Macross Frontier 06: Politics and Religion
Yesterday I was listening to an old interview with renowned physicist Michio Kaku on alien lifeforms and how the U.S. government should deal with them if some contact were to be made. Dr. Kaku was brutally frank: in such a case “freedom of information” goes out the window. The government should be very careful in how it disseminated the information for the simple reason that public knowledge of an alien lifeform would likely cause hysteria and chaos among the public.
So far in Macross Frontier we’ve been told that the existence of the Vajra is a government secret in the Colony. In this episode President Glass decides it’s time to inform the public. But OMG what a way to break the bad news!!!
First off, the president interrupts current programming to deliver the news. If the speech had been announced beforehand it would have made more sense to me, but this abruptness is bound to make the colonists fearful. But it gets worse. The president gets on, tells the public he has something important to say, and immediately inserts a clip of gigantic Vajra kicking ass!!
And then it gets even worse. As the president explains the threat, and reveals that the Galaxy colony suffered terribly at the hands of the Vajra earlier, the govt. broadcast shows actual clips of Galaxy forces being pulverizing and screaming just before the end!! What’s going on?!
It makes one wonder. The President announces the implementation of an emergency decree. The morbidity of the announcement might be due to this. If Frontier colony is a democracy, and the President feels that going through the regular consultations with legislative bodies etc would take way too much time, maybe shocking the public (and his political opponents) into accepting the gravity of the situation might ensure passage of the decree and prevent opposition. It reminds me of Weimar Germany somewhat.
But is Frontier a democracy?? I don’t really know, but we haven’t been given any indication of it. I get the feeling that the executive is quite powerful. Therefore maybe the motivation behind this morbid, terrifying announcement might be to steel the colonists for the task ahead. Instead of Weimar Germany, Frontier might be positioning itself as a modern-day Israel or Singapore (where the government fuels alertness in the populace by highlighting the large, lurking menaces abroad).
On to lighter stuff. Ozma lets drop some interesting trivia about this civilization: one becomes an adult upon reaching the age of seventeen years. I love this bit of information because it’s tossed so naturally in, and it’s so random we can’t but notice it. In Japan adulthood is reached at 20, in other countries it’s 18.
As for the love triangle, I think it’s clear that right not Alto favors Sheryl over Ranka. See, if I were him I’d be shooting for Ranka. What are the odds that a relationship with Sheryl will work out in the end?? 0.01% I reckon. Mind you, if Ranka becomes a successful idol it might complicate matters on that end too, but what are the odds that she will be as successful as Sheryl? I’m not afraid to admit success makes me afraid 😀
And then there’s Sheryl’s song. There’s a lot to say about “Diamond Crevasse”. One of the meanings of the word “vajra” is diamond, and so Sheryl wishfully singing of a “broken Vajra” shouldn’t surprise us. Then again, the concept of “vajra” is intimately connected to divinity, and so the title could just as well refer to the actual lyrics…
These lyrics are peculiar, and I mean that in a good way [I’ll be borrowing from animelyrics.com here]. When you consider how many pop songs come out each year, and how many sentences are possible in human languages, it’s really depressing how little variety one usually finds in songs. “Diamond Crevasse” starts with a really bold phrase:
“When I was still in love with God / I never expected such a farewell to come.”
These words beg us to take them metaphorically some way. Maybe Sheryl is comparing her lover to God. Maybe the God mentioned is indeed God, but the farewell happened between the singer and another, suitably human lover. But I insist on taking the sentence literally: the singer was in love with God and is now shocked she has to say goodbye.
If this doesn’t sound wacky enough for you, I need to point out that the “love” verb here isn’t “ai suru” (the all-encompassing spiritual love that can be used for God, children, puppies and yes, boyfriends and girlfriends too). The verb is “koi suru”, romantic love, lovers’ love. This higher, theological sense pops up all over the song.
“I met you, the stars sparkled, and I was born. / I love you, therefore I am.”
As you probably know, Japanese lacks a singular/plural distinction. Thus the “stars” here could just as well be “star”. In fact, if you look at the Japanese lyrics that word is not in Japanese at all! It’s in English, all-caps: STAR. One star. Egad, is our singer announcing herself as Christ?! The star sparkled (over Bethlehem) and I was born. I love God, therefore I am. The theology is accurate as far as it goes. Of course, it soon goes all wrong…
“What good is waiting for a hopeless miracle?”
Alas, our singer isn’t Christ (or, if she is, then she must be the Christ at Gethsemane, doubting his mission and sweating blood). Though I don’t think “koi suru” is an appropriate act for the persons of the Trinity to be engaged in. Perhaps the singer is a lover disappointed with the divine. It’s a peculiar thing to read when you put it down in words, but it does happen to people.