Sheryl Would Fulfill Some Hopes and Dreams: Macross Frontier 11 “Missing Birthday”

It’s Alto’s birthday and those who love him want to give him something special. First off we have Ranka, who’s now flush with her newfound purchasing power as the emerging Superdimensional Cinderella. We know she eventually took the lethal chef (baker) route (albeit tame compared to most anime examples), but she also bought a grab bag of goodies for her favorite pilot.

See what an idol can buy for you!

Hikaru Ichijyou had a model plane in his room, and Minmay sang all about him. I should at least get him a really good model kit, because I’m a Cinderella like Minmay and Alto-kun is my Hikaru only prettier.

But Ranka has doubts, knowing Sheryl has a head start in this idol business and also probably knows her way around money and nice things more. Ohhhh, what would Sheryl-san give him?

Sheryl-san would probably give Alto something tasteful and classic, and yet complementary to his identity. Hmm, I mustn’t give up!

Ranka frets that at this moment Sheryl could be in school with Alto, while she has all this idol things to do. But what can she do? Being an idol is so important! But I want to be an idol who can work with Alto again. Sheryl did this documentary with him, but I don’t think that beats working on Tori no Hito, I mean — we kissed and all. I’m happy that Alto-kun is my first kiss. Am I his first too? Kyaaa!

I know it’s not quite that good a gift, but I really want to give him tickets to my first live! Maybe it’s not a gift at all, or if so, it’s more for me. I’m so selfish oh no! I must do something special for him. I need to do it with my own hands!

What I really want is for Alto-kun to fly me in the air like he does Sheryl — her first concert here it looked soo good. I’ll be singing too, while flying. It’ll be so awesome. In the meantime though, I think I’ll make some cookies in the shape of valkyries.

It is at this point it’s important to show how Ranka is so out of Sheryl’s league in the Alto sweepstakes. It would take a massive dose of misfortune for Sheryl’s siege upon Alto’s heart to lose its way. How do I know this? Let us look into what Sheryl actually does for Alto and the dynamics therein:

  • She takes him away from distractions — all the way out to another planet where there are no rivals. Now that’s how to date tactically.
  • Despite all the time Ranka sees alto fold paper airplanes she doesn’t really get how flying is such a big part of Alto’s life, his identity — and how it’s the point of all his aspirations; how she and Sheryl are even distractions in the way of his fulfilling his dreams. Sheryl gets this…
  • …and fashions a gift out of actual, purposeful work. Alto escorting the Galactic Fairy to Gallia IV means Alto gets to fly under a real sky, an actual atmosphere. It’s priceless!
  • For good measure, she delivers it in signature fashion:

These tits are saying, Yes I can and may give you the things you most want, but always on my terms… and you’re going to like it this way. The only thing that Sheryl may be mistaken about here is how popular Alto’s chest actually is… but I won’t go there.

One thing I find interesting is how up to this point, Alto isn’t necessarily behaving like a person worthy of such attentions. He is aloof to both of them, and at times even rude. Part of this can be explained away as just bantering with Sheryl, but not telling Ranka that he won’t show up for their meeting, and instead sending Michel to deliver the news is rather awful.

This is when Ranka shows a bit of character. Did she get crushed, despite knowing Alto blew her off to be with Sheryl? No, not at all. She tasted her own baking, and found nothing but bitterness… but her holding that Valkyrie-shaped cookie in the air, and wishing Alto “Happy Birthday,” had no bitterness at all. Sweet, yes my sweet.

Further Reading

Ranka’s recipe for VF-cookies, reverse-engineered by some weird fag (otou-san 2008/06/22)

Note: Today is MY birthday, when my body turns 33 while my mind turns 9 thereabouts. Anything Ranka or Sheryl would’ve given Alto I would’ve taken gladly as opposed to that ungrateful dandy.

One Year Ago…

The Super Dimension Fortress was christened the ‘Macross’ on South Ataria Island [->]

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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22 Responses to Sheryl Would Fulfill Some Hopes and Dreams: Macross Frontier 11 “Missing Birthday”

  1. Ryan A says:

    Inner Ranka monologue XD Yea, despite this episode being rather positive towards Alto-Sheryl, man… gotta feel for Ranka O.o

  2. Crusader says:

    To be fair Alto-hime had other things on his mind as well, not to mention Ranka had asked him to wait all day and by the time she go there it was some time after 1200 hours. Let’s not forget of all of Alto-hime’s well wishers only Sheryl gave hime what he wanted, everyone else gave him gifts that they wanted.

    Given how Yasaburo was calling Hime’s pilot role as a cheap stereotype it might not be that much off the mark. Certainly later on hime’s true self did come out as Alto-hime did demonstrate that he could be affectionate and caring and that he did have a sense and a good grasp of his responsibilities. Certainly that smug attitude did expire when the situation deteriorated and certainly by the time Sheryl was having a major crisis. Ranka’s mistakes seem to tell the saga of her life which ended badly but again largely due to faults of her own, Grace merely amplified them.

    In a way the replacement of Alto-hime in the movie might have been a sign of things to come as Ranka elected to replace Hime as her Knight in Armored Valkyrie with Brera and his Cutting Edge VF-27.

    • Let’s not forget of all of Alto-hime’s well wishers only Sheryl gave hime what he wanted, everyone else gave him gifts that they wanted.

      This is precisely why she’s out of everyone’s league at this point, which is interestingly a great time for the narrative to cockblock her and hand her her first real adversity — to come in the next episode.

      This thing with Ranka still stands out for me as a major failing of the narrative as a whole, which I will revisit soon enough: she got to save the day without truly fighting or prevailing through adversity of her own or on her own.

      • Crusader says:

        Ranka could have been the hero but alas in her darkest hour what courage she had left her and she fled to her nii-san in VF-27. Certainly Sheryl’s dramatic fall from stardom was given a lot more time, but it was the way she handled it that earned her my lasting respect, she didn’t run from it, and she was scared, however one of the few things (at the moment I can only thing of the earring) she asked of Alto-hime was to give her the courage to continue.

        Perhaps it is not a failing of the narrative Ranka had her own share of troubles, but the thing is she never faced it head on and more often than not avoided the problem. In the end she didn’t learn much of a life lesson if at all, for her it was back to old times despite all the carnage she had a hand in. Even her birthday plans for hime were compromised since Ranka was SUGOI late in sending out her message, by the time it arrived Ranka was the last one with an offer. To be sure even Yasaburo’s offering might have been more personally important to hime even if he didn’t get along with his dad he didn’t stop caring about him. If Ranka did fight through adversity then her actions towards the end would have been much less excusable though to be fair I find it hard to excuse them much at all.

        • Good stuff comrade. Why I think it’s a narrative problem is that Ranka did get her version of a happy ending — to be able to compete with Sheryl on even terms, despite never having to take responsibility for her actions near the end.

          The narrative allowed her to play heroine and save the day (as the ‘little’ Vajra Queen), more through h4xx0rz than actual maturity and growth. Worse, in the spirit of symmetry, the narrative forced RANKASLAP on Sheryl.

          Comrade, this is totally unmerited. Ranka slapped her without first giving her hope. Had Sheryl wanted to run away or give up despite being Space AIDS free, then by all means slap her. But her despondence is as wholly justified as Ranka’s self-righteous indignation is not.

          I am a Ranka fan, and even I can see this.

          • Crusader says:

            I wasn’t referring to the slap, it was the whole debacle that occurred after Ranka let her imagination run riot only to see Sheryl in hime’s arms on the roof. The slap is largely indefensible, but a case can be made for Ranka’s broken heart before the Ai-kun Massacres. Sadly I am of the opinion that no matter the heart ache the willingness to let people die did not earn Ranka my good graces. To me slapping Sheryl was infantile but after the events of the Ai-kun concert riots it was a minor infraction on a long list of mistakes by Ranka, it was almost expected.

            Maybe things will be better for Ranka in the movie, maybe she’ll learn a thing or two. Or at least she might come off as less spoiled. Maybe Ranka was simply a case of a kid having a great power but lacked the wisdom to wield it properly and responsibly, it was the case with Minmay though at least Minmay dumped Kaifun in the end. Ranka is still a kid even at 16 though it is rather ironic how Ozma’s kindness and sheltering of her made her worse off in the end than Sheryl who found Grace. All in all what made Ranka likable early on became major faults when things took a turn for the worse. I had hoped the struggle to stardom would have made Ranka a better person (and avoid the pit that Minmay fell into) and taught her a thing or too. But in the end she got drunk on her own fame and didn’t have the courage and conviction that adversity can bring, to face the dark times that lay ahead of her.

          • Indeed. The Ai-kun massacres are indeed the worst; and this is precisely what I feel Ranka was never given the chance to address in the narrative. Worse, it seems like her being Vajra Queen and saving Island 1 from Grace’s super salvo is being passed as more than just atonement.

            The irony of which is that it involves counter-sacrifices of the Vajra.

            I think this may require a full post. But thank you comrade for indulging this discussion!

          • Reelyanoob says:

            I thought I’d comment on something I’ve noticed about this episode that nobody else who’s posted seems to have picked up on. Some posters elsewhere questioned why Ranka seems to benefit (in the ep “fastest Delivery”) from Sheryl’s “present” of the sky to Alto, saying it was “unfair” because she “stole” Sheryl’s present.

            I think it was actually Karma (bear with me, check the scenes I discuss)

            In ep11, Sheryl first learns about Alto’s birthday while at the Pool, she states she has some work lined up (Gallia-IV concert). The concert was Grace’s idea. The very next scene shows Ozma saying to Cathy that he refused to supply an escort. So we have Sheryl already planning to go on the trip (planned by Grace), lacking an escort (through Ozma’s actions), when she discovered about Alto’s birthday. Sheryl looks unhappy while Ranka is discussing her present to Alto in a later scene (10:00) , calling Alto “that lump” to hide her feelings. She later has a heated discussion with Grace saying “I’m definitely going” (11:00) She looks mad for a bit, but then at (11:20) she seems to have an epiphany (watch her face). The very next we see of Sheryl is her asking Alto on the trip.

            So, Ranka made time around her busy schedule, learnt to cook a new recipe, and had to rush to get to the meeting place with Alto (Elmo gave her only 2 hours off). Sheryl on the other hand, got all the elements of her “present” handed to her, and just had to put two-and-two together (including recalling Alto’s response in ep6 (16:30) to her question “do you like this ship?”, a pretty obvious sort of question for someone only visiting the ship (locals tend to take their home turf for granted).

            She made the decision to ask Alto on the trip, after she knew Ranka was already planning something. This was by far the crappiest thing Sheryl ever did to Ranka, hence why Ranka gets the prize (karma).

            Sheryl being concerned by Ranka x Alto actually seems to starts in the previous ep10. I took notes and found some telling scenes:-

            1 – Alto on the phone to Ranka, Sheryl looks concerned.
            2 – Ranka asks after Alto’s past, then excuses herself, Sheryl again looks concerned.
            3 – Alto asks after Ranka, then leaves, Sheryl looks concerned a third time
            4 – Ranka offered role of Mao, which would lead to Alto x Ranka kiss. Sheryl decides to kiss Alto, which incidentally spurs Ranka to accept the role, leading to her kissing Alto, and gaining stardom.

          • Context:

            Sheryl is expected to be a bitch, she is presented as a diva. Such things are expected of her as a character (even without the tsunedere identification, which should add even more context). By all means that she doesn’t act as a bully is already a big surprise.

            Ranka on the other hand is presented as the little girl that could, the idol who is pure and innocent — whose selfish tantrums towards her guardian are merely actions fueled by her hopes and dreams. If she had been underhanded in any way (and she isn’t at all), the judgment on her would be harsher.

            The actual dynamic between the two is very interesting.

            Sheryl at first merely wanted to flatter herself by humoring Ranka, but actually became invested in her progress. She did whatever she could to support her, and respected Ranka when she turned down her generosity.

            It becomes conflicted when Sheryl doesn’t acknowledge her own feelings for Alto until she starts seeing Ranka as a legitimate threat (ep 10). So, she used the resources at her disposal to give Alto what she intuited he would appreciate best.

            I wouldn’t know what to say about Karma applied to fiction, especially something so obviously contrived to balance out until the unsatisfying end.

  3. gloval says:

    Ah, the Frontier blogging is back, and it’s a birthday episode on your birthday!

    So it was you who wanted to claim that Macross christening date!

    • I’ve had this post written for a while, but I thought today was the best day to post it. I totally didn’t expect digiboy to pull off the stunt he did on the other post.

      And yeah, it’s me. Someday I’m going to beg Kawamori to make it official.

  4. Ningyo says:

    Ocrap. I’ve worldly overshot. Happy bday, GL. Happy belated, argh. I’ll take the comfort that it’s still the 19th in mine, and I blame schoolwork.

    I’m still wondering if this post was meant to be remotely disturbing though.

    So was there a huuuuugee celebration with the growing family :D?

  5. 2DT says:

    You’re making me look back rather fondly.

    This, I remember, was the episode where I thought, “Sheryl, you got this in the BAG, girl!” Classy, sensitive and very cunning.

    And then that mean little twist has to mess everything up afterwards.

    • Yes!

      Looking back I really feel now that Sheryl has had a cakewalk for nearly half the show. There’s nothing really that challenges her and perhaps her own narrative has yet to really start until her adversities start piling up.

      • Kabitzin says:

        I was rooting for Sheryl, but it would have been fun if Miranda Merin had become a serious contender, too. THREE-WAY-SING-OFF-BATTLE MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

        • B..but.. Miranda is ugleeeh. I find it interesting in the supposedly moe-valuing context of 2059 Macross Fronter she’d be a Miss Macross and play Sara. Then again she is a throwback/holler out to Jamis Merin who looked FAR older than someone in her early 20s (22???!!!).

          In this case, the throwback didn’t make as much sense and is kind of forced.

    • Reelyanoob says:

      See my above post! Sheryl didn’t actually DO anything to create the present. She already had the trip & lacked an escort before she even found out about the birthday, while Ranka worked hard to create something herself.

  6. Pingback: False Divas: Macross Frontier 12 “Interstellar Flight” « We Remember Love

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