Macross Frontier Ep 21: Aoi no Eeteru (Blue Ether)

Images from Macross Frontier Episode 21: Aoi no Eeteru

I didn’t think I get back to blogging about a Macross Frontier episode because I’m usually just a quiet viewer.  I prefer reading other people’s reviews.  It must have been the after effects of watching last week’s awesomeness.  Some viewers have yet to wind down from the shock of losing Michel and therefore, couldn’t be bothered with this week’s character focus storyline.  The fact that it is a Ranka-centric episode seems to draw quite a fair bit of negativity from Sheryl shippers and Ranka haters especially on the forums.  I find that rather amusing to see.  As much as I enjoy the ride that is Macross Frontier, I am clearly not into the shipping bits of fandom.  I’m quite content to sit back and watch the story enfold.  Occasionally, I’ll come out in the open and let loose my impressions like this time.

The writers have continuously let me down on the inconsistencies of Ranka’s progression.  Her growth in the love triangle and plot development seems somewhat stagnant after Ep 12.  Sure , we were shown some flashes of her past, bits of memories coming back and the few attempts to breakout of her shell but not much more.   Sheryl on the other hand, fairs a lot better in terms of character progression and consistency. So this leads me to wonder what the writers intend to do with Ranka’s character.  We are almost nearing the end of the series, how are they going to do justice to her role that seems to be at the heart of the plot playing out on Macross Frontier?  And what of her role in the triangle?  In either case, time is running out and if they’re going to do anything decent than I suppose this week’s episode titled ‘Aoi no Eeteru’ (Blue Ether) is the change that’s required.

After last week’s epic episode, I expect this week’s installment to pale by comparison but that’s not quite the case here.  In fact, this episode has it’s own redeeming qualities as it switches back to the development of one of the leading mains.  Plot wise, it also reinforces the theme that the real enemy might not be who you think they are.  But more importantly, Ranka is given some crucial development in terms of  realizing her own destiny, experiencing the pangs of unrequited love and learning to let go, following her own heart and leaving behind everything she cherish, in the process of growing up and discovering the truth about herself.  Even Luka gets a grown up treatment in this episode.

Although it may seem somewhat unexpected right after a massive tragedy and amidst the grieving, I thought the scenes between Alto and Ranka at Griffith’s Park and her eventual confession is necessary to move the love triangle and the overall plot along.  The set-up for Ranka’s departure scenes along with the background music is fitting. Again and again, music is an important feature in any macross backdrop and I really love how the insert song plays out as the ending theme here.  That is the winning point. It’s done beautifully as in the previous episode albeit on an entirely different emotional level.  And for this, we’re given a lovely new song called ‘Aoi no Ether’ sung by Megumi Nakajima. *Damn, I want that 2nd OST now!

Check out Azure Ether Insert song clip here:

The ending scene here leads to the setting of another important progression in the coming episode and that’s of Sheryl Nome’s character.  Will she reveal her illness to Alto or will she continue to hide it from him etc?  Will Alto makes time to ponder on all that has happened to him and finally figure out where his heart really lies?  What about Ozma and Cathy?  Are they fugitives now?  Again, I’m going to sit back and watch the development enfold. Role on the next episode please!

On a side note, I thought Megumi did magnificently well as Ranka’s VA and singing voice, especially since she’s a newbie in this industry.  She deserves some praise instead of vitriol as some overboard Ranka haters seems to throw at her.

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