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I had totally forgotten that the Christmas episode was the penultimate episode of the First Robotech War.
Episode 36: To the Stars
Lisa is mournfully thinking about how she lost Rick. Sadness makes her hair go all glittery.
Rick is mournfully thinking about how much he loves Robotechnology.
Minmei suggests that she and Rick both ditch their jobs, because she’s completely disillusioned with everything. He is a bit bewildered about how this means she doesn’t get him at all. Her solution to his confusion is for them to get married.
Our Minmei, she’s a problem solver.
Khyron meanwhile is gearing up to kill everyone, like he does. He has all the protoculture all the time, and it’s gone to his head. Khyron is not one for character growth.
Lisa is thinking about retirement too, which shocks Claudia who tells her off for being so weak. She is a military woman, surely she wouldn’t give all that up because her boy picked a different girl? Lisa resists her logic, because she’s miserable and just wants to ‘get away.’
Captain Gloval is similarly dismissive when Lisa tries to resign her commission, but his stern, fatherly moustache succeeds where Claudia fails. Amusingly, it turns out he has always known about the whole Rick/Lisa romance. I like to think that he has been receiving regular email updates from Sami. He rewards Lisa for making the right choice by offering her a command of her own.
The Earth forces have been building their own version of the SDF1, in order to find the home planet of the Zentraedi and the Robotech Masters. The Earth can’t take being destroyed again. So seriously, they just threw a new battle fortress together. No mention is made of how this happened without Lisa being aware of it, because it’s right there, ready to go, and seriously? Are their engineers super covert, or has Lisa just been really self-absorbed lately?
Don’t answer that.
“That is why I intend to make certain that the next battlefield will be on their home planet.”
Gloval’s argument for space travel.
Lisa is overwhelmed and pleased. This solves all her problems – she can get away AND still do her duty. Also, her own battle fortress. Everything a girl could want!
Rick is playing with his toy plane, trying to figure out how Minmei thinks giving up flying is something he can do. His duty is important, and he’s never wanted to be anything other than a pilot.
Lisa comes to tell Rick she is leaving for the stars, and to say goodbye. Because apparently interstellar missions can happen that quickly. She is polite to Minmei and manages to stay cool right up until the end where she admits she loves Rick. Because she’s actually pretty awesome now, she apologises to Minmei for saying that to her bloke, but it was her last chance.
With a salute, Lisa runs away crying and Rick tries to go after her, but Minmei stops him. It’s not clear if it’s the woman or the mission he’s most interested in, but before they can resolve anything, there’s a Zentraedi attack on the city. Rick shakes off Minmei and runs after Lisa, worried about her.
When he catches up to her in the midst of the chaos, Rick tells Lisa that he loves her too, in between assessing the military situation.
Minmei runs up and tries to get Rick to go to a shelter because she never really got the hang of the fact that he isn’t a civilian. It comes down to her shrieking about being safe and them both yelling about duty.
“There’s no future,” MInmei says at one point, which is pretty bleak. Here’s hoping the human race still has therapists.
Lisa, to her credit, defends Rick’s identity as a pilot instead of challenging Minmei on the grounds of feelings.
Rick chooses saving the human race over placating his girlfriend, and runs after Lisa.
Minmei screams hysterically in the streets, surrounded by fire and misery. It’s oddly satisfying.
Also you need to know that every time a character started professing love in this episode, Ms9 slurped her cereal loudly so as not to listen to it. I only figured out she was doing it deliberately after the second or third time.
Lisa and her girls Sami, Vanessa and Kim fire up the shiny new SDF2, but they are attacked straight away and the ship lists badly, crippled. In his plane, Rick is devastated, thinking Lisa is dead.
I want you all to stop and think about how many hits the SDF1 survived in the old days. I guess they don’t make battle fortresses like they used to.
Lisa thinks ‘what would Admiral Gloval do?” and the answer is of course “secretly repair the SDF1 so it’s battleworthy too and hang out with Claudia waiting for you guys to catch up.”
It’s not entirely explicit from the cartoon itself, but there’s a connecting corridor between the two ships allowing them to basically run across to the other bridge.
The entire old crew are reunited, and the SDF1 takes to the skies over Macross City again. Minmei is among the humans who are inspired and delighted to see the old crate active again.
Khyron continues his onslaught.
Lisa and Rick happily discover each other’s aliveness over the radio, and she sends him away from the path of the Big Gun, with Max and Miriya watching his tail.
After firing once, the SDF1 settles back into the lake, completely depleted of power. Aww, ship.
Khyron and Azonia prepare for a glorious sacrifice, to ram the helpless SDF1. They are such romantics.
Brace for collision!
Rick watches in horror as Khyron’s ship crashes into the SDF1 and it is destroyed.
“Victoreeeeee!” Khyron cackles as his final words.
But Rick gets out of his plane turns around to discover that Lisa is fine! Well, not fine, there’s probably going to be some PTSD issues, and all her friends are dead, but it turns out that Gloval pushed her into an escape pod at the last moment.
In the novelisation, it was made clear that in fact all Lisa’s friends ganged up on her and chose her to be the one to take the pod, on the grounds that “she was the only one who had something to live for” which I choose to interpret as meaning that they were all far too invested in the Rick/Lisa soap opera to give up on it now.
Puts a whole different angle on that gossip newsletter now, huh?
Just as Rick and Lisa are expressing their love to each other (slurrrrp), Minmei runs up to them. Awkward! Rick tries to tell her he is in love with Lisa but she takes over the conversation, with much umming and ahhing she comes up with an obviously fraudulent cover story to protect her dignity – she’s going back to her career because music is her life.
Lisa manages to only be slightly sarcastic as Minmei reframes the narrative so she is totally dumping Rick and not the other way around. Finally, she’s gone, and Rick and Lisa can consummate their love by staring nobly into the distance and planning to build a new battle fortress together.
Probably they won’t do the actual building themselves. Possibly they have people for that.
To the stars, then! It feels like an ending, but according to the usually reliable narrator, there’s another episode to come next week. So I guess we don’t have to say goodbye to Rick and Lisa yet?
This weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project. Thanks to everyone who has linked, commented, and especially to my paid patrons. You can support Musketeer Space at Patreon.