(Yes,that title is an 08th MS Team reference) This episode is all about the character development, with only a few scenes devoted to the continuing duel between Roy Focker and his old instructor, but given the short span of this series it was definitely a good choice to resolve/reveal these things now or else they might not have been at all. The Celestial Being forces led by Cheap Knockoff Selvaria have captured Shin, Sara, and Aries and are holding them in a large area of ruins while the Anti-UN ace decides to take out past traumas on Shin, beating him while he’s tied up because her family was tortured and sister raped during the war. She even shows him a scar in the center of her chest from that time, but Shin gladly has no visible sympathy for such a psychopath, her past sufferings not excusing present cruelty. A moment after Aries is brought in a helicopter lands with Professor Hasford onboard, who is apparently working for the enemy now. But just as he’s dredging up bad memories of tricking Sara into giving a blood sample Roy crash lands his damaged Vf-0 into the enemy Octo while the Birdman’s head artifact flies through the area and gives Sara and Shin a way out. Both couples end up separated on the island, while their foes start hunting them down.
Roy’s duel continues, though it’s only a small part of this episode. Distracted by the Birdman artifact and Sara’s singing activating the ruins, he takes a direct hit to his starboard engine.
Has a very Mr. Kurtz thing going on. Hope he dies gasping on the floor too. The horror. The horror…
Interesting that the Birdman was instructed by the Protoculture to destroy the island.
Bet this scum holds out candy from the open door of his van too.
The Anti-UN forces fly MiG-29′s, Mi-8′s, and now are using Kalashnikov small arms, proving that not only are they villains and enemies of mankind, but dirty Communists too. And we know what Liberty Prime says about Communists.
Useful, but very WTF.
Macross Zero is all about crashing your disabled Valkyrie into enemy mecha.
The remaining enemy infantry attempt to shoot down Sara and Shin, and while it appears to work, the two fall off and are then enveloped in some sort of light. Shin wakes up in a cave somewhere on the island where Sara is caring for him. As soon as he wakes she starts trying to leave him behind, still very distraught over the reminder of what she sees as her ‘sin’ of providing a blood sample when she was a child. But Shin follows after her and the two start to talk after finding a crashed Valkyrie with no survivors. Sara is blaming herself and thinks that her one mistake as a child has brought destruction upon the island, so Shin interjects with more humorous tales of mischief when he was young to try and get her mind off of it. He remembers and is about to recount that he has spilled blood himself in combat, but when he seems reluctant to start Sara tells him that it’s okay not to. Elsewhere on the island Roy and Aries are on the move as well, trying to avoid enemy patrols and find a way back to friendly forces. This couple starts talking about their past and how they never had the relationship that they could have. Roy was focused on flying, Aries on paleontology and archaeology, and this eventually led to their parting. Roy was inspired by a fossil of a dinosaur with feathers that he helped Aries dig up, thinking to himself that even dinosaurs wanted to fly, but even though the two shared times such as this, in the end they felt the pull of their respective passions and Aries left for Oxford to work with Professor Hasford. In the middle of this Aries steps on a landmine and Roy manages to prevent it from detonating, demonstrating true Roy Focker style by using the disarmed mine as a pretext to keep Aries still so he can move in for a kiss.
Guilt is bringing out Sara’s tsun-side, though in truth what happened wasn’t her fault.
Both characters open up more to each other, now that being temporarily more removed from the larger issues of the war and the Protoculture has given them a moment to actually talk.
Ah, I figured that they had something like this in their shared past.
Not sure how this mine got to the island, it doesn’t look very old. Perhaps a perimeter defense placed around a camp for one side or the other.
Smooth Focker Cool.
Late that night Shin and Sara are still talking with each other, Sara recounting more of her childhood when her father taught her about the history of the islands in their area. Apparently they used to speak different languages on each island, but then outsiders came and introduced a common language. While Sara initially despairs over his change, Shin rightly points out that without a common language the two of them would never have been able to talk or get to know each other. This conversation shows a lot more back and forth discussion about the merits and disadvantages of modernization and monoculture, which is happily more balanced than the previous vibes I was getting from this series. Sara criticizes the importance of convenience for Shin, while he replies that she seems like someone with a dream and that the cities are the places where one can achieve their dreams. And while Sara laments that the islanders who left now refer to their new residences in the outside world as ‘home’, Shin points out that she seems to be forcing herself a bit to believe in the superiority of living on the isolated island. It seems like a much more practical and down to Earth discussion about this theme, and the seeming superiority of human life of cities is nicely counterbalanced by a long montage of the natural beauties of the island without beating one over the head with it. Sara begins singing amid the sounds of the jungle at night, and Shin joins in as well this time. When she asks him if he’s singing for the people on the island, he replies that he’s singing for her, the one person whose heart has been wounded but no one has tried to heal yet. She’s so touched that she starts crying, and really that piece of dialogue is quite touching and DAAAWWW/kyaa-worthy. Just as the sun rises Shin kisses her, and despite the somewhat cheesy visual look of that moment, it’s still rather sweet. Unfortunately for everyone on the island, the Anti-UN forces have called in some randomly targeted Fuel Air Explosive (FAE) bombings of the island to try and either kill or draw out their quarry.
Speak it, Shin! I make no attempt at objectivity here.
Just don’t go to Ontario unless you dig a really, really deep fallout shelter.
The artifact onboard the Asuka begins to react to everything going on. Mao is also aboard, having very little screen time but being revived this episode after her operation. I’m guessing that she will be more significant in the next episode.
I wasn’t sure cicadas lived on the small islands in the Pacific, but apparently they do. Doubtful about the bioluminescent ones though.
Hey, I thought the idea was to make nature seem beautiful, not TERRIFYING.
Very cool shot, I love the nighttime colors of the stars and fireflies.
Despite the short length of the series and lack of much relationship development prior to this episode, ‘the moment’ definitely felt natural and ridiculously cute.
However they paired the kiss with some rather cheesy art. Well, you can’t get it right every time.
FAE away! Not really sure what indiscriminate bombing will achieve, but these are the people fighting against the UN so naturally they’re not the smartest bunch.
Final Thoughts: – While less exciting than past episodes, this one was very well done on the character development front and the series definitely needed some time to work this angle out. Both couples’ time in the jungle was well done, and the way that Shin and Sara opened up to each other and dropped some of their pretenses about the war and the island’s traditions, respectively, was especially nice. While it seemed like the writers obviously intended Sara and Shin to be a couple, there wasn’t much of a foundation for the relationship before now. Definitely a superb example of how to develop a character relationship quickly without it feeling rushed.
- Definitely a lot more balance on the nature vs modernity theme this time. I came down pretty hard on the way nature was seemingly idealized and modernity villified in previous episodes, but this time it felt a lot more real. Sara definitely believes in some of the virtues of her island’s lifestyle, but she also seemed to admit and acknowledge both the way that that society and her past has kind of forced her to be an exemplar of those ways, and the potential good of modern culture. Like most things in life, what people can and want to live with usually comes down to a middle ground between two arguments and I felt that this episode expressed that well in the conversations between Shin and Sara.
- Mao had very little screentime, but it will be interesting to see how she fits into the events of the final episode. Perhaps she has a stronger link to the Protoculture artifacts now that she’s had the blood transfusion. And will she attempt to go after Shin again or leave him to Sara?
- As an aside, despite my initial intent to watch Macross 7 after Zero and Plus, I’ve been feeling an itch only mecha can scratch and have started watching it now. Once I get to episode 20 I’ll make a status report post, since I’m not going to blog the entirety of the series. But in short, right now: HAET Basara (he makes Kaifun seem tolerable), tired of being beat over the head with cheesy 80′s metal, however Mylene is getting it right, Gamlin is a bit uptight but is otherwise a good guy who has his priorities straight, and Max and Millia are as badass as ever, though sadly something seems to have come between them somewhere between the events of the original series and 7. Also, the VF-11s are pretty cool looking, but unfortunately they seem to just be cannon fodder for the new enemy.