[Honey's Crush Wednesday] – 5 Alto Saotome Highlights - Macross Frontier

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macross-f

The sky is so low


  • Episodes : 25
  • Genre : Action, Mecha, Military, Music, Romance, Sci-Fi, Space
  • Airing Date : Apr 4, 2008 to Sep 26, 2008
  • Producers : Bandai Visual, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Big West

Macross Frontier Preview (No Spoilers)

Welcome to the world of Macross! We know that this franchise is mainly about toys and action figures, but they would not be able to push so many of them and for so many years if their stories were crappy. There has to be a certain level of quality to keep us engaged, right? So, in Macross Frontier (or Macross F for short), we find out that humanity does not feel secure on planet Earth anymore. Despite the victory after the war with the alien Zentraedi race, people have started migrating towards the stars in giant armored ships. One of such ships is the famous Macross Frontier, where most of the action of this anime takes place. You will have to watch it to find out exactly how the lives of Alto Saotome, superstar singer Sheryl Nome and debutant star Ranka Lee intertwin in the middle of a war against the Vajra. Macross Frontier has it all: space opera drama, action, romance and fabulous music!

Alto Saotome Bio

Seiyuu name: Yuuichi Nakamura
We meet Alto for the first time as a highschool student in the prestigious Mihoshi Academy. We could only wish to be in such an institution, as they have very specialized courses. Our hero is attending the Pilot instruction, so, his “study group” gets called to help with Sheryl Nome’s performance. But just when the diva is singing, a new alien race called Vajra attacks Macross Frontier! Alto will have his first military experience while trying to save Ranka Lee from the Vajra. Now, he will be among the youngest pilots in charge of defending the ship.

Alto Saotome Highlights

1. The guy is attractive

We can’t just help but wonder if the art director for Macross Frontier wanted to play a rendition to Vocaloid. Just look at how the three main protagonists look like Vocaloid characters! Sheryl reminds us of Luka and Ranka of Gumi. So, can you guess who Alto resembles? He reminds us of Gakupo! The sexy male Vocaloid character who also has grace and good looks.

Alto is tall, not too thin but neither too muscular. His long blue hair, white skin, and delicate features make him pass for a woman sometimes! Thus, Alto has the nickname of “Hime-sama” (Princess). Needless to say, Alto is not fond of such a nickname. Anyway, other than this, he is a perfectly normal teenage boy. Alto even has a hot temper and a certain air of seriousness. As he carries himself with dignity and pride, his attractiveness can only dazzle.

On a more personal level, Alto has his moments. Alto can be warm and protective when he wants to be. He also can be pretty stubborn when he truly wants something. But that side of his attractiveness is shown only in front of a few privileged, right Ranka and Sheryl? 😉

2. His Kabuki training

There is a reason for so much awesomeness in one guy, though. Alto Saotome is a member of the honorable Saotome family. This clan is famous in the professional Kabuki realm. But if there is something that is taken seriously in such ancestral arts, is the succession. Someone has to keep the techniques alive for future generations! That is why Alto’s father, Ranzou, has trained him harshly since childhood. As expected, the familiar relationship is not that good, so Mr. Ranzou ends up adopting a new heir (Yasaburou) and distancing himself from his son.

So yes, perhaps Alto can be seen as a moody character at the beginning, but here we can see the reason. As Alto is also a bit introverted, his family issues are ignored by his friends, who simply think he is a bad tempered princess. The truth is that he is in conflict. Being an actor is a part of him that he will never be able to turn away, but Alto also has other ideas, as we will see in the next highlight.

3. His dreams of flying

This guy is not in the Pilot course just for fun. Although he sometimes has the opportunity to use his EX-Gear suit for entertainment purposes (as seen in Sheryl’s concert), Alto Saotome is still not happy. He has yearned for the sky since the old good times he spent with his mother in the middle of nature. We also see Alto complaining about the fake sky in the Macross Frontier. He feels trapped there and wonders how things are at the other side of the domes.

Thus, we can understand why he jumps at every opportunity he has for adventure. It is not only about being a soldier or a hero. Alto loves the skies in a compulsory way. That is why he keeps making paper airplanes and wondering how to get his dream throughout the series. And well… Alto does not only dream, he goes through exhaustive training too.

4. He is an indecisive guy

Hey, not all the highlights have to be positive. On Alto’s defense, we have to remember that he is a teenager. You know how this goes, love is in the air and hormones fly in this mecha anime. Alto also has two wonderful ladies to choose from. On one side, we have the down to earth, determined and rather aggressive Sheryl Nome, the famous star who hides she contracted a fatal disease. On the other hand, we have the kawaii Ranka Lee, who lost her family in a Vajra attack and works as a waitress while she pursues her dreams for stardom. Both do their bests to attract his attention but are also good friends with each other. That means this love triangle is pretty civil, right?

So poor Alto has to eventually decide who he loves, but he messes up sometimes as well. Let’s remember how he sent Michael to receive Ranka’s present on his behalf while Alto went to Galia 4 with Sheryl. This is so not nice (please guys, don’t do this at home). Still, he also feels protective towards Ranka since the very first episode of the anime. Even Sheryl acknowledges Alto sometimes goes too far for her sake. In short, it is hard to feature out who this guy loves. Alto is so indecisive!

5. He saves the day anyway

As the classical mecha hero, Alto has a natural instinct to help and protect people. He notices how serious the situation gets with the Vajra and goes to join the Special Forces, even when he is rejected at first. But Alto insists and sticks with the Squad even in the most difficult battles, although some of his comrades die. Perhaps one of Alto’s most significant scenes is when he finds his home destroyed and we can see the horror on his face. After that, Alto’s determination to win the war and protect the colonies gets stronger.

Who does not remember the last great battle shown in the Sayonara no Tsubasa movie? Alto’s battle style, deeply grounded on his kabuki acting techniques, was key for the victory of humans. The war was not only about attacking the Vajra physically, but also about understanding them psychologically. That’s something that Alto realized partly thanks to his kabuki training as a female character. So, despite all his existential conflicts, this guy saves the day!


Final thoughts

A lot of people do not like Alto as a character, but we can notice he has rather redeeming qualities. Let’s remember we all are deeply flawed human beings, so it is interesting to have several types of heroes in the Macross series. Besides that, we can notice that Alto grows up throughout Macross Frontier. At first he could be seen as hot tempered and distant, always making excuses. Even Alto’s comrades got annoyed by the way he was being clueless with girls, and later indecisive towards them. Yet, add a very real danger known as war, see devastation and death all around you… and you either mature or die.

Something that is interesting about Alto is how he ends up accepting his past. With this act, he accepts his personality as an actor, which enhances his abilities as a pilot. We could also interpret this as Alto embracing his feminine side and becoming an integral person, confident and in peace with himself. From that point on, he becomes free enough to be the greatest pilot and human being he can be. That is something a lot of guys could reflect about, don’t you think so?

Conclusion

Do you like Alto Saotome as a character? Why yes or why not? Which was your favorite scene with him? And which other characters from the Macross series would you like us to review? Remember that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!

Sakura_Moonprincess

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Author: Sakura_Moonprincess

Writing about anime by Moonlight. Swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the Moon.

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