Like last episode, we start with another flashback from Ranka’s past. This time, we see how her singing Aimo brought the Vajra down on the 117th research fleet. In the present day, though, Ranka is being held in what looks like Grace’s virtual space and is either being mind probed or brainwashed (or both) by Grace. 

We cut to Macross Quarter which has returned to the ruins of Gallia 4. Ozma and Cathy are exploring what remains of the Macross Global and we learn a little more about what happened to it and the fleet it lead. It seems that humanity encountered the Vajra and sent the research fleet to study them eight years later. Grace was one of the members of that fleet. As were Ranka’s mother, Ranshe Mei, and Sheryl’s grandmother, Mao Nome. We also learn more about Grace’s theories on using the Vajra’s network to connect and possibly control all of humanity through the use of cybernetic implants. The key to making Grace’s plan possible seem to be Ranka’s connection to the Vajra. 

We head back to Ranka where Grace and Brera are continuing to use her to analyze the Vajra’s communication / control protocol. Grace mentions how easy it has been to decipher the protocol once they added Ranka into the network. Also, it looks like the Vajra attack that killed Ranshe and Mao might have injured / burned Grace and driven her insane with a need to prove her fold network theories correct. 

Back on Macross Quarter, Monica sends their findings about Grace and the Vajra on to earth, but between the fold lag and government needing to deliberate on a decision, it looks like it will be up to SMS to save the day alone. We also see that Ozma and Cathy have gone through some personal items left behind by the members of the 117th fleet and they found a letter from Mao Nome to her daughter. Mao says she is sending her earrings as a gift. We also see a postcard that was to be sent back to Mao informing her of the birth of her granddaughter, Sheryl. With that, we finally have conclusive proof that Sheryl really is Sheryl Nome, a descendent of the same line as Sara and Mao Nome! 

Next, the Frontier fleet folds in above the Vajra homeworld and makes preparations to attack and defeat the Vajra’s queen. As various parties complete their preparations, Alto goes to meet with Sheryl. She is getting ready for her part of this final attack and worrying about what Alto said about possibly having to kill Ranka. But, when Alto comes to meet her, he tells her that he will come back to her and that he has realized he can’t fly alone. That he needs someone to come back to. Sheryl teases him briefly but then kisses him and tells him not to finish whatever it was he was going to tell her. Instead, she’ll hear what the has to say after he rescues Ranka and comes back alive. She finishes by again teasing him, saying that it is hard to find a girl as good as her. 

As the Frontier fleet approaches the Vajra homeworld, Sheryl literally leaps onto her stage and begins singing to disrupt the Vajra’s defense fleets. As she does so, she commits to giving her performance her all. There is at least some connotation that she is preparing to burn herself out and die in this final performance, but that it’s ok because she has no more regrets. 

As Sheryl begins singing, Alto, Klan, and the rest of Frontier’s military begin the assault on the Vajra homeworld. Though the battle starts out roughly even, Sheryl’s singing soon begins having an effect, and Frontier’s forces begin rapidly advancing as the Vajra’s defense lines buckle slowed and disorganized. Frontier’s forces also unleash missile version of the dimension eater bombs that do heavy damage to the Vajra’s defense fleets. 

Unfortunately, as the Frontier Fleet near’s its goal, Grace is there with Ranka to stop them. She suggest that Ranka sing and help the Vajra to make up for calling the Vajra down on the 117th research fleet. As Island 1 begins its descent, a chilling version of the song “Do You Remember Love?” begins playing for all to hear. Through Ranka’s singing, the Vajra begin to reform their defense lines and start to overwhelm the Frontier fleet. Soon, a giant hologram of Ranka appears in space above the Vajra homeworld letting everyone know just who is giving the Vajra back their strength and coordination. As powerful as Sheryl has become in the last few days or weeks, Ranka’s natural born connection to the Vajra is far stronger, rendering Sheryl ineffective. 

Alto watches as one of Frontier’s smaller islands is shot down by the Vajra’s renewed defense of their homeworld. He files to investigate the Ranka hologram after seeing one of the Galaxy fleet’s remaining warships taking cover near it unopposed by the Vajra. It seems that Grace is on this ship or launched her personal Valkyrie from this ship and is moving to take over the Vajra for herself. When Alto flies into the hologram he sees both an image of Ranka imprisoned…  and something else. He sees what appears to be the head of a purple Macross class battleship! 

Before Alto can report his findings, Brera engages both him and Klan, badly damaging both of their fighters. He insists that he and Ranka are merely defending the Vajra against the human invaders. Then, he shoots Alto down. Alto’s fighter flies near Ranka’s hologram and explodes as it flies between her outstretched arms. Back on the bow of Battle Frontier, Sheryl sees and maybe senses what has happened and collapses while screaming Alto’s name. 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Grace’s transition to madness as she burned alive during the Vajra attack on the 117th research fleet. 
  • The Macross Quarter’s bridge crew fawning over Monica and Captain Wilder. 
  • Sheryl and Alto’s final scene together and their kiss with the Frontier fleet behind them. 
  • The way Grace manipulates Ranka by using her knowledge about what caused the destruction of the 177th research fleet. 
  • The Vajra firing their big counterattack as holographic Ranka stretches out her hands towards the Frontier fleet. 
  • The live action photo album in the next episode segment after the credits. It’s a direct callback to the way every episode of SDF Macross ended. 

Episode Impressions: 

Ok, that’s more like it! Even though this episode starts out a bit exposition heavy with SMS discovering Grace’s plans with a lot of dialogue, it moves on and we get another good Alto and Sheryl scene as well as a big battle as the Frontier fleet bears down on the Vajra homeworld. 

I like that Alto seems to have pushed Sheryl past worrying about what he thought about Ranka. To me, Alto makes it clear that he can’t fly without Sheryl. It seems these two need each other to complete their missions. 

The battle itself, and Sheryl’s singing, is a lot of reused footage, but some of the reuse is really good. Sheryl ’s singing on the bow of Battle Frontier is largely shots from her opening concert, but the shots still look awesome with the way they replaced the stage with Battle Frontier’s bridge.

The giant hologram of Ranka and the new version of the song “Do You Remember Love?” are great callbacks to SDF Macross and the “Do You Remember Love?” movie. And, they are a chilling reversal of singing winning the day. Here, singing is still winning the day, but it is winning it for the Vajra. 

There’s also something to be said and some thought that need to be given to the righteousness of Frontier’s fight against the Vajra in this episode. At one point, one of the Frontier pilots mentions something about their attack being out of revenge. That’s certainly true. Frontier has surely suffered thousands if not millions of casualties thanks to the Vajra’s repeated attacks. The Vajra did not leave Frontier alone or explore other ways to contact Ranka. They attacked over and over again. At the same time, Humanity captured Vajra, experimented on Vajra and eventually discovered ways to disrupt and control the Vajra’s fold network. If the Vajra exist as something similar to a single distributed organism, might Ranka’s and Sheryl’s singing be like damaging or disrupting a part of the Vajra consciousness? Is it possible that the Vajra have largely been defending themselves and seeking to destroy the evil humans who repeatedly attacked them? 

The ship from the Macross Galaxy approaching the Vajra homeworld unopposed. It seems likely that Grace broke into the Vajra’s thought protocols before the Frontier fleet arrived and, through Ranka, she has at least limited or local control of nearby Vajra. That’s probably why they don’t attack her.

What Alto sees when he flies through the hologram of Ranka shows us a glimpse of the challenge the Frontier fleet faces. 

The information SMS finds out about Grace’s intentions is all pretty much accurate. She’s not looking to shorten trade routes. She is looking to, at best, connect all of humanity, and, at worst, control all of humanity. And the Vajra, too. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

3:37 – So, in 2040 mankind encountered the Vajra. In 2048 the 117th fleet managed to capture one or more of them but was eventually destroyed by the Vajra. Grace was one of those researchers. 

6:50 – Analyzing the fold network that the Vajra use to communicate and control is what Grace has been after all along. If she can figure out the protocols, she can simply take control of all Vajra. 

8:12 – Sheryl Nome is the grand daughter of Mao Nome. Sheryl was born to Sally and Able Nome abroad the Macross Galaxy, but was later orphaned when her parents, like many others, rebeled against the Galaxy leadership’s plan to force all citizens to accept cybernetic implants. Some time later, Grace, who was rescued by the Galaxy fleet after the destruction of the 117th research fleet, finds Sheryl living in the slums and infects her with the V-Type infection so as to continue her research. Grace and the Galaxy’s leadership (the other voices/personalities in Grace’s head) then proceed with a long term plan to attempt to analyze and decipher the Vajra’s fold network. Part of that plan involved attempting to harness Sheryl’s slowly progressing V-Type infection to mimic Ranka’s ability to communicate with the Vajra through song. While Sheryl did eventually become a very talented and driven songstress, at least some of her success almost certainly came about because she had the full weight of the Macross Galaxy’s corrupt leadership easing her way.  

11:35 – The girl pictured in Mr. Bieler’s ring is Lynn Minmay. He seems to think that Grace’s fold implant network will let him meet her. At this point in Macross lore her whereabouts are unknown. She left earth after Space War I on one of the first colonization ships and that ship hasn’t been heard from in decades. 

11:46 – That’s the mirror Ranka sits at in the opening. 

15:19 – Sheryl’s position singing on/near the bow of Battle Frontier closely resembles Lynn Minmay singing to save humanity from the bow of the original Macross in the “Do You Remember Love?” movie. Several shots, especially the one from behind Sheryl looking out to the battle in front of her, are near recreations of scenes from DYRL. 

17:59 – That Ranka inspires the Vajra with the song “Do You Remember Love?” is highly ironic as this same song was the one that saved humanity from extinction at the hands of the Zentradi during Space War I. Now, the same song is being used to defeat Frontier’s attack. 

18:21 – The huge hologram of Ranka is similar to the hologram that the original Macross projected of Lynn Minmay during the final battle against the Zentradi and also similar to the hologram the rogue AI Sharon Apple projected of itself as it used its musical abilities to brainwash the people of Macross City during the Macross Plus miniseries. We also saw this version of Ranka over and over in Macross Frontier’s 1st opening at the beginning of each episode up to episode 18! 

19:44 – That is one of the warships that escaped the destruction of the Galaxy fleet. Apparently it is under Grace’s control now. Grace has also apparently gained at least some control over the Varja swarm already even without taking over the Vajra queen… 

23:37 – Haha! They did the stupid book thing! The ending sequence for every SDF Macross episode involved a similarly bad / awkward live action turning the pages of a photo album showing pictures of the lead pilot Hiakru and singer Lynn Minmay. I’d forgotten that Frontier does it once! 

Next Episode: Your Sound

We didn’t see the next episode. Instead we saw the delightfully silly callback to SDF Macross’ picture book credits sequence.