After four episodes of adventure, small character moments and establishing cast, Macross Frontier episode five focuses at last upon the three central characters Ranka, Sheryl and Alto. Taking a break from the action up until this point, episode five concentrates on building up the story for both the characters and the drama yet to come. Several discoveries about the new Macross universe are unveiled. The broader world of the Macross Froniter fleet is shown as Sheryl and Alto travel among the various areas of Island One and find entire areas where full-sized Zentradi live. On Island Three, Leon reveals some interesitng facts after examining the Vajra: they are advanced bio-mechanical weapons possessing the same energy converting armor as a Valkyrie fighter but controlled by a very small, limited brain. The big question remains who controls these creatures?
Back on Island One, Sheryl pursues Alto in an attempt to locate her missing earing. She seems determined to find it, but is also welcoming the opportunity to be with Alto. For all their arguing and clashes, Sheryl seems to value the fact that Alto doesn't gush over her like nearly everyone else in her life. Alto too is slowly learning that the same drive within himself is also found in Sheryl; Alto wants to fly and pursue his dream and Sheryl works hard for her singing. The two have more in common than either care to admit, but it's clear they have a connection. Meanwhile Ranka runs into trouble with her brother Ozuma. Seems Ranka's performance at the Miss Macross Frontier contest got her suspended from her puritanical private school. Ranka is beginning to understand what sacrifices she has to make to pursue her dreams. With some hard-to-swallow advice from Mikhail, Ranka puts on a public show of her singing, determined to overcome her shyness. She almost falters, but one of Alto's paper planes flies overhead and she's swept up in her emotions for him. Singing proudly to no one in particular, Ranka attracts a crowd with her melodic voice.
While definitely a slower paced story, this episode is filled with great character moments. With the players in this tale firmly established, it was well past time to delve into the love triangle between Sheryl, Alto and Ranka. Macross Frontier is doing a great job pacing itself without repeating and without ever becoming dull. The audience is invested and the writers are determined to deliver.
Next up, episode six. Deculture!