Macross Delta 5 – Free up the skies

Macross Delta: the enemy always has their own reasons to fight

So far Windermere had been the menace lurking in the shadows, stirring up Var trouble and flying around in unmarked planes without much of a explanation or justification for what they were doing. Not anymore, as last episode ended on a declaration of war, with this one opening with the reasons why Windermere wants it: to liberate themselves and the rest of their globular cluster from the oppressive menance of the New Unified Government. Whether those reasons make any sense to outsiders is another thing entirely, but it shows how Macross never goes for simple black and white conflicts.

Macross Delta: Freyja does have a creepy smile

Hayate is right: Freyja does have the best creepy smile in all of Macross. She and Hayate make a good team, with Mirage forced in the role of third wheel, her stiff manner and gruff behaviour contrasting with the open warmth of Freyja. Past Macross series tended to be a bit mean towards characters like Mirage, making them the butt monkey — think of Cathy Glass in Frontier e.g. — but here Mirage is left her dignity.

Macross Delta: Mirage talks about her grandparents

But that doesn’t mean her pomposity doesn’t get punctured. As when she talks about her grandparents, Maximillian “Max” Jenius and Milia Fallyna, the first ever human-Zentradi couple in an attempt to motivate Freyja, but is interrupted by Hayate asking what that has to do with anything. It’s a fun little scene further establishing each of their personalities, especially coming in an episode that’s ninety percent setup. What I like about it especially is that it’s not so much a love triangle as a friendship triangle, where Hayate & Freyja had hit it off almost immediately and so did Freyja and Mirage for all their difference in personality, while Mirage and Hayate keep managing to rub each other the wrong way but don’t necessarily dislike each other… It’s just that his frivolity annoys her, while her pomposity irritates him.

Macross Delta: Hayate talks big

Not that Hayate isn’t free from pomposity himself…

My Boyfriend is a Pilot == Lili Marleen

If My Boyfriend is a Pilot had existed outside of its Macross context, it would’ve been the sort of summer song picked up on holiday abroad, something you’d hear in every disco until you got sick of it, then when you hear it years later on the radio, get an incredibly nostalgic flashback from. It’s not a particularly good song to be honest, just annoyingly catchy, but in its proper context it is something special, as iblessall tries to explain:

It’s just a singer describing her plane-loving boyfriend (an idol wishing the robot-obsessed fans of her franchise would pay attention to her). And because it is not special, it endures. It is a song that exists throughout franchise iterations, all the while unbound to specific events.

The Doylean explanation as for why My Boyfriend is a Pilot is so important would be just because it’s repeated over and over again, first in the original Macross saga, then as explicit callbacks to it in the sequels. But that’s a boring explanation. Far more interesting to present a case for why it became not just popular but a symbol that still resonates some sixty years later.

Which got me thinking. My Boyfriend is a Pilot is a song that in normal circumstances would’ve never become a hit, at best a minor curiosity. But then the SDF Macross found itself on the far end of the Solar System laden with some 70,000 refugees from Macross City who needed distraction from their circumstances, while Lynn Minway wanted to become an idol, with her not quite boyfriend Hikaru Ichijyo enlisting to join the ship’s defence forces and become a Valkyrie pilot. It’s because of her circumstances she can put the right emotions into what’s otherwise an ordinary pop ditty and it’s because of the circumstances the Macross finds itself in that it becomes a hit, resonating with its population. And when Zentradi infiltrants come across it, unaccustomed as they are to any form of culture, it hits them hard; smuggling it with them to their mothership it becomes a hit with the enemy as well. Hmm, that sounds a lot like a certain WWII love song

Lili Marleen became a hit with both Axis and Allied soldiers because it spoke directly to that sense of longing for normality, nostalgia for home and girlfriend that’s universal among soldiers of any nation. The same goes for My Boyfriend is a Pilot in a sense, but its importance is even greater because it is literally the song that ended the war. It’s no wonder it stayed relevant all those years after it; they probably teach it in school. And what with the near-destruction of Earth and humanity at the end of Macross, it was pretty much Year Zero for culture as well, which means most of the Macrossverse pop culture is built on Lynn Minmay and My Boyfriend is a Pilot anyway…

Your Happening World (January 12th through April 30th)

  • A Mari Okada Anime Timeline – 女のカントク – Ten years ago on March 11, 2006, Mari Okada made her anime movie debut on a film for the TV anime Kaiketsu Zorori (The full name of the movie is Majime ni Fumajime Kaiketsu Zorori: Nazo no Otakara Daisakusen). In honor of that, here’s part 1 of a two part project on Mari Okada.
  • Kiznaiver and Mayoiga: Okada Mari in Spring 2016 | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL – When I declared two weeks ago that I’d be looking at Okada Mari for this next post in my ‘Anime Writing’ project, I hadn’t actually read more than one of her interviews (the noitaminA one that’s summarised with one mistake here).1 Just one week later, I found myself regretting that rash decision, for I’d come across around ten relevant interviews, and had no idea if I’d even be able to put together something coherent. In the end, I decided that the best thing to do was to focus on the offerings this season that she’s had a hand in: Kiznaiver and Mayoiga.
  • 80sanime — 1979-1990 Anime Primer – I wrote this primer to serve as an introduction to those new to 80s anime. It features 50 titles, all of which are either films or OVAs for ease of viewing. I attempted to strike a balance between iconic productions and lesser-known gems; nevertheless, this list reflects my personal opinions only and is not meant to be definitive. Also, please note that Studio Ghibli films from this era were purposefully not included since they’re already so well-known (I consider Nausicaä to be pre-Ghibli).
  • The Dreaded ‘Anime Avatar,’ Explained — Following: How We Live Online

A short manga rant — Friday Funnies

my bookcases are a tad overstuffed

So that’s a portion of the bookcases in my living room, floor to ceiling Billies, slightly overstuffed, which go all the way from the entrance to the kitchen past three walls right up to the windows overlooking the garden, leaving just enough space for my computer desk. There isn’t much room anymore for new bookcases, nor all that much more room in the existing ones for new books. So why isn’t more manga available in ebook form? Why can’t I buy Akira as an ebook?

Var is the disease, Waccine the cure — Macross Delta

Macross Delta: yet another love triangle

Well, they said Macross Delta would have several love triangles, not just one. So how about a Hayate-Freyja-Mikumo one? Those two certainly seem to share some sort of bond and it would be novel to have a bisexual love triangle for a change. Probably won’t happen though. But wouldn’t it be great if it did?

Macross Delta: best couple

Speaking of great things, best couple has to be those two, Makina & Reina. They’re not just nice together, they’re nice to their friends/comrades as well. Case in point, fixing up Hayate’s brand new VF-31 Siegfried Verifech Fighter so that it works with his unique approach of not using AI control systems. That’s one of the things I like the most about Macross Delta, the camaraderie and lack of pointless antagonism between the main characters.

Macross Delta: infodumping through flirting

One of the funnier moments this episode came early. One of the waitresses at the welcome party for Hayate & Freyja ineptly flirts with uberserious Walkure pilot Messner asking about the Waccine concert tour, providing an opportunity for a bit of infodumping. Courtesy of her kid brother jumping in and ruining the moment. Cleverly done, though not so much that whole Walkure + vaccine = Waccine thingy.

Macross Delta: kawaii

That whole party scene was a delight from start till end. Some very cute things happened in the background as the show got some exposition out of the way, like Reina’s obvious enjoyment of her food. That’s the sort of thing I like to see in my Macross and Delta so far has it in spades. The world building has been top notch as well, shown mostly through this kind of throwaway background detail.

Macross Delta: Basara is still the greatest asshole in the galaxy

In this episode Freyja explained a bit more about her motivations to leave Windermere and join Walkure. Apparantly an Earthman had given her a music device with terrestrial music, otherwise banned on the planet and she became hooked. Of course it had all the previous series’ idols: Lynn Minmay, Sheryl Nome, Ranka Lee and yes, Fire Bomber, featuring the Galaxy’s greatest asshole, Basara.

Macross Delta: First Lady of Space Soul - Lynn Minmay