There are still many things from Macross Frontier: The False Songstress that I want to explore after writing the previous post and the hideously titled essay, a SoundDiamond Force production on T. H. A. T. Anime Blog, which covered meta subjects as well as generalities regarding the movie. I take the opportunity here to explore one of the finer details in the film.
Ranka and Alto have little in common at the beginning of Macross Frontier: The False Songstress, and this starting point isn’t too rich a mine to delve into. However, after the initial introductions, the first Vajra attack, and the date with Sheryl, both characters apply themselves to the things they aspire to become: Alto a fighter pilot for the SMS, and Ranka a pop idol.
The work they both put in is presented as something we should care about, and to a degree we do, because they are presented as a path filled with early humiliations, even if they inexorably lead to later success. Furthermore, they are presented with a view to entertain, and do so humorously.
This is achieved by showing a musical montage of the different activities they undertake: Alto going through the paces of soldier training, Ranka paying her dues doing odd promotional jobs.
Alto does his boot camp sequence: Judo (Canaria pwns him), firearms (Ozma kicks his ass), and combat simulator (Michel hacks the difficulty settings). Alto is never shown to succeed in any way, in between Ranka’s forays in entertainment obscurity.
Ranka does the Skip Beat! route minus the burning passion for revenge and minus a top-notch talent management agency. This gets her odd jobs selling Starlight Natto and 7-Color Carrots, then being an idol at a construction site (LOL she’s dumb enough not to get why she’s made to wear a bikini), then doing a promo for Macross PlaMo in Deep Akiba, Super Dimension Chinese Restaurant Nyan Nyan CM (of course), A daruma craft seminar (WTF), and finally a limited release CM for a convenience store.
As Executive Otaku noted, this was an exceptional scene. I’ll go further. The scene is where the their parallel trajectories meet. Even during the TV series the love dimension of this side of the triangle is one-sided from Ranka, so it’s been her despite her own busy schedule who’s been messaging Alto. She makes a show of moping as Alto, Michel, and Luca go out into the street. I think it’s noteworthy that Alto still has to be told that he had better follow Ranka and make it up to her.
That said, this isn’t to say that he’s the same with Sheryl. Alto’s the kind of person oblivious to his own beauty as well as being disinterested in girls, as well as being retarded about love. When he does a show of denying anything going on between him and Sheryl, he’s actually more concerned how Ranka (or anyone else) may get the wrong idea. As far as he’s concerned nothing is going on with anyone.
Ranka makes her way inside the convenience store, which seems like an odd plays to get away to when you’re supposedly evading a bishonen princess. But it’s a trap, and this was her way to share with Alto any of the work she’s done. Without Nanase (who doesn’t exist in this film), Alto is her only friend. It’s an endearing little moment, wonderfully presented with the points of view we get to view the scene from, the timing of the sequences, and the performance of the actors. And as soon as we think any progress can happen in this side of the triangle,
SHERYL, appears on the LCD, announcing her ‘Revenge’ concert.
MACROSS CHEESE, is the best cheese. No wait, this is pretty much the modus operandi of Macross Frontier, though slightly different from how the TV series does it:
Instead, it does set romance in motion but whenever momentum does build up it resents the triangle in romantic tension. The cost of which is that Alto becomes passive. He doesn’t get to act like a teenage boy who actually wants to have sex with women (Michel). But since it’s the girls putting the moves on him, Alto has to have some intense preoccupation with something else that prevents him from seeing something galactically significant:
The two hottest females in the colony are throwing themselves at him.
Without these conceits for Alto, the triangle will be resolved immediately. He’ll pick one, or reject both, but definitely after doing at least one of them. My money’s on the Galactic Fairy.