Macross Delta – 03

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The plot: Mirage and Messer don’t like Hayate and Hayate isn’t helping his case. He skips class and doesn’t take his training seriously and only survives his final examine because Freyja sings to him.

And until Hayate needs help, Freyja was under-performing as well. However, in her case she both takes the training seriously and her fellow songstresses are far more supportive and understanding.

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The Problem: This episode paints a bleak picture for Macross Delta. When all the extraneous, predictable and force-fed nostalgia is stripped away, all that is left is a beautifully-rendered but vapid show.

Worse, there are so many characters fighting for screen time, and each is so distractingly over-designed, that there’s no room for the main characters to breath. For goodness sake, the three street children from last week’s throwaway phone joke did not need to become recurring secondary characters.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.03.25 PMIncluding the girl with the ai octopus hairpiece on her head, 5 of these characters have speaking lines and I have no idea who any of them are beyond ‘pilot’ or ‘deck crew’

Counting the slap-stick Mercat, who’s antics are clearly telegraphed as a teaching tool for Hayate to using in his exam, this episode features sixteen secondary characters, three main characters and that’s not counting the Aerial Knights who teaser us after the ending credits. Too much!

Even if Delta weren’t choking to death on frivolous characters and predictable plots, other plot elements feel purely nostalgic. Flying in VF-01 trainers (and being told they are ‘cute’) feels forced and without in-show purpose.

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You will probably enjoy it: because it’s wondrously rendered and packed with details. Even Elysion Colony floating in the bay itself is a visual callback to Frontier and Macross 8, and anchors this show within the greater universe.

You may not enjoy it: because the plot is predictable and the characters, what little we get to see of them, are Macross archetypes: Low-stress anti-war fighter ace, bright eyed loli-songstress whose spunk will win the day, and a rainbow of inconsequential ‘advance the plot’ secondary cast characters.

Sadly, Mirage’s tsundere character is about the most original thing here, and it’s only somewhat original to Macross, not anime in general. I am seriously tempted to rate this a 7.

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12 thoughts on “Macross Delta – 03”

  1. That’s pretty interesting, because based on what I could read on the various boards, the general consensus of the viewership is that this third episode was clearly the best one out of the lot. You should already have known what to expect plotwise (Macross is a brand, after all). If this is not your cup of tea, I doubt that you should have picked this show – the probability of Macross completely switching it up is near-zero.

    Personally, I enjoy this rendition of the material quite a bit – primarily I’m watching for the upcoming Mirage/Hayate antics. At the same time, I like Freyja quite a bit (something novel to me, I didn’t warm up to Ranka, and I genuinely disliked Minmei), and this show offered the next earworm of a song.

    Soooo, I’m a happy camper.

  2. Flying in VF-01 trainers (and being told they are ‘cute’) feels forced and without in-show purpose.

    They seem to be trying to do homage here., what with those VF-01’s being colored in Max and Millia Jenuis’ colors (blue and red respectively).. Heck, Hayate and Mirage, as a whole, are a slight nod to Max and Millia, made more obvious with the show confirming that Mirage is indeed Max’s and Millia’s granddaughter.

    1. honestly I should have noticed that, but it’s all garbled in my head because they are both in Macross 8 and only Max ever flies anything. (A VF 18 i think??)

      Intentional homage or not, it comes off as Star Trek into Darkness style cameo-for-cameo sake. Just meh

      1. Again, I’ve only ever watched Frontier, but I thought it made sense to give a rookie pilot an older, less complex (and less expensive) model to train in, and the red and blue fighters Hayate and Mirage fought in were definitely not as sleek as the ones the Delta pilots fly into battle, so I was fine with it.

        For the record I didn’t think this episode or the series so far is going out of its way to shove homage and nostalgia down my gullet the way Star Trek Into Darkness did, nor piling on the retro schmaltz a la Gundam’s ponderous love-letter-to-itself, Recon in G. For me, it’s a Goldilocks “just right” so far.

      2. You’d have to have watched the rest of the franchise to even notice all the nostalgia moves ;-)

        e.g. Why would the military produce 1st generation combat craft for 30th generation pilots? Macross has shown pilots flying ‘older’ training craft in each series following the original, but not ‘original’ generation craft. And then to shoe-horn in the iconic colors of one of those pilot’s grandparents? Dr Marcus? Paging Dr Marcus??

      3. e.g. Why would the military produce 1st generation combat craft for 30th generation pilots? Macross has shown pilots flying ‘older’ training craft in each series following the original, but not ‘original’ generation craft.

        Your criticism is far too granular for my sensibilities. I don’t think about a jump from 1st to 30th gen or worry too much about the liveries; I see “old plane training, new plane, combat.” Nothing that would detract from my enjoyment of the episode.

      4. Since this takes place after Frontier, VF-25 Messiahs would make sense. VF-19s and VF-22S Sturmvogels would make sense, since we’ve seen both as background craft in Frontier (They were the prototype in Macross Plus and front line fighters in Macross 7)

        But this is all missing my point: Macross Delta chose these 2 planes (and even their colors) for nostalgia-as-cameo purposes and nothing else. That bugs me.

      5. Do you read Macross source and you call yourself macros expert, In expended universe VF-19 become more scarce and too expensive and too difficult to use which why NUNS prefer VF-171 over VF-19 and it has very expensive spare parts. Hell even Isame HAVE DIFFICULTY to find his VF-19 in military , make Isamu HAD to call VF-19 Creator to get 1 older model for him and even that creator of VF-19 having very hard time and difficulty to get VF-19A for Isamu just show how VF-19 are not suitable for training and don’t even mention VF-22 which even more rare planes

        For VF-25, Its mainly a Frontier fleet VF not NUNS main VF.It also too expensive to give newbie like Hayate to train. Its like Air Force using F-22 to train Amateur pilot. Doesn’t make sense right?

        Also In frontier they use entire series using nolstalgia color scheme like Skull Squadron especially Altos VF-25 has EXACT COLOR SCHEME AS HIKARU VF-1. and I don’t see you complain about it?

  3. Well, I quite enjoyed that. It’s so good to have Macross back!

    I’m inclined to go on the consensus, as I felt this was the best episode so far. I enjoyed Freyja’s dilemma fakeout last week, but this week really focused on and nurtured the budding relationships between both Hayate and Freyja and Hayate and Mirage (Mirage and Freyja’s one notable interaction was the former warning the latter of all the house chores).

    Aside from one little blushing moment, Hayate and Freyja continue to interact more like brother and sister, each looking out for the other and genuinely invested in one another’s success, with the idea that ‘if he/she can do it, so can I’. Of course, like siblings tend to do, there’s also a bit of mild antagonism; each wants to prove to the other that they’re leading the way, when in reality it’s pretty symbiotic.

    That dogfight in the retro VFs…be still my heart. I could watch that stuff all day, while listening to Freyja provide the soundtrack. “Mercat Turn”? Priceless. And from the vivacious ocean planet to the stern wintry imperial city, there’s no shortage of gorgeous worlds to escape to and bask in.

    But it wasn’t just eye and ear candy; my investment in both Freyja and Hayate to that point, and the way they each fed off each others’ energy to pull through, really made my day.

    Heck, Hayate even offers an encouraging olive branch to the beaten Mirage, who is also growing on me. I feel her pain in the face of such an insolent student, but also think she could use some lightening up. Basically, these two seem like they’ll be good for each other.

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