Robotech, In Brief: Half Moon

“When do we attack, my proud beauty?”

“Undaunted, we advance, to serve the principles of freedom.”

“Forward, through shot and shell, into the mouth of hell.”

“Hey, stifle it! What do you think we’re on here, a maneuver or a Shakespeare festival?”

WHAT HAPPENS: Dana Sterling and Bowie Grant are on a night patrol when they come into the vicinity of what was once New Macross City and are alerted to turn back. However, Dana notices some spotlights shining in the distance and decides, despite orders, to go check it out. What she finds is a squad of Bioroids snooping about in search of Protoculture. The Red Bioroid’s pilot senses the two watching the operation and emerges from his craft. Dana is shocked by the sight of him, but has little time to reflect; spotlight mecha shine on the two, and the Bioroid commander orders his men to pursue. Dana and Bowie speed away on their hovercycles and are chased through canyons by the Bioroids. While Dana tags one with her laser pistol, the Red Bioroid smashes Bowie’s bike and seizes him. Dana comes under heavy fire that destroys her bike as well. Later that night, Dana arrives at headquarters to report to General Emerson on what happened. Before attacking the enemy Emerson wants more information — he wants to know what their strength is and what they’re looking for, and until he knows, he will not allow an attack or a rescue mission. Consequently, once she’s arrived at the barracks of the 15th, Dana tells Angelo to alert the rest of the squad that they’re going to get in some midnight practice. The Hovertanks of the 15th Squadron move out. Meanwhile, aboard the Masters’ landing ship, the Red Bioroid tosses Bowie into a cell. Bowie finds a grate in the ceiling and climbs for it, but it’s electrified; he gets quite a shock. At dawn, Emerson decides, despite his earlier position, to order an attack on the enemy. Watching the site from some green cover, Dana gives the order to attack. While she looks for an opening to find Bowie, Angelo leads the rest of the squadron in keeping the Bioroids busy. Dana approaches the ship and finds the Red Bioroid, its pilot surveying the area outside his cockpit, standing before her. He reenters and his mecha leaps into action. The two duel until a punch intended for Dana’s Battloid smashes through the hull of the landing ship. Daylight streams into Bowie’s cell. Dana blasts the Bioroid’s faceplate, knocking him out. Another shot widens the gap in the ship’s hull, freeing Bowie. As Bowie and the 15th are reunited, the Red Bioroid staggers up and breaks Dana’s Battloid’s rifle with his hands. As Dana steps back, cover fire rains from above. Nova radios Dana and tells her the enemy is regrouping, but reinforcements are on the way. As the circled Military Police Battloids stand ready to attack, one of the Masters’ flagships arrives overhead and unleashes a team of Bioroid transports that begin to pick off the GMP reinforcements. The Red Bioroid’s team retreats, and the flagship covers them with a concentrated energy blast that blinds and knocks back the Earth forces.

Bowie Grant original production cel, from my personal animation art collection.

Bowie Grant original production cel, from my personal animation art collection.

THOUGHTS: Once again, what exactly the higher-ups know is inconsistent with earlier episodes. First they’re shocked by the implication that the aliens appear to be human, when aside from scale that’s exactly what the Zentraedi looked like. Given that Bowie calls them “androids” earlier in the episode — first time anyone’s called them that — perhaps headquarters believes they’re just robots? Exedore DID say in Sentinels that the Masters haven’t seen combat in generations. With that piece in place, Green suggests that the enemy might be space pirates looking for salvage. I’m surprised at Emerson’s response to that: “No human beings have the knowledge to create Robotech space ships.” Then where do YOUR space ships come from, General Emerson? If humans don’t have the know-how, has the entire fleet just been created from recycled salvage shipped up to the automated Zentraedi Robotech Factory, and, OH NO, we lowly humans don’t know how any of this works? He then says these are obviously units in the employ of the Robotech Masters and says he wants to know what the enemy is looking for. General Emerson, who said at the end of “False Start” that he was certain the Masters were after the Protoculture supply, who has found out that the Masters are snooping around the wreck of the SDF-1, says he wants to know what the Masters are after. These aren’t inconsistent ideas; Emerson has to know that when it was destroyed the SDF-1 still held many secrets, right? He does say a little after the commercial break that “one man’s junk is another man’s Protoculture,” so maybe a night of pondering has turned him around to that idea.

I’d really like to know how the Masters got a ship so close to the planet without anyone’s knowledge. Sure, the Masters have disrupted the Earth’s satellite network, but aren’t there ground-based radar stations watching the skies and making sure the Masters aren’t making any further moves? You’d have to have your guard down pretty low to miss something like that.

Much in the same way that the Robotech Masters were “renegades” over and over again in “Southern Cross,” in this episode Bowie is Dana’s “aide” over and over again, like everyone’s forgotten his name.

Despite the inconsistent intelligence at headquarters, this early recon of the site of the final battle of the First Robotech War feels like a strong step forward for the second generation; it’s a good showing for the 15th, with some great action sequences and some great character moments. I like how Angelo’s starting to come around to Dana’s regulation-flaunting ways.

FIRSTS OF NOTE: First appearance of Zor Prime; Dana’s been having weird flashbacks of him since before she saw his face, back at the tail end of “False Start,” but now that she’s seen him in person, they’re only going to get stronger. This also is the first episode to, in its original broadcast version, include an eyecatch featuring a voice from the Masters era; Marie Crystal informs us that Robotech will be right back.

DANA’S BRATTINESS/INSUBORDINATION LEVEL: A five at least; she’s first told to avoid that off-limits area, then when that gets Bowie captured, she’s told not to mount a rescue operation and immediately does so. And she also kicks Angelo’s leg out from under him for being a jerk. At least it all stems from curiosity and compassion; her heart’s in the right place, except for her continued abuse of Angelo.

DOES BOWIE SULK? Wait for it, it’s coming. Today he’s too busy just trying to survive.

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3 thoughts on “Robotech, In Brief: Half Moon

  1. “General Emerson, who said at the end of “False Start” that he was certain the Masters were after the Protoculture supply, who has found out that the Masters are snooping around the wreck of the SDF-1, says he wants to know what the Masters are after. These aren’t inconsistent ideas; Emerson has to know that when it was destroyed the SDF-1 still held many secrets, right? He does say a little after the commercial break that “one man’s junk is another man’s Protoculture,” so maybe a night of pondering has turned him around to that idea.”

    This is a great point. As inconsistent as some of comments from the upper command (and narrator) have been, you are absolutely right, these aren’t inconsistent ideas. The humans (at this point) obviously do not know that the ultimate (long-term) source of protoculture is still buried inside the SDF-1, so they could easily believe the Masters are after their current supplies without connecting that objective to the SDF-1.

    • While this is possible, I’ve made peace with the idea that this particular chapter (SC) of my beloved show is just sloppily and lazily written, with very little attention paid to continuity or consistency. Witness the mindbending number of ways the bioroid pilots are referred to: clones, androids (the show at times draws no distinction between clones and androids, as if the terms are interchangeable), micronized Zens, “mutant” Zens, etc.

      The simplest explanation is that the writing is bad, not that there was some elaborate logic to it all.

      • I don’t necessarily disagree with your larger point concerning consistency in SC. Certainly, the bioroid fiasco is proof enough of that* But in this particular case, “elaborate” logic is not required at all. In deed, this actually is good writing, as the point Jonathan makes shows how the comment fits in perfectly with what we know the humans should and should not know about the protoculture factory.

        *I almost believe that shear ignorance concerning what constitutes a clone, android etc. by the writers rather than bad writing (per se) caused much of the problems in that episode, but even if true, that hardly makes the situation any better.

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