Episode 10 of Macross Frontier starts out with the showing of a movie in a theater. Interestingly enough, the movie is apparently about the events in Macross Zero, and the episode starts out with the scene where Shin Kudo meets Sarah Nome for the first time.
Considering that it’s 50 years since the events of Macross Zero and that they were unknown during all that time, the actors are doing a remarkable job of reenacting the events down to every expression and action. The only thing weird is that some of the people are different, including Ranka Lee who is playing the role of Mao Nome, which greatly embarrasses Ranka when she sees herself on screen. Although besides Sarah and Mao Nome, the other actors don’t look out of place, including the one playing Shin. I wonder how Sheryl Nome feels about Ranka playing a relative of hers, assuming that Sheryl is indeed a descendant of one of the Nome sisters.
After the opening credits, we jump back to the past before the filming of the movie begins. Ranka and Nanase are watching TV where they’re interviewing Miss Macross about her new movie about Sarah and Shin. Apparently they don’t know that Sarah’s surname is Nome, since they don’t mention it and neither do they comment on how it’s the same as Sheryl’s. In fact, they don’t even know Mao’s name, since the role Ranka is playing is named “Mayan girl A”.
Anyways, Ranka gets a call about getting the role for Mao, and that night she’s talking about it with Alto. It’s interesting to see how Alto gives advice to Ranka like an experienced actor, and in fact we find out that he’s a famous kabuki actor later on when the director begs him to be part of the movie. Ranka gets all jealous when she hears Sheryl’s voice over the phone in the background. Does Alto have a clue about her feelings?
The mysterious valkyrie from last episode is still a mystery, and it’s apparent that Leon is not in the know since he’s investigating it. But he’s not without connections and seems to know someone who does know. He meets the person in secret. The gemstones in Sheryl’s earrings indeed seem to have some significance, since this other person seems to want something with a sample of a similar material she gives to Leon.
The production values for the movie seems to be pretty high, seeing that even ancient hardware such as a helicopter are being used. Like with the movie filmed in Macross 7, they’ll be using CG to turned the VF-25s used during filming into VF-0s, though.
The director is impressed with Ranka when she’s singing at an isolated cliff (the director is fishing near the base of the cliff, so Ranka doesn’t know he’s there). The song Aimo probably does have some important significance considering the number of times it’s performed in the show, though I wonder if Sheryl has any knowledge of the song. Anyways, when Ranka finishes singing, it cuts to a break right after a large creature looking like a winged fox suddenly appears behind her, which is a creature from Eden warned of by the mysterious person Leon meets.
After the break, Alto hears her screams and tries to save her, but is powerless to stop the creature. When all hope seems to be lost, Brera appears and defeats it. In the process, he is “injured” and we find out that his body is cybernetic. Protecting Ranka wasn’t part of his mission, though, so he’s reprimanded by his mysterious superior (who sounds suspiciously like Sheryl’s manager), and we also find out that he’s missing his memory and wants it back. Is he Ranka’s brother? Her call for her brother when she was having flashbacks to the attack 11 years ago seems to indicate so.
It turns out that I was wrong about Mao being unknown, since the director asks Ranka to play her role after being impressed by her singing. Ranka is hesitant to accept since she’s unsure of herself about understanding how Mao felt and that Alto is playing Shin as a double when Mao “kisses” Shin underwater when he’s choking. But she changes her mind when she sees Sheryl kissing Alto. Again I wonder if Alto has any inkling of Ranka’s feelings, and whether Sheryl has any feelings for Alto or she was really teasing him about kissing.
Most of the rest of the episode plays out scenes from the movie. They did a remarkable job of recreating the actual events. It’s almost as if someone with personal experience lived to tell the tale after Space War I. In fact, Ozma mentions a “Doctor Mao” while looking at a pamphlet for the movie and resignedly thinks that it was inevitable that Ranka plays Mao. Is Ranka a descendant of Mao’s?
The ending credits for the movie served as the ending credits for the episode itself, and afterwards we switch back to theater where the movie screening is taking place. The audience applause Miss Macross who played Sarah, and Sheryl also manages to get Ranka up to the stage to be applauded, which looks like it’s going to start a meteoric rise of her career.
This episode was chock full of mysteries that I eagerly look forward to being revealed. Is Sheryl really related to the Nome sisters, and if so, does everyone know about it? Who is Brera and what faction is he working for? What are the political factions making espionage necessary? Is Ranka Mao’s daughter or granddaughter, and if so, is she related to Sheryl? Perhaps Sheryl is a clone of Sarah created by Macross Galaxy when they discovered Sarah and Shin’s remains somewhere? (Crazy idea, I know.) The little details that paid homage to Macross Zero, like the drinks they used to entice blood sampling, were also great.
The direction the show is going keeps me looking forward to future episodes. The characters of Sheryl, Ranka, and Alto are all very interesting, with Sheryl the one grabbing the most of my attention since the show keeps me wondering what her motivations are (while the other two are interesting, their history and motivations are more transparent). The plot also looks promising with the conspiracies and mysterious aliens.