Episode 14 of Macross Frontier, “Mother’s Lullaby”, starts off with the destruction of Gallia 4 in the previous episode. Alto’s escape from death was less dramatic than I expected it to be. He just boosted power to the engines to escape the blast. After getting to safety, he’s pretty shocked at what’s left of Gallia 4. Of course, we all knew the planet was going to have a big chunk of itself destroyed, but at least some of it remains.
After the opening sequence, we see some of the residents back on Macross Frontier. Some of them are worrying about Ranka and Alto, although they still don’t know that they’re about to get much bigger worries. Ranka’s manager might be worrying whether Ranka will get back in time for her concert, but he’ll be worrying whether the concert hall even manages to remain intact soon enough. And I’m getting some bad vibes from Luca, since he was about to confess his feelings to Nanase. A typical cliche is that when attention is suddenly focused on a side character who is about to do something like this, they typically die. Will Macross Frontier be following this tradition?
All hell breaks loose as the Vajura fleet folds near the Macross Frontier fleet. And unlike during the attack in episode 1, we get to see the shell go down on the city ship. The attached islands also close their blast shields over their transparent hulls. Being attacked by an entire fleet instead of a small scouting force obviously merits more severe defensive measures. It also adds to the sense of pitched battle that is about to commence.
The entire Macross Frontier fleet is mobilized for the battle, including the transformed Macross Quarter, which I expect will show some spectacular moves in the second half of the episode. Luca shows signs that he’s going to be reckless, since Nanase showed some doubts on how he would do in the absence of Michelle and Alto. It’s another bad sign for him. Although the way he controls three drones from his own fighter does look cool. With the fleet mobilized, they initiate an attack on the incoming Vajura fleet.
Meanwhile, Alto has reached the fold booster pack left behind by Michelle. After figuring out that the Vajura fleet has folded to Macross Frontier, he follows their trail and folds back to Macross Frontier himself.
After the break, Macross Frontier and the Vajura had begun battle. It’s nice to see the regular military being competent, since the NUNS pilots are doing much better compared to their disgraceful performance in the first episode. In fact, the Macross Frontier fleet and the Vajura fleet are evenly matched. We even get to see one of the VF-171s punching a Vajura fighter with a pin-point barrier enhanced punch.
During the battle, Sheryl wakes up in Michelle’s fighter. The fold to Macross Frontier had knocked them out, and Michelle is too injured to wake up. She’s not the sort to passively wait for rescue; she takes the initiative and tries to pilot the fighter. For a beginning pilot she’s doing well enough, but unfortunately a beginner’s skill is not enough in a battlefield. She barely avoids being shot down by Vajura fighters, but it would only be a matter of time.
Nearby, Luca detects Skull-2, Michelle’s fighter, and heads for the rescue. He’s not fast enough, and the fighter with Sheryl and Michelle is hit and explodes. Fortunately, the ejection system works and they both survive. Unfortunately, the Vajura fighters close in, and as Luca heads in to rescue the two of them, he is about to be shot at by a Vajura fighter that suddenly appears in front of him. As he is just about to be shot, Alto comes to the rescue in the nick of time. Alto and Luca takes Sheryl and Michelle back to Macross Quarter.
Meanwhile, Ranka wakes up inside the Vajura flagship, which is still in transit. Her mysterious connection with the Vajura allows her to observe everything around the ship as if she was the ship itself. The flagship defolds in the unguarded rear of the Macross Frontier fleet and fires several shots at the colonization fleet. The repulsor fields of Macross Frontier are able to block a few shots, but they’re not enough to stop all of them. With the situation suddenly becoming worse, the President authorizes the use of reaction warheads.
The destruction of the Vajura fleet with the use of reaction warheads appears to be part of the plan by Leon and his co-conspirators, since he is the one to convince the president of the need for such authorization. Also, the seat of government no longer seems to be focused on Earth, considering that the President of the Macross Frontier fleet independently authorized the use of reaction weapons. Or am I missing something, and he’s the president of the entire human civilization? In any case, it’s probably related to the change from UNS to NUNS.
Alto has his fighter rearmed for a rescue of Ranka. As he is about to launch, Sheryl approaches and makes him promise that he will come back safely. He promises, but he also promises to bring Ranka back safely. Sheryl seems to have a mixed reaction to this, perhaps she feels that Alto has stronger feelings for Ranka than for her.
Inside the Vajura flagship, Ranka is horrified at what is happening and wants it to stop. Then suddenly an image of what appears to be her mother appears in front of her. Her mother talks to her and begins to sing the beginning of Aimo, and Ranka starts singing the rest of the song. This seems to have an effect on the Vajura, except instead of becoming agitated like before they seem to become less aggressive. The other side in the battle doesn’t notice any change, though. One of Klan Klien’s teammates is killed at this point, in fact, which will probably have ramifications for her character development.
While Brera is hiding out on Macross Frontier, he detects Ranka’s singing and heads to rescue her. At the same time, Alto manages to shoot his way into the Vajura flagship, which Brera follows in to rescue Ranka. Brera manages to snatch Ranka, while Alto is left to deal with the “queen” of the Vajura fleet. But when Alto shoots the queen, it seems that Ranka doesn’t want him to kill it. The queen is killed, anyways, throwing the rest of the Vajura fleet into disarray. By the way, as Alto was approaching the flagship, Luca’s fighter was hit, but it wasn’t a fatal hit and he survived with his fighter mostly intact. Hurray for Macross Frontier avoiding the usual cliche!
I think the queen is connected to Ranka’s mother in some way. In fact, it might actually be her mother; she might have been absorbed into the Vajura, or the Vajura might actually be the outgrowth of an organism that was originally Ranka’s mother. It would explain why the Vajura seemed to be focused on Ranka. Perhaps the research the 117th fleet was conducting was the recreation of the Birdman from Macross Zero, and the Vajura queen might have been an unexpected result of an experiment on Ranka’s mother, which might have made her develop into the queen. The genetic code of the Birdman was nearly identical to that of humans, after all.
Surprisingly, after rescuing Ranka from the Vajura flagship, he announces his presence and his affiliation with Macross Galaxy openly. With the hostage rescued from the flagship, Macross Frontier fires its Macross Cannon and destroys the flagship. As it is destroyed, Ranka cries sadly for some reason she doesn’t know, although I think that subconsciously she knows that it was either somehow connected to her mother or in fact was her mother. With the flagship destroyed, the Macross Frontier fleet has an easy job mopping up the rest of the Vajura fleet.
We also get to see what appears to be Grace’s real body, which is lying inside some high-tech compartment in some unknown place. I wonder if she’s with the Macross Galaxy fleet which might actually be hiding out there somewhere, where she controlled her cybernetic body remotely through fold communications via Brera’s fighter? Or is she hidden somewhere within the Macross Frontier fleet itself? Wherever she is, she murmurs being surprised that Ranka must be the “Little Queen”, whatever that is. It might imply that the Vajura queen was indeed Ranka’s mother. We also see Ranka’s abdomen glowing as it did in previous episodes as she’s being brought in by Brera.
This episode was packed. It had an epic fleet battle and offered hints of an answer to many of the mysteries we’ve seen so far. Some of the character animations earlier in the episode seemed a bit off, but the battle in the second half of the episode more than made up for them. It also hinted at further plot twists to come, ones that look like they’re going to be very interesting. And from the preview for the next episode, some of the big events and changes are just an episode away. For one thing, I don’t think Brera will be sneaking around anymore.
There are still many questions that remain. Just what was the purpose of awakening the Vajura fleet? What does Grace and Leon hope to gain? What was Ranka’s mother researching, and how is it related to the Nome sisters? And I hope this doesn’t happen, but will Ranka be growing a new batch of Vajura inside her?
The preview also makes it look like Grace is going to abandon Sheryl. What does this imply for the plot? Is Sheryl going to retire from singing and become a fighter pilot flying with Alto? She does seem to have some potential to be one, given the way that her first attempt at flying an actual fighter wasn’t a total disaster. She probably won’t become a pilot, but who knows? What was her life on Macross Galaxy like, anyways? And what is the relationship between the triangle of Alto, Sheryl, and Ranka going to be like from now on?