When I was compiling a list of ‘Moments in Anime’ back in 2008, I think I said I didn’t want to make a list of posts containing moments only from Macross Frontier. Rewatching this episode brought home how real that sentiment was for me nearly two years ago. This episode, while technically far from perfect (or even plausible) delivered intense and intensely entertaining dramatic moments. It’s so full of it.
In this post I will attempt to comment on each one. I don’t have a particular framework by which to analyze these. I’ll pull something out of my asshat and just call it awesomeology.
I’ll proceed in sequential order as they occur in the narrative.
The Vajra nested within the Frontier colony reveal themselves in a swarm and assault the civilian population. Think Alien only instead of one soldier organism stowed away in a exploration ship, an entire swarm stows itself away inside an exploratory human colony, and instead of picking off passengers one by one, the swarm assaults the entire population directly.
The Slap Heard Throughout the Galaxy
Ranka displays terrible judgment and refuses to sing to protect the colony from the Vajra infestation, despite being the vessel of the people’s hopes. Why? Because moments prior she comes to a realization of why exactly she sings, and decides her voice and her song is only for Alto. She finds Sheryl in Alto’s arms after her concert at Mihoshi High and imagines the worst. In the throes of broken-hearted hysteria she attempts to shirk responsibility, despite Alto’s respectful request.
This is where Sheryl shows everyone just how awesome she really is (part 9001). She grabs hold of Ranka, slaps her right across the face (half of Bright Noa’s power, but over 9000 times his effectiveness; then embraces her rival, protege, and friend – mercifully, gently, yet sternly reminding her of her power and gift, that Ranka is the one who can save the people, and that she should stand up and sing for them.
Beautiful, but even more so because of what happens after…
Alto is WRONG, Sheryl’s slap is for nothing, and Ranka FAILS utterly
In previous sorties, Ranka’s Aimo (O’Connor mix) confuses the Vajra long enough for the Frontier forces to shoot them. Alto thinks Ranka’s singing will calm the Vajra down. Sheryl is down with this plan. Ranka is shamed and inspired by Sheryl (and Alto) to sing. However, while the Vajra did seem to LISTEN TO HER SONG, they were neither befuddled nor calmed. Instead they got even more pissed and were outright enraged, glowing red eyes and all.
The city gets sacked, worse than Kamjin’s Christmas sortie on Macross City back in 2012.
The violence of their attack resulted in more civilian casualties, including Nanase getting injured by rubble. This particular failure, occuring at the worst possible time just makes me love this show even more. It displays a cruelty that no one really expects from this bright and shiny show. Love is hell.
Howard Glass is assasinated
The previous episode set it up, and I was expecting it. But it was kind of a tease because the sniper got killed by Vajra in some classic horror style, with the blood and then the body falling from the roof with a terrified teenager getting dripped on. President Glass was killed in close range by Leon Mishima’s personal guard. Poor Howard never saw it coming. This made Leon significant as a villain. It’s one thing to attempt to mastermind some shenanigans, and it seemed that he was dealing with things beyond him anyway, but it’s another thing to kill your trusting boss (and his retinue) in cold blood, in a hail of assault rifle fire in very close range.
Most Badass Confession Scene in Mainstream Anime EVAR
I don’t care what you say. Nothing beats this. Klan Klan is sick of Michel’s dithering. She takes off her clothes (for the Macronization process), asks him who he loves. He gives her a weasel’s answer, talking about not having the ability to love (for fear of losing them, or they losing him because of military careers and fighting and what not). She delivers an uppercut in the gut, felt right through the Ex-Gear then sets him straight.
She kisses him. She loves him, it’s because they can lose each other forever in this fight that she has to tell him, because she loves him, and this is the truth of her life.
She even delivers the sermon and warning to Alto (and Ranka) nearby before running off to the Macronization chamber. Oh yeah, Klan Klan is a topless loli in this whole sequence.
This is really badass, but even more so because of what happens after…
Michel’s worst fears come true: Someone has to die; it’s either him or Klan, Tails says it’s Michel
So Michel was afraid of love and commitment because he’s afraid of death. This may have something to do with his dead sister, but no matter, his worst fears are realized. The Vajra breach the chamber where the Macronization unit is held, and Klan is still in the process. He protects the vulnerable Zentraedi pilot, but the Vajra swarm gets the better of him.
The 2nd stage Vajra already has a deadly tail, and Michel is not only run through, it happens just as Klan was regaining her consciousness. His montage plays through, and his corpse is sucked into space by the vacuum caused by the breach in the hull. Alto couldn’t retrieve it.
There’s nothing left for Klan, just as Michel feared. This was the truth of his life.
While all of this was happening, after Ranka’s song failed to offer hope, Sheryl’s voice refracts light like diamonds in the crevasse of everyone’s despair
This is where Sheryl shows how awesome she truly is (part 9003). Sheryl took the injured Nanase to a shelter where many civilians were panicking and despairing for a rescue that wasn’t forthcoming. What does the Galactic Fairy do? Remember that this woman is facing the futility of her existence, and the certainty of her doom.
She knows she is dying, even if she lives through this Vajra infestation. If Ranka thought Alto holding Sheryl in his arms made her singing pointless, Sheryl was made certain that her love for Alto is indeed pointless – as is anything else she sets out to do, because she’s as good as dead.
But she shows that the hand that slapped Ranka in the name of justice is indeed just, merciful, and giving. To calm the people down the way Ranka was supposed to calm the Vajra, to give them hope the way Ranka was supposed to, Sheryl rendered a rawer, more heartfelt version of Diamond Crevasse – the song that heralded her supposed farewell to the Macross Frontier colony, and is a fitting herald of her farewell to her life.
Against the odds she gave when there was nothing to give, performed magic the way a Galactic Fairy can be imagined to perform. This is because she is Sheryl. At this moment, this is the truth of her life.
God damn, what an episode! Can you tell me of specific episodes from other shows that pack in a similar density of big moments? I would want to watch those shows.