The Otaku Memory Box: Fastest Delivery

Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier

Macross Frontier Episode 12 | 13:53 – 16:42

I feel like all my recent writing has involved extrapolating themes or expounding theories and hasn’t contained a lot of expression of how much I enjoy anime.  So, I thought I’d take a cue from ghostlightning and remember some love.  These thoughts lead directly to the creation of this featured Post Series, “The Otaku Memory Box.”  OMB will be a collection of posts showcasing what I (and hopefully fandom) feel are iconic scenes in anime along with the requisite fanboy gushing over these indelible “snapshots.”  Hopefully, other fans will chime in with their affections in the comments section.  Don’t expect much in the way of analysis or argument.  OMB is meant to be a place in which we can come together and be effusive about special moments in “our” shows.

In the inaugural OMB, I’m going to talk about the best 3 minutes of Macross Frontier episode twelve, “Fastest Delivery.”

Suggested Soundtrack for Reading – Megumi Nakajima “Seikan Hikou” (of course)

Galactic Fairy, Sheryl Nome, is being flown to Galia 4 to put on a concert for the Zentradi military.  However, she hasn’t let anyone know of her flagging health, and she faints when exiting her ship.  The lack of their scheduled entertainment prompts an already-rebellious Zentradi faction to mutiny, and a battle breaks out on the military base.  Who will stop the Zentradi?

Ranka Lee from Macross Frontier

Ranka Lee, that’s who.  Out of nowhere she flies in, hatch of the Valkyrie open, and proceeds to perform a mid-air, rebellion-squelching concert. She kicks it off with the song I think of first when I think of Macross Frontier:  Seikan Hikou.  I am on the record as being a huge, huge Sheryl guy, and this remains true.  Ain’t nutin’ changed.  But, even though I like Sheryl’s character better than Ranka’s, I always preferred Ranka’s songs to Sheryl’s.  Sekian Hikou is this fun, poppy little number that just makes me feel like everything is gonna be alright.  No matter when I hear it, the song brings a smile to my face and always elicits a head bob or two.  It’s pure sunshine, which is what Macross traditionally delivers.

This particular scene also has Ranka (along with Michel) looking pretty damn awesome, riding into a hostile zone all amps blazing.  Eventually, Ranka lands on the stage that Sheryl was meant to occupy, but it’s the singing in flight a la Macross 7 that gets me

Amplifiers on Michel's Valkyrie in Macross Frontier

I fucking love this show.  Somewhere, Nekki Basara is jealous.  This isn’t the only reference to other Macross series contained in the episode.  The whole scene is intentionally reminiscent of the denouement of the SDF TV series and the end of Do You Remember Love?    War has broken out, and it doesn’t look like the “good guys” have the strength to stop things from escalating.  Just because using force fails, however, does not mean all hope is lost.  This scene underlines the main theme of the Macross franchise:  song can save us.  Music can stop wars.  Oh sure, some people laugh at it.  It’s pretty naive, as ideas go.  Still and all, though, there’s something life-affirming about the notion (and seeing the notion played out on a screen) that ways can be changed and men can be saved through the act of song.  Even if I don’t always view the world with such a degree of optimism, Macross does and, for brief moments, it will convince me to do the same.

Ranka Lee's doring Zentraid fans from Macross Frontier

I think, more than the love triangles and the transforming robots, Macross‘s insistence on its own bubbly worldview is what keeps me coming back to the franchise again and again.  Episode twelve, 13:53-16:42 of Macross Frontier reminds me of this fact because Ranka’s badass open-top Valkyrie concert turns a group of angry rebels into a smitten gaggle of fanboys.

Yack.  Deculture.

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The Otaku Memory Box: Fastest Delivery

3 thoughts on “The Otaku Memory Box: Fastest Delivery

  1. I’d not realised until now but this is basically a gender-swapped version of the M7 sidestory “Fleet of the Strongest Women”; in that Basara has to save the day by singing as Mylene (in the guise of Minmay) has failed to convince with her own song and Max and Miria’s combination of force and aggressive “culture” doesn’t work.

    It’s most obvious in the visual staging of it; both episodes have the Zentradi downing arms and partying as the singing really begins in earnest.

    1. Oh, wow. I totally forgot about that. I don’t remember much of Macross 7 Encore, honestly. I remember Dynamite 7 very well, though…maybe because space whales are hard to forget? I need to rewatch some of M7 at a slower pace; I downed that whole thing fairly quickly IIRC.

      You’re right, though, that this reference is probably more accurate than one to DYRL, due to the scale of the battle at hand as well as the visual staging. I have to say that I do enjoy the added love triangle and idol-rivalry elements in Frontier’s version of the scene.

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