure enough, it interfaces with his runes. Only a Windermerean could use it… which does lend credence to his idea that the Windermereans are the true heirs to the legacy of the Protoculture.

It also, um, makes him look a little silly…

2. Fittingly, Arad names this last offensive “Rangarök,” which of course is the armageddon from Norse mythology. But I wonder if I’m correct in seeing also “Ragna ROCK!!” in there, as well…

And Hayate’s got a new fighter, which looks almost exactly like his original fighter except that it has emblem of a knight’s helm on its back, which is clearly based on Messer’s Grim Reaper skull.

3. The first part of the fight happens in the asteroids surrounding Ragna, in what (again) seems like a deliberate parallel, this time of course to Episode 6.

And then Mikumo starts belting the Star Song (named some variation of “Arkan,” Sara’s song from Macross Zero), and not only does it make everything go all wobbly and creepy, but it ALSO has the song “Do You Remember Love” woven into it. Most of the song (like all of Mikumo’s singing work) is sung by JUNNA, but the “Do You Remember Love” section is sung by Mikumo’s voice actress, Ami Koshimizu.

4. And then we find out what Roid’s plan all along has been, and boy, is it disappointing. The Star Song can create a “Fold Bio-Neural Network,” which can join all consciousness in the galaxy together as a single being, bringing eternal peace and allowing the Windermereans (and everyone else) to slough off their bodies and live forever, rather than the short lifespan they currently have.

Now, if this sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve seen Macross Frontier, where Grace’s plan to connect everyone’s minds together in a galaxy-spanning fold network.

And if sounded familiar even THEN, you’ve probably seen Evangelion, which also had a similar idea.

So yeah… Seriously? No one could come up with anything even SLIGHTLY different? It’s a really sour note in what I think is an otherwise wonderful episode.

5. One GOOD part that comes out of it is glimpses into some of the characters’ memories. We see Keith being jealous at the birth of Heinz, Hayate with his father, and, most tantalizingly, Mirage as a child checking out a VF-9 Cutlass at a hangar with a sign proclaiming “JENIUS AIR.” Did the Macross Seven finally settle down on a planet and Max and Milia opened their own flying school? I’m sure we’ll never know, but honestly, I would absolutely watch a show about kid Mirage and her talking VF-9 traveling around the galaxy, solving mysteries and nabbing bad guys.

6. It seems like everyone still retains their consciousness in fold space, if not in the “outside world,” and Freyja keeps trying to sing to “wake” everyone up… and then Heinz joins her. So yeah, Heinz has FINALLY realized that what Roid is trying to achieve probably isn’t a GOOD thing for everyone. Although he STILL thinks that they’ll deal with the NUNS forces afterwards.

Naturally, this being Macross, it’s the power of love that breaks everyone out of their bondage, although I suspect that any forceful positive emotion would’ve done the trick. Hayate confesses his love for Freyja. Then Mirage confesses her love for Hayate, primarily to motivate Freyja to do the same… which she does. This scene, by the way, is accompanied with a great visual touch: Freyja is crying as she’s seeing memories of her with Hayate together, and her tears are falling and landing on some kind of invisible surface hovering over the memories. Again, even when the story’s inventiveness flags (as it definitely does here), the visual inventiveness doesn’t.

7. In a deliberate parallel to Mission 13 (of which there are several in this episode), Freyja starts singing “If I Love Only Once,” which finally manages to break through the psychic cobwebs. Everyone wakes up, except for the Windermerean pilots who AREN’T the Aerial Knights. The other pilots’ Drakens turn white to signify that they’re now protecting Roid, much as the Vajra under Macross Galaxy’s control changed color as well.

But still, even with her wound not fully healed, Makina manages to get suited up and out there singing with the rest of Walküre. She really is a tough, tough woman.

Although it almost doesn’t matter, since a couple of minutes later, she, Freyja, and Reina get blown out of their Elysion stage when one of Roid’s beams hits the ship.

Now, if the beams hitting the Elysion JUST as Walküre is singing “Bang! Bang! Bang!” seems a little too on the nose (and honestly, much of this sequence seems EXTREMELY on the nose), Kawamori is surely to blame. He personally did the storyboards for all the music/battle sequences in the show, and really seems intent on making the action match the song (just, I hasten to add, as it did in “Do You Remember Love” and “The Wings of Farewell,” to cite just two examples of many). Indeed, as Delta was airing, the staff credits would show up on the official Macross website a few days before each episode aired (usually… once, they didn’t appear until JUST before the episode in question was broadcast), and a number of my friends and I would scour them to see if his name was listed under the storyboards. If it wasn’t, we knew there wasn’t going to be any real mecha action in that week’s episode.

8. After having a couple of times in the series where we see Makina go all out to save Reina from falling to her death, it’s nice to see Reina reciprocate here. And it’s even NICER to see Bogue save both of them from certain obliteration (while blushing). He’s grown as a character… no longer a complete ass, now he’s just mostly an ass.

And yes, he kinda lunges forward when shouts Walküre. I count it.

9. The rest of the battle plays out predictably but stylishly. The Elysion goes in for the kill, Mikumo is rescued, and Keith supports Hayate and Mirage and kills Roid, sacrificing himself in the process.

10. The denouement comes quickly. Too quickly, apparently, for many viewers who found it inconclusive. To me, it seems clear that the war is over, since Roid’s last gambit failed. And yes, there’s no easy fix or lengthened lifespan for Freyja, who probably only has fifteen years of life left at the very most. But I think that’s the point: her life will be short, but as long as it’s filled with exuberance, it can’t be considered tragic or wasted. She’ll live it to the fullest, with no regrets. And Hayate will be there for her as long as he can.

FINAL. And, again, just like with every Macross TV series, this isn’t the end, since just last month, a Delta movie was announced. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but apparently many viewers had talked themselves into believing that Delta was an abject failure, to be swept under the rug and forgotten as quickly as possible. For some reason, these fans didn’t seem to think that the Walküre albums hitting #1 on the charts, or the sold-out Yokohama Super Arena shows, or strong blu-ray sales, or continued enthusiasm on Twitter and NicoNico and Pixiv to be indicative of popularity, but I have no idea why not. Heck, if I didn’t know better, I’d say a lot of these viewers were doomsaying because they WANTED Delta to fail, and fail hard, which makes no sense, right…?

For a number of the more heavily-invested Robotech fans, it wasn’t just doomsaying but what I can only describe as an almost gleeful rage that after all these years of productivity and popularity, Macross had finally (FINALLY!!) crashed and burned and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE LIKED IT ANYMORE!! YAY!!

(Seriously, one Robotech.com moderator whose use of Twitter had been extremely infrequent was suddenly posting many times a week during Delta’s run, with increasing (and palpable) anxious desperation as he tried to convince others (and himself, I suspect) that no one liked it.)

Uh… nope. Sorry, guys. Guess you still have to grimace at Macross coming out with movies and series on a timely schedule while you wait endlessly for Shadow Rising or Academy or the live-action movie. (Or maybe not, since it’s now possible – unlikely, but possible – that Harmony Gold might lose their license to the shows that make up Robotech in 2021. We’ll see.)

But look… excessive negativity aside (and I do really enjoy Delta), I’m left somewhat unsatisfied. Part of it, of course, is the ending cribbing too much from Frontier, but also, many of the episodes in the second half don’t seem quite as dramatic as they should be. It’s still eminently watchable, with excellent designs and some really great animation. And if history has taught me anything, it’s that any hate against it will surely mellow over time, especially as more and more new fans get into it. And ultimately, that’s more important. To me, anyway.

OP: None.

ED: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

EYECATCH: The Macross Elysion

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: None.

NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 16