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Episode 3: On Your Marks

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 20, 2008

 

Summary

 

Ozma rushes in and knocks the Vajra mecha away, but it attacks him and damages the Messiah's cockpit, injuring him. He calls Captain Jeffrey Wilder for reinforcements, and Canaria Bernstein states that she's ready to go with the Konig Monster, but operator Monica Lange states that they haven't received scramble orders from the government yet. Ozma continues to struggle with the Vajra mecha, and both Michael and Luca arrive to provide assistance. Luca is unable to lock on with Ozma engaging the enemy, so Michael takes up a position on the ship's hull to fire his sniper gun pod. As he targets the Vajra, he sees Alto and Ranka in the park, and Alto spots him in the distance. Michael fires and blows the head off of the Vajra mecha, but it suddenly moves again and shoots at Ozma, injuring him further. The enemy mecha then hits the dome with its claws and creates a breach. Alto spots an emergency shelter nearby and runs over to it with Ranka and Sheryl. Alto thinks about what just happened and sees he was saved by Michael again. He then asks Ranka to let go of his shirt, but she's unable to at first. Sheryl wants to get out of the shelter, but Alto tells her she can't because it isn't connected to the dome. Ozma and the others chase the Vajra mecha, and they're joined by the Nightmare Pluses. A stray shot hits the area near the shelter, knocking out the lights and causing Sheryl to fall onto Alto. The fall causes the top of her dress to fall off, exposing her breasts to Alto. She then covers them and slaps him in the face, but he tells her it was an accident. He then says she shows a lot of skin on stage, but she says that's different and calls him a pervert. As they argue with each other, Ranka attempts to defuse the situation by offering them pork buns from the restaurant. Alto and Sheryl stop arguing and laugh, and Sheryl tells Ranka she really is cute. Elsewhere, Cathy orders a search for Sheryl, and Grace asks to use their computer network and reveals that she has a tracker implant. Alto attempts to call out with the shelter's phone, but he can't connect. Sheryl says it's uncomfortable to leave her destiny to others, and Ranka wonders if the SMS pilots are ok. Alto asks her if she knows anyone there, and she tells him her brother works at their offices. Sheryl complains that the air must be going bad because she's having trouble breathing, and another explosion cuts off the circulation system, giving them 15 minutes of air. Sheryl heads to the airlock, and Alto warns her against that because there's only the vacuum of space. Sheryl says she doesn't want to give up and suffocate. She wants to take hold of her destiny, and suddenly the hatch is opened from outside by Grace and Cathy. With the Vajra gone, Ozma passes out from his wounds. In the park, Sheryl warns Alto that there'll be consequences if pictures of her reach the internet, but she tells him he can keep what he saw in his head for the night. She then tells Ranka that if she loves singing she should be more honest with herself because there's a chance for her. Cathy gets a call about Ozma being wounded, and she screams out when she sees Ozma's damaged Messiah is flown overhead. She cries and falls back, but Alto catches her.

 

At the hospital, Ozma is informed that Ranka knows his secret now. Alto asks what's up with her, and Ozma explains that she lost everyone close to her, so this is how she reacts in these situations. Canalia explains that Ranka has dissociative amnesia, so trying to recall certain memories creates discomfort. Alto asks for more information, and Ozma explains that he's not really her brother because she lost her family 11 years ago. He says that he was incompetent at the time and couldn't protect her family. Alto asks Ozma why he's a pilot, and Ozma answers he wants to protect Ranka. Alto says that hiding everything isn't protecting, and Ozma begins arguing with him and accidentally reopens his wounds. Canaria checks Ozma's condition with help from Michael and Luca. Alto declares that he can't leave his fate to others and asks again what the Vajra are. Ozma says that if Alto learns, there's no way to go back after that. Ozma gives Alto 24 hours to think about what he wants to do and what he's fighting for. In an elevator, Luca apologizes to Alto about hiding their jobs in SMS. Michael asks Alto if he's going to run again, and he tells Alto that in his current condition, he'll eventually get killed or get someone else killed. Cathy gives Leon the files on everyone who was trapped in the shelter, and he's shocked to see Ranka's name. She accidentally addresses him informally, but he tells her it's ok because office hours are over. He then grabs Cathy and puts her on his desk. She's worried about her father finding out, but Leon tells her he's gone and kisses her. Sheryl takes a bath and watches a home shopping channel. When she notices that one of her earrings is gone, she realizes she'll have to find Alto again. Alto walks through the city and eventually reaches a park. He recalls what Michael said about running away and declares that he's different. He then hears singing and spots Ranka behind a monument. She tells him that she doesn't remember anything from her childhood, except that song. When she wants to sing, she comes to the park so that no one hears her. She tells him she was scared of dying where no one could help them and says she wanted to tell everyone she was there. Alto tells her that if she could do that, she'd have to tell everyone about herself. She then begins to sing "Aimo," and Alto looks up at paper airplane he sent flying. Elsewhere, the members of SMS attend the funeral for Gilliam. Ozma encounters Alto outside and tells him that military contractors don't get military funerals, and their families are never informed of how they die. Alto doesn't mind that because when he dies, he'll be on his own. Ozma then tells him to report for duty in the morning, and Luca happily hugs Alto. Elsewhere, Ranka applies for the Miss Macross Frontier contest and meets the panel of judges. Sheryl watches and thinks to herself that Ranka is more confident now.

 

Commentary

 

The cliffhanger from the last episode continues, with Ozma engaging the Vajra mecha right outside the ship. He gets injured in the process, and Michael shows off some more of his sniping skills. In classic Macross fashion, Alto manages to get trapped with both Sheryl and Ranka, and he also gets a nice look at Sheryl's breasts. As they interact more, we see some odd aspects of Ranka's behavior that are connected to her traumatic past. This is highlighted when she finds out that Ozma lied to her and was still a pilot. We also find out that Ozma isn't really her brother and that her real family is dead. That certainly makes sense, as he doesn't look to have any distinctive Zentradi traits. As for other characters, we see some more about Leon and learn that not only is he kind of creepy, but he's also shacking up secretly with the boss' daughter. Alto has another encounter with Ranka in the park, and they both decide to take control of their destinies. There's also a glimpse of the inglorious end awaiting SMS pilots, and Gilliam's funeral gives me some weird Soylent Green vibes, because it looks like his body will be broken down for fuel. Just as Alto steps forward and decides to join SMS, Ranka signs up for the Miss Macross contest. That's another clear nod to the original series, which sort of started the "idol contest on a battleship" thing that has been parodied in shows like Nadesico and Irresponsible Captain Tylor. I wonder how this Miss Macross contest will turn out compared to the original.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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