In Macross Dynamite 7, Basara sang to space whales. This isn’t the spoiler. The spoiler is how the biggest Moby Dick of the space whales sang along. This moment is a very divisive thing among Macross fans. For those who already hate Macross 7, this is the pinnacle of everything wrong with it. For those who love it, it is the most crowning moment of awesome for the sub-franchise, and of Macross itself.
Infinite Ryvius had space whales too (or according to some, galactic squid) but no one takes it against that show. It’s always taken seriously for good or bad. No one takes Macross 7 seriously, or rather, gives it any real credit, even fans who like it. It’s as if there was something intrinsically wrong with the very idea of space whales and how it shouldn’t be part of a show the fans oh so want to take seriously like Macross.
Well, I’m telling you that the Macross itself, is a big fucking space whale. The first act of Super Dimension Fortress Macross is a play on the story of being in the belly of the whale. The Bible did it in the Book of Jonah. Disney did it with Pinocchio. The belly of the whale is a place like purgatory, it’s a place to both despair, repent, and make dreams. Here is where we find Hikaru and Minmay.
In discussions of Macross, I seldom come across mentions of the whole trapped in the hold affair. Informally I get references about “fishing in space” where the space tuna visible from the giant window. I recall the school of tuna being frightened by the giant eye of Monstro the Whale from Disney’s Pinocchio only here the tuna is dead, and the only threat from Macross the Whale is Hikaru on a rope.
Both Hikaru and Minmay are faced with the idea that life as they knew it has ended. They are now in a new world – uncertainty for both obviously, but Minmay would eventually see this as opportunity, while Hikaru would think of it as loss – of his past life as a pilot? Sure, but also the loss of that innocent moment with Minmay when he fell for her, where he was the only man left for her.
They pretended to have a wedding ceremony and would’ve kissed!
Macross: Do You Remember Love? did it very differently. Both characters are already professionals. Here it’s unclear why Minmay was attracted to Hikaru only that she really did take an obvious interest in him. She was coquettish and teasing, but here she actually kissed him. There was no wishy-washiness about Minmay here. She had it for Hikaru and likewise, obviously.
The production values were also through the roof – the film really treated this episode as an important set-piece and it showed.
Jonah was swallowed by the sea monster because he disobeyed God. He wanted no part of preaching to Niniveh so God sent the beast to swallow him until he broke. Pinocchio got swallowed by Monstro because he was trying to rescue Gepetto. In both cases, being in the belly was the culmination of the struggle. Upon escape they had less if not no conflicts left to resolve in their respective narratives.
In Macross, the belly of the whale incident happens to set up much of the narrative. It is a launching device rather than the height of the drama.
The point of this is, the space whale is important in Macross. The space whale is Macross itself.
The Zentraedi ships… particularly Britai’s flagship has the silhouette of a sperm whale. The main cast gets trapped in the belly of that whale too! Misa, Hikaru, in SDFM, Minmay was with them in DYRL. It’s not climactic, but it is definitely pivotal.
This brings us to Macross Dynamite 7. This side story has no bearing on any of the main narratives. Macross Plus introduced technology that became part of future shows. MD7 is pretty much an open-ended dead end. It resolves nothing important to the narrative, so what is its value? It is a kind of fanservice. Better production values due being an OVA is one, having that whole Mylene almost raped by a psycho lesbian is another…
But the real juice is Basara singing to the space whales. He already turned Gepelnitch to his song, so what’s next? Why space whales? For whatever other reason, it’s also because whales are a symbol of Macross. The Megaroads, the Macross Class colony ships, they’re all space whales spreading culture to the ends of the galaxy.