Well I sure don’t see what the problem with my Alto-hime is, but I gather that the rest of you could not stand to see that my hime is prettier than your moe blobs.
Well I am still suffering a bit from Macross Frontier withdrawal so hopefully this post will be the one to make the withdrawal symptoms end before I can celebrate the return of my lord and liege Prince Ali when Gundam 00 deigns to have my lord kill something for old times sake. I know that unlike a lot of people I genuinely did like Alto-hime, at first I thought it would be fun just play on the fact that hime was prettier than most other girls when it aired, but as time went on I liked Alto-hime because hime reminded me of what I went through when I enlisted for the Imperial Forces. In that light I could never really hate hime since unlike most mecha protagonists he had to work for his right to pilot his VF-25. Despite the outcry of hime’s good looks and the alleged indecision, I think most people are just giving Alto-hime a cursory glance as the card board cut out of a guy that was to be fought over by Sheryl and Ranka. For me though I think Kawamori did give us a fairly good lead protagonist. Now that most of the rancor and rage should have died it might as well be the time to make one last Macross post until the movie airs. Hopefully now the last of my withdrawal symptoms for Macross Frontier will be gone.
My Alto-hime’s first love was his VF-25, and suffice to say she was very beautiful.
I know that for the most part I am probably the only who has supported my much maligned Kabuki-hime during the entire run of the series. While Kabitzin thinks of my Alto-hime as a blandmaster, I agree with Martin that Alto-hime is more than he seems. Much rage and whines were there of hime’s girly looks, but ultimately though I think Alto-hime did one manly thing that most of his critics shun and fear doing, hime enlisted to fight in a time of war. Unlike many recent mecha pilots there was no hesitation on his part that he wanted to fight and that he wanted to do it in a badass mecha, it’s quite a change from kind of boy that steps into a mecha cockpit and trembles in abject fear on his first outing barely able to stop himself from wetting his pants. For the most part I have a loathing of civilian males who think of themselves as manly yet contribute nothing to their volk and fatherland. They are the ones I see who refuse to fight and have repeatedly failed to change things for the better by staying within the safety of their homes. They complain and clamor for change, but not much ever changes.
Even Max had to don the apron and do domestic chores…
I remember a time back in the not so distant past where there were fears of a draft (hell most guys in the Military opposed it anyway) in my country there I bore witness to some of the most eloquently argued reasons for wanting to stay at home, they were not all made by men who rejected violence but cowards who valued their own personal safety above all else. For such cowards rejection of violence for the state did not rule out violence for the sake of themselves. Like John Stuart Mill such men, I think can never be free unless made so or kept so by the exertions of better men than themselves. No such cowards are not free they are merely protected and have no claim to manhood if they refuse to fight and refuse to change things for the better. There are many ways to fight, but to refuse to do anything but look out for their own welfare is the epitome of the basest form of cowardice, in my humble opinion.
…if you met his waifu you’d know why.
I care little for a person’s gender, race, creed, or lifestyle; only the willingness to fight the ability to endure fear for but five minutes longer than the average man is how I measure a person. Even in modern society the pretension to GAR really has no place as one cannot yell at his/her boss or creditor without fear. No the average person is afraid, afraid of poverty, afraid of the shame of having to ask his/her fellows for charity, and afraid that ultimately they will fail in life and eek out a meager existence on welfare forgotten and alone. No in modern times with gender equality men have to be a bit more like women and women have to be a bit more like men. The burden of raising a family, by and large for the average person, would disallow for there to be only one bread winner. The old unequal relationships that defined gender roles have largely been obliterated whether by law or economic necessity and in this light I think that Alto-hime’s struggle to reconcile this was his greatest internal conflict. We know that hime is the greatest oyama that ever lived who’s performance over awed all that saw it, however, being so strongly associated with being a woman led to Alto-hime taking a different path.
This is Kawamori, he makes toys and designs big bad mecha for a living. He’s not exactly GAR, nor will he kick your ass and take your name, he has a mecha bodyguard that will tear you in half though…
I quite enjoyed watching hime try and live up to the hot blooded school of manhood, but ultimately I think that since he was getting trashed and humiliated by Brera that the realization that hime simply could not compete dawned on him. It was never from a lack of trying but ultimately like a lone M-4 Sherman facing a Panzer VI no amount of skill could help Alto-hime beat the cybernetic Brera and his superior VF-27. Brera remained largely undefeated and only Grace was able to beat Brera after using SLAVE mode because Grace was just evil like that. Eventually I think Alto-hime did find something a value from his feminine side (and by that I mean the old virtues associated with being a woman, a cool head, compassion, did all the domestic chores, and the like), he learned to care more about others and to cool his jets for a somewhat more calm and practical approach to battle (teamwork instead of blindly charging). Had this been a more shonen styled anime Alto-hime would have been kicking Brera’s ass to the ends of the galaxy, but that never happened. Alto-hime was never a hime for words and given how I my Japanese history teachers always said to look at kabuki in terms of actions in terms of what is going on instead (mind you I always thought that many of those damned love suicides were god awful) of what was being said, perhaps it pays more to see what Alto-hime did and didn’t do rather than try and decipher his arcane flying analogies.
So while the shippers cried, Kawamori was enjoying his LEGO.
Given that his mother was the dominant influence in his life, his drawing of inspiration from Sheryl, and his unconditional respect for Klan and all that the meltran had to say helped Alto-hime accept that his past along with the wisdom of women was of some value. Alto-hime felt much less influence from Mikhail, Yasaburo, and Ranzo given how he was liable to be rude, talk back, and generally turn his back on all three of them from time to time. Alto-hime was a guy who more deeply felt the female influences in his life than he ever felt from his father, brother, or friend. Hime had female heroes, and while that may seem silly at first for a lot of people who for one reason or another grew up without much of a father figure often looked up to mom and remember all the sacrifices she made for her children. Kawamori has always liked to lavish better qualities in his female characters and I don’t think that it was a coincidence that Grace was the one who made Leon look like a small little boy when it came to doing evil. I think that for a lot of men that the biggest influence on your life was probably a woman, hell you probably came from one as well with no shortage of pain that men can scarcely imagine I might add. Besides if you can recall your childhood I am sure it was your mother who scolded you every time you did something stupid or wrong, if your mum was old school you probably got a good beating as well. Like most guys today Alto-hime had to learn how to accept his feminine side, and even the bravest of US Marines have to learn how to cook, sew, do laundry, and if they have a family, take care of their girl children as well.
Unlike many contemporary mecha pilots of this accursed age once Alto-hime saw the VF-25 only one thought crossed his mind, DO WANT!
While it is clear that Alto-hime loves to fly he does nonetheless meet two love interests who could not be any more different. In Ranka, hime finds that sweet girl next door who falls for him at first sight. She likes to sing but lacks the confidence to believe in the power of her song. Ranka with her copious amounts of moe runs more along traditional (by that I mean 19th Century) values of feminine virtue. She’s dependent on men for protection, she is very introverted and shy, and at first seems to only long for her beloved. Ranka is not confrontational and her educational prowess is likely less than Alto-hime’s given how she struggled with the Miboshi exam while Alto-hime got top grades in all his classes. Ranka’s initial style is very conservative and modest highlighting her innocence. In essence in Ranka Alto-hime finds a girl not yet in full bloom but she is well meaning, modest, soft spoken, and is very dependent on Alto-hime and others to reach her full potential. Ranka wants to have a knight in shining armor and for the most part Alto-hime tries and fails to live up to the task of rescuing Ranka from all sorts of baddies, from Brera, Ai-kun, and Grace. If one were to imagine that Alto-hime and Ranka were together one would probably see a relationship where Alto-hime is in clearly dominant position as protector and bearer of more masculine traits. Ranka’s non-confrontational nature lends her a more supportive role, she cannot do much on her own but she could provide support to her man if need be. Ranka is how Minmei started out, Ranka had fame thrust upon her but like her predecessor she was not able to cope with the burdens that came with it. Ranka never lost her fame, but rather in the end Ranka axed her own career after she refused to sing for the dead.
Sheryl cut straight to the chase, Ranka took the more inactive approach.
In contrast Sheryl was loud, proud, confrontational, and confident to the point of arrogance. Sheryl was very much in the full bloom of her womanhood, both mentally and otherwise. In Sheryl, hime found a woman who loved her songs and lived only to sing, she never needed his encouragement to shine on stage. Nevertheless Sheryl decided to make herself a part of his life and became his boss for a time. Even though hime thinks little of her career and performance style eventually he accepts her as a performer in her own right, and offers her a rare bit of encouragement when she was on the verge of quitting. Her professionalism is quickly apparent to Alto-hime and in that they have much in common given how both had achieved a degree of fame early in life. Sheryl is characterized more along modern lines with her independent streak and her self reliance. Her style of dress is not nearly as modest as Ranka’s and has more variation in style that even Klan appreciates. Neither is intimidated by the other, though Alto-hime, is for a while, intimidated by Sheryl’s “hopes and dreams”. Between the two it is Alto-hime to plays a more responsive role as Sheryl more often or not takes the lead in their relationship. Both have masculine and feminine traits and it can be said that their relationship is the more familiar modern one, both are capable of acting independently but at the same time a bit complimentary. In many ways Sheryl was the continuation of DYRL Minmei in that she had already adapted to her fame and was genuinely interested in her hime. While Ranka’s style was similar to Minmei’s, Sheryl shared some passing similarities as well with her modest blue dress and hat. It is however worth mentioning that Sheryl wore her earring and hat in the opposite position in relation to Minmei, such as Sheryl wearing her earring on the right as opposed to Minmei who had hers often showing on the left.
For Ranka it was love at first sight, for Sheryl it was love at first flight.
Alto-hime’s relationship with Ranka was as plagued by his absence and apathy as much as it was by Brera’s interference and Ranka’s shyness. If Alto-hime loved Ranka he sure had a funny way of showing it. It matters little if their romantic moments were not backed by sacrifices made on both sides. For Alto-hime he very quickly started lying (it also was not the last time either) to Ranka about going on a date with Sheryl and responded unenthusiastically when Ranka launched her career. Even when Ranka got a small role in the Macross Zero movie he underscored how small it was. Once on the set hime hesitated in giving Ranka help and when his help came, it was no longer necessary. On his birthday he elected to leave Ranka behind and did not bother to apologize in person, though to be fair, Ranka wanted to gift him something that suited Ranka (concert tickets plus her cookies) than it suited him. Times were good around the time of Galia 4, but the truest test of a relationship is always when times are bad, and after that things certainly took a turn for the worst. His inability to be Ranka’s knight in Armor Pack once Brera showed up inflamed his feelings of inferiority. The repeated beatings while Ranka watched with nary an action in his defense highlighted how indifferent Ranka was to Alto-hime’s public humiliation and she wavered once Brera started doing all the things she had wanted Alto-hime to do for her. When Ranka started having doubts about betraying her song Alto-hime egged Ranka on to sing Grace’s Aimo Remix. After Ranka saw Alto-hime and Sheryl together Alto-hime did not go after Ranka nor did hime wipe away her tears nor reassure her leading to the Sheryl slap. Just as Ranka was not there for Alto-hime when Brera gave him another beating, Alto-hime wasn’t there for Ranka when she fled with tears in her eyes at the sight of hime embracing Sheryl.
Yeah once times got tough Ranka’s eyes started to wander…
During Ranka’s last ditch effort to elope with Alto-hime, he rejected her pleas not to shoot and demanded that she step aside. After that Alto-hime was once again humiliated and Brera took off in his stead which Ranka readily accepted. Watching it again it was alsmot as if Brera was whisking Ranka away from a one sided relationship since Alto-hime was not lending Ranka a shoulder to cry on, and when that happened she used Brera’s instead. Even when a second opportunity to save Ranka presented itself Alto-hime stayed behind rather than go after Ranka. Even if Alto-hime came to her rescue at the final battle, nothing had fundamentally changed. One rescue doesn’t really erase the fact for the most part Alto-hime was neglecting Ranka and left Ranka to her own devices, while Ranka was treating their relationship like a high school romance. If Alto-hime truly loved Ranka then sticking around Sheryl wiping away her tears and supporting Sheryl in her time of need while Ranka had hit rock bottom was a terrible way to show it. Alto-hime claimed that he would protect Ranka, but when she needed his protection the most he just could not set aside his personal feelings to honor that sentiment. They say that when you love some one you never have to say you’re sorry, but in this case if Alto-hime did love Ranka then it is hard to deny that he was being a dick to her for most of the series if he did love her. Even before the necessities of duty had made Ranka an enemy, Alto-hime was not exactly devoting himself to Ranka. Ranka’s use of Brera as a refuge after Alto-hime did not respond the way she wanted also casts her in a bit of bad light as up until the end of episode 24 all Brera was to Ranka amounted to being her bodyguard. She never knew that Brera was her brother and for her to accept him as a substitute for Alto-hime gives much reason to doubt Ranka’s faithfulness to Alto-hime if she could not muster much concern when Brera was kicking the crap out of Alto-hime. Since I don’t believe that my Alto-hime is terrible person that would cheat, I don’t think that he took Ranka’s feelings seriously enough nor was he taking the time to respond to her feelings, pure as they might have been. It was a relationship that I believe had more problems than love, and while Ranka believes that she can still win hime’s heart I highly doubt his apathy and her questionable faith will produce anything positive.
…towards the Prince of Galaxy, built by Grace Heavy Industry Ltd.
Alto-hime’s treatment of Sheryl differed vastly from his treatment of Ranka. On their first date he took some pains to conceal it and keep it a secret to prevent a scandal. Even if it was Sheryl who dragged hime along, eventually it was Alto-hime who showed Sheryl his favorite place instead of going to Ranka’s rescue. He had an excuse to part ways with Sheryl, but at the time Ranka’s cry for help was brushed aside to go play with Sheryl and be her tour guide. Initially it was Sheryl who made most of the advances she gave Alto-hime one of her earrings in the hopes that he would be able to come back alive, going so far as to make no secret of her intentions towards Alto-hime at school, joining Miboshi’s pilot course, taking the first kiss, and getting Alto-hime a paid vacation to Galia 4. Despite the overt nature of Sheryl’s actions Alto-hime could never be quite sure about what he was to Sheryl. On the one hand they did kiss more than once, but she had played it off as joke and a small thing. On the surface Sheryl did seem flirtatious given her style of dress, the way she marketed herself, and her then numerous male admirers cast a bit of doubt on whether Sheryl was serious or just teasing. Once things started turning dreary, Sheryl looked to herself for the will to keep on going as Alto-hime and Ranka went on a date of sorts of their own. The knowledge that Ranka had eclipsed her was no doubt hard to swallow, and the revelation that Grace was much more than she seemed coupled with the truth of her illness were harsh blows to her self confidence. As Sheryl hit rock bottom for the second time in her life Alto-hime made many more sacrifices for her sake than he ever did for Ranka.
In the end Brera did more for Ranka than Alto-hime ever did.
When Sheryl refused to go back to the hospital hime risked his own ass to take her on board Macross Quarter. Even after Sheryl waltzed onto the bridge despite his warnings and despite the punishment doled out Alto-hime never held it against her. Despite what she seemed to be on the surface Sheryl remained faithful to her love for Alto-hime even as her death loomed. Even when a stranger offered a helping hand she imagined that it was Alto-hime, even as it seemed that Alto-hime was moving away from her. While Alto-hime had refused to set foot back into his old home he eventually tossed aside his pride and humbled himself to Yasaburo in order to see her again if only to make sure she was okay. While he never stayed for long he did decide that going back was a small price to pay to make sure that workaholic Sheryl was okay. When Sheryl announced her retirement from singing his disappointment and anger were readily apparent because the can do attitude that Sheryl had imparted to him and Ranka was not wrong, and hime would for once take the lead and show Sheryl how right those words were.
When Sheryl was at a low point in her life Alto-hime pretty much gave it his all to bring give her hope and courage.
After Klan told Alto-hime everything he went so far as to take sides against his squadron leader and some of his comrades in order to honor his promise to Sheryl that he would not leave her. For a guy who was very much in love with is VF-25 giving it up was no easy decision. He had always wanted to fly and to give up his Valkyrie for an inferior one was a significant sacrifice on his part to be with Sheryl until the end. Before his last sortie hime even went back on his dogged insistence in regards to his masculinity by wearing Sheryl’s earring instead of merely carrying it as he had the first time he borrowed one. As grand gestures go Alto-hime took one of her songs as his call sign and saluted Sheryl DRYL style. When Ranka and Sheryl hit their respective low points he could have kept his VF-25 and taken off with Ranka, but instead he gave up his home on Quarter, his tears, his pride, his insistence on masculinity, and his VF-25 for Sheryl. Sheryl also gave up a lot of what she had left for Alto-hime’s sake, both of her earrings, and her heart. Sheryl could have had any pick of the men folk, but in the end she chose to love Alto-hime and remained faithful. It was true that we will rarely find a woman as great as Sheryl, and I have little doubt that in the years to come that the Macross Lifers will remember Shereyl as the idol singer who underwent one of the more profound journeys of self discovery within the franchise. There is a limit to what a person will give up out of a sense of pity, but when it comes to love, for better or for worse, people are much more willing to sacrifice more, and at times more than what they have. Alto-hime gave up quite a lot for Sheryl on his own accord, and in this regard allegations of his sacrifices being soley out of pity look rather silly as few sacrifices and efforts were made by Alto-hime to help Ranka out.
Despite how Sheryl at times rode hime hard in the end Alto-hime forgave all that and even gave up his VF-25.
It’s all too easy for someone to say that they love another, but it is only under adversity that their love is put to the test. Deeds not words are what really matter when it comes to love, for there is no shortage of dead beat parents who abandon their families in times of crisis. In this regard I think that given how much he gave up for Sheryl that Alto-hime did care for her much more than he cared about Ranka. My Alto-hime was not some card board cut out for Sheryl and Ranka to fight over, and while it would have been easier to interpret his actions had he explained them, it was not all that necessary. Hime had some depth to his character and while much of the audience will write him off as indecisive and leave the Macross franchise for good, I think that hime’s deeds spoke louder than any wordy love confession could have. His response to both Sheryl and Ranka’s feelings while never articulated, were still action oriented. Saving Ranka from physical danger was the majority of his sentiment towards Ranka, he was only ever there when Ranka called for him, and most damning of all he wasn’t there when Ranka needed him the most. Hime’s sentiment towards Sheryl was shown more through his sacrifices and deeds than any words could have shown had it been merely pity then he would not have gone as far as he did not would he have given up nearly as much especially that VF-25. Even if you believe that it was a harem ending (no doubt Kawamori has heard those who cried out for it, and snidely delivered it as a troll) it is hard to believe that for hime that Sheryl and Ranka will be treated separately, but equally. It just doesn’t work that way. I don’t think that the be all end all of love is just a confession based on attraction, rather I believe that it is the sacrifices we make for those we care about demonstrate the depths of our affections.
It will be hard to forget that we also had a male lead like Alto-hime, no It will be damn near impossible.
Sheryl wishes that her hair was that good…
Eventually Alto-hime found a way to stop Sheryl from riding him.
So Alto-hime how did you like that earring?
Sheryl opted for a direct assault.
New planet has beaches.
In the future Sheryl will be picking out hime’s clothes.
Hey Sheryl your folding them wrong…