Robotech Rewatch 51: Cool Rider

robo-rand-animatedWelcome to the Robotech Rewatch, in which I try to pretend I don’t still really resent the New Generation for not being the Southern Cross.

In my defence, there was VERY LITTLE closure to the Second Robotech War. And when I first watched this, there was no internet to tell me what had happened.

I wrote an essay to work through my feelings about that.

Okay, hovertanks to the back, my darlings, it’s all about biker gangs and swirly organic aliens now. POST APOCALYPTIC BIKER GANGS.

Episode 61 – The Invid Invasion

Our Stalwart Excitable Narrator has a lot to explain this time around – all about how the Invid Regis turned the Earth into a wasteland hunting out the Protoculture and everything is terrible. But surprisingly little about what the hell happened to Dana and her friends. Thanks for nothing, Stalwart Excitable Narrator.

The good news is that a whole bunch of ships are heading to the Earth from Admiral Hunter’s expedition, ready to reclaim their homeland. It’s awesome. We’re finally going to – oh, no, none of these people are anyone we know. The crew are mostly young adults who were born in space, and none of them are descended from our Original Cast.

Marlene is obviously our main character and possibly the daughter of Rick and Lisa based on her voice actress. THIS IS NOT TRUE, DAMN IT, SHE’S JUST RANDOM. Marlene is love with Dramatic Blue-Haired Guy aka Scott Bernard, who wants her to marry him. No way this is going to turn into a tragic backstory or anything.

Ms10: The women’s skirts are too short for comfort
Me: Don’t worry, they’re all about to die.
Ms10: Phew!

Off Commander Bernard goes to be a big damn hero. Robotech ships go pow!

Unfortunately, the main ship is damaged and ends up struggling with re-entry. A fleet of Invid turn up just in time to blast the ship and everything goes to hell.

Scott is understandably devastated to lose his entire crew and his girlfriend. There we go with the instant tragic backstory!

When he lands, he gets very angry at the trees and grass of Earth (yes, it all grew back since Dana’s generation, apparently the Invid did that too, or possibly the protoculture). At this point, we’re getting a lot of monologuing and imaginary postcards to Admiral Hunter, who was obviously quite important to Scott.

Unfortunately, this planet is trying to kill him. First rain, then a random lighting strike throws a tree at him. Oh, he’s so miserable!

I like Scott so much more than I ever used to. The mangst!

“I suppose the Earth could be tolerable as long as there isn’t any of that electricity shooting out of the sky.” Optimist.

OMG he has a cool bike (AKA a Cyclone) parked in his little spaceship. That’s convenient! He’s also having hallucinations of his commander. If Scott didn’t keep telling us that Admiral Hunter would turn up any minute (spoiler: he never does) I would really be enjoying this.

Ms10: it’s the futuristic leather jacket!
Me: Yep, it’s Grease 2 all over again.
Ms10: why is everyone on bikes?
Me: Living in the future.
Ms10: Oh that’s why they need the jackets.

Scott runs out of grass and forest very quickly and scoffs at the desert landscape. Screw you, Admiral Hunter, you never bragged about this crappy bit of the planet!

Enter Rand: a scrappy lad on his own recently-scavenged Cyclone who looks a lot like a redheaded Rick Hunter. He’s so in love with his new bike that he really doesn’t want to chat to Scott even after he rescues him from the Invid Shocktroopers.

The narrator is really excited that these two are going to win back the Earth. Neither Scott nor Rand are especially convinced, and neither am I. But I’m pretty sure I like Rand.

Episode 62 – The Lost City

For someone who never turns up, we sure hear a lot about Admiral Hunter. The narrator and Scott are equally obsessed with him.

Scott tries to seduce Rand into joining his rebellion by promising to teach him how to turn his bike into other configurations. Rand has no idea why anyone would want their Cyclone to turn into anything but a bike, because bikes are awesome, shut up.

Rand is my favourite and my best.

Scott discovers that random peasants in trucks seem to know his tragic backstory for no apparent reason. That’s weird.

Enter: Annie, the super creepy little girl who keeps trying to get older men to express romantic interest in her. We don’t know yet how she fits into anything.

Rand and Scott arrive to find Annie weeping all over the road because her “boyfriend” (ew) Ken is refusing to leave town with her. Seriously, she looks about 8 and acts like she’s 16 or possibly 35 – she’s a serial sexual harasser. She makes no sense. Is she like a really short adult? I want her to be more like Molly from the Runaways and she’s just not.

They arrive in a sinister town with sinister people and apparently some survivors from Scott’s Expeditionary Force are there somewhere. It’s all very suspicious.

But the important thing is that the Invid Regis is voiced by Azonia. Woo!

Scott, Rand (with Annie sharing his Cyclone) are lured across a bridge to an even more sinister ruined city in the middle of a lake. They find destroyed hovertanks and cyclones… it’s not a junkyard so much as a graveyard. Like that episode of Doctor Who where they had to rebuild a TARDIS from the bits of other TARDISes.

And oh look, Annie’s creepy adult boyfriend Ken has retracted the bridge, and now the Invid are popping up out of the water and they’re totally surrounded.

This is going to be a short series.

Annie is ridiculous and awful and keeps trying to storm off. Rand rides after her to try to stop her and she basically accuses him of sexual harassment (physician heal thyself!), then grabs some massive guns and starts shooting at the Invid as well as random other bits of the city.

Okay, I like her slightly more when she’s holding a bazooka.

Rand and Annie are in dire straits, but a mysterious red Cyclone (let’s call her Cool Rider) arrives out of nowhere, transfigures, and shoots the hell out of the Invid, rescuing them far more effectively than Scott, who rolls in late.

SCOTT: I want to thank you, soldier, for saving our lives…

Cool Rider leaves without a word. Because she’s just that cool.

The townspeople kick Scott and the others out because they’re happy being collaborators and don’t want to stand up to the Invid. Scott judges them all and stomps off in a strop. Because he has been living on Earth for all of five minutes, and is an expert in everything.

As they ride away, Rand tries to lighten Scott up by teasing him about his girlfriend. Bad move! Marlene’s dead, Rand, how could you not know that? Bad friend.

In the distance, Cool Rider takes her helmet off and shakes out long blonde hair. I cannot emphasise enough how much I believed she was Dana Sterling at this point, and how excited I was for the next episode to reveal this important fact.

Rook, I love you, but if you had turned out to be Dana, this story would have meant so much more to me.
Sigh.

Episode 63 – Lonely Soldier Boy

Time to meet Yellow Dancer, a famous singer apparently following in the footsteps of Minmei, though their music is completely different, more soft rock than teen pop. And of course, Yellow Dancer has a definite genderqueer edge to her…

Ms10: Is that a girl?
Me: (expecting an in depth conversation about gender presentation) It’s complicated… I’m think it’s a male character dressed up as a female singer.
Ms10: That’s not that complicated.

Yellow Dancer is, by the way, voiced by the same artist who was Max Sterling. When she’s attacked in a bar, a blonde woman in red (Rook!) comes to her rescue and the two of them kick a bunch of ass.

When Scott and Rand walk into the bar, they find Rook in mid-brawl. Scott recognises her from their fight and refuses to let Rand jump in because she can obviously handle herself. (Okay, nice once, Scott) He only changes his mind when it’s about five again one, and even then, Rook bitches him out about butting in.

Yellow Dancer emerges from the shadows and is properly grateful to the boys. Rand dissolves into fanboy incoherence because he needs an autograph like, now.

Another new character, Lunk (an obvious reincarnation of Ben Dixon, sharing the same voice artist and many of the same character traits), is a large fellow in a yellow headband being chased by a biker gang despite the fact that there is rubble everywhere, so obviously being on foot would be a serious advantage.

Scott rescues him too, just for the hell of it, though Lunk is no more grateful than Rook was. Turns out Lunk has friends who need to be rescued and he’s too much of a coward to do it himself, so Scott heroes up AGAIN and zooms off to do it.

Properly shamed, Lunk borrows a bike and leads the rest of them off, posse-style, while the narrator gets a bit hot and bothered with Wild West analogies. Annie is getting hot and bothered too, and declares that Lunk is the man for her.

Seriously, Annie is such a creepy stalker, no matter how old she is.

Rook and Rand have obvious romantic chemistry, Robotech-style, which means they’re pissing each other off with everything that comes out of their mouths – she’s a know it all nag and he’s an overgrown adolescent with a slight hint of sexism. Yes, basically they are Rick and Lisa.

Lunk, like everyone else, seems to know that Scott is a member of the REF, and wonders if he’d be capable of flying a Veritech.

Sweetie, you had him at “Veritech.”

Annie is suspicious of Yellow Dancer hanging out with the combatants (the two of them are waiting in the car together) until Yellow Dancer assures her with a very pissed off expression that she has no romantic interest in any of the dudes.

I respect that Yellow Dancer is well aware of how creepy Annie is.

After their battle, Lunk decides to ditch his friends and join the posse, official-like. Annie is sad because she promised herself she’d never marry a soldier – given that Lunk very politely turned her down thirty seconds earlier for being too young for him, this is a good thing all around.

The surprise is that Yellow Dancer wants in too.

Scott: Don’t be ridiculous. This is no job for a cocktail lounge chorus girl.
Yellow Dancer: There’s a lot more to me than meets the eye.
Scott: The only thing I see is a woman in a slinky outfit.
Yellow Dancer: Wrong on both counts, mister. I’ve got something to show you…

To everyone’s shock, Yellow Dancer turns her back, slowly strips out of her corset, wipes off her makeup and reveals herself to be a man. A hot, shirtless man.

Thereby breaking Rand’s little fanboy heart, and making everyone else feel kinda sexually confused. Oh, anime. You went there. Yeah you did.

I do feel that Yellow Dancer – now revealed to be Lancer – was better clad for battle when wearing the corset.

robotech thirdThis weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project.

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4 replies on “Robotech Rewatch 51: Cool Rider”

  1. Mortificator says:

    For this part of Robotech, I read the novels first and didn’t see the episodes until much later, so I was not prepared for Annie’s on-screen portrayal.

  2. tansyrr says:

    That’s interesting! I have the novels of this series but I’m pretty sure I didn’t read them because I was so uninvested in this series as a whole. Now I’m interested to find out how they write Annie to make her better…

  3. Grant Watson says:

    Of the three Robotechs, this one was by a mile my favourite. I loved the characters and holy crap did I love the transforming robot suit motorcycles and particularly the Invid.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I enjoyed the first Robotech but that was in spite of the Minmei character. The second series bored me to tears, but it was the Invid Invasion that had me doing appointment viewing when I was a teenager.

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