Robotech, In Brief: A New Dawn

“Oh brother, I hope Rick gets the word. That boy didn’t sound too bright. I wonder what kind of people they’re taking in the military these days …”

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

WHAT HAPPENS: It’s the eve of the release of Minmei and Kyle’s kung-fu flick “Small White Dragon,” and on short notice Minmei wants a front-row seat for Rick. While the seat gets reserved, the two miss each other’s calls and Rick never finds out. The day of the premiere, Miriya wanders the streets of Macross City in search of the warrior who defeated her and joins the crowd outside the theater, assuming it’ll be a lead on finding him. Rick makes it, but not to his second row seat; Minmei sees the empty seat and is disappointed. The lights go down and the action starts, but the crowd in attendance isn’t the film’s only audience; Breetai and Exedore are monitoring it. When Kyle fires a ki blast from his hand, Breetai becomes terrified; he, of course, assumes the whole thing’s real. Meanwhile, Rico, Konda, Bron and their comrades are also watching and are most interested in Minmei and Kyle’s on-screen kiss. Back aboard ship, Rick can’t take the sight and leaves the theater. He trips and accidentally runs into Lisa. As the two begin to have it out, a battle alert goes out and the ship begins to transform. Rick tries to get her to a shelter, but she wants to go to the bridge. While en route, they get trapped by further shifting sections of the ship. Lisa snaps at Rick for leading them to a dead end, but then frets when he won’t talk to her. When she reveals her insecurities, he opens up. They chat about fellow officers and the intentions of the Zentraedi, who Lisa remarks seem to be divided on how to deal with their ship. After shouting at a vending machine to try and get some help, Rick needles Lisa about why she was interested in going to the movie; he figures it was Kyle, but then she pushes him about Minmei, which shuts him down. He wonders how Lisa could be interested in Kyle, with his severe anti-military bent; she tells him about Karl and how much Kyle reminds her of him. The battle ends and the ship begins to reconfigure, freeing Rick and Lisa. As Lisa buys Rick a soda, he spots something out of the corner of his eye and drags her behind the vending machine; it’s Kyle and Minmei going back to the hotel together, smiling. “Welcome back to reality,” Rick says, glumly, but when he says he has to be going, Lisa urges him to stay with her a while.

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

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

THOUGHTS: A strong episode for all three members of the main Macross Saga love triangle; Minmei gets some atypically great moments in the first act, dealing with her manager and a soused Jan Morris, and Rick and Lisa’s second time being trapped together gives them a lot of time to themselves playing off one another. There’s some weak moments, but the good stuff, like Rick and Lisa talking about Max and Sammie’s strengths, and the two of them opening up about their romantic fixations more than make up for the lesser stretches. As sad as it could have been, I’ve always liked that final scene, of Rick and Lisa looking on at Minmei and Kyle a little sourly, especially the way Lisa tries to shrug it off as being perfectly normal, them being so close, while Rick says, “They seem almost TOO close.” Jealousy, a good eye, or a little bit of both? It is a little odd that there’s no space battle in the episode and every exterior shot shows the SDF-1 in cruiser mode; we see evidence of a transformation inside, but not outside. Perhaps the mecha key animator had the day off? The tall tales the Zentraedi spies tell their comrades are a hoot, about being forced to “press lips” against all the girls and being Minmei’s personal friends, while Miriya’s assumptions that the crowds are all about the warrior who beat her getting commended for it have me rolling my eyes even further. Khyron was right; the ego on that one, I swear. All in all, a great character piece episode with some effective callbacks to earlier episodes and some welcome forward motion in the cast’s personal lives. Shame there’ll be some rollback coming up.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: This is the first time we see Sammie in Lisa’s seat on the bridge, and the first time Max sees Miriya in person, as the two both wind up in the same shelter.

RICK’S STATE OF MIND: Setting aside his Minmei fixation, he seems in better spirits; he’s not as awkward around Lisa as he used to be, even when he’s caught accidentally grabbing her backside. Seeing the way he shrugs that off, all the anime protagonists of the past ten years could take a page out of his book. If he could get over Minmei and the time they spent together in “The Long Wait,” he’d really have it all together now.

DOES MINMEI SING? “My Time To Be A Star” is a terrible theme song for a kung-fu flick.


One thought on “Robotech, In Brief: A New Dawn

  1. This is the first time that Rick and Lisa had a conversation that wasn’t related to the former’s ‘flyboy’ antics. And, this episode’s a personal favorite of mine.

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