Once again, we open with some action, but this episode quickly transitions to laying out character histories and motivations. The Vajra that surprised our main trio pulls back an arm to attack but is stopped when Ozma, Michael, and Luca intervene. Michael manages to snipe the Vajra’s head, but that’s not enough. The Vajra breaks free and damages the dome near Alto, Ranka, and Sheryl forcing them to seek safety in a nearby emergency shelter. 

Alto and Sheryl butt heads in the cramped shelter while Ranka does her best to separate the two. Something that is made all the harder when the battle outside sends the three toppling to the ground and causes Sheryl to have an accidental wardrobe malfunction. Sheryl’s assistant Grace uses her cybernetic implant to access Frontier’s network and locate our trapped trio allowing Cathy to come to their rescue before the air in the shelter is used up.

Out in space, Ozma and the others eventually defeat the remaining Vajra, but Ozma took some fire during the battle and passes out due to his injuries. Unfortunately, Ranka gets a good look at her wounded brother as Michael and Luca carry his Valkyrie back in to safety. Later, in Ozma’s hospital room, Alto learns the truth about Ranka. She narrowly survived a Vajra attack eleven years ago, but all her actual relatives, her parents, and her siblings were not so fortunate. Ozma, who was a Valkyrie pilot in the military at that time, took in young Ranka as his little sister. Alto demands to join Ozma and the others as a fighter pilot in the SMS in order to fight the Vajra and is given 24 hours to carefully consider if he’s really up for risking his life in battle. 

Meanwhile, Lead Presidential Aide Leon Mishima is surprised to find Ranka’s file among the list of civilians who came in contact with the Vajra. Elsewhere, Sheryl realizes that she will have to track Alto down again because in all the excitement she forgot all about her missing earring. 

Lost in thought about the important decisions he has to make, Alto winds up at the Frontier’s recreation of Griffith Observatory where he encounters Ranka singing a special tune. The two get to chatting and Ranka reveals the fears she experienced when she thought she might die in the emergency shelter. Alto offers her encouragement then listens to her song. As the episode ends, Alto formally accepts a position as a fighter pilot with SMS while Ranka takes both Alto’s and Sheryl’s recent encouragements to heart and applies to participate in Frontier’s upcoming Miss Macross competition. 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Alto and Sheryl’s argument in the emergency shelter. It seems that almost everyone defers to Sheryl’s every whim, yet Alto isn’t afraid to call her out for her behavior. 
  • Alto and Ranka’s encounter at Griffith Observatory. It’s funny when Alto admits that he gets called mean a lot. Still, his roundabout encouragement to Ranka is thoughtful and sincere.
  • I found Ranka’s song beautiful and that one profile shot of her is nicely animated. 

Episode Impressions: 

This episode was neat because it moved away from the guns blazing action and actually started taking a peak at character motivations. Alto has gained a desire to fight and protect after getting a taste for it during his initial encounter with the Vajra. Ranka admitted her fear of dying and being forgotten and has apparently moved to act on her wish to tell everyone she is alive by participating in the upcoming Miss Macross contest. It’s a very humanizing moment for Ranka and makes her stand out as more of a well rounded character where she has mostly just been a clumsy girl or one panicked in the face of danger up until now. 

Once again, we also get to see different shades of Sheryl. In the shelter she is almost aggressively confident. Then, once she and the others are rescued, she is both able to make light of her embarrassing accident, and she goes out of her way to encourage Ranka to chase after her dreams. Sheryl’s personality seems so far away from the rude, demanding person she was during the first episode that I almost wonder if we the audience weren’t being intentionally misled about her personality so as to reveal her deeper layers later on.

The episode manages to pack in some of Ozma’s and Ranka’s past and a little bit of political/government intrigue, as well, when Leon is startled/surprised by finding Ranka’s file among those who came in contact with the Vajra. All in all, a heck of a lot happens in a mere 23 minutes all without feeling particularly rushed or out of place. Fancy battle scenes are great and all, but character moments like the ones were got here are just as important, if not more so. 

Alto’s down to earth treatment of Sheryl is something to take note of and will continue to be an important part of the way the two of them interact. 

Sheryl’s encouragement and support of Ranka will also continue to be a fairly major thing going forward. 

Grace’s fairly subdued offer to use her cybernetic implant is something to pay attention to and will become more important as the story moves forward. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

4:25 – It’s neat that the Frontier has designated shelters in case of some sort of major catastrophe that causes a loss of pressure. 

7:05 – So, Alto is one of the few people who’s not going to fawn over Sheryl.  

8:15 – Grace has some sort of wired computer implant? Something that might normally be considered illegal on Frontier? Later on, we’ll learn a little bit more about the difference between the Frontier fleet and other fleets like the Galaxy fleet that Sheryl and Grace come from. 

10:21 – Interesting that Sheryl even assumes that Alto would have optical data of… her. Cybernetic implants must be a lot more common on Galaxy. (That will be confirmed later on, it’s just worth noting that even Sheryl is not used to the lack of implants among normal Frontier citizens.) 

11:35 – I like the reverse angle reflection of Ranka in the glass and the way she bumps into it while running forward after seeing her brother injured.

13:30 – I don’t quite understand the scale of the Vajra attacking that ship. Is the ship small like a shuttle? Is that Vajra like 10x bigger than normal?

17:42 – Griffith Observatory is, of course, a real place. Island 1 apparently has replicas of multiple earth landmarks. Landmarks that likely no longer exist in the Macross universe since the Zentradi fleet that attacked earth leveled most everything with their large scale orbital bombardment back 50+ years ago in 2009.

19:34 – I really like that profile shot of Ranka singing Aimo. There’s an innocence and realism there that is really neat. The first few words of the song “Aimo” are not Japanese. They are from another in-universe language that will be revealed later. 

20:01 – That wide shot of the observatory, city, and lake is really pretty!

Next Episode: Miss Macross

Seeing Ranka in a swimsuit is a pretty heavy callback to Lynn Minmay in her swimsuit during the original Miss Macross pageant in SDF Macross. We also see Alto engaging with Zentradi Queadluuns. It will be one hell of a callback to SDF Macross if Alto is so preoccupied trying to watch Ranka’s performance while on patrol that he somehow manages to get ambushed by a group of warlike Zentradi!