Monday, March 31, 2014

Rogues' Gallery - Sharon Apple

There is no reason to think Sharon's logo is a twisted
version of the Macross Plus logo, no reason at all.
In my review of Macross Plus I spent a lot of time talking about Sharon Apple and her devious ways, but only included a single teaser picture of the virtual idol. That's because Sharon beguiled me with her melodious voice and stunning visage(s). I ended up with way too many screen captures of her. So I focused on presenting the rest of the cast and the mecha from the series, and decided to give Sharon her own blog post.

And since she becomes the primary antagonist of the series, she's a perfect fit for the rogues' gallery concept. What is interesting about Macross Plus is that Isamu is our main character, but his rival Guld, isn't a bad guy. In fact he seems a lot more sensible and calm than Isamu. There's a bit of irony in that, and any fan of the original Macross (or Robotech) series will pick up on it. Guld is actually half Zentradi. The Zentradi are an alien race of warriors who are genetically bred to be soldiers. So it is in Guld's DNA to fight and to win. There is a brief mention in the series that Guld is taking some kind of drug to help temper his killer instinct. Of course he ends up snapping a few times, and Isamu is on the receiving end. But still, Guld isn't a bad guy, he's made some bad choices in life but deep down he still cares about Myung and Isamu.

Guld focusing hard on not killing Isamu.
Since those three were childhood friends, the series needed someone else to raise the stakes of villainy. Enter Sharon Apple. But in all honesty, I feel a bit bad for her too. She's essentially a super powerful child who has no guidance and doesn't realize that she is doing anything wrong. She just wants to please everyone. And the only way to do that is to give them what they want. Since they all love watching her, they get to watch her - forever. She figures out that Isamu loves living on the edge of danger. This must be because he wants to experience death, right? So why not give him that ultimate experience. See it all makes logical sense in the end... Right guys?

Um, Ok, so maybe I've been listening to too much Sharon Apple music, and I'm sympathizing with the devil. But it's hard to argue with a virtual siren. So without further ado, enjoy some images of the real star of Macross Plus. And why don't you listen to her song Idol Talk while you do so. I'm sure it won't have any affect on your mind.

So if Sharon is a virtual idol, then what does her hardware look like. Well it's pretty simple actually. You've got your basic HAL inspired black box with a red eye. Red is a motif for Sharon. Might have something to do with apples, but she will neither confirm nor deny that.

Sharon keeps a digital eye on all her fans.

Later in the series, Sharon takes control of the "Ghost Fighter", a lethal mecha that gives Guld and Isamu a real run for the money. And what color is it?

Oh she's sleek and wicked looking in her "Ghost Fighter"
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but where's the virtual idol! That's what we all came to see! Ok, well you get three different versions of Sharon in her virtual idol form. First there is the pixie-esque playful version.

Just because she's cute doesn't mean she won't
try to kill you.
Then there's the one with the long red hair and hypnotic gaze. She seems to be the seducer of the group, usually appearing when she wants to entice a watcher to do her will.

Whoops, Isamu made eye contact.

Finally there is the purple garbed goddess. She's the one that speaks the most often and wants to care for everyone. But she's just as dangerous as the others.

Sharon tells Myung that she will take care of
everything. It is not a comforting thought.

In the final episode Sharon and Myung have a face off. Creator and creation try to reason with each other. The thing is Sharon is everything that Myung tried to bury. At first Myung doesn't understand that.

Myung tries to have a chat with her "daughters", but
it's difficult when she's tied up.
Once Myung figures out Sharon's logic, it dawns on her how dangerous the virtual idol is. For Sharon, there is no need to "reason" with her creator. Because the reason is so very clear. The roles reverse and Sharon starts treating Myung as the child, even going so far as to appear larger than Myung in those final scenes.

I'm your mother now. Be a good little girl bring
Isamu to me.
One of the perks of being virtual is you can be in multiple places at once. During the finale concert at Macross, Sharon appears as a towering goddess over the city, while her music and image appears on every screen and holographic projector in the city.

A giant crazy goddess was seen over Macross last
But it's hard to stay mad at Sharon. She looks so peaceful when she's turning everyone into her devoted slave/fans. They'll just sit there and stare at her for an eternity (or until they die of thirst, whichever comes first).

So calm. So serene. So crazy. Notice her earrings
are her symbol. 
Eventually Isamu and Guld manage to defeat some of Sharon's traps and weapons. So she starts playing dirty. Isamu enlisted one of her biggest fans (and an expert hacker) to put a stop to the virtual idol. Well, because the poor dope is using a computer to hack into Sharon's mainframe (is that dirty?), she decides to visit him. 

Sharon comes face to face with her biggest fan, and
twists his mind like a candy cane.
Then she goes for Isamu, swimming through his tracking screen and into his lap, singing her siren song the whole time.

Dealing with virtual idols is never covered in the
airline safety films.
Luckily Myung breaks the spell by singing Voices in the intercom and shattering Sharon's hypnotic music. Isamu snaps out of it and destroys Sharon once and for all. It's a neat call back to the original Macross saga, where a pop star's song brings two warring races together.

Giant goddess Sharon is sad there won't be
an encore performance.
And there you have it, the ULTIMATE Sharon Apple experience on this blog. Short of going to one of her concerts it doesn't get much better than this. So for fans of the muse hell bent on pleasing her fans to death, I hope you enjoyed this gallery. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to listen to Information High again and wait for Sharon to come out of my computer and sing me to death... sleep, I meant sleep. 

Disclaimer: While Sharon Apple was destroyed at the end of the series, fans suspect that some of her programming survived and is even now plotting a return to the virtual world. Except she changed her name to Hatsune Miku to keep people from freaking out.


  1. In neopaganism the triple goddess takes the form of Maiden, Mother, and Crone. These seem not quite to match Sharon's personae, but then Myung, who created her, appears to be young and might not have the elements in her of the latter two to put into an AI. .. not to mention a different mythic tradition.

    1. Wow, I never considered the triple goddess imagery here. It fits in a way. The short haired pixie for the maiden. The purple woman does act like a mother, not just to Myung, but also to Isamu welcoming him with open arms. Plus, she certainly has the curves of a mother goddess. The red haired seductress, could be the "crone" in that she uses her hypnosis and beguiling magic instead of ... nope, can't get that one to work. but it was fun to try.

      Besides we already went over that imagery with Skuld, Belldandy and Urd in "Oh My Goddess" :)

    2. Ah, so we did. The Mother covers fertility and sexuality while the Crone does wisdom and death, if that works better or worse in this case. Maybe not. Anyway, thanks for deepening the options with your ongoing reviews.