Robotech will be rewatched after these messages! The message that this episode is trying to convey is mostly that it’s not a good thing to screen a big distracting beauty pageant during a major military operation, especially if all your pilots and air traffic controllers have the ability to change to the ‘beauty pageant’ channel during combat.
I really wish I was kidding.
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 all 47 of my paid patrons. You can support Musketeer Space at Patreon.
Episode 9 – Miss Macross
Macross City is thriving – they now have a new fake sky thanks to Robotech research (who are obviously trying to make up for that whole ‘whoops the fold engine disappeared on our watch’ debacle), and now the Miss Macross pageant, just in case any young women in the city weren’t feeling sufficiently crappy about themselves.
Ah, living in the future.
Minmei was entered in the contest by the mayor, which makes me give him the side-eye even more than last episode – presumptuous, much? Still, we already know that Minmei wanted to be in the pageant back on Earth, so it could be that she’s just saying this to make Rick feel less threatened.
The glitzy Miss Macross pageant, with its ship-wide telecast and blazing spotlights, is the first sign we have that the civilians are building their own celebrity and entertainment culture along with all those other urban luxuries.
Rick, meanwhile, is supposed to be on patrol, but the bridge crew can’t find him. He’s ditched his duty assignment to watch Minmei in the pageant.
The show occasionally gives us tiny glimpses into characters outside the main ensemble, and how this crazy space situation has affected other lives. This week we get Jan Morris, a genuine movie star who happens to have been on Macross Island during the disaster, and is now trying to make a ‘comeback’ among the plebs. She is snotty to Minmei, who approaches the actress with a grubby piece of paper instead of a proper autograph book.
Rick manages to catch just enough of Minmei’s performance in the pageant to discover that she doesn’t really have a boyfriend (news to him!) and that the only Special Boy in her life (probably him) is someone she thinks of as a brother. Grumpy about this, since he’s been calling her his girlfriend inside his own head for months now, Rick is then embarrassed to be hauled out of the pageant thanks to a robot phone – Lisa Hayes is on the warpath and he should be in space already.
He’s probably going to miss the swimsuit parade.
Still, Rick has a new armoured Battloid to play with, so it’s not all bad. Lisa tells him off for using it, though – he’s not supposed to waste new equipment on a routine patrol. It’s too late to put the special toys back, though, so sucks to her.
Instead of being remotely apologetic for his unprofessional behaviour, Rick brats out, flicking to the channel showing the Miss Macross pageant rather than listening to Lisa, and pretending they are picking up interference when she tried to communicate actual information to him. This is pretty risky behaviour just for the sake of seeing a girl he likes in a one-piece… especially as she seems to be unaware that they are even dating!
Meanwhile, three Zentraedi pilots attempt to spy on the SDF-1 through their communication channels – and get quite an eyeful of bikinis, spotlights, men and women talking to each other, and all kinds of other things that make no sense at all. The whole experience is kind of traumatising for them.
“Why would they give her such skimpy armour that only protects a small portion of her body?”
The Zentraedi spies muse on the possible strategic value of the swimsuit.
Rick is so busy ogling Minmei that he fails to notice the Zentraedi ship in time. Luckily for him, the Zentraedi ship is piloted by Konda, Bron and Rico, who are also watching the pageant instead of actual space. It’s amazing that they don’t all blow each other up – oh wait, they do. The Zentraedi return to their fleet with no recordings of the freaky pageant, and Rick Hunter’s brand new Battloid just voided its warranty.
What’s worse, the bridge crew don’t immediately notice what has happened to Rick, because they are ALSO watching the Miss Macross pageant instead of their instruments. I despair for the human race.
Over in the First World Problems division, Minmei trips and falls on the catwalk, because her Girl Next Door act includes artful flaws. Or possibly because she’s not used to wearing heels. Either way, she figures she has flubbed her chance.
In the audience, Roy suggests cynically that the movie star Jan Morris is bound to win and this whole thing is set up for her benefit. Ben and Max are skeptical, reminding him that it’s a popular vote. Fingers on buzzers, audience members!
To everyone’s shock and surprise (mostly Jan Morris’ shock, poor old duck), Minmei wins.
Rick, recovering slowly in his damaged Battloid, harnesses his priorities long enough to check in on the pageant (physically changing to that channel instead of radioing for help), and sees Minmei with her crown and flowers. He’s proud of her, but for how long? It’s going to be even harder to keep her attention now…
Micronians go home, I am retracting your license to fight a space war.