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Episode 1: Speaker Pod

 

Review by Chris Guanche

Original Review: May 1, 2000

New Review: May 5, 2006

 

Summary

 

In the year 2045, seven years have passed since the Macross 7 colonization fleet left Earth to find a new planet to colonize. In the City 7 residential ship, Fire Bomber guitarist Mylene Flare Jenius, keyboard player Ray Lovelock and Zentradi drummer Veffidas Feaze prepare to open a show. But there's a problem - lead singer Basara Nekki is nowhere to be found. High above the concert park, Basara hangs upside down from the top of City 7's dome. In the crowd, a girl with flowers desperately searches for Basara. Nearby, Battle 7 Captain Maximilian Jenius watches the concert with binoculars. He says to himself that he can't relate to this music, and that if he knew his daughter Mylene would join a rock band, he wouldn't have let her take piano lessons. Mylene tells Ray that the crowd will get upset if they keep playing "Planet Dance" as an instrumental, but he doesn't think so. As the holographic moon rises, Basara lets go of his perch and parachutes down to the stage. He then grabs his guitar and begins singing. As the concert continues, Max receives a call from the Battle 7 bridge that their advance scouts have come under attack from unidentified craft. He then orders a battle alert and places all fighters on standby. As Max drives away from Katasumi Park, he regrets having to miss Mylene's solo. When he enters the bridge, he is informed by operators Sally Ford and Miho Miho that the frigate Borognaise has spotted nine enemy craft. Squads of Thunderbolt fighters launch and head for the enemy position. Diamond Force members Gamlin Kizaki, Docker and Kinryu launch in their Nightmare fighters. Docker tells Gamlin they should show the enemy what they're made of, but Kinryu reminds them that this isn't a game. As the battle begins, the Thunderbolts engage the enemy's transforming Elgersoln fighters. The Elgersolns grab onto the Thunderbolts and fire beams that hit the pilot's brain. The Diamond Force arrives at the battlefield, and Gamlin attacks an Elgersoln holding onto a Thunderbolt. He contacts the pilot and reports to Kinryu that the pilot is completely unresponsive. The Elgersolns continue to attack the Thunderbolts and fire beams into the pilots' brains. Max asks for a status report, and Exsedol Folmo comments that he's never seen anything like that before. Gamlin and Docker destroy several Elgersolns, and Kinryu reminds them not to let their guard down. Gamlin attacks an Elgersoln commander unit piloted by Gigile. Gigile analyzes Gamlin's Spiritia pattern and fires his beam. Gamlin dodges the beam just in time, but it instead hits Docker.

 

Sally reports to Max that the Varauta forces have reached the ship, so Max orders a shell down for City 7. In space, Gamlin chases after several Elgersolns and destroys them with missiles. In Katasumi Park, Basara and the others stop playing when the shell's night lights deactivate. On the bridge, Max receives a call from City 7 Mayor Milia Fallyna Jenius and tells her that he'll explain everything later. He then tells Miho and Sally that he ordered a shell down, not shell off. Exsedol tells Max not to bee too hard on them since it's their first time. The battle reaches City 7's airspace, and exploding fighters send blasts of air through City 7. Basara asks what's going on, and Ray says there must be a battle in space. Basara wonders if a war is starting, and Ray says their show is over. Shelter modules begin to rise out of the ground, and most of the crowd rushes in. Veffidas continues to drum, so Ray starts playing again. Basara runs away and heads to the Acshio residential ship where he's hiding a Custom Excalibur variable fighter codenamed "Fire Valkyrie." In space, Varauta leader Geperuniti examines the Spritia readings of the U.N. Spacy forces. Gigile tries again to sap Spiritia from Gamlin, but Gamlin dodges and shoots at Gigile. Suddenly, Basara flies between them with his Excalibur. In Katasumi Park, Ray jacks into military frequencies to broadcast the battle on screen. Gamlin destroys an Elgersoln and wonders what kind of idiot Basara is. Gigile measures Basara's Spiritia level, but he assumes that his equipment is malfunctioning. Basara is chased by several Elgersolns, so he charges toward them and transforms into Battroid mode to fire speaker pods into the Elgersolns and Thunderbolts. Gamlin wonders what's going on, and Basara begins to sing "Charging Love Heart." Gamlin yells at Basara for interfering with a military operations and threatens to shoot him if he doesn't leave immediately. Exsedol wonders if Basara is trying to be like Lynn Minmay, and Max thinks it's a possibility. Sally and Miho whisper to themselves about Minmay, the girl who ended Space War I 35 years ago with music. In Katasumi Park, the crowd cheers Basara on while Ray makes arrangements to have the battle broadcast on the Galactic Network. Geperuniti examines Basara's Spiritia level and also assumes that the equipment is malfunctioning. Gigile orders his forces to retreat, and Basara wonders if they don't want to hear his song. With the battle over, Basara sings "Charging Love Heart" again. Gamlin exits his plane and floats over to Docker's Nightmare, where Docker lies in a catatonic state.

 

Commentary

 

If there's one thing you can say about this series, it's that it isn't your daddy's Macross. It's been 35 years since the original series, so we have mostly a new cast here. However, there are some original series holdovers like Max, Milia and Exsedol. Speaking of Exsedol, for whatever reason he's gone back to being a full size Zentradi, but his appearance matches his "brainy" look from Do You Remember Love? rather than the TV series. The end of the original series described a project for humanity to colonize the galaxy, and this is the result. It looks like things have been peaceful for the Macross 7 fleet, but that's changed now that they've encountered the mysterious Varauta and their transforming Elgersoln fighters. The Varauta have a devastating weapon that sucks Spiritia energy from pilots and leaves them catatonic. Most series of this type would focus on military pilots like Gamlin, but here the star of the show is Basara. Basara's singing seems to have an effect on the Varauta, so he could be the next Minmay. Overall, this episode has all the elements you'd expect from Macross: aliens, music and transforming fighter planes. However, I'd note that the battle animation is pretty stale and doesn't compare to contemporary mecha series of its time, or even the original Macross.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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