We (the founders of We Remember Love) watched the culmination of the Macross Frontier saga together and in grand fashion: using an office board room and a high-end projector. It is only fitting, as the Macross Frontier sub-franchise is, and had always been the representative anime for this blog. Yes, our favorite show is Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but is Macross Frontier that remembers love, and is the show that in 2008, got us following anime blogs and finally start one ourselves.
Macross Frontier the TV series needed to do only one thing right. Sure we wanted it to do many things very well (and in a lot of cases, it really did), but there was one necessary thing: to tell a competent love story set against the backdrop of great battles. It tried to, but I, among many consider the resolution of a love triangle an important marker of what would make for a competent love story. Macross Frontier did not resolve its love triangle.
Sheryl partisans disagreed, invoking para-text and all sorts of speculation but well, they’re Sheryl shippers. I wanted a Sheryl x Alto resolution, and I do believe it did end up that way. But as far as the TV show is concerned, it was not clear. It was not explicit. “You are both my wings” is not a statement of romantic love for one Sheryl Nome.
Well, not anymore. The Wings of Goodbye were on the literal level, the swept-forward wings of of the sexy as fuck YF-29. On the metaphorical level, these are the wings that gave Alto the very desire for the sky itself, the desire for flight. It was first given to him by none other than Sheryl herself, as a child after watching the Kabuki performance in Macross Galaxy.
At the very end of the battle for the Vajra home world, Sheryl gave it to him again, Alto finally remembers love. She gave it back with her singing (backed by Ranka) that shook the galaxy, and with these wings Alto was able to take the song to the very heart of the Vajra, making them believe in humanity, and trust them with their home world.
Good bugs, these Vajra. Why they wouldn’t rather just spare the lives of the human invaders after taking back their home world because of the humans not being total genocidal xenophobes is beyond me. But Macross isn’t really the strongest proponents of xenodiversity. Just look at Macross Frontier’s Alcatraz with its almost wholly Zentraedi inmate population! (It’s okay to have a Ranka concert with loli Klan in Mylene cosplay on bass in Alcatraz and show an huge crowd of lolicons and pedophiles because they’re aliens and already in jail LOLOLOL Let’s make culture LOLOLOL).
This doesn’t save the Vajra from all the quantum cannon fire from the Mini-Macrosses, but rather this saves the humans from future Vajra retaliation, provided that the humans become good stewards of the home world they were evicted from.
What’s important to note about this is how this final resolution is built on Alto and Sheryl’s love story. Sheryl gave Alto the desire for flight – his defining character trait, and Alto in turn gave Sheryl the motivation to shake the galaxy by singing on stage – her defining character trait. Ranka gets her motivation for performing from both of them, she is an effect of both, and the cause of neither. Her winning the triangle makes little sense.
Her role is to bear witness to their double sacrifice, to the love that was realized at the perfect moment, and one that saved humanity. She played her role in bringing her idol back to health, so she can wake up when he comes back. This was more than Minmay ever did. This is a good way to end Ranka’s story as a “loser” of the love triangle.
Thinking this through, I realize that as a love story this surpasses Misa’s, Hikaru’s and Minmay’s in terms of romantic idealization. The SDF Macross love triangle is awesome for the delicious levels of fail from the three protagonists, the Macross Frontier films made sure that the protagonists are heroes, even if it meant they became less interesting characters as a consequence. But this is for another post, and another discussion.
Yes, it’s the same scene, really.
To go back to the triangle, it was made explicit in the best way: Ranka confesses. This is the good stuff right here. She was the one who put herself at risk. She lost, but this is what saves her. Minmay’s confession was done in the depths of a downward spiral in SDFM, and a little less so in DYRL? Ranka confessed from a position of high self-confidence (not because she thought Sheryl was dead and out of the picture LOL); what I mean here is that she knew she loved him and this was the right time to tell him. No wishy-washy shit.
The wishy-washy shit are all with Alto and Sheryl. Sheryl didn’t confess to Alto. Sure it’s because she thought she didn’t deserve to take him from Ranka because 1) She’s dying, and 2) the only way she’ll survive is either turn into the borg mass of Galaxy citizens, or wait for these Galaxy villains to harvest Ranka’s body parts for her. Alto didn’t confess to Sheryl because, well, he’s a male anime lead.
They come together in the end due to the force of destiny. First girl wins. Fans are indulged. The hands of the gods are moved. Forgive me if I sound sarcastic, I’m not complaining about the resolution. I love it, but I’m not blind to its weaknesses. After all, love isn’t the adulation of perfection. It’s the wholehearted acceptance of things beyond all faults. This doesn’t diminish my love for the TV Series, non-closure and all. This just gives me more to love.
Here is a great take on things,
I really liked this movie for basically effectively pulling off the What if scenario that I’ve always seen brought up by Ranka fans in the forums, especially after the head script writer outright said that it was Sheryl who won in the tv series.(he had more power than Kawamori in the tv series–the novels also refer to her as the woman that Alto loves), and he only took it out because he felt that there were too much problems with Alto’s character to let him choose. This movie was basically answered for us, what if the roles were reversed, what if it was Sheryl who was the traitor, and Ranka was responsible, independent, more mature, more considerate, didn’t make her life revolve around a person she just met and barely knew, knew Alto longer, and spent more time with him; would Alto love Ranka then, would Sheryl make the same mistakes that Ranka did? This movie answered those questions with a resounding no.
Sheryl didn’t make the same choices as Ranka, she didn’t keep vital information to herself,
This is why this movie worked it was a role reversal what if scenarios and altered the characters accordingly so that they could make it work.
Love stories set against the backdrop of great battles montage:
The Ongoing Post Series:
- The Top 3 ASDFGHSDFG Moments in Sayonara no Tsubasa
- A Tale of Two Movie Adaptations: TTGL vs. MF
- The Resolution of the Triangle [you are reading this]
- The Rehabilitation of Characters: Ranka,
- Going Beyond the Impossible: The Reconstruction of a Canon
- Sheryl Nome: The Most Awesome Woman in Anime
I mentioned these so I can have some order in the conversations to come.