Manifest Destiny—macross frontier 24

Because coexisting is not in our human nature.

Because coexisting is not in our human nature.

Listening to the exchange between Brera and Klan on who is the aggressor is very telling.

“No, we’re only defending ourselves.”

“Bullshit, you attacked us first.”

And then you have the brainwashing of the Frontier army: “We must eliminate them for us to survive.” “May the divine providence of the universe smile upon us.”

Yup, it's their divine rights to invade.

Yup, it's their divine rights to invade.

Amidst all these pretenses is that Leon and Frontier would have found any pretext to take over the Vajra’s planet for their own anyway. It matters not who attacked who first or if they don’t die then we will. Frontier wants a planet, and the Vajra has one. What remains is to go through the charades of justifying the takeover so the soldiers will fight and the citizens will feel good doing it—you know, like how the U.S. of A. overran the American Indians centuries past or how G.W. warned us of W.M.D.’s in modern day Iraq.

So, what is a soldier supposed to think among all these pretenses? Each of the characters has a different take.

Much will, but few wisdom.

Much will, but few wisdom.

Alto seems to have bought in on Leon and Bilrer’s prep talk that the Vajra are evil, Ranka is their tool, and therefore as a soldier defending his motherland Alto must annihilate both of them. Or maybe he does not; instead, he reasons that whatever Frontier’s motives are, they will march into Vajra’s nest, at which point every citizen on Frontier will be subjected under Vajra’s retaliation, and therefore, having seen many suffering of lost—he himself first hand with Michel—he decides to stay behind and protect those who cannot protect themselves. This is of course a very noble line of thought as a soldier, but as an individual human being, it is at best myopic.

I found the recipe for that pineapple cake.

I found the recipe for that pineapple cake.

Ozma and Cathy have a sight set further; it also helps that they know something which Alto does not: Leon and the survivors of Galaxy have their hands in the leading of the Vajra to Frontier. So, they, taking upon themselves the branding of traitors, set out to discover the truth and expose Leon, in order to halt Frontier from its eventual train wreck. And as such, they have mostly solved the entire puzzle in this episode: fighting the Vajra is not the final solution, but stopping Leon and Grace is. By the gods of Frontier that are the writers, they will make it in time, but the burning question is how much will be the cost of Frontier’s sin.

That's why I want to sing too.

That's why I want to sing too.

Klan is bent on one thing only: revenge. Nothing else matters to her anymore. She is the prototypical soldier whose war suffering has been turned against her by the government, transforming her into a soldier of rage. Her beloved is killed in front of her eyes; the government reaffirms it’s the Vajra’s fault; then they put a gun into her hands. Now you have a ruthless soldier who would fight to the death. Since there is a commenter over at THAT who loves to quote MGS4 (and for those of you who’ve played the game), Klan is like one of the four girls in the The Beauty and the Beast Corps. RAGE, RAGE, RAGE is in her eyes. These are the makings of a perpetual war machine.

But no sex, you hear me?

But no sex, you hear me?

Sheryl thinks she only has herself and her music left. On the other hand, her reaction ending the episode tells another story. She is far from singing for herself or her music (or some fancies that she sings for Frontier); rather, she sings for Alto and Alto only. Another myopic person. However, I can’t blame a dying person who must choose with her limited time what is most important to her. For Sheryl, it is Alto’s dream (or his true love), which she seems to think is rescuing Ranka. Helping Alto in achieving his dream becomes her life’s remaining task, which is why when she sees Alto’s fighter explodes, she could sing no longer.

How the hell does he figure that the Vajra's coming is due to his sister's singing?

How the hell does he figure that the Vajra's coming is due to his sister's singing?

Brera at this point is probably not himself at all. His brain has been reformatted by Grace’s Utility 1000. I would’ve wished to see how he would react after knowing Ranka is his sister, but we will have to wait for the finale.

I want pineapple cake.

Finally, Ranka. Her eyes say zombie all the way. Far removed from any ally, she is left alone at the mercy of Grace’s poisonous words. To expect a teenager girl under the burden of the unimaginable sin of being a mass murderer—even if no sane person could possibly fault a little girl for her singing that led to the tragedy at the 117th Research Fleet—to snap herself out of the brainwashing of an evil mastermind who has fooled everyone so far would be no different from expecting a miracle (or a very bad screenwriting). The only voice that will reach her now is Alto’s, which is where the Fold Crystal earring that Sheryl gave him will come into play.

... I used to tan too much.

... I used to tan too much.

Everybody is playing their roles well. Some agreeable, some not. The final act is almost over, and the play’s anchoring performance is about to showcase. Sing, hime, sing!

I would give anything to have a woman like Sheryl to yell my name as passionate.

I would give anything to have a woman like Sheryl to yell my name as passionate.

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6 Responses to Manifest Destiny—macross frontier 24

  1. Crusader says:

    I don’t think that it is so much as a move of conquest as it is about revenge, for most of Frontier they were just minding their own business when the Vajra came a long trashed their homes and killed their loved ones, they even fired the first shot. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong here when you see some one you care about killed before your eyes there is is not silly question as to why you either fight back or cower in fear. Most of NUNS has chosen to fight Along with Alto-hime.. They know they had no hand in starting this war but they are determined to win it because they do not expect any mercy from the bugs. The bugs have never surrendered so the only way to win is to wipe them out like the bugs have tried to wipe them out.

    Perhaps they could have gotten along, but the Vajra are utterly alien to them and have shown little in the way of trying to understand humans and zentradi. What’s the point of seeing the big picture if they can do little about it? The Vajra are upon them, there is nowhere left to go but that planet. The Vajra have shown Frontier nothing but hostility, the bugs destroyed their homes, and now Frontier will take theirs as weregild as recompense for the loss of theirs. The fatal assumption you have made is that there was a way to negotiate, there never really was, and given how emissary Ranka has failed miserably there was never any real chance for peace so long as Ranka was living with humans who could not communicate with them.

    Frontier has no other choice the last attack robbed them of their last means of escape calling for help will do them little good since the rest of NUNS is so far away and the nearest group of friendly troops was wiped out in a fold bomb. This is more about revenge than it is about manifest destiny. the Planet is a bonus killing the bugs is really all that matters since they can no longer run, they must fight or starve to death. This is nothing like manifest destiny, this is undeniably kill or be killed now. If only Ranka’s pets had not trashed Frontier beyond the point of self renewal then this might have been avoided, but now it is the only choice left other than slowly starve to death.

    You can deride Alto-hime, and Klan’s attitudes as myopic, but that is why war is such a terrible thing, for all your frustration at such a conflict it will avail you little if faced with an armed person with hostile intent. the world has been defined more by war than it is defined by peace, because it never does end, some where out there people are killing each other and only a fool would suggest that it is only the US doing all the fighting. For your grand view of the world how has it helped any one who lives in the hostile environment? A wider view is irrelevant it cannot feed a refugee, it cannot stop a suicide bomber, it does nothing but assure a man a degree of smugness at the continued suffering of others. I can at least respect a man who fights for something, rather than a bastard who lives for nothing.

    Klan is not merely fighting for revenge she is fighting to protect those she still cares about, that is why she stayed behind on Frontier for Alto-hime and Luca. This is not the berserker rage of many Zentrans, but the iron resolve of a Meltran who will fight what is an implacable foe to defend all that she has left and all that she still cares for. Klan joined long before the war started because she felt that it was natural for Meltrans to fight. There is nothing wrong with carrying on the tradition.

    I don’t think Sheryl will stop singing because she saw Alto-hime get shot down, since every one else was in shock over it, it shows that she cares not that she is only singing for Alto-hime. Only Alto-hime can save Ranka or so Sheryl thinks, but in the mean time Sheryl sang because it was her duty and because she did not want to be any where else while the citizens of Frontier were locked in a life or death struggle.

    It was expected that Ranka would lose, what was galling as that Ranka did not have the will to resist or even lift a finger in defiance. Grace had no need to use implants, all Grace had to do was tell Ranka the truth to get Ranka to sing for the bugs who helped her trash Frontier and destroy the 117th fleet. That is the real problem Ranka is still a child, heck even Luca manned up and killed something, Ranka just became a tool again.

    If Ranka cannot save herself and anyone else then she will be known as the most pathetic character in all of Macross, even Minmei redeemed herself in the end a little, but right now Ranka seems to on the warpath for Grace that will destroy everything she ever held dear. I don’t think anything will reach Ranka now she has to pull herself out of this if she is to grow up even just a little. It would be sad if Ranka needed to be saved until the very end.

  2. bakaneko says:

    Had the Vajra not ruined Frontier to the point where they have to survive on the Vajra’s planet, Leon would make sure he’ll take the extra step to deliver Frontier an even closer encounter with the Vajra. Getting Frontier ruin, making all its citizens angry, and then promising them a bright, green future are just Leon’s versions of the “carrot and the stick.”

    Finding a new planet is what Leon has been after, and it’s obvious he is willing to pay the cost of thousands of lives on Frontier. The revenge, the survival—all pretext; granted that they were more of Leon’s (and perhaps Bilrer’s) will than of the citizens’. But how is that different from our own “oh noes, Iraq got W.M.D.; let’s zap them before they zap us!”

    To the soldiers and the citizens on Frontier, it is probably just about revenge (and survival). But make no mistake about it, it was their leaders who brought them to that position; and their original intent is certainly Manifest Destiny, with an unspeakable price tag of countless human lives.

    I do think the Vajra can get along with both human and Zentradi. In fact, they did for a brief moment: remember the three stage-1 Vajra’s standing behind the crowd at Ranka’s concert, cheering on peacefully with its swaying antennas? They weren’t firing laser beams or piercing the fans in front of them.

    I am not judging against Alto’s decision to fight for Frontier. In fact, I admire his lofty will to protect the citizens. I do admit that idealistic talks have done squat when parents watch their kids starve or bullets fly through villages indiscriminately striking children. If you’re a man and you have a gun, you better goddamn shut your mouth and start firing back. I think that Alto, in this sense, understood his role well and decided to fulfill it. To this effort, I applaud him.

    All I’m saying is that fighting the Vajra is not attackng the root cause of the problem. Removing Grace and Leon is. I can’t blame Alto because he does not know of their involvement. That would be Ozma and the crew of Quarter, which they promptly play their roles of exposing Grace and Leon.

    If Klan wants to fight, she could’ve followed Quarter. She stays with Frontier because Frontier aligns more with her goal of annihilating the Vajra than Quarter, whose motive has probably not been communicated clearly in that short SMS. Had Michel not died, would not Klan go where Michel would too? But perhaps that’s speculating too much.

    I don’t see how you can be so sure that Sheryl is singing for more than just Alto. She admits (and detests) that she is being used as a tool by Frontier—she even call out their pretentious kindness. She tells Alto, go save Ranka, not go save Frontier nor kill off the Vajra nor take over their planet. That’s Leon’s job. In short, Sheryl is trying her best to prolong her life for Alto, not for Frontier.

    Yes, you are right about Ranka: she is still a child—that’s her role, at least for now. I don’t know how the writers will handle this, but it’s a safe bet she will bring peace by fully taking upon her other role as the only intermediary between human and the hive. On the other hand, I don’t see how a broken down teenager under the influence of the likes of Grace can pull herself out of this without help. Alto is going to have to pull a miracle here. Sadly to say, she will need to be saved too at the very end.

  3. Crusader says:

    I think Klan stayed behind to take care of Luca and Alto-hime, Klan already had her revenge, and her backing up of Alto-hime proves that this is not just about the slaughter of bugs.

    Sheryl knows that she is a tool and soldiers on despite that she’s not doing this for herself, she’s doing it because she believes that Frontier is still worth protecting. Hell I know that I am nothing more than a number but I do what I do because I still believe in the US. Leon was not in charge the whole time, but he was plotting with Grace. Under Glass Frontier was trying to avoid an all out war, hence why they made the fold jump ahead of schedule. Had the bugs not gone berserk and trash Island 1 and the others Frontier would have been moving with all due haste out of Vajra space. However the Vajra did not leave them alone and now Frontier is backed into a corner, not one believes the Vajra are harmless even Quarter sees the bugs as a threat that is now more dangerous because Grace has control of them now.

    Leon merely stoked the fires of hatred, Frontier already hated the bugs after the first attack and especially after the third. Leon did not plan it, but he did take advantage of it. We cannot blame solely Grace and Leon. They never controlled the Vajra they merely made it so that the bugs would meet the children of protoculture. The Vajra did not have to slaughter them, but they elected to Grace did not order them nor did Leon. In the end a bug decides whether or not it will kill.

    The Vajra will only get along so long as Ranka is happy, under every other circumstance even Ranka’s absence the Vajra are hostile. Ai-kun tried to kill Alto-hime, and the bugs killed Lima-8 without provocation or Ranka. Thus far only Ranka’s song seems to keep bug aggression in check. The only way the Vajra can live peacefully along with the children of Protoculture is through Ranka, and only when she is happy. Otherwise if Ranka feels bad the bugs behave badly and destructively in kind. I see little difference in serving Grace or serving Ranka. With Ranka you have to pretend you are friends while you live in fear of her powers and are paralyzed by the realization that if Ranka is unhappy you will all die. At least with Grace we all know we are slaves to her whims, but with Ranka we are all slaves to her emotions while she smiles and pretends that she cares about her “friends.”

    The fundamental difference is that Frontier has no more time they found a planet where they can live, they either take it or die there is not other options so long as Ranka is a child under Grace’s thumb.

  4. VF-25 Messiah says:

    I agree that the Vajra were never the root of the problem. It was always Grace and Leon. Also Frontier are by episode 24 invaders by definition, no matter what pretty reasoning, motives or justifying they add to their actions.

    There was a perfectly viable alternative presented in the last episode, and that was to give up the journey and ask for help from NUNG goverment. That would surely have been the best option if your highest priority was the safety of Frontier civilians. That doesn’t mesh with Leon’s plans however, so he decides a crusade is more fitting, making up stories that the Vajra seek the destruction of mankind to get everyone to go along.

    Ironicly, this course of action was needed as so far as leaving Grace alone to her own devices at this point would have had even more dire consequences in the long run. Having either Grace or Leon come out on top would constitute a BAD END, so it’s good thing neither can tolerate seeing the other do this, as they’ll perhaps distract each other long enough for someone who’ll give us the GOOD END to get that top spot.

  5. foomafoo says:

    If Grace didn’t dug too much because of her freaking research, I think she wouldn’t have thought of the fold quartz and stuff. Both Grace and Leon became so arrogant when they thought they already reached the peak of their success. Because of that, — this battle was waged.

  6. bakaneko says:

    @Crusader, I read your profile at THAT and just realize that you are a soldier yourself! *salute* That’s why you are so in tune with what Alto is thinking and trying to do.

    As to rather Grace/Leon or Vajra owns more fault, perhaps we should just not drag this issue further. We all have a different take, and I think that’s perfectly OK.

    I do agree with you that the Vajra are dangerous and even ruthless. What I couldn’t see is how the Vajra’s sole mission is to seek out and eliminate all humans.

    I also agree that by now Frontier has no other choice but to take over the Vajra planet. How they got to this dire position is no longer relevant to how they will survive. But if you start placing blame, please put it with the proper culprits.

    If a brat throws a beehive into a classroom full of students, causing many to get stung; you must, of course, first put out the bees in the room, but then all blame should belong to the brat.

    @VF-25 Messiah, that’s an interesting observation on how Leon’s “evil” decision would actually counteract another’s, leading to a greater good. Nice.

    @foomafoo, yea, they’re both arrogant, but Grace’s arrogance is sexy while Leon’s is gay. 🙂

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