Macross Frontier 10: Pegasuspaniel Steals the Show

Ranka’s singing gets noticed by a film director and he invites her to join the cast.  Is this an anime fiction?  No, it’s the reality of Japanese cinema.  But I digress..

Alto gives her some lovely advice, which I must repeat since it’s in Classical Japanese and that’s all I’m studying these days:

「思わざれば花なり、思えば花ならざりき」 = “Omowazareba hana nari, omoeba hana narazariki”

Translation: “Think not, and you are a flower; think, and you were (never) one.”

This is one of the core Dao (and Zen) principles: spontaneity trumps deliberate action.  And it’s all very nice except the show transforms into a Sunday morning cartoon with a colorful critter and everything.
Honestly though, I do not approve of this critter being called Hydra.  I know the writers have a right to call it whatever they want, but hydras don’t look anything like this dog with wings!  Why not call it Pegasuspaniel? (I admit it doesn’t look much like a spaniel, but it looks more like a spaniel than a hydra)

Sheryl seems to have way too much time on her hands…  Isn’t she super famous?  Shouldn’t she be doing interviews and signing events or whatever most of the time instead of hanging out at a film shoot in which the only role she has is as part of the soundtrack??

Anyway, I thought this episode is tremendously weak.  Reading the post [here] I now realize that there’s a lot of stuff going on in terms of homages and service for fans of the Macrossverse, but if you come to it like I did you’re bound to be utterly bored.   Each minute in this episode felt like it was really quite random, and random is good if you inject lots of comedy into it, but they didn’t even try that here.  And it’s tragic because you get a scene that should be terribly important (Alto and Sheryl kissing, with Ranka watching) and it just leaves one cold in the context of the episode.  The same goes for the second kiss.

~ by Haloed Bane on November 26, 2011.

37 Responses to “Macross Frontier 10: Pegasuspaniel Steals the Show”

  1. The Hydra was a bit of a head-scratcher for me as well back when I watched this episode. “Stick to mecha people” was what I though of the design of the creature.

    Being a Macross fan, this episode was hugely enjoyable for me for all the service and homages that you correctly point out. When Macross Zero came out, it was a bit hard to imagine how it would fit in with the rest of the Macross storyline. But this particular episode kind of fits in into the Macross mythology.
    I can see though, what it must have been like to watch for a Macross first timer.

    • Hehe. That hydra was funny.

      Well, at least I feel better knowing that Macrossheads get something out of this episode…

      • I do very much enjoy reading an educated ‘non-fan’s’ take though. Sometimes the ‘fan glasses’ don’t allow me to see what are obviously faults and weaknesses in the show.

  2. Well, had pretty much completely different impression and I came to episode with similar background to you. Eps 7 and 10 are my favourites of the first cour to this day, the magnificent Aimo sequence in the end would make it sure. Now that I can fully appreciate how skillfully it wove the past series to make a couple of points about the love triangle and Ranka’s character via allusion it’s the best we-put-animu-in-your-animu episode I can personally think of. Just wonderful.

    I’m…really not seeing what is so random about the episode. You want random, retarded QUALITY infested crap you take episode 8. I thought it was really well done one episode exercise in “girl walks in a set as extra, ends up as the star living the hollywood dream” storyline. Individual moments like the discussion between Bobby and Ranka on the beach shore, her character development and all are also dear to me.

    Only thing I DON’T like about the episode is the horrible QUALITY in the hydra fight scene. Guhhhh

    ps. GL’s posts on series are great but beware of letting him colour your vision too much! haha 😀

    like his will to ignore core aspect of our jerkheady MC: his emasculation issues

    Anyway, keep on doing the good job 🙂

    • I thought the Hydra itself was random. I also thought Alto and Sheryl all of the sudden showing up at the set was random. And then the actor refusing to do that one scene was even more random~

      Episode 8 was bad. Quite frankly, if I were watching this show without the blogosphere to teach me some stuff, it’s possible I would be considering dropping it right now, since I’d fear that it was gonna turn into a whole series of episodes 8 and 10 from here on out.

      I don’t know what a jerkheady MC is??

      • PFFT, don’t put too much stock in this guy’s warnings about my take on Macross Frontier as if you’re incapable of your own critical reading and interpretation.

        He puts a much higher value on Macross Frontier than I do, much much higher, which to me (being an advocate of Macross online the past three years and wholly using Frontier as a touchstone for WRL itself) is a bigger red flag.

        I know he’s really kidding, and Xard and I are really cool, but let me put it this way:

        He’s left almost 200 comments on WRL over the course of a week this year, filibustering against fans who flat-out love the show.

        But, I wouldn’t have it any other way, as Xard is the kind of fan you want to talk to anyway, and is one of the people I really wanted to share your Macross Frontier posts with along with Megaroad above.

  3. The hydra? Definetly wasn’t random event but for now let’s leave it at that. Alto had a definitive role in the film production alongside with S.M.S so his presence wasn’t random at all and expectable. The actor refusing to do the scene wasn’t random either because that really is the kind of thing you tend to leave for body doubles and the like (divind underwater and such, I mean)

    Sheryl’s presence is the one thing I can understand but overall it’s not really *random* either. It’s not that she has been doing precisely nothing anyway, at that time in the story she was working full time for what I presume was weeks on that documentary of hers (on which she drafted Alto too). I’m pretty sure she had just wrapped it up when she came to island and it’s entirely feasible she had no other, pressing concerns at the time. If anything is “random” or unlikely it’s timing of her arrival, but that’s not more unforgivable (ab)use of coincidence than is commonly accepted in the genre. In terms of likelihood it’s the same as the chance meeting of trio in end of ep 2… actually, it’s more likely than that was.

    Also, as someone who dropped the show at ep 8 with a huge ragequit I’m not in position to lecture about such feelings! Rather: I understand it completely. Thankfully I picked the show up again a month later…

    Because I really love ep 10 I wouldn’t have minded more episodes in its spirit later and I really don’t see much common ground between it and ep 8. If anything episodes 8 and 9 are the ones that are least connected to the whole and partially exist to pace the flow of first cour and a necessary “padding” between ep 7 and Ranka’s rise to stardom. Ep 10 on the other hand is truly crucial.

    Jerkassy MC = our Main Character Alto who can be bit of a jerk.

    • I’ll be curious to see how I find episode 11. I have no problem with a series that caters to its fans, and I’m aware that what I felt about episode 10 (or rather, what I didn’t feel) is very much like what so many people who check out many of Leiji Matsumoto’s newer series don’t feel, but which I, knowing the background and allusions etc. go ecstatic over. That’s part of the growing process too, in this case the growing into a fandom.

      • I prefer jerk main characters than wussy ones. Although jerkassy wusses like Ikari Shinji are fascinating chimeras. This is not to say Alto is as jerky as Xard seems to suggest. I find him quite fascinating here in the series.

        He’s capable of seeing past himself, but he’s clearly obsessed about his flying to the point of finding female attentions annoying. This makes him ripe for trolling which Sheryl did in an amazing act of false bravado in this episode.

        Now, let me ask you? What lead female character does this? Actually steal a kiss this way? Especially after the nonsense of episode eight you wouldn’t expect a character to go this far — shows are more than content to just assault the (male) viewer with a lot of blushing from the “tsun-tsun” female lead.

        Of course, this act of hers in itself is a reference to a scene from DYRL, but still.

        • This is what disappointed me about that scene. Stealing the kiss, great. Well done. That’s Sheryl for you. But why do they have to show her so vulnerable immediately thereafter. Sure, she pretends it was a joke and Alto is so thick he doesn’t see it..but why even show her kinda break down for a second? They should have just kept her cool all the way. I mean, I can tell she’s vulnerable already. You don’t have to rub it in, as it were. (Though I guess maybe younger viewers need a little bit of prodding for them to get what’s going on?) (or maybe I’m seeing things all wrong?)

          • You may notice that Sheryl doesn’t immediately treat the kiss as a joke. Initially she seems to be trying to gauge Alto’s reaction to it. He doesn’t have a positive reaction, so she retreats into “fairy mode” and pretends she was just teasing him. Also keep in mind that the kiss may well have been an impulsive decision on her part; she’s somewhat prone to doing things on the spur of the moment and Alto was giving her a perfect opening with all his talk about how a kiss was no big deal.

            Also I kind of like Ghost’s idea that all this is Sheryl’s way of relaxing down after a busy stretch with work as it at least explains why she came (if not why she was allowed to hang out on set). I’d also seen an explanation somewhere that she was around because she’s the granddaughter of one of the people being portrayed in the film, but apparently Sheryl doesn’t know she’s Mao Nome’s granddaughter in the TV series.

            The fact that Sheryl seems to have more free time in this episode is also interesting considering something that’s said in the next one.

            Lastly I remember finding the second quarter of the series (and episode 8-10 in particular) relatively weak in the past myself, though I think I’ve come to appreciate them more with subsequent viewings (even Episode 8, which had a few significant developments in spite of its descent into out of place antics).

        • I would just like to add a little to this since I have strong (negative) thoughts on Alto. I consider Alto to be someone who, although is not mean spirited in nature, is not aware enough of the feelings of those around him and therefore does a lot of hurtful things, in particular towards Ranka. I think if your on the Sheryl side you don’t tend to notice it as much because Sheryl knows what he’s about from the start and therefore doesn’t let him be a jerk to her as she’s the one in control it seems (mostly) at this point.

          Ranka on the other hand seems to completely misunderstand who Alto is and depends on him far more than she should. I really think at this point in episode 10 Alto is probably not a positive influence in her life. I mean they are both to blame but that doesn’t make Alto any less of a Jerk even if he doesn’t realize it. For instances in episode 10 why does he let her think he saved her again. I know he probably didn’t think it was a big deal but I was just in pain watching that scene yesterday as it was just reinforcing his dependability far more than he actually is again.

          This isn’t even getting to the core of why I don’t like him but I don’t think it’s worth talking about now.

          • If we look at the characters in terms of power, definitely Sheryl towers over Alto, and Alto towers over Ranka. This means Ranka is the most vulnerable and most likely to be hurt. But I think you can alsomake a case that at some fundamental level all three are quite unaware of their feelings and how to behave properly in the circumstances that surround them (then again, that is the human condition in a nutshell so we all share these problems!

            • Yeah true, I really hate how vulnerable Ranka is which is why I can’t forgive Alto when he is mean to her. lol Although I think in the case of Alto his true feelings are towards his dreams currently and it’s really a race to pull his feelings away from his dreams and towards one of the girls at this point.

          • I’d just like to add to this, that Alto is not a particularly remarkable fellow in this regard. There is a overwhelming tendency for male anime leads to be completely oblivious to the feelings of the women that surround them. It’s actually hard to find examples of anime leads who are aware of a female character’s feelings towards them without having it spelled out to them in large letters. Whether this is just an anime trope, or rather a reflection of how teenager relate to each other in Japan I’ll let those who have a greater knowledge of japanese society judge.

            • My guess is it’s to excite the otaku. The otaku can dream that maybe girls around him all love him but he simply doesn’t see it or they’re too shy. And if the otaku lives vicariously through an anime dude then there’s also the joy of delayed gratification, because the otaku knows that the character will eventually get the girl.

              I don’t think it has to do with the situation of teenagers in Japan, simply because AFAIK if a Japanese high school girl has a crush on a boy, she’ll make it known to him one way or another. Confessions, confessions by proxy, letters in the sneaker box, one way or another the dullest boy will be informed of what’s going on.

              • Yeah this all goes with the reasons why I don’t like Alto. First he really isn’t all that unique. I’ve seen his type in anime many times before and I don’t tend to like any of them. I consider his type to represent “the pride of men.” Basically he is the type that doesn’t NEED women because he isn’t weak like that. Instead the women all NEED him. This is direct fanservice at all the single otaku out there pretty much like you said. I find this completely unrealistic and personally frustrating to watch particularly as these types always tend to break women’s hearts. This I don’t need you I’ve got my own goals act is basically just pandering to men who hate the idea of being dependent on women.

                I would understand it a whole lot better if Alto actually had better qualities about him that made Ranka and Sheryl love him besides “he saved me!” and “he doesn’t suck up to me!”

                • Pffft.

                  Who needs women!? (I kid, I’m married, and so is ak)

                  But Alto as pride of otaku? Balderdash.

                  Alto is a pilot’s pilot. You’re not a mecha fan (you’re a Ranka fan far far far FAR more than you are a Macross Frontier fan, let alone a Macross fan, let alone an anime fan, god forbid a robot anime fan) so you don’t see how special he is compared to the guttervomit crying emofags that litter the lead character tradition.

                  It is strange to not be attracted to women at that age, but this is related to how distasteful he finds Michel. If Michel wasn’t a playboy Alto would be less reactionary and just relax. But Alto is obsessed with one thing: flying, and when he saw the VF-25 Messiah, it was love at first sight.

                  First Valkyrie wins.

                  • I think you don’t really understand me very well. Sure I am a Ranka fan but this was only recent (mostly due to the movies), when I watched Macross F the first time I was definitely not a Ranka fan (I rooted for her to do well but I didn’t care that much). I was not even really a fan of any of the three but I definitely did not like Alto ever (TV version). In terms of Alto I don’t think I’m being biased at all.

                    Anyways, am I saying he’s the worst lead ever, by far no! I don’t hate him as a person alone, I consider him average on that scale. I hate that he doesn’t do anything to deserve the love of Ranka and Sheryl. Re-watching this show right now I still don’t see it. I mean can you tell me why Ranka and Sheryl should be in love with a guy that cares more about his Valkyrie and sometimes treats them(Ranka) horribly in a way that doesn’t sound unrealistic or make one of them look bad/needy? (waits for the Ranka bashing) But to me he’s just this guy that is practically given everything and deserves little to none of it. I tend to like my leads to work for and earn what they get in both love and life (which is probably why I don’t like almost every gundam lead character lol). You have no idea how often I root against the Gundam lead characters.

                    As far as me being not a mecha fan? I don’t know what qualifies me to be one or not, I sure am not even close to you but I enjoy watching it. Gundam is what made me fall in love with anime. I know Alto is a whole lot better then a lot of leads in mecha at least but that doesn’t mean I have to still like him or concede he is special because the rest are a bad lot.

                    • I’m not claiming that you find Alto the worst.

                      I’m just contradicting your point that he’s a representative of “otaku pride” — I do not give that theory credit.

                      Now that you’ve clarified the dislike…

                      Well, what does deserve have to do with attraction and love?

                      This view of yours is naive. I say this without condescension and superiority. Allow me to share my perspective.

                      Love, is an act. It is an act of sharing and giving, a free act.

                      It is not a transaction. Making it so, is antithetical to its meaning.

                      Ranka loves Alto because he is kind to her, gives her attention, etc. etc.

                      This is merely casting love as a kind of repayment of “services.”

                      Love is far more irrational than that.

                      Ranka likes Alto because he is pretty and says some nice things that she wants to make more meaning than he’s intended to have.

                      I love Minmay. Has she done anything to deserve love, or respect even? Highly debatable. My love for Minmay is not contingent to anything she ever did after I figured it out. I need not justify it to myself or others. It’s love! She can’t do anything to discourage me from it.

                      Sheryl is more difficult to love because she is too easy to admire, and therefore this admiration is easy to conflate and infatuate with love.

                      My wife and I are just about 5 years into our marriage, but we have known each other for about 8 years. We have said and done terrible things to each other… none too dramatic, but hurtful things nonetheless. Giving love, and forgiving each other is a far bigger and more meaningful thing than “deserving” love by performing kind gestures and being admirable or desirable.

                      As a love story, Macross Frontier is actually very, very weak. It’s basically a long tease of “who Alto will pick?” It’s just Alto giving in to an attraction that he doesn’t really want to indulge. The movies make for a better, if ordinary, structure and plausibility to the love story, but it’s no great thing.

                      For anime though, and especially a robot anime, it’ll suffice.

                      But reduced to its most simple parts, these are three very attractive people who are very young and are figuring out their relationships with each other. The friendship dynamic is actually far more interesting, because the rivalry is constructive and there are very pretty fraternal feelings going on between the three.

                      Now, I won’t discourage you from disliking Alto for not “deserving” each of the girls’ feelings, but even that I find silly. Sheryl likes him because he is pretty and doesn’t treat her like a star. She believes this is an equal she can have a conversation with, a relationship with. She wants to possess Alto’s feelings for herself. Ranka likes him because he is generous with encouragement, and who is someone who knows what he wants and has the conviction to follow through — things she needs at the onset of exploring her own desire for fame and stardom. She wants to possess Alto’s feelings for herself.

                      Alto, just wants to fly baby.

                      There, it’s not that difficult to organize the structure of attraction is it? But love, that really won’t make sense. It’s far too early for that anyway. Youngsters.

              • I’m replying over here for ease of reading (at least on my screen it’s hard to read).

                Let me try to explain myself another way when I mean deserve. Ok, it’s not necessarily the initial reasons they like him it’s more of the process. I’ll try an analogy to best explain. Let’s say you were inserted into a situation similar to that of Alto and I guess Sheryl and you were with some real life idol real like I don’t know M’yan (I don’t know many to choose from haha). Ok so she’s now interested in you now but all you start doing from this point onward is thinking about that awesome new car you have and go around driving in it basically putting all your priorities on that shiny new car. What do you think will happen eventually? You think M’yan will stay interested in you, I don’t unless maybe your already married (haha). I think there needs to be effort on both ends for love to grow. She might if you were an important star or something like that but if you are someone like Alto? That’s what I mean by I don’t believe he does much to deserve their love. I won’t say he does nothing but he sure does like to drive that shiny new car way more than pay attention to them. (imagining Alto driving a car like that makes me laugh)

                Setting that aside, I agree it’s a weak love story in the TV series at least, but that is not really why I watch Macross F. I find it a hindrance to my enjoyment in the series sometimes and it sure seems like Alto is the one that is behind that hindrance a lot to me. That is when I start getting mad at him. Really I would have rather finished re-watching this show again before talking about this as I am going off of 13 episodes being clear in my mind and 12 that are all fuzzy as I’m writing this.

                Even putting aside the love aspect I won’t root for Alto because as I said before he’s given practically everything to him from the start. I tend to like leads that work to be the best and sometimes lose and are weak and have to overcome that. That’s a matter of personal preference though.

                I still think he is designed to sell to otaku by attracting to their sense of pride. I mean both Ranka and Sheryl are designed to sell to certain otaku, I don’t see why they wouldn’t make the lead either. I still like Ranka anyways, I know why and that’s good enough for me.

                • Alto is intended to appeal to fans… I dunno about otaku… what kind of otaku? The lolipedo ones? Doubt it.

                  If anything he’s shoujobait — the distant, disinterested man to be wooed.

                  Once upon a time, girls were wooed, and people ate it up. Shoujo also has both traditions of distant men who are playboys (Michel), and just plain distant (Alto) perhaps due to their own obsession about something. Also, he’s not obsessed about something as banal as a machine, even if it IS the moterhfucking VF 25 Messiah. He’s all about flying as once upon a time Sheryl was ONLY about singing.

                  Can you imagine the poor sod who falls in love with Sheryl when she was still fighting her way to the top of the idol world? How different would she be from Alto? They’re a lot alike this way, and it’s part of why they work well as a pairing.

                  Alto isn’t interested in Ranka, the pairing is brother-sister otaku fapbait pandering if it were really indulged. That’s what Brera is for too, but he’s really gross — then again the Japanese fans approve of him more as Ranka’s suitor LOLOLOL

                  Take away the weak love story, you’re left with a very weak triangle. Ranka just doesn’t belong. Another badass, strong character like Klan would’ve worked better. Instead of an idol, a pilot. That would’ve balanced the geometry.

                  Misa was a wuss as a lady, but she was an awesome heroine and practically commanded the fricking Macross. This is why she stands on an even, if not higher plane than Minmay. Ranka… just doesn’t have it… unless you count [redacted due to spoilers].

                  Instead of being upset about Alto, you should consider being upset about not having a more otaku-friendly set of triangle points for Ranka. Because well, that’s what suits a lolimoe character like her, some wussy guy who she can inspire to become strong.

                  Alto… doesn’t need her. Sheryl too. But they’re nice to her because well, they’re good people.

  4. You’re welcome.

    Just to add a little more to what I was saying about that kiss scene -I think the key to making sense of it is putting together two factors. One, that Sheryl actually put her feelings into that kiss and Two, she probably did it spur of the moment. Put those two factors together and I think it makes sense that she’d backpedal rapidly when she got a “What the hell are you doing?” response from Alto. She made herself vulnerable without being prepared for the consequences.

    On another note, I’ve sometimes thought that it might have been reflecting on that kiss that finally made Sheryl realise that she’d fallen in love with Alto (though one could probably argue that she figured it out earlier or later in the series).

    • I guess we’ll never truly know when Sheryl figured it out, but it’s pretty clear Alto’s very attractive to the ladies. He has two stars wrapped around his fingers, and as usually is the case, he doesn’t even know it 🙂 It’s the Zen thing again in a way.

      • >I guess we’ll never truly know when Sheryl figured it out, but it’s pretty clear Alto’s very attractive to the ladies.

        what I find funny about their attraction to Alto is that it has more to do with his pretty pretty princess looks than any masculine, ruff charm. That stays consistent from the start and Ranka’s “how beautiful”. 😀 What I’m trying to say is that I eat my hat if Ranka and Sheryl aren’t bi to some extent

        and yes, Sheryl was gauging Alto’s reaction. She only turned to her coy “just joking” card when she saw no reaction she’d hoped for.

        • I’ve heard more than one grumpy gaijin in Japan saying that all Japanese women are bi to some extent 😀

  5. Hey ak, I think you’ll find this image quite useful in terms of imagining scale: http://miotd.com/images/20111106.jpg

  6. […] (as I don’t frequent other fora aside from twitter), but I began to see the pattern re-emerge in another anime blog currently publishing about Macross Frontier TV. In my conversations with the blog’s author I sought to explain this dynamic, which led to me […]

  7. […] (as I don’t frequent other fora aside from twitter), but I began to see the pattern re-emerge in another anime blog currently publishing about Macross Frontier TV. In my conversations with the blog’s author I sought to explain this dynamic, which led to me […]

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