Macross Frontier Episode 24: Last Frontier
Many years ago, Ranka had been singing Aimo when a swarm of Vajra suddenly defolded and decimated the 117th research fleet. Brera was the one who put her in an escape pod, and back in the present, Ranka remembers everything to be her fault. An image of Grace appears to confirm that, and she claims that Ranka needs to open her heart and body in order to atone for it. Meanwhile, the Macross Quarter fleet has arrived at the ruins of the 117th research fleet, and Ozma and Cathy are exploring the wreck. As the two discuss how the 117th research fleet managed to capture a Vajra and had started studying it, they find a draft of a paper with Grace’s name on it about the possibility of a super space-time network by means of Fold Quartz and implant technology. Canaria then contacts them with news that she’s found Ranshe Mei’s medical records, and from it, they learn that Ranshe was the first V-Type infection patient. She gave birth to Ranka in that state, and they guess that this is the origin of Ranka’s power.
Warning! The following summary contains spoilers.
Once they return back to the Macross Quarter, they analyze Grace’s paper and figure out that it talks about a galactic-scale perfect real time implant network. The theory is to use Fold Quartz as the core of the implant so that there would be no time lag between the corners of the galaxy. This in turn would become a super parallel thought network, but due to the predominance of terminals, it would lead to one superior node over all the others, effectively allowing someone to rule the galaxy. When Cathy points out that it’s impossible to implant all of mankind, Jeffrey realizes that this is what the Vajra are for. The Vajra mean death for those people who oppose the implants and slavery for those who accept it. The key to all this is the person who can communicate with the Vajra—Ranka. They decide to transmit this information back to the Frontier government, but they know that given the transmission time lag and the amount of time it takes to pass a legislative resolution, it’ll be too late. Thus, Jeffrey feels that they have to act.
A short while later, Cathy finds a letter in Dr. Mao’s file that confirmed that she had a granddaughter, and it revealed that a certain pair of earrings were given to this child. The letter causes Cathy to marvel at how the activity of people doesn’t change even in space: people go from love to marriage to childbirth, and the next generation inherits the songs and culture and then passes them on. Ozma suggests that that’s what living is, and he feels that they don’t need a super time-space network. Around this time, the Macross Frontier fleet finally arrives at the Vajra planet, and they prepare for battle. The plan is to break through the Vajra defenses, defeat the Vajra queen, land Island 1 on the planet, and then make that planet their new home, all while Sheryl sings. Kuran is taking part in the assault, and even though she knows Mikhail wouldn’t be happy about it, she feels that as a Zentradi, she can’t be silent and leave after losing the man she loved. Luca, on the other hand, spends his time before the battle at Nanase’s bedside, and despite her still being unconscious, he confesses his feelings for her and promises to protect her even at the cost of his life.
Alto meanwhile pays a visit to Sheryl and vows to her that he’ll survive and return. After Alto explains how he had realized that people can’t fly alone, Sheryl comments on how he’s thickheaded, and she surprises him by saying that they should stop pretending to be lovers. When Alto tries to protest, she kisses him and asks him not to say anything. She knows that if he did, regardless of what he says, then she wouldn’t be able to sing. Sheryl promises to hear him out once everything is over, but for now, she wants him to go save Ranka. As she says this, she gives him her remaining earring and reminds him that such a good woman is rare. After the two part ways, Sheryl tells herself that she has no regrets. She instead puts herself in the mindset to sing and then makes the leap onto the Battle Frontier’s stage. The battle begins with Sheryl singing Iteza*Gogo Kyuuji Don’t be late, and despite heavy losses, the Frontier fleet is able to use the MDE warheads to break through the Vajra defenses.
While the battle continues, Ranka watches from her place of captivity, and Grace tells her that the Frontier fleet is the enemy. Brera convinces her to protect the planet so that she can atone and because that’s what their mother would have wanted. As a result, Ranka starts singing Ai Oboeteimasu ka and rallies the Vajra right after Leon had ordered Island 1 to descend onto the planet. The focused Vajra counterattack devastates the Frontier fleet, and as the battle drags on, Grace secretly descends toward a certain object, declaring that the queen’s throne is hers and commanding a path to be opened. Back above, Alto flies around Ranka’s image and tries to figure out why she’s trying to destroy them. The earring that Sheryl gave him reacts, and he briefly sees an image of Ranka in captivity, but Brera then appears and orders Alto to get away from his sister. Brera declares that his and Ranka’s mission is to defend this planet from invaders, and before Alto can say otherwise, his Valkyrie gets shot. Kuran tries to take Alto’s place, but Brera disables her Queadluun-Rea, and Alto re-enters the scene right as Brera fires his Valkyrie’s rifle. The shot hits the center of Alto’s Valkyrie, and it explodes soon after, right in front of the image of Ranka. Seeing this causes Sheryl to stop singing, and she cries out for Alto.
Is it bad that my initial reaction to Alto’s death was happiness? I don’t hate him, but as I’ve talked about before, I haven’t been a big fan of his indecisiveness throughout the series. Plus, if he really died, then my suspicions that he’d end up with no one would come true. Having said that though, despite his Valkyrie exploding, I doubt that Alto is actually dead, if for no other reason than the second earring that Sheryl gave him—it could literally save him since it’s made of Fold Quartz, or it could symbolize the fact that he has to survive so that he can give the earring back to her since he already lost the other one. Regardless, I’m sure there’s some convenient explanation for his survival, and his Valkyrie exploding makes for a very nice cliffhanger right before the finale.
As for the rest of this episode, I loved the dueling songstresses part, even more so since it occurred in the midst of a heated battle. I enjoyed the sensory overload, and I think it’s pretty clear that Ranka won this round, though I wouldn’t count Sheryl out just yet. The bigger question is how Grace is going to be stopped now that she’s got access to what appears to be the real Vajra queen. How exactly do you kill Grace anyway? Maybe all it takes is a song. Now that I think about it, since Ranka is the key to controlling the Vajra, I can imagine a scenario where Ranka gets knocked out of the half-dead state she’s in (probably by Alto) and joins Sheryl in singing a song that saves the day, kind of like in the OP.
There’s some other miscellaneous questions that need to be answered as well, including who Richard Birla is referring to in the scene before the battle when he talks to himself about being able to see someone soon. I had originally expected him to play a bigger part in all this, and it looks like he may yet do so. In any case, this all adds up to be a lot to cover in the final episode, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens (the preview provides no clues unfortunately). And given all that Sheryl has gone through, I’m keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that she at least gets a happy ending.