I read a few posts, only a handful over the years, on how Sheryl doesn’t belong in the show that is Macross Frontier. Ranka got this too, a lot more if I remember, so don’t worry, I will get to her as soon as I can.
Excuse me for the lack of posts, but I’ve been going from doctor to doctor these last 2 weeks. One of the medications has a side-effect of sweating and coupled with immense heat around here, I don’t feel like doing anything much.
So, without further ado, let me get started on why Sheryl is one of the essential 3 characters of Macross Frontier.
I would again like to refer you to these two posts by karice. The first is a collection of sites with information and her own translations, while the second is filled with direct links to things Kawamori said that you might find of particular relevance.
Sheryl is a bitch
Sheryl is the first character introduced and right from there we start to get to know the different sides to her personality. She is cute when she dreams of strawberry pie, she is curious almost to the point of an innocent child when she sees Frontier, a type of colonial fleet she had never been too. She is a workaholic, she will not take a rest after arriving and does her job. She is pissed off that amateurs are added to her concert without her approval because they can hurt her or the audience. She is very harsh with others, because she is harsh with herself. She is a perfectionist and either wants people who can give it their 100% or no one. It turns out that she is right when she gets thrown of her stage, and she is proven to be an excellent performer, earning Alto’s respect when she tells him to continue flying as if nothing happened so she can give the audience what they came for. After she gets dragged off stage by Cathy, she explains simply to Alto, that the reason she is leaving is because she can’t do anything for the people, she will leave it to the pros, as should he. Alto doesn’t, which results in Gilliam’s death, who is distracted by trying to protect Alto and gets killed by a Vajra.
Sheryl was meant to die?
Nope. Read this for further information. Sheryl and Ranka were a single songstress character and since the creators wanted a story about a rising star and an accomplished one, they decided to create 2 characters.
The credits at the end of each episode have Alto listed separately. Sometimes the 3 mains are together, sometimes one of the girls gets to be listed with Alto. In the very first episode, all 3 versions of it, Sheryl is listed as 2nd. And appears as second more often than Ranka. If she was meant to die, or was a side character she wouldn’t have been on the top of the cast, and absolutely not in front of Ranka.
Sheryl doesn’t drive the plot
Sheryl drives the plot from the beginning. She is the reason Alto and Ranka meet. She is the person who inspires Alto in episode 2 during the shelter scene, where she refuses to just stay there and die. This is what leads Alto to inspire Ranka in her own singing ambitions in episode 3. In episode 4, Sheryl personally inspires Ranka before her Miss Macross debut.
She inspires Ranka to sing with her for the people fighting for Galaxy. Sheryl gets her act together to sing not just for Alto, but all of them. She gives her family heirloom to Alto to bring him luck. The only reason Alto hears Ranka and her sing is because of Sheryl’s earrings.
She offers a chance for Ranka to be on a TV show to promote her. She supports Ranka because she sees her as a possible rival in song who she would find to be a worthy opponent.
Sheryl is actively trying to get to know both Frontier and Alto, and also Ranka, while working hard. That’s the only reason Alto is even there in episode 10.
She goes to Galia IV to help calm the uprising Zentradi who are demanding culture, even though she has been getting very ill. When they arrive on Galia IV her body gives up on her and she needs to be restrained to not get out of the bed and try to sing.
When Alto and Ranka get lost, she goes with Michael to look for them, she promises Alto that they will save Ranka, when Michael is knocked out she tries her best to pilot the VF. She fails, but she tried, even with the little training that she got.
Ever notice how awkward Ranka acts when both Sheryl and alto are present. She seems like she feels threatened. Well, guess who triggers her to start coming out of her shell? In episode 15 Sheryl starts singing to the recording of Ranka’s What ’bout my star and Ranka is taken aback but ends up pulling herself together and sings with her, for Alto. She steps up her game, as did Sheryl before her.
When she is told by Grace that she is dying she thinks of Alto and how he would feel about this and does all she can to push him away. The only reason she gives up singing is because she thinks she has no reason to fight. She was going to go all up against Grace until she found out she was dying. The people now had Ranka and she would be gone soon, she should fade away, this way she wouldn’t hurt Alto. She never, ever faulted Ranka for any of this. Oh, and to those who say all she does after this is get depressed and mope around…
When Alto and his team make the heart in the sky, it’s not just for Ranka from her fans. Alto called Sheryl there so she could see how far he and Ranka have gotten because of her. He is not taking her quitting singing just like that.
She does what Alto can’t and tries to smack Ranka back to reality, even hugging her after it. She is dying but doesn’t tell her something like “I have it worse”. She just wants Ranka to live up to her title and save the colony. She saves Nanase, and in the end she sings a song to the people who forgot about her, because even if she can’t help against the Vajra, she wants to do something and this is all she can do.
Later when she finds out she can omit small fold waves at the cost of her life, as the V-type infection is moving to her brain, she doesn’t hesitate to give her life for the people of Frontier, even when Alto begs her.
On the rooftop in 23 she understands that Alto truly loves his home and is serious in killing a person he cares for. Sheryl doesn’t know if Alto loves her or Ranka, but she does know that she will die during the last battle through singing and she doesn’t want Alto to loose 2 more people who mean a lot to him and so, in episode 24 he asks him not only from shaking her feelings, but to possibly hurting himself and orders him to bring Ranka back.
She is the one who wakes Ranka up and Ranka confirms how much she meant for them, same for Alto. The slap in Sheryl’s case was meant to indicate that she finally needs to think about herself and not always put others in front of her.
Ranka explains the reason the Vajra understood humanity is because she and Sheryl are different. If Sheryl didn’t sing, they would never have understood that humans are not like the Vajra.
At the end, Alto reaffirms the inspiration Sheryl and Ranka meant to him.
Sheryl’s role in the series is related to the main plot, but it’s not “in your face” like with Ranka. She is also a romantic lead who is actively trying to get close to Alto, even more so after she starts to realize how much she means to him.
In a good story, characters grow and drive the show forward. This is what happens in Frontier. In this series, as in every Macross, many different triangles are taking place. Alto, Sheryl and Ranka continue to influence each other throughout the entire run of the series, the movies, the different manga and novel adaptations. They are important to each other and from what I’ve seen, the only way you can miss this if you are biased towards a character and/or pairing and look past all the subtle signs. The main triangle is not just about 2 girls fighting over 1 guy. It’s about how 3 different personalities brought together by a chain of events can influence each others lives to the point they are not only able to reach their own dreams, but save the world.
She steals Ranka’s man
No, she doesn’t. She makes sure in episode 5 if Alto is dating anyone before going on a date with him. For all the things that Ranka saw happen between the 2 from episode 5 to 20 it’s a surprise she never considered they might be dating.
Sheryl is interested in Alto, they bond as the story moves forward. They talk about Alto a lot, with Sheryl sharing her own thoughts slowly, like how she feels about her home fleet or her marvel at the beauty of Frontier which Alto takes for granted. She knows about his dream to fly it gives it to him by offering a chance which he accepts, a birthday gift all about him, to go to Galia IV and fly in a real sky.
See thinks about him when she knows he has to go and save Ranka in episode 14. She takes up the challenge for his heart in 15. She tries to push him away while also longing for him when she finds out she’s dying. She finally gives in to her fears when he tells her to stop singing in 22. She doesn’t want Alto to attend to her, a dying woman in her last days. She wants to help the fleet. So all she asks for is his support, until she is ready to let him go in 24, knowing she will and has to set him free of his promise.
And finally, she understands him, when she smiles as he enjoys flying in the sky before greeting the girls who opened it up to him.
Sheryl is over hyped
Yeah, she is, for many reasons. It’s not often we come across such a complex character who feels human and not otherworldly perfect. Sheryl is flawed. She can be selfish but not to the point of hurting others. She is a tease, she can be arrogant, but she is very thoughtful and generous when it matters. She is jealous of Ranka but instead of dropping her envy on her, she blames herself when she fails. The same can be said for Ranka, but I’ll get into that when I write about her. She appreciates what she has and works hard to keep it.
Sheryl Nome is a very strong, but lonely character. She lost her family and spent enough time on the street to understand suffering. She likes earning things in life, be it career or love, she will always work hard. But sometimes, she too needs to rest. And this is where her connection with Alto comes in. And even Ranka. Notice how in episode 23 she remembers only wanting a hot meal with someone dear to her, as a child.
Ranka and Alto have their own unique qualities but Sheryl stands out from episode 21 onward as a sort of hero amidst despair. It starts with her risking her life for Nanase, to standing up in the shelter and singing for the people. Most people would probably name this her first great moment. She has been through a lot in her life and now she is dying, and she isn’t thinking of herself. she will reclaim her name as Sheryl Nome because she lives to sing and wants to help with it, as much as possible.
Alto was never attracted to Sheryl sexually
I’m just adding this because it’s something that’s just… I understand being biased, but try and at least pay attention to what you are watching when you want to come up with an argument.
Just like to add, he was attracted to Ranka too.
She becomes Ranka in the movies to win
Sheryl is Sheryl, Ranka is Ranka and Alto is Alto.
Roles are switched in that Sheryl becomes a spy and traitor, an actual one instead of Ranka, who was assumed to have become a traitor in the series.
Sheryl has always had her cute side. If you missed it, watch the series again. Even Kawamori mentions in one of the episode audio commentaries (17:25) that she has a cute side. She is more open, because this time around she is aware of her situation and has a mission. she has to locate Ranka, but while doing so, forms a bond with her. Again, they keep pushing each other forward.
She finally gets a chance to meet her childhood idol, the boy she made a promise to, and gradually falls for him, as he does for her.
She knows what Grace is planning and I don’t believe she was going to go along with the plan. If she contemplated it even for a second, it was to fight the threat of the Vajra. When she gets arrested she goes along peacefully. She tries to push Ranka away, who confronts her and she opens up to her on her love towards Alto. They understand each other and so Ranka decides to save her. When Brera comes to get Ranka, Sheryl tells them the truth and later pushes her to safety, sacrificing herself.
Some of the scenes are switched between the girls, but that’s to show us how different the 3 react to situations this way. Ranka knowing Alto already makes her more open to him. She isn’t worried about pleasing him and because they are friends, isn’t intimidated by Sheryl when she is with them. When she confesses her love, the scene plays out different to the series. In the series Alto seeks out Sheryl and tries his best to talk to her until she shuts him up with a kiss. In the movies, they think Sheryl is dead and Alto is mourning her and Ozma. Just like Klan does with Michael’s glasses, Alto wears her earring as a memento. When he mourns her loss and Michael wants to hit him, he stops him and tells him there is nothing wrong with being sad over what he lost. Ranka has to seek him out to say goodbye. She ends up confessing and Alto slowly starts to speak when she shuts him up. In the end, Ranka only gets a hug. Her face is telling. While the window behind Alto and Sheryl showed an open sky filled with ships ready for battle, the triangle shaped windows behind Ranka and Alto close.
In short, was Sheryl needed for the plot? What is Frontier about? Communication. There was miscommunication and hiding of facts between all 3 that got resolved. She was involved. Was she connected to the Vajra? Yes. Was she involved in singing? Yes. Was she responsible in Ranka’s rise to fame? Yes. Did she help Alto achieve his dream? Yes. Did she help resolve the conflict between humanity and the Vajra? Yes. Would Alto and Ranka have even met without her? No.
I know some people will never see these, or like Sheryl regardless, but I think to those with an open mind, I made the love many of us have for her crystal clear.
If you guys reading this are not rabid haters, feel free to share your own feelings on why you love, like, don’t care for, dislike or hate Sheryl. Discuss!
P.S. For anyone who thinks they found their new favorite Sheryl-AruSheri-fan/Ranka-AruRan hater, sorry to disappoint you but you’ll have to go somewhere else to get your character/ship hate fix. My views are overly positive on Ranka and Alto too, so don’t expect me shitting on them anytime soon.