The Macross Frontier love triangle, it really is a polarizing topic and there is so much negativity associated around it that I almost don’t want to bring it up.  However, this article is about trying to bring some positivity to the ones who need something to be happy about.  So I specifically made this for all the Ranka fans (<3 you all) and hopefully to the idea that perhaps both sides had their happy end even if the world requires only one canon couple.  But I do believe it’s fine to think what you want about it all in the end and I have no desire to try to convince people who want a Sheryl ending in the TV series otherwise.

While I could go on for hours ranting on this subject instead I think the most effective method to get my point across is in a screenshot comparison which I will be presenting below.  The first screenshot will be from TV series and the second from Sayonara no Tsubasa.  I also suggest you look at this blog post I wrote which works well as a companion as the scene discussed in that post occurs just before all the scenes listed below and I believe fits in quite nicely with my opinions.

Instead of an introduction to my thoughts behind it all I’ll just let the scenes below speak for themselves.  There are more in the first movie however I feel the following are enough as they are among the most important scenes in relation to how Alto ends up deciding and I believe the rest are just extra padding on it all.

Alto being conflicted about the traitor Ranka.

Alto deep in thought with being conflicted about the spy Sheryl.

Pretty clear-cut, one thing for sure is just how much Ranka is on Alto’s mind in the TV series while Sheryl is on his mind in the two movies most of the time.

Sheryl watching Alto here from afar.

Ranka watching Alto here from afar.

I think it’s fairly well implied here that this is where both of them accept their fate on some level.  It’s more obvious in Sheryl’s case though but while Ranka’s was not as much, with the comparison here, it still strengthens the case for the idea.

Ranka leaving Alto and giving up on love with a fading trail of tears.

Sheryl leaving Alto and handing Ranka to Alto more or less (with a fading trail of tears not pictured).

Alto's reaction to Ranka leaving.

Alto's reaction to Sheryl saving Ranka over herself.

So Alto must face life without Ranka in the TV series and life without Sheryl in the movie.  What better way to start to understand how you feel when you’re as clueless as he is.  Another aspect is that Ranka was apart from Alto for most of the end of the TV series while Sheryl was apart from Alto for a large chunk of Sayonara no Tsubasa.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

There has been some discussion on the difference between these scenes before but you need to keep it in context with everything going on and more importantly the second set of screen caps.  I think considering the situations and Alto being still a bit unstable in both cases that this was both Ranka and Sheryl’s big chance but instead they both placed more importance on their singing and also with the understanding that it would not really be what Alto wanted.

There are also quite a few reversed situations for the battle that comes next however they don’t really have anything to do with the love triangle other than continue to show that Ranka and Sheryl were reversed.

Rescuing the one you love towards the climax, standard for what the lead does in every story like this.  How often does the lead go and save the women he doesn’t love while the one he loves is watching from the sidelines.

Alto doing the salute to just Sheryl.

Alto doing the salute to both of them.

This is a bit off topic but this is the reason why you shouldn’t use referencing as some kind of an encyclopedia.  It was thought that because Alto did the salute to Sheryl in the TV series that since it was referencing Hikaru’s salute to Misa in the original it meant she was the winner but then how do you explain the other screen cap?  References are mostly used just to give some service to fans, trying to get extra meaning behind them is just silly to me.  In particular is how often Ranka is explained with using her as Minmay, something I may save for another article as I consider it a self-defeating ideal.

The question to doubters in the end is why would so much stuff be swapped like this if I’m wrong.  Why go through the trouble of doing something so subtle but yet obvious to anyone who thinks about it clearly if it was not to imply such things.  I’ve read on old Ranka shipping forums people who just by watching the Sayonara no Tsubasa trailer before the movie was released express deep fear over a Sheryl ending just by the stuff they saw swapped.  They could have done things that were not in relation to the TV series just as easily if they wanted too, after all Sayonara no Tsubasa had an original plot, or at least kept the roles similar if there was no intention behind this all.  Anyways, I find an ending for both girls a very pleasant way to go about things even if there are no undeniable facts to it either way.