Delta Ep.26


ICONIC SCENE: Gets ya right in the feels…


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 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




THE GREAT MACROSS REWATCH 166 – The Singer of the Stars

Delta Ep.25

MISSION 25: The Singer of the Stars

ICONIC SCENE: Catching up with Hikaru, Misa, and Minmay…


BROADCAST DATE: September 18, 2016

1. First thing we learn is that Makina’s condition is stable. Whew!

Then we get the voice recorder from the VF-22, where we learn that Hayate’s father disobeyed orders and tried to get to an unpopulated area with the Dimension Eater, but it was detonated by remote by the NUNS.

We also find out that Hayate’s dad was a secret agent. And that his last word was, of course, “Hayate.”

2. And good ol’ In-n-Out Berger shows up, with another tale to tell. And just like last time, it cuts between him telling his story and the Aerial Knights discussing exactly the same thing. In this instance, it’s Mikumo being the Singer of the Stars.

Last episode, Roid told Mikumo that something was stolen from Windermere seven years ago… here we learn that it was a DNA sample used to create Mikumo, and that it was stolen (you guessed it) by Hayate’s dad.

Some viewers seemed to think that this meant Mikumo is an actual Protoculture, but nothing the show itself says appears to support that. She IS basically human, just “enhanced” with ancient Windermerean DNA.

3. Also, the Singer of the Stars can affect people to put them easily under mind-control… and other things. And Roid notes that the thing that appeared atop Ragna’s Protoculture system is “The Temple of the Stars,” where her singing will be able to reach the entire galaxy. There’s also another reference to Macross Zero, when Roid says the Temple is on Ragna because to be activated, it needs “the wind and the sea,” which on the one hand refers to Windermere and Ragna, but also is the title of the first episode of Zero, as the two important elements to the people of Mayan Island.

4. Roid is being unusually candid with the Knights about his plans, and gets some resistance, until Heinz tells them to obey Roid. Heinz also lets them see how far the scaly aging stuff has invaded his body.

He also gets extremely manipulative with Keith, once again reminding him of the fun times they had together as children. And especially how he was better than Keith at flying.

5. And a NUNS fleet shows up, ready to blow the hell out of the entire Brísingr Cluster. It’s led by the same asshole who tried to blow up the Protoculture ruins on Ragna. Don’t worry, though. They won’t be a threat for long.

6. Next, Berger drops a MASSIVE metaphorical bombshell. Let’s face it, when you’re talking with Macross fans (especially Western Macross fans), what keeps coming up? Again and again and again? Generally the Megaroad-01, right? Any time a new series is announced, usually SOMEONE will say, “I hope it’s about the Megaroad-01!” And usually that person gets shot down by people like me, who say “Kawamori has said that he doesn’t want to revisit those characters.”

And it’s true… he’s said that he doesn’t do direct sequels, and he’s pretty much stuck to that (Macross Dynamite 7 being the only exception that I can think of off-hand, although I suppose you could make allowances for Aquarion EVOL). I’ve quoted before an Animag (or was it Animerica…?) interview I read many years ago, regarding the original series, where he said (quoting from memory), “We’ve done the TV series and the movie. If we used those characters a third time, you’d be bored of them, too.”

HOWEVER, instead of just saying, “The Megaroad-01 landed on a nice planet and everyone aboard lived happily ever after to the end of their days,” the official timeline (created by Kawamori and “Dr. Chiba.” The REAL one, not the Macross Seven character) says that Unified Forces lost contact with the ship in 2016. Further material (a game) says that they flew into a black hole, following a singing voice emanating from it. Even FURTHER material (Macross Chronicle magazine) says that they may have reached another galaxy. The Macross the First manga implies that they may have jumped through time somehow. (And, weirdly, the first Macross 7 album, “Music From Galaxy Network Chart,” says that after the Megaroad-01 disappeared, a song written by Minmay aboard the ship was found… HOW it was found, they don’t explain.)

So, instead of a nice happy ending, we have a MYSTERY. Now, this wasn’t really a problem at first. As far as most viewers were concerned, the last time we saw Hikaru, Misa, and Minmay was in Flashback 2012, as they fly off to their destiny. The stuff about losing communications and black holes and shit was relegated to written material, which only a minority of fans ever seek out. But then we got the bit at the end of the Frontier TV series, where it turned out that Richard Birla was hoping to be connected with every mind in the galaxy because he wanted to find Minmay (who, ironically, might have actually been in a DIFFERENT galaxy at that point). Suddenly, the idea of the Megaroad-01 being lost entered the anime as well as the “expanded universe” of books and comics and games and such. And again, it’s a mystery. An unresolved mystery.

So the clamoring got louder. What happened to the Megaroad-01? WE WANT TO KNOW!! (And we want to see a series with the VF-4 as the main Valkyrie.) How could Kawamori solve the riddle without bringing back the old characters he was bored of (and was afraid we would become bored of, too)?

(His concern, by the way, is not unwarranted. I know plenty of people who like the IDEA of “Robotech II: The Sentinels,” the series that was supposed to be about the further adventures of “Rick,” “Lisa,” and “Minmei,” but more people like the idea than like the actual novels and comics that covered that story. Indeed, in my experience, many people who say they want an animated version want one BECAUSE they don’t like how the story was handled in the novels and comics and script outlines, and want a “better” version to be “official.” And one of the biggest problem with the Sentinels, in my opinion, is that the most compelling parts of the three main characters’ growth had already been covered. In the Sentinels, they are definitely boring leads.)

So… a solution. And a rather elegant one. Berger says that soon after Frontier, a signal was found, belonging to the Megaroad-01, and contact was reestablished. No mention of the whos, whats, wheres, or whys, just that it happened. The Megaroad-01 has been found. And apparently, through “Lady M,” has been calling the shots for Xaos. Now, we don’t know WHO Lady M is, although we’ve got plenty of fan theories (and let’s not even get into GG fansubs’s stupid “TL Note,” okay?), but we now know that the Megaroad-01 has been discovered, probably safe and sound. And if anyone asks for a series about it, the staff can answer, “Why bother? We know the ending. It makes contact with Ragna, and everything’s fine.” Kinda takes the suspense out of the narrative, doesn’t it?

This has its own irony, though… most of the people who say (in online forums, or Facebook groups, or whatever) that they want a series about the Megaroad-01 tend to be old-school fans who are often so turned off by Delta that they never finish the series. So, as far as they know, the issue has STILL never been addressed, and when (for example) the new series for 2018 was announced last January, I saw a number of people say, because they simply don’t KNOW, “What about the Megaroad?” To which it’s easy to respond, “Oh, that’s been covered. The Megaroad has been found, and it’s fine.”

So, to boil down the essence of what I’m saying here, if you in your travels see anyone lamenting about the unanswered questions about the disappearance of the Megaroad-01, just suggest that that person should watch Delta. They might not thank you, but you’ll have done them a service, and that is its own reward. Especially if you don’t do that kind of service very often.

7. Now, again (and this is a point that many viewers seem to miss), Delta is the series where singing DOESN’T affect the enemy. So… we KNOW that the final battle also has to be a musical extravaganza, as (nearly) all Macross final battles are. So to ensure that happening, we hear Kaname’s dream of singing on a truly galactic stage, regardless of the war. So no, it won’t help defeat the Windermereans, but it will still happen anyway.

Also, there’s what I think is a deliberate parallel to the battle in Mission 13. There, Delta Flight was impaired, having recently lost Messer. Here, Walküre is impaired, having lost both Mikumo (and Makina). They’re heading into battle with their Most Valued Player gone. Here, it’s a little bit worse, since not only is Mikumo not singing with Walküre, she’s singing with the Windermereans. It’s like if Messer had switched sides rather than died.

Also, there’s still Freyja’s health to consider… she’s using so much of her power that she’s beginning to age prematurely…

8. As usual in “before the battle” episodes, there are brief scenes showing what all the characters are hoping to gain. This is basically like the “preparing for the big fight” that every single action movie ever made has (and it goes back WAY further than that… even the Iliad has a section where Achilleus dons his armor, and it’s exactly like Schwarzenegger checking his ammo and priming his guns).

Part of this is Chuck vowing to find his sister, Kaname holding Messer’s bracelet, and most of all, Hayate and Freyja going through his father’s old letters and gifts to him, sent to Hayate by his mother.

This last part is made all the more resonant by having a lovely instrumental version of “Do You Remember Love” played over it.

Oh, and yes, Hayate’s dad is, as was long suspected, the guy who gave Freyja her MP3 player, which ties him to Freyja as well as Hayate, Mikumo, and Arad.

9. Post-credits, Heinz commands Mikumo to make the NUNS crews all Vár out, and detonate the Dimension Eaters, annihilating the entire fleet. Heinz seems horrified by what he’s done, which will set up his conversion next episode.

10. Finally, the mystery of Hayate’s father’s role in the Dimension Eater attack on Windermere is resolved, and the Lady M mystery is resolved as much as it will be in the series (revealing who she is was apparently NEVER part of the planning for the show). As always before a huge battle, it’s a slow episode, but it sets the final conflict up nicely.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Do You Remember Love ~ORCH2067~”

EYECATCH: Don and Q-Lulu.




Delta Ep.24.png




BROADCAST DATE: September 11, 2016

1. The first thing you may notice is that Berger, when he shows up, sounds different. In August of 2016, voice actor Keiji Fujiwara took a break for medical treatment (he started working again a couple of months ago) and was replaced by Mitsuru Ogata. Ogata’s doesn’t drip with the fake solicitousness that Fujiwara’s does, but he does a good job in the two episodes he’s in.

2. The trial of Hayate, Mirage, and Freyja is a joke, of course, but Heinz seems genuinely interested in why Freyja sings. When she describes the happiness she gets from singing, he says he’s never experienced anything like that. And thus does Heinz’s mind begin to change. This is one of the few Macross series where singing DOESN’T win the war… but a DISCUSSION about singing starts to turn the tide.

3. In a tantalizingly mysterious bit, the judges tell Bogue that “it is forbidden to stain this place with the Kadun of blood,” which was the word that Sara Nome (and a couple of others) used in the sense of a curse or some type. So yes, there appears to be some direct connection between the Windermereans and the people of Mayan Island from Macross Zero.

4. Berger does Xaos a solid by tuning up Hayate’s dad’s old VF-22 so they can use that to escape. No real clue why he does this, although he says that he’ll expect a favor from them sometime in the future. Next episode, he’ll explain that the Epsilon Foundation is pulling of out the conflict, since it no longer seems likely that they’ll make any money off of Windermere.

5. The execution itself is naturally done in such a way to allow our heroes to escape. It involves walking along a beam and then jumping off. Of course, Arad comes along in the VF-22, and Hayate and Mirage’s fighters show up (using the “slave mode” that was a thing in Frontier).

6. Before the “execution,” though, Keith and Hermann give Hayate and Mirage flying advice. Which they probably felt dumb about doing, once Hayate and Mirage escape.

7. The most shocking scene happens when Makina gets shot, and it’s shocking on at least two levels. First, it’s really the first time any of the members of Walküre get harmed (although I suppose you could count Mikumo in Episode 18). And second, weren’t the body suits they wear supposed to be bullet-proof?

Anyway, since Makina survives the episode, I think it’s pretty obvious that her wound is not going to turn out to be fatal, but it does take her off the battlefield just as we’re getting near the finale of the series.

You have to admire her resilience and dedication. Not only does she tell the other girls to stop worrying about her and keep singing, she also sings along herself (albeit quietly).

8. Roid manages to break through Mikumo’s programming to access the Singer of the Stars underneath it all. And her singing makes all sorts of weird stuff happen, from everyone briefly showing up in “Newtype space” to some new kind of structure appearing on top of the Protoculture system (on Ragna).

9. Also, Freyja gets the first scaly white stuff on the top of her hand. Singing with all her might is beginning to take its toll.

And so, without Mikumo and with Makina in critical condition, Delta Flight and Walküre escape. Things don’t look good.

10. This episode is not bad, but, thanks to the drawn-out trial scene, feels a little longer than it needs to be. Makina getting shot adds a lot of drama, even though (again) it’s pretty clear she’s going to pull through. The action scenes are good, whether it’s Valks flying, Destroid Monsters firing, or even Kaname taking out Windermerean soldiers with the Multi-Drones. That said, there are a lot of still shots in the episode… I assume most of the effort at this point was going into the final episode.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Destruction of Innocence”

EYECATCH: Hayate’s VF-31J.




Walküre 1st Live

WALKÜRE ATTACK! 1st Live in Zepp

ICONIC SCENE: “Kakugo surun yo!”

PERFORMANCE DATE: September 10, 2016

(DVD/BD RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2017)

So the third concert in Walküre’s debut “tour” (three dates, spread over a month) got filmed and portions of it were released on Volume 9 of the blu-ray set. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there, although a number of my friends were.

Now, I *have* been to Zepp Tokyo, in Odaiba, where this was performed (as I said here) and it’s a really nice venue.

It should be obvious that the small gigs like this (and the Frontier Zepp shows) are basically dry runs for the larger scale concerts later. It’s much less elaborate, without a live band and with less choreography.

It’s a pretty normal performance, following a kinda-sorta storyline as everyone except Freyja comes out first and performs “Love! Halation THE WAR,” and then introducing the “new heroine,” Freyja. Things take a turn for the weird, though, during “Forbidden Borderline,” when four dancers (the same ones who also choreographed and performed the motion-capture dancing for the show itself) come out wearing what look to be parkas made from trash bags, and making vaguely threatening movements. As the song continues, they take them off to reveal white leotards, and their dancing becomes more energetic and positive. This, I guess, is meant to represent Walküre’s music getting rid of the Vár Syndrome. It’s a little unintentionally comic, and I can see why they didn’t reproduce it at the Yokohama Arena show some months later.

And of course, this is just a “digest” version, forty-five minutes out the entire two-hour concert. Personally, I miss “Jiritic BEGINNER,” but that’s me.

Anyway, good stuff. I have a bigger point to make about this and the other Macross concerts, but I’ll wait until the next concert to bust it out.

Oh, and my friend Chris ran into May’n while he was leaving this show, so color me jealous. You can also see him in the crowd-level shots, because he was probably the tallest guy there.


Delta Ep.23.png



ICONIC SCENE: “Kyawawa…?”


BROADCAST DATE: September 4, 2016

1. Thanks to Mirage’s disguise, we finally see that not all Windermerean females have heart-shaped runes. Some of them are apparently teardrop-shaped. Kaname and Reina also go for the teardrop, while Mikumo and Makina wear the heart.

And yeah, like with the infiltration of Voldor, there’s definitely a (deliberate, I’m sure) cosplay vibe to the characters’ disguises. I think it’s kind of a fun aspect to the show, even if it’s probably only there so they can make more figures.

2. Speaking of fun, there’s an adorable flashback to Freyja as a kid singing Ranka’s big hit, “Interstellar Flight.” Bear in mind that Minori Suzuki, Freyja’s voice actress, is a HUGE Frontier fan, and I’m sure this was a dream come true. Of course, it culminated in Minori recording a cover of the song for the “Walküre Won’t Stop!” mini-album, and then actually performing with Megumi “Ranka” Nakajima on the first night of the Walküre concert at Yokohama Arena (and more about that later). Not even In-n-Out Burger can beat that, I’m sure.

But before all of that, at the Macross World Convention (now called “Super Dimension Convention“) in Southern California in October 2016, the incredibly talented and incredibly sweet Phoebe Chan (aka “Feebeechanchibi” – check her out on YouTube) won the “Miss Macross” contest by doing a perfect rendition of “Interstellar Flight” while dressed as Freyja.

MW Con Freyja Kira.png

(And speaking of Freyja and Ranka, isn’t it interesting how around when Delta debuted, a lot of people were saying that Freyja was OBVIOUSLY the new Ranka and Mikumo was OBVIOUSLY the new Sheryl, and yet they both turned out to be completely different…?)

3. The following scene is restrained and touching, as Freyja points out where her village is, and is trying not to show how homesick she obviously feels. Even if there’s nothing there for her, it’s sad that we never see her get even a brief homecoming. Even Minmay got that.

Later in the episode, Mirage will even point out to Freyja that she admires her for her dedication to the mission, and Freyja responds that she also admires Mirage for the same thing. They also talk a bit about Hayate, but again, let’s face it… Mirage isn’t a contender there, really.

4. Now that the cat’s out of the bag regarding the fact that Mikumo’s only three years old, her whole sophisticated and aloof act gets called out by Makina and Reina as just that – an act. The scene is a tricky one… they’re freely making fun of her (there’s even a variation on the old “Gee, you’re pretty when you’re angry” line), and she’s clearly never been teased before, but there is plainly no malice the couple’s jabs at her; they’re trying to put her at ease and make her feel comfortable. But it’s still a dynamic that Mikumo isn’t used to, and her shields only come down slowly and with great reluctance.

It’s to her credit, though, that they DO come down, and she’s able to enjoy a simple meal (of horrendous-looking but apparently delicious sea spiders) with them.

5. Even with the jamming, Bogue’s runes sense Freyja, Mirage, and Hayate, and other troops find Mikumo, Makina, and Reina. Mikumo becomes a total badass and takes out four Windermerean soldiers bare-handed before being punched in the gut and abducted by Roid.

Which, you’ll notice, is something he doesn’t tell anyone else about. He’s definitely positioning himself as the guy with his own agenda… a role that we might have been forgiven for thinking was going to go to Berger.

6. Bogue nearly kills Hayate, Mirage, and Freyja, but for once actually restrains himself. Later, though, Hermann has to step in to keep Bogue from decapitating Hayate when thy realize he’s Wright Immelmann’s son.

7. Roid is rather solicitous towards the prisoners, but Hermann is the only one who seems to treat them with genuine respect. Since most anime is made for young adults, naturally the “older generation” is often treated with suspicion or outright disdain, but for the Aerial Knights, the older characters tend to see things a little clearer (sorry, Keith…). Heck, Hermann even thanks them for putting an apple next to Kassim’s body.

8. Roid takes them to the “scar” of the town obliterated by the Dimension Eater, and Freyja sings “Giraffe Blues” as a requiem. Bogue predictably loses his shit and physically attacks Freyja. We also find out that his eldest sister was killed in the blast.

9. Bogue then takes them, on their “tragical history tour,” to see the VF-22 that Hayate’s father was flying when he dropped the bomb. It turns out that Wright’s body was found inside the cockpit when the fighter was retrieved, so there is no doubt that he was the perpetrator.

Post-credits, we see Mikumo in Roid’s study, tied up in serious bondage-style, reminding me of nothing so much as the classic ’70s S&M flick, “Wife to Be Sacrificed.” The show’s gettin’ kinky, now…

10. And the series definitely feels like it’s on firmer ground. No dogfights or anything, and I wish some of the scenes (like Freyja as a kid singing, or Mikumo taking down the Windermerean soldiers) were fully animated rather than just key frames, but everything here feels necessary for the story. And it’s always nice to see a VF-22, even if it’s just sitting around.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Destruction of Innocence”

EYECATCH: Hayate’s VF-1EX.

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: New to Delta, “Interstellar Flight” (not the version from the later “Walküre Won’t Stop” mini-album).



Delta Ep.22


ICONIC SCENE: Thumbs up!


BROADCAST DATE: August 28, 2016

1. We open with a sequence that involves Kassim looking wistfully at the photo of his son. Yep, he’s toast.

We also learn that Roid has sealed the singing chamber until Heinz has recovered, but he’ll have an even BETTER singer soon enough…

2. For the first time, really, we see Walküre gearing up, and it’s clear that this episode expects that you’ve seen the “Mini-Theatre” from the first blu-ray volume, since they’re putting on (with no explanation) all the equipment that was described there. We also discover that Freyja uses Selsun Blue.

3. Keith and Heinz have a little reminiscence together, which is generally less formal than their interactions ever since Heinz’s coronation. Keith subtly warns Heinz about listening to Roid rather than to himself. I really do wonder how much Keith suspects about Roid at this point…

4. Hayate and Mikumo have a little conversation, which is notable because I don’t think it’s ever happened before. It’s a little awkward, but not as much as you might think.

Throughout the first part of this episode, Mikumo is unusually quiet, clearly still processing the fact that she’s a manufactured being (although that wouldn’t have been unusual fifty years prior, when the earth was being repopulated through cloning). It’s not until the operation is about to start that there’s a fanfare and she stands in front of everyone, saying, “Okay, let’s do this!” that we realize that her sense of resolve is still there.

5. The Elysion arrives at Planet Randall with a battle already underway, and we see a König Monster under the command of the Voldoran captain, Alberto Larrazábal, that we first met back in Episode 7. Unfortunately, the scene uses the same CGI path from Frontier, but then Frontier reused scenes from Zero, too, so I guess it’s not unexpected.

6. That battle, however, is a diversion, as Delta Flight and Walküre go instead to Alfheim, Messer’s old planet (which, remember, was completely depopulated by Vár outbreaks), since Mikumo can trigger the fold gate to Windermere, bypassing the dimensional fault surrounding the planet.

7. Freyja’s nervous about singing too hard, since she doesn’t want Hayate to go Vár, and… well, let’s face it, it would hardly be a Macross series without someone getting slapped. This time it’s Mikumo who does the hitting, and Freyja pulls herself together pretty quickly.

8. Well, despite his best promises, Hayate DOES lose control, and it takes the combined efforts of Mirage and Freyja to yank him out of it. It’s pretty unclear how any of this works, really… since Freyja’s singing is supposed to dispel the Vár, not spread it, and Mirage doesn’t do much beyond hug Hayate’s VF-31 and call his name, I’m not sure what’s really happening… if it were just “the power of love,” you’d think that would’ve been discovered prior to this.

9. And naturally, Kassim overdoes it and nearly passes out while flying. He almost survives, but deliberately crashes his plane rather than hit an apple orchard (perhaps HIS apple orchard…?). He still survives the crash, but dies minutes later, and I get the feeling that even if he HAD hit the trees, he would’ve died.

10. The character art in this episode looks like it’s done by the B-team, but the battle scenes are top-notch, tense and exciting in a way we haven’t seen in a while. The subplot of Freyja causing Hayate to go Vár has definitely overstayed its welcome, though, and is the only blot on an otherwise fine combat sequence. Moreover, now that our heroes are on Windermere (and split up, to boot), it feels like the story really has stakes now. The show has felt like it’s been in a holding pattern for a few episodes, and it’s good to see a change. Even more than Kassim’s death, that makes this a really good episode.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “The Wind Blows Without Warning”

EYECATCH: Keith’s Draken III.




Delta Mini 2



RELEASE DATE: August 26, 2016

Another blu-ray disc, another short film. This one explains the Walküre’s “Fingernail Devices” as well as their heat-dissipating make up. I think it’s interesting to note that in the ’80s or (especially) the ’90s, information about things like this would be confined to art books about the show, rather than something presented visually as a bonus feature.

In the second short, Mirage tries on a Walküre stage outfit (identical to Mikumo’s, but a slightly different color), and gets embarrassed. This sets the character tone for these films: Mirage is generally embarrassed, and for some reason, Kaname is always drunk.


Delta Ep.21.png



ICONIC SCENE: Every hipster’s favorite Walküre members.


BROADCAST DATE: August 21, 2016

1. How’s this for a grabber of an opening: Heinz sings to the people of Al Shahal, putting them under Windermerean mind control (Berger notes the Delta waves… a deep sleep brainwave pattern), and then he collapses and can’t sing, which makes every on Al Shahal likewise collapse, either unconscious or dead (we don’t know yet. Later, we find out that no, they’re not dead).

It’s effective, sure, but I don’t like where it’s pointing all that much, since this where Roid will turn out to be doing pretty much exactly what Grace was doing in the Frontier TV series (which itself was also almost exactly what the whole plot of Evangelion was about).

2. And my hopes that Kaname, Makina, and Reina forcing Lady M’s hand would mean some big shake-up are dashed. They’re just briefly locked up here. And let’s face it… locking them up seems like an empty threat, since Walküre are needed on the battlefield.

But no, the point here is to tell how Walküre was created. At the time, I saw some posts saying that it was too late in the series to bring in a flashback like this, which seems a silly point. Especially since the aforementioned Evangelion had its flashback at… yep, Episode 21. More about that at the end.

So we jump back to 2063, when Kaname first joined Xaos, who (as she says) were just starting their “music division.” Now, there’s a manga about that, called “Macross E” (for “Extra,” but also because it comes between “F” and “D”). Nothing from that series is referenced here, but (as far as I can tell) nothing gets contradicted, either.

A little touch that I like is that our first shot of 19-year-old Kaname’s is (surely deliberately) reminiscent of the way Freyja looked at her audition, conducted in part by Kaname.

3. Reina gets added next, with the information that she was caught hacking into Xaos’s servers, and was essentially blackmailed into a job.

The following year, Makina, Claire Paddle, and Lydie Le Gloan were added. Bringing in Lydie and Claire is a nice touch, I think, since most idol groups have previous members that most fans don’t know about (my favorite idol group, Momoiro Clover Z, for example currently has five members but used to be six, before they got big. And had a VERY different line up before they started recording. Heck, you probably didn’t know that “Baby Spice” wasn’t even an original member of the Spice Girls, but got brought in when someone got fired, did you? I wouldn’t have, either, except an English textbook that I had to use for teaching ESL had a little section about the Spice Girls).

This adds a little drama, since we know that these two girls aren’t in the group anymore, and we know that Walküre put their lives at risk by singing on the battlefield… did one or both of them die…? No, they both just quit… which seems like a missed opportunity to emphasize how dangerous Walküre’s job is. Personally, I would’ve killed off Claire, but considering that she’s voiced by Yoko Hikasa, who played Mio in K-On, which, let’s be honest, is a MUCH higher-level gig than Macross, death probably wasn’t an option here.

4. To me, one of the most interesting things that’s shown but never emphasized here here is that Walküre is not an idol group, and didn’t even have the trappings of one when they started out. Initially, they were just wearing the same Xaos uniforms that everyone else wears, and it takes a while for them to adopt idol-style costumes.

We also see that they’re not terribly effective at first, doing very little to affect things on the battlefield, and plagued by infighting, since Makina’s always getting on Reina’s case for not showing enough team spirit. I might be reading into this too much, but I’m reminded of the ’80s group, Onyanko Club, and how one of the main stars of the group, Sayuri Kokusho, was always arguing with one of the other main stars, Eri Nitta, because Sayuri worked really hard to gain and maintain her status, but Eri kinda didn’t care.

5. The battle sequences here, like the battle sequences in Episodes 15 and 18, are brief but elaborate. And it’s great to see Arad not only fighting, but fighting in a VF-31A.

6. Messer gets a brief cameo. I’m not sure how much of this episode was finished by the time Episode 10 aired, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this bit was added in at the last minute for all the Kaname/Messer shippers. I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was there all along.

7. When Claire quits, Mikumo joins… sent directly by Xaos, which is in itself kinda suspicious. She also doesn’t speak when they meet her, but just sings, which is enough to make Makina and Reina turn lesbian (or, at least, act on the attraction they clearly feel for each other).

Then, in the present, Mikumo (still singing “Giraffe Blues,” shows up to release them from prison.

8. Then a brief scene from Windermere, where Keith checks Heinz’s chest, which is covered in the scaly old-age stuff that Windermereans get. Keith is shocked. Heinz is using up his life at a quick rate.

And isn’t it interesting that no one in Delta has ever explained or even addressed the “Grayscale” (to use a Games of Thrones term, which isn’t, I think, inappropriate here), and yet we automatically understand what this scene means? For a show whose writing is often criticized (again, among Western fans, I insist), isn’t this pretty great? At no point does Freyja talk about it to Hayate, and at no point do the Aerial Knights say, “As you know, we get these scales as we age…” We just know.

Oh, we also learn that Roid stabbed King Grammier way back in Episode 13, but that’s not as much of surprise. Everyone realizes by now that Roid is the shifty one.

9. On the other hand… they try to infuse drama into Mikumo revealing that she’s a clone, created three years before, but it doesn’t really work. I blame the music choice, a rather peaceful theme, as opposed to the tense music that might have heightened the scene. And, as Gwyn Campbell pointed out, Mikumo’s “birth” date, August 17, was a few days BEFORE this episode aired, making Mikumo birthday parties impossible for nearly a year. Fan celebrations are important, you know…

And then, post-credits, there’s a scene where a little sparkly thing enters Roid’s forehead, and suddenly, he understands the “Singer of the Stars” and the secrets of Heinz’s singing chamber are unveiled to him. I admit I have NO idea who or what is behind this. Is it one of those remnants of the Protoculture or is it something else? No clue, folks.

10. So, I brought up Evangelion Episode 21, which was a flashback, in defense of this flashback episode. And yet… the backstory of Evangelion is one of the main mysteries of the show. There are no mysteries presented about how Walküre was formed. I mean, it’s nice to see how they started, how they became a sort-of idol group, how Mikumo joined, and how Makina and Reina got together, but none of this is CRUCIAL. It’s like Macross Seven Encore, in a way. Cool to know, but maybe it shouldn’t be part of the main series. Plus, there’s the problem that Mikumo’s reveal (which IS one of the main mysteries of the series) falls kinda flat. The Windermerean scenes are really the only truly important ones here. I like the rest, but it would’ve worked better in a longer series.

OP: “Absolute Zero θ Novatic”

ED: “Destruction of Innocence”

EYECATCH: Macross Elysion.

NEW SONGS IN THIS EPISODE: “Teary-Eyed Explosion”



Delta Ep.20



ICONIC SCENE: Mirage blurts it out.


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




Delta Ep.19


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”


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.”