We start this episode with a confirmation of what we’ve already learned through comments made by Sheryl and her assistant Grace. That the Macross Galaxy fleet was more heavily specialized in cybernetics that the Frontier fleet is. 

As we get into this episode, Macross Quarter and several support ships defold into the area of space that two of the Galaxy’s remaining warships are trapped in. Apparently the Vajra have been chasing them and neither ship has been able to escape on its own. One small twist to the Quarter’s mission is revealed when Cathy says that even though their first priority is to rescue survivors from the Galaxy, collecting combat data on the Vajra’s forces has a similar if not greater priority. And that this order comes straight from Frontier’s President. 

As the Macross Quarter proceeds into battle, Sheryl is still onstage performing in her live concert. Despite her best efforts, knowledge of the desperate situation her home fleet is in gets to Sheryl emotionally multiple times during her performance. Perhaps she hated the Galaxy as a child, but she is clearly deeply worried about it in the present day. During a brief intermission, Grace updates Sheryl on how the distant battle is unfolding, going so far to show Sheryl near real time footage that she has somehow managed to hack into. 

Twelve light years away, the SMS and NUNS forces are doing well. Ozma is proving once again that he is an excellent pilot. Michael takes up his role as a sniper. Luca flies a situational awareness / data collection role while his Ghost fighters support him, and Alto does his best to keep up with the others. We also get to see Canaria land her König Monster on one of the fleeing Galaxy ships. Her barrage of reactive warheads lights up space clearing the way for the SMS forces to get closer to the main battle. 

Coming back from her intermission, Sheryl is again visibly troubled by the knowledge of what is going on. This time, she very nearly breaks down and is at the point of tears when she somehow hears Ranka in the crowd. It seems that there is more to this than just Sheryl hearing Ranka’s voice or spotting her in the distance. The two seem to have some sort of connection to each other, a connection that lets Ranka encourage Sheryl to keep singing.

Back at the battle, a large Vajra warship folds in and takes out one of the remaining Galaxy ships with one powerful shot. Luca, wanting to collect as much information as possible, strays too close and his fighter is captured by a red Vajra and is pulled into the Vajra warship. As Sheryl and Ranka being to sing “Infinity”, Alto charges into the heart of the battle and forces his way into the Vajra warship. Inside he finds Luca’s fighter entangled, but before he can rescue Luca, multiple smaller yellow Vajra engage him from several different directions. Just as it appears one of the Vajra has Alto pinned, Sheryl’s earring sparkles and the song that Sheryl and Ranka are singing echoes throughout the Vajra ship. Alto, and the pilot of a strange, as yet unknown purple Valkyrie that followed Alto inside, both notice the singing before Alto is forced to eject right before his fighter is destroyed. 

Nearby, the crew of the Macross Quarter devises a plan. The Vajra ship is powerful but slow to react. Captain Wilder tells his crew to show it why the Macross Quarter was given the Macross designation despite being only 1/4th the size of a regular Macross-class warship. The Macross Quarter speeds into the fray transforming from its regular flight mode as it dodges an attack from the Vajra warship by hiding behind a nearby asteroid. The Macross Quarter then forces open the Vajra warship allowing Alto to pilot Luca’s fighter to safety before the Macross Quarter obliterates the Vajra ship with a single powerful shot from its Macross Cannon. 

Back on Frontier, Sheryl ends her concert by thanking her cheering fans as Ranka wears a satisfied smile. The episode ends back with Alto thinking about the purple Valkyrie that nearly doomed his efforts to save Luca. We then see that mysterious pilot accompanied by two similar Valkyries in the Fold. The pilot takes the harmonica that is hanging around his neck and ends the episode by playing the first few notes of Ranka’s Aimo! 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Sheryl’s concert. All of it. From the intense effort she put into her songs to the moments of weakness she showed as she tried to remained unaffected by the events happening around her. 
  • The space battle. All of it. From Ozma’s “Macross Missile Massacre” to Alto’s eventual impressive showing as he charged in to rescue Luca. 
  • The combination of the two. Sheryl’s songs backing the fast paced action worked very well. Even more so when it seemed apparent that Sheryl and Ranka’s singing was somehow being relayed through Sheryl’s earring. 

Episode Impressions:

Another spectacular episode! Perhaps Frontier’s best yet. It was mainly spit into the two parts of the battle and the concert, and it was so well done. The concert and Sheryl’s singing served to add an extra layer of excitement to the space battles. 

And the battles themselves were great. It’s almost like if you watched Macross Plus and Macross Zero you would have learned the “combat language” of Macross. Things like using the three modes of a Valkyrie to adapt to each combat situation. Or switching modes to dodge enemy fire, attack the enemy, or shoot down enemy missiles. And now, Frontier makes use of that language at full speed to make a battle that was very fast paced but felt completely at home in the Macross universe. 

We also end on a bit of a mysterious note that seems to say that while the big battle is over, we still have more story to come. 

Once again, we see Grace managing to get unprecedented access to Frontier’s systems. Being able to display near real time footage of an ongoing battle must take some extreme hacking skills. Not to mention that it has got to be all kinds of illegal. Not that Sheryl cared. 

The connections being made through Sheryl’s earrings. First between Ranka and Sheryl at the concert. And later between Ranka, Sheryl, and Alto twelve light years away at the space battle. Each time a connection was made one of the earrings would sparkle. It’s very obvious the final time it happens just before Alto’s fighter is destroyed since we cut from Sheryl’s earring directly to the one Alto borrowed and both are sparkling the same way.

That purple Valkyrie, its similar escorts, and the fact that the pilot seems to know “Aimo” all feels mysterious but also very important. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

0:30 – There’s a better look at the Galaxy fleet’s main ship. I think this ship might actually be Battle Galaxy and that the rest of the Galaxy fleet has been destroyed by this point.

5:10 – Ozma referring to Alto as a hatchling has got to be a callback to Roy Focker calling the new pilots under his command hatchlings in Macross Zero

5:19 – Planet Dance is the name of one of the main songs the Macross 7 band Fire Bomber sings. Ozma loves Fire Bomber’s music and will often use their song titles as formation names. 

7:05 – The Konig Monster type battleroid is first seen in SDF Macross and one of them plays a small but critical role in Macross Zero when it fires nukes at the fully active Bird Human.

12:31 – Lynn Minmay once had a similar heartfelt on-stage speech during “Do You Remember Love?” where she is saying goodbye to the ship she has spent the last few days performing for. 

14:08 – This is the first new song we’ve heard on Macross Frontier since the ones Sheryl sang in her opening concert. It is called “Infinity”

15:28 – Alto jettisoning his Super Pack and using it as a decoy for the enemy missiles is very similar to what Shin Kudo did as he approached the Bird Human at the end of Macross Zero. 

17:25 – In SDF Macross, the Macross only transformed because it’s main gun was damaged and rearranging the geometry of the ship was the only way to reconnect the guns to the main reactor. It was not a planned process, and it heavily disrupted the civilian city built within the Macross as spaces were outright crushed as the Macross changed its shape. By Macross 7, all Macross class battleships are made to transform and we see that carries over into Macross Frontier as well. 

18:02 – The Macross Quarter is literally a Macross-class ship that is a quarter of the size of ships like the original Macross or Macross 7’s Battle 7. It is a faster, more mobile ship yet still carries some significant fraction of a Macross-class ship’s firepower. 

18:25 – I may be mistaken, but I think this might be the first time in Macross history that we’ve seen a Macross-class ship fire it’s smaller battleship-style guns. The ships from each show have, of course, fired their respective Macross Cannons, but I can’t remember ever really seeing the smaller turrets firing. Damage to a turret was announced one time in SDF Macross, so we can assume the guns were being used but not shown for animation/budgetary reasons. 

19:05 – Yes, Alto and this unknown Valkyrie pilot really are hearing echoes of Sheryl and Ranka singing at Sheryl’s concert 12 lightyears away. Somehow, the songs are being transmitted by Sheryl’s earrings. 

22:34 – This pilot knows the tune to Ranka’s Aimo? That seems very significant. 

Next Episode: High School Queen

Not a lot can be gleaned from this preview. We’re told that Ranka transfers to Alto’s school and we see some shots of Sheryl wearing Ex-Gear, but it’s kinda anyone’s guess as to what is really going on!