I’m enjoying the rewatch so far, not least because Raeli (Ms9.5) is enjoying it along with me. Jem (Ms4.11) is far less convinced, as the aliens scare her which necessitates a regular application of a blankie to the head. She starts perking up with interest once the lady aliens arrive, though…
However, this is not that day!
I’m doing my best to restrain the Minmei bashing (which is an essential aspect of Robotech fandom) because my daughters both like and identify with her. Also, it has to be said, she’s not the only female character who is regularly portrayed as a ditz… and let’s not even get started on the ridiculous inner turmoils of Rick Hunter, Drama Queen.
Minmei’s not the only airhead at this party, is perhaps my point. Though she’s the only one who has age as an excuse… that’s right, it’s birthday party time!
Khyron is in town, and it’s going to get nasty…
Sgt Rick Hunter is lured into a meeting with the top brass, who only seem to be relevant to the story in meetings like this (my theory is that Gloval keeps them all in the storage cupboard the rest of the time) He is presented with a medal of valour for his actions on Mars. Hilariously, he is about two heads shorter than all the other pilots receiving honours. Roy later breaks it to him that he’s now a Lieutenant (I still can’t get over that he’s a Sergeant) and that he has been assigned two baby pilots of his own to take care of.
It’s Ben Dixon and Max Sterling! I kind of want to cry. It’s so nice to see them enter the story. The power of command promptly goes to Rick’s head, and he becomes crazy pleased with himself. Don’t worry about the smug, though, Rick Hunter feeling good about himself is never going to be more than a temporary blip on the radar.
Meanwhile Lisa is cranky that Rick has been promoted, despite his obvious incompetence in the field. Claudia thinks this is hilarious, as it’s obviously because of his rescue of Lisa last episode.
Rick brings his new corporals to Minmei’s birthday party, showing them off as the arm candy they are, and we finally get the answer to the eternal question of just how old this girl is – she’s turning sixteen! Rick Hunter, you’re a bit skeevy.
Sadly Rick quickly learns the error of taking polite, handsome young friends to the party of a girl you fancy. Max impresses Minmei with his looks and manners, while Rick (who has forgotten a present) comes off very badly by comparison.
There’s nothing like a self-involved teenage girl to make a self-involved bloke get over himself – Rick’s attempt to impress Minmei with his medal and promotion are eclipsed by everyone else’s excitement that she might sing at the party! The mayor’s fannishness about Minmei is starting to feel on the inappropriate side, though…
The party is ruined, to Minmei’s distress, when the aliens attack and all her pet flyboys rush off to defend the space fortress. How rude!
“I can’t perform and babysit at the same time!”
Rick in the cockpit, learning that leadership is hard.
The new Vermilion Squadron has a rocky start in combat. Ben is a chaotic disaster in the air, taking nothing seriously and laughing uproariously the whole time. Raeli correctly guessed that he’s not likely to survive the whole series – she was actually surprised he survived the episode. Max makes up for it by being a brilliant. The three of them average out to a good squad.
“I don’t know how but I guess I survived.”
Ben Dixon agrees with the nine-year-old that he got lucky.
Khyron has gone completely off book, this entire attack being against Breetai’s express orders. As, indeed, are all his attacks. Honestly, no one EVER gives Khyron orders except ‘stay’. When Breetai figures out what is going on, he enacts manual override and physically hauls Khyron and his men back like naughty schoolboys.
Breetai is one of those characters I didn’t really notice much back in the day, but I grew very fond of him thanks to the novelisations. Like Captain Gloval, he’s a bluff old space dog trying to do his job.
“I suspected something when he said he was playing war games.”
Breetai goes ‘hmm’ about Khyron’s latest sortie.
The Vermilion boys retreat, alive and well, to take stock of their first firefight together. Max the humble hotshot was responsible for 9 kills, while Ben managed 0. Rick is fairly happy with his 5 until Ben is all tactless about how Max beat him.
It’s not the worst day Rick Hunter has ever had – but when the work is done, he realises to his horror that the shops are all closed and he hasn’t got Minmei a birthday present yet! He goes to see her, quite reluctantly, and manages a last minute save by throwing her his medal – which she adores because it’s sparkly and not because of any particular emotional or military significance it might hold.
In retrospect, joining the military to impress a girl who doesn’t know or care anything about the military was probably a bad move for Rick Hunter. It’s a good thing he’s getting job satisfaction out of it.