I will end this post on a rather dark note, because having finished this rewatch I’ve seen more of this understated darkness than ever. It is dark, but not grim, and so it escapes the viewers too fixated on the antics of the love triangle and its resolution. But there is a lot more to the show I find interesting, than its professed objective of being a love story set against the backdrop of great battles.
First thing: Roy Focker back story. Roy was a douche and was lucky to have Claudia. We should forgive her for making that pineapple salad. This back story is Claudia supposedly trying to cheer Misa up. The reassurance is basically: Men are assholes, put up with them. This should reassure no one, no matter how true.
Two other things: warfare in a high-scarcity era results in the showcase of the Destroids; and many characters, including the leads, come to new lows… and for some it is doubtful that they’ll rise from it again. I will talk about these things for a while, but I promise to finish this entry with a commentary on the very ending of SDF Macross. Let us begin.
Hikaru, while reaching the very depths of his personal douchebaggery by trying to schedule two dates on the same day (and running roughshod over Misa in the process), got to showcase the Destroids in a way that was impossible in space combat. Bereft of his VF, he got to lead a squad made of two Destroid Spartans and a VF-1A and take on a motley band of Zentraedi malcontents. The thing is, I wouldn’t call this a highlight of real-robot functionality given the premise of giant humanoid mecha in Macross (which is a sterling element of the show), only that it is [you cannot see the slideshow from a feed reader; go to the post website to view the awesome fight]:
For all the lack of everything I want from a mecha action scene (dynamic animation, serious business choreography/direction), this establishes more than anything the fulfillment of the need for giant humanoid mecha in a science fictional universe. Patlabor uses a similar conceit anyway.
To belabor the point, here are some size charts:
The use of Overtechnology made sure the UN SPACY had the mecha to combat them giants. So much for the Zentraedi malcontents, but did the cultured Zentrans do that much better? I discussed this in a previous post on episode 34 “Romanesque:”
And then we find Minmay alone in a park, sitting on a swing having been left by Kaifun and no longer wanting to sing. She’s washed up, and much too soon. But then again, everybody alive has already heard her songs. There is no one else to sing to, except maybe for her most die-hard fans. But she didn’t even want to see them, and the last we see of our Zentraedi spies is their failure to catch up with Minmay, who was the catalyst for their transformation.
I was actually wrong in that post. We see the Lolicon Trio with the Bridge Bunnies once more and for the last time during the Silent Night montage. I certainly like to think that the three ‘couples’ found a way to join the Megaroad 01, though that voyage may be an ill-fated one.
Before I move on to the triangle’s resolution, something must be said about Kamujin Kravshera. I had been rather dismissive of him throughout my blogging the series, but I’ve begun to see him in a new light thanks to the comments of one of our regular readers:
Kamjin seems to be another deconstruction of the genre; far from the typical and noble Alien rival in your average Robot show, he’s a compulsive conniving imbecile, renowned not for his piloting skills but his talent for getting his subordinates massacred. Its an interesting subversion.
As far as the “Noble” enemy rival trope Kamjin seems to disparage, the earliest example I can think of would be Prince Sharkin in Brave Raideen; the character archetype was refined into its more modern form with none other than Prince Heinel in Voltes V, and Richter in Tosho Daimos. Note that all three are aliens, same as Kamjin. Its a common trope in older anime. Char merely branched out into the more modern “Masked Rival” sub-trope.
Not that the idea that the rival figure in a series can be a figure of contempt is anything new, similar contemporary examples I can think of at the time would be Ypsilon in VOTOMS and Gostello (sort of) in SPT Layzner. I just read Kamjin that way from both how the series presents him (like his exchange with Hikaru in ep. 7 seeing them equally matched) and from the narrative role he seems to fit in the series. Kamjin is thrown into the rival role, ill fitting though it might be, so I saw him as a deliberate subversion of it.
And how about this for an end: His gunship gutted by the Macross Cannon’s last bang, he pilots it himself with Lap’lamiz, towards ramming the SDF-01 in a suicide attack? He promises Lap’lamiz “We’ll do culture afterwards.” Of course you can’t do Miclone culture after you fulfill your Zentraedi destiny of dying gloriously in battle. But this irony is precisely why Kamujin is interesting now. For most of the show he was this excuse for battle scenes, but at the very end, he still is, but also offering such considerations for the intent viewer.
Join your brethren in GARhalla Kamujin. You can take Lap’lamiz with you.
And now we come to the very end. I have chosen my words as carefully as I can. This is a post series that I didn’t expect I would do but always wanted to do. I want to make these count:
Macross is anti-heroic. Not in the sense that there are heroes who do heroic things only as a consequence of their personal violent agenda, but rather the heroes of Macross in the end are after very personal things, even when they seem to be about serving others. Minmay. She was forced to find a reason to sing that’s bigger than herself. We don’t know if she ever succeeds, but this choice is not a heroic one… it’s what she has to do after facing rejection. Hikaru dumps her for Misa.
Misa, woman of the service. She had resolved to quit! She went to Global utterly defeated thinking she can’t serve in the military if it means she has to be around Hikaru who at the time was with Minmay. She stays in the service, to accomplish the worthy mission finding other planets for humans to colonize because it was so easy for the Zentraedi to waste the Earth. Why does she accept this? It’s because it means she can run away from Hikaru & Minmay!
Hikaru. He dumped Mimay for Misa. Minmay was forcing him to quit flying, because Minmay can’t handle Hikaru living his dream while hers lay in ruins. If she’s grounded, so must Hikaru be! Hikaru will never agree with that. He could’ve agreed to this at first, but he’d find a way back to the sky soon enough. But then, Misa gave him a way out. Misa was leaving in a grand mission. He would get to leave the ravaged Earth, travel to the distant stars, and keep a woman who’d cook and clean and put up with him. Needy Minmay had no chance in hell at this point. Hikaru himself resented her success as a star, though he can’t abide her defeatist quitting. Also he’s not okay with being Mr. Rebound-from-Kaifun.
All three. Instead of saving the day and being heroes, they were people who found reasons to live, or had to find reasons for themselves to live. Besides, the mission for all intents and purposes, has failed. The Megaroad 01 is lost. The colonization of the galaxy was more successfully pursued by subsequent Macross colonization fleets. This is the resolution of this rather simplistic but rather dark love love triangle, set against the background of great battles.
But we (and Minmay) will always have Flashback 2012.