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Final Vegeta

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  • Birthday 12/19/1980

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  1. I sincerely hope that the Macross Frontier movie will turn out good, and I don't want to be the bird of ill omen... But I want to make educated guesses from the trailer. I must admit that when I watched the trailer of the second movie of Eva I was more excited, which is funny since I don't like Eva that much. The trailer of Rebuild 2.0 showed new animation for old scenes and featured an element of novelty, in the guise of a new character that is packaged with a new Eva. What this trailer of Macross Frontier movie shows instead is recycled animation on one hand, on the other hand I cannot help but notice that there are a lot of scenes with Alto together with Sheryl (with Sheryl having a new purple outfit), while Ranka is alone, is crying, is asking Alto what he thinks of Sheryl (what about the KIRA?). While probably some kind of Alto x Sheryl ending does not come exactly a surprise at this point, the lack of any subtlety about the love triangle as presented by the trailer seems to confirm the presence of Ohnogi once again. If Kawamori were dominant in the project, at least in the trailer he would play with the audience in his typical fashion, but with Ohnogi what you see is really what you get, and I don't expect it to get much better. Supposedly, this movie seems to be about Alto and Sheryl, which in turn is likely to mean that: -Alto will not truly feel like a main character. Sheryl will out-main character him in the key scenes. -Although Ranka is the character with the most important plot device, Ohnogi will try to downplay her. The funny thing is how the movie will also try to enhance the career of Megumi Nakajima. -Underdeveloped Galaxy villains with poorly explained mastermind plan. -Not much VF-25 VS VF-27. -The final battle will play out in mostly the same way. (I just hope there is no Grace x Sheryl rape scene) I personally think that Team Frontier (Alto, Ranka, Bilra) VS Team Galaxy (Brera, Sheryl, Grace) (Ranka in Battle Frontier, Sheryl in Battle Galaxy) as setup in the climax would offer the most meaningful symmetry, and would also offer more possibilities to develop Galaxy's side, but the problem with Ohnogi is that he inserted in his episodes so much Sheryl x Alto that even the littlest twist will automatically mean more Alto x Ranka, therefore I think he will try to keep the plot as faithful to the series as possible, save for the creativity in the encounters between Sheryl and Alto. In short, the same flaws of the series, but packaged with more detailed textures. And I am not sure about the latter. Although it is partly because there are only scenes supposed to happen early in the movie, I am underwhelmed. The teaser does not tease. FV
  2. I've got some final points left to discuss, among which is the definition of a Mary Sue. The word has kind of lost its meaning because people were angered to have their characters called Mary Sue and they called all other characters Mary Sue too, not knowing what it meant. It seems even point listing is useless, that's hard mode Truth is, while I was writing this I realized I've lost my interest in Macross Frontier (and maybe even in Macross for a while). I completed this disquisition just because I wanted to get it off my mind. I won't spend that much words about Mary Sues though, I will expound more about plot theories and why things went wrong with Ohnogi. I've tried not to be repetitive, but I guess sometimes I must be to get the point across. First of all, many people confuse being a main character with being a Mary Sue. If you are a main character, it's no surprising at all you have loads of plot devices with or within you. It's natural to have the plot revolving around the lead. Since main characters are important to the plot they are shielded from death so they can use their plot devices. Arguably there is always some kind of luck around main characters, but you can forgive it because it allows to see the good parts. The role of the main character is exactly this: touring where things are the hardest and the most thrilling. If the danger doesn't come to the hero, the hero must go to the danger. Obviously though sometimes the plot calls for an action by the main characters, they can't simply be sightseeing all the times. These points, where it's tested whether the main character is still the main character, are called the "climax". Since we are talking about a series with many short episodes, each episode should be expected to have its own climax; not all of these climaxes must necessarily belong to the main character, just all the important ones. I use as example Star Wars because it's well known; as soon as the Death Star appeared you could guess Luke was somehow involved with its destiny. Some people may find ludicrous that Luke managed to pilot a spacefighter without having a proper military training and despite all this was able to win where veterans failed (Force nothwistanding). Fact is that realism in explanations is only secondary to satisfying plot requirements like having the main character do what a main character does. Sound explanations are something you use to convince your friends a movie is worthy, not what interested you in the first place. Epic climaxes are what makes movies true classics. If you pause to reflect, you can remember that in all other movies and anime you've seen the hero always marks the center of danger. In Gundam heroes even dismount from MSs and enter asteroids/space stations. For authors it's instinctive to write scenes like those. This is an important point, since a lot of authors kind of knows what to do unconsciously, simply because they saw others do it and it felt good, not because they were taught theories. I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong in Macross Frontier too, until I found an external perspective, and even then I realized many things only while writing this. Let's analyze Macross Frontier. Here, a character being held prisoner by villains (more properly antagonists in this case, although calling them "villains" is simpler) was a plot device to make Alto go to the center of the danger in ep. 7 and 14 (it's a staple of Kawamori anime for characters to be abducted by the villains, so that you can see how they live. Probably once there were meant to be scenes inside Macross Galaxy too). It was OK, you can't pretend a rookie creates a turning point for the plot at first, he just got his standard heroic feats. With ep. 20 though, an important battle, you knew something was wrong and Alto wasn't doing anything relevant. What happened? Well, the technical term for it is "Mary Sue". Sheryl hijacked the role of main character from Alto; this is something you can eventually do in a minor battle, but never in anything major, especially in the last part of an anime like Macross Frontier. It's acknowledged that Alto didn't feel like the main character anymore, and this was a long-term design flaw of the writing that persisted even after this episode, but this episode sent clear warnings. The only real action Alto tried to solve the crisis, at the beginning of the episode, consisted in persuading Ranka to sing, and it failed: Ranka refused to sing. And that was not what was really bad, the really bad part was that Sheryl talked to Ranka and she instead got results. This issue looks apparently irrelevant only because the crisis wasn't solved yet, but we got another character stealing the hero's job, preventing him from doing his part. (What if Sheryl talked to Ranka and that actually solved the crisis? Can you begin to understand how wrong it would be? How Mary Sueish? And it was done that way only because Ohnogi wanted to humiliate Ranka. If Ranka weren't in competition with Sheryl, Ohnogi wouldn't have had any restraints) Contrary to common opinion, superpowers don't make Mary Sues (this is why they will tell you that someone may still be able to pull off stories with such characters). Even in the real world there are people with greater fortune, intelligence, social standing or skills than the others, why should fictional world be different? But no matter if the hero's allies are more powerful, more intelligent or more persuading than him, it's the main character that must get the job done; the allies may assist the hero only by cleaning the road for the final move (like it was done in ep. 25. Even DYRL was like that. Both directed by Kawamori). And mind that I said "allies": the job of a villain is exactly to prevent the hero from getting what he wants, even when it means to complete the same task (sometimes the hero and the villain may have the same objective). The trend continued when Sheryl was left alone with Nanase: soldiers instantly came out from nowhere to so that she could separate from Alto looking responsible. Alto didn't take the initiative and lead but instead simply followed orders like a subordinate (I said orders because Sheryl was talking like Misa). The scene was written like Sheryl was supposed to impress Alto (so that he falls in love with her), while it's Alto that was supposed to impress the audience because he is the main character; Alto could still redeem himself before the end of the crisis though, but he didn't because Ohnogi didn't let him interact with the character who was the key to solve the pinch, and that cut him out from the plot. The best they let Alto do in this episode was influencing Sheryl with a flashback (which is not like showing in front of him she was wrong), and even then you could say that Sheryl basically did all on her own. What was the point of Alto, then? Now you can begin to understand what a Mary Sue is. And the really bad part here was that Ranka didn't behave like she was part of a love triangle anymore. This is the most unmistakable sign of every kind of Mary Sue: the lack of a fair opposition. It's not that Mary Sues are particularly good characters, just that no other character in the show is allowed to be as good as them in the same scene (not even when it's the main character!). Their rivals end up so weak they got nothing going for them, while in a good story it should be the opposite. The most decent professional writer would have shipped Alto x Sheryl still keeping Alto as the main character. Even in Star Wars Lucas chose for Luke not having offsprings, but at least he left him as a main character; on the positive side, we won't get any sequel trilogy now. I think there is still a central issue here in Macross Frontier not understood well neither by Ohnogi nor by the audience, though. People seem to think that Alto had simply to choose the "better" girl, the one most suited for him. This could work, weren't for this little thing called "plot". Being able to control Vajra who are at the center of the conflict between Galaxy and Frontier, Ranka is the perfect plot device for Macross Frontier. Why does Ranka have these important powers and not Alto? It's a Japanese thing: Ranka is basically a Miko. Miko (anciently "female shaman") were women who went into trances and conveyed prophecies or the words of the kami (gods of nature/spirits). Now, Ranka is obviously not the miko with the traditional shrine outfit, but essentially she still has a deep connection with nature and she is imbued with supernatural powers outside her conscious control. Note that this is a female prerogative, male heroes may have battle powers but basically rely on braveness. Laputa and Nadia are a fine example of this brave/miko couple (Nadia was so connected to nature she could even understand animal language). There are a lot of other female anime characters with miko-like features, like Haruhi Suzumiya, Nia Teppelin or Rei Ayanami. The female usually is or has the most important plot device (gods love young girls). (Ranka is better suited as a miko than Sheryl, because for Ranka going into trance and be overwhelmed just feels more natural) The way Macross Frontier is structured, the story is about a war against the Vajra. The importance of a character therefore is based on how much he revolves around the Vajra. The top players are Ranka, authorities of Galaxy (Grace), and authorities of Frontier (Bilra, Leon). Obviously Ranka is the most important here since she decides how the plot ends, while the other two sides remain at the borders of the plot (they are Kingmakers, they boost the importance of Ranka and Alto, making them feel more and more like main characters. Alto's promotion by Bilra was supposed to be a counter to Galaxy's involvement with Ranka, because in ep. 7 Bilra saw love in the fold wave, therefore he understood Alto was important for Ranka). Under this tier there are characters who are directly able to make Ranka sway, that is Alto and Brera; by gaining more and more influence on Ranka, Alto progressively gains an importance equal to hers. In the last tier there is the rest of the cast: support characters. The whole SMS, aside from Alto, is nothing more than a reserve of cannon fodder for tragic occurrences. Even when Sheryl was made to be able to fight the Vajra (something that SMS also did as well), that didn't make more relevant to the plot than the SMS, she was still a filler character. This is the sad truth that will be tough to swallow for many, so I'll try to explain it once more. Let's pretend Alto, Sheryl and Ranka don't exist, and try to follow the plot from the premises given until ep. 15. We see that it was foreshadowed Galaxy had some control on the Vajra, therefore in the end it's logical to assume Galaxy would have gained complete control on the Vajra. Galaxy should have done this only if they thought the Vajra were tough enough to make the deal worthwhile, which means being at least able to beat another Macross fleet without problems. This is why for Frontier to overcome not only the Vajra but also Galaxy's plan simply with the power of its weapons would be lame, unless Frontier managed to find the Weak Spot of the Vajra. The Death Star had a weak spot. Sauron had a weak spot. The Zentradi fleet had a weak spot. The weak spot is one of the basics of epic writing. Not only this boils the plot down to a few key characters needed for such risky strategy, among which there is a main character, but also a weak spot allows to make the villain army strong enough to be actually threatening, because the battle is won under different conditions than attrition rate. Plus, it looks definitively better when the good guys win using their brain instead of their brawn. Going for the weak spot is the only reasonable way for the underdog army to achieve an epic victory. This vital weak spot of the Vajra is that they care for everyone who is part of the swarm (no, it's not songs, although technically the communication with them is done through songs). Here enters Ranka, who in virtue of this is the central character of Frontier. The twist is that Ranka has a weak spot too: she longed for her long lost brother so much she felt a connection with Brera. Brera can effectively neutralize Ranka, being as much effective as manipulating her into working for Galaxy. At this point Galaxy still wins. Here enters Alto. His strongest asset in this war is True Love, while Brera in an (un)expected plot twist is downgraded to an inferior sibling relationship (that seems to be a typical canon pairing destroyer). Alto'slove wins over Brera's love and Ranka gives Alto's side the support of the Vajra. The plot was designed this way to make a love story (the love story between Alto and Ranka) central to the resolution of the plot (although there is no guarantee that Alto and Ranka would have actually stayed together at the end, knowing Kawamori). If you interfere with this Alto can't be the main character of Macross Frontier anymore. This explains why Kawamori never resolved the love triangle even when the staff was favoring Sheryl. This is not SDFM were Minmay would have never sided with Zentradi or refused to sing, this is Macross Frontier. Since Macross Frontier's plot is built in a way that only a honest expression of interest of Alto in Ranka can allow a happy ending, the question is not whether Alto is gonna end up with Ranka or Sheryl, but whether or not Alto is gonna end up even with Sheryl. Yeah, what about Sheryl? Well, despite all the gratuitous screentime Ohnogi gave her, it was already too late to make her relevant to the plot. Not only Ranka has been already officially declared the Little Queen, she was also friend of a Vajra larva (note how acquaintances can boost your importance to the plot), and she is the one who sings Aimo. The story then explained that Ranka was even connected to the Vajra before birth. The only way to top this is directly being a Vajra, therefore Ranka has already made useless every surrogate (ie: Sheryl), unless they accept to be minor characters who exist just to show she is better. (The title of Little Queen, the highest rank in Macross Frontier among human characters, is highly significant. Suddenly belittling the Little Queen midseries like Ohnogi did is some kind of retcon that must also change the explanations on why Ranka was important in the first place, and by "change" I mean "omit". The more you talk about the background of the Vajra, the Vajra network and Aimo, the more you must include Ranka, therefore with less Ranka comes less explanations. Why did the Vajra destroy the 117th research fleet? "Lol I dunno, it was about Ranka") Authors still copied&pasted Ranka's plot devices on Sheryl to salvage the show, but they meant nothing neither to her nor to the plot. Ranka had a bond with the Vajra, so she could choose not to sing against them, influencing the plot. Sheryl instead never even acquired a stance about the Vajra. The only thing she could do at this point was going with the flow, which is not particularly exciting (ie: not something characters important to the plot do). Not to mention that with the new Dimension Cutter bombs the NUNS could have been able to take on the Vajra even without her singing. In SDFM at least Minmai's songs had a symbolic meaning, they represented culture against barbarism; what was the symbolism in Sheryl singing to slaughter space bugs? Nothing, because the Vajra had a theme (communication) that revolved around Ranka; without Ranka the Vajra lose their theme and they become "monster of the week"-like villains. (Sheryl at this point affected the plot mainly by keeping Alto away from Ranka, and there was already a character for that: Brera, who got shafted exactly because Sheryl was so much better than him at his job) I infer the purpose of Sheryl in Macross Frontier was simply to give one of her earrings to Alto, so that he could comunicate with Ranka. Sheryl did this already in the first episode, and could have actually disappeared as early as ep. 6, maybe returning for some inspiring cameos (the fact Sheryl had so few preliminary sketches is probably significant of this). With the way things were subsequently rearranged by Kawamori, she could have given an earring to Alto as her last memento before dying. I guess that keeping her for the whole first half resulted in a forced slowing down of the plot, because to keep the love triangle on the edge Ranka was not to show the extent of her powers (I suppose this is why Ranka was not supposed to become a star. Leon was supposed to scout her earlier as a human weapon agains the Vajra before her career took off. It would make more sense since Bilra noticed a fold wave in ep. 7 but did nothing for a lot of episodes), otherwise it would have been obvious that Ranka was a lot more important to the plot and would have won the love triangle by default. Well, there could be an alternative: Ranka could win the war all by herself, so that Alto and Sheryl could stay together. Obviously, Alto should simply refuse to be the main character, he should stay in the passenger seat with Sheryl. In fact, didn't I see this already happening once with Ohnogi? Why does the final battle with Boddole Zer feel more epic in DYRL than in SDFM? That's because in DYRL Hikaru, like a main character, goes to the center of the danger, killing Boddole Zer. In SDFM instead he renounced to fight the final battle and went to find Misa. I have always justified it thinking that Macross is the kind of work that de-emphasized main characters, so although lame for the main character not doing anything in the final battle, at the time it was appreciable for novelty's sake, but it's just bad writing. It's wasted potential. I admit I am also envious of the rival franchise Gundam which gives main characters ludicrously powerful mecha but at least has main characters who are main characters all the time (and polls show how much this is appreciated. Lelouch was ludicrously main character, and he still tops the chart). As far as protagonists go, Gundam is typically a shower (main character is fundamental all the times) while Macross is a grower, except that in the end there is no real growth because someone skips the parts where the main character does things like a main character. I fear for the movie of Macross Frontier at this point. It will be successful because the series at the moment is popular, but it may not become a classic. Macross deserves better than a writer for whom plot means nothing. And while Ohnogi didn't understand what made the plot click, or how to make a main character resolve climaxes like a main character, frankly it's not like the rest of his writing was superb. For example, in ep. 20 the point of Ohnogi seems to be that Ranka couldn't have done her bad impression if she was somehow cheered up, and she couldn't be cheered up because all the other characters had a dumbness attack (it's called "the idiot defense"). You see that the writing is bad because the writer is thinking that the audience will understand what's going on, but the characters shouldn't, because otherwise there's no realistic way you could get the drama you wanted. In the previous episodes the pill subplot made me think characters were abnormally attentive, but then someone switched their intelligence off. (Not to mention the pill subplot was contradictory in itself. Why should Grace save Sheryl if she wanted to kill her blaming Vajra?) The funny thing was how all that happened right after Sheryl said "I know very well what it means to have your heart in the song". With Kawamori songs are something larger than life: you sing and everybody understands how you really feel; in Macross Plus Isamu even recognized Myung from a song of Sharon Apple. It's therefore incongruous how top singer Sheryl, looking back at Ranka, was only interested in matching her fame as "songstress of hope" with something equivalent, remaining clueless on what happened. But even if you take away characters' intelligence and the magic of songs for drama's sake, if Ranka were to sing there is no way they couldn't solve the crisis in that episode, except for one last thing: contradictory writing. Authors couldn't decide whether songs pacified Vajra or attracted them to the singer. In ep. 14, Vajra were pacified. In ep. 16 (the one where Ohnogi came aboard), Vajra were pacified and attracted. Mind that this was clearly seen by Alto, he was there with Ranka in every sortie. In ep. 20 though Alto is thinking that Ranka's song pacifies Vajra (no memory of Vajra being attracted to Ranka at all), and Luca thinks the same since he believes that Ranka failed only because of a lack of output, so he prompted them to go pick up Canaria's Fold Wave Amp (I don't even know why it was there, it should have remained loaded on the Koenig). Grace was shown to attest Ranka had an emotional drop, a cue that means that if Ranka were happy Vajra would be pacified, right? Yet this cue was unexpectedly discarded, and in ep. 21 Luca instead devised a plan which was based on the fact that Vajra were attracted to Ranka. Neither Luca nor Alto explained how they changed their mind about the effect of Ranka's songs (this is how lousy writers think they can get away with anything, they just don't make characters talk about plot points). At this point, even when Ranka felt better, Vajra were still as aggressive as before. Then, in Ranka's flashback Vajra are still attracted to the singer, but when Sheryl sings in ep. 24 Vajra are finally pacified once again. The only discernible pattern here is that when Ranka sings Vajra come and kill people. In the end we didn't even get to know why there were all those Vajra larvae inside Frontier, this is how good the writing was. Pondering on these flaws I found out the reason. The last piece of the puzzle lies in the difference between Kawamori's and Ohnogi's scenarios. Watching ep. 25 you understand that Kawamori was fixated on his romantic explanation of Aimo as a love song, which is a wonderful twist. Watching ep. 23 instead you can realize what was Ohnogi's scenario: Ranka needed to be killed to stop the Vajra, because every time she sings Aimo the Vajra become more aggressive; the war can't stop while Ranka lives. Seriously. At the time we all thought Alto couldn't possibly kill Ranka, but what if the writer was actually dead serious about that? If you watch the last part with both these scenarios in mind, thinking they are going on at the same time, everything makes sense. "The Vajra are trying to obliterate humankind." "Using Ranka-kun as a foothold." [...] "That bacterium will never infest our intestines." "On the contrary, it will invade the brain..." "and kill the host." "If she is an exception, that means she was infected in the womb," "and chose to coexist with the Vajra." "And the Vajra tried to use her." "That's the only conclusion I could arrive at." "That's why the Vajra target her." "She will connect mankind to the Vajra, and then..." "She'll become the vanguard who leads us to peril!" (The last two lines don't make any real sense) This can be easily overlooked as Leon misleading Alto, but what if for Ohnogi that was supposed to be the official explanation of the show? "The Vajra are evil aliens who want to destroy humanity for no reason at all, but, bear with me, since they are aliens they first proceed by infecting a pregnant woman with their bacterium, and then they wait for the child to grow up. This is the only way because otherwise the bacterium kills humans. When things are ripe humanity is doomed, unless we kill their only foothold". Ohnogi wanted to keep open the chance that Ranka got actually killed, but at least he could have spared us his ravings. Now, the staff usually doesn't like to kill a character, why would they want to kill Ranka even if they favored Alto x Sheryl? It is obvious that Ohnogi never told anyone his true plan in advance, or it would have been openly rejected. Ohnogi must have thought to proceed little by little, so at first he just innocently declared the Vajra were simply after Ranka, which is somehow coherent with the premises after all, so it was easily OK'ed. Ohnogi was just waiting for things to reach a point where his script was the only way to proceed, and if someone objected he could suddenly declare a lack of imagination near a deadline. If he got scolded, he just needed to get scolded so much people will get tired of scolding him and let him do as he pleased. This kind of plan obviously can only work if everyone in the staff is more stupid than the planner, therefore Kawamori wrote the script for the final episode himself. So much for the effort, Ohnogi. This explains the last things I wanted to figure out from Macross Frontier. Why did Vajra destroyed the 117th research fleet? Because, according to Ohnogi, when Ranka sings Vajra attack. It's not more complicated than that. It was so hard to understand only because the rest of the staff was foreshadowing a different kind of story altogether. The other thing was: what happened with ep. 20 and 21? Kawamori worked personally on them (together with Kikuchi), they should have been like two ep. 7 paired together. I guess these episodes weren't supposed to be directed by Kawamori; Kawamori had to intervene because Ohnogi was aiming to create a predicament. The cliffhanger of ep. 19 was clearly written with the resolution of the love triangle in mind, like Ohnogi wanted to let important things just casually slip in the next episode. And ep. 21, well... the thing you can't help but notice is the overemphasized response from Alto to Luca's plan. It only makes sense if, for Ohnogi, Ranka was actually supposed to remain there while the bomb exploded, as stupid as it sounds. Then you read authors did not know what to do with Ranka and had to make her leave Frontier; actually, they already know what to do with her, it's just that Ohnogi gave that part to Sheryl. (After killing Ranka so early, Ohnogi was probably going to end Macross Frontier with another Post War Arc, which is his definition of epicness) In the end the only reason why Sheryl wasn't more blatantly Mary Sue than she was is just because Kawamori was trying all the time not only to please his friend but also to salvage the plot, and we must thank him for that. Now, I don't know where Shaloom took that stuff, although I thank him and Magnuskn for bringing it to the attention of Western world. It's not even important for my previous arguments, because the skill needed here is simply semiotics. The curious thing is how much those liner notes really make sense, and for that I choose to believe them. For example, the fact that Sheryl was supposed to die was a real speculation we had even here because of a picture in the second OP, and it makes sense the red tapes meant Sheryl was saved. Also, in the ep. 24's liner notes it is indeed written that it was Ohnogi the one who decided Sheryl was a Nome (while before that her surname was becoming known in the magazines as "Norm"). (Ohnogi went as far as inserting Sheryl's earrings in Macross Zero, like Protoculture, who wasn't even supposed to have worked out fold dislocations, was to leave behind something as precious as that. In fact, I think in Kawamori's draft the earrings were probably given to Sheryl by Galaxy agents, and she was told they were a memento from her mother only so that she would keep them with her every time. The Fold Quartz was probably supposed to be how Galaxy tried to influence Vajra without bacteria. Possibly authors would have even suggested that love makes the Fold Quartz work better, and a related reason explained why in ep. 14 the Semi-Queen showed Ranka images of her mother. As things stand Grace should have at least noticed Sheryl's earrings were Fold Quartz (even Alto did), yet she never commented on the fact) Here I must mention something taken from recent Shaloom translations: apparently, it was Kawamori's idea to give a cure to Sheryl in the last episode. Ohnogi commented that this was just a cliché (maybe he wanted Sheryl cured early so that she could sleep with Alto disease free?). You are talking about climax and catharsis, writing techniques used to induce emotions through the plot and not the scenes, and Ohnogi is thinking they are just cliché that for some unknown reason professional writers use. I know that there could be possibly be some mistranslations here or Ohnogi maybe was trying to say something else, but that really tells something. You can't expect anything good from a writer who treats plot theories with contempt. I think Ohnogi must have already gotten the basics of writing, it's just that he has misconceptions about their use. For example, I feel that with Ohnogi there isn't much emphasis on climaxes, it's like cliffhangers are more important. I guess it couldn't be helped because Ohnogi had his secret plans which disregarded the plot, but even the series in the last part did not felt like it was building a climax. Yeah, there was the final confrontation with the Vajra, but the series had become nearly episodic. When you watch episode 1-7 (or 11-15) instead, you can perceive there is some kind of a flow, which just isn't there with Ohnogi. Another tecnique you may have never heard of is emotional polarity. Basically, you either alternate things that looks good for the characters with things that looks bad, or you increase the dose. This is how you make things emotionally engaging for the audience. Episodes like 17 or 25 were written this way: NO YES NO YES NO YES YES... Notice how emotionally engaging they are. In the last part of Macross Frontier instead things got consistently bad for the characters. Since there is a trope that "true art is angsty", this may look good, but coupled with the fact that even when Alto participates in a battle he never had success in his objectives made Macross Frontier uniformly monotonous and dull. The only uplifting moment during that part was the SMS leaving, and guess what, Alto was opposing it. (Although these techniques are good for every kind of fiction, they are much less important in writing books, while they are vital in a series of 20 minutes episodes. Each episode must be actually written like it's a new book. It must aim to captivate the audience every time, with the use of a specific structure: buildup -> climax -> denouement -> cliffhanger. For every episode. If you don't do this you are just relying on the fact that the audience already love some characters and just want to see how they end up, which is lame) Chara development didn't help here, either. It was questioned if Ranka's shyness is a true flaw; let's see what was done in Star Wars. When Luke was skeptic about the Force, Yoda showed him what the Force could do, and told him why he failed, and this caused chara development. In this sense, Luke's skepticism is a flaw, as is the curmudgeonry of Yoda who didn't want to take Luke as a disciple, prompting Obiwan to convince him. Ranka's shyness is what makes her willingly miss good opportunities; when this happens though another character immediately comes in and help her, and there is chara development. A plot is formed by characters interacting with each others, otherwise it's just a narration (or a fan fiction); things that encourages character interactions are welcomed. And Ranka's shyness also forces her to make choices and acquire opinions on what she is doing. What happens in the opposite case? For example, when Sheryl is asked to sing for Frontier, she accepted. Well, it sounded good for the character not wimping out, but what about the plot? If there is no opposition from the characters themselves (or from other characters), at this point the only thing left is waiting for the last episode to come, while we got a documentary on Sheryl's life. Ironically, contrary to Sheryl other characters at this point actually looked like they were doing something, because at least they revolved around the war with the Vajra, which was progressing. Now, I don't know if I could ever separate it from the fact that Sheryl was irrelevant from the plot in the first place, fact is that Ohnogi Sheryl didn't help keeping the plot dynamic. She behaved not much differently from a plot drone. Leaving aside these issues, let's try to assess whether Ohnogi's influence on Kawamori's works was good or bad. My personal fondness for Kawamori started while watching Escaflowne. Escaflowne had a well written plot with well written villains. Macross 7 (which I watched years later) instead was episodic, and had an inferior quality overall, but at least it still had a good story (although a shorter series would have been better), and the presence of villains was constant. When I saw Arjuna, I was not puzzled by the blatant exposition of environment-friendly themes (although sometimes characters were too verbose about that), I was puzzled by how the plot did not flow as well as before. (Macross Plus doesn't matter much because it was created as a movie and then turned into an OVA) Only now I notice that Ohnogi has collaborated with Kawamori in every his anime since Arjuna. And well, the plots of Kawamori's anime have become highly episodic. Now, Aquarion is a super robot show, and is somehow expected to be episodic, but it had the potential to be something else. There could have been subplots about how the Elements were reincarnations of people who lived 12,000 years ago, as suggested by the ED, but we were left with only Apollonius and Celiane in the flashbacks (as if someone couldn't conceive Apollonius and Celiane interacting with other characters, like it weakened their love story. I don't know, it sounds awfully familiar). Ohnogi was involved in both series composition and screenplay of half of the episodes. Macross Zero had its flaws too, since the beginning of episode 5 doesn't quite match the ending of episode 4, which make it looks like things were changed midway. And even here, the ep. 4, the one where villains could have been developed, was instead all about how Shin remained all alone with Sara, while Focker and Aries mysteriously took a different path (probably many other authors would have written it like that though). Macross Frontier had a strong start. As I said, there is a flow from ep. 1 to 7. Kawamori was back to Escaflowne quality again. Ep. 8-10 are obviously casualties typical of a TV series (they are like the Island episodes in Nadia), but at least the flow began anew in ep. 11-15. Then the plot was supposed to take a new, adventurous direction. What happened next you already know. Now, let's see the villains. Arjuna and The Daichis had only villains without a human mind (= no comunication, no rivalry). This doesn't prevent them from having a good story in their own way though, but let's see what's next. Macross Zero had underdeveloped villains (not to talk how the rivalry ended), and Aquarion had villains which were even unused (not even Macross 7 was that bad). If you pick Macross Frontier, while the Vajra were again not human-like, at least there was a decent rivalry between Alto and Brera. Then Ohnogi came and wrote it out until the final battle. Even Grace, after letting Sheryl go in ep. 18, and announcing Nanase was working with Ranka, IIRC had no further interactions with one of the protagonists. It's no surprise Grace's master plan at this point does not feel properly explained (at least have Grace talk about it!). With these elements in mind, I wouldn't recommend Kawamori to work with Ohnogi. The plot simply doesn't flow with Ohnogi, plus in Ohnogi's writing there's too much lack of varied character interaction, especially with the villains. It's like with him the villains are meant only to show up in the last two episodes, without any further confrontation in the episodes before, save for the episode they are introduced (this was one of the problems of Aquarion). Also as writing goes Ohnogi is not exactly thrilling or engaging. He can never match the knack of the successful entertainer Kawamori got, the way he is outrageously show-off. Kawamori came up with the KIRA' and it instantly became a widespread meme. Personally, I think it's like the series with Ohnogi passed from X-Men 2 to X-Men 3. Mind that in X-Men 3 the new director thought exactly to give Wolverine the role the previous director had originally conceived for Cyclops. It always starts with the ill-advised intention of giving more spotlight to the character who seems to face difficulties better than the other good guys, the one who doesn't spend time thinking what to do (in which an author who doesn't spend time thinking about the plot can identify). Now for the movie Kawamori is in a hyperpinch. He has too much sense of the main character to forget that for the hero the most charming trait in a girl is simply her relevance to the plot. He may decide to leave everything to Ohnogi and Kikuchi, similarly as he did with the movie of Escaflowne (which was bad). If it were for Kawamori though, I think at the end of the movie Sheryl would announce it's her duty to go back to Galaxy. (For Kawamori love is about transcending distance, not about consummation) Either way, the story of the series is too mangled to make a coherent movie. The more canon controversies the movie will introduce the better. I don't have high hopes, though. People are excited because they are thinking it will be like ep. 7, 17 and 25 put together, and certainly the graphics will be state-of-the-art, but what if the plot is on the same level of SDFM Post War Arc (the idea may not have been bad, but the execution was subpar)? With these premises, I doubt this movie will ever pull a DYRL. FV
  3. There's a trick: these days a lot of male characters are cosplayed by girls (and vice versa). I guess it was just some kind of prankster on fangirls By the way, you can already know what kind of character is supposed to be Brera by looking at him. Kawamori has his stock characters, and he got two main villains. One has white hair and red clothes, and enjoys destruction but in the end becomes a tragic character. Kamjin, Dilandau and Nora are such kind of character. Even Gigile fits, although it is graphically different because maybe Kawamori gave Mikimoto leeway. The other villain has green hair and blue clothes, and is the former friend turned villain. Guld, Folken and Toma are such kind of characters. Obviously there are slight variations in the respective show, but the basics are these. As you can see Brera was the best of both worlds: outside the cockpit he has green hair and blue clothes, inside he got white hair and red clothes (actually more purple, but it's not important). As brother of Ranka he is the former friend, but in episode 9 he was clearly the one who enjoys destruction. Just an aside though. I am sorry, as MisaForever made me notice a lot of logical connections remained inside my head. Let's just try to reason it out though. I will try just one example. Ranka was the Little Queen, being able to communicate with the Vajra thanks to her intestinal bacterium. Also she was the daughter of Ranshe Mei, who worked with Grace. With Ohnogi, in the last part of the anime, Sheryl suddenly became able to communicate with the Vajra thanks to Vajra's bacterium. To top that, she was also revealed as the granddaughter of Mao Nome, who worked with Grace. Sheryl's connections to the plot became an almost verbatim copy of those of Ranka. Do you agree? Fact is, were those as deep as Ranka's? Ranka had a past tied to the Vajra. When Vajra are killed she feels pain; does Sheryl relate to the Vajra in any meaningful way, or experience pain when they are killed? We knew what Ranshe Mei thought of Grace, but what did Mao think of her? Didn't this all feel like it was tacked on at the last minute? Isn't Sheryl stealing what should be the job of Ranka? (this last thing is a trait of Mary Sue) Now, I think you can at least agree that even if Sheryl was gone the plot would have advanced without swaying an inch, and it was not like the authors had no idea where the anime was going. It's not like I didn't like what Ohnogi did with Ranka. I dislike what he did with Alto, with Brera, with Ranka, with Sheryl, with the love triangle ("I am ill, I win"), with Michael's last words, with the plot, with the tight writing and even with the VF-25 VS VF-27's rivalry. And that was personal, look at my avatar. Personally, when I watch an anime, usually I don't have a favorite character. You know, you can't have the same character in all the scenes, so it's best to find satisfaction from everything. That's why I want all characters made of win, and that's why I am insulting Ohnogi, absurdly hoping the fellows who translate the favorite character poll bring my words to Kawamori, together with my advice for him to trust himself more. Well, Kawamori wanted to do a great series. Ohnogi blasted in, took the role of the main writer, asked for free hand on the love triangle, and then he even admitted he didn't know what to do with Ranka, which is the character more important to the plot, and also important to the love triangle. Artistically this is a betrayal. It's like in Kissdum where the director told everyone he knew what he was doing and then flee after the first episodes. It's not like Ohnogi was there to improve the series, he was there to ship his favorite character. But he didn't tell Kawamori that, he boastfully told him he was gonna make improvements. And I can't stand people who say something and then do the opposite. I am not sure that part was Ohnogi's doing, but as I said if in most of the anime he works in there are similar patterns, than there's a strong case against him. So it's just a process of pattern matching. Thanks for your appreciation, Renato. I suggest you read things written here (don't diffuse it too much) (yeah, I know, Shaloom Shaloom Shaloom ). The url was posted in the news thread times ago (by the way Magnuskn, are there updates?). As for Ohnogi involvements with the novels, and the unsung writers of Macross, I can only speculate Ohnogi was some kind of liaison between the various members of the Studio Nue, especially asking advice from Nue's experts of technical and sci-fi jargon like Matsuzaki (maybe even Ohnogi was one), or was the one who wrote scenarios (like he is credited to have done in other works). In the link above, for example, IIRC it is stated Ohnogi was writing scripts for SDFM and then bringing them to Matsuzaki for approval. And both the interview I posted at the start of the thread and the above source agree Ohnogi did intervene on some (but not all) novels of Macross writing dialogues, so I guess this has to be accepted as a fact. And don't you agree that Minmay and Ranka not talking to anyone other than their close relatives looked weird? Their sudden social isolation didn't make any sense. FV
  4. I knew I was forgetting something You are the kind of person that question what others take for granted, I like it. Well, yes, he writes. Not very well, I argued, but he was a member of Studio Nue, which is the creative studio that created Macross. Ohnogi also worked with several other famous anime, either writing the script or the scenario. Often works with Kawamori himself. For now it should suffice, it's time to go to bed in my part of the world FV
  5. [Citation needed] Have you watched Macross Zero? Do you have proof Edgar La Salle was related to Claudia La Salle, just because they have the same surname? What if it's a red herring? Kawamori didn't think Ranka was the perfect one, just that she was written as the most central to the plot. I mean, she is the only one with Vajra bacteria in her belly. Her mother was working together with Grace, and the two argued a lot. Sheryl was only a simple singer until the very last episodes. Even an eventual tie with Mao Nome (provided it was not a late addition) what could have meant? After all we don't even know what Mao thought, that's how important she was. How could have Kawamori kept Sheryl further in the story? She was totally disposable. I posted a whole interview above, could you please quote passages from it to support your statements? For example, since you talked about how Sheryl was affected by the polls, let's see how Ohnogi spoke about it: HO: Then he asked for my opinion, and I told him that, as he had planned the story and the changes he had made, the series had lost their way. B: Kawamori-sama lost direction? Has Macross Frontier made many changes? HO: That's very common in a TV series. This relates to how the market is reacting and the popularity polls of the characters that make the magazines every month. In these surveys, directors and writers see an idea of how history is acting in the public and we can correct or improve the series to gain a wider audience. From what Ohnogi said, Kawamori made changes to the story. Since it is established Ohnogi enlarged Sheryl's role, one is to suppose that before Ohnogi changes were made to reduce Sheryl's role instead, and that changes reflected surveys, so it means Sheryl was not that liked. That or Sheryl was doing well and Ohnogi is a flat-out liar, which is the most likely case Are you implying Sheryl and Ohnogi shared common fear, like Sheryl was a female impersonification of Ohnogi? FV
  6. Please be gentle, you don't know how many posts I will have be ready to reply from now on I hope Ohnogi get ohnogi'd, being exposed as a writer of fansturbations and then written out of Kawamori's life parting for a self-discovery journey. The harem ending is not a problem, nor would be if Sheryl won. The problem is that the story was consistent in making Sheryl not win. Alto was together with her because she stole his amulet, hired him as a help for a series of ads, promised him the sky, and then because of her illness. Alto never had to "invest" in Sheryl once, he never had to make efforts to get Sheryl, she was almost stalking him. There is a saying in my country: "in love those who flee win". People want what they can't get more than what they can get easily. As chara development goes, it is simply irrealistic to hook up Alto with Sheryl. If you properly build the story though it can be done, but in Frontier it was not done neither by Kawamori nor even by Ohnogi himself (who simply put them together under the same roof and hope they would grow to love each other). Kawamori seems to be the kind of perfectionist who is always insecure of himself. Being self-taught but humble he valued the experience of what probably is his senpai. Plus Ohnogi was a friend, and a friend would never betray you, wouldn't him? "I can't see" is a not objective objection. Do you really suppose Kawamori, who is a director with thirty years of experience, would have started a series without first taking his time to think out how to end it, and therefore was forced to beg his friend (but not his staff) to help him? Do you really think that after killing Sheryl in ep. 16 he wouldn't have know how to advance the plot? I mean, doesn't he already have Ranka, who is tied to the Vajra and Galaxy's conspiracy? Wouldn't be Ranka enough for the rest of the story, instead of Sheryl whose abilities were ready only by the last two episodes, and even then were only a support since Frontier's fleet developed new anti-Vajra weapons? That I can't see. By the way, I am sorry you didn't like episode 7, I felt it was great and a lot of people here always voted it as one of the best episode, but then again we are mecha fans. As I wrote, with the earlier departure of Sheryl episode 8-9-10 would have been probably substituted by an arc of story that directly tied up to Gallia 4. Ep. 12 was great, not only the KIRA, but also the appearance of the Global at the end. And I liked the face of Alto finally satisfying his dream of lying in the sky, it's not often you see protagonist of a mecha show so happy, especially so early in the series. Ep. 12, 13, 14 were building up a momentum. I thought episode 15 would have chilled things again back to normal since the big battle was over, but boy how I was wrong! Despite being a cost-cutting episode it was not only beautiful in itself, with the sing-off between Sheryl and Ranka, but also it spiced things up in a way I didn't think it was conceivable. Now everything already happened was a conspiracy ready for the next step, we got finally the amusing introduction of Bilra, then Galaxy was shown to be intact after all, then they mentioned the word Protoculture, and then they suggested that Alto would have being one of the most decisive person for the fate of the galaxy. I wasn't surprised to know the episode was directed personally by Kawamori. Kawamori, you old trickster, you did it again, this is the best anime ever! I was in ecstacy. Then ep. 16 was meh. I hoped it was just a slip, luckily ep. 17 compensated it. After than I liked the episodes less except for the last four. I feel defrauded of a masterpiece. FV
  7. You are talking about the Sheryl Kawamori was in charge of. At that time Sheryl was not a Mary Sue, and she was indeed a good addition, she was a balanced character (all the other characters were). You must consider only the Sheryl since ep. 18, that one is Ohnogi's Sheryl (with episode 16 he just made quick changes to keep her alive longer). Since ep. 18 did she ever do anything wrong, wasn't cute, sweet, friendly, talented, loved by the lead men (and respected by all other characters), intelligent, etc.? Was there a character who had a negative opinion of her anymore? She even became a charitable celebrity! I am not arguing against Sheryl, I am arguing against Ohnogi. Read the interview with Ohnogi again. He stated that Kawamori did know what to do with the story, and other writers would have judged perfect what he was planning to do. What Kawamori didn't know was how to keep Sheryl in the story, especially since in ep. 15 Grace stated she would have disposed of her. True. You must consider that Gundam SEED Destiny, which is loathed by Western Gundam fans, is wildly popular in Japan, and it is one of the biggest anime best-sellers. And Destiny was written with the help of Ohnogi. But I don't know if I would bow to success sacrificing integrity. Also the successful idea of Macross Plus was making the people in the love triangle fight for their love even with valkyries. As Kawamori said, he does stories with both action and romance. It is worse than that, while I was writing I thought I think it is difficult to think that the story was biased to one side unless someone didn't read Ohnogi's interview carefully: HO: The triangle has been defined little by the lack of decision of the director. But I hope that I can define it with the few episodes that are left. At least I have the permission by Kawamori to have total control over the matter. This is biased. Then again, even Kawamori was. Who is supposed not to write a love triangle without knowing how to solve it? The thing I am judging here is equity of treatment. You can kill every character if you want, make them suffer every tragedy, but they must be all made of win. After Ohnogi most people found only Sheryl was interesting, who knows why. But only starting with episode 18, when Ohnogi was fully in charge. As I wrote, it was funny how her fortune and her villa in that episode magically disappeared, and Sheryl was not portrayed as a rich person anymore. People around her didn't even recognized her anymore. She was suddenly miserable in every possible way without any explanation. I thought a last minute miracle was acceptable, like it was somewhat acceptable the fact that a brain disease didn't make you experience things like altered personality and other neurological symptoms, but simply sudden death. Also Sheryl finally undergoing complete depression and then Ranka snapping her out with a slap were worthy the scene. I have more strict standards with mecha battles though, but luckily these are one of Kawamori's strong points. And what about Brera, who as I explained was fundamental for the development of Alto? There's no way out: Sheryl had to die. Think about all the time avalaible without having to include Sheryl scenes. A lot. Ranka, as the underdog, was written as a character that could fail small tests, but win all the important ones. There is no way that in ep. 20 she wouldn't have been resolute, especially since Sheryl wasn't supposed to be there in the start. But Ohnogi still wanted Sheryl to shine better, even when Ranka was more important for the story than her. So there we went. Thank you. I needed that After Ohnogi there weren't any big battles until the last two episodes thoughs. That's a long stretch since ep. 14. But then again, the interview explained clearly: B: What can we hope now in Macross Frontier? HO: Drama, romance, an epic story, great dialogue, memorable scenes. What is really a Macross, I hope you like my work. Ohnogi made no mention of battles anywhere. How can you have an epic story without epic battles? FV
  8. OK, here is now my rant. English is not my mothertongue, but I will try my best. First of all, a bit of history as I was able to collect it. Sheryl was indeed supposed to disappear from the scene in the earlier episodes. I think Kawamori still planned her to return after a while, because the rivalry with the VF-27 involved Galaxy, so there was the need for some people to represent it. Because fans like her though she was kept, if only for a while. In exchange we got a lousy animated episode 6 (because there were last minute changes) and three standalone episodes after episode 7, which instead is the kind of episode Kawamori already planned from the start. Episode 8-9-10 gave time to the staff to think how to include Sheryl for a while. Best of all, maybe she was already planned to return in episode 12, while until that there was a story arc based on the mysterious VF-27. You know, you cannot change too much a carefully planned story, or you won't know how to continue. I am sure episode 12 was another episode Kawamori planned to do from the start, since it is based on a homage to older series; also the appearance of a Macross class ship was the kind of thing you think first when brainstorming. Then Kawamori made in ep. 14 a reference to Ohnogi's love story with his wife. Ohnogi was impressed, as you read above, and called Kawamori for dinner. There Kawamori made what could be the mistake to tell him what he was going to do with the show. Now, Sheryl was Ohnogi's favourite character; he denies being her fan only not to admit to being biased toward her. You know, his wife was interested in him and approached him. Ohnogi reacted and married her; maybe he would have died virgin if a girl didn't approach him first and he didn't secure her as soon as possible. That's the reason why Ohnogi liked Sheryl in episode 5 when she flirted openly with Alto, it remembered him his wife. "She was like a lion", that is, a man-eater. Imagine his face when he was told Sheryl was gonna die in the next episodes and Alto was gonna end up with Ranka in the end. He didn't like it so much he convinced Kawamori to let him in. A fan that knows the director is like a computer programmer with a screwdriver. Starting with episode 16 and then fully be on charge with episode 18 Ohnogi changed to story to include Sheryl. I suppose episode 17 was another episode planned from the start, but it was originally placed as episode 18 because Pineapple Salad was episode 18, so that symbolism would have been maximum; I think that episode was anticipated to give Ohnogi more room for Sheryl. Now, how did the show handle a second unplanned injection of Sheryl? That's what I am gonna tell you. First of all, Ohnogi said in the interview above that he was gonna give a special treatment to Grace, "big surprises". Fact is that if we take the story as of episode 15, that is what Kawamori made, Grace was already planned to be a spy of Galaxy. Also in the episode 15 there is a mention of her living in the Global, possibly alluding to her relationship with the mother of Ranka. Grace was also already known to be a person who acts nicely in front of other persons she is gonna kill. So, what did Ohnogi changed or add? Nothing I can see. Brera underwent slightly bigger changes though. First of all, Kawamori planned to give Alto a rival. A serious rival, one who used his cybernetic advantages without shame, and got a state-of-the-art Valkyrie. And you know what? He was even a love rival for the affection of Ranka. Alto-Ranka-Brera was supposed to be the true love triangle of Macross Frontier. It was like Macross Plus Plus if you think about it. Beside that, Brera was the character that linked Alto to the bigger picture, the Galaxy conspiracy, and made it personal, so he was fundamental to escalate the climax and make things epic. What did Ohnogi do to Brera? Well, Ohnogi didn't like Alto fighting with Brera because he understood istantly it was metaphorically a battle over the heart of Ranka, and he didn't want Alto to partecipate in. Therefore the grudge against the mysterious VF was cancelled out of the story. He wrote Alto to quiet it out abruptly the moment he was fully in charge, which is episode 18. No more VF-25 VS VF-27 until the end. Take this, mecha fans. I think that in episode 21 there was supposed to be another big battle, like in episode 7 or 14. You see Brera calling his VF in the previous episode, this is a great prelude. Then nothing happens. Due to the changes made by Ohnogi to give enough room to Sheryl there was even a need to rush events. I also think that Klan was supposed to use the weapon found in episode 4 instead of the wacky FAST Pack Klan that was a lame excuse for not having a VF-27 slashing Vajra left and right. Brera never became a major character in the end, and lost even his slightly sadistic vibe. By the way, maybe the scene originally planned was having Alto creating the heart in the sky with smoke trails, and then Brera intervening with the remoted controlled VF-27 to ruin his work and managing to impress people and Ranka more. That would have been a great scene. It would also explain why Alto send that message if what he was doing was trying to cheer Sheryl up. If Alto was honestly trying to impress Ranka, and only Ranka, it would all have made sense. And every time he tried to do that Brera came and showed off, ruining everything and frustrating Alto. It would have been so funny. Alto. Well, Alto was obviously supposed to have some kind of chara development. He was supposed to show he was the main star of the show after all. I think in the original planning the fight between him and Brera was to become a giant chess game with the introduction of Bilra, and the competition between Bilra and Galaxy over the Fold Quartz. At the end of episode 15 there was this feeling something big was coming, and Alto was stated to be decisive in this. After Ohnogi there was nothing. I think the main reason there was nothing it was because Ohnogi wrote out all kinds of competition: not only there was no competition with Brera over Ranka, but there was also no more competition with Ranka in the story between Alto and Sheryl. How is one supposed to have chara development without competition and rivals? And adding to that Ohnogi took frustration out of the protagonist and gave it to another character. It's no wonder people thought the frustrated character was most interesting than the lead. Contrary to what Ohnogi said the show here actually lost its direction, because Ohnogi used as starting point what is the ending point (the two lovers getting together). Why is my favorite character not evolving? Who is behind all this? The added changes to Alto are clearly his sudden affinity with Sheryl. He was the kind of person that got away from home because he didn't like his father controlling his life. He wanted to be free in the sky, he wanted his spaces. How such person was supposed to like a girl domineering and with superior initiative like Sheryl that tricked him to go with her and do what she said is out of my mind. Even the personalities are opposite: Sheryl is adventurous and daring, while Alto is a quiet guy that doesn't like thrills, but don't mind to do something brave to save others (like Ranka before Ohnogi came). In fact in episode 13 Alto spoke his mind to Ranka, and then in episode 14 he was clearly into Ranka without any second glance or thought to Sheryl. Ranka was the girl that made him smile in the first episode, while Sheryl was the one that gave him a negative impression. The fact that Alto was mostly always with Sheryl was clearly to add drama to Alto's and Ranka's relationship; a good writer makes situations swing right before the end. Ohnogi then thought to create affinity making Sheryl looking like Alto's mother, which is a giant boner killer, but who am I to judge other people's perversions? Well, that fetish freak me out, but that's just me. The fact is that it was clearly tacked on. At the end all he could do was force Alto into Sheryl through pity for her illness, which is not a great reason to marry a person I could say, unless you are Dr. James Wilson. And even then there are people who will make fun of you for that. From here on Macross Frontier was no longer a story about Superdimensional Love, it was about Superdimensional Pity. Ranka. Now, this is serious stuff. I knew there was something wrong with her chara development, like the one in charge had spent all his good ideas, but I couldn't understand why until now. There is something I am more pissed for what happened to Ranka and the show though, and that's what Ohnogi said: In Macross, there is no idol that could become useless without the microphone. And Ranka is no exception. For that I am here. After Ohnogi met his wive he "awaked". Kawamori remembers that influenced the last part of Macross. Now, let's see what happens to Minmay in the last part of Macross. -She became useless even when she sang. An interesting scene. -She spent most of the time with a look in her eyes that said "I am so sorry". Or I am imagining things? -She was kidnapped and rescued by Hikaru with the help of her love rival Misa. Talk about humiliation. -But most of all: She suddenly mostly ceases to see Hikaru. She couldn't even get off the car and say hi to her almost boyfriend. Not only that, she didn't even speak with anyone else aside from her cousin Kaifun. The number of her scenes was reduced, while Hikaru and Misa scenes were increased. Misa even became a habitué of Hikaru's house. This appears to be Ohnogi's opinion on how to make a character useful. Quality writing indeed. Now, let's compare it to Ranka. -She became useless even when she sang. Check -Looked like nothing interested her anymore. Check -She was kidnapped and rescued by Alto with the help of her love rival Sheryl. Check -But most of all: She suddenly ceases to see Alto. I mean, she even got separated from him until the end. She didn't speak with anyone else aside from her brother Brera. Didn't even speak with anyone about the fact her belly ached when Vajra were killed, and thought about it only when it happened, like there were no weird things going on. Before Ohnogi came Ranka had a lot of people near her who gave her advice. There were Nanase, Ozma, Bobby, Michael. This part disappeared (it disappeared so much Ranka wrote Ozma a letter when she left, and then Ozma didn't even read it but was satisfied with a brief summary). I mean, Nanase is even working together with Ranka, and the two don't talk anymore; Ranka can't think of Nanase not even when she was hurt before her eyes! Since Nanase naturally could only exist as a friend of Ranka, with her disappearance she was disposed of. This doesn't mean maybe Nanase wasn't supposed to die in front of Ranka in episode 20 so that Ranka could show how she still got herself together and faced bravely the tragedy though, but she was eliminated from the story. Yo Gubaba, I herd you like Nanase, so I put her into a come so she can be a useless character while friend of a useless character To make things clearer Ranka spent a whole episode thinking about Alto and then when she hold his hand she could only think about her brother ("I am (not) so into you"). Not that it matters, Ranka previously fighted against Sheryl over Alto and then she suddenly was like "It's all over for me, he is taken". She wasn't even angered about this, like it was natural for Sheryl to be hooked up for eternity with Alto. One side of the love triangle suddenly doesn't take the love triangle seriously anymore, and this can only happen because the writer doesn't take his job seriously. And what about Sheryl? Well, she became a habitué of both Alto's houses. The number of scenes between her and Alto skyrocketed; with Ranka gone what else could have happened? Ohnogi even wanted Alto so decisive about this he made him break his vow to never enter his former house again. Pushing for a kiss without some karmic balancement for Ranka appeared natural with these premises. And if Kawamori didn't brake Ohnogi who knows what could have happened? After all Alto and Sheryl were in Alto's mother's room, and Sheryl was wearing Alto's mother's kimono, and you know what Ohnogi thinks about his mum. Can you seriously say that Ranka wasn't useless after Great Writer Ohnogitsuka barged in? Bobby: I wonder if you will make Ranka [...] rule the galaxy...[/b] Hiroshi Ohnogi: (Laughs) Believe me, the director had asked me to [...] You can say I have another plan in mind [...] Ranka [...] has become a dramatic burden on the story of Frontier. I want to reverse that. How? I do not know. I am still thinking. (Keep thinking, Ohnogi) When Kawamori was in charge Sheryl has never been useless instead, even when she was supposed to die. Kawamori should have more confidence in himself, he is a pro. Check By the way, Ohnogi was a scriptwriter in SEED Destiny. In SEED he only wrote the scenery. I heard that Cagalli was an indipendent tomboy and in Destiny she became a crybaby, and her pairing was kinda ruined (also in Destiny there was a famous main character hijacking). I didn't watch Destiny or SEED, but if you recognize things written above in it maybe we got a case of serial scriptraping against Ohnogi. Now, Ohnogi thought that Ranka was stereotypical. He was right. In fact there are two major stereotypes: one is the character whose job is often clearly cut too big for him, but manage to do it anyway through bravery and resourcefulness. This character is the underdog. It's a famous stereotype, for example Gunbuster is the story of an underdog. The other stereotype instead is che character who already got all the skills neaded for the job and then some. This character is the Mary Sue. What's a Mary Sue? Well, now it has become famous as a character who possess skills above the norm, who got no flaws and with a tragic story to be faced bravely, but originally the term meant someone who steals the spotlight from the main character and has sex with him. Isn't this familiar? A peek on internet gave even a physical description: Revealing outfit? Check. Purple? Check. Ethereal traits? Check. Contradictory backstory? Check. Stealing the hero's job? Check. Sparkly? Check. She's good to go. Why purple? Well, pink is a feminine color but is cute, purple is like the aggressive sister of pink. So purple it is, it gives bad girl vibes. Check One cannot not be bewildered for how Sheryl fit her stereotype right down to her clothing style. From how Ohnogi talk about her she was not supposed to be part of a mold, but when you actually think about it she is so much it's scary. Now, there is a sign of a Mary Sue if you know one, and it's that Mary Sues don't have friends (by the way, people who don't have friends don't make good partners, because when they have a personal problem you are the only person in their life. Not that real life matters to Mary Sues). They are written for sex with a precise character in mind and they exist only for that, they are all business in their relationships, so why should they have lesser love interests? And it is so strange, since they can be more friends with your friends than you could ever been, and all people cannot help but admire and respect and obsess about Mary Sues (that is, except the ones who want to kill them). -It was Sheryl who thought about saving Ranka's friend in ep. 20. -In ep. 23 it was Sheryl the one who thought about Ranka. Elmo, who worked with her, couldn't even remember he was once the manager of Ranka and make comparisons. -Michael and Klan were supposedly "bipartisan" from Ranka and Sheryl, ufficially only pushing for the love triangle to be resolved, but they only spoke to Sheryl and Alto, and never to Ranka. They also organized a meeting between Sheryl and Alto, while Ranka butted in only by chance and misunderstanding. Micheal saw Alto as the himself who didn't close with the first girl he met, so he pressed to make Alto close with the second girl he met. The only thing that doesn't make sense is why at the end of episode 12 he pressed Alto to stay with Ranka and not with Sheryl. -Cathy thought Sheryl was a devil in the first episode, and she never had a chance to rethink her opinion. Then in ep. 24 she found out in Global's shipwreck a picture of Sheryl. He felt it was so important to salvage it, and she was smiling like it was their Sheryl. Ozma didn't even bother to show displeasure not having found any memento of Ranka. As an aside, that was another sign of Ohnogi's deficient skills in writing. While the idea of SMS becoming pirates sounded awesome on paper, they didn't do nothing that they couldn't have actually done while remaining with Frontier and helping protect their people. They only needed to hide Ozma and Cathy and send messages to Earth's directorate. The idea of them finding revealing data in Global's shipwreck was a double idiocy: not only the Global was destroyed by a dimension eater (and before that collapsed when Vajra's ship emerged), but all the data were also cancelled before. This is a proof that when you disregard characterization you must also disregard short-term continuity. And what about Sheryl's photo ludicrously found there? Whenever Poochie's not on screen, all the other characters should be asking "Where's Poochie"? Frankly I think Mao Nome was tacked on by Ohnogi (who didn't even get her eye color right). She had absolutely no part in the story. For the story Ranshe and Grace were sufficient as scientists. Ohnogi wanted to explicitate the fact the Sheryl was a descendant of Mao, but was that really needed? We already knew Sheryl's earrings where retconned in Macross Zero, although I do only pray that it wasn't a revision made by Ohnogi (I heard something similar happened in Gundam SEED Destiny, because of a decision by some scriptwriter they added a scene in Gundam SEED that altered previously established facts). This is one of Ohnogi's worst flaws: the lack of any kind of subtlety whatsoever (In fact I guess that if he were subtle he wouldn't have tampered Macross Frontier). It is for this reason that I hated how he killed Michael. The scene itself was sad, but I liked when it was without subtitles and I didn't know what was said. It was all ruined by Michael's last sentence (actually next to last sentence, because Michael became the one that not only speaks before he dies, but also the one who speaks when he dies. When the scriptwriter is in charge you can't have important scenes without dialogues) "Hey, Alto... if you really care about someone, you'd give your life for them, right...?" You can only make it more unsubtle phrasing it like this: "Cool, I can see the future, but now I know I am gonna die. Better not be the usual prick and say something casual as I would have done if I didn't know I was gonna die, I want to show people how selfless I am when I die. Here I go!" Which is Ohnogi standard level of dialogue anyway, as seen from his novelizations of Macross. Let's see Sheryl's dialogues for example. Grace: "Hi Sheryl, do you remember your childhood terminal illness? Well, now you will remember it" A normal follow-up would have been like: "I always knew this moment would have come, I just wished it lasted longer". And then character undergoes into depression until other characters "rescue" her. This is called "chara development". Sheryl replied like a Mary Sue though: "Oh no, now I am ill. Well, I'll fight it, because I am Sheryl, Sheryl Nome. No, I can't even fight it. Tch! Oh no, now I've got even my career, my popularity, my fortune, and my villa taken away from me, what I am gonna do? I knew giving 100% royalties to my manager and letting her tipping me wasn't such a good idea, I just hope Grace is at least nice enough to send me back my dresses, the one I am wearing is starting to stink. And to think I was planning on being #1 singer forever, I have been so naive I am totally unprepared for this." Mysteriously Grace was so bent on killing Sheryl that she thought just be verbally mean to her would suffice, and she let her go without a further thought for the rest of the series. Grace didn't feel like Sheryl could have been questioned (Bilra might have found Sheryl's case a useful information on what Galaxy was planning to do. He had an eye on Alto not by chance). She didn't even try to cover up what she was doing in front of Sheryl. She could simply tell Sheryl she felt Ranka had bigger chances of financial success, and tried to pass herself as an opportunistic person. Instead she chose to openly reveal her meanness, which is a major slip for a professional. But then again, Mary Sues make everyone around them act out of character. Ohnogi Sheryl part 2: "OK, maybe I can take advantage from my terminal illness. Who wouldn't give in an elopement or two with a person who is gonna die? Who would be such a mean and unpityful bastard not to take advantage of a diseased? But I can't make him know of my illness, because it would be like begging an elopement, and I am Sheryl, Sheryl Nome, and I never begged in my whole life, not even when I was a beggar. Lucky me, I just found someone who learned about my illness without me telling him, now I just need he let it slip to Alto, a little sloppiness will do. It's so difficult to smile when in your mouth there's a manic laugh that would make you look like a brain diseased. Which I am. Now it's not like I would be asking Alto to pity me. I wanted him to love me without pitying me, but a pitying is fine, too. And since I don't have a house anymore there's no reason why he shouldn't let me live with him. Hang on Sheryl, you can still fulfill your lifelong desire of having sex with a single person in your whole life." I think that some chara development could have happened at this point. Sheryl could have shown truly selfless love and thought that Alto shouldn't love a girl with such a short lifespan, so she could have even tried to put Alto together with Ranka (it's not like she didn't know Ranka was after Alto), because she didn't want him to be alone. She could have put Alto above herself. Alto then could have found this out and been so impressed that he would have chosen Sheryl. This would have been chara development, a word that basically means "change". We didn't get any change with Ohnogi though, because the illness subplot was treated (by every character, nonetheless) only as a pause between Alto and Sheryl's love, not as a source of chara development. Nobody moved on a bit. There is a reason why Kawamori uses love triangles, and it's because a love triangle is a source of chara development. With a triangle you play it with interest swings, and it works fine. If you have couple-type love stories though the love story is a stretch until the two say "I love you" at the end. To make the stretch last some 25 to 50 episode generally you have to make either the male or the female clueless about her feelings. What you can't do is decide that the two characters are already together and already love making at half series, because at that point the only chara development option you have is to make them break. Alto for most series was together with Sheryl; sorry Ohnogi but if make things go that way you have to make him switch girl at the end or the story will be stale and predictable, you got yourself into a corner with your own hands. Never thought you could let Alto talk with Ranka and then still making him end up with Sheryl like a good writer would have done? The amatuerish mistake he made was thinking that "love stories" are about love; it's a misnomer, they are more properly called "falling in love stories". And when you are falling in love you don't do things like agreeing to live under the same roof, like a platonic couple, it skips the whole "falling in love" part away. A good story is one where in the end the underdog wins and the Mary Sue loses. When the Mary Sue wins over the underdog it's called "bad fanfiction" (or simply "fanfiction"). If Ohnogi had turned Sheryl into the underdog a story between her and Alto would have appeared gratifying, instead Ohnogi made her even more than ever the Mary Sue. Since Ranka was also severely shafted at this point, it's no wonder Alto didn't choose anyone. Ohnogi Sheryl part 3: "So many words to say I am gonna die, huh? But I am Sheryl, Sheryl Nome, and you can't lick me, because I am gonna die, 'nuff said. You'd like to say I am gonna die but you don't have the guts, because you would cry like a baby if you were me, not that you aren't a baby yourself. And here I am, the epitome of humility, more perfect than I have ever been, totally selfless, so I will take your job and die. How can I manage this humble front of mine? That's my secret, but I will tell you anyway: healthy doses of good ol' pumpin' and blowin', it keeps you feisty. I put up my most suffering face and I milk mah man of his juice, that's what I do. I could teach you how to do that with your bazonga if you wish, life told me medical conditions ain't no match for free love." I can't see how Sheryl became the embodyment of humility according to the vision of Ohnogi. Is it because she now gives money to the poors? But that's altruism, not humility. OK, she became an altruistic prideful diva. Openly begging sex from Alto is not what I would call humility either, since it's putting yourself first (not only of Alto, but also of Ranka). And I certainly hope Ohnogi didn't consider humility being the last person to be considerate of Ranka's physical well being, without evaluating how stealing her love interest has emotionally affected her. Now, if you want to make a character deep you make him question his most relevant trait in the story. Usually it's his reluctance to take the lead. In Sheryl's case it has become his love for Alto. Sheryl once had other things, then Grace magically took them away from her, and made her a bidimensional character. Ohnogi then worked his best to keeps things this flat. At the start of the series Sheryl had a public professional person ("I am Sheryl, Sheryl Nome"). In ep. 7 Sheryl got emotional in front of a public. It was a good moment, things could have progressed from there. At the end of the series Sheryl is back again to her public professional facade. Privately, she was interested in Alto; at the end of the series she is horny for Alto. Big changes. She never learned how to be always herself in public, or how to mix with people other than her love interest. You thought that a terminal illness would have radically changed a person. It didn't happen, Sheryl only confirmed herself while waiting the bad moments of her illness out. But that's understandable, if Sheryl or Alto were to change too much they couldn't end up together like Ohnogi wanted. Now you can see how much a Mary Sue hijack can backfire. See also what was done to the main character. Alto once was supposed to 1) conquer the love of Ranka 2) defeat Brera 3) defeat Galaxy and save the universe. After Ohnogi Alto has only do decide whether or not to submit himself to Sheryl, with the no being a lot harder than the yes. Since he wasn't tied to Brera anymore his role in the plot became merely ceremonial. Personally, I really liked Sheryl's new songs. I think May'n has a better voice than Megumi. I am also not opposed to have Sheryl last till the end. I think the final episode of Macross Frontier is the greatest thing ever, and the double songstress attack was a brilliant idea that was worth a lot. That's director Kawamori for you. Now that I know the truth I am also relieved that he still knows how to write a story in a coherent, consistent and well planned way, masterpiece level. It's not like Frontier was conceived as a trainwreck with staff focusing on a single character to save it. But there's one thing that makes me pissed, that makes me mad. It's that Ohnogi lied to his friend Kawamori, the one who was so kind to remember Ohnogi's first encounter with his wife after all these years. He spoke about improvements on Macross Frontier and other arrogant rambling. That was not the truth. "I am gonna ship Alto with Sheryl, and there's nothing you can do about it". This is what he should have said. You speak honestly with a friend. I explained what I think about Ohnogi as a writer, but I cannot type in this forum what I think about Ohnogi as a person. FV
  9. This could belong to the series discussion thread, but it's mastodontic and would engulf it, so I thought it was better to post it in a separate thread. I know its contents are polemic, but it's something that caused me serious concern. I will post here an interview with Ohnogi, then in the next post I will write the painful reflections it caused me. I found this interview on the blog whataboutmystar, taken from the forum animesuki, taken from the forum Macross Generation, taken from its user Shaloom, likely taken from a Japanese radio program, taken from the original staff of Macross Frontier. But it's Shaloom who brought it out of Japan to us and the rest of the Western world
  10. Nope, it broke because of an electric discharge. Actually I think it would take higher g's to visibly deform a body, so the animation style would still be the same in any case. Also mind that ISC was not the first anti-g countermeasure, as seen with the VF-15: First variable fighter with a seat which incorporates the biological anti-G boost system. This system stimulates the human body with laser, electromagnetic pulse, infrared, and other means to momentarily activate metabolic functions against stress. FV
  11. That was a point I was trying to make. The g-limit of the VF-25 is worded with 3 differences: "maximum airframe load", time limit and no negative g. This is clearly different from how 2040 era Valkyries' stats are listed. I must note however that Macross has never been particularly consistent, the VF-1 has "g limit, in space: +7", which again is worded differently from all other g-limits. I think the most likely explanation is that Kawamori has only a vague recollection of things written ten years ago. Also the Compendium editors may be forcing to classify under the same name what could be intended to be different stats. FV
  12. Yeah, the keyword for pixiv is ランカ By unfair shipping I mean that the people of animesuki post mostly arusheri, and even people at danbooru have been pouring arusheri lately. Well, with pixiv i've done for now, now there is mostly websites to surf. FV
  13. So you want Ranka ones too? It's OK, I just knew that sooner or later unfair shipping would have forced me to do this. I'll give you six Ranka Packs, totaling 904 pics (166MB). 1, 2, 3: Ranka alone or with Ai-Kun. 4: superdeformed or chibi Ranka. 5: Ranka with other characters. Some further Aruran here. 6: funny pictures with Ranka, cross-overs, inumimi Ranka. As for websites, if you know Japanese pixiv is a must for fan art, most fan art found in danbooru-like websites comes from here. I assume you already knew danbooru (be prepared for lots of NSFW fan art though), but I recommend moe.imouto.org if you want only high resolution scans. FV
  14. To save me time instead of thumbnails I'll make a zip of pictures found from pixiv and other sources. Here (25MB, 127 pics). Some of these may not be strictly Aruran, but I found them funny/cute. FV
  15. Shouldn't you say "When I left you I was but the learner of semantics, now I am the master"? To which I should reply "I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine". I've got a memory hole to what should happen next, but I am left with a hopeful attitude FV
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