Macross Frontier Ep. 18: Fold Fame

Poor Sheryl, we finally see her for an extended period of time again and she’s a total wreck.  It’s not the magical “rags to riches” story for her, either.  Grace has also been revealed to be an insane ghoul with human skin.  Anyway, we get an episode that moves forward at a much slower pace than before.  This is probably because we finally see more of Sheryl’s history, and make a bit of progress into her part of the series.  It all ends with a bang.  Literally.

To borrow a phrase, though: Isn’t it sad, Sacchin Sheryl?

Summary:

Sheryl and Grace square off, with Sheryl questioning her ex-manager about being abandoned, etc.  Grace doesn’t exactly respond, but does mention that Sheryl will die.  Not just in terms of popularity, but literally die.  After all, after she got taken in, she was checked into a hospital for some…uh…”tests”.  Meanwhile, Luca is presenting Leon with a tactical simulation that would allow Frontier to survive further Vajra attacks.  Leon assumes a hidden agenda, but Luca insists he just wants to protect everybody.

In political news, a Senator Jordan has thrown his support in with the presidency, aka Leon Mishima, and the bill to move Frontier with an ultra-long range fold jump has been approved.  President Glass is pleased that if they can fold away from the region and be able to wipe out the Vajra, they could return to their normal mission of finding a replacement Earth and living peacefully.  However, the passage of the bill adds some hardships to the Frontiersmen.


The SMS bridge crew isn’t very thrilled by the prospects.  Trade ceases, food and water get rationed out…basically Frontier converts itself to war rationing of all material.  While the bridge crew remain depressed about their fall to ‘destitution’, however, Bobby has targeted the pre-fold megasale on pretty much everything on board. Alto soon finds out abou this as well; while walking to the hospital, a sales clerk tries to sell him a dress.

At the hospital, Alto finds out that Ranka is to be a decoy – Vajra bait.  While she sings and distracts the Vajra, Frontier will jump away to safety.  Ozma charges Alto – as Ranka’s brother – to protect her at all costs.  Ozma then keeps going about how his role is ‘about to end’, since Ranka hasn’t had a flashback and is probably regaining her memory.  Canalia remains by his side; maybe her role is done too.  Alto walks away, deep in thought.  As he passes by, he finds out just how cruel the media and entertainment industry is.

In Luca’s absence, Michel has turned to Klan Klan to find more info about Sheryl’s magic pill, which is actually quite specific in nature.  The medicine doesn’t cure anything, but the side effects match Sheryl’s late behavior.  The infection can only come from body fluid or blood exchange, however, so both are confused why Sheryl would be taking it.  Klan Klan calls it a “V-type infection”, and wonders how Sheryl could possibly contract such a thing.  At least, that’s what she thinks when she’s not worried about comparing herself to others.  Further research finds an interesting research project headed by Mao Nome (M. Zero), Ranshe Mei, and…Grace O’Connor.  Further research into the topic finds proof that Sheryl was a lab rat.

Sheryl begs Michel and Klan Klan to keep quiet about her condition, and runs off.  Klan Klan, as a woman, is confused and would rather tell Alto about it, however, so Michel comes up with a plan to tell Alto without “telling him”.  While Alto starts moving into the rain, Sheryl stands in the middle of the rain running through her memories of becoming an idol.

Meanwhile, on TV, modern day’s “Linn Minmei”, aka Ranka Lee, is introduced as Frontier’s ultimate defense against the Vajra and the key to success in making an ultra-long range fold jump.  Sheryl drops to her knees, and is picked up by Saotome Yasaburo, who makes Alto visit the family mansion to see her again.  While still cranky about not reaching Sheryl in time, the call goes out to meet the sudden Vajra threat.

As reaction warheads prove ineffective against the evolved Vajra, the NUNS pilots get sliced to little bits and pieces.  The SMS pilots aren’t doing too hot either, with Alto unable to shake one until Brera hits one in the crossfire.  Everything changes, however, with Ranka providing distraction out of her own free will, singing the battle version of ‘Aimo’.  As the Vajra go into confusion, all Frontier forces withdraw, allowing the humongous cannon attached to Battle Frontier to obliterate all traces of the Vajra and giving them time to enter fold space.  What they don’t see is Ranka folding over in pain, a shining pink light pulsing from within her.  As they settle down for a long haul, Ranka starts singing the old version of ‘Aimo’…

Impressions:

The new OP is so addicting, and is a great change from triangular.  On a total tangential note, have a listen to this:

The live version of “Lion” is amazing, with Nakajima Megumi singing in her normal voice…which is actually really good.  Oh, have the OP version while you’re at it 😛

With this episode, Grace just gets completely destroyed in terms of character.  I mean, at least before she tried to hide the fact that she had another agenda.  Now, she’s just a completely heartless character, disposing others like mere tools.  I love science and all, but this is ridiculous.  I also wish that she would’ve kept a bit of her subtlety.  It made her actions so interesting, but now that she’s completely vilified you can’t help but hate her.

Speaking of ridiculous, is this some running gag that I wasn’t aware of?  Look at Luca’s “battle plan” and the paper Klan Klan was looking at:

Look closely and you can see it’s basically a manual.  Not for anything cool, but ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS.  What…!?  Were the producers too lazy to find someone to slam out something in English, so they just copypasta’d a random instruction manual they had?  I laughed so hard when I read this that I couldn’t even get in the right mindset for the rest of the episode!  It took me until today to finish it, seriously!

So…what did we learn from this episode?  To me, not a lot.  Here’s an answer to a previous theory I had.

  • Theory about Sheryl = wrong.  Nope, wasn’t bred from young as a genetic mirror to any previous songstress.  In fact, it’s a much worse scenario, with Sheryl basically an orphan who turned into a lab rat…and had a good voice to boot.  I wonder what part of the research project does “Make a galaxy-wide idol” fall under?
  • Ranshe Mei – Actually, we haven’t learned anything other than that she was also a researcher, and worked with Grace on V-type infections.  Given Ranka’s capabilities and the project’s apparent condoning of some rather outrageous behavior, I wonder what she did to Ranka (if anything).

With one episode, however, the producers deftly work the Saotome residence back into the mix.  It’ll be interesting what kind of relationship results out of Yasaburo’s befriending of the stricken Sheryl, and whether that affects Alto’s relationship with her, or even with his father.  It’s all a side story, however, to what happens from here on out.  With the fold jump completed, Fronter is far away from its previous position, and theoretically out of range of the Vajra (they got wiped out and shouldn’t be able to follow their trail).  The President has noble means, but what does Leon want to do?  It’s clear whatever his goals are, they haven’t been completed yet.  If they have, this series just got boring really fast.

I’m more interested in seeing whether or not the Vajra will adapt to Ranka, or if this is just a weakness they can’t adapt to.  This would make twice that they’ve fallen under her influence, and that’s just about how many times the reaction warheads worked before NUNS pilots found out otherwise.  Furthermore, why is Brera’s gun unstoppable?  He’s been on the front lines for as long as I can remember, and hasn’t changed weapons once.  Yet, the beam cannon rips through Vajra armor like a knife in warm butter.  Wouldn’t it be incredible if Galaxy were in cahoots with the Vajra?

Hey, I’d be amused.

On a final note: this series needs more Klan Klan.

Preview:

Ranka suddenly loses her fashion sense, and Sheryl takes a page out of Gloria Gaynor’s songbook.  See you next week!

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One Response to Macross Frontier Ep. 18: Fold Fame

  1. Chris says:

    Megumi’s voice in the Lion live version just gave me goosebumps. Big voice. Just awesome.

    Ever thought about how the Vajra queen in 14 can might as well be a mutated Ranshe Mei? If we all missed this despite the supposed obviousness in 14. I will feel like they just pulled another pinecake incident on us to make us look stupid.

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