Robotech, In Brief: Homecoming

“I WANNA BE A MOVIE STAR!”


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

WHAT HAPPENS: While the SDF-1 has returned home, only two transports have been authorized to leave the ship. The first is a government transport ferrying Captain Gloval and Lisa Hayes to a meeting with their superiors in Alaska, while the second is Lynn Minmei’s Fanliner, piloted by Rick Hunter, taking her to see her parents in Yokohama. Rick’s old feelings resurface as Minmei tells him about the projects she’s working on, including a movie. Meanwhile, Captain Gloval fills Lisa in on the Grand Cannon, the giant Robotech weapon powered by the Earth’s gravitational field whose barrel is the very transport shaft they’re passing through. That project, like the entire underground base, was spearheaded by her father. As Minmei returns home to parents who believed her dead, Lisa delivers her report to the council, who find her estimations of the enemy’s strength dubious. Minmei’s parents refuse to let her return to the ship, and the angry back-and-forth attracts the attention of Minmei’s peacenik cousin Lynn Kyle. The military council reconvenes and tells Gloval that while they accept most of the report, his request for peace talks with the aliens is out of the question, as is resettlement of the survivors of Macross Island; after all, they’ve all been declared dead. Following the fold accident, the military put out a story that guerillas destroyed Macross Island following the SDF-1’s test flight. Lisa tries to appeal to her father, but is shot down. Kyle convinces Minmei’s parents to let her go by telling them he’ll tag along, to live with his folks and watch her. As Gloval and Lisa fly back to the ship, Lisa reads and discards a letter from her father giving a half-hearted apology and an assurance that he’s trying to get her reassigned to a less dangerous post. Meanwhile, Rick grimaces as Minmei flirts with her cousin all the way back to SDF-1.

THOUGHTS: This episode has plenty of drama even if there’s no combat; the Minmei half of the story showcases a very unflattering portrayal of the fortress’s darling celebrity. One minute she’s lamenting the crowds, the next she’s working them like a pro. Mind you, I sympathize with her where the problem of her parents is concerned; she’s living the dream, while the future they paint, taking over the family business with a doting husband, sounds kind of like a nightmare for an ambitious girl like her. Still, my takeaway from her clash with mom and dad will always be the quote at the top of this article. The military side of the episode gives us such gems as Gloval’s story of Lisa’s father leading him and his underfed fellows in their younger days to steal rations from a commanding officer. The brilliant acting in the animation (and there is quite a bit of it, not just here) really seems to energize Greg Finley’s portrayal of the normally stoic space captain as he tells this charming tale. This side of the story also gives us some tense drama; Finley likewise tears into the scene where the council formally denies all Gloval’s requests. It’s one of those times where it seems unfathomable that everyone recorded separately, as all involved hit precisely the same level of head-butting anger, anguish, and frustration. However, one of my favorite scenes is right at the outset, where the citizens of Macross City hold a celebration on the flight deck of the Daedalus, encouraged by a leaping and shouting Mayor Luan. We even see the Zentraedi spies get into the spirit of it, hooting and hollering to “blend in” as they gulp down glasses of “punch.” A shame this celebratory feeling won’t last.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: Given that it’s an episode called “Homecoming,” it’s only fitting that there are a pair of family reunions here. In Yokohama, we meet Minmei’s parents and cousin Lynn Kyle, while in Alaska we see Lisa’s father Admiral Hayes for the first time. We also get our first glimpse at the Grand Cannon, which Admiral Hayes believes is the human race’s trump card against the alien forces.

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Nervous and disappointed; being with Minmei again reignites a flame within him which, over the course of the trip, flickers and fades as Minmei acts like an over-excited brat and leaps into the arms of her cousin Lynn Kyle. Their flirtatious banter in the back of the Fanliner marks the lousy end to a long day.

DOES MINMEI SING? No, but she does plenty of acting when she claims to love her fans.

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