Macross Frontier: Carrot Promotions & Loli Zentradi

PART the FIRST: Being the Tale of an Aspiring Young Singer & Her Carrot Costume

Oh, Ranka-tan. That is simultaneously the best costume ever and the worst costume ever. For a girl who has a voice that can cross the galaxy and stop Evil Mysterious Men in their tracks, it’s rather strange for her to be peddling carrots to reluctant Zentradi. With an actual song about the wonderful and galaxy-changing abilities of carrots. Not just any carrots, mind you: Zentradi carrots, which are rainbow colored, which clearly speaks to the potential customer that here is a carrot that transcends ordinary carrotdom; it is a carrot that throws reason to the curb; it is a carrot that can certainly pierce the heavens. Or possibly just give you a bad trip.

Macross Frontier is laying Ranka’s jealousy of Sheryl on thick, even without really having her say it outright. From small things like a bus pulling away to reveal a giant Sheryl poster immediately after Ranka is informed that her program was cancelled in favor of one featuring Sheryl (followed by a subsequent shot of a Frontier skyline dotted with an disgustingly large amount of Sheryl propaganda), to somewhat larger things such as Ranka forcing herself to be cheerful when Sheryl asks her how her career is going, and then refusing her help in making it big. Also: Sheryl doesn’t seem to have noticed Ranka’s jealousy. At all. She’s entirely clueless, leading the entire school on a madcap hunt for her errant panties, thereby focusing all the attention on her because she’s Sheryl, the Queen of the Galaxy. She’s also rather clingy to Alto, which probably speaks at some kind of lonliness she feels. This is Macross after all, and there is a love triangle going on, but I’d argue that–at least at this point–Sheryl doesn’t “love” Alto so much as she’s using him to relieve her own boredom/lonliness at being a galaxy-trotting superstar (no pun intended). There seem to be more honest feelings of affection in Ranka, and I fervently hope that they don’t take the SDF Macross route and shaft Ranka like they shafted Minmei. (Yes, I am declaring my allegiance. The lines of war are drawn, gentlemen, and I am armed to the teeth)

PART the SECOND: Being the Tale of The Zentradi Female (Meltrandi?) Who Fills Many Fetishes

Yes, two screencaps today, because there are two parts to this post!

Over the course of the past two weeks, for some inexplicable reason, I have become rather enamoured with Kuran Kuran (Klein Klan, Klan Klan, God knows what other romanizations; I’m sticking with the katakana reading of “Kuran Kuran” until there’s some kind of official word on the matter). Kuran Kuran is, of course, the character that you’d think someone would have come up with some way of doing this beforehand, but hadn’t. We’ve had the loli/chestally endowed contrast before in Tenjou Tenge, but I pretend like that entire property doesn’t exist at all and therefore summarily sweep it under the rug. The thing here, is that not only is it a loli/chestally endowed contrast, it’s a loli/giantess chestally endowed contrast. It’s like they thought of every possible fetish a Zentradi character could embody, and then threw them all into one character. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we get the flashback pictured above, where we are treated to loli Kuran Kuran in Zentradi form as an actual child. This is pretty much the most adorable thing ever.

With a list of sharacter traits like that, you’d think that Kuran Kuran would be relegated to a bit role/comic relief role in any other series. But not in Macross Frontier. Oh, no. Aside from the first time she popped up in loli miclone form, she–like the rest of the female cast–isn’t exploited, or seen as overly pandering. We didn’t even see miclone Kuran Kuran after her introduction until this episode, and she isn’t exactly being the wacky hyperactive character she was at that point in time. It would have been far too easy for the writers to slip up and just use her as otakubait, but they didn’t. She’s a legitimate character in her own right, and she’s treated as seriously as the rest of the cast is. I’m sure we’ll have a few more lighthearted moments along the way featuring her (this is Macross, and a Macross series which doesn’t have its tongue planted in its cheek probably doesn’t exist), but, for now, I’m impressed that they didn’t take her down the beaten path.

The non-gimmick nature of Kuran Kuran would seem to refute the arguments I’ve seen floating around that Macross Frontier is being unnecessarily pandering and spending too much time baiting otaku. I won’t argue that this pandering isn’t an element of the series, becuase this is a Macross series, and Macross has always been about pandering–but it’s also been about not letting the pandering get in the way of other elements of the series. Frontier is accomplishing this as well as can be hoped for, if not better, so I don’t really see reason to complain. Well, other than that the pandering going on isn’t the kind of pandering one wants to see in anime, especially anime with the word Macross in the title, but what can you do? Sit back and watch the excellent 3D CGI Itano circuses (and Kuran Kuran slapping a Valkyrie, which was an awesome moment), I guess.

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13 Responses to “Macross Frontier: Carrot Promotions & Loli Zentradi”


  1. 1 blissmo 31 May 2008 at 4:16 am

    Man, I love Ranka and I agree that it’s the best and worst costume lols

  2. 2 Jobrill 31 May 2008 at 4:26 am

    I’m calling her Klan Klein because I CAN, and I have to admit, my Otaku self is absolutely in love with her in general, especially in her giantess form. While I’m rooting for Ranka/Alto too, Alto’s been such a jerk lately that I’m almost tempted to proclaim my MF OTP to be Mikhael(Michael?)/Klan. At the least, I’m hoping we get at least one more solid Klan Klein-centric episode before the series is up.

  3. 3 jacobian 31 May 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I don’t see why people always try to draw parallels to the earlier series, even with the homages. Ranka no more is Minmei than Sheryl is. Nor do I think that they’re going to shaft Ranka: they’ve been pinning her down as the saviour of the universe from day 1. I’d bet good money that if anyone gets shafted here, it’s Sheryl. There’s a lot more work gone into making Ranka’s troubles than in showing Sheryl’s, which, I assure you, are no less important. Not being able to become famous isn’t quite as pressing of a concern than not being able to have true friendship or a normal school life. It’s as fundamental as food; even with success, if you don’t have it, you don’t have anything at all.

    Sheryl’s a fairly strong and self-reliant character. I don’t really get the sense that she’s clingy and dependant; you don’t really see her badgering him with phonecalls, for example. The point was driven home in 5 and 6 – Sheryl sees in him a kindred spirit who wants to take destiny into his own hands, just like her. His love of piloting is just the same as her job of singing. There’s something very mature about their conversations that speaks volumes about their relationship: each inspires the other equally. A dependant relationship, by contrast, is one in which one person always comes to the other for help.

  4. 4 otou-san 31 May 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I think people are drawing parallels because Macross F is asking them to all the time. It’s not a one-to-one correlation, though; Ranka does not equal Minmei or Hayase, and neither does Sheryl. for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think they shafted Minmei, but I don’t see it happening to Ranka. jacobian is right — she’s had the underdog factor from the beginning and I’m sure that means she’s bound for Big Things.

  5. 5 The Animanachronism 1 June 2008 at 9:52 am

    I thought Geass has proved that if you pander enough it ceases to be an issue? And I’m racking my brains for a suitable Duran Duran reference, but nothing’s coming to mind at the moment.

  6. 6 OGT 1 June 2008 at 9:53 am

    @jacobian: Sheryl’s problems are fairly pressing; I think I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but (and this is pure, baseless speculation) I have a feeling that what’s going to happen is that Sheryl and Ranka will have to do some kind of teaming up by the end. That might mean that Sheryl would lose Alto as a “lover” (or whatever he currently is), but she’d probably gain much more than that. The honest truth is, of course, we don’t really know until it happens.

    I don’t think I think of Sheryl as dependent, but she is somewhat reliant on Alto, for the reasons you mention: kindred spirit, need for companionship, etc. So in that sense she’s “dependent”, even if she’s not clingy.

    @Animeanachronism: I think these same people complaining about pandering in Macross Frontier are complaining about same in Code Geass. Some people have an allergic reaction to girls or something.

  7. 7 jacobian 1 June 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I’m sure that all will be friends by the end, since episode 7 seems to mandate it. While I don’t think that she needs to concede Alto (depending on what Ranka’s choice of priorities turns out to be, of course), she’ll definitely need to learn to tone down her career to balance it out with the more important things in life.

    Dependance in the sense that you describe is a good thing. If you’re strong enough to “take hold of your destiny” on your own, then there’s nothing wrong in learning to share your happiness and troubles with another who is your equal.

    For Sheryl, the less reliant that she becomes on her own raw belief in herself alone and the more that she learns to draw strength as well from the people who care about her, the better. In trying to rely only on herself, I think she tries too hard to be a mentor, when a friendship should go both ways. That’s part of the reason why I like how she interacts with Alto.

    I’m glad that Macross F panders to my desire to see strong character development and engaging dialogue. I’ll forgive all the other pandering just for that.

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