Robotech, In Brief: The Long Wait

“Sometimes you can’t be happy unless you do what you dream about.”

Read my 365 Days of Robotech write-up on “The Long Wait” from last summer here.

WHAT HAPPENS: Captain Gloval failed to get the SDF-1 to the moon, and instead brought the ship, Macross Island, and the aircraft carriers Daedalus and Prometheus to the orbit of Pluto. He orders his crew to bring the survivors from the island’s emergency shelters onto the battle fortress. Meanwhile, Rick Hunter failed to get Minmei back to Macross Island, and instead landed his battered racer in a dimly-lit, cut-off corner of the SDF-1. With no means of communicating with the outside, the two explore their surroundings. As the citizens of Macross City rebuild their hometown in a hold above them, Rick makes a daring attempt to leave the ship via airlock to flag down some help from above decks. Instead, he brings back a giant tuna head he found floating in space, at the cost of tearing his flight suit. Despite the struggle for survival, the two grow closer; Rick shares his passion for flying with Minmei, while she shares her love of singing and performing. With nearly two weeks gone by, Minmei starts to grow hysterical, and as Rick calms her down and the two nearly share a kiss, a construction accident above them brings down the roof, and the two are rescued.

Rick Hunter original production cel, from my personal animation art collection.

Rick Hunter original production cel, from my personal animation art collection.

THOUGHTS: Easily one of the most pivotal episodes of The Macross Saga; everything Rick does to try to impress Minmei and win her favor through the next twenty-some episodes stems from his memories of this episode, how close he thought the two of them became during these two weeks. I find it amusing that this is reversed in The Sentinels, where Minmei segues into a flashback to this episode when she’s telling her singing partner Janice how she and Rick had a wedding once, albeit a pretend one; she’s the one looking back at this time as “better days” once the shoe’s on the other foot. It’s a nice looking episode, too, with character art that has a little of the flavor of character designer Toshihiro Hirano (Megazone 23, Iczer); not as much of that flavor as “Bursting Point,” but enough that it’s noticeable, especially around the mouths. Very wise to handle the improbable (and physically impossible) reconstruction of Macross City within the ship during a cut-off two-person character drama. One of those neat interesting-on-the-rewatch touches: as Rick tells Minmei that he’s never been a quitter and she shouldn’t be one either, what music are they playing in the background? Why, the somber, reflective music that shares a tune with Minmei’s final battle ballad “We Will Win.”

FIRSTS OF NOTE: This is the first episode to open without a recap of the SDF-1’s crash into planet Earth. It’s also the first, and one of the few, without any robots in it, which I’ve always been a little tickled by given the series title. Also, this is the first Robotech episode not to share its name with the original Japanese anime TV episode it’s adapted from; the Japanese title of this episode was “Lynn Minmay.” Finally, this is the first time we hear Minmei sing (see below).

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: His own fear masked by a wall of bravado, Rick is determined to get Minmei through this ordeal. His reserves of stubborn confidence and resolve on display here serve him well, not just through this but through the numerous trials that are to come.

DOES MINMEI SING? Yes. She sings “To Be In Love” for Rick as a counterpoint to all his talk about his amateur flying career.