At a movie theater, Ranka watches the premiere of the movie Bird Human, which is based on the events that occurred on Mayan Island in 2008. Ranka blushes when she sees the scene where she appears as Mao Nome, the younger sister of Mayan priestess Sara Nome. Earlier, Miranda appears in a TV interview discussing her part as Sara in Bird Human, which covers some of the life of U.N. Spacy pilot Shin Kudo. At Nyan-Nyan, Nanase is frustrated about just handing out promotions, but Ranka said Elmo believes word will spread about her. Elmo then runs in and says he has news. Later, Ranka tells Alto over the phone that she got a part in Bird Human. She’s worried because she’s never acted before, and he says she probably can’t do it. She doesn’t feel very encouraged by that, so he tells her that if she makes herself think something is a flower, it will be one, and that if she thinks of herself in that role, she can be it. Alto says she shouldn’t worry because it’s a small part, and Sheryl yells at him to get back to work. Alto is bothered that he used his father’s words, and Ranka wonders if Alto and Sheryl are together. An officer gives Leon an analysis on the Lucifer and says they’ve determined it’s manned, but that even with EX-Gear, the human body can’t withstand its level of maneuvering. Leon then gets a message from someone named “G.” Later, Ranka and Bobby arrive on a boat at the island that will be used for filming the movie. She’s surprised to see Michael and Luca, and Bobby explains that SMS is helping with the movie since it will feature Valkyries. She wonders if Alto is there, and Michael says he’s on another job. A Seahawk helicopter carrying Miranda lands nearby. The producer and director George Yamamori argue about the image song for Sara, and Yamamori thinks that Sheryl’s song doesn’t fit and shouldn’t be in the movie. Miranda spots Ranka and tells her not to ruin the movie. Sheryl and Alto walk over to the producer’s tent, and she says her song doesn’t fit because it wasn’t written for the movie, but she’d be happy to write a new one. Miranda introduces herself to Sheryl, but Sheryl ignores her and speaks to Ranka. Alto mentions that SMS has to help with the movie’s documentary, and suddenly Yamamori grabs Alto by the hand. His intermediary says that they saw Alto in the kabuki play Sakurahime Azuma Bunsho and want him to be in the movie. On the Macross Quarter 25, Lam, Mena and Monica look up the play. They’re surprised that Alto was in it, and Cathy says his performance still has lots of fans. Elmo begs Alto to be in the movie to help Ranka, but Alto says he gave up acting. Michael teases him about running away again, so Alto gives in. Ranka says she’s surprised to learn about Alto’s kabuki background, but Sheryl knew, and Ranka walks off. There’s trouble on the set, as Shin’s actor refuses to do an underwater scene. Alto speaks with Yamamori’s assistant, and the car transporting Mao’s actress is attacked by a winged creature. Ranka stands on a cliff and begins singing “Aimo,” which Yamamori hears while fishing. Elsewhere, Leon goes to a restaurant and trades Valkyrie data with G. G mentions that hydras from Eden are on the ship, and soon they’ll know the true horror of the Vajra. On the cliff, the hydra appears behind Ranka and roars.
Luca shows the child extras the Messiah and explains that it will be replaced in post production by a CG-rendered VF-0 Phoenix. Sheryl asks Alto if he accepted the part, but he tells her he declined. Instead, he’s doing an underwater stunt as Shin’s double. Luca says that’s pretty daring because it’s a kiss scene with Mao. Sheryl asks him if he’s going to do the kiss, but he says a kiss is nothing and stalks off. The producer gets a call about an accident with the car carrying Mao’s actress. The hydra leaps at Ranka, but Alto arrives and opens fire on it. The hydra knocks his gun away and rushes in again, knocking him and Ranka around. Suddenly, Brera rushes in and has his arm bitten by the hydra, but he knocks it away. Ranka sees his cybernetic arm and is reminded of the Vajra attack from 11 years ago. The hydra attacks again, but Brera pulls out a blade and slices it in half. He gives his name to Alto and then runs off. Alto carries sleeping Ranka through the jungle, and she wakes up. She thanks him and says he’s always saving her. When they reach the village, Elmo tells Ranka he has big news: Yamamori wants Ranka to play Mao, and he also wants to use “Aimo” as the movie’s main theme. Alto congratulates Ranka, but he then realizes that if she plays Mao, he’ll have to kiss her. Brera is contacted by a woman and is told that if he wants to reclaim his past, he’ll do as he’s told. Ranka sits by the shore, and Bobby asks her why she shied off from the part. Sheryl tells Alto that it looks like Ranka hasn’t decided yet. Ranka tells Bobby that she’s scared about the kiss and acting. She says she doesn’t understand Mao and how she fell in love with the man her sister loved. Sheryl comments that a kiss is nothing and suddenly kisses Alto, which Ranka sees. Sheryl then laughs at Alto for taking the kiss seriously and runs off. Ranka stands up and tells Yamamori that she’s taking the part. Later, Alto and Ranka jump into the water for their underwater scene. They dive down to where the AFOS is located, and Alto suddenly loses breath as he’s supposed to. Ranka takes off his scuba mask and kisses him. During the premiere, Ozma thinks to himself how surprising it is that Ranka is playing Dr. Mao. Bird Human ends with Shin’s Phoenix climbing into the sky with glowing wings, and the crowd cheers during the credits. Miranda appears on stage, and Sheryl tells Ranka to come on stage and respond to the audience’s applause. Yamamori tells Ranka that yesterday she was nobody, but now her legend begins. Ranka climbs on stage, and the crowd cheers.
Previous episodes of the series have thrown in homages here and there to nearly every past Macross series, but this time they go all-out with an episode devoted to Macross Zero. This idea has been tried before – Macross 7 featured an episode covering the Space War exploits of Max and Milia Jenius, starring Basara Nekki and Mylene Jenius. Despite this episode focusing on Macross Zero, they also throw in another nod to Macross Plus by mentioning the hydra creature from Eden. If anything, this episode is the first major step in Ranka’s rise to stardom, but it also furthers along the love triangle, as she took the part after seeing Sheryl kiss Alto. On a side note, it was pretty clever to disguise the episode’s credits as those of the movie’s. Ozma mentions Dr. Mao, so it’s clear that more happened to Mao after the end of Macross Zero and the disappearance of Shin and Sara. Perhaps she researched Protoculture or something else, but I suspect we’ll be seeing an elderly Mao in this series at some point. Also, we see Leon meeting with G, who I assume is a disguised Grace. We also see from Brera’s fight with the hydra that he has a cybernetic arm. Given the earlier report about humans not being able to pilot the Lucifer, perhaps Brera’s entire body has been cybernetically enhanced so that he can pilot it. Either way, I’m sure we’ll see more of him in the future, with Alto inevitably discovering that Brera is his rival in the Lucifer.