We start this episode a few seconds before the end of the previous one. We see Alto get shot down again and we see Sheryl’s shock as she loses the man she has come to love. It looks as though everything is lost when a shot from a Macross Cannon comes in from an unexpected direction and saves Sheryl and Battle Frontier. The SMS and Macross Quarter have returned and have joined the fight! Captain Wilder radios Battle Frontier and tells them that they have returned to stop Grace and the Galaxy’s plans. Leon tries sidestep their accusations by demanding proof, but Alto and Cathy, both of whom Leon thought dead, chime in that they have plenty of proof against Grace and against Leon. 

Alto, who survived by bailing out of his fighter and flying it on remote, relays what he saw when he passed through the hologram of Ranka. He has Macross Quarter fire upon it revealing the hologram to be a mask used to hide the existence of Battle Galaxy! Cathy then reveals Leon’s assassination plot to the officers on Battle Frontier who are all too happy to turn on their new president. 

SMS’s entry into the fight only gives the Frontier fleet a short lived advantage since Grace still commands Battle Galaxy which releases a swarm of advanced Ghost fighters whose quick movements tear apart Frontier’s forces. 

Alto gains a new fighter thanks in part to Luca and Klan, then asks Sheryl to reach Ranka with her songs. With Sheryl’s backing and Ozma and SMS’s renewed push, Alto manages to approach Battle Galaxy and awaken Ranka from her brainwashed slumber. Unfortunately, Grace has finally succeeded in gaining control over the Vajra queen. With it under her control, she seemingly no longer even needs Ranka’s connection to the Vajra. She takes full command of the Vajra and launches a devastating attack against the Frontier fleet. The power of Grace’s fold network is so strong it can block dimension eater attacks. It even knocks Sheryl off of her feet. With no hope of victory now, Sheryl gives up and resigns herself to giving into death. 

All across the galaxy, Vajra under Grace’s control fold in to hold humanity hostage to her power. For a brief moment, there is an eerie silence following Grace’s full scale attack on the Frontier fleet. Almost everyone has lost hope of victory. But then, Ranka’s voice again fills the surrounding space. She is singing “Your Sound” and her voice reconnects her with her brother who has escaped Grace’s control, and with many of the nearby Vajra that Grace was controlling. The Vajra begin to support Frontier’s forces as Ranka forms a connection between herself and Sheryl.

Sheryl, near death, has completely given up hope. She asks for Ranka to leave her alone, saying she has nothing left to give. This earns her a satisfying virtual slap from Ranka who explains that she was only able to achieve so much thanks to Sheryl’s support. Ranka conferences in Alto who agrees, telling both girls that they are his wings. Ranka uses the power of the Vajra network to command the fold microbes poisoning Sheryl’s brain to move down to her stomach where they will safely grant her power. Sheryl, now apparently healed, kicks off perhaps one of the greatest battle sequences in all of Anime. 

For the next eight minutes, Alto, the SMS, the Vajra Ranka has liberated, and what remains of the Frontier fleet’s forces do battle against Battle Galaxy and the Vajra Grace still has under her control. This sequences, which features most of Frontier’s songs back to back, is stuffed with action and with far too many callbacks to past Macross shows to mention in this summary. Highlights include:

  • Alto rescuing Ranka from Battle Galaxy. 
  • Tens of thousands of Vajra sacrificing themselves to protect Island 1 from one of Grace’s largest attacks
  • Ranka revealing that the Vajra kept attacking humanity in an effort to rescue her from them. 
  • Macross Quarter and Battle Frontier teaming up to defeat Battle Galaxy in the most spectacular and most Macross fashion ever.
  • Alto using Michael’s sniper rifle to put an end to Grace and her plans of galactic domination. 

With Grace dead, the Vajra retreat and leave their planet for humanity to colonize. We also learn the origin of Aimo. Even though the Vajra throughout our galaxy were effectively one giant organism with no need to communicate, there are apparently Vajra swarms in other galaxies, and our Vajra wrote Aimo as a love song for the mingling of galactic swarms. 

We get a final look at the survivors of this giant battle and a promise from both Ranka and Sheryl to continue to compete for Alto’s heart. Then, Macross Frontier ends with Alto swooping by overhead with the song Trianguler playing over top the credits. 

Specific Scenes I Loved: 

  • Macross Quarter coming to the rescue. 
  • The Nyan Nyan Service Medley. (Aka: The eight minutes of awesome set to music.) 
  • All the callbacks to past Macross shows. See the notes for what is probably an inexhaustive list of them.
  • The inconclusive end to the Sheryl, Alto, Ranka love triangle that had Frontier fans howling for almost three years until Frontier’s second movie The Wings of Goodbye finally gave us a proper conclusion. 

Episode Impressions: 

Let’s start with the negatives. This episode was rushed. Too many plot points were dropped in the middle of the final battle. Too many scenes were previous battle scenes with reworked backgrounds. What should have been one of the most awesome scenes of ship to ship combat, one full sized Macross battleship punching the heck out of another one, was only on screen for a handful of seconds before the camera had to rush to chase after the show’s rapidly approaching conclusion.

But… then there’s the Nyan Nyan Service Medley. Stringing together Lion, Infinity, My Boyfriend is a Pilot, Diamond Crevasse, Interstellar Flight, What ‘Bout My Star?, Lion (again), Do You Remember Love?, and Aimo together with some great action and several classic Macross callbacks was exhilarating. 

Even though it was rushed, this episode also did drop in most of the answers to lingering plot questions. Oh, and the villain got what was coming to her delivered by the gun of the popular secondary character that died because of her plots and schemes. 

In some ways, Macross Frontier ends on a weak note with a rushed episode and a non-resolution to its love triangle. But, in others, the combination of Macross’ classic three pillars of awesome transforming robot space combat, songs and singers saving the day, and a love triangle, were more center stage and better done here than in anywhere else in the entire franchise’s 25 year history up to that point. And the more recent Macross Delta series released a few years later is widely agreed to not have topped Frontier in any of those three categories. 

For a long time, I wondered where Grace managed to obtain Battle Galaxy. It seemed to just come out of nowhere. And, really, it probably did. I think it’s a battleship sized plot hole. More recently, I’ve chosen to believe the few images we got of a surviving, purple-colored ship belong to the Macross Galaxy fleet was, in fact, Battle Galaxy. I’ve sorta convinced myself or consoled myself that perhaps the bulk of the Galaxy fleet was destroyed when Grace and her cohort intelligences took control of Battle Galaxy and abandoned the Galaxy fleet. There’s nothing to prove or disprove that theory, but at least it gives me a plausible out to the final two episodes of Frontier. 

Grace at one point shows the power of the Vajra by blocking multiple dimension eater missiles by using the Vajra queen to spontaneously generate fold faults. The Vajra’s natural control over fold space seems to be one of the things that made them so powerful and so revered by the Protoculture. Note that the Protoculture’s Bird Human from Macross Zero was heavily shaped after the Vajra queen. 

Moment to Moment Notes: 

0:27 – Notice Brera’s fighter in the upper left. His proximity to the approaching carrier is why his fighter is hit by the explosion a few moments later 

1:44 – Wait… was Alto just like in their group chat or something? I find it funny he’s the one to answer here. 

2:50 – Are those three scrolling text files the evidence? Maybe we’ll just pretend they sent some actual evidence over… off screen.

3:19 – I think this is the first we’ve heard of versions of Ghost fighters. We’ll just assume the V9’s are better than whatever the Frontier fleet was sporting. Watching that one V9 quickly take out the two Frontier fighters kinda proves that… 

4:03 – Yes, your song. This is Macross. Of course you are the key to winning. 

5:07 – “Charge, Love Heart” is the name of one of the more popular Fire Bomber songs from Macross 7. 

5:36 – Luca is referring to the time that during Macross Plus the Sharon Apple virtualoid idol got fitted with an experimental biological AI chip and went crazy taking control of the 1st prototype Ghost fighter and mind controlling everyone in Macross City (or everyone on earth if you watch the remastered movie edition…) with her singing. Apparently Luca has access to that same level of combat AI that he’s been holding back… for some reason? 

8:16 – The Vajra do have that same spiral pattern and the Vajra queens to kinda look like the Macross Zero bird human… The implication here is that the Protoculture revered and even worshiped the Vajra to the extent that much of what they left behind was modeled after the Vajra… 

9:05 – I don’t recall anything about Macross 11, but Planet Eden is the main setting of Macross Plus and where both the Frontier and Galaxy fleets originated from. Macross City, Alaska is where the original Macross landed at the end of Space War I. 

13:43 – And thus starts the Nyan Nyan Service Medley, a 7 and a half minute play of most of Macross Frontier’s songs. I especially love the combination of Lion and What ‘Bout My Star as Macross Quarter goes in for the attack.

14:46 – Having Cathy call for the pinpoint barrier shields to be concentrated along the tip of the main gun is very similar to an order Misa Hayase gave during Space War 1. Hold that thought though, there’s some related nostalgia coming up regarding that kind of melee attack.

16:18 – Seeing the Varja take their place along side the human fleet feels somewhat similar to when more and more Zentradi ships turned around, switched side mid battle, and ran escort for the original Macross in “Do You Remember Love?”. 

18:39 – The “Macross Attack” here is almost a shot for shot recreation of SDF Macross’ “Daedalus Attack”. The original Macross concentrated its pinpoint barriers around the front of the Daedalus, a traditional aircraft carrier it was using as its right arm. It punched straight into a closing Zentradi warship then unleashed a bunch of missiles from the inside. (The aircraft carrier had been sucked out to Pluto orbit when the Macross had done an emergency fold away from Earth…) Here, they use Macross Quarter’s flight deck and are only punching Battle Galaxy’s gun, but just about everything else is almost the same down to the missiles streaking out in a bunch of straight lines and the enemy puffing up with internal explosions before detonating! 

19:06 – Battle Frontier punching the heck out of Battle Galaxy is just awesome. A shame it was only on screen for about a second… 

20:43 – This kind of back to back fighting was first seen in SDF Macross as the two best pilots, Max (a human fighter from the Macross) and Milia Fallyna Jenius (a Zentradi who switched sides after being defeated by Max one on one in three separate battles) covered each other during one of the larger battles. The synchronized movements have been repeated by other pilots in Macross, but Alto and Brera are the most notable. 

21:59 – An Island city ship and its accompanying Macross entering the atmosphere like this was first seen in Macross 7. That fleet was forced planet side by an enemy fleet that folded in above them. The Macross 7 fleet only had one Macross, but the poses and arrangements are fairly similar. 

22:56 – We now can clearly see that the girl in Richard Birler’s ring is Lynn Minmay. I guess he was still hoping for universal enslavement to provide him a chance to meet her? Or, we could just acknowledge that this plot thread went virtually nowhere and move on…

23:41 – Mr. “I want to fly in a real sky” need to learn how to not cook his fighter on the way down, I guess…

24:45 – It’s nice seeing all the characters at the end. Looks like Nene (the pink haired Zentradi female pilot) survived despite it looking like her Queadluun-Rhea was shown getting hit near the end of the final battle.  

26:20 – The triangle shaped lens flares in the final shot are a nice touch! 

Next: The False Songstress

Macross Frontier’s first movie is an alternate retelling for the series’ story done the right way. New animation and a better plot await those willing to dip in for a bit more Frontier.