「激情 ダイビング」 (Gekijo Daibingu)
Following on the heels of arguably the series’ most disappointing episode, Δ returns in style with a climactic finish to what should be the series’ first half. As promised, the arrival of the Windermere Fleet on Ragna signals the start of an epic conflict, and it’s a roller coaster ride in every sense of the word. For all the issues we’ve had with how they handled Messer and the aftermath of his death, it can be said that this made up for a lot of the problems from previous episodes, even if their shoehorning of Hayate into Messer’s role continues to feel more forced than one’d like.
All they needed to do was revert the focus back to the series’ strengths, and this was an episode that saw all three sides of the Macross triangle come together in the way we all expected it to at some point. Non-stop Valkyrie combat combined with singing on both sides to give us constantly turning tides, and the use of a reaction warhead only escalated the odds by revealing the true nature behind the Protoculture’s ruins. The destruction of Hayate’s machine (complete with a slow burn reminiscent of a Phoenix rebirth) completes the ascension of the former into Messer’s role as the new Grim Reaper, and with the help of Freyja—you’ve got to admire her fortitude—he ends up taking some measure of revenge to the White Knight by shooting him out of the sky. That’s not before the Walkure take a direct hit from Bogue (it would be him) though, and this was an adrenaline rush fitting for the stakes at hand.
For all of the Delta Platoon’s accomplishments however, the fact remains that the Windermeres now control Ragna and the entire cluster of planets around it, and it looks like one of the series’ major plot lines in the second half with be the reclamation of a planet they’ve come to love over the past 12 episodes. The fact that Roid’s now in charge following Gramia’s demise likely means that there’ll be a change in dynamics on both sides of the Windermere vs. Humanity conflict, and now that he’s in charge of deploying Heinz and his Song of the Wind, his current position is far from enviable to boot—waiting too long between skirmishes will give Delta Platoon time to recruit, while giving too short of a breather to Heinz will hasten his inevitable demise.
That said, the fact that our cast managed to retrieve most of Ragna’s civilians is one major success they can look to build on in future conflicts, and the fact that Hayate and Mirage both performed better than they ever have before bodes well for our Platoon’s overall combat strength. Being down a pilot remains an obvious weakness however—Bogue wouldn’t have been able to shoot down the protective covering around the Walkure otherwise—and for all of their emphasis on Hayate as the new Messer, I’d like them to add in another pilot before it’s all said and done, if not only to shake up the dynamics a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Mirage and Freyja are almost on even footing in regards to their interactions and importance to Hayate, but I would hope that there’s going to be more in regards to the cast aside from our big three taking center stage from this point forward—even if we’ve technically received character-centric episodes already for the other members of Walkure and a bit in regards to Ernest, who rocks this week with his epic cannon fire.
Looking forward, things look bright once more for Δ, and here’s hoping that this week’s momentum carries over to the series’ second half. In the meanwhile, don’t forget that the series’ first soundtrack released just a few days ago, and keep an out for the release of the Walkure Attack! OST (July 6th). The latter will include all of vocals used in the series so far aside from the OP/ED, and it’ll likely be the only soundtrack we’ll get between now and the release of the 2nd OP/ED theme single in August. Until next week!