Twilight of the Idols: The Failures of Sheryl and Ranka (Macross Frontier 23: “True Beginning”)

macross singing idols may'n sheryl mari minmay megumi ranka

One of the most interesting things that Macross did was its presentation of its pop idols. Iijima Mari, the seiyuu and singing voice of Lynn Minmay of Super Dimension Fortress Macross was part of the first emergence of the phenomenon of the pop idol in Japanese culture. I think the character Minmay became such a star in anime because she coincided with the idol phenomenon. However, the idol during this period is characterized by immaculate purity (chaste wholesomeness). To me they seem to represent the fantasies of their male fans, and are held up to be people to be emulated by females.

Only that Macross presented Minmay as completely flawed. Very cute and winsome as an idol is supposed to, but also shallow, petty, and egotistical. The idol in Japanese culture is supposed to be loved, and her combination of attributes are manufactured to take loving her for granted. The Macross idol, Minmay actually needs love because she won’t survive (or be a useful person in society) without it, and equally important is how challenging she would be to love. It would actually take work, effort, patience, and you know, actual love.

Macross was plugging into the idol phenomenon and at the same time giving a critical account of it. This is pretty edgy for a silly robot show in the early 1980s wouldn’t you say? This post explores the foibles of the latest incarnations of the Macross singing idol near the end of their narratives.

macross minmay sheryl ranka

Sheryl Fails at Using Chopsticks: an Historic Dinner

The dinner is a take on the Christmas dinner in SDF Macross episode 34 “Romanesque,” wherein Minmay prepared Hikaru dinner on their second night together. Sheryl had just spent the night in the Saotome mansion with Alto, who has elected to hide this relationship from the public and his fellow pilots. Sheryl teases him about having anything to hide about them. The narrative is coy, but there is no conclusive evidence that says they are together, or that Alto has picked her over Ranka.

Similarly, Hikaru had made no such decision at that point in time, one episode away from the finale in a 3-cour show! The difference here is that Alto does the cooking. What is telling is how Sheryl told Alto, “You can’t go back ok? Don’t ever… Leave me.”

macross frontier 23 sheryl don't leave me

Why did Sheryl do this? Here are two approaches:

The Watsonian approach is rather problematic to put together. I can only say that she’s at her wits end, on her last days, propped up only by Alto’s attentions. This is Sheryl giving up on life, giving up on her future. She’s just cashing her chips at this point, quitting while she’s ahead.

The Doylist approach tells us this scene is a contrivance to maintain the conceit that Sheryl (and Ranka) are versions of SDFM’s Minmay. However, Sheryl is the Macross: Do You Remember Love? version of Minmay while Ranka is the SDFM version. This scene only exists in SDFM, so the writing staff rather trip over themselves maintaining the conceit.

In SDFM, Minmay is extreme. She says she gives up singing, then insists that Hikaru give up flying altogether. I believe that the future that this represented, where Hikaru sees a denial of both their identities and aspirations and having to reinvent themselves with no clue of how to do so, sealed the deal with his choice to go with Misa. It seems cynical, but I doubt that at this point Hikaru had a lot of love in his heart (more like blood in his penis). Misa would not only let him fly, but encourage him through his military career. It was no contest.

Sheryl didn’t exactly demand any of this, because her request was ambiguous – made while drunk, sleepy, and sick (dying). Don’t go back where? Never leave me for what? It isn’t clear, but for fans who paid attention to Minmay and Hikaru in SDFM, the implications are obvious. Very interestingly, Alto said “Okay.”

Why? Because as far as he’s concerned, Ranka left him, left the colony, and left the human race. Leon would later paint the picture that Ranka is the foothold by which the Vajra will destroy them all. While Alto would remain conflicted, it didn’t make saying ‘yes’ to Sheryl more difficult.

Ranka Lies: She Claims to Have Never Failed

Ranka says to Brera that the Vajra will listen to her song, that “It hasn’t failed me before.” Either Ranka is dissociative amnesia all over again (unlikely because the episode begins with her remembering more things about Ranshe, Brera, and Grace), Ranka is ridiculously stupid, or that Ranka is lying. In episode 20 Alto convinced her to make the Vajra listen to her song (to pacify them) and Sheryl even slapped her when she wouldn’t agree to do so. The whole thing failed, and the Vajra only became more violent, leading to the near destruction of the colony and countless deaths.

Why would she claim that it has never failed?

macross frontier 23 brera ranka aimo

The Doylist answer would be “because the writers forgot.” I find this unlikely, and just as lazy in terms of reasoning as the accusation of laziness it presents. The care in ensuring the reference and thematic unity of the idols as versions of Minmay rules out mere laziness as far as I’m concerned.

That said, there seems to be no satisfying Watsonian answer. Why would Ranka say something so obviously mistaken? Also, it’s rather telling how Ranka never asked Brera who he was, what his relationship with Grace is, who Grace is – beyond a artiste manager who has elite pilots at her disposal. She  never bothered to wonder. This obliviousness is telling (some of this applies to Sheryl as well, but I credit Grace for hiding this actively from her protégé). This all results in not only Ranka failing at her ill-conceived personal mission to communicate with the Vajra, but also to her falling into Grace’s trap.

It’s hard to elevate Grace as a schemer of talent when her victims are as dumb as Ranka.

And the episode ends with a nice segue to Alto, and his own crisis of purpose. The orders are to fight Ranka, If it comes down to having to kill her, can he do it? Alto said he would. This too, is love, or at least that’s how Klan Klan takes it. Sheryl eavesdrops, and she gets it too. Did she feel that she suddenly lost to Ranka, because Alto loves Ranka enough to kill her? She resolves to do something, and that something is what she said she won’t do anymore (though she already broke this vow). She’ll sing, to fight Ranka, so maybe Alto won’t have to kill her.

macross frontier 23 sheryl paper plane

Ranka, fulfilling the role of the SDFM Minmay, was Alto’s reason for joining the S.M.S., just as Minmay was the reason Hikaru joined the UN Spacy, albeit Ranka didn’t pressure Alto as Minmay did Hikaru. The episode brings us back to the roles played, ringing a little like destiny, and wholly the conceit of a show that exists too to remember love.

This question I ask of you who have only seen Frontier prior to any other Macross shows: did the behavior of the protagonists make sense for you up to this point?

Further Reading

Watsonian vs. Doylist approaches commentary [->]
Macross takes an intense look into the idol industry via Minmay’s diary [->]
Minmay’s last night with Hikaru in ‘Romanesque’ (bonus Gundam 0080 episode 05) [->]

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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64 Responses to Twilight of the Idols: The Failures of Sheryl and Ranka (Macross Frontier 23: “True Beginning”)

  1. To answer that question at the end, the actions of the characters did make sense to me when I watched Frontier prior to any other series. Ranka was certainly dumb, but not so stupid that she couldn’t be callous and selfish. If she was just a dumb character I might not hate her as much as I do, but she knew enough to understand that people were counting on her but decided to run off in a pity-storm when Alto started falling for Sheryl. And her callousness just rose over time, from her refusal to sing at the memorial service to eventually refusing to sing to try and defend the fleet. And she had the gall to come back at the end like everything was normal and delude herself that she still had a shot at Alto. I suppose Sheryl’s restraint in humoring her in that final moment of the show can be commended, but I’d rather have seen Sheryl crush her by laying out the facts. Going out in a total defeat like Minmay did would have been healthier for her, as after the initial shock she would be free of her delusions and could then begin the process of learning from her mistakes and growing as a person.

    Sheryl also seemed to be acting logically to me, going after Alto because she interested him but then when her disease caused things to ‘get real’ she realigned her priorities and by that point had genuinely fallen for Alto as someone more than a passing interest. She had to reevaluate all the important parts of her life and had a crisis of faith in her singing, but once she took the time to actually think about Alto she never wavered in that regard.

    And then Alto had his initial crush on Ranka but then started to understand that Sheryl was a person of more substance. And then when Ranka turned her back on the fleet Alto rightfully concluded that she was an enemy. But not an ordinary one, a traitor to boot, hence his declaration that he would kill her. I didn’t see it at all as some sort of love for her, just intense emotion directed at her. He declared that he would kill her in line with his ‘only room for one of us’ epiphany after shooting down the leader of the Zentradi base uprising. If anything it was vengeance that he felt, a strong, personal desire to destroy the person who had betrayed him as well as the fleet. Not at all love in my opinion, but then again your definition of what constitutes love often baffles me 😛

    So that’s how I interpreted it. And while it may just be due to my watching of Frontier first, after watching SDF Macross and the rest of the canon that information didn’t really alter or change my interpretation of the characters in Frontier. I could see some of the lineage and influence from their predecessors, but only as a bit of framing for the characters. I don’t see it as fulfilling a role in a sort of destiny in the Battlestar Galactica “all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again” sense, I just view it as a collection of information and influences that helped to shape the characters but only comprised a small portion of their core being.

  2. [change “she interested him” to “he interested her” in the start of the second paragraph, then delete this comment. Got my pronouns mixed up. Thanks. BTW, have you thought about installing a comments plugin that lets commenters edit their comments?]

    • Unfortunately plugins are not available for WordPress.com blogs. There may be a widget for it someday, but at present I apologize for the inconvenience.

      I mean the characters in Frontier play out their roles not at all in terms of some destiny construct, but more like a mythic path in some ways, and more like ‘masked villains in Gundam’ in others.

      It’s part throwback and remembering love, and part following the template, and in part attempting to improve on perceived missteps. I can’t say where intention meets success, but I think Sheryl surprised everyone, and Ranka surprised everyone in a bad way.

      I do find fans and viewers a little comical (at times a lot) for feeling genuine hatred and contempt for characters making bad decisions. In the case of Macross, I felt that Ranka acted very ordinarily as a teenager with problems, while Sheryl acted extraordinarily mature. Remember Minmay accepting defeat with dignity is an 18-year old who had lost a lot already, witnessed the destruction of her home world, was captured and interrogated by giants at least twice, and suffered her own share of disappointments and humiliations over three years; most of which as a professional. Ranka just turned 16, a career that was maybe three months old, was having her first puppy love, and had all this alien amnesia shit going on, and was being weaponized at first by scary government people (Grace and Leon, to Minmay’s Global and Exsedol) and even by her friends Sheryl and Alto. While I wanted her to behave exemplary, I really don’t see the point of hating on her.
      What’s more annoying to me is that as a character constructed for a narrative, she was a gamble that failed. Her childishness felt premeditated as an appeal to moe, and in a narrative like Macross, it didn’t quite work.

      I felt a characterization like hers would’ve felt more at home in a show like Genesis of Aquarion (another Kawamori/Satelite show) where she could’ve passed for a layered joke among other caricatures. I also feel that Luca and Nanase could’ve come straight from the Aquarion cast.

      As for Alto, I never thought of him as being truly attracted to Ranka. It never rang true for me at all. When it came to shipping it was a no-brainer for me. Ranka and Alto didn’t have a lot of chemistry at all.

      As for love, let me put it this way. When I read people talk about how much they love X and Y show, to me it feels very conditional. The love they feel is like a reward they give to a show in exchange for pleasuring them. If the show is a one-shot, there’s not much to talk about. But if the show is a franchise like Gundam and Macross, you can really see the difference.

      (I understand that I may be alone in this)

      I love Macross, and love it unconditionally. There’s nothing it can do in the future that will change this. I will watch and somehow enjoy anything it puts out. My love for the franchise stands apart from my critical appreciation for it. The latter can happen and it does, but I will always be happy with it from a fan point of view.

      This is profoundly different from the fans who value their critical identity first and far above all other things. They are loath to be identified with a bad show. So when the franchise comes up with something they don’t like, they will act betrayed etc etc. This played out in the Macross fandom with Macross 7 and Frontier.

      I don’t think this is categorically bad, mind you. I am the same with Gundam. I’m just saying that my love for Macross is different from most people when they talk about loving a show, or a character. It’s not so much about ‘earning’ points from me. It’s all about me finding ways to do something for the franchise in my own special way.

      In the context of Alto and Ranka, the love in question as spoken of by Klan is that of ‘not letting the loved one to fail further, to cause more harm;’ he’d be ready to kill her when the time came because he does care for her that much. It would be more like me, if I were to count myself as your friend to explicitly request that “if I download and watch the ZZ Gundam BD rips, please fucking kill me.”

      • “I really don’t see the point of hating on her.”

        But it’s fuuuun! In seriousness it actually is enjoyable to hate on a character, it draws me into the world of the show more if I have strong feelings (good or bad) about the characters. I judge the characters and love or hate them by their actions because part of what draws me into a show and makes it great for me is if it can cause me to react as if I lived in that fictional world. And if I were part of the Frontier fleet and had to suffer the consequences of what she did her age and immaturity would be so small a mitigating circumstance as to be effectively nonexistant. Frontier wasn’t my favorite of the franchise, but it did make me care strongly about what was going on, and that’s a key factor in enjoying fiction for me.

        “the love in question as spoken of by Klan is that of ‘not letting the loved one to fail further, to cause more harm.”

        I’d agree, but from a different point of view. That might have been part of the subconscious equation going on in Alto’s head, but I think that at least half, if not the majority of Alto’s strong feelings when he made that declaration came from a personal sense of betrayal and shame. By having been her friend and by being the trigger that made her betray the fleet I think he wanted to kill her to stop her from further harming the fleet because he felt in part responsible for it. Not in a direct way, but since she was a friend I think he almost felt a collective responsibility and thus shame for her actions by association. The people around him didn’t take it out on him that he was friends with Ranka in the past, but I think that their attempts to be understanding, like Klan’s comment, probably just made him feel more embarrassed and ashamed of knowing her. In addition to neutralizing the threat she represented, his desire to kill her was also an attempt to clear his own name and take (misplaced) responsibility for her.

        • LOL this is you sublimating your own feelings towards Ranka more than it is Alto’s. I give him far more credit than you do. Anything to add coals to the flame of fun amirite?

          I get you man, I like taking sides too, only that I don’t seem to take it as seriously or play it as intensely. In the end these are characters playing roles in fiction so even Kaifun ‘had to be’ the way he is.

          Still I find it unnerving to see an entire civilian population turning on a juvenile, no matter how justified. What I want to see (as I’ve mentioned long ago here though I’ve given up on some of the opinions there since blogging Frontier this way) is a future story line wherein Ranka accounts for all she’s done, without shortcuts and retconning.

          • While I have my opinion of Ranka, I don’t feel that I put words in the mouth of (or more accurately, thoughts in the mind of) Alto by forming that theory of his reaction. I thought Ranka was a fun side character at first, but I don’t really have the feelings of betrayal to sublimate onto Alto since she wasn’t a favorite character or greatly important to me. I had switched the to Sheryl camp long before Ranka’s desertion. The betrayal I lift from the series comes from sympathizing with Alto. It’s perfectly natural and I do not believe that it belittles him as a character to think that way about his reaction. I think it gives him more credit as a complex individual than to ascribe his feelings toward Ranka at that point as some sort of wires-crossed love. He might be stubborn, but he’s a smart enough character to not get the two confused.

          • It boggles me how you could have perceived her as a side character when compared to Sheryl’s first encounter with Alto, she gets the “meet cute” trope. This should indicate that she is a primary love interest.

            I can acknowledge that Alto could have those feelings too, but I seriously doubt if they were primary. Having that into the mix would make the case for further complexity in Alto’s characterization.

        • Since I was ignorant of exactly how important singing was to the Macross franchise when I first watched Frontier, I tended to treat both Ranka and Sheryl as side characters until it was established that Ranka had military uses. (I went into the series knowing that music was a part of the franchise, but I had assumed that it was more spectacle than actual, functional tool.) For me early on the show was all about Alto and the other SMS characters, with the love interest and singing parts being the sidestory to everything else, kind of like how Nina Purpleton was a sidestory to the larger events of 0083 (well, until she intervened in the end by turning traitor.) Coming from a Gundam background, I placed much more emphasis on the military story and considered everything else to be secondary until Frontier really shoved the Macross tropes in your face. And by that time I had already started disliking Ranka.

          Watching Frontier the second time around it was a lot clearer what Macross is about, so I had lost that initial division between the SMS/military main story and the homefront/love sidestory. I saw things as Macross tropes and conventions instead of sidestories and ways to draw in more viewers (not that they weren’t also the latter.)

          • Gotcha. I suppose it would be how I’d treat Marina Ismail when I first saw Gundam 00, and Shirley in Code Geass, side characters in both cases.

            But following this logic, Misa Hayase (suppose she wasn’t part of the triangle) and Sumeragi Lee Noriega wouldn’t be side characters. What do you think?

          • Those two characters would be part of the main story grouping, but I wouldn’t think of them as main in terms of their roles. Both of them acted in a support fashion to the war story instead of being fighters themselves, so they would belong to the main group but have side roles. When I watched Frontier (and some other shows) I grouped things on two levels and then the characters by their contribution to the level. So they would be main-side characters.

            Early on in Frontier I saw Ranka as being a side-main, in that she belonged to the side story and was thus of less importance to how I was watching the show, but was central within that lower level of narrative. The show certainly gave her emphasis when she was introduced, but I thought of her as a side character because at that point she wasn’t involved in the primary (to me) story of conflict. The love triangle at the start of Frontier, at least to a Macross newbie, seemed fairly insignificant. At that time I just figured that it would be a sidestory for the characters, a way to see them develop and compete, but not a central part of what the show was about. Kind of like how the love stories played out in Gundam or Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Not that I didn’t DDAAAAWWWW and enjoy the best ones of those, but they felt more like a way of rounding out the characters involved and as a break from the action instead of the focus like they are in Macross.

          • I suppose I’m not as organized as you when watching these cartoons!

            I see the logic in it, gotcha. But yeah, Macross is supposedly about the love story first, and a robot action show next. That is its calling card. I suppose Escaflowne is the same, but I dunno about Aquarion.

  3. Chan says:

    To me the characterization made a whole lot of sense at this point, even more so (at least for Sheryl) after I heard the audio drama CDs. Many consider Grace to be a hardcore Magnificent Bitch. However this is mostly because of Sheryl whom she had raised, up quite lovingly in fact the audio drama CD there is a track of Sheryl when she after she does her first successful live concert, in which after wards Grace apparently brings her out for dinner. During said Dinner Sheryl asks Grace if she can sleep in the same bed as her, which Grace used to do when Sheryl was suffering because of the medical treatment she underwent as a child. After I listened to that drama CD track and watched the episode it made Sheryl’s behavior make a whole lot more sense. Before I listened to the drama CD though I just took it as a moment of weakness where Sheryl was showing that she trusted Alto enough to lower her emotional barriers around him, and showing him her vulnerable side. That in itself was something that Misa had also done around this time to Hikaru.

    In the case I didn’t understand what he was talking about until I put the entire scene in context. Alto before hand had hated Frontier, he hated its fake sky, and the dull life he lead while living there. It is because of this why Alto could not find it within himself to fight to protect a place that he hated, but he believed that in order to become a pilot he needed something to protect, so he used Ranka. Through Ranka he was able to fulfill that necessary prerequisite needed to become a pilot, and he was okay with that. However like he stated in episode 23, his feelings Frontier began to change. It was in same place that he hated with a passion, he found traits to love and admire, traits that he never got a chance to see before. Alto began to love Frontier, he loved his home. He no longer Ranka as an excuse to fly anymore, he found his own. I think that after Alto realized how much he loved his home he realized that he didn’t want to lose it. To him Ranka who was his friend, who was the whole reason why he decided to join SMS in the first place and yet was stated by Leon as a enemy who wanted to destroy the home that he loved and learned to cherish and respect was not as important was his home. You can see as much in his speech in this episode about how his view on Frontier has changed. Once I re-watched the scene I realized how foolish it would be for anyone who had heard the the full conversation to think Alto meant that he may be in love with Ranka (kinda knocking on myself because I thought that on first view). To me it didn’t as though neither Alto was indecisive at all instead it was just the opposite. Alto had made up his mind.

    When I first say this episode I really expected for something bad to happen to Ranka in other words I expected for her song to fail just like it did in episode 21. To me Ranka was already at an all time low and her selective amnesia was earning her any points.

    As for your question I actually saw Robotech first and Macross II Lover’s Again (which isn’t a part of the Macross Universe) but I don’t know if that counts. However, when I watched the SDF my view on Ranka was that she was worse that SDF Minmei, who for all of her childishness was very responsible when handling the duties she accepted. I saw more of Sheryl her to be honest, Ranka just seemed to have more of a superficial connection to Minmei. It didn’t help matters that Minmei at the end of the series learned her lesson and once she realized that Hikaru wasn’t infatuated with her anymore she walked away and moved on with her life. It certainly didbn’t help matters that Minmei was more mature than Ranka, and also much more playful, but still acted her age. Strangely enough I actually like SDF Minmei better than DYRL Minmei.

    • Chan says:

      I just wanted to add this in but normally if a girl likes a guy and that guy knows that she likes him, if he returns her feelings then he won’t just pretend not to notice that she feels that way about him, or her affection to be bothersome. In fact if a guy does that then its usually a sign that he’s just not interested in her. Alto in this episode admitted to Klan Klan that he knew that Ranka had a crush on him and yet chose to ignore it, cause he couldn’t be bothered.

      • I really appreciate your reading of Alto here. Very well done. Just when I think there’s no more to get out of him (and I can feel that way sometimes after watching this show so many times) I discover something else about him that I think is very important.

        I agree that Ranka is far worse than Minmay in terms of behavior, and really got the short end of the writing stick. The concept for her, as you stated in your comments from the previous episode’s discussion is that she was constructed to play up the childishness appeal. It turned out to be a bad gamble and most people’s affinity for Ranka is very superficial.

        Mine (being a Ranka fan) is something I can only call meta-moe; I feel the need not so much to apologize for and/or protect her, but rather appreciate her as a character despite all the problems.

        Lastly, as I’ve stated in my response above to Executive Otaku, I don’t think Alto and Ranka have any chemistry at all. Frankly I find a character like her very difficult to pair anyone with.

        • Chan says:

          I think another part of Alto’s personality that is important for understanding him is that Alto played a women for most of his life on stage. It is because of this why Alto may be more in tune with a woman’s thoughts and feelings than any other man and I also think that he may resent that fact, but at the same time it may be one of the reasons why Alto never fell into the same category as his other friends in regards. When I was re-watching the series I began to notice that Alto didn’t fawn over Ranka like his other friends did (though Mikhail and Luca later on stop doing this). He was also seemed as though he made more of an effort to be distant from her, and would never seek her out on his own unless she was in some kind of trouble. Alto just wasn’t taken in by Ranka’s moe personality, although you get more of a sense of this in the MF novels which are all from Alto’s point of view. So in a way Alto’s desire to become the exemplary presentation of a macho male pilot may come from his desire to get be rid of his past and for differing himself from his home. Later on though Alto no longer cares about this anymore, and his resentment over who he is disappears. Alto never says whats on his mind instead he tends to let his actions and body language speak for him, and I think that that is the key to understanding his character. I think that he and Sheryl actually have this in common as she is also the type of person who lets actions for her, and that is part of their chemistry. Sheryl also never says that she loves Alto instead she shows that loves him. Though no one tends to catch this on their first viewing so your not the only one.

          I think that their belief that Ranka would be popular with fans for being moe, shows that Kawamori himself may have banked on more people being like some of the Ranka fans you described. He might have expected for them to simply like her “because she’s moe” he may have also given some personality traits to appeal more to females as well, however both targets ended up disliking her (2chan had a lot of Ranka hate threads after the airing of episode 21). SDF Minmei herself was not as popular of Misa during its original airing either, it was not until DYRL that Minmei became popular with fans, although in Ranka’s case its already too late and fans are not as forgiving now. I think what makes Ranka stand out as childish among the other character whom we tend to forget are her peers, is because they are all so much more mature than her. This holds especially true if you try to compare her to Luca(looks like a shouta but is a part of a long line of engineers and is studying to become one himself, also joins with Leon in order to protect Nanase whom is both his childhood friend and the one he loves and his home) or even Nanase(was sexually harassed when she was younger and has troubles with men because of it, is studying fashion and makes Ranka’s costume designs for her concerts).

          I actually consider you a real Ranka fan because you don’t make excuses for her. You can only call yourself a fan of any character or series if you accept them for all of their faults, and not try to justify yourself by making up any excuses or being overly defensive about it unless someone is spouting bullshit. But if what they’re saying is true then there is not reason why you should try to defend the character or series. I consider myself a fan of Ranka but its only because I can accept her for all of her mess ups, and her faults in personality. This is especially true for Ranka whom even the staff of MF feel the need to point out her faults.

          Funny you say that, because Rank’s voice actress said something similar. As for me I think that Ranka is very immature and I really wouldn’t ship her with anyone just because it would seem more like a punishment for that character to have to deal with a significant other who lacked empathy and was very childish.

          • Thanks, while I’m not as interested in being an ‘expert’ at being a fan, I do think that being such is far less about defensiveness and apology. I think healthy fandoms are very much able to make fun of their pet shows and characters, or able to appreciate them critically.

            To do otherwise makes me think that the people are more concerned with themselves and their identity. They use the show or character more as a tag to buffer their image of being a person of good taste or what not. While there is nothing wrong with this at all and my statements are not for invalidating anyone, I know in my heart that this isn’t love, this isn’t being a fan in the fullest sense.

            Also thank you very much for giving perspective on the popularity of Misa and Minmay during the series run, and for sharing the info on the 2ch hate threads.

            As for the mature milieu that further highlights Ranka’s maturity, yeah it really kind of sucks for her. I mean you have Klan who is tinier than her but at the same time improbably skilled in two wildly different preoccupations not to mention occupies a position of responsibility.

            As I said to Executive Otaku, Ranka feels like she’d be a better fit in Genesis of Aquarion — Luca and Nanase too.

          • Chan says:

            Which is why I appreciate your posts on Ranka, your not defensive about it and you don’t apologize or make excuses for her. I also agree with you that its no fun if you can’t make fun of your favorite series, or rather its too restricting. I for one love Cardcaptor Sakura as well as pretty much anything from CLAMP and yet I have no problem with making fun of or CLAMP in general. I know Ohkawa is not a writer without faults, and there are much of the series they make have their own problems but really I can look past that. I also look to it the same way I look at Macross, the series has problems of its but I can look past that, and my favoring the series does not mean that I will give it a free pass. That being said I actually don’t consider myself a “true” Macross fan, I’m just an ordinary fan like everyone else.

            I agree with you that some people who make up excuses for like a character who does unfavorable things or a series which is questionable are trying to project themselves as a person with taste.

            Don’t mention when I first heard that Ranka wasn’t that popular in Japan despite being Loli Moe I was surprised. By the way Sheryl was voted in the top ten female characters in the last 25 years, and will get her very own manga sometime this year which seem to be canon to the storyline. Said manga will be aimed at females which unlike Ranka Sheryl is very popular with both sexes.

            I think that Ranka’s character would benefit with time away from the whole cast, including Brera so that she that can find herself. I also read your post about Lafiel that you wished that Ranka would learn empathy by volunteering, I agree with you. I find it sad that both Sheryl and that girl who won the Miss Macross contest, and was snubbed by Sheryl (she’s also the great granddaughter of that actress in SDF who thought she was a shoe in to win the Miss Macross contest, and became antagonistic towards Minmei)both did volunteer work on Frontier after the disaster. Their reasons for doing this is because Frontier was their home(consequently that’s how Sheryl got the idea to write the song “Lion” which was intended to be a Sheryl only song). Meanwhile Ranka could worry about herself, that part of her needs to be done away with.

            Ranka, Luca, and Nanase in Genesis of Aquarion would be interesting if only because Aquarion had a habit of calling out all of the characters faults, not to make the character necessarily grow from them but instead to let them know that it was there. Though Nanase character might overlap with Tsugumi.

          • A Sheryl manga? SWEET!

            Hopefully Ranka gets her character makeover/surgery in a new story (as opposed to retcon).

            Can you link me to the character ranking? As much as I dislike things like this I am a complete and utter fool for them. I will watch stupid list shows on TV on end.

            I didn’t know Melinda/Miranda/Melin are related. I thought the Frontier version was an expy. I really appreciate all these details you’re sharing here!

          • Chan says:

            According to what I’ve heard about the Frontier movie they seem to have made the first step in fixing her character. Now if only the DVD would come out so I can watch the movie.

            Okay there are two character ranking polls that I think would interest you. The first is the and the second is the top characters per decade since the eighties notice how Minmei is on both polls.

            I was surprised too, until someone summarized the Infinity short story which came with the Sheryl artbook (good luck finding it- if you want it most places are sold out of the book).

          • Thanks a lot! The first link seems to be missing though.

          • Chan says:

            I’m sorry here it is

          • Chan says:

            I’m sorry

          • Finally success! Thanks again. I think these links are invaluable to this whole project of mine to blog Frontier.

        • ramendik says:

          Now I’m really glad I found your blog. I thought I was the only fan of Ranka as a character who thinks that Alto and Sheryl, not Ranka, belong together. “I want Sheryl in Alto’s bed and Ranka on my screen” 🙂 really, that story is not over, very much not over, even though we probably ain’t getting any more…

  4. *grumble grumble* up until this point of Frontier I thought Ranka was a st****, sp***** little bi*** who had as many brain cells as she had teeth. The thought that her actions could make sense never popped into my head. The whole joining Grace and then joining the Vajra thing never really made sense to me. Perhaps a thorough rewatch is in order.

    As for Sheryl, at this point she could really do no wrong at this point, except love a that “princess” named Alto. But I digress. By the way, really appreciate that pic of Sheryl in the hot pants. >;-)

    • It shouldn’t be as nonsensical as that. Ill-advised or ill-fated perhaps, but not ridiculous or implausible — at least to me.

      You need to give Alto a little more credit. I think he’s a pretty understated character despite his initial loudness. Though he is definitely of the Kamille Bidan school, a total throwback:

    • A girl’s look to Kamille’s girly name.
    • Angry all the time.
    • Father issues.
    • Actually likes mecha.
    • Raised in a colony.
    • The ultimate remembering love for Kamille moment I’ll reveal to you in the post for the finale ep.