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.
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.
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.
Not that Hayate isn’t free from pomposity himself…
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…
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.