ROBOTECH REWATCH 5: Saturn Ahoy!

robotech rewatchWelcome back to the Robotech Rewatch! The space opera that put the melodrama into shiny shiny mecha…

The humans have a giant ship they don’t understand, are under attack from giant aliens who want their giant ship back, and accidentally teleported themselves to Pluto. Meanwhile, Rick Hunter has manpain and his sort-of-girlfriend Minmei is oblivious.

I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking that up until now, the series has been short on reference to ladies’ underwear. Well, worry no longer!

This weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project. Thanks everyone for your support!

ep6_missile_commandEpisode 6. Blitzkrieg

It’s months later, Macross City (the spaceship edition) has been repaired, and Rick Hunter is a proper military recruit now, all trained up thanks to the ancient military technique of montage.

On his first leave, Rick finds himself co-opted by Minmei to perform proper boyfriend duties such as carrying her shopping and standing awkwardly in lingerie shops.

So, it’s time for another anti-meet-cute for Lisa Hayes and Rick! Lisa, Kim and Sami are examining undies in the shop when they spot him awkwardly hiding behind a display. Given the awkward hiding, they assume think he’s a weirdo creep and leave. I’m sure this won’t in any way have an adverse effect on his career or reputation, considering that Lisa is his superior officer.

Meanwhile, aliens Breetai and Exedore scheme away behind the scenes as the humans approach Saturn. The rings, apparently, will enable them to hide and then jump out and say ‘Boo.’ They’re quite looking forward to it.

“Even though you have a room that doesn’t mean you can fool around.”
Roy Fokker, Lifestyle Guru

Now Rick is a proper fighter pilot, Roy is actually paid to give him encouraging pep talks rather than doing them on his own time. Some time after the lingerie shop incident, Roy is telling it all like it is when the two of them run into the bridge crew women, including Lisa Hayes who gives Rick the side-eye.

“You’re that loudmouth pilot, aren’t you?”
Lisa Hayes, Excellent Judge of Character.

Obviously Lisa hasn’t in fact been paying much attention to human resources, as she is surprised to learn that Roy’s new wunderkind pilot is the same former civilian who stole a military vessel by accident back on invasion day. She’s unimpressed but seems to enjoy Rick’s discomfort as he remembers calling her an old sourpuss.

“You’d better watch your mouth from now on because she’s your superior officer.”

Roy, Advisor to the Stars

“Lecher.”

Sami sums up.

Despite the underwear comedy banter, it’s all getting a bit serious, with a counterattack planned against the Zentraedi (doesn’t it just count as an ‘attack’ if you plan it this far in advance?). The night before battle, the pilots are sent off to see people that matter to them before they all die horribly. Rick attempts a date with Minmei but she missed the memo about it all being Really Quite Serious, and can only spare a minute to wish him luck before running home.

Important note: Minmei appears to be fickle and flighty (from Rick’s POV) but she also says that she’s not allowed out late at night with boys. Add this to the alarming revelation in the next chapter that she’s still attending school and I can’t help wondering – just how young is this girl that Rick is trying to crack on to every chance he gets? What is the actual age difference? because yes, he acts about fourteen, but is old enough to join the military.

There’s a cute world-building moment when Rick calls over a CCTV camera in the fountain (that apparently is normally just lurking there) to take a picture of Minmei’s pretty dress. These cozy day to day interactions with technology are always appreciated.

Rick ends up back in his bunk, dreaming of Minmei and not sleeping. Roy gets him up early and performs yet another pep talk.

“Don’t worry, losing a night’s sleep won’t kill you.”
Roy, not really getting how war works.

Supported by Lisa’s commands through their headsets, the Skull squadron sets off to fight the bad guys. My daughters reacted thus:

Ms 4: Stop distracting them! Stop talking!
Ms 9: No, she’s telling them what to do.

Lisa loses her temper at Rick for flying recklessly which comes as a shock to him – he thought he was the sensible one and everyone else was flying dangerously. She corrects him. I have to say, I felt a lot like Rick when I was first taking driving lessons. But when it comes to military expertise, I’m always going to be on Team Lisa. Listen to Lisa!

Exedore and Breetai are gobsmacked by the sheer ballsiness and naiveté of the Micronians in this particular battle – is it not OBVIOUS that the Zendraedi are holding back nearly all of their troops? They kind of thought it was obvious.

Undeterred, the humans try to fire the Main Gun of the SDF1, only to realise it doesn’t work because of their own pinpoint barrier. This is a cool piece of tech, actually – a group of operators (all women again!) dance their hands over motion detectors to move around the “pinpoint barrier,” tiny shields which protect the main ship from direct hits. It’s like a game of table tennis with lethal consequences.

Clearly outmatched, most of the human troops except Skull Squadron take heavy casualties. After crashing his way on to a Zentraedi ship, Rick comes face to face with an enemy soldier out of armour and cant’ bring himself to kill him – he worries about this afterwards, and what it means for his role as a fighter pilot.

Lisa earns her salary yet again by coming up with a brilliant plan to use the pinpoint barrier offensively rather than defensively. They punch through the alien ship with the “Daedalus” aircraft carrier which is stuck on the end of the SDF1’s right arm, and insert troops on the alien ship that way. It has massive success, so yay Lisa!

“Perhaps we’d better call in reinforcements.”

Breetai, slightly concerned that the Micronians have beat the pants off them despite the Zentraedi holding their hands behind their back during that one.

After this valiant battle, the Skull squadron receive military commendations. There is no mention of whether Lisa is likewise commended for her excellent strategy. Pheh.

The narrator is so bored by Rick’s angst and Roy’s pep talks, that he reports it to the viewer rather than making us watch it. Saves time.

Previous Posts:

1 – So Much For World Peace
2 – Who Put Pluto There?
3 – To Be In Love
4 – Welcome to the First Chinese Restaurant in Space

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