Macross Frontier Ep. 20: Diamond Crevasse

As a quick review: I never, NEVER thought the original “Diamond Crevasse” could be topped.  Boy, was I wrong.  I nearly cried in this episode…and later on, I actually sort of did.  This is quite possibly the most moving episode I’ve seen this entire season.  Let’s just face it, too.  If you watched the episode, you definitely did not see THAT one coming when it started.  As usual, after the break is a summary, but I really recommend that you watch this episode first, and not spoil yourself.

Let’s just hope that the series doesn’t hit a wall, because this is going to be a memorable one if they end things right.

Summary:

A quick flashback brings us back to the rooftop of the school.  Sheryl is amazed at the concert, but again experiences dizziness; Alto supports her, and reminds her that she really cannot leave singing behind.  However, Ranka comes in at an inopportune time, and makes some rather incorrect assumptions.  She runs away crying, but is interrupted by a sudden Vajra attack on Island 9.  The president is quickly ushered away to a safer location, but Vajra swarms are everywhere.  Back at the government offices, Leon expects a phone call about the death of the president, but is surprised to hear his voice yelling about an imminent Vajra threat, and an order to report to Battle Frontier.

Alto begs Ranka to sing to calm down the Vajra, but she’s in no mood for singing.  It takes a swift slap in the face from Sheryl to remind Ranka that she’s a professional that has a talent noone else has.  Although Ranka eventually agrees, it’s clear that she has no heart in her song, and the Vajra turn even angrier.

In space, the Quarter has issues of its own, with a massive Vajra fleet folding in to meet the fleet.  As the SMS prepares to sortie, Vajra continue to swarm out of every nook and cranny on the island.  Defense forces are being overwhelmed.  In spite of all this, the SMS members all manage to link up, along with Sheryl, Ranka, and Nanase.  While they try to make a break, however, an errant shot separates Nanase and Sheryl from the others.  With confidence, Sheryl sends Alto and the SMS team on, staying behind to care for Nanase.

Back in space, the Frontier fleet is getting pounded by evolved Vajra forces.  Brera, although worried about Ranka, is forced to return to protect the severely wounded fleet; he uses his voice activated comm system and gets his VF-27 going remotely (pretty cool).  Elsewhere, the President is met by Leon just before Battle Frontier; however, the firing line gets to him first, and Leon assumes “control” of the broken government.

As Ozma and Cathy make their way to Battle Frontier after escaping the first wave of Vajra attacks, they find President Glass dead on the floor, bringing Cathy to her knees.  A similar scene is at SMS, where Michel is torn up about the death toll in SMS alone until Klan Klan snaps him back to reality.  The group forms an escape plan to make it out to the Quarter, but it requires Klan to change to her normal Zentradi form.   Before she leaves, however, Klan finally confesses that she loves Michel, leaving him somewhat surprised.

In a refugee shelter, the people of Frontier are scared, and start to question why Ranka’s song didn’t work anymore.  Everybody is frightened, and Sheryl finds herself ready to sing again when the real crap hit the fan.  She lets Ranka be the Songstress of Hope and rises again as the Fairy of the Galaxy.  As she sings ‘Diamond Crevasse’, all eyes are turned on her once more.

At SMS, the fold system has been completed, but Klan still isn’t ready.  Michel finally realizes that he does love Klan Klan, but Vajra come storming into the chamber in an attempt to kill her before she completes the transition.  Michel rushes in to save her, but is stabbed after a Vajra got too close behind him and ran him through with one of its horns.  A final spray of bullets kills the Vajra, but stray fire punches a hole in the atmosphere.

As Michel floats away, he calls Klan Klan one final time, telling her that he loves her.  The vacuum then takes Michel into the cold embrace that is space…

Impressions:

With all the amusing focus on “how many death flags are there for Ozma now?”, this really came out of nowhere, and probably made the impact that much stronger.

In regard to the previous episode and some of the comments I had…well, they may or may not be wrong.  The beginning of the episode doesn’t make it clear whether Alto knows Sheryl’s condition or not.  What we do see is that there was no confession of love, just one of support for one another.  Sheryl knows she can’t quit singing, and Alto reminds her of that.  That also validates Ranka’s big misunderstanding of the entire situation, and really puts her in a bad spot when the Vajra come.

What I’m thrilled to see is finally some character progress for Ranka.  She’s clearly getting all of her memories back (flashbacks are wonderful things, I suppose), and although she didn’t like it, she acquiesced to Alto and Sheryl’s pleading to help save Frontier.  Her heart clearly isn’t there yet; this is a girl that just saw what looked like her friend and the man she loves in a romantic relationship, so she’s a bit confused.  However, seeing this much death and tragedy leaves a mark on everybody.  It’s not the prettiest way to grow up, but I’m sure that Ranka will wisen up shortly and take lead as the Songstress of Hope.

Along a similar vein, Sheryl has returned as the Fairy of the Galaxy.  Her previous jealousy towards Ranka has all but disappeared, and Sheryl remains the professional she has always been throughout the series.  Both sides come out, however; she’s caring enough to understand that Ranka needs some emotional support, so she is right there with her, reminding her that Ranka has a gift nobody else has.  In the refugee pod, Sheryl takes her place as a music idol alongside Ranka by providing the ray of light in a dark pool of despair and fear.  It’s a new position for Sheryl, but it looks like she has finally found what she was looking for – a chance to sing and make a difference once more.

I’m continually amazed that Ozma has not died yet.  I now almost don’t expect him to die at all.  With Cathy in tatters, it seems almost too cruel to have a character go through that kind of loss.  However…

Poor, poor Klan Klan.  She finally confesses to Michel, and Michel finally realizes he loves her too.  Then the Vajra had to rip up his spleen and space him.  From the OP splash screens, you almost had the inkling that something was going to happen between the two, that this would be the last chance of development between them.  Klan Klan’s character has been steady throughout the series, but with Michel’s death, I expect a radical turnabout (see preview).  I can’t say I’m thrilled at the prospect of it all.  With Klan being one of my favorite characters in the series, it’s kind of sad to see her suffer like this.

What will really be missed is all the intangibles Michel brings.  Senpai to everybody, Michel brought a sense of calm leadership to a SMS squad that included a jittery Luca, trigger happy Alto, and a berserk leader in Ozma.  Not only does the SMS lose its primary sniper (huge loss, tactically speaking), but Michel’s character tended to bring out good qualities in everybody else.  Michel is also one of the comic relief characters.  With his loss, this series turns to some serious business.  I suppose that’s good, however, as everything is starting to come to an end.  With so little time remaining and a mountain of stuff to do, I guess every minute counts.

This episode marks the first time we see some significant deaths in the series.  The thing is, they happened so quickly, it was almost overwhelming.  The choice of using ‘Diamond Crevasse’ here was a good ploy on the producer’s end, as its slow, emotional buildups and releases allows them to control the pace even with so much action going on.  The emotion that May’n sings the acoustic version of ‘Diamond Crevasse’ is so much warmer than the original; so much so that it’s almost heartbreaking to see the visual accompanyment to the song.

I’m very interested to see where this series will end up.  I won’t offer much more speculation; it seems like the producers want to flag something, then yank the chain the other way for maximum effect.  Oh well.  If they’re like good poker players who play their cards right, this will be a series to remember.

Preview:

Sheryl’s back singing, Ranka maybe matures, and Klan Klan isn’t a happy loli anymore…next, Episode 21, ‘Blue Ether’.

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4 Responses to Macross Frontier Ep. 20: Diamond Crevasse

  1. shinz says:

    Michel died in a tragic way but confesses his love to Klan.
    The show begins now , with Ranka, Grace Leon….
    Why don’t you change the color of your blog in a lighter one ? Maybe more people will come ? It’s a shame there are not many people here even thought you take some time to write your thought about each episode. It’s just a suggestion 🙂

  2. phelan says:

    I’ve thought about it, and actually was going to change it to a lighter theme a long time ago. I just always seemed to like this one though. I’ll be doing a small site update soon though, so I’ll probably work in some lighter colors instead of this dark stuff.

    Thanks for the suggestion 😀

  3. I just found this blog today while I was looking for a guide to the Macross Frontier OST. And I think I’ll be hanging around.

    This was absolutely the best episode so far and I too hope the ending will be something to remember. I did cry when Michel died, wasn’t expecting it at all. I think Alto will be dealing with a few issues as well with the death of his friend.

  4. phelan says:

    Alto will probably dealing with some issues, but if I’ve realized anything about his character, it’s that it bounces back pretty quickly. I’d more concerned about Sheryl and Klan, who will most likely be going through some major character changes. From the previews, Ranka looked pretty much the same, so we’ll see.

    Thanks for hanging out here, if you have any suggestions on making the place better, just drop me a line 🙂

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