It turns out that the purple-haired man that approached Ranka near the end of Star Date is someone named Elmo Kridanik and is the head of a promotion company called Vector Promotions. Thanks to her singing in the Zentradi mall, Ranka has gotten her first big break and has been scouted! All that’s left to do is to get her brother’s permission, which Ozma gives in the most overly dramatic fashion possible. 

To celebrate, Ranka, Nanase, Michael, Luca, and Alto head to a fancy outdoor cafe. Ranka is a bit embarrassed, but all her friends are so excited and supportive of her… except Alto who is his usual reserved self. But even he agrees to cheer Ranka on after getting harsh glares from the others. Ranka tells Alto that she would have told him first, but that she didn’t want to interrupt him. Alto smiles and notes that interrupting him had never stopped her before. He even tells her he was at the mall and heard her singing, but then Ranka asks him what he was doing there, and in a misguided effort to protect Ranka’s feelings, Alto lies to her about being at the mall alone. To make matters worse he even hands her a ticket to Sheryl’s next concert as a congratulations for being scouted. It’s all Ranka can do to say a disappointed thank you to Alto given she saw him there with Sheryl that day.

Meanwhile, news of the Vajra attack on the Macross Galaxy fleet is spreading. Frontier’s President, Howard Glass, makes a startling public announcement revealing the Galaxy’s distress call and that he will be sending reinforcements to the Galaxy fleet. At nearly the same time, Grace relays the terrible news to a distraught Sheryl who was, only moments before, happily preparing for her goodbye concert. 

Back at the cafe, Michael receives a call from Ozma telling him that all of SMS is now under Exemption Clause B which basically has them conscripted as soldiers during a state of emergency. Alto, Michael, and Luca are required to return to SMS headquarters at once to await orders. That night, Ozma promises Ranka that even though a war is coming, he won’t let himself or the others die. 

At SMS headquarters, Alto catches a replay of a press conferences Sheryl attended earlier that day. An initially stone faced Sheryl voices her faith in her home fleet and thanks the people of Frontier for agreeing to come to the Galaxy’s aid. When a reporter notes that he believes her upcoming live concert will be canceled, we see a bit of Sheryl’s fiesty side as she grabs his microphone and pulls the tv camera closer to herself and then defiantly states her intention to have her goodbye concert before returning to her home fleet. Alto remembers something and rushes off despite orders to stay put. 

Elsewhere, at SMS headquarters, we see that what had previously just appeared to be a military base that the SMS launched out of is in fact a small warship or carrier that is making preparations to be a part of the fleet that will be sent to rescue the Galaxy. Unexpectedly, Cathy shows up on Leon’s orders. She is meant to provide assistance to the SMS as a liaison to the New U.N. Spacy. It’s a job she seems somewhat uncomfortable with. The SMS crew doesn’t seem to like it any more than she does. 

Soon, we find out where Alto ran off to. Apparently, he previously found Sheryl’s earring and has now rushed off to deliver it to her before anything else happens. The two of them share a candid conversation in which Sheryl confides in Alto that while she put on a strong face during her earlier interview, her childhood growing up on the Galaxy was not a happy one. She lost both her parents when she was young and seems to have lived as an orphan for some significant amount of time after that. Alto is taken aback by Sheryl’s candidness, then states that he is going to borrow her lucky earring to help him in the battle to come. Sheryl agrees, telling him it is only a loan and that she expects it safely back once the battle is finished. 

The episode ends with Alto and the other SMS members launching on what we finally learn isn’t a fixed headquarters or even a normal carrier. This whole time, the SMS has been based out of some sort of Macross-class warship. We are treated to a beautiful scene of Sheryl singing in a long blue dress while the “Macross Quarter” completes its launch sequence. 

Specific Scenes I Loved:

Elmo begging Ozma to let him promote Ranka’s singing career. It’s almost like a suitor asking a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. And Ozma’s reaction is so over the top that Ranka gets this “…are you kidding me?!” kind of deadpan expression on her face as her brother finally agrees to her singing career.

The sad, awkward interaction between Alto and Ranka as she tried to delicately pry into what he was doing with Sheryl at the mall and he makes his unfortunate, misguided attempt to not ruin her day by lying to her about being there alone. There’s a level of conflicting intentions and emotions between Alto and Ranka in that scene that is absolutely heartbreaking. 

The way Ranka reacts by gripping onto Alto during President Glass’ announcement. It is highly reminiscent of the way she was unable to let got of him back when they were forced into the emergency shelter during the second Vajra attack. 

The interactions between Alto and Sheryl when Alto brings her back her earring. Sheryl’s admission that she hated the Galaxy, at least when she was a child, shows a new level of trust between Alto and herself. Alto’s slightly playful dismissive reaction continues their streak of toying with and annoying each other. Sheryl allowing him to take her earring shows that the two of them really do understand and possibly even care for each other in some way. 

Episode Impressions: 

Wow! If any of the previous episodes were good, then this one was utterly fantastic. This episode is all about personalities and budding relationships and misunderstandings. 

Ranka’s joy and hardship at being scouted only to then learn that her brother and friends will soon be going off to battle is such an interesting mood swing for her. And the way her feelings are unintentionally hurt by Alto at the cafe shows a maturity of writing that not many shows possess. It’s not easy to write a character who is trying to be kind but in the process does the exact wrong thing. 

Likewise, Sheryl’s interview is great as well. The way Sheryl goes from almost dispassionate and in a state of shock to defiant and encouraging is just so good and really shows her range of character. 

Then there’s Alto and Sheryl’s conversation that again shows how these two characters can have their personalities clang and clash but still recognize that the other has good intentions. Alto had better take good care of that earring, though, if he knows what’s good for him! 

Finally Sheryl’s emotional, heartfelt rendition of “Diamond Crevasse” paired with the absolutely gorgeous blue visuals and interleaved with the Macross Quarter’s departure is such a perfect example of what makes the Macross franchise special. 

Though it’s a little hard to be sure of the exact timing, it sure seems as if Grace got news of the Vajra attack on the Galaxy fleet at the same time or possibly even before President Glass did. At the very least, it certainly appears that Sheryl got the terrible news before President Glass made his announcement.

We’ve gotten a few glimpses of what appears to be Battle Frontier, the Frontier Fleet’s primarily Macross-class vessel docked at the front of Island 1 similar to how Battle 7 was docked at the front of City 7 in Macross 7. That would make the “Macross Quarter” a second Macross-class ship assigned to the Frontier fleet. That the SMS has full run of a Macross-class ship is a big deal. We have never seen more than one Macross-class ship attached to a single fleet in any Macross series before. 

That the Macross Galaxy’s distress signal was so dire but is also around five days old is not a good sign. Neither is the fact that the only ships from the Galaxy fleet we’ve seen escape the battle so far are a lone fighter and a badly damaged warship. It may already be too late for the Galaxy’s civilian ships! 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

This episode’s title is possibly a reference to Episode 7 of the SDF Macross which was titled Bye-Bye Mars. The episodes don’t have much more than a title in common, however. 

0:00 – We get a quick look at Space Folding, Macross’ version of faster than light travel. With it, ships can travel between the stars, but there are two issues with Space Fold technology. First, is the existence of Fold Faults that add a great deal of travel time causing folds that should take hours to take days instead. Fold Faults are a new twist that has only been mentioned as of Macross Frontier. Second, is that the energy requirements of a fold skyrocket the further you want your jump to be. This precludes traveling quickly across the galaxy. The larger a ship you try to fold, the more those energy requirements increase as well. 

0:37 – Elmo, the director of Vector Promotions, uses as his email address. Minmay, of course, refers to Lynn Minmay from SDF Macross. Note that he is the same person (with the green glasses) who was sitting behind Alto at the Miss Macross contest. Likely, he was attempting to scout new talent for his company. 

4:50 – When I hear someone suggest that they make an enemy listen to a song I get immediate flashbacks of Basara from Macross 7 singing away at the top of his lungs while everyone around him is being blow out of the sky. That said, songs and singers have played a major role in actually ending conflicts across almost every interaction of the Macross series so far. In Macross, singing at the enemy is sometimes a perfectly valid strategy!

5:04 – Looks like the Frontier Fleet invested heavily in Microsoft Surface Big Ass Tables… Search YouTube for the original Microsoft Surface table ad and then go find the hilarious parody of it and you’ll see what I mean.

7:06 – That drawing has some cool theming with the spoon and salt shaker. 

9:03 – There are a lot of explosions and friendly ships crowding the view, but note that the Macross Galaxy does not appear to have a domed city ship and is instead a big self-contained ship. This would be consistent with what Sheryl said in the previous episode and why she is so impressed by the Frontier fleet. Either that, or the ship we are looking at is simply Battle Galaxy, the Galaxy fleet’s Macross-class ship…

12:25 – I love how confident Sheryl gets in this moment. It is possible that given the previous scene between Leon and Cathy that this last reporter is a plant who asked a provocative question intentionally to get Sheryl to give a heated, patriotic response. 

13:50 – By Cathrine Glass being assigned to the Macross Quarter she will now essentially serve the same role that Misa Hayase occupied in SDF Macross. 

14:33 – Again, we see that Sheryl might not really be the bossy jerk she appeared to be in the first couple of episodes. 

15:21 – Note that at least a couple of these Deneb-class ships were seen defending the Macross Galaxy during that distress call earlier. It is not a good sign that they are here now without the main Galaxy ship. 

18:49 – What Cathy says to Ozma about avoiding private conversations is almost exactly the same thing that Claudia LeSalle, a bridge officer on the original Macross, said to protagonist Valkyrie pilot Hikaru early in SDF Macross. Both Cathy and Claudia were relaying orders to the fighter squadrons and both were getting talk back from their pilots. So, that was a fun little callback there. 

Next Episode: First Attack

It looks like Ranka finally arrives at Sheryl’s concert and that we’re going to get some combat set to music. There looks to be a Vajra warship we haven’t seen before, so maybe the Macross Quarter will make is power known.