ROBOTECH REWATCH 33: Team Hovertank!

Robotech will be rewatched after these messages.

It’s a whole new show, but we have clips to prove that isn’t true.

It’s totally true, though.

You weren’t attached to all the previous characters, settings and plots, were you?

MopeBowieEpisode 37: Graduation Blues

Everything changes right here!

It’s the Second Robotech War according to the DVD case but I always think of this particular storyline as the Southern Cross.

New opening credits. I’ve missed that clip of Dana shooting the viewer. When I was originally watching the show, the credits were the same throughout, with images referencing all three Robotech series. I always wondered about those characters in the credits that I didn’t know, until finally they turned up and OH there they are.

That happened for the first time with this episode. It’s fifteen years later, and a new generation are graduating from Robotech Academy. This blew my mind the first time around, because new characters, and no sign of the old characters, and WTF? Where was my show? I was all attached and I desperately wanted to know what happened next for Rick and Lisa and where the hell is my show?

For those who aren’t familiar with how Robotech works, the show was only supposed to run for 36 episodes because that’s how many episodes there WERE of the original Japanese anime ‘Macross’. But they decided to keep it going by dubbing two mostly unconnected other mecha-based anime series as if they were all part of the same story.

This is such a bewilderingly beautiful thing, that I can’t even express it. But for me at the time, NOT KNOWING THIS in the days before Wikipedia, I was constantly frustrated and confused.

Still Dana and her antics soon wormed their way into my heart, even if I was watching obsessively for any hint of, you know, what the hell had happened to all my favourites who seemed weirdly not to be around any more. (Spoiler: they’re all off in deep space, yes even Minmei, go figure)

And then of course, when the Southern Cross storyline transitioned into the Invid Invasion, they did it to me AGAIN.

Ahem. I’m not bitter. On with the story.

We open with what looks like a propaganda film covering the destruction of the SDF1, the heroes who died that day, and how human society has developed on Earth over the last fifteen years. In other words, all the stuff that happened last week. Headspin. Now I know how Captain America felt when he woke up out of the ice.

The film is being shown to the first generation of official graduates from Robotech Academy – which maybe explains why so many of the kids are being given pretty high-falutin’ titles for newbies. And also why there’s a huge generation gap in this society – lots of over-qualified teenagers and old dudes with medals, but the parental generation are mostly AWOL.

Bowie has just graduated as a Private but he’s pretty miserable about it because he doesn’t want to be a soldier, so he hangs around in his room moping and listening to Minmei records. Does that mean that Minmei is this generation’s Nick Cave?

Bowie’s best friend, a bubbly blonde Lieutenant, arrives to cheer him up and after torturing him with her poor singing she decides to tell him the super romantic story of how her parents got together.

Ms9’s eyes lit up as she put the pieces together. The Lieutenant is Dana Sterling, the daughter of Max and Miriya, last seen with bright aqua hair being tossed about to end a war. Also, this is a clip show with an actual purpose, to explain how this saga matches up to the old one.

If we’re going to re-experience a Robotech romance, it should totally be this one. Max and Miriya are still hot together. Also their story works especially well as a clip show because you pretty much don’t have to leave anything out – I didn’t realise until this rewatch how little time we actually got with the Max and Miriya story. You can show their entire relationship in a 20 minute period.

Their knife fight has to be the best knife fight of all television ever. And also the best first date.

Just as we get to the wedding, Dana is interrupted in her storytelling by a call to arms. She and Bowie run out with their fellow graduates, and the episode skips to an Robotech Masters admin meeting. Turns out they’re running short on Protoculture. I wonder if that will turn out to be important.

Back on Earth, Space station Liberty is under attack. New pilot Lieutenant Marie Crystal is anxious but not nervous as she goes into battle.

Some things blow up.

Basically the story hasn’t started yet; we need to wait for next week to get to know all the characters properly. Dana’s pal Bowie, by the way, is the nephew of the awesome tea-obsessed Claudia who proved last week that you’re not really a dedicated shipper until you’ve sacrificed your life for your OTP. Bowie and Dana are the foster children of General Rolf Emerson, belonging to a whole generation of kids who have been heartlessly abandoned by their spacefaring parents.

I mention this, though these details aren’t overt in the show yet, because on my original viewing I found the Southern Cross storyline and many of the relationships utterly baffling, until I read the novelisation and put more of the details together. Hey, for several episodes I thought Nova Satori was actually Miriya, based largely on her hair colour.

After this first utter tease of an episode with its Max and Miriya clip show extravaganze, the references to the missing parents and their peers are so spaced out and rare that it took me ages to figure out that pretty much all the surviving characters from the original Robotech War are no longer on Earth (cough, for the obvious reasons that they were never in this show in the first place).

I’m putting you out of your misery. They’re never coming back. Don’t look for them. Don’t miss them. It’s time to move on.

We’re all about Team Dana now. Come over to our side, we have hovertanks.

robotech rewatch danaThis 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.

3 replies on “ROBOTECH REWATCH 33: Team Hovertank!”

  1. Grant says:

    The thing I always found weird about Robotech’s strategy to chain three unrelated shows together (I was told it was to qualify then for syndication, which needs at least 65 episodes) was that they bought two out of three of Big West’s Super Dimension trilogy – Macross and Southern Cross – but then ignored the third – Orguss – in favour of Mospeada. To this day you can’t get a copy of Orguss with English subtitles.

  2. Mortificator says:

    Mospeada fits in so well with Macross, though. The Alpha feels like a proper descendent of the Valkyrie, down to having the same three modes.

    Also, hello to the blog writer! I’ve read all these Robotech entries so far. My history with the series is very similar to yours, but I actually missed the previous episode back in the day, so I hadn’t even got to see how the interpersonal drama resolved before I has hit with a new story.

    Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for the Southern Cross cast to win me over.

  3. tansyrr says:

    I don’t know anything about Orguss – but then I’ve never actually watched the original Macross either, though I’ve meant to for over a decade, since I first found out about the story behind Robotech.

    Hi, Mortificator! Nice to see you here. Missing episodes was terrible, back in the day. By this stage of watching it through I was not only addicted, but super worried if I missed one, that would be the episode where Rick and Lisa came back.

    In retrospect I was possibly a little too invested in that concept.

Comments are closed.