In the days leading up to the Miss Macross contest, Ranka acts absent-minded until she gets a message saying that she qualified. Alto is meanwhile training inside an S.M.S combat simulator and dies for the 25th time, earning him congratulations from Mikhail who had intentionally set the simulator to a high difficulty. Mikhail forces him to do 25 laps around the hanger while wearing his Ex-Gear, and all this leaves Alto exhausted. He nevertheless continues his training with the various members of the S.M.S, and he later gets a message from Ranka asking him to come to the Miss Macross contest’s final round on Sunday. Unaware of Ranka’s entry into the contest, Ozma plans a final test for Alto on that same day. When the day comes, Ranka goes to the contest site and feels out of place backstage with all of the beautiful women around her. It makes her think that this is impossible for her, but she then gets a message from Alto saying that he’s there and urging her to win. He came after telling Mikhail that he was doing it because he was obligated to due to a promise.
Shortly after she gets the message, Ranka is found backstage by Sheryl. Sheryl calls this is the gateway to the dream, but she feels that Ranka has only just put her foot on the stairs, and she urges Ranka to chase after her without hesitation. Up for the challenge, Ranka takes her place on stage with the other contestants and spots Alto in the audience. Unfortunately, right as the contest is getting underway, Alto gets an urgent call from Ozma ordering him to come to his final enlistment test. Before Alto can answer Ozma, he spots his father entering the auditorium, and his father sees him too. However, his father claims not to know him and continues on into the auditorium. Alto heads the other way and returns to the S.M.S hanger where he boards his VF-25 with the intent of finishing this quickly so that he can go back to the contest. The test consists of a mock battle with Luca and Mikhail as his wingmen against the Pixie Squadron’s three Queadluuns on an old Zentradi battlefield.
At around the same time that Alto and company engage in battle, Ranka’s turn to perform comes up in the contest. She sees that Alto isn’t there anymore and accidentally hits her head against the microphone, but she eventually regains her composure and starts singing the legendary song, Watashi no Kare wa Pilot. Alto meanwhile manages to defeat one of the dark-colored Queadluuns, however he then gets targeted by the red Queadluun. This leads to a heated dogfight through the asteroid field, and it is interrupted when a large red Vajra suddenly appears. Seeing it reminds Alto of how Ozma had earlier told him about the 117th Massive Research Fleet incident from 11 years ago. Officially, it was reported as an accident where 1000 people died, but Ozma had revealed that those people were actually annihilated by the Vajra. Ranka was a survivor of that. Remembering how terrified Ranka had looked after finding out that her brother was hurt, Alto ignores Mikhail’s warnings and charges at the Vajra with his VF-25’s knife drawn.
The Vajra grabs the VF-25 before it can get close and tosses the craft away. Alto is ready to charge again, but the red Queadluun pilot stops him and attacks the Vajra instead. The Vajra survives both the Queadlunn’s missile barrage and a point-blank shot to the weapon above its head, and shortly after it counterattacks, Alto reenters the battle. While the Vajra and the Queadluun had been fighting, Alto had looked around and spotted an old Zentradi weapon floating in space. He now uses that weapon on the same spot that the Queadluun had just hit, and this succeeds in blowing up the Vajra. The group then returns to base, and in light of the heavy damage to the VF-25, Ozma lectures Alto on how they’re given expensive equipment to survive, not to fight. Despite Alto’s recklessness though, the giant female Zentradi pilot of the Queadluun – Kuran Kuran – compliments him on his senses, and that’s enough for Ozma to pass Alto on the final test.
In the aftermath, Alto, Luca, and Mikhail go to the Nyan Nyan restaurant to celebrate, and Kuran Kuran and her two wingmen show up too. Alto is surprised to see how young Kuran Kuran looks in her micronized form, and Mikhail angers her by teasing her about it. The waitress Ranka then brings Alto some buns, and, based on what’s on TV right now, Alto realizes that she didn’t win the Miss Macross contest. He apologizes for not staying until the end, but Ranka doesn’t mind and changes the subject to how Alto has joined the S.M.S. When she asks him why he’s taking such a tough job, Alto explains that he thinks of it as a chance, and he urges Ranka not to give up. The following day, Alto is walking by himself when he suddenly gets tripped. The person who stuck her foot out turns out to be none other than Sheryl Nome.
The singing + battle scene this week is a welcome touch, but it doesn’t come close to being as good as the scene from the original first episode. The mecha battle itself was pretty cool, however the new song (technically not new – it’s a cover of Minmay‘s Watashi no Kare wa Pilot) was a bit too upbeat to accompany that scene. It still works to an extent, and as much as it might sound like I’m complaining, I wouldn’t mind if they did something like this every few episodes. The real standout this week though is the very cute Kuran Kuran. When I saw her, I laughed because I realized that this is akin to them having the best of both worlds: a big-breasted Zentradi giant who can turn into a fiery-tempered loli.
The one thing that I’m confused about after watching this episode is what Ranka actually retains in her memory. After what happened to her brother, I thought she would have had a much more negative reaction towards Alto joining the S.M.S, but it then occurred to me that it’s not clear whether she still remembers her brother’s secret after she fainted. She does have dissociative amnesia after all. If she does still remember, does that mean that she thinks Alto has a desk job too, or does she just not care that much for him yet? Speaking of which, the two still feel like a mismatch to me relationship-wise, due in no small part to how Ranka seems like a little kid at times. They’re getting pretty close though with all the text messages and supporting each other at key moments. Next week turns the focus to Sheryl and Alto, but I assume Sheryl still only really cares about getting her earring back and only has a passing interest in him.