Thursday, July 10, 2008

Macross Frontier Episode 10: Legend of Zero

Since Macross Frontier is part of the 25 year anniversary of the Macross franchise it has been full of so many wonderful references to previous Macross projects. This episode absolutely blew me away, not only did it pay homage to Macross Zero it wove the story of Shin Kudo, Sarah and Mao Nome directly into the Macross Frontier story seamlessly and artistically and also propelled the character development forward in the traditional Macross fashion that echoed the timeless themes of Macross. For those unfamiliar with Macross Zero you can go here and read my synopsis of that series .

Legend of Zero begins with Ranka telling Alto that she has gotten a bit part in the upcoming movie Birdhuman, a movie about the events that took place 51 years earlier in 2008 on the Mayan Island.
She explains that she's nervous because she's never acted before, Alto reassures her by saying her roll probably won't have any lines anyway, but then gives her some good advice, to act from the heart and not the mind. Their conversation is interupted as Sheryl yells for Alto to return to the shoot, Ranka hears her and lets Alto go.
Over at NUNS HQ Leon reviews footage from the battle against the Vajra a few days ago in particular the footage of the VF-27, the report says that the aircraft is not unmanned despite the velocity and manueverability of it.
The next day Ranka and Bobby arrive on the island set and meet up with Mikhail and Luca. Ranka runs into Miranda Melin from the Miss Macross contest, she is playing the role of Sarah Nome.
Alto and Sheryl arrive as the producers argue over the theme song for the film, Sheryl offers to write a more fitting song but the director needs to think it over. Miranda spots Sheryl and goes to talk to her but Sheryl blows her off to congratulate Ranka on her hard work and asks Alto what he thinks, when the director and producers hear his name they immediately recognise him as the famous kabuki actor that performed as Sakura Hime, and beg for him to be in the movie, but Alto refuses saying that he is a pilot now and not too keen on dressing up as a woman.
Upon hearing this Ranka questions Luca and Sheryl who say tell her they knew about his falling out with his father and his past as a famous Kabuki actor. The fact that she didn't know this, yet everyone else apparently did upsets her and she tells them she wants to be alone for a bit and goes off into the jungle. Ranka reaches a bluff overlooking the sea and begins to sing Aimo to herself, down below the director hears the song while fishing and spots Ranka singing.
Meanwhile back on the mainland Leon meets up with a mysterious individual and the two trade info and one of the mysterious purple crystals.
Back on the Island drama engulfs the production of the movie as the actress who supposed to play Mao Nome still hasn't arrived. Sheryl teases Alto about accepting the directors plea's to be in the film and tells him he's got a kiss scene, Alto tells her it's no big deal and goes off to look for Ranka who finds herself being tracked by a wild hydra, just as the Hydra is about to attack Alto shows up and shoots at the beast but gets knocked back, the hydra turns back to Ranka and as it leaps at her again the pilot of the VF 27 blocks the attack with his forearm and knocks the beast back. Ranka passes out and the Hydra charges at them again the mysterious pilot counters the attack and guts it down the middle with a retractable blade. As he starts walking off Alto comes to and asks who he is, not knowing he's the pilot of the VF-27 he fought with, the stranger tells him "Brera Sterne" and walks off.
Back at the base camp more drama as the actor playing Shin Kudo is refusing to do the underwater scene. Ranka wakes up as Alto carries her back to the camp and thinks he saved her from the Hydra and thanks him. When they reach the camp Elmo yells that he's got super big good news for Ranka, the director heard her singing and offers her the part of Mao Nome. Alto congratulates her then realizes his scene is the underwater kiss scene, Ranka freakes and doesn't immediately accept the role, later Bobby confronts her and asks why she didn't accept the role, Ranka tells him she doesn't know if she can do it, she doesn't understand the character of Mao and her motivations for going after a man her sister likes. Meanwhile up the beach Alto and Sheryl are hanging out wondering why Ranka hasn't accepted the role yet when out of the blue Sheryl kisses Alto, caught off guard he acts stunned, Sheryl teases him about his non chalant attitude earlier. Ranka sees Sheryl kiss Alto and makes up her mind and tells the director she'll accept the role of Mao Nome. As the scene gets underway the episode seems to meld into the actual Macross Zero OVA and then fades to the credits. I really thought the episode was going to end as if it were the end of Macross Zero but it transitions to Ranka and Nanase sitting in the audience of the theater as the audience applauses the premere the cast is called on stage one by one and when the announcer calls Ranka's name she is stunned as the theater gives her a standing ovation as the spot lights focus on her and the director takes her hand and leads her to the stage.
As I stated earlier this is my favorite episode for many reasons, the tie in with M0, the implications/possibilities it opens with the MF story and the simple fact it was great to see Ranka finally make it after all the hard work! For the keen eyed fans it was funny to see the production staff drinking the same energy drinks Aries offered the Islanders in exchange for taking blood samples.
Also pay attention to the eyecatch, VF-25<--->VF-0 magic! And some say the director in this episode is actually supposed to be Shoji Kawamori, that would be pretty cool if true!

Mao <3 Shin 2008

Ranka <3 Alto 2059