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.
ED: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”
EYECATCH: The Macross Elysion
NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES BOGUE HAS LUNGED FORWARD: 16