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Composition & Text: H2R
It has been made public at last!
The Secret Story Of The Draken III's Creation
Sv-262Hs Draken III
The Variable Fighter used by the Windermere Kingdom. For its development, the Sv-262 has roots in the Sv-51, and the Sv-262's originated in the participation of engineers that were descended from the Anti-Unification Alliance - which despite being defeated in the Unification War, was proud of its great technological strength. For that reason, one can perceive a development ideology that clearly differentiates it from the other Valkyries in the Draken III. A commander Hs model and a general Ba model exist.
The transformation of "Macross △ (Delta)"'s new Valkyrie, the Sv-262 Draken III, has finally become clear in the series. How was the transformation structure, which completely differs from the Valkyries so far, born? We directly hit General Director Shoji Kawamori, who handled the design, and asked about his intentions that were put into the Sv-262's design.
01 Single-engined-Jet Style Engines
The single-engined-jet style engines (actually twin-motored) that join up both feet is a method that capitalizes on the Draken's form. As a matter of fact, both shoulders and the left arm are inserted between the engines.
"A Structure Based On The Draken's Form"
- At last, the Draken III's transformation mechanism has become clear. Although it'll be a review, please tell us about the whole story of what made the Draken III appear.
Kawamori: To start with, this time when we established the existence of the enemy, I thought that we should depict a race similar to mankind, who boards Variable Fighters. The VF-25 (Messiah) and VF-27 (Lucifer) appeared during "Macross F", however they are fighters that I made only styling changes to as (the design of) the transformation mechanism of these two Valkyries is almost the same. Nevertheless, this time, as I made progress on the VF-31 (Siegfried) using the YF-30 (Chronos) as its base, I decided then that the enemy side has [a Valkyrie with] a new transformation.
- It's a transformation directionality that hasn't been adopted into Valkyries so far, isn't it?
Kawamori: In selecting the base for the Draken III, there was a considerable amount of trial and error. As expected, I couldn't see an extent of change in a twin-engined Valkyrie. After all, its because of the pattern where the two legs are the engines, and the arms are inserted between them. On the other hand, because transformations where a lot of parts are stowed away, like the YF-21, had become an "anything goes" for me, I had the feeling that I wanted to make the Draken III an exception for myself. So, if the Draken III was a single-engined delta wing, which is something that Valkyries haven't really had to deal with so far, then I understood that it would clearly be different. As the Mirage (an airplane from the French Dassault Co.) was just a little too simple, there was then only the Draken. The design based on the form of the Draken started from there.
[interview continues on Pg 005]
Right Arm (part under tail)
Shoulders (center of dorsal hump, in front of tail)
Left Arm (dorsal hump between cockpit and shoulders)
Legs (between wings and dorsal hump, behind intakes)
02 The Machine-guns Behind The Cockpit Are A Bluff
Putting the head behind the cockpit is an arrangement used in many VFs. For that reason, if there are machine-guns in this position, it is easy to mistake it for the head.
03 A New Type Of Head Unit That Changes The Concept Of A Valkyrie
The Sv-262Hs has a characteristic head unit that completely makes someone believe it is a devil and an animal. The ear-like parts are said to have imaged the Windermerian's Runes.
04 A The Left Arm Is Interwoven At Another Level
This is easy to understand if you look at the trial-made plastic model kit. When the right arm, both shoulders, and left arm are lined up in a row, they exceed the length of the fuselage from the rear of the cockpit. So, the length problem is resolved by folding the left arm over at another level, and slipping it into the underside of the fuselage.
05 Protecting The Homogenization Of The Shoulder Parts By Swelling The Main Body
The arms and legs are absolutely linked up and stowed away when they are a set of uniform parts. As the shoulder parts aren't uniformly shown, the thing that subtly bulges in the top part of both sides of the fuselage is also a point in the design. Also, even if the shoulder parts are side-by-side, their thickness has been made difficult to distinguish as they are half concealed in the fuselage.
06 A New Chest That Joins Together The Intakes
The intakes that are on both sides of the fuselage when in Fighter combine and form the chest parts. We're interested in what happens to the functions of the intakes.
- What kind of approach did you have to advance the transformation itself?
Kawamori: First of all, I started from putting the twin-engines side-by-side to give the Draken III the appearance of a single-engined aircraft. However, just as it is, a partition line in the middle (where the legs join together) is created. As that would make the transformation mechanism immediately understood, it isn't interesting. So, to erase the center line, I tied it together by placing the arms vertically over the legs (#01).
- In the VF-9 Cutlass as well, wasn't there an attempt with the arms making direct contact and being built-in longitudinally?
Kawamori: That's right. As the Cutlass still hasn't appeared as a solid body that can transform, then I'll do that with the Draken (laughs). The arms on the Cutlass are merely placed under the fuselage, however the Draken differs by putting the arms above the fuselage. After that, the method that the arms are stowed away also differs. When the arms are folded up on the Cutlass, both ends become the shoulders, however the Draken has a structure where the shoulders are right in the middle, and the arms are placed on both ends. Also, by affixing [gun] muzzles behind the canopy, I thought it'd have the illusion of being the Valkyrie's head (#02).
- Certainly the length of the arms that are fit tightly into the fuselage also cannot be guessed.
Kawamori: That's right. When the arms are put in a series as-is, than "the length when the shoulder and the arm are connected together" is longer than the fuselage, and sticks out. I hesitated over either the arms jutting out over the nozzle, or the nozzle being extended. However, because I took the trouble to give it the appearance of a single-engine aircraft, it would have been wasteful to conceal the nozzle.
[interview continues on Pg 006]
07 A Shield That Unfolds the Tail
Without change, the tail becomes the shield, and a coat of arms has been drawn in the center of it. Its connection to the left arm also doesn't feel out of place.
08 The Wing Inverts And Becomes Compact
The group of Valkyries that inherited the VF-25's transformation mechanism unmistakably concentrated their volume in the rear when in GERWALK. To reduce that, the Sv-262 has taken the measure of inverting its wings.
The Transformation Of The VF-9 Cutlass
A Valkyrie that appeared in the "Macross M3" game. Its roots are in "Advanced Valkyrie", which was planned in the 1980s. It is the first Valkyrie to be equipped with a transformation mechanism where the arms are stowed away in a series, which was also used in the Draken III. There was no intention to hide the transformation features, and both arms and both shoulders were unitized and stationed in the underside of the fuselage.
- Therefore that's the greatest point on the design, isn't it?
Kawamori: Also, the arm and shoulder parts are arranged as-is with uniform sizes, so there was the danger of "isn't this the arm?" being instantly exposed to the viewer. So, the greatest trick of of the Draken III us to fold the left arm over once more in the middle, and slip it into the bottom (#03). By doing it like that, I completed the design without the arm parts appearing to be uniform. Also, as the right arm slips into the bottom, there's also the merit of being able to transform as-is while holding the Gun Pod.
- It's important that the arm parts aren't shown equally, isn't it?
Kawamori: It's because when the arm and shoulder parts are uniform, they are instantly spotted. I think that the feeling of the parts uniformity cleverly deceives the viewer, even concerning the way that the shoulder sections are fit together when in Fighter, as the midsection of the fuselage swells only a little bit. They merely appear to be panel lines (#04).
- It wasn't clear what kind of connection method came to gradually arise [from the transformation] for the Gun Pod in GERWALK.
Kawamori: When transforming, the arm part's mobile hinge and the hinge that supports the Gun Pod when in GERWALK are coupled together. This is basically the same as the movement of the VF-31's Container Unit. I can verify that while designing the VF-31, I thought that "if I used this, than it'd also go well with the Draken".
- I was astonished that the parts behind the intakes are the legs. When I first saw them, I thought that they'd become the shoulders.
Kawamori: The point where you'd think they are the shoulders was according to plan. Concerning the legs, I was worried whether I could make a form where they were firmly placed up there. In comparison to the actual thickness of the legs, I think they appear to be even thicker.
- Nonetheless, the fuselage thickness is an area that you fussed over, isn't it?
Kawamori: I was worried if I could make the main wings thin like the actual Draken. Because if it is merely a delta wing, than the wing thickness can be tolerably cheated, and I finished it there without worrying about it. In reality, even by affixing a sub-intake within it, and if I put flaps in the rear, than it unexpectedly doesn't appear to be thick. I could image this while experimenting in Lego. Also, as a byproduct, even if I add a missile unit in this hollow part, it doesn't protrude very much.
[interview continues on Pg 007]
Sv-262Ba Draken III
The standard mass-production type of the Draken. Unlike the Hs, its head has the standard silhouette. Whether its from the difference in head shape or not, the nose parts are somewhat shorter in comparison to the Hs type.
Sv-262Hs Draken III Lilldraken Equipped
Unmanned small Lilldraken craft are mounted on both wings of the Draken III. It's possible to load them with functions that differ depending on the mission. And not only do they have combat functions, but they are also able to generate a jamming that has the effect of obstructing Walküre's activities. Also, it's possible to cause the illusion that the Draken III itself has separated into 3 fighters, due to that jamming.
- On the other hand, isn't it interesting that you've formed the chest by combining the intake sections?
Kawamori: The chest part progressed in a form similar to that brought by intakes like the ones on the YF-21. However, I thought that they were a little bit boring. While handling the Lego prototype, I could see that the intake parts could be folded over (#05). By doing that, I think I have made a chest shape that absolutely hasn't been made on the VFs so far.
- The head shapes on the Sv-262Hs and Ba differ, don't they? The head on the Hs in particular hasn't been on a Valkyrie so far, and gives an impression of the god Anubis.
Kawamori: The form of the head was intentionally aimed at, as an enemy mecha. The antenna are imaged on the [Windermerian] Runes (#06). Initially, I considered adopting an orientation like that of "Macross Zero"'s Sv-51 on the Ba. However, as a normal shape was boring, I took a risk with it, eh. Hmmm, that's because Valkyrie heads are ultimately sensors. You could merely say that on that world, they appear to have a different meaning.
- Please tell us about the points on the GERWALK form.
Kawamori: The wings in GERWALK are inverted. In the GERWALK form of the VF-25 and so on, the rear of the Valkyrie is fairly voluminous. To prevent that, I inverted the wings on the Draken III, and made them shield-like. I had the image that the Draken III could even be used in narrow places (#07).
- The tail unfolding and becoming the shield also couldn't be imagined.
Kawamori: Concerning the tail, I was quite puzzled if I should make it into a pair of tails. If I emphasized function, than it's a pair of tails, but if I chose to make it seem like the Draken, than I had no choice but to do the single tail. Consequently, [I thought that] if the tail unfolds at the end of the transformation, it could be the shield (#08).
- Did you also assume that there would be Super Packs for the Draken III?
Kawamori: I wonder how? (Laughs) In practice, by merely affixing the missile units and Lilldraken, they all but serve the purpose of Super Packs. Even if I add Super Packs onto the Draken III, it merely goes over the top. I was imaging it as knight-like, and adding parts doesn't really suit that.
- It was said that you stressed the ease of play when the VF-31 was made into a DX Chōgōkin. Did you also capitalize on that with the Draken III?
Kawamori: That's so. However, its degree of difficulty may be slightly higher (laughs).
- Actually, I'd like to experience the transformation with something solid.
Kawamori: When you touch the actual solid thing, I think you'll understand that the transformation process is entertainment. It isn't difficult to make them transform more easily. However, if that is done, then entertainment value is lost. By all means, I want you to actually touch the new transformation in the DX Chōgōkin and the plastic models.
Please Tell Me! Windermere
"Won't you tell me about Windermere?"
The Windermerian's announced a declaration of war on the New Unified Government. Even though they are one of the possibilities for the human race that were also left behind by the Protoculture, their abilities are greatly different from those of the Earthlings. What is that potential in its entirety?
The Life Span Of Windermerian Is 30 Years!
"From the start, we had the intention where we wanted Freyja's character to be fairly active. When we thought about 'what kind of young woman is a girl who can risk her life on the battlefield?', we were struck with the idea that she has a short life span. If I think back on it, the opinion that you retire from the SF business world at 35 was continuously circulating when I entered Studio Nue (laughs). They often said that ideas don't spring forth when you're older than 35! Although I got the theory of a 35-year-old lifespan from that, as Freyja's 14 years old, she'll still have plenty of life if they have a 35-year lifespan; so I changed it to a life expectancy of 30. It isn't an incurable disease, simply a universal life span [for the Windermerians]. For an image of it, it has the sensation of the Shishi* at the end of the Edo era, who participated actively in their late teens and early twenties. They also almost certainly constantly sensed and were enlivened by death. Beyond whether its good or bad, it brings a considerable earnestness toward their lifestyle." (Kawamori)
* Shishi (organization)
Are The Abilities For Windermerian People Amazing?
"In comparison to humans, Windermerians exceed in their physical abilities. Their Fold Wave sensing Runes is also one of their traits. Also, EX-Gear is unnecessary for them even when they board the Draken III. The Draken III is merely an aircraft that cannot be handled if the pilot isn't a Windermerian. It's the same as Israel and so on, they've customized it for the Windermerians. Also, in the setting, the Windermerians are extraordinarily powerful as mercenaries. Even though they go to various battlefields and play active roles, their lifespans are regrettably short, and they can't fight for a long time. To begin with, haven't we gradually come to see that mankind absolutely cannot win with the development of AI (Artificial Intelligence*) in reality? In the "Macross" world, there was also the Sharon Apple Insident** ("Macross Plus"), and even though the number of unmanned fighters there are is regulated, we had no choice but to make a setting for the series with something like the Windermerians to give mankind an advantage." (Kawamori)
* Translator's note: typo in the magazine (Artificial Population/Common Talk). Same reading, different kanji.
** Translator's note: I know it's a spelling error. But due to the hosts TOS...
What Kind Of Intuition Do The Aged Windermerian Have?
"The feeling is similar to the difference between wild animals and breeding animals. The animals can live for a long time if they're kept at a zoo, however they've lost their wild intuition. I can say with confidence that evidently even though the Windermerians have a short live, they are a race that has sharpened intuition. Concerning the aged, until they are halfway through their 20s, they aren't that different from mankind. From there, they quickly wither in several years. It's easy to understand by looking at Master Herman. He is over 30, and is ageing rapidly." (Kawamori)
What Valkyrie Did "The White Knights Of Derwent", The Name Of The Previous Generation Of The Windermerian Aces, Board?
"That's the Sv-154, isn't it? At first, I considered naming it the 156 (of Alfa Romeo), but even so, I named it the 154. We planned to use it instead of the Draken III from the start. As it is based on one of the aircraft that was considered to be used in "Military History Of The Ride Of The Sky*" (the project that became "The Vision Of Escaflowne"), the transformation mechanism was given a modernistic update. I think I want to develop it as something solid in the future, and already 80% of the transformation has been fixed. Within its structure, its transformation pattern is about exactly midway between the Sv-51 and the Draken III. After 20 years, at last I can use it (laughs). The real F-104 (Starfighter) was used as its base. Be that as it may, the Sv-154 mostly doesn't have the F-104's dogfight abilities as-is. So, I made the wings wider, and because I wasn't aware of that, I put missiles in the center of the wings. Even if the wing area has been enlarged, it hasn't lost the characteristics of the F-104." (Kawamori)
* Rendered as "Military History Of The Knighthood In The Sky" in the Macross Compendium. I'm pretty sure its a mistranslation on their part, as knight is 騎士 vs. many Japanese sites (and this magazine) using 「天空騎行戦記」 for that project. Nevertheless, went with 'Ride' as that kanji crops up most often in Google for "Ride Of The Valkyries" - which is a neat link back to Macross (and the order I went with sound so much better than the amusement-park-ride sounding 'Sky Ride').
What Is Chaos's Equipment?
The interstellar conglomerate "Chaos" has the Tactical Music Unit "Walküre", and the VF-31 Siegfried Unit "Delta Platoon", who protects Walküre, and undertakes the suppression of the Val Syndrome. Its equipment is gradually becoming clear. Here, General Director Kawamori explains about the equipment that Chaos uses.
VF-31 Siegfried and VF-31A Kairos
The VF-31 and VF-31A are used by Chaos. In contrast to the latter, which is placed purely as a Valkyrie for combat, the former is a special Valkyrie that emphasizes missions with Walküre. Although there are still many unknown points, let's compare the differences between the two kinds of VF-31.
Name: VF-31A Kairos
Attached To: Chaos Alpha Platoon, others
Origin: from Kairos, the time god of Greek myth
Wing Shape: close-coupled delta wings
Special Equipment: Fold Carbon
Container Unit: normal combat equipment
Leg Weapon Bay: missiles
Armament & Other: Mini Gun Pod, Assault Knife, Pinpoint Barrier System
Colouring: low-visibility camouflage
Combat: mainly for combat at long-range. Supports Delta Platoon, who guard Walküre, on the combat side.
Notes: the standard mass production model. A B-model, with a differing specification, also exists.
Options: Super Pack
Name: VF-31 Siegfried
Attached To: Chaos Delta Platoon
Origin: from the hero of "The Song Of The Nibelungs"
Purpose: guarding and supporting the Tactical Musical Unit "Walküre", as well as air shows
Wing Shape: forward swept wings
Special Equipment: Fold Quartz
Container Unit: Gunpod, Multi-Drone Pallet Remote Charging System, Speaker Unit, others
Leg Weapon Bay: Multi-Drones
Armament & Other: Mini Gun Pod, Assault Knife, Pinpoint Barrier System
Colouring: flashy to show off its existence. Differs on each Valkyrie.
Combat: mainly for close-combat in urban areas to jointly mobilize with Walkure. Also, their destructive abilities are generally lower in order to basically not kill the pilots who have been affected by the Val Syndrome.
Notes: various types have been invested for trial operations.
Options: Super Pack
Super Packs are space combat options for the VF-31. Functionally, they are proportionate to the Super Packs that have been used so far on such VFs as the VF-25. To begin with, as it is possible to change the equipment due to the center container, standard equipment like the Super Packs themselves probably don't make a big change to the VF-31.
"The main wings on the VF-25 are variable wings, so they are inserted into the Super Packs. However, this time [on the VF-31] given that the wings fold downward, the packs are attached on top of them. In orientation, they have an appearance that is inherited from the VF-25. Nevertheless, as the Valkyrie's landing gear have been put into the knees this time, it's quite easy to use even when additional leg parts have been affix to the Valkyrie.
As they are relatively rational equipment, the function and design of the packs from the VF-25 can't be changed that much (laughs). It's also because if I do it more than that, then the entire Valkyrie is covered over, and it's game over. After all, its the result of me thinking about the Super Packs with the idea that they are conformal tanks, and how to improve their outward appearance as a character in the show. As Valkyries aren't Super Robots, it's a difficult point to give latitude to options like them. As one would expect, even though I want to, it's impossible to give them infinite punches (laughs). Jee, even though that's a merit of "Macross", it's also a demerit." (Kawamori)
What Are The VF-31 Variants That Delta Platoon Pilots?
VF-31J (Hayate Immelmann's craft) = space superiority support fighter
VF-31C (Mirage Farina Jīnasu's craft) = tactical support fighter
VF-31E (Chuck Mustang's craft) = early warning and electronic warfare craft
VF-31F (Messer Ihlefeld's craft) = space superiority support fighter
VF-31S (Arad Mölders's craft) = commander craft
The VF-31 that Delta Platoon drives have strictly respectively different specifications. From the form of each aircraft, one can't come to the conclusion that the VF-31 is split into types like this. In practice, the head shapes are also different, and various specifications were invested [into Delta Platoon] by Chaos, and they are conducting an operational test with their operational activities with Walküre.
"I have the image that the various specifications of the VF-31 are undergoing trial operations in Chaos, as they have a form where they accompany Walküre in operational actions. Their forms basically follow the flow of "Macross" so far. The S is the squadron leader's aircraft, F is the fighter, and E has the feeling that it is mainly an electronic warfare model. The J has a single head laser, and that is a shape that I gave priority to, to differentiate it from the VF-25." (Kawamori)
Macross Elysion, Delta Platoon's Base
Chaos's base is on the planet Ragna. The Space Carriers that are connected on both arms can undertake independent actions, and in practice, it is "Aether", the vessel attached to the left arm, that separates and performs tactical actions.
"Although it's similar to the Macross Quarter, its size is roughly between that of the Quarter and the first generation Macross ship. It has approximately the same height as the tower in Dubai (Burj Khalifa = 828 m). The height that the aircraft carriers are at is almost the same as the [Burj Khalifa's] main observatory*." (Kawamori)
* 456 m (official site. Wikipiedia: 452 m).
Right: "The hanger used something seen at certain factories as a reference. They can service the Valkyries as-is after assembling a catwalk at about the height of the aircraft." (Kawamori)
"Macross Delta" World Keywords That Are Even More On Our Minds
Brísingamen Globular Cluster
The Brisingamen Globular Cluster is the setting of the story. It's in the frontier of the galaxy, therefore there's a lot of diversity left in it.
"It's on the edge of the galaxy, and we hypothesized that it was the last place that the Protoculture struggled on to. The influence of the New Unified Government is extremely low in it. And so, as it hasn't suffered from the attacks of the Zentrādi and so on up until recently, many [Protoculture] ruins and so forth have been left in it. The globular cluster also features many dimensional faults; Windermere in particular is surrounded by them, and was quite difficult to find. The fleet that took the time to fly through the dimensional faults in the past found Windermere by chance, and started the relationship between Windermerians and Earth humans. There are no means to go directly to Windermere, and its development has been delayed." (Kawamori)
Fold Element Receptor (Fold Receptor)
The mystery of the Fold Element Receptor deepens as Freyja also has groundings in that. As a result, what is its abilities?
"People who have Fold Element Receptors appeared one after another, and after "Macross F", it was the big reason why the Vajra left the galaxy. It's an era where the possibility of the Fold Bacteria that lost their [Vajra] host being able to live in symbiosis with humans was learnt with some precedents such as Ranka, and a symbiotic form was discovered. It's easy to tolerate the Fold Bacteria, and yet the feature of the people who have the receptor is that they don't easily lose their self-consciousness [after infection]. Even though the Vajra had a so-called monopoly on Fold Technology before, that has been broken down. The reason is that even Chaos is making progress in Fold Bacteria research." (Kawamori)
A meaningful word that seems to hold an important significance as far as the Windermerians are concerned. Sure enough, when that Ana-wind Area is established, what kinds of things occur?
"The word 'wind' itself doesn't only represent what is called wind, but actually also means a Fold Wave. The Fold Wave perception ability is in the Rune, and because of that, it feels like what is called the wind." (Kawamori)**
* 制風圏 in Japanese. Possible other renditions are "Controlled/Systematized/Organized Wind Area" (gerund forms (E.g.: Controlling Wind Area) are also possible). I opted for the prefix ana-, as it shows up in some translations of words with 制 in them (eg. anaphrodisiac, antiperspirant), and retains the small footprint of the original term, while both enhancing the word 'wind' (like the Japanese term) and not negating it (like anti- would).
** Translator's note: maybe it got lost in translation, but my impression is that Kawamori-san didn't (fully) answer the reporter's question.
The enigmatic sea creatures that live on Ragna. The motive for their creation was from an unexpected reason.
"While we were collecting data on Dubai, we stopped by Malta, and it became the model for the planet Ragna. The greatest result of that was hitting on the idea of the Umineko (laughs). It came to mind when I caught site of the many cats that are on the beach in Malta. However, I can't think of why I wasn't struck by the idea when I saw the cats by the sea in Izu [Peninsula]. The tension at the time of the data collection trip was strange, wasn't it?" (Kawamori)
© Aaron Sketchley