Fire Bomber Rides Again
Well, here we are at last. Even though it’s probably been 7 or 8 months since I first watched this, I’ve finally gotten around to writing down my thoughts on it. Now I’m not really going to go into a summary of the plot; I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you already seen Macross 7: The Galaxy is Calling Me! or are at least curious. So, here it goes.
Galaxy, as I’ll be calling it, is a movie sequel to the original Macross 7 TV show. Calling it a movie is a bit broad though as it’s only about ten or so minutes longer than a standard TV episode. It’d be more proper to call it a short film and that maybe why it was played on a double bill with the Macross Plus movie in 1995.
The basic plot is that Fire Bomber, consisting of Space John Lennon, uh, I mean Basara Nekki, Mylene Jenius, Ray Lovelock and Veffidas Feaze, along with Dr. Chiba are practicing with Sound Energy. They get a strange reading from the equipment and Basara runs off to find out what it is, finds another daughter of Max and Milia, fights more Protodeviln space monsters and saves the day. No, I’m not kidding, that’s pretty much it. Like I said, it’s only a half-hour. In any case, the strength of this short isn’t in the battles or fight scenes but the music and the way the characters interact. That said… WHO’S FRAKKING BRILLIANT IDEA WAS IT TO INCLUDE THAT GUNDAMN HIGH-VOICED BRAT IN THIS SHOW??!! I DON’T WATCH THESE DAMN CARTOONS TO BE ANNOYED BY SCREECHY-VOICED KIDS!! IT WAS BAD ENOUGH WHEN I HAD TO SUFFER THROUGH THE BABY IN VICTORY GUNDAM!! Ouch, gotta drink some water now. But seriously, the reason I’ve only watched this twice is because of that damn Pedro kid. Japanese already has a tendency to be high-pitched for some of its speakers but having a freakin’ five-year old following Basara around is the absolute limit. Some might say that he was put in there to make little kids pester their parents into buying toys and Fire Bomber albums but really I think they just wanted to give some character, ANY character an excuse to use Emilia’s macronized breasts as giant bounce bags. Who’s Emilia you ask? Why, she’s one of Max and Milia’s seven daughters that we barely hear about. For whatever reason she’s macronized herself back to proper Zentradi size (meaning she’s probably around the size of her mother, about 27.8 feet tall) and is on this ice planet called Veil, practicing her singing. Because she’s full size, her voice carries on the winds and sounds like the wailing of demon, leading the planet’s colonists to think that the mountain she lives on his cursed. Basara isn’t intimidated in the least, and takes off in his Fire Valkyrie to find out what’s up. With the damn kid. (insert gnashing of teeth). He meets up with Emilia in her customized Queadluun-Quilqua Battle Suit and ends up having a sing off with her. Here we get to here one of the two new songs made up for Galaxy, “Flash in the Dark,” and I have to say, I actually prefer Emilia’s singing voice (Mica Okudoi) to her little sister’s. I dunno, I just never have thought that Chie Kajiura’s voice matched up that well with Yoshiki Fukuyama’s. Anyway, I really like the way Basara and Emilia interact, especially when Emilia takes Basara and Pedro back to her cave-house. We get to see a few interesting things, like Emilia’s home photos and her explanation of why she wants to sing. She was inspired by Lynn Minmay, but because she’s macronized, she can’t sing in town, so she lives up in the mountain. She can’t believe that someone small like Basara can outsing her, but Basara tells her that there’s no winning or losing in singing and just try to be the best she can be. And just like that she gets all doey-eyed and leans into to kiss him, which promptly is ruined by Pedro, damn him. For all of Basara’s flaws, you have to give him credit, any woman (except Milia) who spends more than two minutes talking to him, seems to fall in love with him!
The stars and hearts are interrupted when Gavil or Glavil or whatever his name is shows up, also in search of the mysterious song energy. Now I gotta take a moment to go over something that I didn’t put much detail into in my Mac7 review and that is the Protodeviln. They are one of the reasons I just don’t like Mac7 as much as the other series. The PD just aren’t scary or intimidating. If they were more like the Reapers from the Mass Effect series or the Zerg from StarCraft, then yes I would be impressed. But they’re not. I’ve said before that original Macross was like Top Gun, Battlestar: Galactica and Transformers mixed with a dash of Star Wars but Mac7 and its sequels are more like Star Wars meets Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Gepelnitch is too pretty in his human form to take seriously, Gigile isn’t much of a threat as he becomes something of a hero, Sivil is too sexy to be scary with her alien dominatrix thing, Gavil or whatever is A JOKE etc. etc. In fact I would give Gavil the Lynn Kaifun Award of Worst Character of the Series, what with his beauty of this and beauty of that. Hey man, how about the beauty of losing? Or the beauty of falling for the same trick of Gamlin’s every damn time except once? Ugh, I really mean this when I say that the Protodeviln are the kinds of villains I would expect out of a Power Rangers series. They only time they’re ever truly threatening is when they reveal the Spiritia Farm and when Gepelnitch’s true form threatens to suck all life out of the galaxy.
In the case of Galaxy is Calling Me! we have to deal with damn Gavil and his pet space monster again as well as a Protodeviln we've never seen before. This is a pretty big plot hole. What happened to this guy after the events of Galaxy? Of course the real life answer is he couldn’t show up again because he was created after the series was finished but in-universe it’s a pretty big stumble. This is also why you don’t create characters after the fact. Anyway, these guys all do a big Gattai with each other but get beat back by the power of HEART AND SSSOOOOOOOUUUUULLLLL!!!! At least this whole sound energy thing seems to only work on the Protodeviln and isn’t brought up in the other Macross series that follow. Having said that, Heart and Soul is a great song, especially as sung by Emilia. For a moment there, you think she buys it in the final confrontation, but she does survive. Too bad she doesn’t go with them to the Fleet but I guess she couldn’t with her Quedluun destroyed.
We’re about at the end here, so some last comments. Basara is much more tolerable in this than in some episodes of the TV series. I honestly think he’s at his best when he’s out adventuring and not cooped up on the Fleet or just going out to sing at the Protodeviln. The colonists and the rest of Fire Bomber and Gamlin don’t get much screentime, but that’s okay. The spotlight on Emilia and her interactions with Basara are more than enough. I also like his reaction when he finds out that Emilia is Mylene's Onee-san.
Because this was meant to be movie quality if not movie length, the animation in Galaxy is MUCH much better than the TV series. The characters look crisp, the Valks and Queadluun are beautiful, Emilia is gorgeous and even Gavil and goons look great. Along with EmiliaxBasara, this is one of the high points of Galaxy.
All in all, while it may be short, Galaxy is a nicely done return to the world of Mac7 and is definitely worth a watch, if just for Emilia alone. Now if we only knew what happened to the rest of her sisters…