Part 30: Bird-HumanSo here are some notes from before the branch.
The Wing boys can freely exchange Gundams with each other. Don't worry about Chirico yet.
Second, we assign Submissions for after chapter 15. I'm not always going to mention these, but remember this one.
If you're keeping track.
And check it out, after the path split you can do Suborders again. Especially sweet for wringing extra money out of all those top tier pilots.
We begin the worst mission in the game (it's not that bad after the first run, actually) as Crowe walks into the briefing room, only to find several of the GOONZ-ettes watching some video and angrily shushing him. He gets the bridge bunnies (a real thing in Macross) to explain to him that the ladies are having their own screening of Do You Remember Love, a hit movie from the Quarter's universe detailing the war between the Earth and the Zetraedi forces. They explain that the war was fought with music ("What, like a sonic weapon? Pew pewwww!") - that the warborn Zentraedi were won over not by explosions but by the humans showing them culture and art. At the center of this movement was the singer Lin Minmei, whose songs made the Zentraedi hesitate long enough for the humans to strike down their evil commander, and whose romance is a also major theme of the movie.
It certainly sounds like a chick flick to Crowe, but surprisingly, Minmei has won the hearts of some of the guys.
And some of... whatever Leeron is. ("I'm a woman and I love her!" "I'm not a man or a woman, and I love her!") In fact, pretty much the whole team is here (to learn about the Quarter crew's world and history), and not one of them is unmoved!
But Aoyama says he perfers more contemporary music, such as Sheryl Nome's new album that just came out, and amidst a lot of "oh my god was that today?!" Akagi has to have Sheryl explained to him. Galactic Fairy, super popular, was visiting the Frontier when it got transported, is now on fire across this Earth as well. It's impressive that she's taken her stranding this well and even taken advantage of it by making it her new stage. Aoyama is pressed into playing the new CD as soon as the movie is over (are they even watching that anymore?).
But as always, there's one wet blanket in the room. It does seem like Alto is just always that serious, but Michel spills the beans that Alto is... personal... friends with Sheryl ("A pretty girl and a pretty boy?!"). Alto, of course, panics and denies it, but he's still carrying that earring of hers that he never had a chance to give up.
Ozma rains on the parade with their next mission. Although maybe it'll be more fun than it sounds - they'll be working at the World Fair, helping to shoot a film...
At the filming site for "Bird-Human," GOONZ is being kept quite busy running set work. The movie is a story from the Macross 'verse's history, much like DYRL, set against the backdrop of their Earth 50 years prior. It's part of the World Fair as an effort to celebrate the joining of the fleet with the nations of Earth. Which is all well and good, but our guys were hoping they needed extras, not hired muscle.
That said, a member of GOONZ is going to star in the movie: the VF-25! It's going to play a body double for the VF-0 Phoenix prototype that's going to be featured in the movie, because its transformation is so similar and the skin will get fixed in post. In short, we were hired for our machine, and having bodies to put to work is just a bonus for the staff.
Carlos Axion Jr. pays a visit just to mock Crowe, who isn't even getting paid for this. Crowe, the world's unluckiest debtee, is stuck introducing the world's richest man again, explaining that he is Crowe's client, not his employer, as well as that he has fun mocking him, Crowe, and the Brasta. In his douchebag way, Carlos assures Crowe that it would cost him money Crowe can't even imagine to waste time just to mock Crowe for being poor. No, he's also here to check on Bird-Human, in which pie Axion has a finger or two.
And Aoyama barely gets a chance to say a word to a passing Shioni Regis before she blows him off. Her business is with the owner of Axion. But when Aoyama apologizes, she lays into him: "Are you sorry? Or are you just saying that to get away from the crazy lady?" She takes his stunned silence as a yes, and continues until Carlos stops her, refering to her as Foreign Minister Shioni, which blows the guys away, which angers her even more (because really, where do they get off treating her like that), and I'm getting the sense that she's a little unstable.
Anyway, you may remember she's the Limonesia's foreign minister to the U. N. It's a little republic that happens to be where they're holding this very fair, and gained political power in a hurry once a rare metal was found in the nation and nowhere else. Ohsugi manages to smooth things over, taking a weight off of rattled Aoyama's shoulders, which is good, because since Limonesia is a major sponsor of the film, in a sense she's our employer.
Carlos manages to rein her in, but as she gets dragged off, she reminds us that this is Limonesia's future you guys have some respect. Everyone lets out a sigh of more or less masked relief as soon as she's gone. Ohsugi explains that rumors suggest the country's precious power-generating metal is being exhausted, so she's probably a bit on edge.
And on the set, Ozma just realized that Ranka is going to be in the movie, to his unpleasant surprise.
But Alto's got her back! Awwww. But seriously, Ozma's still mad that Ranka's got it in her head to be a musician, and Ranka puts on the "you can't control me,
The argument has her a bit down, but she still has a job to do. He manager explains that she's the female lead's little sister (upgraded from "Village Girl 1" after the original actress left), but he's sure that it's her stepping stone to stardom. She takes her leave to go study her lines.
After she leaves Alto standing alone, Sheryl pops up behind him. She's hawking her album at the fair, but came to say hi, and let him know that she knows why he has her earring. That it's because he was too busy fighting for her and all her fans. And just maybe, the lucky charm helped him get out in one piece. So she wants him to keep it.
The Bird-Human producer asks Alto if he wouldn't mind being in the movie. He knows Alto Saotome's history on stage (playing a literal princess in kabuki), but being reminded of his history puts Alto off and he excuses himself to go check on Ranka. Sheryl lets him know that Ranka goes to be alone up on the mountain to the north, and adds that "That wasn't for you. I'm just returning a favor."
As she sings to vent, Ranka reflects that she just wanted her brother to be proud of her.
Alto catches up to her and tries to assure her that Ozma is just worried about her, and isn't used to seeing her as not a little kid. She thanks him, "because you're always there when I need someone to tell me just what I need to hear. You're a..."
But before she can finish, both of them hear a high-pitched squeal, and Alto recognizes it as the sound before a Dimension Shock! The ensuing quake knocks Ranka almost over the edge of the mountain, but for Alto's quick reaction. Ranka begs Alto to let go of her before he falls too, but Alto snaps that he'll protect her.
A man appears below the cliff and jumps impossibly high to catch her, introduces himself as Brela Stern, and informs Alto that his teammates are deploying without him.
Chapter 16: Bird-Human
Alto gets back to the Macross just in time. Ohsugi is getting everyone off the island, so it's safe to get in formation.
Leading with the super robots. Events are coming from the main characters (Crowe, Kouji, Kamina, Akagi, Takeru, Alto, and Watta). Crowe's an auto deploy. The rest is filled with the S. M. S. for support. Support will be important, yes.
So we're dealing with an unpleasant number of Bulldamons and our old friend Rhinodamon MD.
Crowe is ready to do his job for Esther, and he wills up his Will.
But this fucker is mumbling about it. "Now, will you advance or falter? Will your fulcrum break as you waver between your anger and your fear? Now is your test."
(If you've played Z, but not Z2 for some reason, this is your first clue.)
And now for the fun part: "Within four ally phases, defeat all other enemies, then defeat Rhinodamon MD."
You bet this is going to suck.
Crowe's Will was ratcheted up by 30, lest you think he wasn't serious.
Our advantage? Offensive Support. The trouble is taking advantage of it while advancing as aggressively as the map demands us to.
So the first step will be regrouping in the center of the map with all our supporters.
And then arranging the shock troopers around them. This sets up for a two-layered offensive line. As a bonus, Mazinger and Gurren-Lagann can probably range since they don't need support.
Now I just need them to approach me.
After the regular Damons move, Douchebag decides that he's not getting what he wanted out of this fight, and will need to step in personally.
A Dimension Shock occurs, and a mystery machine steps out!
The hell? Is he staring at me?
(the mecha charges)
That was fast!
Allow me to introduce myself.
It talked! That's not a Damon!
Goodness no, I am a Damon. A particular variety of Damon.
Crowe Brust, I will now take your life.
Nice of you to warn me. What the hell do you want?
To save the world.
Look out, Crowe! He's focusing on you!
Are you serious? I dunno what's going on, but I guess I have to fight you.
Heh heh... ha ha ha...
The turn continues.
Finally, MD moves straight for Crowe.
Hey again, MD. I've been waiting to pay you back.
And not just for myself. I'm paying you back for someone else too.
GOONZ is feeling the pressure from not only MD, but the not-a-Damon mecha. But Alto grits his teeth, determined to protect the shooting site...
So Brela Stern comes in with his own jet to help out! It's the same machine they saw back in the fight with the Vajra, which raises questions it's not the time to ask.
The bad news is that Brela is now a protected unit.
Oh, it's still the enemy's turn. And, uh, this is gonna hurt.
So we meet at last. Ha ha... I'm so glad.
Seriously, who are you? What did I ever do to you?
Ha ha ha. You are my brother.
Ah, you moved. You waver well.
Was that a lie? Just to mess with my head?
Get out of my way. I don't have time for your games.
Okay, so the bad news (this level is full of it) about this video is, you finally get to see Crowe's ridiculously pointlessly long sniper animation. The good news is that you get to see it while listening to the best boss music in the game.
The other good news is that Crowe finally learned his second Spirit: Sense, which combines Strike and Alert.
And that ends the enemy phase on a whole set of problems.
VF-25γ Lucifer B/F (Brela Stern)
Offensive Support L3
Assault Knife (16 EN)
Micromissiles (8 ammo)
Beam Gunpod (8 EN)
Beam Gunpod Particle Reaction Gun (32 EN, 120 Will)
25mm Beam Machine Gun (6 ammo)
35mm Heavy Machine Gun (8 ammo)
Beam Gunpod (8 ammo)
Ace Bonus: +3 Movement.
Here's problem #1. Brela's Lucifer is unupgraded and has little chance going head to head with the Damons, let alone Arietes (he's coming up) and MD. Mobile as all hell though.
HP Regen (S)
EN Regen (L)
Malice Clod (45 EN, 120 Will, SP Drain, Ignore Size, MAP)
Bloody Vines (18 ammo, Pierce Barrier)
The End of Merciless (20 EN)
Ace Bonus: -
My god, he's overlevelled, his skill list is basically the SRW annoying boss checklist, and it's not even going to be the last of him by a very, very long shot. He's short on HP and he drops a Jammer, that's all the good you can say about him. And he's going to get worse. I'd say he's problem #2, but I think he qualifies as several.
And again, if you know what's up with Z, this also contained clue #2.
So we have three things here causing enormous pain: the Damons, Arietes, and Rhinodamon MD.
Crowe badly needs a couple of doses of Kamina's Trust. With the low low cost and his inflated SP pool, Kamina is an inspiration machine.
These two are a pretty good team.
Units not to scale.
And now we come to the second problem that isn't a huge liar: the reduced damage from supporting attacks is frequently stopped by the D. Fault.
But now that Canaria's supports are spent, she'll spend Michel's other support too...
And that one's about to go.
I'll put her where the other ground warriors (Kamina, Akagi) can use her next round.
I'm taking a couple out for Will purposes.
(Ibuki learns Guard.)
Kouji is my big gun, and Crowe is my big support gun.
Kamina and Simon are just big.
Antares 1, beginning mission.
...understood. I will do as ordered.
Brela tags the last healthy Bulldamon.
Luca supports. This is looking doable.
The Bulldamons are weakening, the Damons aren't a huge concern, so it's time to turn on Arietes, starting from Luca's Analyze Spirit.
Michel lands a tremendous critical, then moves to surround to give everyone else an extra bonus.
The rest of the S. M. S. squad follows up, letting Alto deliver the final blow enhanced by the Luck Spirit so he gives double money. Naturally, Arietes also coughs up the part and enough xp to vault amateur pilot Alto into the big leagues.
Well done. There may be hope for you yet.
Heh heh... in fact, you've piqued my interest. It seems I've found one at last.
He leaves, but Crowe has his sights set on MD.
But that's not where my sights are just yet.
Planted next to the Macross, he'll have a nice bonus to dodge MD and the benefit of Jeffrey's Defensive Support.
Only one Damon has the courtesy to die on the enemy phase.
MD attacks Crowe again, but Jeffrey takes it for him.
It's now player phase 3. I have two rounds (and one round of counters) to wrap this up.
B-listers take out a cluster of weakened Damons.
As the cleanup continues, Canaria learns the Faith Spirit, which is expensive but fully restores any ally unit's HP.
Soon, the non-mains have taken down all the Damons, apart from MD.
This is Ranka's big break and I won't let you ruin it for her!
I'll fight for her... and her dream!
What's this I feel? This Damon is different from all the others...
Let's go, Damon MD or CD or whatever! I'm gonna get you back for what you did to Crowe!
'cause we're the space handymen, and we do anything, even monster hunting!
A lot of people are working really hard down there to make a movie!
You are not going to mess up their work!
(Akagi is not a good pilot.)
What are we gonna do, bro? This one's way stronger than the other ones!
We sure don't whine about it! I figure it's just a pig mole, only way bigger, with horns, and way way stronger...
...that shoots fireballs, charges, and it's white!
That's not even close!
But what's important is guts! And if you can't beat him, what can you beat, huh?
But if we beat him, we know we can take on anything!
So let's show 'em our manly spirits! That's how we roll in the Gurren Gang!
It's really powerful even for a Rhinodamon.
But Grandpa's Mazinger Z can even beat the strongest Damon ever!
And that's everyone, so it's up to Crowe to finish the job.
Crowe also gains a preposterous amount of xp.
Since it's turn 3, I got an SR Point.
But Crowe makes the classic anime mistake of asking "Did I beat it?" which virtually guarantees your enemy is still standing.
To no one's surprise, it vanishes. We don't have the resources to pursue it, but let's still count it as a win, since we did drive it away. Crowe figures that makes it one to one, and resolves to make their next meeting the deciding round. And there's still the matter of that unknown mecha. Who could it be, and why did he go after Crowe?
Speaking of mysterious agents, what's this guy's deal? He says to Alto "you don't deserve her," then leaves. Luca identifies his machine as a VF-27 from the Galaxy fleet, where Sheryl came from.
Alto's taking his role in the movie. "It's part of the mission," he says, but Michel can see it's because Ranka needed him.
Meanwhile, the execs-at-large have dug up a picture of pretty kabuki-ist Alto as Princess Sakura. The poor kid still has fans, to his dismay, and the photo is almost making new ones out of the Macross bridge crew. They grill him about why he gave it up for piloting, but he's silent. Michel has a better question: has he read the script for Bird-Human himself? Because they told him he'd be supplying piloting and stunt footage for the main character, but apparently, they didn't tell him about the underwater kiss scene. Between the pilot (or his stunt double) and the little sister, currently played by Ranka Lee.
Alto angrily says he'll do it because "come on, it's just a kiss." Sheryl, with precision timing, arrives to wonder just what he means by that, over the squeals of her fanboys and fangirls. But to their shock and bewilderment, she needs to speak with Alto alone. "Good luck, Alto," smirks Kouji. "We've gotta get back to the set, ya know."
Alto, with the stunning tact he's known for, asks after Ranka...
Who is having her hair done by Bobby, lest anyone say Macross bows to stereotypes. He (/she? How does it work for this one?) couldn't say no to Ozma's dear little sister. Bobby asks her how she feels about that kiss. Obviously, she has cold feet, not just about the kiss but the role in general. Her character, Mao, is in love with the love interest of her older sister, the female lead. She doesn't know if she can get into the character's head.
Bobby's advice: "It takes two to love. Think about the other side." That means understanding the hero, Shin, and Ranka goes to find Alto. Wait...
Alto is still talking to Sheryl about the sky. It was certainly as wide as he expected, but he doesn't like the artificial lines that people have drawn to cut it up. "The whole sky is one big sky. Why do people have to fight to carve it up?" But really, the fleet, and their own Earth for that matter, weren't so different. Guess it's just how humans are.
Sheryl's thought: "You think that's how birds feel when they're flying? They can't see those lines. Or maybe they just don't care. Birds just live to fly in the whole sky." Maybe that's the meaning of the movie titled Bird-Human, a story of people who learned to cast off their worries and live free like birds.
Speaking of worries, Alto maintains he's not too hung up on that kiss scene. Ranka, however...
Just walked in on something awkward.
And then Sheryl giggles at alto for getting so flustered, when he's the one that was all "just a kiss." Enraged Alto chases tittering Sheryl away, as Ranka stands in shock.
And at Limonesia's de facto capitol, Mishima is accepting a fairly generous helping of their own Fold Crystal from Shioni and Carlos. He certainly didn't expect any to be found in this universe, and Carlos explains that what they call Fold Crystal is Limonesia's unique precious metal itself - Dimension Energy Crystal, or DEC for short. Carlos is also letting Mishima use some Axion lab resources, which would have made him happy on its own, but getting his hands on DEC was beyond his wildest hopes.
Carlos is supposed to be getting something big in return. It's the plans for the Macross' Fold System, but Mishima doesn't have it just yet. Stealing one of those in secret is a bit of a job, and none of the conspirators can afford to be found out. But they're hoping to have it soon. Getting those plans will set Project Uzume forward tremendously. And it may have cost them quite a sum of DEC, but they still have more than enough to make it go. Once the project is online, DEC will no longer be an issue for Limonesia.
"I'm helping him because I'm curious," muses Carlos, "and you're with him for the future of Limonesia."
And them Him arrives, and Shioni gives him a name (reproduced with all possible groanworthy fidelity): "Ime Liard." Ime begins to give them their next instructions...
And as one secret meeting begins, so does another. Mishima is handing over some of that Fold Quartz he just took, in exchange for all of Grace's data on the Vajra. She doubts his army has taken out enough Vajra to have collected as much as he has, but he just says he has his ways. And both of them have taken a fancy to the new girl in the movie...
As Grace wonders if she can really make contact with the Galaxy using this Fold Quartz, Brela reports to her. She chews him out because he was ordered to protect Ranka without making contact with her. If this disobedience keeps this up, he'll never get his memories back...
Ranka and Ozma had a long talk last night, and now he's okay with her singing. "If you had cared about me that much..." begins Cathy, but Ozma stops her. It's ancient history now. Besides, the shoot's starting.
Alto gives Ranka some acting advice from his stage days that boils down to "don't think about anything, just get deep into the character."
She certainly gets deep into something. And that ends the chapter. We got a good one coming up though. Spoilers: it's about Dai-Guard.