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Episode 5: Bird People

 

Review by Chris Guanche

November 1, 2004

 

Summary

 

Following the detonation of the fuel-air explosives, Shin and Sara meet up with Aries and Roy next to the Bird Human's head. As reinforcements arrive, the Anti-UN forces attack and take the Bird Human's head along with Sara and Aries. On the Auerstadt, Hasford asks Sara to awaken the Bird Human. She refuses because she says it will sing the song of destruction, and Hasford tells her that destruction and creation are two sides of the same thing. He says that the Bird Human used its powers to evolve humanity, and it's her duty to awaken it and bring back peace. Sara says she wont trust the people who burned the Mayan forest, and Nora tells her that U.N. Spacy is no better. She mentions Operation Iconoclasm, and Aries reluctantly explains that the mission's goal is to either gain possession of the Bird Human or destroy the Mayan island completely. Nora says that U.N. Spacy always tries to take everything and destroys what it can't get it's hands on. On the Asuka II, Mao asks Shin to stop the Bird Human from awakening. He says he's only interested in rescuing Sara, and she tells him Sara plans to sacrifice herself to prevent the Bird Human from singing the song of destruction. Roy tells Shin that he ought to risk his life for a woman at least once. Mao touches the Bird Human's body and sets off a reaction. Elsewhere, the power of the Bird Human's head causes the Auerstadt to rise out of the water. On the Asuka II's deck, Shin and Roy prepare to launch in their Phoenixes and are told they don't have permission to sortie. Edgar knocks out the air traffic controller and asks Shin to write a message on his cast when he returns. As Shin and Roy launch, the U.N. Spacy fleet begins to rise into the air as well. On the Auerstadt, Nora and D.D. launch in their SV-51ys. Shin searches the skies for Sara and sees the Auerstadt floating in the air. Nora attacks him from behind, and he dodges her attacks. Roy attacks Nora from behind and tells Shin he doesn't have time to fight Nora. Suddenly, D.D. appears and attacks Roy's Phoenix "Angel". As Roy takes on D.D., Shin continues to fight with Nora. The two of them pull back, but Shin quickly orients his Phoenix "Angel" perpendicular to Nora and shoots at her. He then quickly transforms into Battroid mode and attacks Nora, knocking her SV-51 into the ocean. Hasford asks Sara if she's willing to let the island her father Ugari loved be destroyed. He tells her that Ugari asked him to test whether Sara would be possessed by a Kadun, and she failed. Sara grabs a machine gun and threatens to kill herself to stop the Bird Human from awakening, and at that moment Shin rips open the submarine's hull. His Phoenix's head is blown off, and Sara cries out as his Phoenix falls through the sky. Her sense of loss causes the Bird Human head to awaken, and it grabs hold of her as it breaks out of the Auerstadt's hull and flies away.

 

The Bird Human's body breaks out of the Asuka II and combines in midair with its head. Sara is stuck inside the Bird Human's head, and it asks her if she awakened it. It asks her if humans have created spaceships, and she answers yes. It asks her if humans have stopped fighting, and she answers no. It then says that humans possessed by Kaduns of conflict must be destroyed before they can spread chaos throughout the galaxy. The Bird Human spreads its wings and fires a massive energy burst that destroys several ships from the U.N. Spacy fleet. The captain of the Asuka II wonders how he can control such a monster, but he receives orders from the supreme council to commence Operation Iconoclasm. As reactive warheads are rolled out, he orders all pilots to destroy the Bird Human. Mao tries to call out to Shin, but Nutuk tells her that those possessed by Kaduns can't hear her. Shin wakes up and recovers from his freefall, only to be attacked once again by Nora. The Auerstadt descends, and Aries holds Hasford in her arms as he dies. He tells her that humanity is a failure and that the world will be reborn after it is destroyed. Roy approaches the Auerstadt to rescue Aries, but D.D. attacks him from behind. Shin dodges Sara's attacks and fires missiles back at her. As they fight, the Bird Human charges another blast. It fires out more energy and destroys Nora's SV-51. At the sight of Nora's death, D.D. goes berserk and begins to attack the Bird Human. Shin tells Roy to go rescue Aries while he goes after Sara and the Bird Human. Roy wishes him well and tells him not to die. As Roy approaches the Auerstadt again, the interior hangar begins to crumble. D.D. fires missiles at the Bird Human in a useless attempt at revenge, and it destroys him. Shin barely dodges the Bird Human's attack and prepares to attack it with missiles. Mao calls out to him with her voice and tells him he's possessed by a Kadun. He says Sara is possessed by the Bird Human, and Mao tells him that Sara loves him. As Shin approaches the Bird Human, Sara only sees a Kadun and fires at it. As the energy volleys approach Shin, he decides to trust Sara and ejects all of his weapons. At the last second, the energy volleys veer away from him and he approaches Sara. She's glad that he's alive and came for her. On the deck of the Asuka II, a Prototype Monster fires reaction warheads at the Bird Human. Sara pushes Shin back into his Phoenix. The reaction warheads explode on impact, and Shin's engines are damaged as he tries to escape. The remains of the Bird Human then vanish into space. On the ground, Roy holds mortally wounded Aries in his arms. She tells him that she loves him and coughs up some blood before dying. As Shin descends in a freefall, he hears the singing of Sara and the Mayan people. His Phoenix crashes into the water, but then emerges and vanishes into space. Mao sees that he was a Bird Human after all.

 

Commentary

 

After nearly two years of anticipation, Macross Zero reaches a rather lackluster conclusion. Sure, there's some great mecha action and drama, but the pieces don't add up. The cliffhanger from episode 4 is quickly skipped over, and the kidnapping of Sara and Aries is too quick. Why exactly does the Anti-UN oppose U.N. Spacy, and what did they intend to do with the Bird Human? Sadly, this is never explained. What is the Bird Human even; is it part of the Protoculture or something else entirely? This also is unexplained. In terms of characters, there's a few expected deaths. Aries obviously had to die because Roy's destiny is to be with Claudia. Nora and D.D.'s deaths are a disappointment because they are both stupidly killed by the Bird Human. They should have died at the hands of their respective opponents. Having the Bird Human kill them deflates the whole point of establishing rivalries with Shin and Roy. How exactly does this all relate to the original series? Maybe the "Zero" in the title says it all right there. While the series started out well, it somehow went off track in the fourth episode. Ultimately, Kawamori's New Age sentiments come across too strongly here as they did in his previous series Arjuna. Hearing Sara go on and on about Kaduns gets tiring, and at times I wondered if she was just being used as a mouthpiece for Kawamori's beliefs. If he directs another Macross series in the future, I hope he sticks to the relatively realistic military aesthetic of this series and Macross Plus while avoiding mystical elements.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3 out of 5 stars
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Macross Zero Episode 5 Macross Zero Episode 5

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