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Episode 5: Star Date

 

Review by Chris Guanche

May 11, 2008

 

Summary

 

Ozma yells at Ranka for getting kicked out of her private school because of her appearance in the Miss Macross Frontier contest. Ranka explains that she did it because she wants to be a singer, and Ozma tells her she can't possibly be a singer since she's so shy. Ranka then throws pots at Ozma and runs out of the house crying. Alto searches his locker at school for Sheryl's earring, and she tells him she has to get it back because she's returning to Macross Galaxy in a week. Two girls enter the locker room, so Alto and Sheryl hide inside his locker. His cell phone then rings on vibration mode, making Sheryl uncomfortable. Ranka stands outside the school and gets a call from Ozma, but she hangs up on him. Alto and Sheryl then climb up the school's wall, and they're spotted by Luca. Ozma attempts to call Ranka again, but he gets a visit from Cathy, who tells him he's been summoned by the government. Leon tells Birla over the phone that he's gathering all persons who have in-depth knowledge on the Vajra. During the car ride, Ozma leaves a voicemail with Michael ordering him to find Ranka. Cathy comments that things might've been different if he'd shown such concern for her, but Ozma says things between them are over. Alto tells Sheryl that his manager is off duty, so he won't be able to search for the earring until tomorrow. Sheryl then grabs Alto's necklace as compensation and sticks it between her breasts. She dares him to get it and laughs because she knew he wouldn't stick his hand in there. At school, Luca gets a call from Ozma too, and Nanase blames herself for Ranka getting suspended. She wants to search for Ranka, but Michael declines because he has other business to attend to. Luca calls Alto, and Alto tries to get rid of him and insists that he's not with Ranka. Luca tells him about her suspension, but Sheryl walks up and hangs up the phone. She asks Alto if he's dating Ranka, but he tells her that he isn't. He then gets Ranka's voicemail, asking for advice about what to do. He then attempts to call her, but he can't get through. Michael sees Ranka standing outside the school, and Alto heads downtown with Sheryl. He asks her how she knew about the earring, and Sheryl explains that Grace has eye implants. Alto says those things are illegal, and Sheryl tells him that implants are common on Macross Galaxy. As they hop onto a cable car, Alto asks Sheryl if he's had anything done, but she tells him one of her selling points is that she's all natural. Elsewhere, Ranka refuses to go home, despite Michael's protests. Alto and Sheryl visit the observatory overlooking the city. Sheryl is amazed by the city and tells Alto that Macross Galaxy is an airtight chemical plant, so it's very different from bioplant cities. Alto looks through a viewer and spots Ranka and Michael at the train station. He asks Sheryl if it's ok to use her time off like this, and she tells him that she likes how he doesn't treat her like a star. They get on a train, and Alto says he has a place he wants to taker her.

 

On Island 3, Leon begins his meeting on the Vajra and shows them a captured specimen. Sheryl is surprised to see a Zentradi hippocow, as well as a full size Zentradi farmer. Alto asks her if she's ever seen them before, and she tells him there aren't any Zentradi on Macross Galaxy. She then spots a nearby structure, and Alto explains that it's the Zentradi mall Formo, where Ranka and Michael currently are. Michael spots Klan and quickly offers to buy Ranka some ice cream. Sheryl is amazed to see Zentradi-sized silverware and shows. Feeling sudden inspiration, she grabs a pair of Zentradi panties and begins writing down lyrics. Klan walks over and asks what she's doing, and Sheryl says she doesn't want to be bothered. As they eat ice cream, Michael asks why she came to his school, and she tells him she wanted Alto's advice. She says Alto is the only one who listens to what she has to say and doesn't treat her like a kid, the way Michael and Ozma do. At the meeting, Leon explains that the Vajra mecha has an exterior similar to a Valkyrie's energy converting armor, that it can fold on its own, and that it can continually grow missiles internally. However, it's a low level life form, so Leon thinks it might be remotely controlled. Michael tells Ranka that she doesn't know why Ozma fights, and her resolution is lacking if she can't tell Ozma why she wants to be a singer and has to instead run to Alto. He asks her if she can even sing in front of others, and she tells him she did it at the contest. He then asks her if she could sing right now, when no one has come to see her sing. He mentions that there was a Zentradi singer at the entrance, but Ranka didn't even notice him. Klan comments that Sheryl is odd, and Alto folds a paper plane, wondering why people go out into space or sing. Sheryl asks what else they're supposed to do, and Alto says he flies because he's meant to, so he tosses the paper plane out. Ranka stands by herself with a microphone, but she's too scared to sing. When she looks up, she sees Alto's paper plane and feels inspired, so she begins to sing Sheryl's "What 'bout my star?" Almost immediately, passerby stop and listen to her sing, including a Zentradi man named Elmo Kridanik. Alto and Sheryl hear Ranka's voice. Alto is surprised to see Ranka, and Sheryl says that her true colors are starting to show. A human silhouette appears inside the Vajra mecha, and it suddenly comes back to life and attempts to smash out of the tank. Leon activates the emergency barrier, and the Vajra mecha folds in. At the mall, Ranka sees Sheryl and Alto together. She returns the necklace and says she can return home relieved because Ranka is going to become someone. Alto promises to find the earring, and Sheryl kisses him goodbye on the cheek, which Ranka sees. In space, a Valkyrie pilot named Wilen folds out and calls the Macross Frontier, saying that the Macross Galaxy has been attacked by the Vajra.

 

Commentary

 

If anything, this episode captures one of the best traits of the original series: the ability to slow the pace down in the middle of a war and take the time to develop its characters. Much of this episode focuses on Alto and Sheryl's romp through the city (a near exact duplicate of San Francisco), but there's equal focus on Ranka's soul searching and her determination to become a singer. We also get to see a bit more depth to Michael, and when he challenges Ranka to sing, he shows that he's more than just a snarky rival/ladies' man. It's rather amusing to see Zentradi hippocows, or Sheryl writing song lyrics on giant panties, and I wonder if the mall's name isn't a nod to Exsedol Formo. Ranka finally does find the determination to sing, thanks to one of Alto's paper planes. The love triangle is definitely solidified here, but at this point it's way too early to even guess who Alto will end up with. We also learn a bit more about the Vajra mecha and their capabilities, and they're certainly a formidable foe. Things probably won't be going well now that they've broadened their attacks and gone after the Macross Galaxy too.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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