After having heard Ranka singing at the mall, an agent from Vector Promotion named Elmo Kridanik sets up a meeting with Ozma to ask him to allow Ranka to be taken in by the agency. Sometime later, Alto is in class looking at the earring that he had finally found, and Mikhail teases him about it being a present for his girlfriend. Mikhail thinks that Alto had been on a date with Sheryl, and when Alto denies that it was a date, Mikhail brings up the kiss. What Mikhail is more concerned about is the kind of relationship Alto has with Ranka, and while they’re talking, Nanase comes running with news about Ranka being scouted. The group joins Ranka for drinks to congratulate her, and Nanase is so thrilled that she announces the formation of the Ranka Lee Fan Club. While the others are talking, Ranka apologizes to Alto because she wanted to tell him first but also didn’t want to bother him. Alto uses the chance to reveal that he had been at the mall, but he claims that he was alone at the time. He also gives Ranka the ticket to Sheryl’s farewell concert.
Shortly thereafter, the group’s attention is turned to a message being broadcast throughout the colony ship by the Frontier President Howard Glass. To everyone’s surprise, he makes public the existence the Vajra and how the Vajra have attacked the Macross Galaxy fleet. While the President is speaking, Mikhail gets a call from Ozma ordering them back to base. Ozma also calls up Ranka to reassure her that neither he nor any of the other pilots are going to die. After returning to his bunk at the SMS, Alto watches a press conference held by Sheryl where she asserts her belief that the Macross Galaxy fleet – her home – is safe. She also insists that her concert tonight will go forward as planned and that she’ll return to the Galaxy fleet. Hearing all this motivates Alto to go see her at the concert hall. The staff there try to stop him backstage, but Sheryl hears the commotion and declares that Alto is her friend.
Once the two are alone, Sheryl reveals that the earrings are a memento from her mother. She then asks Alto if he likes this ship, and he answers that he hates it because there is no sky there. Though he asks her back the same question with regard to the Macross Galaxy, she doesn’t get to respond because he suddenly gets a phone call. Mikhail is the one who called and wants Alto to return immediately because they’re being sent to one of the surviving Galaxy ships that was discovered along with a large swarm of Vajra. After Mikhail hangs up, Sheryl asks if Alto is going, and so he reminds her that he’s a pilot. He then tries to return the earring, but Sheryl decides that he should hold on to it since it’s a good-luck charm. She goes on to admit that she actually hated Macross Galaxy since she didn’t have any relatives there, and seeing her talk like this causes Alto to tell her to give him a break because he has a hard time reacting to it. Regardless, he takes the earring as good luck, and Sheryl makes it clear that she’s only lending it to him.
Alto quickly heads back to the SMS ship where launch preparations are already well underway, and he ends up hanging the earring in his VF-25’s cockpit. As the SMS ship is launching, Ozma tells Kanaria of his promise to Ranka not to die, and he informs all of his pilots that none of them are allowed to die either. While this is going on, Ranka is racing towards the concert hall where Sheryl has already begun performing Diamond Crevasse, and she happens to see the ships make the space fold jump to their destination.
Well, this felt like a set-up episode – the calm before the storm of battle so to speak. There’s not a lot that happens action-wise, but the big things that do happen are that Ranka took another step to stardom, the SMS prepared to engage in a major battle, and Alto and Sheryl got a little closer. My favorite part was in the final five minutes or so (including all of the ED) which had a straight play-through of Diamond Crevasse as part of Sheryl’s concert, all while the warships were launching. Given the lyrics of the song, it almost feels like she was singing to them (or more specifically to Alto) instead of to her concert audience. On a side note, now that they’ve showcased the entire song, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got a new ED soon, especially since the current one ends with a shot of Sheryl’s concert. And speaking of which, Sheryl/Nakabayashi May‘s single debuted yesterday at #2 on the Oricon daily charts and is #3 today.
Since Alto has the earring for luck, I’m willing to bet that he gets to keep it for much of the rest of the series, and it’ll remain one of the bonds between him and Sheryl. Sheryl’s role in the story is still somewhat unclear to me though. I’m not sure being one of Alto’s love interests by itself is enough to carry her through the series, and unlike Ranka, there haven’t been tons of hints that she’s connected with the Vajra in any significant way. Perhaps she’ll use her celebrity status to rally the Frontier people using the brand of determination she already demonstrated in this episode, even while she shows her more vulnerable side to Alto. There’s still a little voice in my head though that wonders if she could be killed off late in the series. It’s probably too early to be thinking about that though, and for the time being, I’m more interested in seeing what happens in next week’s battle.