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Episode 4: Miss Macross

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 28, 2008

 

Summary

 

At work, Ranka trips and breaks several plates. Nanase asks her what's going on, and Ranka gets a message on her cell phone that she's been accepted into the Miss Macross Frontier contest. On the Macross Quarter, Alto is shot down in a flight simulator, and Michael congratulates him on his 25th death by giving him paper necklaces that say "I'm Dead." Michael then forces Alto to run 25 laps around the hangar while wearing full EX-Gear, and he adds another when Alto fails to address him by his proper rank. As Alto slowly marches away, helmsman Bobby Margo watches him, along with bridge operators Lam Hoa, Mena Roshan and Monica Lang. Luca asks Michael why he bumped up the difficulty on the simulator, and Michael answers that Alto would've won too easily on the normal setting, so this is good given his arrogant attitude. Ranka sends Alto a text message about getting into the contest, but he's asleep at school and gets bonked on the head by his teacher. Later, Alto misses several shots during handgun practice, so Ozma kicks him in the butt. Alto also practices martial arts with Canaria, but she easily knocks him down. Later, Michael and Luca find Alto asleep in the locker room and are surprised that he's been texting Ranka. Luca mentions that he heard from Nanase about Ranka getting into the Miss Macross Frontier contest, and they decide to keep it a secret from Ozma. At that moment, Ozma walks in and sees that Bobby has covered Alto's face with makeup. He asks Michael and Luca for their opinions of Alto since they opposed his joining SMS, and Michael says that Alto has skill. Ozma decides to perform Alto's live test on Sunday, and Michael shuts Luca up when he mentions that's the same day as the contest. When Sunday arrives, Ranka enters the dressing room and tells Nanase that she doesn't think she fits in. An old acquaintance of Nanase's named Miranda Merin asks her if she's entering the contest, but Nanase explains that she's with Ranka. Nanase tells Ranka that she's cute and shouldn't worry about size. Alto fixes his hair, and Michael teases him about what Bobby did to him. He asks Alto if he's going on a date arranged by his family, but Alto says he's keeping a promise. On the bridge, Ozma and Jeffrey bet on the results of the live test. At the contest, Cathy is greeted by an official, who mentions that she was a past winner. Cathy is acting as a judge and is joined by Leon, but they're waiting for the last judge: Ranzo Saotome. Ranka feels depressed and sits in the stairwell, but she gets an encouraging text message from Alto. Sheryl tells Ranka that if she's going to follow her, she has to step forward without wavering. As the contest begins, each of the contestants make their way across the stage. Alto gets a call from SMS, and Ozma tells him it's time for his final test. He's surprised to see his father arrive at the contest. After suiting up, Skull Squadron launches.

 

After launching, Skull Squadron heads into an asteroid, and Luca explains that the enemies for the mock battle are Queadluun-Rheas from the elite Pixie Squadron. He also adds that the asteroid field is an ancient Zentradi battlefield scouted out by the Pixies. Alto comments that he'd expect the military to handle scouting, but Michael tells him that NUNS is buried in red tape and inefficient. Alto gets a contact and transforms, but it's just a dead Zentradi warrior who has been drifting in space for 7,000 years. Luca then picks up other signals, which are the Pixies. Elsewhere, Ranka goes on stage and notices that Alto is gone. She awkwardly introduces herself and bumps her head on the microphone when she bows. Alto dodges fire and gets behind a pilot named Nene Rora. He hits her with several paint rounds and performs a kabuki pose to mark his kill. He then comes under attack from a pilot named Klan Klang and flies his Messiah deeper into the asteroid field. During the talent portion of the contest, Ranka sings a cover of Lynn Minmay's classic song "My Boyfriend is a Pilot." Alto continues to dodge Klan's attacks, and their exhaust trails create a heart in space. Jeffrey comments to Ozma that it reminds him of someone else when he was younger. Klan scores a hit on Alto's Super pack, and Monica scolds Mena and Lam for comments they make about Alto. Alto lands on a ruined Zentradi battleship and fires back at Klan. Just then, Mena picks up a de-fold signature in space. Ranka finishes the song and trip on stage. A red Vajra mecha de-folds near Alto and Klan. Alto is reminded of Ozma telling him the truth about Ranka. Eleven years ago, the deaths of 1,000 people in the 117th fleet that were publicly blamed as a fold accident were actually the result of a Vajra attack, and Ranka was one of the survivors. Michael orders everyone to fall back since they only have paint rounds, but Alto pulls out his knife and rushes at the Vajra. The Vajra grabs Alto and tosses him aside easily, and Klan tells him to fall back since she has actual live ammo. Klan engages the Vajra, but causes only minor damage. Alto spots a Zentradi weapon and uses it to blast the Vajra mecha at point blank range, destroying it. Judges discuss how cute Ranka was, and Leon shows them Ranka's file. Later, Ozma yells at Alto for trashing his Messiah and comments that it's good Alto didn't break the Zentradi weapon he found. Klan says that Zentradi weapons are of the highest quality and won't malfunction no matter how many millennia pass. Ozma asks Klan what she thinks of Alto, and she answers that he has good senses, but needs more training. Later, SMS books a private dinner at Nyan-Nyan, and Luca congratulates Alto for being accepted. A young girl tells Alto to work hard, and he's surprised to learn that she's Klan. Michael teases her about the genetic deficiency that does this whenever she's micloned, and she chases him around the room. Ranka brings tuna buns, and on TV Miranda is cheered as the contest's winner. Ranka says that the contest wasn't for her and asks Alto why he's taken on such a dangerous job. He makes a paper airplane and answers that it's a chance, and he tells her not to give up. Michael pushes Ranka onto Alto, and Klan knocks him down. The next day, Alto is tripped as he walks down the street, and he's surprised to see Sheryl was the one who tripped him.

 

Commentary

 

I was a bit concerned as this episode began that it would mirror the "Miss Macross" episode from the original series too much, but luckily I was wrong. There's a fine line between homage and blatant copying, but luckily Frontier doesn't cross it. Minmay faced similar odds during her Miss Macross contest, but she won out at the end and Ranka didn't. However, from the looks of it, Leon had some influence on the outcome. I wonder if contest winner Miranda Merin is somehow related to Jamis Merin, the presumptive winner of the original Miss Macross contest who ended up losing to Minmay. Still, it was nice to have an homage to the original series with Ranka appropriately covering Minmay's "My Boyfriend is a Pilot." We finally get to see Alto's father, Ranzo, and it's clear that the two aren't even on speaking terms. Alto, like Hikaru before him, is a little rough during his training, but he shows that he has skills. He manages to take down one Zentradi pilot in the mock battle and performs well against Klan. He foolishly attacks the Vajra mecha with just a knife, but he recovers by destroying it with the Zentradi weapon. Ranka's connection to the Vajra has been cemented here, as we learn that she's the only survivor of a Vajra attack from 11 years ago. If the military has known about them for that long, what exactly is going on? We're also introduced to Klan Klang, and she's a rather strange one. As a full size Zentradi, she's a busty adult, but as a miclone she's an angry loli. Stranger things have happened though in Macross. As for Sheryl, it seems to me that tripping somebody on the street is certainly an odd way to say hello.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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Macross Frontier Episode 4 Macross Frontier Episode 4

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