Macross Frontier 11: Stalemate

I was so happy when Sheryl was interrogated on the most obvious question of all: “How come you’ve got so much free time these days?!”  This is all for the sake of advancing the plot, I guess, as well as the random Pegasuspaniel Hydra attack the other day, as setup for the epidemic in this episode.

I’m starting to really wonder if Alto is interested in women/human beings at all.  When Sheryl showed up in that odd outfit he didn’t even once break eye contact with her!!  Is he really just in love with being a pilot??  Nothing seems to get his blood boiling going except flying and the issue of his Dad.

This love triangle is totally messed up.  The guy isn’t into it.  The younger gal isn’t really mature enough to wage combat in this arena, and would much rather have a long, mellow platonic friendship before taking things to the next level.  And the older gal is ready for it and manipulating world politics in order to win, but she’s so proud she won’t confess to the lad but try to get him to declare his feelings for her first.  But he isn’t into it, so…

This is kind of a problem when the show decides to focus on the triangle instead of the conflict with the Vajra.  I say you gotta either put love affairs in the back burner and show us some more fighting or give Alto some aphrodisiacs pronto!  Judging from the preview, I guess they’re going down the first route…

Question: what’s the point of the young kabuki actor having his eyes closed in every scene?  Chou’un in Ikki Tousen does the same thing but there are hints she’s got good reasons to.  What about this fellow?

~ by Haloed Bane on December 4, 2011.

26 Responses to “Macross Frontier 11: Stalemate”

  1. I have the feeling Alto’s disinterest in that scene with Sheryl may be a deliberate act on his part -he certainly wasn’t that detached about it the first few times she did something really forward.

    But yeah, for a series that emphasizes a triangle so much, Macross Frontier’s central love triangle is rather weak. Though on the plus side I think one could argue that the rthree points of the triangle end up being shaped by their relationships with each other in ways that go beyond just the romance aspect.

    Also, your commentary on this stretch of episodes is a painful reminder of my past view of this series, which was more or less that it started off with a bang then stagnated until about the halfway point after which is started improving again. Maybe there was something to that perspective after all.

    On a different note, a lot of people who watch this episode seem to end up with the impression that Sheryl was deliberately plotting to steal Alto from Ranka. Personally I think she just got really excited about being in a position to offer him a chance to fulfill his biggest dream.

    • If it was an act, then he is a consummate actor indeed! He should think about doing a Flying Kabuki Troupe and combine both hobbies.

      I’m definitely feeling like it was a bang first and now the doldrums. I think I remember ghostlightning commenting there was a lot of action until episode 9…

      I guess Sheryl is playing a double game or a triple game. In her own mind, competing with Ranka over a guy is out of the question (heck, competing with Ranka over anything is preposterous to her). In her own mind, going through all the trouble of offering Alto this chance because she wants to win him over is also preposterous. But she’s kind of doing these things without consciously accepting that she is. That’s how I see things at this point.

      • I’m pretty sure Alto is either acting (or has just gotten used to Sheryl’s behaviour, perhaps a bit of both. She certainly provoked some pretty strong reactions from him back in Episode Five.

        Next episode is another one that’s geared pretty heavily towards people with past experience with the franchise, but after that you should fasten your seatbelt.

        As for Sheryl’s motives for inviting Alto to Gallia IV, I think my interpretation of events was affected by realising that the idea came to her while she was still steaming mad from the argument about whether she was well enough to go or not. I don’t think she was thinking about Ranka at all at that point in time. Also, she sounds *really* excited when she finally stops playing around and actually offers Alto her present.

  2. There it is, yes. The younger gal just wants this long, mellow platonic relationship before taking things to the next level… she’s the authentically pure, innocent idol that Minmay sort of never was. But this is also the trap that limits her character in a big way.

    The younger gal doesn’t belong in this geometry… and yet is inevitable as a character of her kind. I ended up writing the “Genealogy” post, and will publish on Christmas. It’ll be too spoilery for you to read though, but fuck at 3,300+ words it’s the longest post I’ve written in years. But yes this is one of the things I extrapolate on… which will undoubtedly enrage many.

    Alto… is pissed off at Sheryl because he is like a girl too. There’s another actress in town and he’s not really over his being one. He’s not whole and complete with his past… as obviously he ran away from it. He was always the star and he has complexes with those who rival him: Yasaburo, Michel, Ozma, now Sheryl.

    In the very first episode remember, he really didn’t think much of her, her concert, and her behavior. He was angry and dismissive. He was rubbed the wrong way immediately. It took “Star Date” for her to get him going somehow.

    Alto’s head is so far up his ass about his own superiority and destiny that he is nice and supportive towards Ranka as a matter of duty, and he follows Sheryl as a matter of forced labor. Is this authentic? No. It is however, something I find interesting in a lead character.

    “The flying kabuki troupe” notion is a theme that’s explored in the second film.

    • I’m not sure who it was, but there was a blogger who found it notable that Alto’s Kabuki acting is a much more traditional and time honored art form than Sheryl’s pop idol performances. Personally I’m not sure if that actually factors into things too much -I think maybe he’s just so focused on his desire for flight that he doesn’t really give a damn about pop culture. Which is ironically a big part of why he’s got one of the galaxy’s most popular idols gunning for him -she likes the fact that he doesn’t treat her like someone to be idolised.

      The same blogger also thought that another reason why Alto wasn’t that impressed by Sheryl’s stardom was because he’d been a child star himself… quite a different take on things than what you’re suggesting even though they both are based on the fact that Alto used to be an actor.

      • Hmm, all of these thoughts on Alto sound about right. I can’t relate to this guy at all. What a princess 😦

      • Not mutually exclusive. He feels these things I mentioned but he’s not honest with himself. Him being honest with himself is his character story in this show.

        He’s friends with Michel, but it’s not necessarily a warm one. They keep acting superior towards each other, and they are both paternal to Luca.

        Alto, just sucks at relationships period. He’s always the one that has to be reached, has to be explained to. This in turn, gives substance to the roles of the other cast (Michel, Klan).

        • But this goes beyond sucking at relationships. He doesn’t want relationships, period.

          • The way to Alto’s heart is to be in need of saving. I’m not even kidding it’s not that obvious by episode 11 but you should see this be more apparent in the upcoming episodes. He’s completely in love with saving the girl in need to the point of almost ignoring the other one. I’m not trying to badmouth Alto here at all it’s just what I see him putting most of his feelings into.

            • Sorry if this was to spoilerily I kind of just realized this and wish I could delete this post.

            • That makes for a very hazardous relationship for the woman. She’s going to have to constantly be in danger in order to get his attention?! Geez 😀

            • If that was really the case the triangle would have been *very* lopsided in Ranka’s favor.

              • Not at all both girls have their issues in this show and are in need of Alto’s help. I just think it’s kind of funny how people put Sheryl on such a high pedestal they forget she had problems. But this was not my intention here more of I think it’s something that shows his feelings better then anything else he does. I mean I was really exaggerating here and kidding about it actually deciding things as I believe his heart was won fairly early it’s just he’s completely clueless about it.

                • I’ll agree that Alto has a tendency to pay a lot more attention to the girls when they’re obviously troubled in some fashion. It’s more the implication that he’ll fall in love with someone if she constantly needs to be rescued from danger that I took an issue with.

  3. Alto is meant to be oblivious to Sheryl and her choice of attire so that she tries harder and we fans get more ‘service’. 🙂

  4. “When Sheryl showed up in that odd outfit he didn’t even once break eye contact with her!!”

    I think it helps that Alto was an onnagata, a kabuki actor trained to play women from a young age. He probably lived as a woman, like many others in the same profession. His the perfect housewife, he can cook, clean etc. His probably used to not looking at boobs and skin, unless he gets them in the face. Which he does from time to time, from both girls, and then he does at least blush. You should really watch the first movie after this though. 😀

    Oh and have you seen SDFM? If you think Alto has issues with ladies, wait till you meet TV!Ichijou Hikaru… I think I had the urge to slap him around after maybe half the show.

    • I haven’t seen SDFM. I’m used to slap-worthy males in anime, but this gets a bit ridiculous. I guess it does make sense that an ambitious, go-getting woman like Sheryl would be attracted to Alto, since he seems so freaking hard to get. And he has nice hair plus, as you say, he cooks and cleans.

      • Sheryl likes Alto because Alto doesn’t treat her as the Galactic Fairy. He just treats her as a normal person, because Alto was famous once and knows that the person behind the fame is just a person. And well, this is Macross. It’s like trying to figure out why women are attracted to Nekki Basara in Macross 7, when all he wants is for people to “LISTEN TO HIS SONG!” 😀 (The same song over and over and over again.)

        • Yeah, but we’ve got to think that women like to be treated well. Sure, Britney Spears would like a guy that doesn’t treat her like Britney Spears. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she wants a guy who ignores her or treats her like dirt, right? Unless she sees him as a challenge to be won…

          • >Unless she sees him as a challenge to be won…

            I think you have answered your own question. And yes, Alto is very much a princess. Women don’t even register on his radar.

            For Alto, having a vagina is not enough to warrant any special treatment or recognition. You must have something that sets you apart otherwise don’t waste his time.

            • I can’t relate to this guy at all!!

              • I actually have an easier time relating to Alto than a lot of more typical male leads in anime. It makes sense that he’s not easily impressed by girls -he’s focused on his dream, and with his looks and history it’s a safe bet that he had fangirls at school well before Sheryl or Ranka ever entered the picture.

                And while that may not be a situation a lot of us are faced with, I don’t think his basic motives are that hard to relate to. He wants to pursue his dream. He wants to protect his home. He wants to get better so that he doesn’t have to rely on others or constantly get shown up by his rivals.

                Honestly, I find him much easier to relate to than the kind of anime guys who are totally pathetic losers or whose brains can’t handle the thought of a girl getting changed on the other side of the wall they’re standing next to.

                • I get what you’re saying. I never was able to ignore women like that, and I never came up with an ambitious dream like his, so I might understand the situation intellectually but it’s very alien to me 😀 I guess he’s true to his name “Alto” (high, lofty).

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