“I don’t see any difference between our uniforms and theirs, do you?”
“I don’t believe there’s any difference either, but just the same, I wish I’d chosen something that’s a little bit warmer around the legs …”
Read my 365 Days of Robotech write-up on “Blue Wind” from last summer here.
WHAT HAPPENS: The SDF-1 sits two days away from Earth, blockaded by Azonia’s fleet. While Rick, Lisa, Ben, and Max make their report to Captain Gloval and the military brass, most of whom dismiss their findings as nonsense, the Zentraedi spies Rico, Konda, and Bron steal some clothes and make their first foray into Macross City, dazzled and confused by the sights and sounds around them. Captain Gloval decides to get the information to headquarters by breaking through the enemy blockade and delivering it in person. Meanwhile, Bron suffers more than ridicule as he finds that he’s chosen a “female uniform.” Before they can get some R&R, Rick and the others are paraded on-stage and given a heroes’ welcome courtesy of Minmei. The spies stumble upon the ceremony and get their first taste of Minmei’s singing; they feel strange, primitive, and hypnotized, but they kind of like it. Despite her furlough, Lisa returns to the place she feels most at home, the bridge, while Roy Fokker orders Rick, Ben, and Max to turn back and take their leave. Alerted that the SDF-1 is approaching the blockade, Azonia takes a wait-and-see attitude, while Khyron orders his ships to press the attack. Captain Gloval orders Veritechs launched, transformation engaged, and the pinpoint barrier at the ready. Despite repeated firings of the SDF-1’s main gun, Khyron maintains the advantage until Azonia breaks formation to press his ships back at gunpoint. The SDF-1 slips through and, while it’s a rough reentry, settles in the Pacific Ocean, reunited with its adopted home.
THOUGHTS: Nowhere near the episode it should have been; the only parts that don’t come off as a misfire are Rico, Konda, and Bron’s experiences with Earth culture and the cheesy ceremony that Rick, Lisa, and the boys endure. I love the way Macross City is presented at the outset, as a vibrant bustling metropolis full of neon lights and citizens out for a night on the town — a place designed for maximum Zentraedi bewilderment. The spies’ observations and attempts to fit human concepts into Zentraedi terms are cleverly and amusingly handled; nearly every line they deliver is quotable. As for the ceremony, it goes to show how long Rick’s been gone that Minmei’s become such a creature of celebrity, working the crowd for maximum adoration — and watching her, Rick knows it. The action, alas, is a mishmash of ship-vs-ship stock footage that builds little-to-no tension and ends with an anticlimax, Azonia going from spineless observation to baring her teeth on Khyron’s forces. Certainly her duty is to ensure the success of the spies’ mission, and the destruction of the SDF-1 would put the kibosh on that, but her tactics ensured the failure of her immediate operation and antagonized Khyron. That seems like a lose-lose to me. Speaking of inept commanders, the ranking officers aboard SDF-1 come off as out-of-touch cartoon bullies during Lisa’s report; they’re poorly-written straw men that make Supreme Commander Leonard look like a level-headed paragon of virtue. It’d be one thing if they simply didn’t believe Rick and Lisa, but they jeer and laugh throughout. It’s truly deplorable. Thankfully, the SDF-1’s descent and landing ends the episode on a high note, both story-wise and in terms of direction, if not animation — even if the SDF-1’s carrier arms are flipped in the final scene. Whoops!
FIRSTS OF NOTE: The Zentraedi spies take their first steps into human culture, Azonia suffers her first failure, and Rick gets his first full-on experience with Minmei’s celebrity status.
RICK’S STATE OF MIND: He takes the slings and arrows of the brass well, but seeing Minmei again rattles him; it’s hard to settle back in when the people you thought were closest to you tease and spurn you, and you aren’t even allowed to jump right back into routine. Sunshine and fresh air turn out to be the day’s saving grace.
DOES MINMEI SING? Minmei decides that it’s “My Time To Be A Star,” even if it means upstaging four REAL heroes.