Oh my, the plot thickens. After I thought some things were finished and everything was ready to move on, the producers decide to wing it and throw us more interesting twists in the story. This just goes affirms my belief that even in a stronger season, I’d still rate this as one of my ‘must watch’ series. Note: Sheryl fans will be disappointed by this episode.
Oh, and I lied about the batch; I’ve been able to steal Internet every so often so I can at least write this much. However, I won’t be doing a writeup on Kara no Kyoukai Chapter 2 until I get back.
We begin the episode with some new characters speaking a different language. An almost computerized voice tells the “leader”-like man, who is later revealed to be Cmdr. Ogotai, that ‘they’ want them to “Hurry up and show us the song Protoculture”, and ask for their obedience. The leader notes the 50 years that have passed since they regained “culture”, and expresses wonder at those with the destiny of the Zentran genes. It’s evident that this group of soldiers is the infamous 33rd Marine Corps, the all Zentradi unit. Meanwhile, Sheryl and Alto jump out of the fold to Gallia 4 and begin their run in. “What deculture..”
Back in Frontier, everybody is talking about Ranka’s upcoming live performance except Nanase, who was worried that Ranka is lonely with Sheryl and Alto gone. Luca reassures her, since Ranka gets to see the rest of them tomorrow anyway. Amusingly enough, Ranka surprises everybody by appearing back at school to take it easy before her concert, and asks Nanase to keep her new pet (that lizard thingy) a secret.
Sheryl and Alto enter the atmosphere of Gallia 4 and land in the middle of the 33rd’s base. After the formalities and a salute to the “Fairy of the Galaxies”, however, Sheryl suddenly collapses, and hostilities immediately open between the 33rd and another Zentradi unit, which takes some of the humans as hostages.
Meanwhile, Ranka laments her being alone after trying to give Alto a present, and wants to keep the critter that comforted her so much. Luca suddenly gets a message and yells for Michel; presumably, the message is of the Zentradi revolt, as Leon speaks about it to the government. As the SMS looks on while realizing they’d take seven days to get there, Ozma gets a status update – rebels have taken the Queadluuns (read: powered armor) and want the ship. Ozma’s hunch of it being a dangerous mission were correct, but at least one person realizes that the entire thing looks set up too well to be a coincidence. Ranka isn’t the happiest person in the world when she realizes none of them can save Alto. Luca, thankfully, has a way…or does he?
Sheryl meanwhile struggles to stand, and is sorry she couldn’t give Alto a present. Alto leaves her in Grace’s care, and sets off with a determined look. Back on Frontier, Luca has “acquired” some new experimental tech from LAI which negates the difference between objective and subjective time, making a short trip to Gallia 4 possible. However, the rebels have unearthed a weapons cache of Reaction Shells, and are determined to take the universe back from the microns, aka humans. Everything is “keikaku doori” until the leader receives word of presumably Alto’s escape. Alto quickly makes a run for his fighter, but is then cornered by the rebel Zentradi. He jokingly forces Alto to sing for him, saying he might stop the war that way. Ogotai orders a bombardment from Oceanus (the battleship) when Michel makes his triumphant entrance with – oh my – Ranka. Instead of weapons, Michel has some speakers attached as Ranka stands and starts singing; and eventually the battle subsides as both sides watch Ranka perform. Quite a “deculture” for all involved.
Alto takes the moment and blasts off, meeting Ranka and Michel where they landed. Back at the battle, all but one Zentradi are affected – predictably, the leader (identified as Quamzin from previous Macross series), who believes fighting is in the blood of the Zentradi. Alto, after a moment’s thought to his own plight of the “curse of the actor”, puts the brakes on, sprays the Zentradi’s armor and knifes him, killing his armor and presumably him as well. Returning to where Michel and Ranka are, a tired but happy Ranka tells Alto “Happy Birthday” in person, and Alto, through Michel’s subtle planning, gets Alto to take Ranka home. Back on the surface, Sheryl looks on sadly. Ranka and Alto share a laugh before his VJ-25 loses all control and crash lands back on the surface, where Ranka finds Macross.
I guess I jumped the gun about the Alto x Sheryl thing. I was so sure of it until about 6 minutes in, when Sheryl collapses. Seeing Alto walk away from her to get to his fighter gave me a small inkling that things might change, and sure enough…in comes Ranka, “weapons” blazing. What an entrance!
Really, this entire episode goes around Ranka. I guess the producers enjoy flinging support from one party to another at their whim. But we do see a decent amount of plot development along the way. The 33rd is getting their strings pulled by someone who wants to see the “song” as soon as possible. However, someone’s pulling the rebel’s strings as well; it’s pretty clear nobody expected Ranka to come out of the blue (literally), but the entire thing was orchestrated far too well to be a coincidence. Leon looks more and more fishy with every episode. What is really going on behind the scenes? More importantly, where are the lines being drawn? I’m not convinced that the 33rd is a particularly bad regiment; however, it’ll be interesting who sides with what and why. I’m also not convinced that the rebel leader (did I miss his name?) is dead. Seems like a huge waste to kill off the one Zentradi that doesn’t give a hell about music.
One thing that is a small drawback is the complete throwaway of Sheryl in this episode. I stated before I’m a supporter of the Alto x Ranka ending, but really, she had…five lines the entire episode? What the heck is that for a main character? It’s almost saddening to see her reduced to nothing instantaneously. Really. I’m assuming the producers must be chuckling, however, and figuring out their next move. Can they make Sheryl throw a fit? I’m sure that’d amuse some people…
I’d also really, really like to see Nakajima Megumi sing the entirety of Ai – Oboete Imasu Ka”. I’m now convinced she really could be a great singer from here on out. Hell, half of this episode was her singing, that alone made watching this episode worthwhile. I’d also like to say that I misread her name as Ai, not Megumi. Sorry >_< I’ll do it correctly from here on out haha.
It will be interesting to see next week. I almost half expect Sheryl to drop out of nowhere and meet up with Alto and Ranka. Who knows?
One last thing: this episode and some talking about it made me realize I forgot a lot about the whole Macross universe. Time to dig through the archives again…
Rusted old technology -> fate of the planet. Alto x Ranka stranded by themselves. WHAT IS GOING ON?! And what the heck is with the episode title?