Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross (13-16) Unwelcome Home

SDF Macross Episode 13 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_10.47_[2011.05.04_06.02.22]

There is an interesting set of parallels that takes place in these episodes. The episodes themselves give both a feel of winding down (a set of stories) and setting up the next big events. The parallels we see consist of the following:

  • The Macross lands on Earth.
  • Minmay visits home to meet her parents.
  • Misa reports to Alaska Base and meets her father (Commodore Global delivers his report to his superiors)
  • The Zentraedi spies discover human society and customs.

The results of these stories will have parallels as well:

  • The Macross is prohibited from sending its noncombatant refugees home.
  • Minmay’s parents prohibit her from going back to the Macross; she disobeys.
  • Misa’s dad requests that she remains on Alaska Base; she declines.
  • The Zentraedi spies’s attitude switches from being repelled and afraid to fascinated.

These events all played out in the following episodes, 13 “Blue Wind” 14, “Global Report,” 15 “Chinatown,” and 16 “Kung-fu Dandy.” Global Report is really a clip show wherein Global gives his report to his superiors in Alaska Base.

SDF Macross Episode 15 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_13.12_[2011.05.04_06.04.24]

 Binary 1: The Macross “comes home”/Macross cannot disembark its noncombatant population

This is consistent with the Homeric Odyssey the narrative uses. After many challenges and a journey across the span of the Solar System, the passengers return to a place they can no longer call home. When the Macross folded to Pluto, there was no explanation available for the public, so the United Nations declared all the people on South Ataria Island (or at least those in Macross City) dead.

They cannot retract their statement, partly due to their inability to verify the testimony of Global: that the Macross is being pursued by an alien race of giants with uncountable ships. Even if they took this report on faith, it would cause great panic and disorder and divert their energies from developing their countermeasures.

To me this is the logic of the prohibition. Of course, the 55,000 citizens (maybe take a few dozens out due to battle/transformation casualties) do not accept this decision. They arrive on Earth with a remarkable story to tell, and now they can’t even tell that story to anyone because they’re not supposed to even exist anymore. Except…

Binaries 2 & 3: Heroines get to meet their parents/Heroines are prohibited from rejoining the Macross

SDF Macross Episode 15 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_16.59_[2011.05.04_06.05.09]

Minmay was given the privilege of visiting her folks using the aircraft she won as a prize for Miss Macross. I find it strange that the aircraft was permitted to travel to Japan in light of the UN Policy to quarantine the Macross Citizens. Unless, the UN just realized that the civilian population of Macross City is largely intact only after Global gives his report. I can’t remember if he’s given any indication of the refugees the Macross is carrying prior to giving the report, but in any case I think that the UN would highly regulate the comings and goings to and from the Macross.

In any case Minmay and Misa are prohibited from rejoining. The parental point of view here is that they have already survived great risks – there is no point in risking anything further again. There a few interesting things here: First, Misa’s choice has largely to do with both duty, and loyalty to Global. The other part has to do with her disillusionment with the lack of wisdom and good sense among the military high command. That, and her father who used to be Global’s direct commanding officer. Global’s loss of faith in him affected Misa as well. Let’s return to Misa later.

Minmay returns to Yokohama’s Chinatown to visit her parents. As far as they’re concerned she’s returned from death and shouldn’t go anywhere. But Minmay, and the few people invested in her fortunes, are the only ones who stand to lose anything if Macross City dissolves and people go home. Minmay wants to go back to her career on the Macross, fully oblivious of the following:

  • The citizens of Macross City don’t really want to be there.
  • She’s a consolation prize of some sort, a  way to pass the (war) time.
  • The citizens were fully expecting to disembark and pack up (there wasn’t going to be a Macross City to have her career in).
  • For her to have success in Macross City means the city must continue to exist in a battle ship pursued by alien enemies, and therefore incur unnecessary risk.

The selfishness and utter lack of sense in Minmay is in full fettle now. This is exacerbated by the appearance of her cousin, Lynn Kaifun who will now join her on the Macross as a reassurance for her parents (he will be the wiser older guardian), and to rejoin his own parents who’ve been taking care of Minmay. Her public and obvious infatuation for Kaifun onii-chan (little sister fetishism is alive and well in 1982) is not only completely insensitive to Hikaru, but also towards the Military that he actively disrespects (while she works for in the recruitment campaign).

Let’s go back to Misa, whose motivations for returning to the Macross is contrastingly wise, responsible, and courageous as opposed to foolish, selfish, and insensitive. Narrative wise, Hikaru’s being boxed-out of the Mimnay complex and pushed into a romance with Misa, particularly when they are both insulted by Kaifun, providing a context of empathy and a return to a similar, if only symbolic foxhole. Us viewers are now confronted with the idea, more strongly than ever, that Hikaru will probably do better to end up with Misa.

SDF Macross Episode 15 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_05.30_[2011.05.04_06.04.02]

I just figured that there isn’t enough Roy x Claudia in this blogging series.

The final binary doesn’t really quite work as one, but yeah, the Zentrans live it up in Macross City.

SDF Macross Episode 13 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_11.07_[2011.05.04_06.01.41]

It can be said, that the Zentraedi spies are making preparations to make a home for themselves in Miclone society. Yes, they’re fishes out of the water but it’s obvious that they’re becoming more and more fascinated vs. afraid of human behavior and customs. They’ve accepted the neighborly generosity of a small restaurant owner. They got to drink it up with free booze in the Earth Landing party. The more they consume human culture, the more they want it.

It does say a couple of things. It’s one thing to have a pacifist message by portraying war as hell (Mobile Suit Gundam), but it’s another thing to provide a stunningly stark contrast of the alternative to war, by using the Zentraedi as a caricature of a fully military culture and their contact with civilian and peace-time activities. Yes, it’s a caricature akin to political cartoons in the editorial pages of newspapers and magazines. It’s a versatility in Macross that I truly appreciate and commend it for.

SDF Macross Episode 16 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_07.20_[2011.05.04_06.05.55]

Of course, this caricature isn’t the only thing Macross is saying. It doesn’t quite reduce things to this simplistic binary. But for now it provides a parallel to Kaifun’s moralizing pacifism. It is an aggressive and violent kind of pacifism that sharply contrasts with the growing desire for non-combat activities that the Zentradi are finding in themselves aboard the Macross.

Bottom line is that the Macross must exist as a battleship carrying a city in its belly. Earth is proving to be an inhospitable home due to the humans in it. The citizens are upset, the Macross command maybe growing the seeds of mutiny in their hearts, and Minmay is going to make a movie. Meanwhile Hikaru gets shot down by an almost botched Daedalus Attack because Misa was failing hard by being emo during battle.

SDF Macross Episode 16 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_21.36_[2011.05.04_06.07.00]

Parting shot: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCKING THINK ABOUT NOT FIGHTING WHILE YOU’RE FIGHTING. GUNDAM YOU’VE BEEN PUT ON NOTICE SINCE 1982.

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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20 Responses to Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross (13-16) Unwelcome Home

  1. Marigold Ran says:

    Min-mei’s decision IS correct. But just as importantly, her reasoning is fine. On the Macross, she’s something. Outside, she’s nothing. Given the alternatives, I’d say a lot of girls would make her decision.

    • It is correct only in hindsight due to what happened later. Her reasoning didn’t even factor the notion that by the time she got back to the Macross, the entire city is packed and ready to disembark and disperse… here pageant win all but forgotten. I won’t even go into the moral dimension.

      A lot of girls would make her decision… doesn’t say much (or rather, speaks volumes) about the ability of these girls to make decisions.

  2. Marigold Ran says:

    Sorry for the double post, but Macross is one of the shows that demonstrate, in stark light, the dangers of childhood crushes.

  3. WhatSht says:

    “All war ever leads to is destruction”
    Lyn Kaifun, SDF Macross.
    NO NO NO, war doesn’t really lead to destruction, and why do you think the soldiers want to fight? they are fighting to protect people since negotiations failed, what an idiot, i want him to be kidnapped and raped.

    “the Macross must exist as a battleship carrying a city in its belly”
    Yes, thats the hard truth but its still good, all the best technologies ARE ON THE MACROSS, but abandoning the Macross, you are abandoning all technologies you put on the Macross, and what if people found out the truth? the U.N government gets heavy riots. .
    Actually, if i were Commandore Global, i would have sent messages to all humans on Earth that we are not dead and are gonna rebell, the humans on Earth would probably join in since the Macross, is the symbol of the U.N government, if the symbol rebels, what is the government doing?
    On a side note, Minmay has zombie skin tones during some scenes.

  4. Pterobat says:

    In trying to find a “zen” of writing that works for me, I’m frequently inclined to remind myself to have the main characters take risks, do things that other, less important characters, recommend as unsafe and unsound, that even the author knows are unsafe and unsound. Minmay is a good example here: her parents assuradely have a point, but without Minmay taking that risk, we have no plot.

    Like most Macross fans, I loathe Kaifun a great deal, mostly because his thick-headed sanctimony makes a hash out of a few perfectly good values, or otherwise he just says completely stupid things. His appalling treatment of Minmay in later episodes also brings him down.

    I do maintain that Minmay is not being deliberately insensitive to Hikaru, just that their relationship has poor communication. To oversimplify a great deal, Hikaru thought he was in the running to be her boyfriend, Minmay didn’t think he was, and neither bothered to talk about it. I can’t really put the onus for this lack of communication on one memeber of the couple only–both are at fault, and thus is the way of the love triangle.

    A good thing about the Zentradi, IMO, is that they function just as well on the level of character as caricature. There’s many lulz to be had with Warera, Rori, and Konda in these episodes, but it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for them. The dead-end nature of Zentradi life is lurking as a definite subtext in these scenes, which lends these scenes an extra richness and might, in a dark way, make them even more funny. In short it feels like real characters, rather than a cliche, when we dwell on these fish-out-of-water aliens.

    That is despite the fact that, through the entire SDFM run, Warera, Rori, and Konda never really develop much in the way of distinct personalities from each other. They display a lot of different roles and traits depending on the scene, but nothing ever emerges consistently. It’s more of a funny kind of singular characterization that somehow manages to keep strong, and it’s a trait that any parody or homage to these types of Zentradi characters are sorely lacking.

    • A big part of what I like about Macross, is that it’s unafraid to show Minmay as a whiny, self-absorbed ninny. They do this in the springtime of the idol phenomenon in Japan, wherein these girls are presented as immaculate beings of innocent perfection. The absurdity of an animated show with robots and a love triangle speaking hard truths is super duper delicious to me.

      Yes, such is the way of the love triangle. But surely, she was leading him on. She may not think much of it (not like she was plotting or scheming), but rather she was lazy and irresponsible and let things go this way. After all, she benefits from his attentions.

      I’m with you re the Zentraedi, though I may not share the disappointment you have for their later portrayals.

  5. megaroad1 says:

    Misa’s and Global’s report to their superiors was my first encounter with the classic anime trope, “the high command are always a bunch of insensitive, old fools”. While in Macross I think it is handled superbly, I can think of may other anime were that just isn’t the case.

    I like how you contrast Kaifun’s militant uber-pacifism with how the three Zentraedi find civilian life so appealing. In a way, the latter drives the point much more clearly than Kaifun’s endless and aggressive lecturing ever would.

    • Evangelion did the trope well, and with even more subtlety IIRC.

      NEVER GONNA STOP HATING ON KAIFUN.

      • Matt Wells says:

        I’ve haven’t even watched the series yet, and the hatred for Kaifun is legendary. I read somewhere that Kawamori confirmed that by the time of Macross 7, he’s STILL an oppertunistic douchebag, manager of AMERICAN Fire Bomber. He claims the original FB is the cheap rip-off/copy of his. Sweet CHRIST, what an asshole.

      • megaroad1 says:

        I think that despite the Katz Kobayashi’s of the world, after having watched over 200 anime Kaifun is still the character that manages to irritate me the most.

        Which just shows that the screenwriters did a really good job.

        • Katz is a different kind of annoying. You seriously question why such a character needs to be part of the Zeta Gundam narrative (or any narrative for that matter). Is he a foil for the evolving/maturing/coming of age lead pilot? Maybe. But still, the Gundam franchise would not lose much if it did away with the Katz Kobayahis, Hathaway Noas, and Saji Crossroads.

          Kaifun not only works as a foil for Hikaru AND Minmay, but presents a parallel set of values that reveals itself as more anti-military than it is pro-peace. It isn’t as humanistic as it seems. Kaifun is interesting while the likes of Katz aren’t.

  6. Anya says:

    KAIFUN THAT BASTARDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
    And I overslept past the latest viewing again ;_;

  7. Matt Wells says:

    THe quality keeps up with this set of eps, and I enjoy every minute of it. Global Report is a watchable clip show, I like how the two episodes in the series covers the recap obligation: Global’s military report that fills us in on the advances and the discoveries the Macross crew has made, and of the losses they’ve suffered. Puts into context the conflict and odds they are facing. The later episode with Hikaru fills us in on the personal backround of the show, the “Great Romance” which is the forefront to the earlier “Great Battles”. Nice divide between the franchise’s central dichotomy.

    The continued feeling I get from the Hikaru/Minmay relationship is just how wrong and illconcieved it is. Even in the earlier episodes they were constantly kept apart by Hikaru’s duties and responsibilities as a pilot, contrasted with Minmay’s carefree and self-centered lifestyle. With the actual commitment of Idol Status in her life, they’re more at odds and seperate than ever. The developing stormclouds with Kaifun only highlight this. Hikaru THINKS he wants Minmay, what he NEEDS is a woman who can relate to his growing struggles in the military, one with a similar dedication to duty. Misa in a nutshell.

    Claudia and Roy’s romance deserves more screentime, a shame given what’s coming. I didn’t consider the impact of Misa’s Father on Global, but its quite a shock to go from tales of a man who attacked an allied base so his men would be fed to a hypocritical Beureaucrat who’ll chastise his daughter for a lack of professionalism, only to confess he wants her safe and off the ship. I punched the air when she tore up his letter, that gal has principles. In such a brief time, Global and Misa have already become a surrogate daughter and father to the other. Its quite sweet really.

    And given the UN Spacy’s treatment of the Macross, I have to note the seeming ubiquity of this supposedly heroic organisation. When you consider the power struggle of the oft-mentioned unification wars, where the UNS came out on top, you begin to look at them more and more like the Federation in Gundam, corrupt assholes, but with better publicity than their universal century counterparts. The UNS seems to be the worm lurking in the apple core of this bright future the series is building up to, so tell me; do future Macross series build on this? Plus had some dodgy internal deals RE Sharon Apple AI tech, do similar instances of corruption crop up in Zero and Frontier?

    Kaifun strikes me as a commentary on the all too frequent obnoxious pacifist in any given real robot series, if this were Gundam he’d probably be the pilot of the latest Super Prototype. “War is MURDER, you babykilling psychos! I will yell this at you while I massacre you with my hoplessly advanced death machine!” Given the period the creators where in college at Japan, he could be a reference to the various pressure and political groups that were in vogue in the and 70’s, but that’s a wild guess. As you mention in the paralell between both female leads, he too is a hypocrite. He has a problem with Hikaru and Misa being soldiers, but not with the fact that Minmay pushed him into it, and that she’s on the recruiting posters.

    As you and others mention, the Lolicon Three are a far more effective and subtle alternative to the utterly obnoxious Kung Fu Dandy. Their wacky hijinks had an odd ring of sincerity to them, funny though they were. Last thoughts: I’m a teensy bit disapointed with the lack of Destroids, mecha variety is usually part and parcel of any Real Robot show. But given the dimensions of space combat, its understandable how limited they are compared to the Valkyries. Providing supporting fire for the ship and taking part in Daedalus Attacks is all they can muster, in a war without a battlefield to walk on.

    And the whole thing with Kaifun looking like Riber was a REAL stretch, suspending belief a bit too much. It was over in an episode thankfuly so there’s that. And whether its saying he never realised he was a Genius, or saying oops for hitting a riot in the face (by accident no less), MAX IS SO FUCKING MOE. Gar and Jawsome, but still moe. I swear, I expected him to start Nyan Nyan-ing shit out there. Male Moe. In 1982. The mind boggles. This show was so far ahead of the curve it took the industry 20 years to catch up.

    • A lot of good points here.

      I particularly enjoy how you frame the love triangle from Hikaru’s needs and perceptions:

      He thinks he wants Minmay (and there is indeed some inertia here), while his needs are met more (at least hypothetically) by Misa.

      Also good is your observation on how the surrogate parent-child relationship is thrust at Global and Misa. Not much is further made from this, but this is no tragedy.

      As for UN SPACY being like the Earth Federation… I think that’s a fair enough comparison. That kind of thing is further explored in Robotech in the Southern Cross arc, wherein the Earth Government pretty much takes the TITANS route but then are invaded by the Robotech Masters, heh. As for Macross, you get UN SPACY douchebaggery in the unaired episode of Macross 7… also an episode I consider as possibly the greatest in all the franchise: The Fleet of the Strongest Women.

      Macross did a great job with Kaifun by precisely not putting him in a robot. Macross Frontier also did well with Brera Sterne (voiced by Kira Yamato’s VA no less) who played the Kaifun role by not making him a raving pacifist (and putting him in the nastiest VF, and therefore real robot in all anime).

      Destroids pwning Regulds in space don’t make sense. Wait for the Earth-based episodes later on.

      Riber as Kaifun…ugh. Max… you’ll get more of Max soon enough, and it’ll be awesome.

      • Matt Wells says:

        Something we can all agree on: Real Robot series need less pacifists. Every Gundam lead since Wing, take note. Peacemakers and Diplomats have a much bigger impact in ending wars, NOT ENTITLED DOUCHEBAGS SCREAMING IDEOLOGY DEBATES AND SLOGANS AT MILITARY OFFICERS. Save that shit for peacetime. There’s sticking to moral principles, and there’s opposing an alien armada with the capacity to wipe humanity offf the face of the universe.

        I just really wish they could reconfigure Destroids for Space Combat, it seems a waste to introduce them and just stick to Valkyries the whole time. But as you say, Destroids were built for land combat, not dogfights.

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