Misa goes back to Earth, while Minmay goes deeper into the Kaifun Dimension. Thankfully, this storyline isn’t what makes this arc a great watch. More Zentraedi are now struck with Macross pop culture-fever and they have Minmay in the head. Kamujin rages while Bodolle Zer is concerned. Laplamiz, Britai, and Exsedol are caught by surprise, while Millya begins to win by continuing to fail at everything she’s trying to do.
So much Zentraedi agency is a wonderful thing. It’s one of the things that make Macross just a little more than what Kawamori says what it is: “A love story set against the backdrop of great battles.” Not that I trust such sandbagging false modesty. Bah, the author is dead. Long live Macross!
Episode 21 “Micro Cosmos”
I personally think that this is the comedic high point of the show. There will be other moments that may perhaps induce bigger laughs, but the sight of Britai and Exsedol reacting to the Shao Pai Long film that really, really brings the show to lulzville.
I’m certain that the humor is intentional, in that Lynn Kaifun’s Chinese Kung-fu master movie persona shot an energy bolt from his fingertips to strike down a giant. It is uncertain how much of the general populace know that they are fighting against a race of alien giants, but this is a superb touch.
Bodolle Zer’s reaction however, isn’t as funny. It is however just as important as it pushes the urgency forward, as the Zentraedi and Miclone “races” now come into multiple areas of conflict. This is best exemplified I argue, by Millya.
Now it’s quite obvious that there are more overt examples of Zentraedi being attracted to the Miclone way of life – the 3 spies and their followers being such. This is, however an attraction towards the opposite. Warlike attracted by leisure-like, recreation-like. Millya is attracted by similarity. Admittedly, she came to the Macross to fight her rival, but we see this romance angle light years away.
This is the Zentraedi race conflicted with itself. It makes them less the antagonist race, but rather a fellow set of protagonists in the story. We’ll see when they stop being a bunch of characters that ‘things get done unto them’ and begin to be the kind who makes choices for themselves.
In other matters, the more I think about it, the more I believe that Misa’s attraction to Kaifun/ghost of Karl Riber is one of the weakest parts of the whole thing.
Episode 22 “Love Concert”
The tradition begins: concert = FIGHTING. Again, Kamujin serves as the plot swiss-army knife. If the Zentraedi are beginning to become protagonists, Kamujin has to play the part of the absolute villain. He and Bodolle Zer are static characters who merely want to keep the Zentraedi the way they are: Bodolle Zer enjoys conquering (maybe), Kamujin just loves violence.
Thus it is Kamujin first who deals with the conflict within the Zentraedi ranks (they’re excited to see Minmay), and it’s Bodolle Zer who reflects on this in his bigger scale. It’s been established how little Kamujin actually cares for his soldiers’ lives, so it’s no surprise how casually he shoots down the ‘defectors.’
The scene sells the point, but I don’t think it’s very well done. It showed the Zentraedi to be incompetent in the field and not a menacing horde of giants. The Zentraedi, outside of Kamujin, Britai, Bodolle Zer, Laplamiz and Millya, are pretty much something out of Beetle Bailey than they are from Band of Brothers.
Also notable in this episode is Hikaru’s rampage resulting in his largest killing-spree to date. Clearly, Kaifun is bad news for the Zentraedi (and everyone else). The thing is, Hikaru’s Battloid rampage was so spectacular that Max had to be featured in his usual significant way, so much so that Millya would be able to positively ID him (at least his Battloid).
Episode 23 “Drop-out”
The findings surprise no one: Zentraedi and Humans are genetically identical. I mean, they don’t surprise me. The Zentraedi have been portrayed to be culturally retarded humans thus far, and to make them non-human would be antithetical to any further attempts to a non-hegemonic peace… unless the whole point is to impose a Human Cultural Hegemony onto the Galaxy (I suppose it does happen… with Minmay at its center). In any case, a genetically inferior race will not be treated well. Their cultural differences will be treated as self-evident results of genetic inferiority. They may not even be treated as ‘fit’ to receive Human Culture.
Thus it is important in the narrative that the Zentraedi are genetically identical with humans. This is Misa’s mission to the UN SPACY Command, whose ideas of negotiating from a position of power, while sound, is founded on the stupidity of one energy weapon being able to level the fighting potential of the Zentraedi. Misa’s dad thinks he’s in a Gundam show from the future.
Episode 24 “Goodbye Girl”
As Misa leaves for Earth, and Minmay becomes further involved in the Kaifun dimension, something else has to happen love story wise. The perfect counterpoint to the complicated histrionics of the Misa x Hikaru x Minmay triangle is the very straightforward Max s Millya romance.
The conceit is: Millya wants to kill him (what are men good for anyway?), while Max who knows NOTHING about her, thinks she’s hot. While they duel in the video game arcade Millya is fighting for her life, with everything at stake, while Max is ogling her tits. This is amazing stuff.
For many YEARS since childhood I’ve daydreamt of cleaning out an arcade of money (making a living out of gaming LOL) just like Millya, and then meeting cute with some hot gamer (who I soundly beat) just like Max. Do not underestimate the power and charm of this scene. It’s humorously romantic, perfectly contrasting with the oftentimes facepalm-worthy histrionics of the main triangle.
Next episode: THE DATE IN THE PARK! YOU CAN’T EFFING MISS THIS!