The final episode of Macross Plus is all about returning. Returning to Earth and the original SDF Macross capital ship. Returning to the truth of old memories. Returning to feelings thought long gone. Even returning, in a less explicit way, to the manned fighter with the duel between the Project Supernova prototypes and the unmanned Ghost. Isamu and Guld emerge from long range fold and make their way to Macross City, while on the planet Sharon has fully realized her capabilities and begins compromising systems and taking control of everything she can get her programming into in a weird way of expressing love for Isamu. Myung is still held captive by the AI that has absorbed her feelings and memories, but even after escaping she runs into more trouble. In a most un-Macrossian fashion the final battle takes place against ‘love’ and singing.
Isamu and Yang plot a course to Macross City, using destroyed planetary defense satellites as cover while descending.
Have to say that I’m liking the YF-19 cockpit a lot more now that it’s gotten a more thorough depiction in this episode. Even the RIO’s seat is pretty cool.
Transitioning from systems off to full flight mode once the defenses were breached.
Haha, Isamu is my kind of cocky.
After taking Myung’s songs and her emotions, Sharon cuts pretty deep with that remark. Myung is pretty much only those two things at this point in life.
Isamu will need luck and skill to pull this one off. Sharon has her audience enthralled and the Macross and Ghost under her control.
As Isamu approaches the city Guld catches up with him, dead set on settling their past scores. The dogfighting was particularly beautiful, near sunset over the still-cratered landscape left behind from the Zentradi bombardment in the original series. Both pilots lose massive respect points though for taking their personal grudge into a populated urban section of the city though. Guld and Isamu keep yelling out their past rivalries and grudges as they try to kill each other, which is immature but whatever, but then they take the fight into the city in battroid form and cause quite a bit of destruction and probably some deaths too. Sure, urban battroid combat looks really cool, but for a franchise that is usually pretty explicit about depicting collateral damage for what it is, it’s either an attempt to make the characters seem really obsessive and dark (despite the lighthearted background music), or was a careless oversight or unfortunate compromise for the sake of giving the pilots a cool battleground. After taking their fight back to the skies, Guld has what he believes to be the killing shot with a missile barrage, and at the moment of impact fully remembers the incident that made him hate Isamu so much: Guld walked in on Myung apparently being comforted or confessing to Isamu and, contrary to how he remembered it earlier, discovers that he was the one who turned violent against Myung. In the subsequent years he somehow suppressed his memory to such an extent that he really believed that Isamu was the bad guy. Fortunately Isamu used a maneuver from his high school days and dodged the missiles, and the two pilots are now able to reconcile.
The use of the cratered landscape was an excellent reminder of the events of SDF Macross. Being in the background it was subtle, but still very profound. One can never really forget the cratered devastation that was suddenly released upon Earth, nor the hope of reconstruction that took place in some of the same craters. And all it took was a background to link the events together.
Oh, well if it’s about your anime DVDs then trying to kill each other is perfectly understandable!
Not cool guys. I guess Guld is more at fault since he started firing first, but Isamu will definitely get some responsibility for not trying to exit the city as soon as possible should this incident come up before a court marshal hearing.
Now we find out that not only is the main point of contention between the two male leads fake, but that it was reversed in Guld’s mind while the other two parts of the triangle knew. Well played, Macross Plus.
Some more delicious fighter-mecha pr0n. Mmm, handdrawn animation does shadows well.
Things like this make Isamu so likeable to me despite him being so full of himself. At his core he’s not a jerk, even in extreme circumstances he maintains his decency. Unlike a certain unworthy successor to the YF/VF-19…
Isamu and Guld solve their dispute finally, just in the nick of time. The prototype Ghost under the control of Sharon heads straight for them, both craft narrowly missed by its opening laser shot. Both pilots take evasive maneuvers while Yang confirms that the Ghost has been compromised by the AI idol. With Myung still being held in Macross City, Guld tells Isamu to leave the fray and head their to rescue her while Guld and his YF-21 engage the unmanned fighter. Inside the original Macross, Myung is still being held up by cables and now that Sharon is through with her, strangled by the cords. She manages to free herself somehow, but her problems continue when she makes it out into the hallway. Two guards see her, and with a look she recognizes that they’re going to kill her. Running to a nearby elevator, she manages to escape the guards due to their laziness and sheet lack of accuracy. Worst hired goons ever.
The Ghost is aptly named, we barely see it onscreen for more than fractions of a second at a time. The weapons of each of the three prototypes is interesting in its own way. The YF-19 is more conventional with a kinetic main gun, the YF-21 appears to use Zentradi particle beam weaponry, and the Ghost clearly has a high powered laser.
They take their sweet time chasing her down the hallway, don’t even bother to aim, and then move EVEN MORE SLOWLY when their target is on the floor in front of them. They must be members of the Teamsters Union or something.
No one else is noticing this either, the Sharon AI has everyone in Macross City entranced somehow.
With Sharon now in control of the Ghost and the Macross and the public entranced, her lead designer Marge Gueldoa realizes his dream and jumps into the Macross-sized holographic projection of his creation, falling to his death somewhere near the crater that the Macross rested in. While we get very little background on him during Macross Plus, in the end all we know is that he was so obsessed with bringing an artificial intelligence to ‘life’ that he’d kill, compromise security, and then in the rapture of his achievement willingly fall to his death. The Macross begins to rise once more from its home at the center of Macross City, with a nice little bit of mechanical fanservice in a shot where we see the anti-gravity generators, the same ones that ripped free from their housings when the Macross first tried to launch, spooling up and preparing to lift off. Fortunately for the city the main cannon is no longer operable, but the myriad of AAA guns on the exterior of the Macross is used to try and keep Isamu at bay. Inside the ship, Myung confronts Sharon and attempts to destroy her, but her efforts are for naught. In Sharon’s view she’s loving Isamu by giving him what he wants, the excitement of being near death and pushing himself and his machine to the limit. Isamu moves to within sight of Myung and Yang looks for a way to break Sharon’s link to the Macross computer, only to be driven back when looking for the control room.
The Macross rises again, unfortunately not to prevent destruction but to bring it.
Marge, we barely knew ye.
No pull-the-girl-into-the-cockpit rescue just yet…
Quite similar to the holographic projection of the traitorous Ranka Lee being displayed over the Battle Galaxy during the final battle of Macross Frontier, another time where the power of music was used to evil ends.
Macross Plus has a very practical moral for everyone: don’t let your feelings fester for years or else an evil intelligent computer program will absorb them and try to kill everyone. It could happen to you!
Outside of Macross City, Guld is still fighting with the Ghost. As Isamu prepares to attack the main computer of the Macross, Guld radios him and says that he was looking forward to having a drink to celebrate their reunion after seven years, and then, that he has to go. Myung can hear all of this and she and Isamu instantly realize what he’s going to do. To fight the Ghost, Guld removes all the limiters and turns off the gravity adjustment devices, allowing him for a brief moment to match the Ghost’s incredible maneuverability. Just long enough to fire directly at it and then ram the YF-21 into the drone, destroying both and killing Guld. As Isamu heads for the computer core, Sharon’s program infiltrates his Valkyrie’s systems via the connection Yang used to access the interior layout. First appearing to Yang, she uses her hypnotic voice to get him to fire his pistol at Isamu, the glass of his helmet luckily is able to withstand the glancing shot. Quickly ejecting the rear seat, Isamu isn’t safe either, being put to sleep by Sharon until Myung’s singing from memories of days past awakens him just in time to keep from crashing. Destroying the computer core and Sharon, Isamu wakes the city from its trance and heads to pick up Myung, a smile crossing both their faces as we’re left to imagine where they’ll go from here.
Guld manages to pull it off, albeit at the cost of his life. Really, he didn’t need to sacrifice himself, only keep the Ghost busy long enough for Isamu to destroy Sharon. But the guilt he felt was evident once he recovered his memories, and he probably saw this as a chance to atone and to prove that he could beat Isamu for once.
I’ve been wondering if the two Sharons are just costume changes or if they are supposed to represent different parts of her personality or the feelings she got from Myung. There’s no real proof or even strong evidence either way except for the fact that the orange haired one didn’t speak and seemed to be the secondary form.
A nice Macross reversal, where music that can easily reach everyone is this time the threat. Also, if you think this is bad Isamu, wait till you hear Firebomber (well, the songs where Mylene is on lead vocals aren’t bad.)
The AI isn’t stalking you, it’s Deep Love! Jiiiiiiiii.
Myung looks much better now that she’s finally smiling, unlike that creepy semi-Michael Jackson look she had going on before. A bit of denouement about what happened with her and Isamu afterwards would have been nice, but I guess I can live with the promise of good things to come.
Closing with another message to ‘the pioneers.’ Despite the often tragic tone of the series, the inspirational message at the end didn’t feel out of place. The series definitely glorified the urge to pioneer, to try new things or to create something new, with the obsession of Marge, the rivalry between Isamu and Guld, and the despair of Myung serving more as warnings than actual discouragement.
Final Thoughts: – A very enjoyable sidestory, but it probably comes in towards the bottom end of my Macross rankings. That is not to say that it’s not very good, unlike Gundam, the Macross franchise has yet to actually disappoint me with any of its series (but Macross 7, oh are you trying my goodwill.) I really enjoyed the technical detail of the flight testing and the more somber mood compared to the other Macross canon. The way the characters related to their dreams, in a positive sense of trying to achieve them or in a negative sense of defining dreams against another (Guld) or depression over not achieving them (Myung), was a great foundation for the characters. But, the character development felt somewhat limited since the characters didn’t change so much as rediscover some things about themselves. This may be partly due to the short duration of the series, four episodes is not much time at all to fit in everything that Macross Plus tried to. As it is, it was a very interesting, very rich little piece of the Macross universe, but it was still only a little piece. I do have a bias against movies and very short series though, since much of what I live for in fiction is that which can only be developed, built up, and worked out over time.
- With 3/5 of Macross 7 to go, it won’t be long until I’m through with the complete Macross canon. Frontier certainly got me interested, but retroblogging the various Macross series here has cemented me as a fanboy. I’m kind of having a crisis of mecha faith at the moment, since I see Macross repeatedly do things right in pretty much all the series (again, 7 may be an outlier, but I won’t know until I finish it), while Gundam has failed so many times outside of the UC 0079 to 0085 timeframe and, though I know many will disagree, the CE universe. I LOVE (in all caps) the Gundam universe from the One Year War up through the Gryps Conflict, but the Macross franchise has produced so much more consistently good results. Fewer series probably helps, but I also think that the Macross franchise is more open to incorporating new concepts than the Gundam franchise. Unicorn was very pretty and didn’t have a bad plot, but it’s the same thing I’ve seen over and over again. How many Gundam series have loosely been ‘aristocratic spacenoids with nonsensical philosophy fight against Earth’? But this is a rant for another day. In short, I’m seriously considering switching my primary mecha allegiance to Macross.
Retroblogging announcement: Starting next week I will begin bloggging Now and Then, Here and There, a series that I have seen before back in high school and that was recommended during my call for suggestions. Even though I have watched it before, I will follow and ask that readers follow the same spoiler discipline that has been used for the series I’ve retroblogged and not seen before. The series involves a variety of brutal situations, from child soldiers, to rape, to mass killings, so be warned if you find such things unsettling. After nearly 10 years and lots of international relations courses I’m excited to be giving it another look in light of that experience. The series will be blogged two episodes per week, and once everyone’s spirits have been broken and we’re weeping for humanity, I’ll hold a vote for something a bit less traumatic. Currently two series that will be on the ballot are Kimagure Orange Road and Great Teacher Onizuka. I’m looking into coming up with one to two additional series for the ballot, which will be posted the week before the final Now and Then Here and There post. As always, thanks for reading!