In 2016’s edition to the iconic mecha series, Macross Delta tells the story of how the people of the planet Windermere are rebelling against the United Space Front for their independence, and to conquer the Galaxy. A huge chunk of their plan includes using a virus called the Var to get people of other planets under their control with the help of their singing Prince, Heinz.
Counteracting this plan is pop idol group called Walkure (a modern German word for the word Valkyrie, the trademark mechs of the Macross franchise) and their security escorts, the Delta Squadron. Their songs emit an energy fold wave that manages to calm the effects of the Var virus. As with any other mecha series, it is packed with various characters that take us riding through the skies and stars. What also makes this installment of Macross unique is that the characters on both sides compare their combat high to riding like the wind.
So for today’s list, we will make a countdown for the Top 10 Wind Riding Macross Delta Characters.
10. Mikumo Guynemer
Starting off this list is Walkure’s lead singer, Mikumo Guynemer. She has a very powerful voice and a very charismatic presence that naturally reflects her position in the group. She takes a great interest in bringing Freyja into the group and pushes her hard to her fullest potential. Though she is the leader, she is something of a lone wolf and tends to isolate herself from others.
Beyond singing, she also participates in spying missions and shows that she is very excellent at it. Whenever she is not in the field, like her enemy Lloyd, she is analyzing the enemy, most especially Prince Heinz’s song and is intrigued by it. Along with Freyja, what positions her as leader is that her singing prowess generates the strongest fold receptor energy waves, which allows her and her team members subdue the effects of the Var virus.
Along with this unique ability, her genuine charms as a pop idol mixed with her military mind and discipline which makes her a worthy entry into this list as a wind rider (since her singing also gives her pilots a combat high to achieve that).
9. Ernest Johnson
Ernest Johnson serves as the Captain to the Macross Elysion, and has a prior relationship with the Windermereian as their former flight instructor. Though he hasn't had the best luck in battles prior to the events of the series, his previous relationship with the Windemerians serves as an advantage in knowing how they operate and has made him an effective leader. Though he is a military officer of large stature (even as a miniature Zentradi, he is still massive), he has a very friendly and relaxing personality.
When he taught the King of Windermere, he even found him too serious and chivalrous. But Captain Johnson is a worthy wind rider because he does not allow his mistakes to get the best of him ,and shows that he can learn from them and develop successful counter strategies in some episodes. Even when the going gets tougher when some of his strategies backfire, he goes back to the drawing board, is never afraid to ask for help from his advisors in re-evaluating on what is necessary to get the job done.
8. Chuck Mustang
In addition to this list is our first ace from the titled Delta unit, Chuck Mustang of the Planet Ragnan. In addition to his piloting duties, he runs his planet’s version of the Nyan Nyan restaurant chain (where Minmei of the first series and Ranka of Frontier also worked) where he takes care of his younger siblings and boards both the Delta pilots of members of Walkure.
His numerous contributions to his crew make him a very valuable member. Due to being a fan of Fire Bomber, the featured band from Macross 7, he enjoys naming his attacks after their songs and his cover of Sweet Sixteen makes him a must upworthy wind rider.
7. Roid Brehm
At lucky seven is Roid Brehm, the brains behind the Windermereian, the villains of this series. He serves as the Chancellor to the Kingdom of Windermere and as the General of its armed forces. He is manipulative as he is cunning. Upon the loss of the King, Roid under the dead King’s orders (or so he claims), claims that they must push on with their rebellion and take over the Galaxy. Due to his position, he is always in his study doing research on how to defeat the enemy and justify his cause that the people of Windermere are the true heirs to their galactic ancestors, the Protoculture.
Though he is never shown to be in battle, it is heavily suggested he is trained in combat but his time away from the battlefield has made his skills rusty upon losing an intense sword duel with Keith who he has previously beaten. Though he may not ride the wind in the skies, he is like a mad zealot who wishes to claim the wind for his own lust for power while behind the scenes.
6. Freyja Wion
Before we move into the top 5 of this list, we have Freyja Wion, the female co-lead at number 6. Though she is a Windemerian, who are the villains of this installment of the Macross saga, her teammates do not doubt her loyalty and still accept her as their own. Freyja is only driven by her dream to become a singer and is willing to make the sacrifices and overcome the obstacles put in front of her.
She is willing to put herself in harm's way just like Walkure, the group she joins, just to put on a performance and ultimately bring peace and harmony to the Galaxy. She can be pushed to her limits in the scariest of her situations, but as long as she stays true to herself, her people’s God the wind will guide her to success. Freyja’s singing also allows Hayate to achieve his combat high of riding the wind whenever he’s in a jam as he is always there to support her goals.
Due to the average lifespan of her people only being thirty years, she is always living life to the fullest and her presence reminds the cast and the audience to treasure each day of life.
5. Mirage Jenius
Landing in at number five on this list is Mirage Jenius. Mirage happens to be the granddaughter of Max and Milia Jenius from the original Macross series, the top ace pilots of the UN Space fleet and the Zentradi in their prime. Due to her lineage, a lot of pressure and expectation is forced upon her giving her an inferiority complex. Though she may not live up to the skills of her legendary grandparents, she has a strong sense of duty and displays a very serious personality (much like Milia).
However, she begins to learn that her flying should not always be by the book and when she becomes flexible with her flying and personality, she is unstoppable and very feminine. Though her personality is stern like a true military officer, her growing relationship with Hayate allows her to develop her other qualities beyond being a pilot and develops a crush on him. Whenever you are in battle, you want Mirage as your wing woman because she will always cover both your 6 and 12 o'clock to get the mission done.
4. Arad Molders
Arad Molders serves as the commanding officer of the Delta unit. Recognizing Hayate’s potential and reviewing his resume’, he has a man-to-man talk with Hayate about being the choices he has to make in life and that he can’t go bumming around the Galaxy forever. Hayate accepts his offer but has his own conditions that he has to do things his own way. Arad accepts Hayate’s terms and has him join the unit.
His care for his unit also gives him a paternal role to both his men and Walkure by sharing them the philosophical and nutritional benefits of jellyfish, his favorite food. Though he does not have his youth, his flying and leadership skills are shaped by his long experience as a pilot. His experience also provides him excellent intuition for talent and strategy, however, he does harbor a secret in relation to Hayate’s father (who he claims to have only known in passing) and probably why he recruited him.
3. Messer Ihlefeld
At number three, we have Messer Ihlefeld, the second in command to the Delta Squadron. He is a no-nonsense leader and is strictly focused exclusively on that being a pilot. Not only does he care about improving his own skills, he contributes to improving the skills of the entire team! Due to his serious nature, he can’t stand Hayate’s carefree attitude and at the same time, he criticizes Mirage’s mastery of her by the book flying style to be too predictable for actual combat!
In training exercises, he makes easy work of both of them! He also has a long history with Keith Windermere, the leader of the Aerial Knights, who has long been his equal. Keith even acknowledges Messer as a worthy rider chosen by the wind but in their final battle, you just have to see the series to find out who comes out on top.
2. Keith Windermere
For the runner up, we have Keith Windermere, one of the main antagonists. He is the illegitimate son of the King but his lineage allows him to be the kingdom’s top ace for the elite Aerial Knights unit. His style is to attack non-stop. Due to his aggressive nature, he hates pulling out of missions (due to their purposes of collecting necessary data) when he’s on a roll. He has his own passion for flying and his rivalry (and respect for) with Messer drives him to be the best and not just to claim the skies and the stars, but the wind, which is divine to his people.
Though he does not take Hayate, the main character seriously at first, a dog fight that causes him a serious injury makes him reevaluate his potential and despite the result of his eye injury, no way does he let it ground him. He accepts that Hayate is one with the wind but wishes to reclaim it as his own.
1. Hayate Immelmann
At number one, we have Hayate Immelmann, the main character. Starting this series as a typical anime teenager who is trying to find his way in life who finds little to no meaning with the various jobs he’s had. However, a chance encounter with Mikumo and getting accidentally caught up in battle, he unwillingly pilots a damaged Valkyrie to protect her and shows some natural aptitude for flying. Due to his unauthorized use of military equipment, he is convinced to join the Delta Squad upon the request of its squad commander and likes the idea of just “feeling the wind.”
Under the tutelage of Mirage, he quickly goes through the training and becomes an ace (while other previous Macross main characters were pilots, to begin with). Due to his personal principles, he does his best to avoid killing the enemy by shooting in areas that do minimal damage but to the point they can't fight. But as the series progresses, his time with the Delta Squadron allows him to learn more about his father (who has been absent from his upbringing due to being a pilot himself) which will affect his destiny with the core conflict of this series.
Even though his father was also a UN Spacy pilot, Hayate feels that he is doing it under his own free will and not for the sake of upholding a family tradition. With Freyja’s singing, he can tap his full potential believing he’s the wind itself.
Upon publication of this list, the series is now coming to its close. Macross Delta does a great job of telling its own unique story without any reliance on any of the previous installments. Though some of the characters are typical archetypes seen in other mech series or previous installments, they all have their own unique charms that make them fresh and relatable. Hopefully, in the future, we will get more Macross with its own unique story and set of characters.