Robotech, In Brief: Blind Game

“Enough! Be quiet! It’s apparent nobody knows what he’s talking about!”

Read my 365 Days of Robotech write-up on “Blind Game” from last summer¬†here.

WHAT HAPPENS: Zentraedi intelligence officers Rico, Konda, and Bron attempt to explain to Breetai and Exedore what they saw at the Miss Macross pageant, but can’t agree on what it meant. This disagreement makes Exedore curious, and he suggests they capture a micronian for study. Aboard the SDF-1, they receive a transmission from headquarters on Earth requesting that the ship not return home and keep the enemy busy. As Veritech Fighters fight off another wave of Battlepods, Rick Hunter notices Ben Dixon’s fighter losing fuel and dresses down First Officer Lisa Hayes when she tries to dismiss his concerns about Ben’s safety. As Rick returns his Vermilion Team to the ship, Khyron is ordered to fire a warning shot across the bow of the SDF-1, but decides to “accidentally” target the ship’s radar tower instead. Rick is frustrated when newly-crowned Miss Macross Lynn Minmei tells him she can’t see him today due to her singing lessons. Khyron’s plan goes smoothly; the destruction of the SDF-1’s radar throws both the crew of the ship and his own superiors for a loop, but Breetai admits it makes his plan easier. The Zentraedi call for the SDF-1 to surrender; in response, Captain Gloval orders Lisa and the Vermilion Team on recon duty to compensate for the loss of the radar. They are ambushed and Lisa is captured; the Vermilion Team pursues, breaks into Breetai’s flagship, and does battle with Breetai himself. Max Sterling tosses the Zentraedi commander into the vacuum of space, but as Ben and Max try to breach an airlock with their lasers, Breetai sneaks back on-board and strikes Ben’s Battloid with an improvised club, taking him down.

THOUGHTS: While I always think of this one as a “bad animation episode,” it’s nowhere near as consistently bad as the first half of “Space Fold” or any given sequence in “Paradise Lost” or “Wedding Bells.” Ben’s fuel leak is comically thick and steady, though, making Lisa’s dismissal of it seem ridiculous, and there is a moment of Claudia being over-the-top modest, slapping her hand over her mouth to cut off her own off-the-cuff remarks. Weird how she only acts like that in subpar animation episodes. Lisa really has an off day, not only giving Rick bad advice, but then playing the “I can take care of myself” card before getting captured by the enemy — though given that Rick was going to leave her Ben to defend her, I’m not sure his plan was much better. There’s a bizarre non-sequitur of a scene right before the Zentraedi call for surrender where Lisa notices a VF-1A Battloid crushed in space and Claudia is heard to exclaim, “That’s Lt. Hunter’s Battloid, isn’t it?” when it clearly isn’t. When a chill seems to go down Lisa’s spine, it’s Claudia who asks if Lisa is alright, right after we the viewers heard her say something that would obviously freak Lisa out, especially as Lisa flashes back to Rick’s lecture about safety in space. Add this to a strange moment later on when her Cat’s Eye’s pilot is heard talking out of Ben’s mouth and a scene early on where Rico is seen punching Bron but Konda falls down, and it’s clear both the animators and the Robotech staff were asleep at the wheel. The bad taste of all these flubs, though, is mitigated by the great final act, with some well handled space combat leading into a daring rescue and Breetai’s furious charge into battle. It’s this fight, bleeding over into the next episode, that cemented him as one of my top favorite Robotech characters. The whole thing’s so exciting and so well staged and animated that I’ll even forgive the constant Battloid coloring errors (Max’s and Ben’s VF-1As constantly switch colors. Whoops!)

FIRSTS OF NOTE: A couple of “first and only” moments here: the first and only time one of Khyron’s acts of defiance proves useful to his superiors and Breetai’s first and only real battle in which he gets his hands dirty. Breetai, of course, proves to be every bit the warrior he looks to be. There’s a reason that’s the scene on the video box; it’s a hell of a fight, and it only gets better in the next episode!

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Frustrated by females and determined to do what he feels is right, to hell with the consequences.

DOES MINMEI SING? No, but she attends her singing LESSONS, and is nearly struck by a piano.