Robotech, In Brief: Battle Cry

“Fighting produces nothing. It only results in devastation and destruction.”

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

WHAT HAPPENS: The crew of the SDF-1 are upset by the news that the military council will not allow anyone to leave the ship. As the Zentraedi spies try to procure some foodstuffs, Lisa Hayes and the three bridge techs, along with Max Sterling, drop by the Chinese restaurant for lunch. Rick is already there and tells them about the reunion between Minmei’s aunt and uncle and their estranged son, Lynn Kyle. Lisa is spooked by Kyle; something about him reminds her of her fiancee, Karl Riber. Thanks to Mayor Luan’s meddling, Kyle is introduced to the party and has to explain that it’s not just the military he doesn’t like, it’s fighting of any kind. Minmei tries to change the subject by showing off a recent TV appearance she made, but the show is interrupted by a news bulletin informing the citizens of Macross City that they will not be allowed to leave SDF-1. The restaurant patrons go into a panic and confront Rick, Lisa, and the others. When someone grabs Lisa’s shoulder, Max tells him to lay off. He swings for Max, Max decks him, and the restaurant explodes in violence. Kyle gets involved when he deflects a body headed straight for him with one swift move and winds up fighting on the side of the soldiers. As the dust settles, Max offers that Kyle fights extremely well for someone who abhors violence and Lisa offers Kyle a hankie for his bleeding lip, but he refuses, saying he wants nothing from “you people.” Meanwhile, Khyron goes on the offensive, taking the forward section of his command ship to Earth to attack the SDF-1. Gloval orders Vermilion Squadron to scramble as enemy forces land on the Prometheus. Azonia orders Miriya and her Quadronos to halt Khyron’s attack, but Miriya ignores her and joins the battle. Finally, Azonia orders Khyron to retreat and he relents, but not before telling one of his subordinates not to “forget his souvenir.” As Khyron leaves the battlefield, his command ship locks on a collision course with SDF-1. As Rick chases Miriya’s Quadrono, a distracted Lisa orders a Daedalus maneuver a few seconds late, punching a hole straight through the enemy ship, and firing its wave of missiles right at Rick. The enemy ship is destroyed, but so is Rick Hunter’s Veritech Fighter …

THOUGHTS: I’ve always liked this one, even if visually it’s a subpar, mid-range episode with some occasional terrible mecha animation. At least it’s well directed, and a lot of love goes into the fisticuffs at the end of the first act, with some smooth animation and decent choreography. Along with Rico trying to eat plastic food and Mayor Luan’s bizarre request for Rick to introduce him to some of the ladies at his table, the brawl is one of the major highlights of the episode. I said it last summer, but it bears repeating: funny that most of this episode is fighting, almost like the Macross staff tried to make up for the previous episode being nothing but talking and shouting. Despite this, some drama of note, as Lisa sees a certain something in Lynn Kyle that reminds her of Karl Riber (what exactly she sees is unclear), thus beginning an obsession that will, irritatingly, last through most of the rest of pre-Reconstruction Macross. Pair this distracting fascination with a sudden overemotional concern for Rick’s well-being — this is the first time he’s seen combat since they got back from captivity — and it’s obvious that she’s got too much on her mind, which directly results in her accidentally nearly killing Rick herself. Meanwhile, Azonia proves she can’t handle any of her subordinates when Khyron goes off and attacks the SDF-1 on a whim, and the force she sends to bring him back decides they’d rather fight the micronians as well. Miriya still bugs me; while Khyron disobeys his orders to fill his need for revenge, Miriya blatantly ignores her orders for the thrill of meaningless violence. At least Khyron has a sensible motive. Despite the disappointing Zentraedi antics, the final moments and the cliffhanger set the tone for the next several episodes to come. No one is safe, not even the main character.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: Not much I’d call “of note.” First time Lisa sees Kyle, first time Rick’s flown a combat mission on-screen since he got back from the clutches of the Zentraedi, though I think it’s more noteworthy as the LAST time we see him fly his white-with-red-trim VF-1J, at least outside of his dreams. And the first time we hear the particular Minmei song I mention below.

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Annoyed and a little uncomfortable. Kyle is bugging the hell out of him. The upside to his near-death experience: he’ll have plenty of time to process the way things have changed over the past several weeks. Clearly he needs it.

DOES MINMEI SING? On the TV she does, the first time we hear “The Man In My Life.” We barely get to hear it, though, what with the breaking news.