This episode picks off right where the last episode ends. Sheryl confronts Grace demanding to know “why”. In response, Grace tells Sheryl that she is nothing more than a manufactured idol who would have gotten nowhere if Grace had not pulled her out of Galaxy’s slums. And then Grace tells Sheryl she is going to die. 

After the new opening, the real one this time, not the silly Ranka one, we come back to Sheryl and Grace. Sheryl dismisses what she thinks is Grace’s idle threat about dying until Grace explains that she literally meant that Sheryl’s life will soon end. Apparently, when Sheryl was still young, Grace had her taken to a hospital where she was treated for some illness but was never actually cured. 

Elsewhere, we see that Luca is still providing his or his company’s advanced technology to Leon for something called “Cinderella’s Horn”. We also see that Leon and President Glass have managed to get the political votes they need to authorize the Frontier fleet’s next super long distance fold. It seems they are going to try and leave the Vajra behind and return to their original mission of finding a new world to settle. Except… it seems the fleet hasn’t accumulated anywhere near enough energy to make such a jump. Not only will they be making a 20% shorter jump than they originally intended, they’ll put the entire fleet into heavy rationing to do it. Which, of course, means a giant fleet wide pre-fold sale is about to start! 

We catch up with Alto visiting Ozma who is still in the hospital. Ozma asks Alto to protect Ranka when Leon and the others try to use her to repel the Vajra that will be drawn to the Frontier fleet as it prepares for its long distance fold. We also see Sheryl taking a cab away from the hospital. She looks worse than ever and in her flashback we see that Grace’s pronouncement of her untimely death had a dramatic effect on her. We also see that Michael and Klan are continuing to investigate the drugs that Grace had been giving to Sheryl. Apparently they were meant to suppress V-type infections. Ones that come from the Vajra! But, side effects include the symptoms and sicknesses that Sheryl has been experiencing for the last several episodes. 

Doing even more research, Michael and Klan find original scientific papers on managing V-type infections submitted by Dr. Mao Nome! Even more important though, Grace O’ Connor is listed as one of the other contributors to the research along with someone named Ranshe Mei! They even find a report that directly confirms what Grace told Sheryl. That she was treated for a V-type infection several years before. Sheryl happens to walk in on their research, and a few moments later begs them both not to tell Alto before continuing on her way. Michael understands that Sheryl loves Alto enough to wish to spare him the knowledge that she is dying, but Michael calls Alto anyway and tells him to find Sheryl without breaking his promise as to the why. 

Back out in the rain, Grace’s words continue to haunt Sheryl. Sheryl catches a news report of Ranka being chosen to help protect the Frontier fleet and that along with the knowledge she is going to die, and her obviously weakening physical condition sees Sheryl collapse crying on the sidewalk only to see one of her own posters torn and tattered on the ground before her. It seems Sheryl’s self confidence has finally been broken by all that Grace inflicted on her. 

We see Alto racing through the rain searching for Sheryl, and then someone stands over Sheryl with an umbrella and offers his hand to her. When Sheryl looks up she at first thinks she sees Alto, but it is in fact his adopted brother Yasaburō who has found Sheryl. Alto arrives just in time to see Yasaburō load Sheryl into his car. He tells Alto if he wishes to see Sheryl he’ll come home. 

Just then, the predicted large group of Vajra appear and Alto is forced to head outside to protect all of Frontier. As the battle heats up outside, it quickly becomes apparent that most of Frontier’s forces might as well be firing blanks since the Vajra have become immune to nearly every weapon. And, if Frontier folds before killing the Vajra, they will just be followed to their new destination. Things are looking bad, but then Ranka appears with Brera escorting her. Her singing allows Frontier’s forces to herd the Vajra into one area where Battle Frontier’s full-sized Macross cannon obliterates them all in a single shot! We see that Ranka is, once again, affected by the mass deaths of the Vajra. With the Vajra out of the way, Frontier makes its fold to safety, but it looks like maybe the Vajra have once again hidden away on the underside of one of the Frontier ships. 

Specifics Scenes I Loved: 

  • The Sheryl vs Grace scene and it’s various flashbacks are pretty well done. You can see how defiant Sheryl is in the beginning and how crushed and scared she is by the time Grace is through with her. 
  • The new opening. A lot of it is kinda abstract and plays with the triangle tropes, but those first shots of Ranka preparing for a concert, the sparkle off the gunpod of a Valkyrie’s add-on Super or Armor pack, Sheryl’s earrings, and Frontier lighting up for a concert… it’s about the most Macross thing in all of Macross. And it’s set to the quick, sharp opening piano notes of “Lion” which is one of my favorite songs from Frontier. 
  • Sheryl’s breakdown in the rain. By that point she had lost her manager, her health, her fame, and even knew she was going to lose her life, but she was still holding on to her self-confidence, and she finally lost that as well. It’s a surprisingly powerful scene for someone who started out as a seemingly haughty performer.  
  • Battle Frontier destroying a swarm of Vajra in a single shot. 

Episode Impressions: 

The Good: 

This episode is more emotional than I remember it being. It doesn’t exactly make you well up with tears, but Sheryl’s emotional crash, Klan’s longing for Michael’s love, Alto searching desperately for Sheryl, and Sheryl still trying to put on a brave face and protect Alto from the truth of her impending death all worked for me. And it was all earned, which is just as important. 

The Bad: 

Sorta like Alto randomly finding Ranka on the cliffs in Legend of Zero, Sheryl stumbling upon Michael and Klan was a little forced. Sheryl just happened to stumble into that library at that time? That’s a bit hard to believe. 

Grace O’ Connor, and Ranshe Mei both working with Mao Nome is important and will be touched upon more soon. We don’t really know who Ranshe Mei is quite yet, but we’ll find out soon. For now, note the alien lifeforms visible in the tank behind the three’s group shot. 

We finally know what Grace’s pills were doing to Sheryl. It seems Grace was prolonging Sheryl’s life against the V-type infection while she sought to use Sheryl, and later Ranka, to influence the Vajra. The full extent of Grace’s plans hasn’t quite been revealed yet, but we’re getting closer. 

Sheryl’s breakdown is indeed more significant that just a moment of weakness. Consider her turmoil and grief and fears carefully when we next see her. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

1:09 – Remember, back in episode 4 “Star Date” when Alto and Sheryl were up high in one of the lookout points of Island 1’s skyway trams and Sheryl was impressed that Frontier didn’t have any slums? Apparently, she had a good reason to hate slums!  

1:22 – I think this may be my favorite anime opening of all time. The music and the first four quick shots of a singer preparing, the missile pod of a heavily armed fighter, Sheryl’s earrings, and a concert stage lighting up are about the most perfect juxtaposition and realization of what Macross is all about. Yeah, we’re missing a love triangle, but triangles show up really quickly, as well!

2:58 – As is often the case in Frontier, large amounts of text that aren’t super important are often taken from things like… the Adobe After Effects manual! 

8:22 – Note that these Sheryl albums misspell her name as “Sheryl Noam” instead of “Sheryl Nome.” Supposedly, this is because they are bootleg albums rushed out so the music store they are in front of could make a few quick bucks before all trade gets put to a stop prior to the long distance fold. That bit of knowledge came from one of the artist that worked on that scene.

9:56 – The other two tabs on screen are for the blog of Macross’ creator, and for the lead animation studio that produced Macross Frontier. 

10:04 – Mao Nome! From Macross Zero! She is quite a bit older seeing as she was in her early teens back in 2008 and this picture was taken in 2047, but there she is! She is even wearing her old seashell necklace. 

11:56 – Grace’s prediction about Sheryl dying seems to have shaken Sheryl up quite badly. She is trying to be strong, but it’s not really working… 

12:49 – Sheryl’s version of Aimo is beautiful. 

15:58 – Cathy is apparently a vey heavy shopper! 

18:08 – Chills. Timid Ranka seems to have grown up and is now saving the day! 

21:14 – Killing all those Vajra seems to have hurt Ranka as well. Or, she at least felt it! 

22:11 – This show sure does have some beautiful credits scenes…

Next Episode: Triangler

Well, this next episode looks to be a bit of a combat breather, but it may very well replace ship to ship combat with emotional combat all its own.