We start this episode by watching as Ozma reminisces about his early days after adopting Ranka. Notably, he first manages to break through her catatonic state by baking her what was apparently a terrible tasting pineapple cake. 

Oh! And look! We’ve got a new bizarrely colorful opening. I’m guessing this episode is somewhat Ranka centric? :p

At SMS, both Alto and Michael are being forced to do laps in their unpowered Ex-Gear as administered by Cathy as punishment for bringing Sheryl aboard the Macross Quarter. When they are finished, Michael remembers the medicine pill he kept after Sheryl either lost it or refused to take it back on Gallia 4. He arranges a meeting with Klan and asks her to introduce him to someone with pharmaceutical training. Klan had hoped Michael was asking her out to a date and is upset when she thinks Michael is just looking to use her to meet more women. The two of them being to argue but then spot Luca getting a government escort across the way. 

Cathy and Ozma have another one of their increasingly frequent government conspiracy meetings. This time, they meet in Cathy’s quarters where she has ripped all of the cameras and microphones out of the walls. It’s clear now that Leon and one or more people from the Galaxy equipped with implants are involved in some sort of conspiracy. Cathy and Ozma seem to be reconnecting after their breakup years ago. At the same time, Ozma can’t understand why Ranka needs to put herself in danger when new anti-Vajra weapons should be enough for Frontier to effectively counter their attacks. Ozma again reminisces about pineapple cake. It seems the one he made for Ranka so long ago was based on the cakes and recipe that Cathy had made for him and given to him back when they were together. 

Elsewhere, Alto sneaks up to Ranka’s apartment where the two of them talk about the Vajra and Ranka’s singing experiment from the previous episode. Alto shares his belief that the galaxy isn’t really big enough for both Humanity and the Vajra if the Vajra keep attacking them on sight like they have in the past. Ranka cheers up and tells Alto that she’ll keep singing if her voice can help in the slightest. 

Next, we see just where Luca has been going. He is again meeting with Leon where we learn that fold quartz is produced within the bodies of the Vajra and that it is the key to dramatically faster travel through fold space. Luca guesses that’s what Leon is after, but Leon and Grace seem to indicate that their plans are much bigger than that. 

Over at the Island 3 Vajra research facility, we find that Ozma is attempting to break in to further his search for answers. Unfortunately, Brera is there following him and the two nearly come to blows. Well… more like Ozma fires multiple shots at Brera and misses placing the two in something of a Mexican standoff. Ozma demands to know why Brera and the others are using Ranka’s dreams as a weapon when Frontier can oppose the Vajra on its own now. Brera seems to indicate that Frontier’s new found strength vs the Vajra is only temporary. Before the two can finish their fight, a call comes in. A new force of Vajra have appeared and are approaching the Frontier fleet. 

Ozma, SMS, and Frontier’s Spacey fly out to head off the Vajra attack and launch reactive missiles as their opening salvo, only to find that the larger red Vajra have somehow adapted and are now able to shrug off some of humanity’s most powerful weapons! They shed a layer of their armor to do so, so repeated hits might still destroy them, but even the Vajra’s secondary layer of armor seems to have gained heavy resistance to the other upgraded anti-Vajra bullets and missiles that the Frontier fleet was counting on to give them an edge. 

One of the Vajra breaks through the defense line and launches a full power directly at the Macross Quarter’s bridge only to have Ozma intercept the shot with his Valkyrie’s pinpoint barrier system just in time to save Cathy and the rest of the Quarter’s bridge crew. Brera joins the battle and we see that his more powerful beam cannon can still kill Vajra, but he reveals that every time a Vajra is killed it instantly sends information about what killed it to the rest of the hive mind which allows the Vajra to become immune to repeated attacks. Even Brera’s beam cannon will likely become useless, eventually. That’s why Ranka’s songs are necessary, Brea tells everyone. 

Ozma, however, won’t stand for it. In a moment of pure awesome, he vows to fight on as an old Fire Bomber song beings to play in the background. He kills a nearby Vajra with a combination of weapons including his energy knife, his head mounted point defense lasers, and even the Vajra’s own severed arm! Ozma turns his Valkyrie towards Cathy on the bridge of the Macross Quarter and says that the hit he absorbed was just a scratch, then asks what kind of a man he would be if he couldn’t protect his sister and the woman that he loves. I think Cathy’s engagement to Leon is about to go out the window! Alto and Michael comment on how awesome Ozma is, and they too charge the Vajra with knives drawn while Brera and his support fighters help in cleaning up the remaining Vajra. 

Back on Frontier, Ranka finally gets to have her concert, and Ozma joins Cathy in attending. Intercut with Ranka’s singing, we get an ominous look as some techs begin to make repairs to Ozma’s fighter. One of them gets to his cockpit and is shocked at what he sees. Back at the concert, Cathy playfully chastises Ozma for making such a bold declaration during battle and then offers to go back to her place to have some pineapple cake. When Ozma doesn’t respond, Cathy turns to find that he has passed out and is covered in his own blood! Apparently, that hit from the Vajra was more than just a scratch after all! We fade to black with Cathy desperately shaking an unresponsive Ozma… 

…only to cut to Frontier’s main hospital where Ozma is alive and being treated for his wounds. It turns out, this entire episode has been one big tongue-in-cheek callback to the tragic events that occurred during the SDF Macross tv show. Back then, ace pilot and mentor Roy Focker, who was also one of the lead characters in Macross Zero, bleed out and died on his girlfriend’s couch just after returning from an intense battle defending the Macross from a Zentradi attack. The kicker? His girlfriend Claudia, who was a bridge officer aboard the Macross and who served more or less in Bobby’s role as the ship’s lead tactical officer, had just finished making Roy a pineapple salad. We get Michael joking about how tragic it would have been if Ozma had died and one final pineapple cake set to the silly SMS music to finish up the heavily referential joke that this episode played on long time Macross fans. 

The episode ends, however, on a truly tense moment as Sheryl confronts Grace along one of the hospitals upper walkways. Sheryl forcefully insists that she and Grace need to have a long chat. 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Ozma and Cathy’s meeting in her quarters with all the disconnected wires and cables laying on the floor around them. Not only was their chat layered with multiple meanings, I liked the attention to detail the art team put into Cathy shielding herself from Galaxy’s hackers. 
  • Ranka standing dreamily on the stage of the theater that not to long before hosted the intergalactic superstar Sheryl Nome. Sure, this scene wasn’t quite as powerful as Ranka being led on stage after the debut of Bird Human, but I kinda consider that scene and this one connected. It’s neat to see just how far Ranka has come in only a few short weeks or months. 
  • Ozma’s rock n roll moment! 
  • The final scene where it looks like a severely pissed off Sheryl is going to reassert herself. 

Episode Impressions: 

Yeah, you pretty much have had to have seen the original Macross tv series to get this episode’s huge in-joke, but I still think this episode represents an example of Macross Frontier at its best. Even while making a joke that it knew many or most might not understand, it still managed to show us Ozma’s early relationship with Ranka, and his deteriorating and renewing relationship with Cathy. It was also able to fill us in on more about why the Vajra are so dangerous and why Grace and Leon have gone so far to find and guide Ranka into using her voice as a defense against them. This episode accomplished a lot, and also managed to wrap it all in perhaps the most inside joke in Macross’ long history.

This episode is full of plot advancement. The most important one is the reason the more advanced Macross Galaxy fleet was overwhelmed by the Vajra. Whatever weapons they were using on the Vajra eventually became ineffective. So, why has Frontier been able to hold out at all? I think it’s because we’ve seen that a lot of the Vajra frontier has been fighting have been older ones who do not have the adaptations that the younger ones do. 

The second, more subtle, key moment is Michael’s continued investigation into the pills Grace was providing to Sheryl. Something will come of his investigation… eventually. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

2:01 – This opening is so colorful and fantastic! 

5:52 – Cathy disconnected all of the cameras and speakers in her room as a precaution against someone with a cybernetic implant spying on her and Ozma. 

7:14 – Each time Ozma asks about pineapple cake is just another indicator that he is going to die for Macross fans who remember what happened to Roy Focker in SDF Macross. 

9:10 – I like the cat in the window across the way…

11:25 – So, Mr. Birler’s plan is to use fold quartz to build fold engines that can bypass the fold faults. With that kind of technology he could make so much money that he would effectively rule the galaxy. Except… it seems Leon and Grace have something even bigger in mind than controlling access to much faster trade and commerce… 

14:37- It’s neat seeing Ranka one step away from fulfilling her dreams. 

15:40 – Whoa! Apparently, Grace can change her look and her apparent gender within just a few moments. Listen as her voice rises and Leon turns a bit surprised and notes that she is one scary woman. This would for sure make it Grace who initially met with Leon in that restaurant during Legend of Zero. 

17:32 – Technology wise, Brera’s cannon is a heavy quantum beam cannon, meaning it is basically a miniaturized version of the Macross Cannons carried by Macross-class ships. If those become ineffective, Humanity is pretty much doomed. 

18:24 – The song that starts playing here is Fire Bomber’s “Try Again”, which is just perfect for Ozma since we’ve long known that he loves the band that originated in Macross 7. 

18:46 – Ozma kills a red Vajra by tearing off its arm and throwing it back at it! 

20:27 – The shot of the workers in the hanger is very similar to a similar scene in SDF Macross, right down to the tech peaking over the edge of an ace pilot’s cockpit and being shocked at what he finds. 

20:59 – Roy Focker died in much the same way. He was fine one moment and then just sorta slumped and closed his eyes and was dead the next. 

21:25 – And here we have the final play of this episode’s long drawn out tease. This must have been a tense rollercoaster for big Macross fans when they first watched this episode! 

Next Episode: Fold Frame

Frontier going shell down again makes me think we’re up for another battle, but the we’re also told that Frontier is carrying out some sort of super long distance fold. It’s also looking like Sheryl might figuratively lose her confrontation with Grace. Those last shots of Sheryl looking out towards the rain and then being in the rain don’t look very happy.