Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross (21-24) Crouching Giant, Little White Dragon

SDF Macross Episode 23 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_04.34_[2011.05.18_05.23.30]

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!

SDF Macross Episode 21 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_10.47_[2011.05.18_05.01.52]

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”

SDF Macross Episode 22 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_21.33_[2011.05.18_05.18.56]

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”

SDF Macross Episode 23 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_06.32_[2011.05.18_05.27.57]

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”

SDF Macross Episode 24 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_10.34_[2011.05.18_05.54.48]

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.

SDF Macross Episode 24 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_17.10_[2011.05.18_06.07.07]

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.


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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38 Responses to Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross (21-24) Crouching Giant, Little White Dragon

  1. The arcade match between Max and Millya was fun to watch, each trying to beat the other at very high stakes, the Meltrandi not knowing that she’s the first hardcore gamer from an interstellar race. 🙂

  2. Shinmaru says:

    I fucking love both the Zentradi viewing of Shao Pai Lon (kills me just as much the second time around, and also, the Zentradi have wicked pirating skills to be able to stream the movie in such high quality as it’s playing in the theater) and Max and Millia in the arcade. So awesome. I love the contrast between how seriously Millia takes this (she wants to kill the shit out of Max) and how nonchalant Max is (he just wants to get laid with a game-playing hottie). Hilarious, but kind of sweet at the same time, if only because it is knowingly goofy.

    • the Zentradi have wicked pirating skills to be able to stream the movie in such high quality as it’s playing in the theater)

      Epic. Macross again proves it is way ahead of its time. Unfuckingbelievable.

  3. Reid says:

    I just checked out that link to WeLoveComments and it’s now mission in life to write a comment worthy of going on that page….unfortunately this won’t be the one. I haven’t yet watched SDF Macross up to this point.

    • Don’t force yourself though! But I appreciate all sorts of discussion indeed. More importantly, do yourself a favor and watch Macross, then do me the favor of joining the discussion :3

      • Reid says:

        I’m finishing up Frontier at the moment (I needed to watch the last few episodes and then both movies) and after that I’m going to watch the rest of the first tv series. Frontier has grown on me substantially in my second viewing.

  4. Marigold Ran says:

    Hikaru’s reaction to Max’s announcement is very funny.

    Hikaru: “What? You’re going to marry her after your first date?”
    …Max: “She’s also a Zentraedi pilot.”
    Hikaru: “You can’t do that!”
    …Max: (brings Millya over)
    (Hikaru takes a look at her).
    Hikaru: “Ohhhhhhhhhh.” (Scratches chin). “Heyyyyy. Ignore everything I said earlier. This might work!”

    • Should’ve saved that for the next post, but yeaahhhh!

      I dunno though, Hikaru is the last person anyone should ask about what kind of romantic relationship would work.

  5. WhatSht says:

    Amazing how Max managed to ogle and calculate her bust size while playing the game, thats extreme multi-tasking.

  6. d3v says:

    Goodbye Girl is one of my favorite episodes of the original series. There’s something about it that signals to the viewer that we’re at a point of no return, not just for Hikaru and Misa but for the entire cast. At this point, events have been set in motion that will literally change the course of galactic history.

    • I wonder if it actually happened earlier. I think the point of no return was after the viewing of Little White Dragon. The Zentraedi gave 3 distinct reactions:

      1. WTF

      Shao Pai Long is what set the great events in motion. The events in Goodbye Girl are already the effects of this. Misa’s mission is, for example, prompted by the results of the genetic sampling done unto the defectors.

      • d3v says:

        For me, it’s the fact that Misa is off the ship. It’s a major physical change to the status quo. It’s more the fact that they’ve decided to take a certain course based on the data they got.

  7. megaroad1 says:

    One of my fave bits in episode 24 is when Misa is on her way to Earth in the shuttle and Hikaru wishes her a safe return via a little morse code. That is really the way to melt the heart of a hot commanding officer.

    • Great scene indeed. If you’ve read the Robotech novels by Jack McKinney, it’s quite awesomely written on the page as well — at least if memory serves.

      • At one time there was a huge amount of those novels in one of the National Bookstore branches, but now I’ll never know where they wound up in right now, as they hardly ever got sold.

  8. Faith@ahead says:

    i’ve only heard of macross because my favorite seiyuu and his bestfriend are on it in the new Macross series, and he’s raving about it (esp the old one) all the time. I’ve learned that this was really hype decades ago… What eps are these? from the new one? If so, they’re using old school art? cool! maybe I should finally give time for this series!

    • This is the original SDF Macross, the classic motherlode of the 1980s and from which Frontier get its roots from; there’s a very wide 25-year difference between the two.

  9. Pterobat says:

    I certainly agree that Bodolza and Kamjin are playing the antediluvian role here. It makes me slightly uncomfortable to stumble on other Zentradi fans who side with Kamjin instead….

    Misa’s attraction to Kaifun is certainly a weak point of the story, in part because it’s never explained why he reminds her of Riber, at least not to some satisfaction. He doesn’t look like Riber (despite what the dialogue says), and we don’t have much of a clue to Riber’s personality to really see how well Kaifun matches with it, though there is a vauge similarity.

    IIRC, “White Reminisces” at least tried to add some substance to this by showing, in one of its illustrations, that Riber used to look more similar to Kaifun when he was younger, in terms of dress and hairstyle, but it seems overall weak.

    And yes, watching Max and Milia gravitate towards each other is still like having teeth pulled. Trying to understand it on the level of parody, irony, romance, idealism, etc.–nothing works. I just don’t like it, no matter how much I enjoy what the narrative does with the male Zentradi characters.

    • Your eloquence re anything Macross is a personal treasure I keep on this blog.

      Max and Millya is definitely contrived, no doubt. But bless Kawamori for contriving it! Sure, us kids (I was 7 or 8) knew nothing about love or dating, but Jesus TWO OF THE GREATEST PILOTS IN THE GALAXY ENDING UP TOGETHER? OVER A COIN-OP ARCADE? ZOMGWTFBBQYESSSS!

      • Pterobat says:

        For me it’s not so much contrived as kind of creepy. The male characters understand what they want and pursue it. Milia is swept along by the tides of fate, finding herself in the opposite position from what she pursued, and thus seems to lack agency.

        That kind of reversal is a strong convention in love stories, but this time it doesn’t work for me *at all*.

  10. Xard says:

    The arcade scene is one of my favourite Macross scenes. Max/Milia is hands down my favourite pair from the whole franchise.

    Yet I don’t think the way they were brought together was good at all. It was rushed and choppy (especially choppy in animation, dat knifefight oh god). I’ve always felt like they had to condense 2-3 episodes worth of material to one episode. Though Hikaru’s reaction “well this might work” kind of makes it worth it, as well as everything post-timeskip dealing with the two

    • The crappy, rushed values to me, add to the charm of the whole thing. BUT, I am getting ahead of myself. I’ve yet to rewatch that ep, since I totally missed this weeks viewing. The awesome people at #sccsav postponed 25-28 for next week, and I can’t thank them enough because AAAAW SHIET those eps are the fucking motherlode.

      Also, I’ll address your comment on the Macross Frontier idols in due course. I currently feel quite distant (and not in a good way) from that show so I can’t give your comment a fair response. I’ll get my Frontier groove back and we’ll talk again.

      • Xard says:

        Oh yeah, there’s definetly a lot charm to it. My more critical sensibilities always bemoan at miniscule amount of emotional connection built between two prior to the whole marriage, but on the other hand it fits just how gigantic ham Max is. So how to put it… there’s definetly a lot of charm in how it was handled and nice touch of playful goofyness, but on the other hand the development still feels tad a bit sudden. But I guess this should wait for next week indeed…though ep 27 is naturally going to end up stealing most of the attention then.

        As for some commentary on the episodes actually covered, I also agree about Misa’s Kaifun attraction being the weakest part. I did see a degree of similarity in their looks (unlike some other people here) but it was still straining and a bit implausible development. Luckily it got defused pretty quickly.

        These episodes also remind me of one thing that the series did a lot better than DYRL: namely showing the Zentraedi race in conflict with itself and their gradual change and embrace of culture. Film of course had a lot less time, but in there the shifts felt more sudden as we really didn’t get that much footage of Zentraedi soldiers secretly and finally openly really getting into Minmay’s idol pop etc.

        It’s also somewhat bizarre that Zentraedi’s alien designs in DYRL ended up also getting recognized as canonical in future installments. If they’re genetically identical with humans what’s up with the wonky skin colours etc.?

        Come to think of it, Brtai’s blue skin doesn’t make that much sense in the series either for this same reason.

        I can certainly understand that! So yeah, no problem, I know you made the post long time ago. Take your time 🙂 For me past few months have been in terms of anime little more than Macross hype and MF in particular and I’m still riding on sort of fanboy high, hah… to the point I’ve been unable to watch anything but Macross anime during past month after returning home. 😛

        (I think I’m 100% correct about Aimo issue though as other options are, whether “Doylist” or “Watsonian”, really implausible and don’t make even remotely as much sense. Rest of my comments I’m not that sure about…)

        Well, one final advice you hopefully still remember when time comes: When you finally get your hands on the delicious, delicious piece of lovely goodness that is Sayonara I recommend you rewatch not only Utahime but the series and Macross Zero first too. If this is too much skip MF series and rewatch Utahime and Macross Zero! Kawamori didn’t joke when he recommended rewatching Zero beforehand if one wants to get “into the mood”. 😉

        • Pterobat says:

          “It’s also somewhat bizarre that Zentraedi’s alien designs in DYRL ended up also getting recognized as canonical in future installments. If they’re genetically identical with humans what’s up with the wonky skin colours etc.?”

          I really, really dislike the DYRL designs for largely that reason: at least in the male characters’ case, it turns them from secondary characters to scary alien invaders: even those that are simply bald with elf ears are disgusting to me. Having them look like regular people, by and large, drives the point home better.

          (And don’t even get me started on Exsedol; yikes)

          “Come to think of it, Brtai’s blue skin doesn’t make that much sense in the series either for this same reason.”

          I’ll mildly concede that, but when the rest of Britai’s design and characterization still “works”, the blue skin doesn’t bother me that much. I could still read him as a “human” character, with much more personality than the scowling, ugly DYRL Britai.

          • Xard says:

            Well, I love the DYRL visuals *per se* – I saw DYRL long before I saw SDF Macross tv series and it was seriously hard to me to get used to how normal and thus BORING Zentradis looked like in tv series. And I really like the creepy Exsedol design, really memorable to say the least.

            But yes, it does seem to conflict in-story with the supposed shared genetic heritance. Made all the more bizarre by the fact even in DYRL genetics are identic.

            Personally I’ve tried to fanwank this away by seeing all discrepancies like green skin etc. not as inherent genetic manipulation prior to birth but some specific bioengineering some Zentraedis go through to better perform in their missions (Exsedol definetly counts). But as far as I know there’s no official explanation behind the looks-genes discrepancy and I’d like to have one.

  11. Pterobat says:

    For me it’s more about empathizing with the characters: the SDFM designs are more relatable, bring the Zentradi to a level the audience can understand and sympathize with, once they *become* sympathetic. It moves them beyond the “evil aliens” cliche.

    That, and the TV series Zentradi designs in terms of characters, ships, uniform, and colour scheme just look really, really awesome. 😉

    As for Exsedol, his new design is *also* big ol’ cliche that science fiction design gets more than enough of already: giant-brained alien geniuses are all over the place, so a little man with a goofy face is far more fun because it’s a bit different.

    It’s easy enough to reconcile the genetic simliarity if you really want to, yeah, by attributing the redesigned features to some ancient engineering, but that’s not where my issues are.

    Also, and I did make this mistake earlier, the classic Zentradi designs are still “canon” technically, and get trotted out once in a while. So they’ve not entirely disappeared, but are unfortunately sinking farther and farther away from audience visibility

  12. Pterobat says:

    Damn, that was meant as a reply to Xard. Carry on.

  13. Matt Wells says:

    Damn good set of eps here. Liked how they were able to film a generic Honk Kong Martial Arts flick onboard a Spaceship, and how Britai was able to digitally stream it from the Theatre wiythout any prior knowledge of the premire. I liked the spread of Zentradi culture across Britai’s fleet, and the earlier depiction of the Lolicon’s as almost Culture Junkies, hoarding their trinkets like Fridges and life-sized Minmay posters, and getting their fellow soldiers “hooked” on this Protoculture dross. Also loved Misa and Hikaru’s heart to heart chat, really touching stuff.

    The early Zentradi encounters with culture does seem somewhat superficially similar to drug abuse, fitting given the future impact of Minmay monoculture had on Zentradi with the end of Space War 1. It also puts me in mind of the percieved infectious spread of Western vlaues and culture that spread across Japan in the wake of WW2, with Bodolle and Kamjin’s reactions being a rough fit for the view of Imperialists and traditionalists.

    22 had the glorious sight of Kaifun’s douchey skull getting smacked by a Stagelight, which by all rights should have shattered his skull. Its one thing to demonstrate Japan’s creepy tendency to Big Brother complexes, but to have the guy himself actively follow those feelings and reciprocate them…that is hella’fuckin’ creepy. I’m surprised that only Hikaru and Misa walked out of the theatre, there should have been a chorus of “Dude, she’s your COUSIN!!!” I also liked how Milia sat just a metre away from Max without either of the two noticing the other. Star-Crossed lovers indeed.

    (Great touch I just noticed: Britai’s command deck still has a shattered comm screen and bubble structure from Max’s escape attempt. If its not related to war or maintaining their combat capabilities, the Zentradi are incapable of even fising a glass screen. All they do is stick a patchwork screen on there so they can communicate with Zer. They have a fleet with the power to obliterate entire galaxies, yet fixing a glass structure is beyond their capabilites. No wonder they fear the power of the Protoculture.)

    23 had the great debate between the Macross High Command and our heroes on whether to keep the Zentradi defectors. Shame the only Officer there with any development is Global, Colonel Maistrov looks and sounds like he’s strolled in from an entirely differnt series. We see where the Macross tradition of concerts held in the middle of battles brings peace originates, no matter how momentary the effects. Kaifun/Riber continues to be the weak link in the otherwise solid love triangle, and the gradual integration of Zentradi into Human culture begins.

    Misa’s powerful assertation that the Grand Cannon is little more than a Child’s Toy before the 5 million strong Zentradi fleet is let down only by the fact that 3 episodes later it WORKS, and to devestating effect. Macross isn’t that far removed from Gundam Super Weapons, it just relegates them to the Battleships (which is admittedly more forgiveable).

    Episode 24 was excellent, exciting space battle first act, important relationship and plot development in the second. Super Valkyrie arrives and fulfils the Ace Custom trope of Real Robots. Hikaru does the most romantic thing he’s ever concieved of, for a woman he’s still unable to admit he loves. Morse code is how military men say “I Love You”, it seems. Minmay begins to get second thoughts about the whole “Fucking My Cousin thing”, while classily relegating Hikaru once more to the Friend Zone. Oh Minmay Minmay Minmay…

    Claudia does the sensible thing and pushes are two emotionally retarded leads together. Shammy makes a pig’s ear out of Misa’s job, and is adorably moe whilst doing so. Milia shows us how she’s been able to survive on the Macross (Daigo level araced skills), and I realise someone on the G Gundam production staff was a big Macross fan (Domon and Allenby meeting in a gaming arcade, breaking the arcade machine with their Kung Fu superpowers).

    Max beats his blushing bride/would be assasin for a second time, and spends half of it kicking her virtual ass, the other half ogling her groodies. Stone Cold PIMP, that fellow. I am now convinced that in a straight up fight, in the cockpit or out of it, Max could take Char. I have a new standard for Real Robot Badassery and his name is Max Jenius.

    • H4xx0rz aside, there is no one who can touch Max in a VF in real robot anime… Brera Sterne who is H4XX0RZZZZ in what to me is the most fearsome real robot ever: the VF-27 Lucifer… maybe. But Space War era Max will make Regulds out of Mobile Suits. Char has no chance in hell. He’s going to try to rush Max swinging his Sazabi’s beam sabers? Please. Funnels won’t mean much because Max is used to shooting down dozens of Regulds shooting from different vectors and firing at him with multiple beam cannons in space.

      And if you’re going to take the fight in the atmosphere… poor poor Mobile Suit… weighed down by the Earth’s gravity with next to zero aerodynamic ability. Char and his Sazabi is toast. Anything less than a Sazabi is a stupid joke.

      As some posters mention above, some of the Zentraedi here exemplified by the Lolicon trio are analogous to anime and/or idol otaku who were becoming a phenomenon just as anime and idols begin their ascent to the peaks of their popularity in the ’80s.

      Zentraedi have no ability to repair, which is a far-fetched conceit; but the show stuck with it admirably I feel.

      UN Spacy military types do get the short end of the stick characterization wise, which is unfortunate, but the show is interested in other things… like Max and Millya’s mating dance. Best stuff in robot anime. I dare you to come up with anything cooler and more awesome.

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