SDF Macross 10-12: A Demonstration of “Love”

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A lot goes down in these three episodes. Most notably, production-wise, the animation has dropped significantly in quality, and character designs go off-model so often it’s almost funny. Despite these issues, I still managed to enjoy the character interactions and fascinating tidbits of worldbuilding alongside the wild mood shifts, and fairly pleasant downtime moments of humour.

I won’t pretend I don’t come from the position of being somewhat aware of where the plot is going. I have read tons of articles and am as intimately familiar with the franchise, not just this series, as can be without having the benefit of remembering most of it in detail. But it’s a different experience to watch it myself, and honestly, if I hadn’t read all those articles about the series I probably wouldn’t have sat down to watch or continued with it as much as I have.

And I think that bringing in these experiences of reading others’ accounts of the show adds to my own experience of it far more than it may detract from it (the spoilers never felt like spoilers to me; they’re what got me into watching it, after all). Which personally, is what I think makes engaging with media so interesting in the first place. On with the show!

Episode 10 “Blind Game”

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  • I’m actually really thankful for the recap narration; very helpful in keeping track of characters and events
  • Some in-fighting between the Zentraedi; big blue one resolves it with some good ol’ fist-slam authority
  • Macross is ordered to wear down the enemy fleet to buy some time
  • *cue space battle* – Kakizaki gets hit; Hikaru requests Misa to rotate their scheduled return so that his man doesn’t risk dying of oxygen deprivation (nice ‘real science fiction’ here)
  • Then he gives Misa a lecture about it when she complains he’s just disobeying orders again (lol – delicious interaction)
  • Meanwhile Focker’s smiling the entire time as he listens over the comms (hahaha)
  • Purple Zentraedi dude plans for a big hit on Macross and laughs
  • MOVING TELEPHONE ROBOT!
  • Hikaru gets stood up by Minmay as she launches more heavily into her singing career (by which I mean is only starting)
  • A fuckton of lasers fire at Macross through an asteroid field
  • Purple Zentraedi dude fired the BIG laser after the Macross Captain called it a bluff (damn, Macross really took a hard hit here); a lot of important operations were either damaged or destroyed in the process
  • Captain is shaken; things are a lot more tense now – Macross is basically a sitting duck with its best bet relying on being hidden on radar
  • Misa sees a dead soldier outside and is haunted by Hikaru’s words from earlier
  • The Zentraedi broadcast an issue for Macross to surrender instead of just diving straight in to finish them off (interesting, I appreciate this)
  • Misa’s flying with Hikaru’s squad now; annnnnnnd *crashes into Zentraedi ship* (welp, that didn’t last long)
  • Hikaru follows with his squad to retriever Misa before the Zentraedi do
  • By jove! I forgot how BIG the Zentraedi were (as tall as the robots/jets they’re fighting)
  • Misa may complain, but it’s clear she’s glad Hikaru disobeyed her orders and shows so much care for her (and others)

Though it’s been implied in the events leading up until now, it is in this episode that it becomes clear just how helpless the people of Macross really are. For the casual viewer, I can totally see the lighthearted presentation obscuring the dire undercurrents that exist within the narrative.

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It’s clearly not taking itself too seriously, but that’s not to say there’s no severity or weight to the situation Macross faces in not only having to evade fire from aliens, but also in needing to accommodate for over thousands of civilians while trying to manage combat encounters they most certainly were not prepared for, with the Captain and the rest of Team Macross having to fly by the seat of their own pants whenever finding themselves in precarious and difficult-to-handle situations.

Triple that threat when you take into account the fact that the aliens they are fighting are essentially giants who live for nothing but combat – unafraid to go toe-to-toe with fighter jet/robots and be able to tear them apart with terrifying strength.

Episode 11 “First Contact”

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  • This (giant) Zentraedi ain’t playing around
  • Low ass frame-rates???
  • Fighting’s gotten a lot more clunky
  • Hikaru frightened, ejects when cornered by scary ass Zentraedi; Max follows suit and successfully gets away
  • But Hikaru FAILED (haha); as did Misa and Kakizaki (they’re all captured now)
  • Hikaru’s sexism is showing – says women got no place in the military (kek)
  • The Zentraedi have been observing their behaviour all this time, and I would like to see more of their delightful commentary as outsiders to “miclone” culture
  • Why does this episode look comparably inferior to previous ones? Animation feels cheap and almost non-existent in parts.
  • Macross is trying to get in contact with them, but to no avail and are starting to assume the worst – with word quickly reaching Focker and subsequently Minmay (neither are taking it well)
  • Back a bit, Minmay and her friends were talking and laughing as they “walked” together; no motion save their mouths barely moving??
  • Anyway some worldbuilding elements get mentioned (time moves faster or slower in a fold? I forget which, but appreciate the details nonetheless)
  • Flashbacks to Minmay being happy and ignorant of love (with Hikaru); he seems resigned to not being able to keep his promise (hmmm)
  • “That’s no moon asteroid, it’s a space station!”
  • Holy shit, the asteroid’s been mined to be used as an assembly line for producing ships (wow)
  • Stealth mode Max is on the job to rescue his team and on the way comically kicks a Zentraedi in the ballz (lol) and then hides the body MGS style
  • It is here, when Hikaru and co. are standing on an HUGE meeting table surrounded by giants interrogating them, that I realize just how ridiculous (and special) this show really is
  • The Zentraedi show off their might to make it clear just how one-sided this war actually is
  • Misa tries to bluff her way through them, but gets the ‘slam table’ treatment (oh shit)
  • The Zentraedi are becoming intensely more curious about the “miclones’” culture; they want to know what a “kiss” is and demand a demonstration (lol)
  • Misa complies and convinces Hikaru to participate in the act together
  • THEY KISSED! THEY- afdkjdghkksahgkjhksjdhg (sorry Minmay x Hikaru shippers)
  • “Protoculture!” + locked away again
  • So the Zentraedi’s ancestors used to be “miclone size”? Interesting.
  • Sad Minmay about to sing her debut song titled “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” + also sad Focker!
  • Everyone thinks Hikaru is dead it seems
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“Ye gads!”

Seeing how the Zentraedi reacted to Hikaru and Misa, utterly shocked and kinda scared of their smooching display, this feels like an important episode, in terms of bringing in new elements to the narrative and driving the plot forward in a seemingly different and interesting way – this being perhaps the first of a few pivotal moments that suggest the show is heading in another direction with its own unique resolution to the ostensibly futile conflict.

Note: I’m not commenting on everything because there’s just too much going to account for, so let this serve as an endorsement to watch the show yourself, should you find anything I’ve mentioned of interest to you and would like to have the added benefit of more context in place of my shabby reactionary rundown of the series; it’s only a taste, after all – the rest you will have to leave up to your imagination otherwise.

Episode 12 “Big Escape”

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  • Still find it funny that a kiss shocks the Zentraedi; Misa doesn’t seem particularly eager to do it again as she outright rejects Hikaru’s plan using it as a means to escape (lol)
  • SECOND KISS (suck it, Minmay!)
  • Max to the rescue; thought he’d wind up being more of a punk, but turning out to be quite the character (mostly just subverting my expectations though)
  • Ah, he got caught (book it!)
  • A fighter jet wearing giant clothes – only in Macross will you find this

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  • Giant rugby tackle fail + BRUTAL death by thruster flames (ouch)
  • Secret chamber/pods found; where the Zentraedi presumably change their size to that of miclones
  • Hikaru gets kicked to the curb (literally), but fires back with a rifle thrice his size – I know it’s supposed to be a serious situation (for Macross anyway) and there’s context to make sense of it, but it’s hard not to laugh at this image
  • Chase scene, fall, and Hikaru wakes to Misa’s face as he rises from her lap (seems fairly obvious by now that she’s got the hots for him, even if she’s not ready to admit it yet)
  • They give some speculation about the Zentraedi’s nature; think they used to be miclone size but made themselves bigger to be better at fighting and somehow in the process lost some things (culture, for instance)
  • Misa knows Hikaru loves Minmay; he was saying her name in his sleep apparently (hmmm) – she seems to be supportive of this love, but we’ll see how she feels as the story progresses
  • Enter ‘Milia the Ace’ (hehe); hawt green-haired Zentraedi

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  • Time for a daring escape!
  • Love the effect of a giant transparent Minmay moving over the space battle (purely for the viewers, to show two separate events simultaneously)
  • Tears of joy are shed as Misa and co. get rescued by Team Macross
  • Hikaru runs off smiling – to go see Minmay, I imagine

I’m not sure what side I fall on in the love triangle. I don’t mind either outcome, in all honesty. Though I’m not opposed to a stronger focus on this dynamic, and as someone who’s seen many of these presented as boring, cheesy, or overly melodramatic, I think it’s handled quite well here.

That said, I am much more interested in seeing this element of “culture” be played with more and see how it ties into the main plot. If this show ends with Minmay’s singing winning the hearts of the Zentraedi, putting an end to the war, and ensuring peace between the two species, I could see myself being pretty satisfied with that. On the other hand, if this show wants to kill off Team Macross and make Milia the star, I wouldn’t mind that either.

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