Macross Frontier: The Legend Begins Here!

It’s okay, Ranka! There is nothing to be afraid of when you’re on the big screen!

This was an amazing episode. For one, it was the obligatory Macross “characters film a movie” episode; SDF had Shao Pai Lon (with acting and awesome theme song provided by Minmei), 7 had The Story of Lin Minmei (with Minmei played by Mylene Jenius), and now F decides to make an extended reference to Macross Zero in its movie episode (I was highly amused by the Macross Zero logo replacing the Frontier logo briefly on the second part of the eyecatch, and the credits of the movie being the credits of the Macross Frontier episode, and not the movie. We already got the fourth wall breakage with Ranka’s very own personal blogfrom the future (see right column), and now they’re doing this).

On top of this amazing moment in Ranka Lee history, however, is the rollercoaster ride Sheryl sent me on for the entire episode. At first, of course, she pops up, and Miss Macross Miranda supplants herself upon the legendary idol from the Macross Galaxy and…is promptly ignored as Sheryl walks right past her to ask how Ranka is doing. It almost seemed like a deliberate move to simultaneously aggravate the vain victor at the same time as she reaffirms her support for Ranka. “Oh,” I thought, “that was a brilliant move by Sheryl” and I started to wonder whether she really, honestly was interested in supporting Ranka, and was completely unaware of the effect her dalliances with Alto were having on the lovestruck Ranka.


Then she kissed Alto–in front of Ranka–and played it off as a joke. At that point, I had literally no idea what was running through her mind, or whether she had a mind and wasn’t running on a tank full of crazy. Of course, Ranka sees her kiss Alto, and promptly marches off to announce to the director that, yes, she will play the part of Mao, thank you very much…which, of course, means that she gets to partake of her very first kiss with Alto. And then, with the heat of the spotlight focused on her at the premiere, Sheryl offers words of praise and encouragement towards Ranka.

It was like a light bulb went on in my head.

It’s entirely possible that, on some level, whether conscious or unconscious, Sheryl really is acting with the best interests of Ranka in heart–she’s just doing it a la Sheryl, which of course means some seriously tough love for Ranka. It may have just been this isolated incident (I would have to go back and rewatch previous episodes to judge this more honestly, but I will be paying attention for it in later episodes), but in this episode, it almost seems as if Sheryl kissed Alto not only to tease him, but to intentionally motivate Ranka to get over her wishywashiness and take the all-important first step towards stardom. And she may not have even done it intentionally, or maybe she did–as I said above, her innter workings are somewhat of a mystery, and it’s unclear how much she is working for herself and how much she is working for others and oh God my brain it’s melting and running out my ears make it stop

Regardless of the motive behind Sheryl’s actions, one thing is clear: because of them, Ranka Lee is now a minor celebrity. And with the status of minor celebrities comes…photo shoots! I am now hoping with fervency that Kawamori Shoji, since he’s already busy breaking the fourth wall whenever he can (notice the addition of the Sheryl Nome and Klan Klan blogs on the right, as well) will see fit to authorize the release of the Official Ranka Lee Photo Album to her throngs of adoring fans (i.e. me and the 99,999 clones I created of myself for occasions where multitudinous throngs are needed to accomplish something of importance to me and keep in cryogenic storage in a secret underground labratory protected by a natural labyrinthine network of caves). Not for my own personal use, mind–for science.

11 Responses to “Macross Frontier: The Legend Begins Here!”

  1. 1 rroknedaj 11 June 2008 at 12:24 am

    Hahaha. Yup, this episode was great, no doubt about it.

    Also, Sheryl’s actions are pretty confusing seeing that no one can really be sure of her motives. Either way, Ranka saw it and that kiss is what made her take up the role. So yeah, secondary accomplishment? O_o

  2. 2 jacobian 11 June 2008 at 1:13 am

    I don’t know if that kiss really had anything to do with Ranka. I mean, it’d be pretty hard to time that kiss to happen just as Ranka turns her head.

    I got the feeling that Sheryl was scared of Alto rejecting her. Alto wasn’t giving any response out of shock, and I don’t think that Sheryl was able to read what he was thinking. That’s probably why she quickly deflected the issue in order to protect herself. Of course, that leaves Alto even more confused than he was after the kiss.

  3. 3 blissmo 11 June 2008 at 1:35 am

    Yeah, I really liked this episode too and it was probably my favourite :D

  4. 4 Deranged 11 June 2008 at 3:13 am

    I find myself agreeing with jacobian on this. It makes more sense than an elaborate plan to make Ranka grow… Sheryl could rightly just like Alto.

  5. 5 Jobrill 11 June 2008 at 4:12 am

    I think Sheryl really does like Alto. In some ways, she’s sort of torn between staking her claim on Alto outright and being a mentor to Ranka.

    But what seals it for me that she likes Alto is her reaction after the kiss. She seemed to be looking at Alto pretty seriously, only laughing after a very pregnant pause. She probably laughed and called it not serious because she thought she made a mistake and Alto was confused by the kiss and she didn’t want to cause him to run from her. By Laughing, she tried to defuse the tension.

    But she was also blushing nearly as red as Alto, so I have a feeling she took it seriously indeed.

  6. 6 OGT 11 June 2008 at 7:21 am

    Sheryl does simply like Alto–I noticed the same things jacobian did. It’s incredibly hard to discern what’s going on here (and part of it is probably me trying to rationalize myself out of wanting to punch Sheryl in certain sensitive areas). As I said, she may not be consciously doing things simply to encourage Ranka (and probably isn’t), but her actions are certainly having that effect. Whether it’s some kind of strange subconscious desire on her behalf or a totally unintended side effect, it’s not clear.

    ALso: “I think Sheryl really does like Alto. In some ways, she’s sort of torn between staking her claim on Alto outright and being a mentor to Ranka.” <– This is probably what’s going on, and part of “staking her claim on Alto” is also having the somewhat strange effect of encouraging Ranka in her quest for stardom. I think that’s a bit more what I was trying to get across, rather than implying that Sheryl’s offscreen moments are spent with a twisted grin on her face and the line “According To Plan” running through her mind.

    I find it hard to address every single concern in these sorts of posts because 1) they’d make the posts 1500 words long (or longer) and I’d be writing them all night or 2) I just plain forget about [point X] which, of course, everyone brings up and says “What about that, you silly oaf?”, which is exactly what a readership is for. Minus the oaf part.

  7. 7 jacobian 11 June 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Heh. Nobody can blame you for it. I think a lot of people are confused on the fact that we haven’t been allowed to directly see what’s going inside of that silly girl’s head, and because everything is necessarily between-the-lines right now. Nothing that a good old-fashioned monologue can’t fix. ;)

  8. 8 OGT 11 June 2008 at 4:13 pm

    @jacobian: Actually, that got me to realize something: we’ve never actually had a scene written from Sheryl’s viewpoint, and we may be rather unlikely to ever have one. The “main characters” are Alto and Ranka, as those are the two characters we have the most POV from (insomuch as one can tell POV in anime, considering that a) it’s film and b) anime has a tendency to use third-person omniscient rather than third-person limited anyway). Sheryl, despite being a main character, isn’t a “main character” in that sense, so perhaps, in a way, her actions and motives and etc. are either “unnecessary” or secondary to what Macross Frontier is trying to accomplish. She exists less as a character for the writers to explore for the audience (in monologue or otherwise), and more as a character who exists to further the plot along.

    I hope that makes some kind of sense.

  9. 9 jacobian 12 June 2008 at 1:30 am

    It does. As Sheryl’s been presented, she’s often been a foil to Ranka. By showing the differences between Sheryl and Ranka, we explore Ranka’s character further, whether by inspiring awe or jealousy.

    But it’s not just Sheryl that we don’t understand. We don’t really have a clear idea of what Alto is thinking, either. Like Sheryl, he exists as a source of motivation for many of Ranka’s actions, but his history and his motives remain largely unclear.

    While this is largely Ranka’s story, we’ll probably learn more about Sheryl and Alto as Ranka too comes to see them less as distant symbols of what she aspires to achieve and becomes their peer.

    We have already seen glimpses of internal conflicts within both characters, so Alto and Sheryl do exist as characters in their own right. It’s simply a matter of waiting for the story to bring them up.

  10. 10 cuchlann 12 June 2008 at 11:04 pm

    If you’re interested — it seemed pretty much obvious to me that Sheryl kissed Alto just then on purpose. I mean, maybe not, but I didn’t even think there were other options until I read your post. Her facial expressions and eyeline convinced me, if you can call it “convincing” when I wasn’t aware there was another option.

    I’ve watched so far assuming Sheryl is trying to help Ranka; I also think she may be interested in Alto, in some way. Maybe not the same way Ranka is, but she’s clearly enjoying herself. I liked this episode, but it didn’t really surprise me in terms of character motivations or actions. It all jived with my assumptions. Of course, in our history of picking girls in shows, we do follow this pattern. I cite the Hiiragi twins.

  11. 11 rroknedaj 14 June 2008 at 3:48 am

    I get what OGT means. One of the ways of telling people who the main characters are is to give them their own innerlogue. After all, they’re only worth something if you can understand what they’re about.

    So far its only been Alto and Ranka right?

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I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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June 2008

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