Ranka’s career has finally kicked into high gear after her prominent role in the Bird Human movie. Elmo has her racing from job to job with little time to rest in between. But Ranka is upbeat about it all, even saying that every new day is like a day come true. But, even with how busy she is, she is keeping Alto’s upcoming birthday in mind. 

Sheryl, on the other hand, has seen her workload slow somewhat in recent weeks, but she has an upcoming rare job that she is gearing up for. It seems that the Zentradi on Gallia 4 have become restless and have either strongly requested or outright demanded entertainment or else they will mutiny. 

Cathy and Ozma are looking into some of the strange happenings that have been going on lately. These include Sheryl’s trip to Gallia 4, the plague that infected the hydras, the unknown purple Valkyrie, and more. We also learn that Ozma really did not like that Ranka starred in Bird Human! 

Back at Mihoshi Academy, Ranka and the others look up information on Gallia 4 but are interrupted when Alto’s “brother” Yasaburō arrives. At a restaurant nearby, Yasaburō congratulates Alto on acting again but then informs him that his father is ill. Yasaburō then offers Alto a birthday present…  

We rejoin Ranka in some sort of mall or shopping center and learn that she has gotten Elmo to secure her two physical tickets to her upcoming live show. Sheryl happens to be there as well and indicates that she knows exactly why Ranka wanted the tickets. Ranka and Sheryl talk a little about Alto’s upcoming birthday, but then Sheryl becomes dizzy and drops her coffee. A little later, Grace performs a scan on Sheryl and lets her know that she is suffering from a worsening fever. She suggests Sheryl rest, but Sheryl is determined to perform at Gallia 4. Grace notes that she should have never told Sheryl that there might be survivors of the Galaxy fleet there. 

Leon is still in communication with his informant who lets him know that Sheryl is for sure going to attempt her concert. The informat also thanks Leon for some large item he obtained from LAI, the advanced research company that Luca is one of the heirs of. It seems that someone is keeping a very close watch on Sheryl… 

Meanwhile, Cathy talks to Klan about the 33rd Naval Fleet stationed at Gallia 4. The way they demand entertainment irks Klan pretty badly and she comments that they are a disgrace to the warrior spirit of the Zentradi. 

Later, Ranka and Nanase have a phone conversation about Alto’s upcoming birthday. Nanase urges Ranka to call Alto and to meet up with him soon as she has observed Alto and Sheryl together a lot lately. Ranka hesitates and considers her relationship with Alto but ultimately takes Nanase’s advice and gives Alto a call. Unfortunately, she just gets his voicemail, but she still leaves him a nice message to meet her at Griffith Park so she can give him a present. 

Alto, however is still stewing about the offer Yasaburō made to him and ends up in the observation area near the Macross Quarter where Ranka and Sheryl once sang together in Episode 3. Alto contemplates the present his brother offered him. In a flashback we see that if Alto will apologize to his father, Yasaburō has gotten assurances that Alto’s father will accept him back into the family. This news does not please Alto, but Yasaburō makes the point that even while upset, Alto is acting more upset that he really is.

Sheryl then arrives and thanks Alto for waiting for him. She goads him a bit about still wearing his school uniform and he returns the favor by criticism her somewhat revealing outfit. Sheryl, however wins the argument by noting that unlike Alto’s chest, hers can provide people with hopes and dreams. Alto wants to know why Sheryl called to meet him. It turns out that Sheryl, like Yasaburō and Ranka, wants to offer Alto a birthday present. She gets his attention by knowingly asks him if he wants to fly in a truly endless sky. 

Alto now has a decision to make. Three people have offered him tempting birthday presents, but all three are mutually exclusive. And he has to choose. We cut to Ranka running to meet Alto at the observatory only to see that it is Michael, not Alto, who is waiting there for her. Michael relays Alto’s apologies and we then learn that Alto has chosen to escort Sheryl to Gallia 4 where he will get to finally fly in the atmosphere of a planet. 

Sheryl, now onboard her starliner, thanks Alto for coming with her. In the seat across the isle, however, we seem to learn that it is Grace who has been Leon’s informant all along. And that they have something big planned. Brera appears to be heading to Gallia 4 as well. 

Finally, we see a disappointed Ranka at Griffith Observatory as she is comforted by that strange green creature. She holds up one of the airplane shaped cookies she baked for Alto. She takes a bit of it and exclaims “It’s bitter…” which just about sums up her attempts at pleasing Alto. 🙁 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Ranka’s hurried day as she finally gets to live her dream of being an accomplished actress / singer. It was nice to see that her starring role in Bird Human really did lead her to much more success. 
  • Ranka’s worries over her and Sheryl’s relationship with Alto as she sit in her dressing room. It felt very natural for Ranka to debate with herself over what she should do. 
  • Alto waiting for Sheryl outside the Macross Quarter. It’s the second time the two of them have been in that spot and had something consequential happen. It’s also just a really cool spot with an impressive view of the SMS fighters launching. 

Episode Impressions: 

I found myself writing a lot less about this episode than I did the previous one, but I don’t think this episode is bad in any way. We get a good look at some of the relationships between Alto, Ranka, and Sheryl and more insight into why Alto ran away from his life as an actor. And it’s all good stuff. I like this episode because it shows that not everything in Frontier needs to be hurried, or a space battle, or a wacky nostalgic film shoot for it to be impactful. This was a character-centric episode and I think it accomplished a fair bit being what it was. 

On the other hand, this was also a setup episode where plot points are being moved into place, but really not a ton happens in the meantime. Not only does it split the party, it seems that Leon and Grace (of all people!) have plans that are close to coming about. So, it is a slower episode, but I think that’s ok as long as the setups lead to new excitement down the road. 

This episode’s title and general theme are references to the SDF Macross episode “Longest Birthday”. In that episode, it is pilot Hikaru, who is busy as a Valkyrie pilot and team leader, who is hard pressed to find the time to wish Lynn Minmay a happy birthday. 

I think the big key moment that comes out of this episode, aside from Alto and Sheryl leaving Frontier to journey to Gallia 4, is the reveal that it is Grace who has been working with Leon as an informant and who has been the handler for Brera Stern this whole time. Brera hasn’t actually done any permanent harm to any good guys, but his and Grace’s real mission is, as yet, very unclear. And there’s a big new question now: Why is Grace acting as Sheryl’s quiet, demure manager while also arranging plots that involve cyborg Valkyrie pilots and the top aide to the president of the Frontier fleet? 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

0:10 – While Sheryl’s advertisements are still around the Island 1 city, Ranka is now on Nyan Nyan ads and has prominent placement along side Sheryl. The Bird Human movie really raised Ranka’s popularity it seems! 

3:15 – Ranka’s busy schedule mirrors Lynn Minmay’s rushed schedule in SDF Macross. It remains to be seen if Ranka will feel as equally burnt out as Minmay did at after a while. 

7:18 – It sounds like fold faults don’t affect the amount of time it feels like you take to go from point a to point b, but they do affect how much time passes for everyone else while you travel. In this case, what will feel like a day’s flight will take something like a week for those back on Frontier. 

10:39 – Now we see that Grace has thermal vision. What can’t she do?!

12:15 – The large Zentradi ship is a mobile fortress of the like that was only seen in Do You Remember Love?. 

11:31 – The only person that could have confirmed that Sheryl was going to Gallia 4 would be Grace, wouldn’t it? What is going on? Note that Leon is holding that purple crystal he was given at the restaurant a little while back… 

17:20 – “I’m Sheryl” is almost the equivalent of “Because I’m Batman.” 

18:17 – So, Alto has three birthday choices in front of him. And all of them are mutually exclusive. That’s got to be tough. 

19:22 – Well, that’s gotta be a little be heartbreaking for Ranka. But, Alto has expressed his desire to fly in a real sky since the beginning and he doesn’t seem to want anything to do with his family, so maybe his choice was the obvious one?

19:35 – The concept of the Fold Booster seems to have originated with Do You Remember Love?. Development of prototype fold boosters happened in both Macross Plus and Macross 7 with varying degrees of success. It looks like a similar technology is being used by the Frontier fleet. 

20:51 – Oh boy! It sure seems like Grace is conspiring with Leon over something. There have been hints that it was her before, but this seems like outright confirmation that the two are plotting together! 

22:19 – “It’s bitter!” Aww. That sorta sums up the entire episode from Ranka’s point of view. 🙁 

22:22 – “Cat Diary” is probably my favorite song that Ranka sings. We see it here in the end credits and it features in an even more beautiful scene near the end of the next episode. 

22:37 – This picture of Ranka baking Alto’s cookies is so cute! 

Next Episode: Fastest Delivery

Whoa! I expected this next episode to be a new Sheryl concert, but here we’re seeing what looks like Alto battling Kamjin Kravshera, a prominent villain who died in SDF Macross. This will prove to be interesting!