ROBOTECH REWATCH 6: Death by Flashback

robotech rewatchWelcome back to the Robotech Rewatch, the blog about the show that put all the wrong people in charge! 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!

Episode 7. Bye Bye Mars

More months have passed.

Like the Wolf in Red Riding Hood, Breetai and Exedore’s Zendraedi forces drop out of hyperspace and get to Mars ahead of the Micronians, ready to set a trap for them as they bring their basket of goodies to Grandmother’s house. Most of the humans on the Mars outpost have already been wiped out by other Zendraedi forces, so it’s a good place to hide.

Exedore is horrified that Breetai has summoned Khyron’s forces for backup. By all accounts, this young blue-haired captain is too nasty for even the Zentraedi, with rumours he has killed his own men for looking at him funny. As soon as Khryon turns up, he establishes himself quickly as an arrogant little shit, who laughs maniacally at random intervals. Oh yeah, Breetai, no way this could possibly go wrong for you.

The crew and the pilots are exhausted by daily attacks coming from the aliens. Rick is feeling particularly rough, and is depressed when he runs into a bright and cheerful Minmei – school is out because of the attacks, and she’s in a good mood.

Yes, she’s a schoolgirl. Makes that whole sexual harassment by soldiers thing extra icky, doesn’t it?

Rick confesses to Minmei that the official announcements on the city PA aren’t telling the truth about about how dire the situation is – she doesn’t want to know, refusing to take him seriously as he tries to discuss his trauma with her.

Lisa meanwhile is lost in flashback – the SDF1 is being inexorably pushed towards Mars rather than the Earth, and her first love Karl Riber was posted there years ago. She even joined the armed forces explicitly to follow him (and not because she comes from a military family, or any sensible reason like that, cough, daughter of an Admiral, cough).

What is it with grown men chatting up extremely youthful schoolgirls in this story?

When Lisa realises the base has been destroyed, she begs permission to search for survivors on Mars, and sails off on a solo mission in a cute little spacesuit. Rick, meanwhile shows his priorities by using the official air channel to beg Roy for a day off so he can attend Minmei’s birthday party – only to discover that she has invited EVERYONE and so all the pilots want that day off. Rick is not feeling very special right now.

Claudia: Captain Gloval, do we really have any defences?
Gloval: No, not really.

Caught in the Zentraedi trap, Gloval’s first instinct is ‘suicide mission’ and while he particularly wants to send Roy on this (REALLY? Is that the best use of a senior man like Roy Fokker as a resource?), Lisa volunteers instead since she’s already on the base. She sets the furnace to self destruct.

When all the doors go into lockdown, Lisa spots Karl’s room and succumbs to a fit of melancholy. Surrounded by Karl’s possessions, she can’t snap out of it, and fails to call in to report her situation. Suicide mission it is, then!

Claudia, worried Lisa might be hurt, passes the request for rescue on to Skull Squadron, and Roy sends Rick to save the damsel.

Lisa, however, is too pissed off by life in general to allow any damselling around here. She throws a massive tantrum and refuses to leave the room. Rick points out that she is now endangering him too, and rescues her whether she likes it or not.

As with Minmei a few episodes ago, Lisa is carried limply to safety in Rick’s giant robot hand – unlike Minmei she at least has a spacesuit, which should come in useful in the following episode. Refusing to even let Rick speculate on whether this is a meet cute or not, she pretends to be unconscious rather than talk to him. I can understand that impulse.

“Next time I’ll win, bwahahaha!”  Khyron, yes, really, that is a direct quote.

“Next time I’ll win, bwahahaha!”
Khyron, yes, really, that is a direct quote.

To everyone’s surprise, the narrator suddenly starts shipping Rick and Lisa in his closing remarks, pointing out that Rick is attracted to her even though he still wants Minmei to be his girlfriend. This confuses me a bit. Did I ship Rick and Lisa back in the day because the narrator told me to? They haven’t actually shown any sign of being attracted to each other yet! Also, they are animated characters, which makes the chemistry a little tricky to parse.

Still, the narrator speaks in a very authoritative voice, and I do tend to trust whatever he says.

Maybe it’s like Hollywood logic, where if two people are played by famous actors, the film doesn’t have to try hard to make everyone think they might be hot for each other.

Which actors would YOU cast in a live action version of Robotech?

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