Shin Kudo recalls being a young boy in 1999 when an alien spaceship crashed on Earth. In 2008, Shin and Edgar LaSalle’s F-14 Tomcat squad launches from the U.N. Spacy aircraft carrier Illustria. As the F-14s patrol the skies near South Ataria Island, they pick up several MiG-29 fighters belonging to the Anti-United Nations. Shin’s squad engages them in combat over the ocean. Shin manages to destroy several of them, but he nearly hits one of his wingmen in the process. Edgar tells him if he keeps doing that no one will back them up, and Shin says he’s never needed anyone to watch his back. They relax for a moment before receiving a distress call from the Illustria that it is under attack. Anti-U.N. forces attack the ship and blow away its bridge. Missiles appear out of nowhere and destroy the other F-14s flying with Shin. Shin barely dodges the missiles before spotting the SV-51y variable fighter piloted by Nora Polyansky. Shin dodges Nora’s attacks and then chases after her to attack from behind. As he is about to fire, she transforms into GERWALK mode and evades his attack. She then transforms into Battroid mode and blows away most of his F-14. On a nearby island, an elderly man named Nutuk tells his fellow natives the legend of how Bird Humans came to the Earth and turned fish humans into men. Shin wakes up in a strange hut decorated with strange primitive art. He sees a drawing of a bird creature that is similar to the SV-51. He grabs a stick and goes outside to find Edgar, but he only finds Nutuk. He asks where he is, and a woman named Sara Nome tells him he must leave. She says she has seen that blood-soaked soldiers will bring misfortune to their island of Mayan. Shin asks where Edgar is, and Sara’s little sister Mao says the current probably took him elsewhere. Sara listens to the wind and tells Shin he can stay until his wounds heal. Shin runs to the beach and only finds wreckage from the F-14. On the U.N. Spacy aircraft carrier Asuka II, a scientist named Aries Turner gives a briefing and says that the OverTechnology from the ASS-1 allowed them to develop a new radar that discovered a 10,000 year old alien birdlike artifact named AFOS. She goes out for a smoke and finds her old friend Roy Focker waiting for her. He asks her if she is investigating the human-Protoculture interference theory, and she tells him that is a secret.
Mao scares away a group of kids that are following Shin. He sees strange bird things planted in the ground and asks Mao what they are. She tells him that they are the Bird Humans that traveled across the stars and made mankind. Personally, Shin thinks they look more like planes. Mao asks Shin about trains and shows him a picture of a city. He says that her island has nothing until he spots a house with a satellite dish. Mao tells him that the generator broke during a storm and no one has fixed it because those who were capable left for the city. Shin sees a young man showing a girl a stick and asks what’s going on. Mao tells him that men carve out love sticks and show them to the girls they want to go out on a date with. Shin laughs when he realizes that he threatened Sara with a love stick. Mao says she is glad to see Shin laugh, and he wonders when was the last time he laughed. On the Asuka II, Roy tells his men that they have received word that the Anti-U.N. is planning a sneak attack with their new SV-51s. Roy plans on taking them out with the U.N. Spacy’s new VF-0A Phoenix variable fighter. Mechanic Raizou Nakajima tells him that the Phoenix’s engines have been tuned to the max but won’t be as powerful as the new thermonuclear reaction engine that will be used in the VF-1 Valkyrie series. He laments that so many young people are being sent out to fight, and Roy promises that he will bring back all of his pilots. Sara scolds Mao for listening to the radio and says that she shouldn’t follow outsiders like Shin around. Mao says without outsiders like Shin they wouldn’t have things like pictures of their dead parents. The next day, Shin goes underneath a house on the beach and finds Sara carving love sticks. He sits down next to her to carve a love stick and thanks her for saving him. Sara tells him that long ago the Bird Humans came to Earth and made Mayan out of a turtle shell. She suddenly panics when she has a vision of a battle over the island. Roy’s VF-0S Phoenix appears over them and attacks an SV-51a. Roy dodges the attacks from the SV-51 and transforms to Battroid mode to blow it away. He then flies over Shin and Sara and heads for another battle. Sara sees that they are fighting near where Mao went to get water, so Shin runs through the forest to help her.
This is the first new Macross we’ve had since Dynamite 7 was released five years ago to mark the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Instead of going forward, we get a look to the past before the original series. The animation here is stunning and is the best I’ve seen in Macross; it even surpasses the quality of Macross Plus. I was a bit apprehensive about CGI being used for battles, but it is very well done here and is some of the best I’ve seen in anime. As for the story, we’ve got a few mysteries. We’ve got Shin and his friend Edgar, who is obviously related to Claudia in some form. We’ve also got Roy Focker from the original series, and he mentions a human-Protoculture interference theory. Coincidentally, that sounds a lot like the Mayan legend of the Bird Humans from space. Shin notices that their Bird Humans look like the SV-51, and then there’s also the mysterious alien AFOS. There’s an element of mysticism here, and Sara’s visions of disaster are reminiscent of Hitomi Kanzaki from Kawamori’s Vision of Escaflowne. Thankfully, the mysticism here isn’t preachy and didactic like Kawamori’s Earth Maiden Arjuna. The episode ends with a cliffhanger, and I’m curious to see where it goes next.