Macross Frontier 03: Variable Thunderbolts

People in this show have super-vision: they can see guys inside cockpits a mile away!!  Case in point is the very beginning of episode 03, where Alto discerns Mikhail in action and scowls at his friend’s success [the moment is very revealing as to Alto’s psychology].

I loved this sequence here:

The dialogue in the foxhole, as noted by ghostlightning, is rich.  Each of these three characters is strictly locked away in his on her own world: Alto’s mind is raging against fate for grounding him while his friends kick butt in the skies; Sheryl, who’s used to being in control and having things her own way, is desperate to reassert herself and have things her own way; Ranka has her eyes closed and I dare say she’s thinking of her “brother” and wandering through the fog that is her own past.  And yet, they’re all here and whether they like it or not, relationships are blossoming.  When Alto goes home, won’t he think of Ranka and how he carried her to the foxhole?  When Sheryl goes home, won’t she marvel at this boy that won’t kowtow to her like the rest of the world?  When Ranka goes home, won’t she be giddy from having spent time with her two idols?  What will Ranka do when her relationship with the two antagonistic idols deepens, and worse, when their relationship with each other grow tighter?  I don’t know.

Look at this shot:

Notice the yellow caution sign on the top right.  Soon after this shot Sheryl falls over Alto, accidentally slaps him, accidentally exposes her breasts, slaps him again (not accidentally) and starts bickering with him.  Ranka figures out a way to defuse the tension.  Now look at this shot:

The framing of the shot here is ominous.  Ranka’s offering is hazardous!!  Thankfully Sheryl and Alto laugh it off.

Later on Ranka shows off (maybe) another case of super-vision, spotting her wounded brother from far away.  I say maybe because in the context it’s pretty clear that the man in the messed up Valkyrie is her brother.  It’s possible she didn’t actually see him.  Anyway, Ozma has been wounded fighting the Vajra, and here’s another splendid name choice.  Vajra is a Sanskrit word that means diamond or thunderbolt.  The sky god Indra’s weapon is the vajra.  The word’s use is widespread in East Asia and not only India.  Thus Tibetan Buddhism calls itself the Vajrayana and the current heir to the Thai throne  is H.R.H. Crown Prince Vajralongkorn.

Has anyone noticed the telephone numbers?  In this episode we get Ranka’s phone number (on a file on Mishima’ desk) and then the phone number for the shopping channel Sheryl is watching.  Both numbers begin with “+83”.  I don’t think this was a random choice.  If you look at international phone codes today you see that:

+81 -> Japan

+82 -> South Korea

+83 -> (not in use)

+84 -> Vietnam

+85 -> (various small East Asian countries, such as Laos, North Korea and Cambodia)

Macross Frontier’s +83 is thus the closest phone code to Japan (and neighboring countries) that is not in use and thus available to a space colony.  I guess this means that maybe if you call Ranka she’ll pick up.  [I haven’t tried though].

I really like Ranka’s song in this episode, especially the mix of Japanese and the other language (I love conlanging)…but after a few minutes of looking up the language on google, I had to quit for fear of spoilers and spoilerish speculation.  It sounds nice, that’s for sure.  And what’s Protoculture anyway?  Should I be making sure my yoghurt has it??

It’s great that Alto spurs Ranka to sing and commit herself to singing, and in turn is inspired by her song to commit himself to his dream of flying high.  Next episode looks like lots of fun~

~ by Haloed Bane on October 20, 2011.

4 Responses to “Macross Frontier 03: Variable Thunderbolts”

  1. Excellent work on catching the signs… hazards! I’d never have thought of this. Truly I love it.

    The characters recognize the pilots because Macross Frontier color-coded the aircraft. Michel Blanc’s is blue, presumably Alto knows this because he knows Michel well.

    Ozma’s craft is a commander unit and has the same skull marking on top, as he has on his car. This is what I presume Ranka notices.

    BOTH units are references to SDFM characters and their respective mecha: Max Jenius (glasses, blue Variable Fighter) and Roy Focker (dark skin, older veteran; see my avatar) who is Skull Leader.

    As for Aimo, the lyrics seem typical Kanno Yoko gibberish.

    Protoculture, is well, the first culture, a master race of presumably humanoid folk in the distant past who seeded the galaxy. To appreciate them fully requires watching SDFM (not because they featured there, but because of their influence in the narrative is most felt there).

    The country code stuff is brilliant. The Philippines is +632 hmmm (or 02).

    • Oh, the skull…yup, that must be it!

      I did read that Kanno is into making words up, but I would imagine (or: I’d like to think) that the animators have developed an in-story rationale for the gibberish.
      (Protoculture, Zentran, neo-Japanese or what not).

      When I first saw Ranka’s number I thought it was +63 (Philippines) but then I saw clearly that the channel number was +83 and going back I realized Ranka’s was +83 as well. By the way, a good number of Thai animators worked on the background for this show, through Studio Bihou which seems to be mostly based in Southeast Asian countries.

  2. If I recall correctly, the foxhole scene (or just before) is the first time these three characters are together and aware of each other at the same time. I think that was one of the most enjoyable moments for me early on, and as was mentioned, each character is in their own world during this scene. The atmosphere of these characters, each with different circumstances, thoughts, and backgrounds was an exciting piece of this story. I found them very different from each other, but also magnetic. I guess the gravity adds a sense of amusement and youthfulness to the trio.

    • Fireworks!! Yup, close quarters (also, stuck in an elevator case for example) make for good conversations..·
      Maybe romantic people should build foxholes near their homes and lure pretty people in them so they can get to know them better?? Come to think of it, that sounds creepy~

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