SDF Macross 34-36: Forever Flying Out and Onward

4) Oh, man.... It's finally over.

It is with these final three episodes the book on SDF Macross comes to a close. It’s been a new and interesting experience blogging a show episodically (albeit, inconsistently).

Despite the lackluster action scenes (which though I have praised, less for technical excellence – of which it is certainly (for the most part) not – and more for conceptual appeal; I do love air/space combat and humanoid mecha battles), not so good writing with some strange dialogue, and capricious changes in art, as well as restrained animation, I’ve become incredibly fond of this story of love and war.

It’s great, irrelevant of, or perhaps because of its shortcomings (there is a charm to the reserved production values, especially when it results in hilarious facial expressions). I am barely bothered by the nitty and gritty details of Macross, and am less interested in it as a vehicle for stunning visuals or even a tightly written story. I’m much more interested in the characters and themes – (in large part from reading ghostlightning’s fascinating insights on the series) here’s what GL had to say about Hikaru, Minmay and Misa:

All three. Instead of saving the day and being heroes, they were people who found reasons to live, or had to find reasons for themselves to live. Besides, the mission for all intents and purposes, has failed. The Megaroad 01 is lost. The colonization of the galaxy was more successfully pursued by subsequent Macross colonization fleets. This is the resolution of this rather simplistic but rather dark love love triangle, set against the background of great battles.

I can’t defend Macross as well as he can. But as simplistic and flawed as the show might be, it is this simplicity and these flaws that in my mind, make it, its characters, and the experience of watching it something truly special. And what could be more lovely than that?

Episode 34 “Private Time”

1) Thumbnail (Private Time)

  • Close-up of sandwiches
  • Misa happily tasting said sandwiches (in preparation for her date with Hikaru)
  • Hikaru shaving + a call from Minamy (oh no…)
  • Aww for fuck’s sake, Hikaru, you ass… He stood up a really excited Misa for a spoiled Minmay (goddamnit)
  • I’m too mad to appreciate Minmay’s “disguise”, even in just a purely fashion sense
  • Poor Misa… she’s still waiting…
  • Hikaru, now is not the time to be admiring your new scarf (gift from Minmay) – Now is the time to own up to the guilt eating away at your heart and fly out to the woman you promised to be with today!
  • Kaifun! Someone I never thought I’d ever be glad to see – Quick, use your powers of manipulation to – Oh, you’re already ruining the date, huh?
  • Minmay got splashed! Given any other circumstance I’d probably be upset or sympathetic, but she as acting kinda bratty (understandably so, given the… well, being around Kaifun for so long, but still hardly how you should be behaving toward / around the man you love), so…
  • Drunk Hikaru (sigh)

2) Bartender, another scotch and water.

3) You should call it quits.
Bartenders: the only voice of reason left after sense has been drowned
  • Let down Misa… getting worried about Hikaru
  • Zentradi are attacking a base and DESTROYING UNMANNED VALKYRIES! How dare-
  • Okay, you tried the diplomatic route, Hikaru. Now let the guns do the talking, yeah?
  • Terrorists apprehended. All in a day’s work for Skull Leader Ichijo
  • HE WORE THE SCARF TO THE DATE! (after being so late)… The nerve…
  • Oh no… It’s embroidered with his and Minmay’s initials…
  • And Misa noticed – She does an overdue walk-out on Hikaru
  • Concert time with Minmay – She’s not singing…
  • The crowd’s cheering her on
  • No good – She’s staying staunch about this decision
  • Is she really being selfish? I mean, I don’t disagree that’s a factor, but I’m hesitant to say it’s the only motive involved in her choice to not sing…
  • Kaifun’s leaving? About damn time! (though he doesn’t deserve such a proud exit, if you ask me)

I was surprised to see Hikaru not stand up to Kaifun, especially after he poured drink over Minmay’s head. Whatever. He deserves more shame for standing up Misa, in my opinion. How she doesn’t show even the slightest urge to give him a good slap talking to, or the cold shoulder when he finally arrives is beyond me. I think she should have given him an earful after waiting that long.

What’s worse is that Hikaru never seems to show genuine passion for either Minmay or Misa. He doesn’t just seem to have a terrible reluctance in following his own heart, but is callously clueless when it comes to the feelings of others. No gumption for chasing after anyone or showing real signs of genuine empathy and curiosity for them. Just a douche.

And the fact that his actions are at all comparable to that of Kaifun’s, and Kaifun actually kinda comes out looking on par with Hikaru in levels of insensitivity, makes this episode feel… wrong.

Episode 35 “Romanesque”

21) Solmen Minmay

  • JUNGLE – Is this the first time animals have appeared?! I have my doubts, but if they have they certainly didn’t leave strong impression
  • Sweaty Zentradi worker
  • Kamujin’s in good health, I see
  • There’s that laugh we all know and love

3) There's that Kamujin laugh we all know and love

  • Santa? It’s Christmas time for the Macrossians already? They celebrate Christmas?
  • Hikaru, mid-fly session, thinking it might be a good idea to ask Hayase out for tea (yeah, I’m suuure she’ll be delighted to hear back from you so soon…)
  • Started snowing the second Hikaru exited his Valkyrie (must be an omen of sorts)
  • The three ex-spies are working a vendor a stand and apparently not making ends meet (their optimism has me rooting for them – hope they manage somehow)
  • Minmay alone on swing set (to the tune of some beautiful music; very fitting for some melancholic reflection)
  • She flees (‘incognito’) after being spotted by the ex-spies
  • Doorbell ring at Cosa Hikaru – Guess who…
8) Minmay at the door
So sad, yet so lovely to see…
  • Hikaru looks mature right now, but I’m not going to drop my guard just because he’s wearing jeans and posed like an expert martial artist
  • Now he’s doling out wisdom to a down and disheartened Minmay (I’ve got my eye on you, Mister)
  • Hayase… turn back… please…
  • The love triangle is reaching a fever pitch now
14) Trepidating Hayase
Ahhhhhh… shucks!
  • Hayase drunkenly singing her sadness away melts my heart
18) Battlepods emerge
  • An unhappy Kamujin invades
  • A pair of Aces arrive! Max and Milia are here and already making short work of the attacking Zentradi
  • I now appreciate ‘disguised’ Minmay
  • The city’s on fire – oh,cool … cryo missiles… Those are handy
  • Annnnd there it is; ‘the deciding kiss’ to end the love triangle and turn it into a straight romance

If it sounds like I’m displeased with this episode it’s only because I really feel for Misa and, although Hikaru and Minmay will (probably) make a lovely couple, Hikaru could have been less of a dick to her. Just saying.

Kamujin steals the show this time around in true combat captivated fashion: by force.

Episode 36 “Gentle Farewell”

3) Potential thumbnail (Misa cry)

  • Misa and Hikaru are (separately) considering quitting the military
  • Back to the jungle (they got all the games)
  • Gung-ho Kamujin is gearing up (literally, in a spaceship) for another battle with Macross
  • Misa admits Minmay is ‘cute’ and a good match for Hikaru, while self-deprecating about her age and appearance (thinking she can’t compete with her) and being open about her feelings to Claudia on why she believes it would be best if she quit (unaware Hikaru is considering the same – albeit, with a lot less conviction)
  • Global gives Hayase a new assignment: become the Captain of her own ship (okay, screw Hikaru – THIS… This is a far better romance)
  • He asks her to look at the scenery

8) The Earth is truly a beautiful place

9) I want us to spread out to the stars, so that Earth's culture will never disappear.

  • Then she visits Hikaru’s house to break the news about her final frontier expedition; delivering a beautiful forward thinking speech about Earth, space and culture and then telling Minmay that she loves her songs with a sincere smile
  • Aaaaaaannnnnd then she confesses her love to Hikaru… right in front of her (just bearing it all at the end, huh? lol)
  • “That’s all I wanted to say.”
  • Minmay tries to stop Hikaru from chasing after Misa
  • [EXPLOSION] Wha…? N-No… No…
  • Phew… Oh, thank god…
  • Minmay’s asking Hikaru why he keeps fighting… but he’s not the one fighting here… He just ran off to save / see if Misa survived
  • WHOA. MASSIVE ENERGY BEAM. (Kamehameha, eat your heart out)
  • Macross got hit! (oh no)

13) Macross hit

  • Hikaru’s panicking over the uncertainty of Hayase’s condition
  • Never fear, Claudia and Global are here!
  • Random bystander: “The Macross is lifting off!” [CUE THEME MUSIC]
  • Goddamn gorgeous dogfights, air/mecha combat and explosions
  • Kamikaze Kamujin
  • Miraculously… Macross survived and emerged victorious

I had not anticipated any more change in the love triangle to occur post-Minmay kiss. There seemed to be a strong indication that Hikaru x Minmay was to be the conclusion to the conflict there. But here we are, with the original ship afloat (albeit a little damaged). However, as much as I expressed my strong preference for Hikaru x Misa throughout, I admit my feelings for the pairing wavered approaching the end. So, even though my matchmaking wishes for this series protagonists have come true, I am not as pleased I thought I would be. That’s not to say I do not like the outcome, just that with so much Hikaru douchery going on leading up to the final moments, there is still some acerbity leftover that’s not so easy to wash out.

Well, we have have now officially reached the end of our flighty voyage with Macross. And what a wonderful, fun and rewarding journey it’s been. I don’t have any immediate plans on doing something like this again – and if I do, it won’t be with any more of the entries in the Macross series. But that’s because doing so has resulted in me taking over half a year to finish just a thirty-six episode space love/war drama. I will, of course, still watch the subsequent continuations and spin-offs of the show, just preferably at a more speedy clip.

And whatever tomorrow may bring, I can see myself remembering Macross love for years to come.

14) And we'll let your songs echo through the galaxy.

Further (Highly Recommended) Reading

An Eye for Things [ep 34], [ep 35], [ep 36]

ghostlightning [->]

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