With the events of the Vajra attack largely behind them, Alto and Ranka start down their paths of pursuing their dreams. As the episode opens, Ranka learns that she has been accepted as a contestant in the upcoming Miss Macross Frontier contest. Even though she is still a little timid and has some minor self-image issues, Ranka still moves forward and does her best. A key bit of encouragement from Sheryl while she is wallowing in self doubt helps Ranka push her fears aside and leads her to putting on an impressive performance at the competition. 

Meanwhile, Alto is busy training to join the SMS. He keeps up with Ranka as best he can via phone calls and text messages, but for the most part, Alto’s days are packed full of training, instruction, and the occasional bit of hazing. Oh, and he still has to go to his normal classes. 

Finally, Ranka’s big day arrives and Alto is there in the audience to lend his support. But, of course, that’s when he is interrupted by a call from SMS and he is forced to duck out of the theater to take part in his final combat training test. On the way out, Alto catches a glimpse of his father. When asked, the senior Saotome denies knowing his own son. Angered at this, Alto rushes off to his training session ready to rush through it so he can get back to lending his support to Ranka. 

At this point, the episode takes a delightfully Macross turn as Ranka chooses to sing “Watashi no Kare wa Pilot” (My Boyfriend is a pilot) for the talent portion of the Miss Macross contest. The song is wonderfully timed to Alto fighting a mock battle against a group of Zentradi in Queadluuns who are known as SMS’ “Pixie Squadron.” Alto performs well, but his mock battle is cut short when a real Vajra folds in and attacks. Working together with Pixie Squadron’s leader, Alto successfully destroys the Vajra, though his Valkyrie takes some heavy damage in the process. 

The episodes ends with SMS renting out the Nyan Nyan restaurant that Ranka works at. We find out that Pixie Squadron’s well endowed leader, Klan Klan, reverts to the apparent age of a young teenage girl when she shrinks down to human size. Klan chases Michael around the restaurant in revenge for his teasing her while Alto and Ranka share a moment. Ranka, who we find out lost the Miss Macross contest, declares the whole thing futile, but Alto reminds her that her whole point of stepping out wasn’t to win but to let people know she existed. 

Alto heads to school the next morning after a long night of partying only to be tripped up by a dangerously cheerful Sheryl Nome. “Hi.” She says with a smile and a wave that lets Alto know he is in big trouble! 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Alto’s amusing training montage. He had it rough with Ozma and Michael as his primary instructors! 
  • That blink and you missed it moment where Alto and Klan’s engine contrails form a heart shape just as Ranka is singing about the same thing. 
  • That moment where Klan is flailing away at Michael but he is holding her back with one finger. 

Episode Impressions: 

I like this episode. Like Episode 2, it references back to the history of the Macross universe and does so in a respectful, exciting kind of way. The updated “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” song and the inclusion of the Zentradi fighting units is a pretty big nostalgia boost. And the combat continues to be well animated.

I also like that moment in the end where Alto taps Ranka on the head with his paper airplane. Maybe Ranka forgot a little bit why she stepped out of her comfort zone in the first place, but Alto remembered and did a nice thing in reminding her to cheer her up. 

Like this episode, episode 9 of SDF Macross was titled “Miss Macross”. That’s about as direct of a callback as you can get! 

The brief moment where Alto and his father regard each other seems important. It looks like Alto’s father still sees his son as a kabuki actor which greatly angers Alto. 

Ranka did well at the Miss Macross contest. No, she didn’t win, but it looks like she placed pretty high seeing that she was on stage as the winner was announced. Failing to win the contest won’t skyrocket Ranka to fame and fortune, but it is a small step on her way forward. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

0:33 – That single songstress referenced here would be Lynn Minmay, one of the main characters of SDF Macross.

4:12 – I find the typing interface on Ranka’s soft cellphone to be super interesting. But, then again, we’re so far removed from things like T9 typing mode on old cellphones that maybe what she was doing wasn’t too crazy from a show that came out more than a decade ago? 

4:16 – I like that teacher. He doesn’t send you to detention if you fall asleep in class, he just wacks you in the back of the head to wake you up. 😛 

4:29 – I’m not sure kicking someone at the gun range for missing a shot is entirely safe… 

4:36 – Heh. Lead Macross protagonists seem to lose at martial arts fairly often. Shin Kudo, during his training on the Valkyrie V-0, got beat pretty good by a tall woman from the army in Macross Zero. 

5:55 – Miss Macross is a long tradition dating back to Space War 1 where the refugees who were sucked along with the original Macross’ unplanned space fold set up a city inside the ship. They were becoming restless as the Macross made its way from Pluto back to Earth, so one of the things they did to pass the time was hold a sort of beauty / talent competition called Miss Macross. Some fifty years later it looks like the various Macross fleets are still holding a similar version of that original contest.

7:49 – Zentradi Queadluuns were the main “fighter” unit opposing the good guys in “Do You Remember Love?”. They are closer to space capable power armor than fighter planes, though, since full size Zentradi are roughly as big as a Valkyrie. Female piloted Queadluuns (the Zentradi fleets did not mix male and females back during Space War 1) were especially dangerous. That quick view of three of them and that eager smile sure implies that they still are! 

10:39 – It appears there is bad blood between Alto and his father. Maybe that’s why Alto gets so worked up about it any time someone mentions Kabuki. 

13:38 – The person sitting behind Alto’s empty seat shows back up in future episodes.

14:50 – “My Boyfriend is a pilot” is one of the main songs that Lynn Minmay sang in SDF Macross. It helped end the war with the Zentradi, which is why it is referred to as a famous song. The original was a good bit less upbeat. I like the Ranka / Frontier version better. 

15:20 – I love the heart shape space contrails that go along with the song. (It’s real quick! Keep your eyes open or you’ll miss it!) 

16:44 – Ah, ok… so that’s why some in the Frontier fleet keep referring to knowing about the Vajra… 

18:39 – Leon is still oddly interested in Ranka. Did he say something about her to the judges? 

18:55 – Miranda Meilin is a reference to a very minor in-universe movie star named Jamis Meilin who participated in the original Miss Macross contest 50ish years before. Miranda, who does show up at least once more in Macross Frontier, is thought to be her granddaughter. In the Miss Macross episode of SDF Macross, some character notes that Jamis is far too well known to be participating and should have been made a guest judge, so it’s fun to see that Sheryl, who is of course very well known, actually is a guest judge for this contest. 

20:27 – Even in the original series, Zentradi could change from their large size to human size. Klan Klan is the only example I know of where the change seems to affect their apparent age. The micronizing / macronizing works via a sorta tube-like set of tanks and takes a few minutes. 

20:44 – Too much silliness turns me away from things (well, most of the time) but I like the animation of Klan flailing away at Michael here. 

 22:22 “Hi.” Oh boy… 

Next Episode: Star Date

It looks like Sheryl and Alto sightsee on Frontier together and somehow come across Ranka and Michael. We’re told that the three main characters meet up at an unlikely location. I wonder where that is?