It’s no secret that the Macross Franchise is inspired, as many shows were, by the game-changing and era-defining Mobile Suit Gundam. Ever since I discovered Gundam, I’ve took it upon myself to discover how and when Macross pays homage to it. Macross Frontier is one of the most rewarding shows for ‘Easter Egg’ hunters like me. This episode’s particular homage is delicious:
The COLONY DROP.
Strictly speaking, there’s no actual drop of a cylindrical space colony on a planetary target. However, what’s there is a purging of a cylindrical colony, removing all its regular inhabitants, and sacrificially blowing it up in order to tactically remove hostiles.
The Colony Drop was pioneered as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) by the forces of the Principality of Zeon at the onset of the One Year War in Mobile Suit Gundam. The idea is to take a large, cylindrical space colony and send it down to a terrestrial target. The sheer mass of the colony would cause massive damage equal or greater to contemporary nuclear warheads.
In the case of Macross Frontier, the colony complex composed of an intricate biological and mechanical system of cylindrical colony ‘islands’ was in the throes of a large scale Vajra infestation that resulted in large losses both in collateral and human life. Given the fragile ecosystem necessary to maintain such a large colony, it is impossible for me to calculate the damage to the Frontier colony’s long-term sustainability.
Furthermore, a Vajra fleet is attacking externally; the bulk of the defense forces must deal with the threat they are best suited to fight.
The plan to rid the colony fleet of the Vajra infestation is simple enough, care of Luca Angeloni who has found strong resolve after his classmate and love interest was seriously hurt, and his friend and squad leader got killed. Using Ranka’s singing, the infesting stage-2 Vajra will be drawn to Island 3 (the agricultural and Zentraedi tourism center). Once Ranka is evacuated, the colony island will be scuttled while a Dimension-eater WMD detonates within it.
The damage radius is 50 kilometers, enough to engulf the entire island and all the Vajra within.
The consequences, as I can derive:
The Zentraedi cannot remain in their natural state, given the constraints in resources due to the infestation, as well as the loss of their designated living space. They will have to be micronized.w
Ranka Lee, having lost resolve in winning Alto, having acutely felt the pain of the death of so many Vajra – a species that she is more and more developing an affinity for, has lost interest in pursuing her role as both a pop idol, and deliverer of the people from the Vajra. After asking (knowing it would fail) Alto to join her in bringing the Stage-2 Vajra Ai-kun to its parent colony, she departs with Brera who vows to do whatever she asks.
This plays into the plans of the scheming Grace O’Connor, whose interest in the Vajra is clear, but as to why exactly is still not revealed at this point.
This would have been a great way to end the Ranka x Alto love story, as simple and frustrated as it were (and how frustratingly foolish Ranka behaved). However, the departure reminds me of how Minmay sang during the decisive battle against the Bodolle Zer Fleet in episode 27 of SDF Macross. It was Hikaru in that instance that gave up on Minmay, though in both cases the shadow of the relative (Brera Sterne, Lyn Kaifun) looms large. In that show, the triangle would persist and it won’t be much different here.
It wasn’t all continuity porn and meta-reference fanservice in this episode though. Trust Klan Klan to deliver the biggest servings to the fans who like THIS KIND OF THING: