Episode 16 of Macross Frontier, “Ranka Attack”, starts off with Alto having a flashback to his conversation with Brilla during combat with the Vajura. Brilla revealed to Alto his dream of unifying the entire galaxy as one with faster fold travel, which is currently not possible because of the fold faults that make travel too long for casual travel. It seems that the Vajura could help humanity achieve his dream somehow, although I’m not sure how this is related to the S.M.S., a private military contractor owned by Brilla. In any case, Alto is fighting against the Vajura in order to capture dead specimens for the company.
After the opening sequence, we see Alto, Michelle, Luca, and Nanase walking to school together. Michelle notes that Alto seems to be somewhat uptight recently, especially during combat with the Vajura, after talking with the owner of the S.M.S. It seems that Alto has been let on a closely guarded secret; the only explanation I can think of why he’d be informed is his relations with Ranka and Sheryl, both of whom seem to have some connection with the Vajura. As they near the school, Ranka arrives in a car with a new bodyguard, Brera. He’s giving off strong “cool bodyguard” vibes, with him wearing sunglasses and all, although I’m sure it’s not intentional. However, it draws attention, especially from the girls, and annoys Alto enormously.
After school ends, we get to see what Ranka’s newfound fame is like, with her image plastered everywhere in the city and with people flocking around her as she visits areas such as Island 14 that were devastated by the Vajura attack. It’s a bit tiring to Ranka, though. As her new manager, Grace suggests a rearrangement of Aimo for Ranka’s new single album, which Ranka seems to have mixed feelings about, which shows when she gives a lackluster performance in the studio recording later that day. Grace definitely has ulterior motives with the song, though, probably related to the Vajura and folds somehow, given her subtle expressions as she talks about the song.
Meanwhile, Sheryl is all alone in the hospital, annoyed at everyone sending her get well gifts without actually visiting her. She also seems unhappy at all the media attention focused on Ranka. Despite her sickness, she leaves the hospital and seeks Alto, although she denies seeking him out when he sees her. But Sheryl is very sick when she meets him, which alarms Alto. She also insists on not being returned to the hospital or staying at a hotel or anything, and reveals that she hates closed spaces. This seems to indicate what her upbringing might have been like, which perhaps could have been in a laboratory of some sort. Just before Alto met her, though, he murmurs something about “fold quartz”, which is probably the material in Sheryl’s earrings, and I think Brilla also had a giant ring made out of it on his finger.
After an eye catch with the cover from Ranka’s first single album, we hear a scream and a slap from Macross Quarter. It turns out that Alto took Sheryl to the S.M.S. barracks, but she doesn’t remember what happened while she was feverish, so apparently she thought she was being abducted by Alto. She apologizes soon enough, though, and the ensuing conversation definitely indicates a rise in the romance flag between the two. And Alto finally notices her earrings seem to be made out of fold quartz, which has him hold her for a closer look, getting them into a position easily misunderstood as a romantic rendezvous. That’s when Michelle shows up at the door, nonchalantly asking them to remember to hang up a sign next time, which ends up with Alto and Sheryl having a lovers’ quarrel.
Cathy calls in during the quarrel, summoning Alto and Michelle for a top secret mission briefing, while Alto is trying to keep Sheryl out of view to her annoyance. The new mission is to test out the “Ranka Attack”, where Ranka’s singing of Aimo would supposedly degrade the combat performance of the Vajura. It’s revealed that a weak fold wave emanates from her when she sings, which affects the Vajura somehow. Maybe the glow that emanated from Ranka’s abdomen was not from an egg or a parasite, but rather from fold quartz that was embedded in her body.
As the S.M.S. launches the mission, with the Macross Quarter heading towards a Vajura nest, they are accompanied by the Antares squadron, a group of three VF-27s from the remaining Macross Galaxy fleet that Macross Frontier knows about. Macross Frontier is still unaware that the main habitat for Macross Galaxy is quite intact and in hiding, of course. Apparently the purple of Brera’s fighter is not the standard color scheme, though, given that the other two fighters are a light greenish color. Ranka will be singing in the Koenig Monster piloted by Kanaria. People do notice the lack of speaker pods, prompting some of them to wonder how her singing was supposed to reach the Vajura. And back on the Macross Quarter, Sheryl heads to the bridge, despite Alto’s insistence that she stay hidden, and requests that she be allowed to see what happens in the mission, to which Mr. Wilder, the captain, grants permission.
As the attack commences, Ranka starts singing Aimo, and it affects the Vajura as hoped. As Sheryl watches, she seems to be frustrated that Ranka is taking center stage in the fight instead of her. I wonder if she knows what Macross Galaxy wanted to accomplish with her concerning the Vajura, or is it just simple frustration? Eventually Ranka falters in her singing, which prompts the Vajura to focus their attacks on the Koenig Monster, while Grace notes to herself that Ranka needs more training. Alto and Brera fly toward her to protect her, and Brera manages to intercept the missiles that were targeting the Monster, clipping Alto’s fighter in the process. This is another case of the rivalry between Brera and Alto in their drive to protect Ranka, and no doubt it will not be the last. And Brera still thinks that Alto is not suitable for Ranka.
With the mission completed, the ending credits starts with a new sequence and a new theme sung by Sheryl. I’m still undecided about the song, Northern Cross, but if it’s anything like Diamond Crevasse, which grew on me tremendously the more I listened to it, then I’m sure I’ll end up loving it. And in the preview for the next episode, it seems we might get to learn a bit about Ranka’s past when she was first adopted by Ozma.