Macross Frontier!

Super Dimensions Fortress Macross and all its spinoffs

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Post by Mr March » Tue May 13, 2008 4:26 pm

It's the deep inhale before the plunge, as they say, and I can't wait for more. Episode 6 of Macross Frontier begins placing the pieces for what is sure to be a major confrontation in episode 7. When we left off in episode 5 the Macross Frontier had received a distress call from the Macross Galaxy fleet. The Vajra have launched a major strike against them and the Frontier fleet has decided to launch a rescue.

Our characters spend some personal time with each other before the inevitable conflict and we sense some trepidation from Alto. It's clear he's growing feelings for Sheryl but it's also clear he's not able to detach from his fondness for Ranka. While he tries to keep her at a distance, Alto is still going out of his way to maintain a connection with her, a choice that will most likely come back to haunt him when Ranka imposes her feelings upon him. Ranka for her part has demonstrated her commitment to being a singer and when she returns to her older brother Ozuma, it's with a talent scout in hand asking Ozuma's permission to represent the young Ranka. With credibility at her side, Ozuma has little choice but to reluctantly accept Ranka as a growing star. Sheryl decides to continue her farewell concert in the face of the horrifying news of the attack on her home fleet, but we know that she's already made a connection with Macross Frontier and it's likely to be her home before long.

Though there is little in the way of character development, this episode is mostly an affirmation of the connection between all the established characters. The last part of the episode features Sheryl's final concert intercut between the launch of the Macross Quarter and its rescue fleet. It makes for a truly emotional and moving finale filled with tension for the terrible conflict to come. Macross as a show is known for being rather lethal with characters and if the original is any indication, we may see some of our heroes pass before long. For now, we're left with the impending danger that awaits them and the sense of resolve Ozuma hopes to inpire in his brave warriors.

Next up, episode 7. Deculture!


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Post by Mr March » Thu May 29, 2008 3:02 pm

After the whirlwind of episode seven, Macross Frontier agains switches gears into a slower character-driven story in episode eight. Here Alto, Ranka, Mikhail and Luca are involved in their daily routines at Mihoshi Academy, which doesn't stay routine for long when Sheryl shows up and decides to enroll in the pilot training program. Hilarity of a teen idol joining the local academy on Macross Frontier then ensues.

The character interaction is quite entertaining in this episode if not altogether unexpected. It appears Alto has softened somewhat towards Sheryl. Unlike earlier, Alto is much more willing to tolerate her abuse, no doubt coming from their time spent together which has created a better mutual understanding. Sheryl has also appears to cause trouble just because it's exciting but as a young woman, she sometimes gets in over her head. Ranka finds herself often lost for words around Sheryl. It's clear Ranka desires more of Alto's attention, but she's still somewhat shut in and doesn't know how to compete with the often flamboyant Sheryl.

Aside from the high school drama common for such a cast, there are events outside the school yard. Leon takes steps to cover up all VF-27 recordings taken from SMS during the previous battle. The crew of the rescued Dulfim of the Macross Galaxy fleet are being kept under quarantine due to some concern over a V-type virus, the nature of which remains undisclosed. The episode closes with Ranka singing alone at monument park until she encounters Brera Stern, the mysterious VF-27 pilot from last episode. He not-so-subtely introduces himself mirroring Ranka's song on his harmonica. Obviously, Ranka is amazed that someone else knows her song.

The change in pace is somewhat of a let down after episode seven, but even the grand episodes need a proper build to achieve maxiumum effect. Episode eight remains an entertaining character story with plenty of laughs and just enough of the larger story to carry the show forward.

Episode 9 is next. Deculture!

Monster

Post by Monster » Fri May 30, 2008 5:29 am

Actually found something interesting during my endless perusing of the net. Pic of the VF-25 with Fast Pack and Full Armor versions. Enjoy. :D

Image
Click on image.

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Post by Mr March » Fri May 30, 2008 11:27 pm

Yeah, there's a bunch of pages from that book. About 4 or 5 altogether. They're not bad.

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Post by cobywan » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:15 am

This new series has me totally jazzed. I've been listening to the Macross F OST on loop for a couple of hours now.

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Post by Mr March » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:43 pm

Still waiting for mine to come in. I can't wait. I like the song "Aimo" a lot.

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Post by Mr March » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:21 pm

Episode 9 side steps the main story of Macross Frontier to bring us a character piece on Michael Blanc, Valkyrie sniper extraordinaire. During a battle with the Vajra, Michael has a flashback of his sister Jessica's death and loses some of his nerve. Distracted, Michael's shot goes wide, inflicting a surface hit upon on Alto's VF-25 Battroid. After the mission is over, Alto is extremely angry and the two come to blows in the hangar.

This episode is mostly Michael's show. The story feeds us some small pieces to keep the carrot dangling, but overall episode 9 can't escape the fact it's mostly just treading water. Michael is an interesting character, but he's not Alto, Ranka or Sheryl and his character arch is not nearly as dramatic or interesting. This episode does include some interesting developments, such as Brera Sterne covert activities aboard the Macross Frontier fleet (his VF-27 somehow remaining undetected). Later in the episode, Brera's handler on the Frontier fleet orders him to destroy a UN Spacy ship that appears to be loaded with eggs of some sort, suggesting a Vajra connection. This action is ultimately what keeps episode 8 going strong and we are privy to some great mecha fights. There is also a character moment between Klan and Michael, suggesting that Klan is carrying a torch for Michael.

Episode 9 is mostly a side story with some throwaway drama and only a hint of the overall tale of the Vajra. Though there is nothing particularly wrong with the episode, the characters or the action, I find myself eager to move forward with the grander story rather than pausing to develop secondary characters. Nonetheless, I'm still in for more.

Next comes episode 10. Deculture.

After the brief action-adventure side story of episode 9, episode 10 dives head first back into our main three characters and the show shines all the brighter for it. This episode makes a connection with the 2002 OVA series Macross Zero, the events of which have been kept secret from the people of the Macross world up until 2058. Now in 2059, an ambitious director begins filming a movie about Macross Zero and features Alto, Sheryl and Ranka involved in the casting.

This is a welcome return to our main cast and the focus of this episode shifts back to Alto and his relationship with Sheryl and Ranka. Sheryl again uses her flighty side to play with Alto's emotions but Ranka is determined to maintain Alto's attention. But before that can happen, Ranka finds herself in danger from a stray Zentradi pet called an Eden Hydra (in a nod to the planet in Macross Plus). Alto tries to save her, but is ultimately bested by the creature. Just when it seems the end for Ranka, she is saved by Brera Sterne, who has been following Ranka around for two episodes now. His skill in battle is apparent but it's also revealed Brera is a cyborg. He is injured, but easily defeats the hydra and vanishes. After the danger passes, it's back to the set, where Ranka and Alto must share a kiss as part of the script as they portray Mao and Shin respectively.

It's great to get back into the drama of our three characters, especially Alto who has been too long removed from his own character arc. Based on flashbacks, his departure from his father was a very bad break yet his acting ability continues to pull him back into a world he thought he'd left far behind. Sheryl continues to show her interest in Alto, but is always thinly veiling it behind her carefree attitude. If Ranka can be more forward with Alto, she may yet have a chance with him by exploiting Sheryl's inability to take Alto as seriously as she should. For Alto's part, he still seems too unaware of Sheryl's true intentions and maintains a distance from Ranka. I'm personally hoping Alto and Sheryl hook up, but Ranka is no slouch and if she can prove herself, there's hope.

For now, the fate of these three can only be guessed until more is revealled in episode 11. Deculture!

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Post by Mr March » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:03 pm

Macross Frontier O.S.T.1 Nyan FRO Review
Yoko Kanno
(2008)


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Like many anime soundtracks, Macross Frontier O.S.T.1 Nyan FRO is a combination j-pop album and original orchestral score. Created by well known producer Yoko Kanno, this first Macross Frontier album has numerous elements of Kanno's previous work found in shows like Cowboy Bebop, Vision of Escaflowne and even previous series Macross Plus.

The album begins with the orchestral track "Frontier 2059", setting the mood for a grand epic. This score track is followed up by three "live" tracks performed by May Nakabayashi as the fictional Galaxy idol Sheryl Nome. The choice of live j-pop tracks is a good way to suggest the epic tone of the Macross Frontier story. As such, the music of OST1 is closely associated with the anime, like most such soundtracks and becomes an extension of the animated series rather than a standalone album. This is not to say the album lacks tracks which can be singles, only that the album is best enjoyed for fans of the show. While fans of Kanno will appreciate her ever present style, Nyan FRO also plays with sounds of Macross past, particularly some retro 70's lietmotifs found in some of the j-pop tracks such as "Iteza Gogo Kuji Don't be late".

Within this mix of orchestral tracks and j-pop tunes is plenty of variation. The orchestral tracks can be big and bombastic ("Big Boys") or mellow and introspective ("Alto's Theme") and the j-pop tunes vary from catchy ("Triangler") and dance-inducing to melodic and soulful ("Aimo"). Many of the best tracks are songs that take some time to appreciate, but are some of the better songs (such as "Infinity" and "Innocent Green"). Nyan FRO definitely carries with it a sense of adventure in the music and is also very uplifiting music. For those days when you're in the mood for something a bit silly, but fun and entertaining, this OST makes a perfect fit.

Looking at the album with a critical eye, there are a few problems with the music and the feel of the OST. At times the album can almost sound a little too familiar, especially for fans of Kanno's previous work. Nyan FRO is also unlikely to be appreciated by those not already fans of j-pop. Some of the orchestral tracks feel almost directionless ("Tally Ho") or too derivative for western audiences (such as the Klaus Badelt/Hans Zimmer-esque "Big Boys"). The tracks in the latter thrid of the album tend to drag and contain some of the weaker songs of the OST. This is without a doubt a soundtrack designed for younger audiences and can feel more than a little vapid at times. Fortunately the soundtrack picks up for the last two tracks and ends on a high note.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Macross Frontier O.S.T.1 Nyan FRO is a strong if somewhat uneven album of pop rock tunes and varied orchestral scores. For fans of anime music and Macross in particular, this album is a worthwhile addition to your music library, though not as distinctive as some of Kanno's previous works.

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Post by Tachyon » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:50 pm

There's more than one group subtitling the episodes of Macross Frontier. Which subtitling group do you recommend?
If you don't like the news then go make some of your own.

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Post by Mr March » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:34 pm

There's like 5 or 6 groups subbing Macross Frontier. One group (Gattai I believe) has since dropped out, only to be replaced by another (not sure of the name). I've lost track.

For my money, I've found the Shinsen subs more accurate "most" of the time. I believe Shinsen also has plans to do a definitive sub once the series is complete.

Also, I know representatives from the Shouta group are actually on MacrossWorld and interacting with the fans to improve their subtitles. That counts for a lot in my books.

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Post by Mr March » Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:50 pm

Reviews for episodes 11 and 12.

I watched episode 13 and I'm not sure what happened yet, but it's AWESOME! :)

Episode 11, "Missing Birthday"

[SPOILER]This episode starts out with adverts for Ranka's first live performance intercut with a conversation between Leon and Kathy riding in a car. Gallia 4, a New UN Goverment world, is going to be a focal point for important events according to Leon's information and Kathy is very curious. It's clear she knows about Mr. Bilrer through discussion with Leon, but he appears tight lipped himself. Ranka is clearly becoming very busy starring in adverts and doing interviews, but is planning to attend Alto's birthday. Back at the school, the students talk around the pool and learn Sheryl is planning a concernt of Gallia 4. Kathy meets with Ozuma to arrange an escort for Sheryl. It's the perfect job for Alto, but he'll have his hands full this episode with the arrival of his brother Yasaburo Saotome. Alto's father has fallen ill and has made a deal that should Alto return on his birthday, his father will accept him again. Sheryl then meets with Ranka and the two talk of careers, but Sheryl has a dizzy spell revealing she might not be well. Grace later speaks with Sheryl and confirms signs of illness, buit a stubborn Sheryl will hear nothing of it as she prepares for her appearance on Gallia 4. Ever inquisitive about the circumstances on Gallia 4, Kathy meets with Klan to discuss the Zentradi living there and it's clear even after 50 years there are still divides in Zentradi society; those for the New United Nations and those against. Alto then meets with Sheryl and she offers him a chance to go to Gallia 4 where a real sky exists where Alto can fly his Valkyrie. Once alone, Alto listens to Ranka's phone message, offering to meet at the park on his birthday. Alto has a choice, decides to escort Sheryl instead and asks Mikhail to meet Ranka to offer his apologies. Ranka is left alone at the park but agains encounters the strange green animal that has followed her previously. The episode ends with Leon covertly contacting Grace aboard Sheryl's transport for Gallia 4, Alto escorting in his VF-25. The mysterious VF-27 then follows with it's own fold booster attached.

There's much happening in this episode and the story feels perfectly on track. The episode mostly focuses upon Alto, especially his relationship with his step brother and his father, but it also plays upon Alto's vulnerability for his dreams of flying. Sheryl cleverly siezes upon this opportunity to fulfill Alto's wants and makes him an offer she knows he won't refuse. It's still unclear if Sheryl has admitted to herself yet how much she's fallen for Alto, but it's clear she's competitive with Ranka and given her personality is determined to keep Alto for herself. Ranka is clearly too passive in her relationship with Alto and is almost begging for his approval. What Ranka needs to do is prove her worth by fighting for Alto, but will she? On the war side of the story, Leon is assisting the plans of Mr Brilrer and it seems much more is happening on Gallia 4 then almost anyone suspects. The episodes of Macross Frontier are again building to something and it's going to happen soon. Brera barely appears in this episode, but it's again made certain that he's being equipped and supplied from within the Macross Frontier fleet. His VF-27 is equipped with a fold booster at the end of the episode by what looks like L.A.I., the company that built the VF-25 and is Luca's family business, run by his siblings. More ties are sure tobe revealed as the story unfolds.[/SPOILER]
That brings to a close another strong episode of Macross Frontier and we're on to the next. Deculture!

Episode 12, "Fastest Delivery"

[SPOILER]Without doubt this episode was made for the fans. Almost everything about episode 12 is an echo of Macross past; the giant Zentradi, the language, the young idol singer, the speaker pods, the mecha combat, and so on. Starting inside the bridge of a Zentradi warship on the surface of the colony world Gallia 4, this episode opens with a scene of Major Ogotai and his advisor speaking in Zentradi of the Zentradi themselves, a scene very reminiscent of the opening to the 1984 film Macross: Do You Remember Love. From there Sheryl Nome's transport , with Alto in the VF-25 as escort, defold over the planet and adjust for the time difference in the transition to real space. Back aboard the Frontier fleet at Mihoshi Academy, Ranka surprises her friends by taking the day off. Nanase is overjoyed, but discovers Ranka has domesticated her curious green pet. Alto and Sheryl land upon Gallia 4, Alto leaving his Super Packs and Fold booster in a self-bundling configuration in orbit of the planet. The Zentradi prepare a grand salute for Sheryl but her illness gets the better of her. As Sheryl makes her way out and faints, the event sparks a battle as the ambitious Temjin seizes an opportunity to fan the flames of latent unrest among the 33rd Marine Battalion. Alto is subdued and Temjin takes hostages. On Frontier, Nanase warns Ranka of violating ecological protection laws within the closed system of a colony ship, but agrees to keep Ranka's secret. News of the Zentradi rebellion spreads quickly to the Frontier fleet angering President Glass who damns the Zentradi. Aboard the Macross Quarter Ozuma blames himself for not sending enough protection but Kathy is convinced the whole operation was a setup. Captain Wilder seems to have been through a similar scenario in the past, but remains silent on it and laments that it would take seven days to get to Gallia 4. But back at the Academy, Luca proposes a solution to rescue the hostages. Temjin prepares his force of Queadluun-Rea mecha and the Zentradi sit at a standoff as he demands the warship in exchange for the hostages. Alto and Grace speak of their situation over bed-ridden Sheryl; Alto determined to escape back to his valkyrie. On Frontier, Lucas describes the new Fold Booster built by his family company LAI; a fold booster vastly superior for fold travel and able to navigate through Fold Faults. Mikhail equips the device to his VF-25G Messiah and goes off to rescue his friends.

On Gallia 4, Temjin rallies his troops around discovery of a reaction weapon vault but is interrupted when he's informed via a comm unit about Alto's escape, implying Grace was an informant. Alto makes it to his Valkyrie, but is captured by Temjin. The hostilities between the Zentradi factions begin and Temjin goads Alto with sarcasm about singing to stop the Zentradi. Just then Mikhail in his VF-25, with Ranka aboard, flies into the delivery Ranka's singing with four speaker pods under the wings. The Zentradi, devoid of culture on this outer world, are entranced. Temjin, unable to accept defeat, tries to attack Ranka in his Queadluun-Rea, but Alto fights him. After a brief battle, Alto prevails and sends Temjin to his doom as he falls into the water fa below. Beneath the water, something reacts to the events on the surface, perhaps disturbed by Ranka's singing. Alto meets with Ranka where she wishes him a happy birthday and the two prepare to head back to Frontier when Alto looses control of his valkyrie by some outside force (possibly the creature below the water) and the two crash. When they recover, they discover what appears to be the SDF-1 Macross left abandoned in a wasteland.

"Fastest Delivery" has many elements that seem to add up to a classic episode for old and new fans alike. The Zentradi gain a long overdue spotlight in the Frontier story and there is much potential for a really great episode that it astounds me how little is actually done with it. At the half way mark it's clear that all the setup of the first half of this episode and the threads from episode 11 will be spent upon Ranka's debut. Trouble is that's Ranka's debut is all that happens; the rising tension ultimately serves only to swing the love triangle pendulum back into Ranka's favor. The Zentradi turn out to be a villains-of-the-week and the only dramatic confrontation is a tensionless aerial battle between Temjin and Alto. The majority of the episode is superficial and filled with guilty pleasures for the Macross fan, but little of it amounts to any substance. The best the episode offers is a few homages and some laughs when the Zentradi swoon over Ranka. The last few moments of the story end with a cliff hanger that is likely the most exciting aspect of the episode. This has definitely been one of the weakest episodes of the series thus far but is only the second such episode out of the twelve released to date so there can be little to fault Macross Frontier. Episode 13 looks set to deliver upon some of what has been built for the past few episodes, but this one feels like treading water while it satisfies what "needs" to happen in the plot at this point in the series.[/SPOILER]

Look forward to more promising events in episode 13. Deculture!

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Post by Mr March » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:40 pm

Episode 13 “Memory of Global” Review

As this episode starts off, we have a short review of the cliff hangar from episode 12 that finds Alto and Ranka discovering a Macross ship abandoned in the wilds of Gallia 4. Brera Sterne in his VF-27 is shown observing their crash. The Zentradi garrison is shown detecting the D-pulse responsible for bringing down Alto's VF-25 Messiah. Elsewhere at the base, Grace is nursing Sheryl while Mikhail looks on before the d-pulse kills the power. Alto and Ranka make their way slowly toward the Macross ship, but the powerful jamming from the Macross forces them to continue on foot. Ranka has more flashbacks about her past and Alto tells her to avoid thinking about them. The two walk toward a glade. Back at the base Mikhail tells Sheryl the fold booster sitting in orbit hasn’t been used and they assume something’s happened to Alto. After Grace has left, Mikhail suspects the pills are bad and avoids giving them to Sheryl. Back in the glade, Alto and Ranka share some personal time and false alarm puts them in an awkward position. After that Ranka is separated from Alto and snatched by the Vajra. Back at the Macross Quarter, Ozuma blames himself for failing to send enough personel to protect Sheryl and Ranka on Gallia 4. At the NUNS headquarters Lucas is chastised for his insubordinate decision to load the LAI fold booster to Mikhail. A brief sequence shows Nanase lamenting for Ranka and Ranka’s pet is shown with new limbs. Back on Gallia 4, Mikhail and Sheryl decide to go searching for Alto and Ranka, Sheryl now clearly feeling better without the pills. Alto, equipped in his EX-Gear discovers the Macross is the 04 Global attached to the 117th Research Fleet. He heads straight to it as Brera discusses the next move with Grace, indicating the capture of Ranka should be a secondary priority. Grace meanwhile is shown leaping around a cliff overlooking the Zentradi base, clear revealing her inhuman abilities.

Back at the 04 Global, Alto searches inside the derelict, finding the computer recently erased and a Vajra specimen as well as picture of Ranka and her former family. Brera makes his way inside some cavern, pondering why Ranka is so important to him. Flashbacks seem to indacte Brera is Ranka’s sibling. Ranka now awakes inside a Vajra hive, likely where Brera is headed. Just then Alto also locates a path to the hive and comes in radio contact with Ranka. As Ranka screams at the approach of the Vajra Queen, Alto bolts toward her position. Brera arrives first and fends off the queen and small Vajra units. Alto arrives to resuce Ranka, but the Queen has erected a shell around her with Alto can’t get to. After a stray shot from Brera injures the queen, the whole hive begins to shake. Brera and Alto flee and as they do the 04 Globabl shatters as a Vajra Mothership and an entire fleet of Vajra ships emerge from underground. Alto gets back into his VF-25 and pursues. Menawhile, Grace takes this time to unveal a bomb labeled with the LAI logo. Alto pursues the fleet and is intercepted by Brera; the two fight, Breara gets the upper hand, but Mikhail saves him with a long sniper shot destroying Brera’s gun. Alto tells Mikhail that Ranka is aboard the Vajra mothership and needs to be rescued. Just then Brera gets behind Alto but breaks off at Grace’s command. As the Vajra fleet, Alto and Brera leave the surface, Grace activates her Dimension Eater and unleashes a destructive spherical anomaly that is destroying the planet. The Zentradi are annihilated and Grace herself is killed in the event. As the Vajra fleet fold out, Mikhail and Sheryl hitch a ride with them into Fold Space. Alto charges out of the atmosphere and we’re left to wonder if he’ll survive the Dimension Eater bomb engulfing Gallia 4.

This is a very strong episode that begins to reveal much more about the nature of the war. Grace and her cohorts are clearly on their own side and have been manipulating the both the NUNS/SMS and the Vajra. It’s apparent Grace is responsible for destroying Gallia 4 and the Zentradi garrison, but no one else except Brera knows this. With Alto, Ranka, Sheryl and Mikhail the only survivors of the Gallia 4 incident, it’s clear that blame for this will fall upon the Vajra. From the Vajra’s eyes, they likely blame the NUNS/SMS for an attack upon their hive and thus the tragedy continues to play out. We’ll have to see where this goes, but next episode seems to show a big battle so it’s likely Grace has succeeded in manipulating everyone again.

Aside from all the wonderful intrigue, battles and epic animation, this episode was another opportunity for some character development between Ranka and Alto. While searching for the 04 Global, the two seemed to bond and Ranka seemed almost ready to tell Alto her feelings for him. For Alto’s part, he’s becoming more impressed with Ranka as she begins to assert herself more and mature. The seeds of a relationship are now growing between the two, but how will it end? Mikhail now begins to suspect Grace, the first one to do so, but with her death it might be too little too late. As far as plot, character and action, this is a near perfect episode. This episode has all the elements of Macross in just the right dosage and also begins to pay us viewers dividends on the investment we’ve made in the show so far. It’s looking great and feels like more goodness is on the way.

Episode 14 is next. Deculture!

Episode 14 “Mother’s Lullaby” Review

Again this episode opens with a brief review of the previous cliff hangar showing Grace activating the Dimension Eater and Alto flying into space to escape it. He activates the overboost on his Valkyire and manages to avoid the dimension eating effect as it abates. Gallia 4 is shown with nearly a quarter of it obliterated. Back at Island One on the Frontier, Elmo worries about Ranka missing her debut concert. Nanase and Luca meet each other and he tells her about the dire situation with Ranka and the others. Ozuma agains broods about Ranka in the hangar bay of the Macross Quarter, Bobby stopping by to offer some kind words. Kathy and the Bridge crew chatter while eating lunch about personal relationship and pester Mena about her crush on Captain Wilder, just as he enters the bridge and asks to try some food. Mena leaps at the chance and Wilder comments her fine skills would make her a good wife, but before the moment can develop, a ship alert sounds; the Vajra fleet is defolding in front of the Frontier fleet. Back on Island One, Luca is about the tell Nanase something but is interrupted by the alert. The president orders the Frontier prepare for battle and all ship shutters close on the Island fleet as the Vajra begin an attack. Luca leaves Nanase heading for battle. As the NUNS fleet begins to deploy, Bobby arrives on the Macross Quarter and transforms the ship for battle, the rest of the SMS forces are already in space and ready for combat. Meanwhile, Alto links with the fold booster and heads back to Frontier, the words of Temjin ringing in his ears as he too believes only one race can survive this war. Now prepared and armed with Anti-Vajra ESA munitions, the NUNS forces are holding their own against the Vajra for the first time. In the midst of battle, Sheryl awakens inside the VF-25G, still clinging to the outside of a Vajra ship, and she realizes Mikhail is seriously injured. Back at the command and control for the Frontier fleet, then NUNS report a stalemate in the battle and Leon encourages President Glass to authorize use of reaction weapons. Sheryl takes control of the VF-25G but it’s clear she’s not yet experienced enough to properly fly it and is shot down, but ejects. Luca finds her and tries to rescue her and Mikhail but he’s disabled and about to be destroyed when Alto arrives and saves him. Aboard the Vajra mothership still in fold space, Ranka is trapped but is shown a projection of the Frontier fleet by the Vajra Queen. Alto and Luca take Sheryl and Mikhail back to the Macross Quarter. Just then the Vajra Mothership and a second fleet defold behind the Frontier and open fire. The Frontier deploys the pin-point and full barrier systems for defense, but Island One is breached and innocent civilians are thrown into space. At NUNS command and control, the NUN Forces are surprised by the cunning flanking maneuver of the Vajra fleet. Glass reluctantly authorizes the Reaction Weapons and the fleet begins arming. As the SMS Macross Quarter begins to assault the mothership, Alto warns that Ranka Lee is aboard. Authorizing the Full Armor with reaction warheads, Alto prepares his Valkyrie for a desperate mission to rescue Ranka. Ozuma warns Alto he better succeed or he’ll kill him. Alto unleashes his reaction warheads and charges into battle. Aboard the mothership Ranka encounters another projection, this time of her mother and it appears the Vajra are attempting to communicate with her using the song Aimo. Ranka sings back to the Vajra and a brief vision is shown of some microscopic organisms inside Ranka and her abdomen glows again. Outside the battle grows more intense and Raramia of the SMS Pixie squadron is killed by a Vajra. The Vajra outside then seem to respond to Ranka’s singing. Alto uses the moment to bravely assault the Vajra, blasting his way through them in an impressive display of skill that stuns his fellow fighters. Luca’s valkyrie is then damaged by enemy fire while Brera’s VF-27 seems able to detect Ranka’s song somehow emanating from the Vajra mothership. As Alto blasts his way into the Vajra mothership, Brera appears in the VF-27 and beats him inside the ship, severing the stalk that hold the shell with Ranka inside and grabbing it for himself. As the Vajra Queen attacks Brera, Alto arrives inside and unleashes all his firepower on the queen. As the Queen dies, Ranka screams for Alto to stop but all of them flee the ship. Outside, Brera contacts the SMS/NUNS forces and reveals himself as Major Brera Sterne of the Macross Galaxy Antares Squadron, revealing he’s rescued Ranka and will agree to aid the Frontier fleet. At that moment, Wilder unleashes the Macross Quarter’s main gun and destroys the Vajra mothership. The bridge crew then report a massive disruption in the Vajra’s coordination and the NUNS press the attack, unleashing reaction weapons upon the Vajra fleet. The scene changes to Grace, somehow alive, unharmed and surrounded by machinery, perhaps implying that this is another artificial body for Grace and not the one that perished on Gallia 4. She declares Ranka is the “Little Queen”. Ranka begins crying for the Vajra, but cannot understand why. The episode ends as the remains of the Vajra fleet are destroyed.

Another near perfect episode and even more of the story begins to form. For the first time, the humans have actually made contact with the Vajra through Ranka. Their tactics in battle also reveal a much greater intelligence. The Vajra also begin to be seen in a different light for the first time. They’re not the mindless monsters we were lead to believe so far and they come across as somewhat tragically manipulated. At the same time the NUNS/SMS are shown as victims of this orchestrated plot as well and we see numerous victims of this war falling to the Vajra onslaught. Grace is going to great lengths to forge these tragic events but we’ve still yet to be given any answers behind her nefarious purpose. As far as war drama goes, Macross Frontier is pulling upon every emotional string and striking every epic chord. Not only are we being treated to what’s shaping up as a finely crafted tragedy but the epic action is taking Macross to new heights. To say this series is flying high is an understatement.

I think I can also sense a strong dramatic conflict being built in this episode. Alto has pretty much reserved himself to the fact that the Vajra must be annihilated. Temjin’s words are echoing in his mind and he sees no other way out but for one species to come out triumphantly at the expense of the other. In contrast, Ranka is the first human that is beginning to understand the Vajra. She can communicate with them on some level and even empathizes with them. This could create a lot of conflict between Alto and Ranka and may divide them just when they were beginning to grow closer. As the war grows, the chance for a resolution will only fade and as Ranka begins to understand more, she’s likely to encounter stronger resistance from her own people. We don’t know what will happen next, but the seeds of some great anime have again been sown in episode 14.

More great Macross Frontier is sure to follow and the show is really getting into gear now. Deculture!

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Post by Nu Soard Graphite » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:52 am

Watching the eqisodes now via Youtube. Freaking amazing. I'm getting ready to watch episode 3 shortly.
Shinei!

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Post by Nu Soard Graphite » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:48 am

Just saw episode 4.

Holy crap is this show good!

This show was obviously made for the old-skool Macross fan. The scene with the VF-25 mock-battling Quendallen-Rau mecha amongst a 7000 year old Zentraedi battleground to Ranka's rendition of "My boyfriend is a Pilot" is simply orgasmic.

My Otaku side, which has been lying dormant of late, has been fully reawakened.
Shinei!

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