Macross Frontier – 16
As he finishes a battle and returns to the Macross Frontier, Alto recalls how Richard Birla had explained that his dream was to bring together the galaxy that is currently separated by dislocations, thereby connecting stars which are light-years apart. Though Alto doesn’t tell the others what Birla said, he does become more serious about his work. At school, he’s irritated that Brera starts coming to class with Ranka, however when Alto tries to do something about it, Brera pins him to the ground and explains that he has authority to eliminate anyone who gets in the way of his mission. Ranka later tries to raise the issue of having a bodyguard and wishes to be back with Elmo, but Grace asks her to endure it and explains that she’s taken over management at the request of the government. Grace has also prepared the music for Ranka’s second single – a different version of Aimo – and encourages Ranka to go with it. Sheryl meanwhile finds out about what Grace is doing when she sees her on TV with Ranka, and Elmo is back at the Zentradi mall drowning himself in alcohol.
Grace thinks that Ranka can become the light of hope for everyone with her song, but Ranka is under a lot of pressure and performs poorly during a recording session. After watching her for a while, Brera asks her why she hesitates and points out how much better her song usually is. He tries to come up with a comparison by saying that it evokes feelings of being enveloped in space, and after she thanks him for his words, she asks him where he knows Aimo from. Brera declines to answer though because it’s top-secret, and he then walks off, leaving Ranka with her pet Ai-kun. At around this same time, Alto is slowly making his way to the Macross Quarter while thinking about what Birla had said about the Fold Quartz when he comes across Sheryl sitting on a bench. Despite still being very sick, she immediately denies that she came to see him and refuses to go back to the hospital or the hotel because she doesn’t want to be confined anymore. Alto ends up bringing her back to his cabin onboard the Macross Quarter, and when she regains her senses, she starts hitting him because she thinks he did something to her. She stops after Alto makes her realize that he carried her there and how worried he was.
Alto then notices Sheryl’s earring and recognizes the jewel in it to be the same type as that in Richard Birla’s ring. He gets close to her in order to get a better look at it, however Mikhail suddenly enters the room and thinks that the two are in the middle of something. When Alto denies it, Sheryl gets angry, but their subsequent argument is broken up only after Cathy contacts Alto and Mikhail with a top secret mission: guarding Ranka while her song is used in an experiment. News of this quickly reaches the others as well, and although a furious Ozma pays a visit to Leon, he is ultimately unable to do anything about the experiment because Ranka herself had consented to it. There is skepticism amongst the various Skull Squadron members about if this variation of the Minmei Attack will work against the Vajra, but everyone – including Brera – comes along, and Ranka rides with Canalia in the König Monster. Having been left behind on the Macross Quarter by Alto, Sheryl makes her way to the bridge and convinces the crew to let her stay because she already knows the details of the mission.
The target for the mission is a Vajra asteroid nest, and once the fighting begins, the effect of Ranka singing Aimo O.C. becomes evident: it causes the Vajra to stop attacking and to act irregularly. Unfortunately, she stops singing after she sees a Vajra blow up right outside her window, and that allows one of the large red Vajra to come after the König Monster. Alto tries to save Ranka, however Brera beats him to the punch by firing a powerful rifle shot through Alto’s Valkyrie’s wing and nailing the Vajra. This pisses Alto off, but Brera just reiterates that Alto is unsuitable for Ranka and that he – not Alto – will be the one protecting her. Regardless, everyone is impressed with how well Ranka did, and Bobby declares her the songstress of their hopes. Ranka is happy to hear the praise, but she remains worried about both Alto and her brother, and she wonders if all this is okay.
Well there’s no new OP this week, but the new ED finally hit. For once, I’m not too keen on the song, though that may change as I listen to it more. I probably still prefer Diamond Crevasse more. The animation that accompanied Northern Cross, however, is full of visual flair featuring Sheryl concept art along with 3-D effects and May’n dancing in the background.
I thought this was an interesting episode, but I found it somewhat, well, depressing and frustrating to watch. It ends on a low note for all three main characters since Ranka is now being used as a weapon, Alto loses to Brera (twice), and Sheryl can’t do anything but watch. And it’s hard to say that things are looking up because the preview seems to hint rather strongly that Ozma will die next week – the episode is even titled “Goodbye Sister.” If that does happen, I suspect Ranka will stop singing and/or do something drastic like joining the Vajra since she appears to have an affinity towards them.
What bothers me is that, with all the focus recently on Alto wanting to protect Ranka and his relationship with her, Sheryl’s basically got nothing going for her. I’ve wondered a few times before what her ultimate role will be, and it feel like it’s getting less clear with every episode. I’m currently inclined to think that Alto will only end up with her as a consolation prize if Ranka dies or is otherwise unavailable at the end of the series. Granted, there’s still plenty of time for Alto to move back Sheryl’s way, but I suspect that that’s not the direction the story will go. There’s got to be something else, and her remaining earring or the Macross Galaxy’s involvement in all this may be the key.