While Alto and Sheryl are away at Gallia 4, the day of Ranka’s first concert rapidly approaches, and Nanase is feeling lonely since hardly anyone is around. She’s overjoyed when Ranka shows up at school, but is also shocked at the small green creature that Ranka has adopted because it’s a violation of the ecosystem protect law. Still, once she sees how close Ranka has become to it, she agrees not to tell anyone. Alto and Sheryl meanwhile arrive at Gallia 4 and are greeted by the Zentradi commander Ogotai and his men. Unfortunately, Sheryl faints from her sickness as she’s getting off her ship, and this angers the Zentradi faction that had been waiting for her song as part of their negotiations with Ogotai’s faction. Fighting quickly breaks out between the two sides, even as Sheryl is still lying on the runway while being attended to by her people, and though Alto tries to respond in his Valkyrie, he gets captured along with all the other humans. Word of what happened quickly reaches the Macross Frontier, but they can’t get to Gallia 4 in any less than seven days because of all the fold dislocations. Ranka wants Mikhail and the others to go save Alto, and seeing her sadness prompts Luca to propose a method that’ll allow them to reach Gallia 4 quickly: a new fold engine that is unaffected by the dislocations. Luca has access to it because of his family ties to the LAI corporation.
Back on Gallia 4, the humans have been herded into a guarded building, and Alto stays by Sheryl’s bedside. Though sick, Sheryl struggles to get up because she still wants to give him his present, but Alto puts her back in bed and decides to do something about all this. He sneaks out of their prison and makes his way to his Valkyrie, however he quickly gets caught again. Luckily, Ogotai sees what Alto is doing and has his men provide some covering fire, but when this fails to produce any results, Ogotai is faced with the decision of using his main ship’s guns. Before he can finish giving the order, however, he suddenly starts to hear music. Arriving aboard Mikhail’s specially-fitted Valkyrie is none other than Ranka, and she begins to sing Seikan Hikou. The song causes all the fighting to cease, and everyone gathers around to hear Ranka, dropping their guns in the process. The only person who remains antagonistic is the rebelling faction’s leader, but Alto prevents him from shooting Ranka and engages him in a Valkyrie vs. Queadluun battle. As the two fight, the rebel leader asserts that fighting is the Zentradi life and blood, and this reminds Alto of what Yasaburo had said about the curse-like blood of an actor. Alto takes his frustrations out on his opponent and succeeds in disabling and dumping the Queadluun into the nearby ocean.
Alto returns to Ranka right as she’s finishing singing Aimo, and when he questions why she came out here into so much danger, Ranka wishes him a happy birthday. Afterwards, Mikhail gives Alto the duty of taking Ranka back to the Frontier with the special fold engine in time for her concert tomorrow. Mikhail promises to bring Sheryl back himself, and he advises his friend to think properly about Ranka’s feelings. Alto thus brings Ranka with him when he takes a flight in his Valkyrie above the clouds of Gallia 4, and he thanks her for saving him, calling it the best present. Mid-flight though, something strange suddenly causes all of the Valkyrie’s systems to fail, and Alto is forced to make a crash landing in the canyon below. Ranka experiences a quick vision of something shortly after they land, and when she investigates, she finds a huge Macross class ship just over the nearby ridge.
ED: 「愛・おぼえていますか」 (Ai – Oboeteimasuka) by 中島愛 (Nakajima Megumi)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
There was a ton of Ranka music this episode (Seikan Hikou, Aimo, and Neko Nikki), and so having Ai – Oboeteimasuka finish out the episode rounded it out pretty well.
Wow, the Ranka concert this episode was a bit unexpected, never mind the fact that they went through almost her entire repertoire of songs. I had suspected that Sheryl’s sickness would show up again, but I still thought that she’d be the one singing this episode, so this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. To me, this was for Ranka was episode seven was for Sheryl, though part of the difference is that Ranka had a much bigger effect on the battle than Sheryl did. Still, no matter how many times I see it, I can’t help but laugh when the bad guys literally dropped their weapons because of the music, and so in true Macross fashion, she stopped the battle with her song.
What’s perhaps even more interesting is how Ranka stole both Sheryl’s spotlight and Sheryl’s time with Alto. I mentioned last week that it wouldn’t surprise me if Sheryl intentionally offered Alto something he couldn’t resist so that she could have him to herself on his birthday, and so when Ranka got that opportunity instead, it felt like karma was at play. Now, I’ve been writing Ranka off as a love interest because it looked like the writers were going to let Sheryl have that role, but this episode does close to a 180 on that. Considering how much of a contrast the ending of this episode was compared to last episode (i.e. lonely Ranka scene vs. lonely Sheryl scene), I think the two girls are back on equal footing, if not advantage Ranka. I’m sure Sheryl will have something to say about that once she’s feeling better again, but she’ll probably have to fight Ranka for screentime because there’s theoretically going to be another big Ranka focused episode coming up with her first concert. That might not happen next week though if Ranka and Alto continue to be stranded wherever they are, and Alto has to fight Brera again like the preview shows. I’m also curious to see what’s with the Macross (SDF-1) at the end and how it got there.