We open this episode with Ranka dreaming about her mother not being able to come to her because of work. Disconcertingly, the dream seem to end with young Ranka reflected in a Vajra’s compound eye. Nearby, Ai-kun receives some kind of signal and runs off. 

Alto sneaks back into his family’s home, but Yasaburō is there waiting for him. He leads Alto to Sheryl who not only has recovered, but is still acting as if everything is fine. She tells Alto that she no longer wishes to sing, that she has achieved everything she wanted with singing, and that all her proclamations about achieving greatness through her own strength were nothing more than creative lies. Alto doesn’t believe her and manages to provoke her somewhat, but is unable to get Sheryl to tell him what is really going on. Alto leaves angrily, but not before demanding that Sheryl come to Ranka’s upcoming victory performance. 

During the parade to her own performance, we find that Ranka has run off with Brera in search of Ai-kun. Meanwhile, several other things are in motion. Cathy and Ozma uncover a plot that Leon has set in motion, while Leon and Grace perfect new miniaturized dimension eater bullets that will penetrate the Vajra’s upgraded armor. It also seems that Grace has discovered something important about the Vajra queen. It is soon revealed that Leon’s plan involves assassinating President Glass! 

At Griffith Park, a little before her concert, Ranka and Brera share a moment where Brera’s inadvertently familiar treatment of Ranka helps her realize that she has been singing for Alto all this time. We cut to Ranka’s concert and she is more energetic than ever as she pours her emotions for Alto into her songs. In the sky above the concert, Alto and the other SMS stunt team members perform some nice skywriting that further convinces Ranka that she is doing everything for Alto. 

As the concert wraps up, we find that Sheryl did in fact come, but she is going to leave without saying anything to Alto until Klan stops her and convinces her to go back. Up on one of the academy’s launch arms, Michael explains to Alto that Ranka is in love with him and insists that he must make a choice between her and Sheryl to avoid hurting Ranka. Just then, Sheryl arrives, and Michael leaves to let Alto and Sheryl be alone. Around this time we see that Luca realizes that Nanase’s drawing of Ai-kun marks it as a young Varja! And there are other Vajra still growing on Frontier. And they are hatching!

Elsewhere, Cathy and Ozma confront Leon over his planned assassination, but they are too late. Leon has already put his plan into motion.

With her last song over, Ranka ascends the stairs excited to tell Alto how she feels… only when she bursts through the doors she sees Alto holding Sheryl in his arms. Alto and Sheryl move apart, but all Ranka can do is stand there as her emotional high meets an unexpected brick wall. And that’s where the episode ends! 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Brera finding the cat. For such a fearsome pilot, it was fun to see him get surprised for once. 
  • Alto’s conversation with Sheryl. She has both given up on herself and is trying to shield Alto from the knowledge that she is dying. And she does a pretty good job of it. But then, we see her hold herself at the end and know that everything is not as good as she says it is. 
  • That short scene where Yasaburō talks to Sheryl about the thrill of being on stage. For a minor secondary character, he got a nice little speech there. 
  • Ranka emerging on Alto and Sheryl. It’s just sorta a classic, shocking, love triangle moment.

Episode Impressions: 

This episode has a lot of moving parts that all overlap, but I like it a lot despite how much it jumps around. We get another really great, subtle, simmering emotional conversation between Alto and Sheryl. It was sorta similar to the one they held before Alto first went off to rescue the Galaxy ships, except here Sheryl all but closed herself off from Alto instead of unexpectedly opening up. I also like how even though Sheryl puts on a convincing performance, Alto knows her well enough to yell at her to cut the crap. He even gets her angry and lashing back at him as her emotions almost overcome her, but she turns away rather than admit that she is lying about not wanting to sing anymore. The scene is not even two minutes long, but there’s a lot of great unspoken emotion and pain there. 

This episode also has a great cliffhanger of an ending. The hidden Vajra are emerging somewhere on Frontier, Sheryl and Alto might be admitting their true feelings to each other, a sniper is taking aim at President Glass, Cathy and Ozma are trying to stop Leon’s coup d’état, and Ranka has her newfound realizations and emotions for Alto come crashing down around her in an instant. It’s taken 19 episodes to get here, but all the setup has lead to these interesting moments. And the wonderful cutaway to the end credits that leaves us hanging on multiple fronts all at once! 

While Leon is excited to have his MDE bullets, Grace is more excited about deciphering something that she and Dr. Mao were working on. Remember, Grace’s end goal is to begin something much more radical than using fold quartz to decrease travel times across the galaxy. Now we know it involves the Vajra queen. 

Moment to Moment Notes:

0:50 – Ranka is now in the same hotel that Sheryl used to stay in. 

9:08 – That’s quite a pronouncement from Sheryl! Everything she has done has been about singing up until now!

10:51 – What mystery was Dr. Mao working on? Certainly not advanced bullets. Her big paper was on V-type infections, after all. And Grace says she has solved the Queen’s secret. What is that? 

12:36 – This brief little speech by Yasaburō is surprisingly moving. It affects Sheryl, for sure. 

14:39 – Ranka’s uncertainty about why she sings is reminiscent of Lynn Minmay’s similar doubts in SDF Macross. 

18:11 – This episode is kinda known to be a low point in Macross Frontier’s animation quality. Michale is very off model in these scenes, for instance. 

22:15 – Poor Ranka!

23:43 – That photo of Alto, Ranka, and Sheryl is pretty neat. 

Next Episode: Diamond Crevasse

Whoa. Unless we’re seeing a flashback, and I don’t think we are, Frontier gets hit hard by the Vajra again!