The Macross Elysion receives the news about the destruction of the NUNS fleet. Ernest tells the crew to prepare to fold to Ragna. Hayate nervously tries to tell Freyja something and instead says they should both come out of this alive. On Ragna, Sigur Berrentzs docks with the Temple of the Stars, and Roid takes Mikumo to her stage. Heinz tells Keith that he felt the winds of thousand being snuffed out and never realized that Grammier carried such a burden. He also says he doesn’t want unnecessary sacrifices, so he intends to enter peace negotiations after demonstrating the power of the Star Song again. Roid gets into the temple’s throne and connects his runes to the system, which allows him to feel incredible power. The Macross Elysion and its NUNS fleet de-fold near Ragna and prepare to engage the Windermerian fleet. Hayate gets ready to launch in his new Siegfried, which is loaded with Messer’s combat data, and Mirage tells him that she’s going to fly with a clear mind. Walkure sings “Our Battlefield” as Delta Flight launches and opens fire on the enemy ships. Delta Flight ejects their Armored packs and begin atmospheric reentry, followed by the Macross Elysion. Heinz hears Freyja singing and comments that it has changed, as though shrouded in clouds. Roid tells Heinz that they’re ready, and Heinz says “Rudanjaar Rom Mayan” to activate Mikumo and make her perform the Star Song. A holographic image of Mikumo appears over Sigur Berrentzs and the Protoculture ruin, and everyone is affected by strong Bio-Fold Waves. She starts singing “Do You Remember Love?” and Roid feels the Fold Neuro-Network forming. Heinz asks what’s going on, and Roid mentally says that with the network they will evolve into a higher form of intelligence. Roid says that connecting everyone into a single being will bring peace to the galaxy, and the Aerial Knights wonder if Roid is betraying them. Roid counters that it’s not a betrayal and that humanoids will evolve into a galactic-scale intelligence that surpasses the Vajra. They’ll be able to process information that will make a minute seem like an eternity, thus allowing them to transcend the limits of their Windermerian bodies. Roid declares that a new world is born, and people start to see flashes of their past. As the network expands, Delta Flight and the Aerial Knights fall under Roid’s control. Mikumo recoils in horror at what she’s done, and Roid tells her they are the galaxy now.
Freyja starts singing “Giraffe Blues” and tries to reach the others through the network interference. Heinz starts singing the Wind Song, and the Aerial Knights feel the message that he wants them to team up with Walkure and stop Roid. Bogue asks if they’re supposed to forgive the enemy, and Heinz answers that it’s not about forgiveness. Roid tells them that there’s no way to protect their individuality. Freyja sees her hand turn white, and Hayate tries to break free of network control by declaring that he loves Freyja and will protect her. Mirage remembers Freyja asking her not to say anything about her hand because she wanted to sing as long as possible. Mirage tells Hayate that she loves him and that he made her realize she does love flying, so she wants to fly with him forever. Mirage asks Freyja why she isn’t saying anything and calls her a coward. Freyja starts to glow, and Roid tries to counter her will with his own. Freyja sings “If I Love Only Once” and reaches out to Hayate, saying that she loves him when he flies. Hayate is able to break free of network control, and Reina and Kaname join Freyja in singing, which frees the rest of Delta Flight and the Aerial Knights. Roid repeatedly says “Rudanjaar Rom Mayan” and causes many Drakens to turn white as they come under his control and attack. Makina joins the rest of the group, and Sigur Berrentzs fires on the Macross Elysion, hitting the area near the stage. Most of Walkure is pulled out of the ship in the hull breach, but Reina and Makina catch each other. Freyja falls through the sky and asks Mikumo what feeling she sings with. Mikumo answers that she just wants to sing with them and breaks free of Roid’s control. Roid tries to have his Drakens kill Walkure, but Bogue rushes in and saves Makina and Reina. Hayate swoops in and grabs Freyja, and the Macross Elysion transforms and dodges attacks from Sigur Berrentzs. It fires its cannon and damages Sigur Berrentzs, but Sigur Berrentzs returns fire and destroys the Hemera. The Macross Elysion concentrates its pinpoint barrier to perform an Aether Attack and smashes into the Temple of the Stars to make a pathway for Delta Flight. Hayate and Mirage attempt to infiltrate the temple and come under fire from Drakens, but Keith arrives and backs them up. Mirage rescues Mikumo as Keith fights off Drakens. Roid asks Keith why he doesn’t want to live eternally, and Keith answers that he only cares about the present. Keith’s Draken is destroyed by an enemy unit, but he is able to eject and stabs Roid through the chest with his sword. Keith tells Roid that in the first time they flew together, he felt the brilliant burning of life for a moment. The Temple of the Stars then explodes, which deactivates the Protoculture system and frees everyone from network control. Sigur Berrentzs pulls away as Heinz orders his forces to retreat to Windermere. Chuck lands on a beach to watch the Ragnan sunrise and is amazed to see Marianne. Walkure members rush over to Mikumo, who tells them she’s returned. Hayate and Freyja fly overhead, and he tells her that they’ll be together forever. Freyja starts singing “Absolute Zero Theta Novatick” to him.
Macross Delta crosses the finish line with villains defeated and love declared, but the most immediate thought that comes to mind both about the ending and the series as a whole is one thing: missed potential. It is known that the Delta project was originally conceived as a 13 episode TV series that would be concluded with a movie, but during pre-production this changed to the 26 episode series we have instead. Despite this change happening early on, it seems that the writers couldn’t figure out how to re-configure the story since the pacing of the second half of the show comes to a crawl and dispels all the momentum built up at the halfway point. This leads to multiple problems throughout the show that continue into the finale. First, the cast is too large, and many of the characters get little or no development. Nothing stands out about most of the Aerial Knights, and even though Keith sacrifices himself to stop Roid, he’s still an aloof blank slate. Mikumo is the same kind of aloof blank slate, so her desire to be free of Roid and join her friends has very little impact. While it was good to see further exploration of the Protoculture and its genetic seeding of humanoid species across the galaxy, it amounts to a lost opportunity because Roid’s plan is literally a copy of Macross Frontier. The “let’s combine humanity into one consciousness” trope is pretty well-worn in anime, and it was fine that Frontier did their spin on it, but it’s a waste to have Delta do the same thing a few years later.
Because so much ground is lost with slowly-paced episodes, the finale is crammed into a single episode, when it really needed at least two. As a result, so many things are left unsettled. What is NUNS going to do in response to this? Is Heinz going to give up his father’s plans? Will Windermere face any consequences for starting this unnecessary war? After all the mystery about the bombing seven years ago, will the truth ever be publicly known that Wright wasn’t to blame? This series raises interesting questions about galactic colonialism that it never explores beyond the surface level. Humans in Macross are typically depicted as the “good guys,” but it’s obviously not as clear cut as that. Exploring how the New U.N. Government exploits colony worlds for its own benefit would’ve been a far more interesting path to follow. Love triangles are an important Macross trope, and this is the first TV series since the original to end with the protagonist actively choosing one love interest. Mirage ends up on the losing end here, but it was pretty brave of her to confess her feelings as a way to spur Freyja into action and declaring how she feels about Hayate. It’s essentially a bittersweet resolution, because although Hayate vows to be with Freyja forever, for her that means 15 years or a bit more. Despite these issues, the series was successful in Japan, which led to two movie adaptations. The first covers the entire TV series, with many changes. As of this writing, the second is still in production. If it ends up serving as a sequel to the TV series or movie (or both), perhaps it will address some of these lingering issues and have a better resolution. Taken by itself though, the ending of the TV series doesn’t compare to its three predecessors, and that’s a shame.