Episode 22 of Macross Frontier, “Northern Cross”, starts off with a call by Leon to Grace. Without Ranka around, Macross Frontier might not last long. Grace claims that she was surprised at Brera’s actions when he left Macross Frontier with Ranka in tow. However, considering that she also expressed gratitude for providing a place to stay with the supposed loss of Macross Galaxy, when we saw it was just fine in episode 15, it’s not clear whether Brera acted independently or not. It could be that Brera is helping Ranka by his own will, but it’s even more plausible that Grace is lying her ass off. Hoping for a solution, Leon contacts Brilla right before the opening credits.
After the opening sequence, we see the S.M.S. and the NUNS working together to fight against a group of Vajura using the new MDE warheads mentioned in episode 19. They’re also employing some kind of jamming device that prevents the Vajura from folding away, which should prevent them from sharing information about the MDE warheads and thus lengthening the time they can be used.
After the battle, we learn that Nanase has not yet woken up from her injuries. We also see that Sheryl has resumed her singing career, this time backed up by Elmo, the previous manager for Ranka. Compared to Grace, Elmo is motivated purely by the love of song and culture, so this might actually be a better deal for Sheryl, even if she can’t expect the management skills of Grace from Elmo. As one of her concerts is being broadcast in a news segment on television, Luca discovers that a weak fold signal is being generated and concludes that she could be a replacement for Ranka against the Vajura.
This has Sheryl quickly invited to the president’s office, currently occupied by Leon. Luca is also there to explain things. He explains that the V-type infection is transmitted through exposure to Vajura fluids and blood, and that it gradually spreads through the body to the brain, after which death will soon follow. But for the fleet, the spread of the infection to the brain is a blessing in disguise, and that it allows Sheryl’s song to generate fold waves that would affect the Vajura. The waves are very weak, but they’re amplified by the fold quartz earring Sheryl wears. The reason why Ranka’s song affects the Vajura is unknown, though, but at least they know it’s not because she has the V-type infection. Leon and Luca ask Sheryl to help out the fleet against the Vajura.
Meanwhile, in the ruins of the city, Ozma and Cathy are found by Bobby, who takes them back to Macross Quarter. They reveal their belief that it was Leon who was responsible for President Glass’ death. However, the captain reveals that Brilla, the owner of the S.M.S., has ordered the disbanding of the S.M.S. military force and its merging into the regular NUNS military. This has them on a crossroads, where the Macross Quarter crew has to decide whether to follow instructions or break away to act independently.
Back at the Saotome residence, Sheryl has returned from her meeting with Leon and Luca. As she returns to her room, she finds Alto waiting for her. She feels relieved at his presence, and she must have been fighting off her sickness all the while since she collapses as she relaxes.
After the break, Cathy is sending off a message. This is presumably a message to the members of the S.M.S. summoning them to make a break from Macross Frontier, since we see members of the S.M.S. receiving messages one by one. Alto also receives the message, but before he can see what it is, he hears Sheryl waking up inside her room. She initially shows a strong face to Alto, but she breaks down soon enough when Alto makes an outburst and reveals that he heard about her sickness. She actually cries in front of him, baring her feelings and fears. She asks Alto to “give her courage”, and Alto at least kisses her, although I have no idea if anything else followed that. Oddly enough, we hear Aimo in the background, and in fact Sheryl hears it, too. Why is Ranka’s song being played in a scene with Sheryl and Alto?
Perhaps it’s because Brera is playing it on his harmonica at the same time, while Ranka is using her gut feeling to find the next stop on their way to Ai-kun’s birthplace. And when I say gut feeling, I’m pretty sure it’s literally her gut feeling, since her connection to the Vajura seems to be centered around her gut. Also, it seems that it’s not a one way transmission of feelings and sensations from Ranka to Sheryl; Ranka seems to be feeling some of what Sheryl must have been feeling.
Back at Macross Frontier, Leon is having a press conference announcing that they will win against the Vajura and Sheryl’s participation in their effort. He’s also tying a loose end and sends a group of soldiers to eliminate Grace. He obviously has no idea what she is, since if she doesn’t tear apart the soldiers limb by limb with her cybernetic body and is destroyed, it won’t really hurt her due to her nature. We see a gun shot followed by submachine gun fire aimed at her.
At the same time, many of the crew of the Macross Quarter had gathered at the ship to prepare their getaway from the Macross Frontier fleet. As they break away, it seems that Leon has anticipated their move and has the military put a pre-planned response in action. This includes Luca and Alto, both of whom had not joined the rest of the S.M.S. in their getaway. Meanwhile, back at the press conference, Leon introduces their new singer of hope, Sheryl Nome, who starts singing Northern Cross, which also serves as the background music for the battle between the S.M.S. and NUNS. As an aside, I have really taken a liking to this song, just like I did with Lion.
Fortunately there are no casualties on either side, although Ozma and Alto manage to damage each others’ fighters. Ozma is impressed at how good Alto has become, but he reminds Alto that he needs to find his own way and not just act with the flow. Alto probably realizes how true it is; even though he’s shouting out his frustrations, it sounds like frustration at how right Ozma was. I wonder if he’s thinking the situation between himself and Sheryl in the same terms. It doesn’t look that way to me, but I’m not Alto. Anyways, Macross Quarter manages to make a clean getaway by folding out. And with Sheryl singing Northern Cross in the background, the episode ends and the ending credits start rolling.
But it isn’t quite the end yet. After the ending credits, we see Brera, Ranka, and Ai-kun having arrived at their destination. It turns out to be a small Earth-like planet with oceans and triple moons. It also has something that looks like an orbital ring around it. It looks like we’ll finally get to see the truth behind the Vajura and Grace. I wonder whether we’ll be seeing any other Nome women, namely Mao or Sarah, on the planet? And speaking of Grace, she has indeed been keeping track of Brera, and probably had him help Ranka in the first place, since she learns of their arrival the moment they see the planet.
Or rather, the multiple entities residing in the body based on Grace learns of their arrival. They’re ready to follow Brera and Ranka to where they are, as Grace tidies up the mess she made as she got rid of the soldiers sent to eliminate her. She suits up and gets ready to board a VF-27 to head towards the planet of the true queen, which she considers her treasure island. It seems that Grace’s true agenda was to find this planet, originally using Sheryl, but which she ended up using Ranka for this purpose.
This was a really packed episode, with all the story elements being progressed and character relationships developing. What exactly is Grace, and what is she, or rather they, after? How will the relationship between Alto and Sheryl develop? Will he discover that he has been unthinkingly going with the flow and that his heart belongs to Ranka, or will he embrace the newfound closeness between himself and Sheryl? Where will he decide his loyalties lie, with Macross Quarter or Macross Frontier? How will the crew of the S.M.S. deal with the usurper Leon? How will he deal with the S.M.S.? We’ll get at least some answers as Ranka will probably get much of her memory back in the next episode.