SDF Macross 04-06: Hard (not) to Love

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I think I’m beginning to see the appeal of this show now, if not, starting to enjoy it a good deal myself. There is much in the way for me to get over, as an overly spoiled more “modern” anime fan (as in most of what I have watched comes from the 90’s onwards): the animations, illustrations, etc etc all scream “datedness”.

But despite these (and my expectations), I find myself slowly growing fond of the show in a couple of ways: the incredible level of verisimilitude regarding lots and lots of technological failure, and the consequences that spring from the complexity involved in such things as trying to pilot/navigate the Macross, and of course the opening theme gives me much enjoyment as well. All of this (and perhaps a bit more) is deliciously interesting to me. Anyway, on to the episodes!

Episode 4 “Lynn Minmay”

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  • Captain Global is taking charge
  • Nice watch/compass, Hikaru
  • Minmay gets laughed at for thinking it was a watch (screw you too, Hikaru)
  • Lots of pipes in this empty section of Macross + both Hikaru and Minmay fail at “being careful” lol
  • Dire circumstances – 50,000 lives at stake
  • Man, the interior of Macross is fucking BIG (*impressed whistle*)
  • “An airlock for giants, huh?” – loving the continuous reminders that this is alien tech they’re trying to manage and maintain
  • Minmay screams at the sight of Earthly debris floating out in space (no bodies, but good effect to show the damage done, and also gives an air of ambiguity as to how many casualties there were)
  • Team Macross still can’t contact anyone on Earth for help; too risky considering the possibility of revealing their location to the enemy
  • Hikaru the helper pulling pipes; oh, Minmay’s helping too (showing some character already); nice teamwork!
  • Success! A shower of water emerges and makes Minmay happy; suggests to use this opportunity to take actual showers lol

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  • Peeping Hikaru + teasing Minmay; these two are clearly perfect for each other
  • Baggy clothes and canned food; the markers of those truly stranded on a spacecraft
  • Serious, but pleasant night time chat > RATS! > Sleepy Minmay
  • Next day: SHE SCRATCHED THE SHIP HOW DARE–
  • Mmmm, cooking looks good (for rations that is)
  • Third day: the lighting here looks really nice (orange)
  • Low on supplies; time for a last ditch effort to call for help
  • Going out with a poorly patched together space suit and banking on holding in your breath? You’re either very brave or very stupid, Hikaru; considering the circumstances, I choose to believe its the former
  • Struggles to breathe and barely makes it back in after leaving in his improvised “space suit”; absolutely MADMAN
  • Concerned Minmay welcomes him back; door closed shut on the giant tuna he caught, only the head remains (don’t be too down on yourself, Hikaru)
  • This show has a fantastic attention to detail for shit that goes wrong and/or doesn’t work (Hikaru explains why they can’t blast a hole in the ship; they used up their fuel to cook the tuna lol)

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  • Here it is, folks. The first listen at Minmay’s singing; “You’ve got a nice voice” (whatever you say, Hikaru lol)
  • Twelve days?! (wow, time flies fast in the world of Macross); I know it’s been rough, but don’t give up hope, Minmay!
  • I love how honest these characters are about themselves (to each other); Minmay calls out Hikaru on being afraid to die and he doesn’t even argue against it (he’s not embarrassed about being scared)
  • Time for an impromptu marriage ceremony-Wait, what?
  • Kiss gets interrupted by rescue cliché (not that I mind it here)
  • Sudden change in Minmay’s attitude; from hopelessness and seemingly into Hikaru to blowing him off and acting like nothing happened between them just now after being saved (hmmm)
  • Just what kind of girl is Minmay anyway? – I’d like to know that too, Macross. Don’t let me down.

From serious science fiction scenario to another serious science fiction scenario, but with a lighter tone and more emphasis on the romantic potential between Hikaru and Minmay, this episode does a lot more than I give it credit for (despite the lack of dogfights and nothing blowing up). As someone who’s all too accustomed to shows that needlessly dragging on particular events/scenes, I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole incident of Hikaru and Minmay being trapped in a remote, empty part of the Macross get resolved in only one episode.

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And anything that might’ve bothered me (Minmay believing Hikaru touched her, when it was rats – had this happened another show, could have very well been an annoying misunderstanding pointlessly lasting several episodes) didn’t because it was either used as jumping point for something else (pushing Hikaru and Minmay closer) or just played straight and not dwelled upon (Hikaru could have made a much bigger deal about Minmay scratching the ship, but he didn’t, and I salute him).

Episode 5 “Transformation”

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  • Man, I am loving this OP more and more every episode (Macross! Macross!)
  • Back at Minmay’s restaurant; not much better in regards to rations it seems
  • Chun-Li Minmay all dressed up to reopen the “Nyan Nyan Chinese Restaurant”
  • Soldiers tease Minmay about Hikaru; [cue blush] + Hikaru overhears her ‘just a friend’ line (surprisingly not done in an annoying/eye-rolling way); leaves for some alone time to visit his wrecked ship
  • Back to important matters: Captain Global & crew are analyzing Macross’s tech w/lots of info that I can hardly remember; a lot to take in (still appreciate the level of depth and specifics they went to in this area though)
  • Focker finds Hikaru and helps get rid of his gloomy face by showing him an (awesome) view of the exterior of Macross (jets taking off from landing pads, flying off into space is super cool)
  • Offers Hikaru a job in the military; gets deflected with Hikaru’s girl/romance problems lol; Focker laughs
  • Zentradi make observations about their last encounter with the “aliens” (humans); discover that they are “miclones” and should stay away from Earth
  • Their fleet of ships turn invisible (really like the timing here for this effect; instead of all the ships turning invisible at once, it’s done in batches seconds apart)
  • No plane, no dreams; that’s how it is for Hikaru
  • Enemy ships appear! Rush to battle stations! Valkyrie Squadron units take flight! (they just can’t catch a break, can they?)
  • [SPACE BATTLE ENSUES]
  • Lots of hits taken by Macross; really appreciate the scenes showing the damage of the interior mid-battle and them putting out fires, etc etc.
  • Transformation time!

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  • Interesting consequences here (when compared to other mecha shows that feature transformation sequences where there is almost never any problems resorting to such a move): city inside gets wrecked and people fall all over the place (no explicit death scenes, but shows enough to present the possibility), reminding you that Macross isn’t just a warship but a carriership housing thousands of civilians, which makes for hard decisions like this all the more weighty
  • THE ENEMY’S SHIT GETS BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS
  • Successfully fended off the Zentradi, but Global can’t help but feel remorseful for the damage caused (no time for celebrations)
  • Hikaru realizes he can’t just sit around watching anymore and finally decides to join the military!

I can’t think of any other show that has such a real sense of resources being finite, and I think that’s one of the biggest draws for me with Macross. Not only is death not shied away from, and there being such a substantial volume of it occurring onscreen, but there is additional weight of gravity given to these casualties by the fact that they are so often low on supplies.

This kind of detail is rewarding in a strange way, because if you’re paying attention, your gratification is essentially just this soberness in being aware of how bad the situation really is. So perhaps the love triangle being there and the Zentradi looking a bit goofy are things to help balance out the otherwise weighty subject matter. Though, I know they’re there for other, more important reasons, I speculate that these elements exist to breathe an air of lightheartedness into the show.

Episode 6 “Daedalus Attack”

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  • Training montage for Hikaru (so glad for these timeskips)
  • Shopping w/Minmay + dropping shit because Hikaru is a clumsy boy; also repels three women with his mere presence in a lingerie store (uh, ok?)
  • Zentradi are stumped by Macross and its transformed mode
  • Focker interrupts Hikaru’s meal at the Nyan Nyan Chinese Restaurant for a sortie
  • Misa and Hikaru meet in person for the first time LOL
  • Gets teased by the girls w/Misa (“Mr. Lingerie”); why you gotta be so judgmental (I don’t get it)

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  • Plan from Team Macross: launch surprise attack on pursuing Zentradi forces at Saturn
  • Meet-up at nice fountain; Minmay’s rooting for you, Hikaru
  • Moving robot camera; amazing that this hasn’t been invented yet; sweet picture of Hikaru x Minmay together
  • Worried about dying, Hikaru? Understandable.
  • Didn’t take long for him to get the photo framed (awww)
  • First mission: Hikaru and the rest of Skull Squadron take flight!
  • Nervous Hikaru doesn’t do “orders”… until Misa yells at him to follow them LOL
  • Back-talking superiors under duress (having to dangerously dodge space debris); Hikaru is quite human actually
  • FIRING MAIN CANNO- err, nevermind; another problem with Macross (the ship)
  • Completely surrounded and under heavy attack; all up to Skull Squadron now
  • A confrontation w/another giant; Hikaru freezes up when he notices that the enemy he has at gunpoint is also terrified of dying
  • Daedalus Attack! (wow, that’s awesome)
  • BOOM; there goes one Zentradi ship (one more “victory” for Macross)
  • [CUE MACROSS THEME]

Even though this may very well be my favourite episode so far, I am at a loss for words. So much happened, and yet I am unable to account for it. Despite all the meat Macross is putting on my plate, I find myself running out of things to say. It’s not a superlative show by any means, but it is competent at what it does, and it does so many things oh so well.

All I know is what I know, and in terms of what I think of this show so far, I’d say it’s getting pretty interesting.

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