SDF Macross 07-09: So, This is My Present

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This show just keeps bringing the goods. I mean it. There’s so far been only one episode totally without any fighting. If there is anything I highly commend this show for (beyond all the stuff I’ve mentioned in previous posts), it is its excellent pacing.

Seriously, it’s amazing how much happens in this show every single episode, without feeling a single scene went on for longer than it should have (though, that is not to say it is wholly devoid of moments like these). For those who do not enjoy or appreciate anything other than the real robot action and dogfights, however, I imagine this will likely vary. But for myself, I consider it something worth celebrating. Continuing from where we left off, we begin with episode 07 “Bye-Bye Mars”.

Episode 7 “Bye-Bye Mars”

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  • I swear this opening theme brings out the inner kid in me every time
  • I really like the design of the tall Zentraedi dude (nice eyepatch); he’s got a cool demeanour here in this episode too
  • *dialogue I can’t be bothered to follow – something to do with the specifics of military-related strategy and tactics, I imagine*
  • Space battle! YEAHHHH!!!! – well that didn’t last long (I am disappoint); but at least Hikaru’s okay (not that that was ever in doubt) and the Macross sustained little damage this time (there’s a first)
  • So they lied about destroying all the enemy ships, huh? Probably for the best; don’t want the citizens to be constantly in a state of panic or worry – need to let them have moments of relief and downtime.
  • Course change to Mars! (woo!)
  • Misa has a flashback to her time with a guy in a meadow talking about how they’d love to go to Mars (how nice)
  • Whoa. Lot of robots on Mars (not complaining, just… wow)
  • Gravity mines?! Nani?!
  • Awesome landings by Team Macross’s jets/mechs (glorious stuff)
  • Suspicion from Misa about the transmission they received; will her investigation reveal the trap laid by the Zentraedi? Will they be able to avert it? Let’s see.
  • Hikaru asks for leave next week (mid-mission) so he can go to Minmay’s birthday party (aww-nfortunately for him, so did everyone else; Focker included lol)
  • Zentraedi leader in wait is getting impatient; but seemingly still patient enough to keep undetected as he shoots down one of his disobedient soldiers that wasn’t having it playing the “stealth game” (interesting)
  • Team Macross realizes they are surrounded by enemy forces; tries to take off, but can’t without setting off the trap; delicious fail
  • Can’t use main rockets to disable the trap either because of damage from 3 days ago (more delicious fail)
  • Enemies charge in with their attack! (guess stealth time’s over)
  • Up to Misa to save the day – needs to overload the reactor to disable the trap deep underground; fortunately she’s already almost there thanks to her good intuition from earlier (godspeed, brave one) – Success!
  • Next: MISSILES! (fuck yeah!)
  • Red room; things are looking bad for Misa (get out of there, you fool! 8 minutes until detonation!)
  • KABLOOM! – don’t worry that was just Hikaru blowing the shit out of some Zentraedi forces (with style)
  • Hikaru rescues Misa (against her will, because she’d rather mope about her dead boyfriend kek) with less than a minute to spare (drama + awesome wind effects following the explosion)
  • Zentraedi leader dude is both salty and sportsmanlike over his defeat; what an interesting fellow

Seven episodes in and hints at a love triangle are starting to emerge. Hikaru saved a Misa who very clearly had resigned herself to her fate as she succumbed to her intense feelings of love and grief over her prior (dead) sweetheart. I can see this acting as a stepping stone in their relationship forward. Though, I highly doubt Misa will be the one to win Hikaru’s affections (while neither may know it yet, it’s obvious his heart belongs to Minmay), but I very much look forward to seeing the feelings and chemistry between them develop nonetheless.

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The Zentraedi switch up their tactics for a change: opting for a more ambush-heavy approach instead of their usual charge and attack with large quantities of forces, and their battle plan essentially amounting to ‘overwhelm the enemy through sheer volume of units’. Really cool to see them learning from their failures and adapting to new methods of combat.

Oh, and Hikaru demonstrates a substantial change in his ability and composure as an ace military pilot here, showing valor and proving himself marvelously in battle here: plunged headfirst into danger with no sign of the terror he carried with him in the previous encounter, and completely owned the Zentraedi like it was nothing.

Lots of good action this episode. On to the next!

Episode 8 “Longest Birthday”

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  • Zentraedi sure are sure of themselves that Macross won’t make its way back home (kek)
  • Hikaru wonders (kinda irritated) what Minmay would like as a present; but is interrupted by an announcement calling him to a surprise meeting, where he is one of a select few recognized and reward for his valour in their previous battle
  • He gets a nice, shiny medal and looks happy
  • On top of that, Focker tosses him another medal in the next scene, and tells him he’s been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (big shoes to fill, are you up to the task, Hikaru?); I’m glad for him, because he contributed a great deal and deserves it.
  • Two new recruits appear; one’s called Max (he’s got blue hair), I forgot the other one’s name

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  • Misa seems disappointed Hikaru got promoted to a team leader (lol)
  • Hikaru already keeping his subordinates in line (though still adjusting to his status) – telling nameless dude that he’s not a real soldier until he’s actually been out in combat
  • CHUN-LI MINMAY APPEARS! (oh so gorgeously)

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  • Max flirts with her immediately (fuckin’ smooth blue-haired fop)
  • New discovery from Team Macross: high-powered jamming by Zentraedi!
  • Enemy forces swooping in for an unexpected hit on them
  • Everyone’s gotta ditch Minmay’s party to answer the call to action (somehow managing to all squeeze into the same taxi; there’s like ten of them lol)
  • *squad enters their mechs and takes off* (always awesome)
  • Hikaru’s embarrassed because he’s missing out on the action the other units are getting (I’m talking space battles, guys!)
  • Guy B / Nameless dude gets scared when enemy units suddenly approach
  • Max (the baller) takes some initiative and destroys the fuck out of them
  • Hikaru is starting to fit into his leader role already; and no back-talk or dumb insubordination from either the recruits (how refreshing!)
  • Stand-off between mechs; Hikaru vs. some formidable Zentraedi dude (this one’s purple… I’m not hearing any names for these guys being thrown about, or at least not often enough to remember any) – he pulls back with his men because of some giant laser funnel thing (uh, okay)
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“Guess I’ll just stand here with my dick out then?”
  • Back at the Chinese Restaurant; HIkaru congratulates Max for his contribution (7 kills), while the other recruit mentions Hikaru only killed 4; now Max thinks he’s some genius because of this (advice: don’t let it get to your head, Max – arrogance can mean death/failure in battle)
  • Hikaru visits Minmay outside her house and tosses his medal of valour to her as her birthday present from him – it was worth it (for him) to see her smile

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I’m already quite fond of the two new supporting characters: Maximilian Jenius; the roguishly humble, bespectacled OTHER ace military pilot (enjoy the spotlight while it lasts, Hikaru) and Kakizaki Hayao (I had to look up his name writing this); the gentle giant lacking in the same charm and attractiveness the others possess. Looking forward to seeing where these two go, alongside Hikaru, who has quite the journey ahead of him as a team leader now.

Almost forgot that Minmay DEMANDED a birthday present from Hikaru (lol). Which to my surprise, I didn’t find all that obnoxious because for someone who is clearly smitten with Minmay, Hikaru doltishly fails to remember her birthday. Truly, they are destined for each other. But this clash of empty-headedness and spoiled behaviour ends up leading to him giving her his medal of Valor (that he earned for his contribution in the battle on Mars), and her somehow not understanding the significance of the present she has been given and the meaning of the gesture behind it.

Sure, she’s appreciative and delighted to have received a gift, but what’s telling is that there is no shock or surprise in her reaction, as if she doesn’t realize the weight (what it took for Hikaru to earn that) of what she’s holding. Though, I’m not convinced even Hikaru is entirely sure of what it means either, but what the scene spells here is transparent: only one of them thinks the other is special.

Episode 9 “Miss Macross”

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  • Hikaru and Minmay meet-up (totally not a date)
  • Apparently the military manufactured a sky inside Macross (fucking awesome)
  • Lovely shot of Minmay + of course she signed up for the ‘Miss Macross Contest’!
  • Hikaru doesn’t seem to approve (hmmm)
  • Zentraedi new mission – Code name: Blue Wind!; they’re going to infiltrate Macross)

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  • Misa’s not too happy about Hikaru’s absence from Macross (hmmmmmmmmmmmm)
  • Minmay wanted an autograph from one of the other contestants, but didn’t get it 😦
  • And she’s on stage in all her Chun-Li Chinese Restaurant dress glory (pretty as can be)
  • Misa gives Hikaru an earful and orders him to return (lol); Focker laughs and waves in a way that is so cool and endearing only he can do (can I have his autograph?)
  • More tech trouble; this time scrambled signals between Macross and its mechs (gotta change to something else, I guess)
  • Zentraedi catch the Miss Macross broadcast; one is shocked that there are women and children on board (nice moral touch / hint at the possibility of peace)
  • Hikaru almost dies because he was too busy ogling the show and not paying attention to the missiles fired at him; lucky dodge + skillful maneuvers saved him this time, but hopefully this will serve as a profound lesson for him to pay closer attention to his surroundings (especially now, since he has the responsibility that comes with being a team leader)
  • Minmay’s body makes the Zentraedi soldiers/spies swoon (unsure of what they’re feeling lol)
  • Love seeing the trajectory lines of smoke from the barrage of missiles Hikaru launches (always a treat)
  • Awesome lasers and mech action (Hikaru rips into the recon ship with its hands; whoa) is awesome
  • BOOM (explosion) + Zentraedi abandoned ship (sly bastards)
  • Everyone on Team Macross resumes watching the contest immediately after they’ve confirmed the enemy recon ship is destroyed (kind of unprofessional, guys).
  • And Lynn Minmay is crowned Miss Macross! (to the surprise of miss-no-autographs)
  • Meanwhile Hikaru is drifting in his utterly wrecked mech (looks fucked after getting caught in that explosion), only now waking up

I can’t think of another anime that featured a beauty pageant, but I did grow up watching plenty of live-action shows that dedicated episodes to them (to varying degrees of fail). So this little plot point felt both all too familiar and strangely new (in the world of anime) for me, in a very good way.

It’s a rather interesting set-piece to incorporate into a real robot, sci-fi show, and does a good deal in terms of, not only fleshing out and growing Minmay’s character, but also moving the plot forward in both the love triangle (Misa getting between Hikaru x Minmay a la some squabbling with a tinge of jealousy) and the Zentraedi conflict (they are introduced to the people of Earth’s culture for the first time).

It certainly accomplished a fuckton more than any other show involving a beauty pageant. A hydro-turbine jet as the prize? This show continues to astound me.

One thought on “SDF Macross 07-09: So, This is My Present”

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