The Race For Fail: Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross Eps 29-32

SDF Macross Episode 32 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_21.43_[2011.06.26_08.29.57]

The show is deservedly praised for being one of the few narratives to boldly depict a post-war story where the war actually happened in the beginning of the narrative. But why? What’s really inside these episodes that extended this series beyond Misa and Hikaru dashing towards the Macross and the sunset?

What’s here is an extended account of failure from almost all sectors of the show: from the inability of the Zentraedi to integrate with human civilian life, from the arrogance of the humans in that they can just colonize the ‘cultureless’ Zentraedi with their Minmay mono-culture, from the opportunistic capitalist privateering of Kaifun in commodifying Minmay’s cultural cachet, from the discovery by the Zentraedi that they are but Satan’s Dolls – a genetically manufactured military sub-species of the Protoculture, from the slow decay and dissipation of both Zentraedi and human war potential (material resources), to…

…Kaifun putting an entire city at risk for petty ‘emancipation politics’ that he ultimately says “have nothing to do with us [Minmay],” to Kamujin using human-style hostage terrorist tactics (and being utterly fail at facing countermeasures), to Minmay’s inability to affect Kamujin and Lap’lamiz with ‘culture shock,’ to Minmay’s rapidly dissolving ability and motivation as a performer, to Kaifun’s response to Misa’s successful rescue operation, to Misa being a complete doormat for Hikaru and still unable to take charge of her own feelings, and to Hikaru OH MY GOD being an utter insensitive douchebag towards Misa.

I love it… all of it.

SDF Macross Episode 32 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_22.10_[2011.06.26_08.30.32]

Why? So much for ‘happily ever after’ bitches. Sure, SDF Macross is a flighty fantasy, but it really does indulge a whole lot of darkness and grimness in this stretch. True to form, against the backdrop of societal, galactic, and interracial/species conflict, it is the failures of human maturity that take the forefront in the story. We always knew that Misa was kind of fail – given her lack of personal strength and conviction involving Karl Riber mysteriously conflated with Lynn Kaifun, but here her wishy-washiness over Hikaru subjected us all to seeing her play victim to his moronic selfishness.

We’ve seen Hikaru fall from sympathetic victim of Minmay’s self-centeredness and utter lack of sense, to this incredible douchebag who clearly isn’t over Minmay and then takes Misa for granted in such a rude, insensitive, and annoyingly callous manner. This I believe has greatly shifted the matrix of heroism in some significant way: We now have Misa as the suffering heroine (formerly held by Hikaru), while Hikaru becomes the misguided hero that is both object of love and antagonist to Misa. The ominous thing is: HIS WORST HAS YET TO COME.

Minmay also is subjected to a fall. Her career is a mess. Her relationship with Kaifun is sick. She waffles between motivations for performing, and only now acknowledges her own feelings for Hikaru. I don’t buy it that she’s never had feelings for him up until now. She’s just never valued them as much as she does now. But she’s already this trainwreck, who surprisingly hasn’t turned to substance abuse the same way Kaifun has begun to. But then again, she’s being played up to be sympathetic by the story. This is the set up for the leveling of the love triangle just before the finale resolves it.

SDF Macross Episode 32 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_15.35_[2011.06.26_07.10.27]

Outside the triangle, some interesting things have happened too:

A joint operation headed by Britai to secure the Zentraedi factory satellite is an utter joy to watch. Britai is, I believe, a far more capable combat commander than Global is. I feel that the very best of the Macross’ crew were put to incredible use by the able Britai. I can watch an entire series of him commanding a ship.

The Jenius family is genius: the show does not hold back with the slices of life after the great space war. Marriage and child-rearing suits both Max and Millya. Millya’s fish out of the water tactlessness is an endearing counterpoint to the cartoon-villain awkwardness of Lap’lamiz appropriating/making ‘culture’ with Kamujin, who she supposedly manipulates. Two things stand out in Millya as mother: the baby-toss across the room to Misa, then bringing her daughter Komillya not only in the front lines, but straight into a room full of hostile Zentraedi. Mind you she can’t pilot her VF while she’s holding up her daughter for everyone to see. Batshit insane, and awesomely so. Again, Max presents this solid togetherness as the counterpoint to Hikaru and his liquid mess of a loverboy in a love triangle.

SDF Macross Episode 32 Remastered [Galaxy Network].mkv_snapshot_19.35_[2011.06.26_07.14.37]

The fail doesn’t quite end in this arc, as the show continues to present how much further the societies are from creating a peaceful civilization, as the show continues to present the romantic heroes persist in their triangular deadlock not because of the force of their characters but due entirely to their failures as human beings.

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33 Responses to The Race For Fail: Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross Eps 29-32

  1. Picture #2: LOL! a scene so damn awkward for her.
    Picture #3: “Wanna light?” That pic reminds me much of post-WWII Germany.

    • The image with the battloid lighting up a ginormous cigarette is from after that same Zentraedi soldier put on a fake rescue call for Kamujin. Kamujin thinks he has a grasp of human dirty tricks, but he is far too naive and inexperienced that such a counter-ploy would work on him like a charm. That smoke was well-deserved.

  2. megaroad1 says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your opening statement. Without wanting to go too deep into international politics, this arc does seem to be very relevant today, when we witness that “wars” that are formally over (at least when it comes to major combat operations), actually drag on as low intensity affairs, and the issues of rebuilding infrastructure and bringing warring factions together, are actually more of a challenge in the long run for the parties involced. SDFM depicts this frustration very well.

    Millya showing her baby to the uncultured Zentraedi is definitely one of the highlights of the show for me. While not as perhaps not as instantly memorable as Minmay’s singing or the Hikaru/Misa kiss before Breetai, it does have an element of natural primordialness to it that stands out. The Zentraedi have no knowledge of the true nature of reproduction, being all clones. The revelation of how this process works (and actually seeing the tiny baby) just drives them insane.

    I remember reading once that Breetai actually goes on to command the U.N Spacy at one point (someone please correct me if I’m mistaken). He’s a great battlefield commander no doubt. But the responsibilities that were ushered onto Global (nearly all of them unwillingly), cannot be underestimated when assessing his record. Being the principal protector of first Macross City and then the entire human race is no small matter. But you’re maybe right in claiming that for actual combat, Breetai could be more capable (he’s more badass for sure!). In any case, I think that by the end of the series, Misa is the equal of both of them when it comes to military operations (although she does have a significant weakness when it comes to the appearance of a certain floppy haired pilot).

    • According to the Macross Compendium, he takes over the UN Spacy Command in 2016. It would seem that this battle to capture the Factory Satellite would be his last. A shame really, in some way. As I said I could watch an entire show with him commanding a ship with the other Macross characters serving with him.

      Millya showing the baby to the Zentraedi is indeed a remarkable event, which never fails to unnerve me — perhaps I’ve grown soft after becoming a parent.

  3. Xard says:

    Great post. To be honest I never saw the post-war arc as darkly as you here seem to. I never felt Kamujin posed significant threat to NUNS, for example. And perhaps it’s simply that I came from Frontier to original series instead of vice versa but I maintained positive attitude towards Zentraedi’s ability to fight and eventually overcome their dark heritage. Sure there were going to be problem cases always (like Kamujin here, Guld’s raeg issues in Plus etc.) but overall I saw little reason to worry, especially when looking at Milia, lolicon trio and Britai/Eksedol pair.

    Even though I never felt post-war arc had much dramatic tension except on personal level of characters (if compared to what came before) it’s nonetheless my favourite part of the show. DYRL, in my opinion, is overall superior take on Space War I. But there’s no DYRL equivalent for the magnificence of post-war series and it’s for this reason the film can never “surpass” the original as in my opinion better take on same core storyline (unlike with Frontier where Film version >>>> tv version, though just like with DYRL films are richer experience if one has seen the series… with Plus film and OVA are too similar to meaningfully put them in order).

    I’m rambling. Anyway,

    “We always knew that Misa was kind of fail – given her lack of personal strength and conviction involving Karl Riber mysteriously conflated with Lynn Kaifun, but here her wishy-washiness over Hikaru subjected us all to seeing her play victim to his moronic selfishness.”

    I really appreciate this, pointing out Misa’s flaws here. I really love the woman and she’s easily my favourite character but I don’t like how fandom often (I admit I am sometimes guilty of this too) seems to elevate her to nearly Godlike Mary Sue status of Maturity, Responsibility and All Things Awesome. Simultaneously Minmay gets unreasonably bad portrayal as a comparison point to make her seem all the more perfect. Fans (partially the same) would later do the same with certain magnificent Galactic Fairy.

    What I like about Misa is the way how admirable she is in many ways while also being very “real” feeling, flawed normal young woman. Twisted picture of perfection eradicates this and makes it look like Hikaru was looking for perfect mother to take care of him, meh.

    “Minmay also is subjected to a fall. Her career is a mess. Her relationship with Kaifun is sick. She waffles between motivations for performing, and only now acknowledges her own feelings for Hikaru. I don’t buy it that she’s never had feelings for him up until now. She’s just never valued them as much as she does now. But she’s already this trainwreck, who surprisingly hasn’t turned to substance abuse the same way Kaifun has begun to. But then again, she’s being played up to be sympathetic by the story. This is the set up for the leveling of the love triangle just before the finale resolves it.”

    and they did great job! I always found post-war Minmay really rather sympathetic character. She was still “very flawed”, yes, she was demanding unreasonable things, yes, Misa deserved Hikaru and they belonged together anyway, yes, but it’s telling I still ended up feeling bad for her at the final scene. I think tv series Minmay gets undeservedly bad rap when one keeps post-war arc in mind. And otherwise too, she was really career oriented girl oblivious to Hikaru’s feelings…but did she really intend to cause so much misery to Hikaru? No, not really.

    I think Minmay did have “feelings” for Hikaru too and they did not bubble up suddenly from nowhere, but I don’t think those feelings were *romantic* in nature. In her depressed state she idealized her relationship with Hikaru and reinterprepted her feelings as more romantic than they actually were in the past.

    • Kamujin never WAS a threat to NUNS… and this is part of what makes it dark and grim: the pathos of Kamujin and the doomed Zentraedi. We see here several things: the Zentraedi who can’t adapt must join Kamujin, but they are humiliated because of their lack of materials/fighting potential. Even if they wanted to fight, they’re pretty much fucked. The Zentraedi are utterly doomed: either they become assimilated (and unavoidably become 2nd-class citizens of a human society they destroyed), or become outlaws and get hunted down/killed. The miclone planet may have died, but any Zentraedi left on Earth is pretty much robbed of the full choice of self-expression.

      That’s the darkness: Kamujin is not an overweening source of dread — he’s always just been a nuisance, and a plot convenience to initiate mecha fight scenes. Rather, Kamujin manifests the inexorable fail of the former Zentraedi way of life in the planet they mostly destroyed.

      I can extend this further as to how the Minmay monoculture — rather than a shining beacon of hope, was rather a malignant, cancerous growth that destroyed the Zentraedi society as it were.

      • Xard says:

        Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. Still, I think all Zentraedi have the capability to adapt as long as they don’t give in to their darker urges (all humans have their darker sides too but as a rule we can deal with it) – as such I really didn’t see those Zentraedi fed up with way of miclon life as pitiable victims as much as villainy hive of hooligan scum. Certainly they weren’t “doomed” to become such outcasts. It was, I think, a choice. Because of this I never felt much sympathy for them.

        Kamujin kind of symbolized them all in my eyes, really.

        The 2nd class citizen thing is interesting and deeper cultural integration of Zentraedi seems to be one constant theme and narrative thread going through all Macross works (minus Zero). And while problems exist and discrimination is implicitly still there 50 years later I think Frontier in general shows just how far Zentraedi have come over time. Generation that experienced the Space War I has started to fade away and younger generations (like Mikhail and Klan) don’t see each other through traumas of past war as kids. You actually wrote about this positive development re: Elmo and Bilrer, for example.

      • Pterobat says:

        “I can extend this further as to how the Minmay monoculture — rather than a shining beacon of hope, was rather a malignant, cancerous growth that destroyed the Zentraedi society as it were.”

        You know, I’ve seen this asserted before, in fact by other Zentradi fans, along with assertions that the Zentradi were somehow emasculated by human contact and were better off avoiding that.

        I give kudos to the writers of SDFM for introducing some ambivalence to the story, but the mere presentation of this darker side does not negate all of the optimism that was implicit in the earlier episodes. It would be entirely pointless to have a plot and then state that it wasn’t “really” what it by all rights seemed to be.

        Yes, the Zentradi on Earth are going through a rough patch, and eventually there will be more chaff than wheat left, but that’s no reason to assume that it was better for them to stay in their bleak, wartime lives and never know what it was like to touch their long-buried emotions. All freedoms come with prices; that doesn’t mean no one should seek freedom.

        Though I have many issues with the portrayal of the Zentradi post-SDFM, I still acknowledge that their future was optimistic.Sure, there’s a can of worms involved in the way that Zentradi now look and act exactly like humans (retconned pointed ears notwithstanding), and I’ve long hungered for the development of a unique and nuanced Zentradi “culture” in Macross (without delving into Klingon-esque bullshittery). However, I’ve accepted that while it is certainly possible for Macross to have better Zentradi characters than they do, it is much less possible to have a unique Zentradi culture introduced. Not because the writers wanted to see the Zentradi crushed under a human bootheel, but because Macross isn’t about that kind of considered development. Taking that into consideration, the latter-day Zentradi of Macross at least are meant to suggest an optimistic future.

        I will agree that Kamjin is a minor threat, in the sense that he doesn’t have the resources to take on the UN Spacy by himself. Furthermore, he has no sense of grandeur, striking me as childish and primitive in his attempts to replicate a dying Zentradi world. Perhaps Kamjin did find some genuine conviction in his new beliefs, but even so, the character is one I disagree with.Some Zentradi fans like to adopt Kamjin as a hero and savior, but he is far more willing to take choice away from the Zentradi than mankind ever was.

        Britai is wonderful in command, and Exsedol’s poignant moment in “Satan’s Dolls” reminds me of what I see in the character in the first place. It’s such a shame that these two are shunted aside for the focus on Kamjin and the love triangle, because I would have loved to see them make more of their lives as they transferred their roles to the human military.

        I love Milia’s baby-throwing scene, mostly because it gives her some characterization and tries to move her away from the “perfect wife” role. It’s a much better expression of Milia-as-flawed than Macross 7 ever had.

        • Do you think that the optimism for the Zentraedi is a problem/weakness of the narrative?

          One can make an argument that a purely combative society is a kind of cancer in itself. It is almost pure entropy — there is some programming in it to mass produce its members and its materials, but there’s nothing truly constructive, creative, or regenerative about their society. They will fight the Supervision Army until they are destroyed or run out of enemies to fight.

          I have a human(ist) bias, but so help me I am human: a domesticated, micloned Zentraedi is a better thing than a harder-to-maintain (resource-wise) macro-Zentran in the mold of the belligerents in post-Spacewar SDFM. The Zentraedi are indeed Satan’s Dolls. That’s their tragedy. To attempt to read into something indigenously unique and individually worthwhile in itself about the Zentraedi is way too hard.

          I ‘like’ the idea that they are this malignant entropic entity in the galaxy, but for narrative/plot purposes only. This way I relish in their entropic agression. This is not to say I dislike the Rich Bills and Earnest Elmos of the larger narrative as a whole — I really like them, and see Mad Millya in Macross 7 as their shining example.

          • Pterobat says:

            Actually, I think we had mostly the same opinion, we just phrased it differently. I consider myself a humanist, too.

            I actually *do* believe that the Zentradi are better off having had contact with humanity and growing to follow it, which I made clear. Their lives as warriors were flat and bleak, and even those Zentradi characters who remain in military positions are better off than they were before.

            In short, I like tiny Zentradi being able to chose a wider range of life, and don’t feel, as Kamjin and some fans do, that they should never have been in contact with humans because of the mass casualties and lifestyle changes that resulted.

            However, I just once had a brainstorm that the Zentradi’s experiences/past would, in a more detailed series, have some effect on the Zentradi’s perceptions and lives, making even the later generations not totally interchangeable with humans. Macross only deals with the negative, simpler parts of it, such as sometimes furnishing Zentradi with inborn aggression (though besides Guld, no other example is as clear-cut). Someone born Zentradi or with Zentradi blood might have a different outlook on life, and it doesn’t have to be a nasty or aggressive outlook. For instance, Zentradi could “evolve” to be more socially gregarious than humans are on average, as a mutation of the collectivist lifestyle they once had to live.

            However, I did recognize that this might be far too complex for a TV series, and that portraying Zentradi as happily interchangeable with humans is the quickest and most immediate way to show their evolution instead. I still would prefer a wider range of Zentradi characters in more prominent roles.

            I too like Mr. Kridanik and Mr. Bilra, although their use of human names troubles me a bit, as does all of Bilra’s plans turning out to hinge on Minmay, when he was previously had the most richness and presence of any post-SDFM Zentradi, despite his small role.

            Milia in Macross 7 bothers me only because she is turned into a comedic stereotype of an “older woman”, and that there is little reason for her to be Milia rather than a new character, and that her separation from Max adds nothing to the story. Her being a mayor in a big mansion and whatnot is no problem.

            I like the aesthetic of the Zentradi (the designs of the ships and uniforms) and they certainly are a threat, but I don’t find any grandeur in their pre-human forms. They’re just kind of…there. I’m drawn to them because of individual characterization, but in terms of finding any grandeur in the Zentradi (plural) as a collective war machine, I don’t see it.

          • 1. Millya being estranged from Max is a great twist as far as I’m concerned, because it shook up what we took for granted as a storybook ending in SDFM and grounded it. It offered a layer of middle-aged romance that you NEVER see in anime. Granted, this is Macross 7 and nothing about these elements can be taken very seriously/are executed expertly, but this subplot is every bit as gratifying to me as the initial Max x Millya story was in SDFM. Now I know it didn’t do much for you then, so it’s no surprise you don’t think much of it in M7.

            2. Lack of grandeur: who cares about grandeur? A race of giants who know nothing else and revel in nothing else but fighting external enemies, and build even more gigantic robots, and appear in ridiculously large numbers are AWESOME. There is nothing like them. They’re so awesome that humans are left with no choice but build giant robots themselves just to be able to engage them on the infantry level.

  4. Mark Temple says:

    the upcoming part of the story arcmarks th main divergence point between the robotech american version and the japanese macross version. in macross, after the end of the show, “the fail’ ends and earth starts rebuilding, eventually creating a large interstellar political entity where humans and zentreadi co-exist (more or less), and massive colony fleets are sent out regularly to spread human culture farther into the universe. the macross future is so bright you have to wear shades.

    in robotech however, “the fail” continues, and just gets worse. human colonization is hinted at, but not a major factor. earth rebuilds just enough to put up resistance when the next powerful alien threat comes along..and earth gets it’s ass kicked over and over, until both sides are blown back into the post-apocalyptic situation. then the third , increadibly powerful, alien threat arrives, blows earth back into the stone age in most places (with only token resistance by earth’s defenders), and the attempts to retake it using troops from the colonies keep getting blown away before hitting the ground. in the end the thrid threat only leaves because it senses a FOURTH increadibly powerful alien threat coming to earth…and in leaving, sucks the power from all the military hardware arrayed against it..leaving earth and it’s colonies defenseless against this new threat. the fail just keeps piling up. and you have meta-fail, since the butcher job done to the original japanese shows leaves lots of plot holes and dialog screw ups that render the efforts to understand the story into incompatability arguements that have lasted decades.

    • I do agree that the Macross future is bright, shiny, and musical — taking into consideration all the sequels.

      I’m very familiar with Robotech, and am still a fan of the novelizations by Jack McKinney… which somewhat smooths over the glaring holes left by the cartoon. Alas, as Harmony Gold would have it, the novels are no longer canon.

      The thing about what the novels did is to provide perspective on why the Earth’s ass being kicked matters a little less. Rather, there is this (admittedly ridiculous) overarching sci-fi conceit that drives the different alien races/powers/deities towards Earth, ending in some incredible drug trip of a finale (The End of the Circle). I really have to read all this again.

  5. Bren says:

    Great review. A cogent analysis of why I love the show.

    • Thanks! I purposely go out of my way to distinguish my analysis as not reviews — I clearly start out with a strong bias when writing about a show. Consider these features as exploratory posts on the shows I care about. I hope you’ll find more stuff in WRL’s archives to enjoy.

  6. Pterobat says:

    Since the thread I was replying to stopped, here’s a reply to it stuck down here.

    1. My problem with the Max/Milia estrangement really doesn’t have much to do with how I feel about the characters to begin with. Rather, it’s that the plot line simply existing isn’t enough to justify it. It’s never explained *why* they’re estranged, and they get back together offscreen (presumably), without a hitch. Without the viewer being able to understand why, it fails as any kind of character development/expansion, and without any long-term effects, it fails as a subversion of the original plot. In short, the estrangement is kind of pointless.

    Also, I’m not sure if the estrangement would be a good story point to begin with: it’s one thing when Macross subverts the conventions of other mecha anime, but when it subverts itself by showing the surprise!erosion of one of the secondary couples, it feels more like waffling.

    2. “Grandeur” and “awesome” are pretty much the same thing though, right? I suppose in some ways I do make the leap to considering the Zentradi pre-human contact to be totally bitchin’ awesome, but that’s tied to individual characters. I find Britai to be an awesome commander, but the Zentradi as a general concept aren’t something that I find exciting when separated from their SDFM character arc and transformation, and the individual personalities of some members.

    • 1. Won’t argue too much for the first point, because to me it is fanservice. I feel served, so I’ll take what I can get out of Macross 7.

      2. Nope. Grand things get to be taken seriously sometimes. Swarms of giant alien soldiers who haven’t experienced puberty can’t really be taken seriously. But they are AWESOME despite of, and because of such things. This is why, despite how wrong and horrible it is to read, Britai practically getting raped by a female Zentraedi in Sentinels is acceptable in a humorous way.

      • Pterobat says:

        2. Oh, okay; ironically awesome, then.

        But Breetai was not “practically raped” by Kazianna in the RT novels. He got pretty enthusiastic once she started coming onto him; that’s not even seduction. And the romance was treated very earnestly anyways, so I don’t read it as humorous, but very sweet, even if the ending and Kazianna’s characterization needed more work.

        • Nothing ironic about it. It’s awesome the way early Jim Carrey movies are awesome, the way old Mel Brooks films are awesome. The Zentraedi are amazing in that they are comically dour and serious that they are so ripe for humor. It won’t be awesome if they were 2 meters tall instead of 12, but maybe awesome again if they were 12 cm tall. I love the Zentraedi for everything they are, and they are not, for what failures they are as a race, as a product of fiction, etc. etc. and for making Macross as brilliant as it is.

          • Pterobat says:

            Welp, I do find certain Zentradi characters to be very very funny, but the idea of the entire group being hilariously awesome is pretty much lost on me.

  7. Mo says:

    Now that I am older, I appreciate the “drug trip finale.” But I do agree with Mark Temple, that Robotech is a lot less optimistic than Macross. Part of me wonders if this is because of culture (and yes, yes, because of the “hack job”, too, of course) Take the ending of the SDF Macross (spoiler alert for those who haven’t watched it yet). Misa takes off, supposedly, on a mission of peace, to populate outer space with humans in order to preserve its culture. Now this might sound warm and fuzzy to some, but for those of us who have had experience with (post)colonization, will testify that “preserving one’s culture” can be at times (All the time?) anything but peaceful. This is another very interesting twist to the series that Kawamori and crew have put in (and I’m wondering how much Kawamori and crew knew about Japan’s history with colonization and WWII, as the history of Japanese WWII atrocities were not taught in Japanese schools, though that might have changed recently). Is it worth preserving songs like “My Boyfriend’s a Pilot”? Were the show’s writers being tongue-in-cheek again? Or does Misa really believe that there’s something worth saving here? I also read a kind of optimism in technology through the ending as well, which is a very Japanese thing (though I could be reading too much). Technology, through the Megaroad 01 will save humanity, though it gets messy again, when you consider how the Megaroad got swallowed up by the Bermuda Triangle.

    Now look at the ending of Robotech:The Macross Saga. Rick and Lisa build the SDF 3 and with the purpose of hunting down the Robotech Masters. Sounds super-American to me: the “Let’s hunt down the terrorists, and kill them on their own turf” approach.

    Not saying either is better or worse. Both are interesting to me in their own right, because of these cultural inflections.

    • I agree, and I’d take it further… all the way to Macross Frontier, and… The End of the Circle.

      The Megaroad is still lost, Richard Bilrer is in Frontier gathering Fold Crystals to find it (Minmay).

      The SDF-3 returns to a protoculture-free galaxy/universe/Earth. Minmay is with Rem the Zor Clone in a facsimile of Optera as Eve and Adam to start the Shapings anew.

      Macross is still open-ended. Robotech, not so much, until the novels were declared non-canon. Fuckers.

  8. Matt Wells says:

    Your opening paragraph on the fail in these eps was incredible. Macross really does inspire your best writing. You’ve said all that really needs to be said, so I’ll just throw in some minor observations of my own. I was really creeped out by the opening shot of ep. 29, a decayed Zentradi skeleton in full armour, clutching a box with a just still working Minmay doll. Really creepy contrast with the last episode’s sunshine and gumdrops begining with plant life returning to Earth. Also liked the pathos of that scene of the rioting Zentradi just throwing in the towel nd wishing they could fight again. Really hammered in the plight of the Zentrads stuck with a culture they loved to visit, but never wanted to live with.

    Weird to see how quickly Minmay’s star is on the wane, she’s fast approaching the status of that washed up Hollywood star she beat in the Miss Macross contest, Janis something. Wish they creators would have made more of that comparison, but there you go. Another casualty of budget and time restraints.

    The revelations about the Protoculture weren’t quite that shocking, but I do wish the series had gone into more detail about the decline of the Protoculture, and the nature of the conflict between the Supervision Army and the Zentradi fleet. Exedol and Britai continue to rock my socks off. Episode 30 saw some great space action, and some hillarious slice of life comedy with the Jenius’. I can’t decide which was funnier: Milia treating her baby like a favourite doll (“you want one, make your own!”), chucking her around while noting she has a strong skeleton, Max nonchalently observing this all, or Max doing the cooking and cleaning. And wearing an Apron. Embroided with “Max and Millia”.

    If there was any doubt about who wears the pants in their relationship, there isn’t now. And the idea of humanity using kissing as an established battlefield tactic against uncultured Zentradi was delicious. I didn’t find Hikaru TOO dickish, at least until the last episode. Its notable that once more he has trouble kissing his commanding officer, but now its symptomatic of their relationship issues. Kaifun continues in being a relentless douchebag, almost inciting a riot just ’cause the military is evil. Kaifun took what should have been a difficult moral dilemma about civil liberties, military paranoia and individual rights, and turned it into a chance for himself to ruin the lives of people he openly doesn’t give a shit about.

    I find it interesting that Minmay isn’t so much in love with Hikaru as she is nostalgic for how happy she was with him. Admittedly, after almost 3 years of creepy cousin incest, ANY relationship might look better by comparison, but its a neat twist for her rather self-absorbed chracter. Some great Destroid action in the later episodes, good to see such good designs getting some use after a hegemony of Valkyries vs. Regulds. Kamjin and his merry band of outlaws prove far more interesting as ineffective vilains than the ever did as genuine threats.

    Lap’lamiz is hinted to be manipulating Kamjin for her own gain, but we so no more indication of this plot point ever again, further wasting what could be a good chracter. Kamjin’s own reaction to culture is interesting; he’s learned from the humans, adopting theri cunning and tactics, whilst still striving for the Warrior lifestyle. His solution of “making Culture” and incorporating it into the Warrior lifestyle is flawed and uneve, but not wholly ineffective. I loved the quick aside where he was riding a Monster like a horse, his men noting he was emulating a Western he’d seen earlier. He’s not quite as disdainful of Protoculture as he claims.

    Hikaru suddenly drops any sensitvity whatsoever and proceeds to slip Minmay a bit of tongue in the middle of a rescue operation. IN FULL VIEW OF HIS CURRENT GIRLFRIEND. Now THAT was callously dickish, and it frankly seemd a bit too sudden and forced for my liking. THey’ve been building up the relationship issues between Hikaru and Misa, but fir it to suddenly take this direction seems a bit too suspending of disbelief. All in all, a great set of episodes, intrigue and humour along with pathos and existential futility. Bring on the ending!

    • …and I thought that first set of paragraphs was rushed enumeration. Thank you.

      You observe a pretty good juxtaposition between Hikaru’s initial discovery of life — the Earth recovers, then the decayed Zentraedi with a still operational Minmay doll. It’s a heavy-handed image, but for a show like Macross it’s pretty good.

      Gundam 00 will make an incredibly sentimental version of this in the final ED of the second season:

      It’s not as if Minmay’s stardom is rapidly on the wane, it’s more like the citizens of the world can’t really support a pop idol economically. The towns and venues are too small for a “world tour” kind of thing, and there are no clubs and bars that will fit full-sized Zentraedi, though she did perform in an exclusive-type club at some point. But still, all that time spent with Kaifun will rot what’s left of your mind. No wonder she longs for the less complicated days with Hikaru, who adored her like he was a dog.

      Kamujin in my mind now emerges as this almost tragic character, but I’ll refrain from saying any more until you’re finished the show. Definitely this rewatch experience has made me think about Kamujin a great deal (thanks to you as well).

      Hikaru waited 3 years for this moment, lost friends along the way. In his mind he felt justified.

      • Matt Wells says:

        Heavy handed though the imagery may be, for a Kids show in 80’s Japan its exceptional stuff. I just liked how we were eased into this after the Apocalypse Earth with the image that the Earth is beginning to heal, only to be contrasted an episode later with this grim reminder of the open wounds of the past. Sets up the ongoing themes of this arc rather nicely.

        I would hardly describe Kamjin as a tragic character, just a guy who knows he can’t move with the times, so he settles for going out in a blaze of glory. Very Japanese reaction to social change, like the Samurai of old who chose to die in battle after losing their feudal rights. And the more of his own followers he can kill along the way, the better; they aren’t willing or able to live in this new world any more than he is.

        The thing with Hikaru was that I though he finally had closure with his first kiss with Minmay, just before he flew off to take on Bodolle Zer’s fleet. He admitted his feelings for her and they kissed; she resolved to save humanity, he decided to man up and leave her to her folly with Kaifun. To turn his back on everything he’s built with Misa, all for the lovestruck dream of going back to Minmay…it may have been really dumb and cruel, but it was an admittedly human response.

  9. MarigoldRan says:

    A bit of necromancy here, but as singers go, Minmay is, on average, psychologically healthy.

    Check her song, which is linked to at the article. The forces that drive her talent, also drives her to destruction.

    • Well, the late Amy Winehouse was already a trainwreck at the height of her powers, and sang raunchier songs, as opposed to the hopeful, naive fare that Minmay and J-pop idols usually put out, especially in the early 80s. I don’t know about average, because as far as I know, the dead popstars are outliers.

  10. MarigoldRan says:

    The dead ones are the same. That is, they all died for similar reasons. The living ones are different or lucky.

  11. MarigoldRan says:

    To clarify, most rock stars need a certain edge or craziness to become internationally popular. Does the singer control the craziness or does the craziness control the singer? We like their music because they can express their madness in their music. But if a musician is genuinely too crazy, they’ll probably die at an early age.

    Hopeful, ingenuous J-pop idols do not count in this equation. They are popular because they sound likeable, not because they sound crazy. Hence,most J-pop idols are non-crazy, in contrast to rock stars.

    Amy Winehouse by the way has a very distinctive voice. Until yesterday, when I saw a picture of her, I always thought she was a big, black woman like Aretha Franklin. This stands in contrast to a lot of other pop singers who sound the same.

  12. Pingback: SDF Macross 31-33: The Light Shines Full – Humble Ace

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