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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.