Macross Zero concludes with the excellent Valkyrie dogfights we would expect, along with a major contribution to the still limited knowledge of the Protoculture that humanity possesses. And on a more personal level the lives of figures who would make their mark later in life are further fleshed out. While Shin and Sarah and Aries and Roy are briefly reunited, they’re split up again as the Anti-UN forces attack and the head of the birdman activates, carrying off Sarah and Aries. As the ancient Protoculture artifacts begin activating events start to approach disaster while the human factions make their final plays for control over the alien technology. Some elements of the story will come to conclusion, while others are left as mysteries to the viewer. In the end the OVA doesn’t directly answer most of the questions it raises, but it does further enrich the Macross universe and shed a little bit of light on history of the Protoculture and it’s role in shaping humanity.
Mao begins to sense those in the presence of the head artifact, letting Shin and Roy know where Sarah and Aries have been taken, though sadly for her she can also understand her sister’s feelings.
I can’t decide if this reminds me more of the start of the first Gundam 0083 opening or the scramble sequence from the original Wing Commander game.
VF-0′s equipped with what looks kind of like a Ghost strapped to them functioning as a FAST Pack kind of add-on.
Nakajima salutes GAR.
And Edgar knocks out the guy manning the catapult controls. That’s a little strong, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure he would have let them go if they tried to convince him, he didn’t sound very adamant about not launching them.
The VF-0′s get their extra equipment, and so do the enemy SV-51′s that they’ll face later.
Onboard the Anti-UN forces submarine, Sarah and Aries are held captive while Dr. Hasford and Nora (I finally remembered the wench’s name!) try to convince Sarah to activate the Birdman to fight for them, employing pressure and vile lies and distortions about the UN forces but making no progress. Hasford tried reminding her of how her father was disappointed that she betrayed their laws regarding contact with outsiders, but even his low attempts at causing guilt do not achieve his objective. Sarah’s distress does start resonating with the artifacts though, causing both the Anti-UN submarine and the Asuka to begin levitating as their respective artifacts become active. As Roy and Shin approach the SV-51s are launched from the submarine to try and fend them off. A larger air battle ensues above the ocean between both sides of the war, but for Shin and Roy it becomes a complex, back and forth duel between the two enemy aces. Shin tries to outmaneuver Nora with a Cobra Maneuver, which she copies, and eventually gets enough room to make a run for the carrier. Roy splits off and fights it out with Ivanov in the midst of the larger air battle.
Somehow I think more people would be killed if the Anti-UN forces got their hands on that thing than would be killed in one more battle.
Shin being pursued by Nora, while Roy attempts to engage her only to be tailed by Ivanov.
Lesser Selvaria assumes that Shin is going for a transformation, so while she mimics the Cobra, her flying is just a little behind Shin’s due to her false assumption.
The double Cobra, followed by Shin’s slide, transformation, and then Death From Above attack (animated .gif).
Even though she didn’t take his side, I’m a bit confused/disappointed with Aries for still moving to stand next to Hasford.
Shin closes with the submarine and punches a hole through it to where Sarah and Aries are, but just as he reaches for them his Valkyrie’s head is shot off by Nora and he begins falling into the ocean, blacking out for a moment. Sarah thinks that she just saw Shin die and her grief and rage calls out to the Protoculture artifacts. Both rip free of their restraints, the head taking Sarah with her, and combine over the ocean. After a trippy restructuring sequence where the machine looks like a flower, it emerges as the Birdman that the Mayan islanders depicted in their drawings and fires a Macross main cannon-sized blast into the escort ships of the UN fleet. While inside the machine asks if she called for it and then asks a series of questions about humanity. When she answers that they haven’t stopped fighting each other it decides that they must be destroyed before they spread chaos into the universe and begins attacking all the nearby fighters and vessels. Sarah’s vision is distorted by being plugged into the machine and each fighter that flies by ends up looking like some sort of creature in her eyes. Shin recovers during this and regains control of his VF-0, returning to his duel with Nora, who bites it when she’s trying to get a good position on Shin and ends up in the path of another main weapon attack from the Birdman. Ivanov sees this and breaks off his dogfight with Roy to make a headlong and fatal attack on the artifact, freeing up Roy to rescue Aries from the collapsing submarine.
The machine seems to know her specifically. Perhaps only those from the island, or only their priests/priestesses, can control it.
Apparently the Protoculture wasn’t looking for rivals, or at least had no problems killing whole populations that might disrupt their order.
An end of game boss if I ever saw one. Could’ve sworn I fought this thing in a Xenogears/Xenosaga game…
Good, just as I had hoped last post, he died gasping on the floor, though having Aries next to him while he did so was too kind a fate for him. With his talk about destruction being necessary to create anything new, no wonder he joined Celestial Being.
Seems she had target fixation. Rather fitting that her hateful way of fighting would be the thing that did her in.
With his human enemies dispatched, Shin turns his focus on the Birdman that has Sarah somewhat controlling it. He’s angry and determined to destroy the machine and free her, but suddenly Mao senses what’s going on and calls to him from the Asuka, her link with the Protoculture artifact allowing her to send some sort of holographic image and voice to Shin telling him that he can’t save Sarah with anger in his heart. He lets go of his anger and is able to hear her song emanating from the machine, and after jettisoning his weapons and stores (just some SUBTLE symbolism there) he manages to avoid the Birdman’s missiles and other attacks, reaching Sarah. She’s overjoyed to see him alive, and this helps her exert more control over the machine. Unfortunately for them, the captain of the Asuka has been ordered to destroy the machine now that it is out of UN control, and has a Destroid Monster fire nuclear artillery shells at it. Sarah says a goodbye to Shin and thanks him for believing in her, then pushes him and his Valkyrie away before the shells hit. Just before they impact she envelopes the Birdman in a shield, containing the blast and radiation within.
Also, “what is thy bidding, my master?”
Despite Mao’s crush on Shin being a non-starter, you could definitely hear the genuine love she had for him in her voice at this point.
Death never looked so pretty. Reminds me of a flower I’ve seen but can’t recall the name of.
Destroid Monster cloaked in shadows next to Mao as it prepares to fire. Not sure if this is a neat visual technique or beating the audience over the head about the matter. Both, I guess.
For such a short series the writers really did an excellent job with Sarah. She ended up having just as much or more depth and richness of character than characters from much longer series.
As the forcefield absorbs the nuclear explosions it radiates outward, catching the aft section of Shin’s engines and part of his tail in the blast and sending him unpowered towards the sea. Once the explosion is over the forcefield contracts to a single point that then flies off into space. Roy succeeded in rescuing Aries from the submarine, but unfortunately not before she was mortally injured by the collapsing hangar deck. Since the doctors could not do anything for her, Roy lands on the beach with her for her final moments. Now we know what Roy had to hide behind his cocky attitude and womanizing before he met Claudia, as Aries tells him that she loves him shortly before her death. Interestingly she says “see, saving the world is easy” in reference to her words, perhaps hoping to prevent some of the feelings that Roy would latter lapse into. In the end he did meet Claudia, was honest with his feelings, and got over his past through that love, but that would take time as we saw in Macross. Shin, still falling towards the ocean with his controls dead and ejection seat not working eventually begins to be guided by Sarah’s ephemeral hands into a glide and he tells her that now he can hear the ‘song’ of the Mayan islanders. Mao watches as his VF-0 still ends up sinking into the water, only to emerge following a school of flying fish, enveloped in blue light that takes him and his Valkyrie shooting up into space in the same manner that Sarah disappeared.
Poor Aries and Roy, though at least her death served to enrich the narrative of Roy’s life.
Sarah is my co-pilot.
It seems that there was still enough power left in the Birdman for Sarah to save Shin, who was hopefully off to join her in whatever part of the universe she went to.
And thus began the storied career of Dr. Mao Nome.
Final Thoughts: – The series as a whole definitely doesn’t answer any questions per se, but it does confirm the genetic manipulation of humans by the Protoculture and very much enriches the background of that race and of humanity. It also gives some more technical and personal detail and laid the foundation for characters and concepts in later series (later meaning later in the Macross timeline.)
- Seeing Roy back before even Claudia’s memories of him was wonderful to see. I’m always a huge fan of series, franchises, and games that develop and change characters over time. Seeing characters being promoted, getting ‘perks and flaws’ to use roleplaying game terminology, and peering into established characters’ pasts always gets points from me, and seeing a younger, somewhat less confident and more serious Roy, who still clearly holds feelings for an old flame of his in almost a lovestruck way, was a perfect prologue to his time in the original series.
- I commented on Sarah as a character before briefly, but to expand on that, even from her first appearances she had complexity. She was a priestess but she wasn’t just ‘the priestess character’ in the ways that she acted towards Mao and Shin. Like an actual human being she was a person who was a priestess but also an islander, an older sister, confident and insecure, caring and abrasive when the situations warranted. While Shin, Roy, Mao, and Aries all had moments of brilliant characterization, I really think that Sarah was the most complete and the most well done of all of them.
- On another thought, the programming of the Protoculture Birdman machine is continuing a thread that at least I perceive as showing that the Protoculture were not exactly the nicest people. Their Birdman was programmed to destroy if humans were to become a threat to them in Zero. From the original series we know that they created an entire race just to fight their wars for them, and possibly even a second race if the Supervision Army was in fact not some part of the Protoculture itself. At the point I’m at in Macross 7, I wouldn’t put it past the Protoculture to have created the new vampiric enemies that the 7th fleet now faces, perhaps as some sort of desperate bid to preserve themselves in the face of destruction. While I’m still gathering all the pieces myself, from what I know at present (original series, DYRL, Zero, first 20 episode of Macross 7, Frontier) they seem more threatening than friendly.