(10) "Phantasm" is like a recap episode, only rambling and nonsensical. It's the polar opposite of "Gloval's Report." While that was a just-the-facts recap of the entire story so far without any of the soap opera character stuff, "Phantasm" is a no-facts recap of the story so far that's entirely about our lead characters' relationships. Rick appears to start off as a civilian, pushed and pulled by dream logic into the military to rescue Minmei from the clutches of the Zentraedi -- or is that from her cousin, or is that from her career? -- along the way running a gauntlet of familiar scenes and events in the pursuit of his goal, which winds up being Minmei's hand in marriage.

What's funny is that in hobbling together an episode to pad the episode count and keep the show on schedule, the MACROSS staff did exactly what the ROBOTECH staff would later do to even out their episode count, turning eighty-four episodes into eighty-five by creating "Dana's Story." Only "Dana's Story" isn't a dream and actually mostly makes sense (except for the AGAC thing).

(9) Let's see, first it's a mix of "Miss Macross" footage and Minmei's concert at the end of "First Contact."

Second time out for "To Be In Love," after Minmei sang it to Rick in "The Long Wait." Here the vocals are miscued to the music.

Of course Breetai is the initial "villain" in Rick's dream; he's the one who personally clobbered the hell out of his Battloid.

When Rick jets off to save Minmei, of course, we leap into the end of "Boobytrap." Then when Vanessa delivers that humiliating P.A. announcement about auctioning off his flight suit, it's footage from "Bye Bye Mars" and then "Transformation," when he was glumly pondering Minmei's "just friends" remark.

Now that I think about it, I wonder, Rick's checkered blue button-up shirt and white sweater -- he didn't seem to bring any personal effects with him, you think those were originally Kyle's? I've actually been thinking about that since watching "Transformation" a couple of weeks ago.

(8) Minmei begging to be saved, his dream from "The Big Escape"; Rick and Roy encountering Lisa and the bridge girls, going through his training, and being slapped on the back by Roy, all "Blitzkrieg."

Things get random when we go from the fight in "Blitzkrieg" to Rick departing in the Armored Battloid from "Miss Macross" without any explanation. But it's all just a dream, so it doesn't have to make sense.

I do like the bit where Kim makes the offhand remark that she wishes some guy loved her enough to keep going back to save her despite constantly being shot down. (This is about the point where Rick has decided that he is, as he later refers to himself in "Bursting Point," the guy who's always getting shot down. He's lost one VF-1D, his fanjet, and at least two red-and-white VF-1Js: the one Breetai clobbered and he self-destructed and the one Lisa shot down. That isn't counting the damage he took in his duel with Khyron and the time he nearly got blown to smithereens by the Zentraedi spies detonating their Cyclops recon ship.)

(7) Ladies and gentlemen, the magic bicycle.

Y'know, someone actually used to have the domain name "," with that screen grab (or another within the sequence) and a handful of ROBOTECH links to different folks' websites. Looks like it disappeared around the time of SHADOW CHRONICLES; then again, given all the ROBOTECH sites I saw had vanished just within the last year and a half when I went to edit my link list after dusting this blog off, that shouldn't come as a surprise. How much of the non-commercial, fan-driven internet is still here from five, eight, ten years ago? Not much.

(6) After the bicycle fails Rick -- even that got shot down, according to Vanessa's latest P.A. announcement of shame, Ben, Max, and Lisa join up for some retreads of footage from "Blind Game," mixed with a little "Sweet Sixteen" as Max tears 'em up. They make it inside, and then we've got Max skulking about the ship in "The Big Escape."

For some reason they splice in Rick's hand pulling the "B" lever from "Boobytrap" even though Max is switching to Guardian. Whoops. Um, dream logic! Yeah!

(5) Minmei sings "To Be In Love" again just beyond the airlock. Interesting that the song Rick's subconscious has chosen is the one that, as far as we've seen, only he has heard, as if this is some kind of bond they share. And yet when he and his magically materialized VF-1J come to rescue her, she first doesn't even know who he is, and then thanks him for picking her up for their date, but she can't go, because Lynn Kyle says she can't go out with a soldier.

Lynn Kyle?!

(4) Yup, Lynn Kyle. (This is my favorite shot of the episode, even if it is that loathsome kung-fu pacifist pest cosplaying as my fave Zentraedi commander. Rick's subconscious has cooked up an image that perfectly encapsulates Minmei and Kyle's relationship for the rest of the series.) So Rick tears away his uniform, making him NOT a soldier anymore, and Lynn Kyle melts away into nothing. Oh, if only things were that easy in the "real world." The red & white VF-1J turns into the orange VF-1D, and it's back to "Countdown," for the sequence where Rick rescues Minmei from the ruins of Macross City.

(3) From "Countdown" to "Space Fold" through the use of some new footage magically transforming the -1D to the fanjet with the flip of a switch. Rick and Minmei leave the island in space and reenter the SDF-1 through a hole in the side, bringing him back to "The Long Wait," right where he wants to be. Except ...

Except, when he and Minmei enter the hold where the airlock is, they don't see the destroyed Macross City, they see the Zentraedi fleet he, Lisa, and Ben saw when they were trapped aboard Breetai's flagship. And when we cut around to a side view to Rick's left, there's Lisa with her camera from "First Contact" -- clever cut, since as we saw Minmei is standing to his right.

With no Ben around to call the twinkling an "electro-light force," the Lisa in Rick's dream calls the twinkling lights in the distance among the Zentraedi ship a huge battle. Rick says the lights are beautiful, and Lisa tells him, "All battles are pretty from a distance, until they surround you."

(2) While so far the dream's been following its own twisted continuity, when Rick and Minmei are together replaying their conversation after her shower from "The Long Wait," suddenly Rick is aware of everything that's gone on in the past year, since Minmei was crowned Miss Macross. "Nothing's been right since then," he tells her. "It seems like you're more interested in your fans than your friends." When the Minmei of his dream outright tells him she has no time for a boyfriend and a career, he actually tells her he thinks he likes Lisa. This is not actually a conversation Rick would be so bold as to have in real life -- nor is it one he'd actually be able to track Minmei down long enough to have in real life, which is one of the many points Rick's subconscious is trying to beat him over the head with.

(1) If Haruhiko Mikimoto didn't draw the lineart for that particular image himself, I'll eat my SDF-1 commander's cap. It's a gorgeous shot, on par with the best of "Boobytrap" and "Countdown," and of course only possible at this point in production because it doesn't move ...

"To Be In Love" count: 3 times this episode, 4 times total.

We repeat the climactic scene from "The Long Wait," except instead of getting into an argument about how they'll be marooned in the belly of the SDF-1 forever, Rick and Minmei have an argument about the expectations of their life together. Minmei wants her career and Rick wants his, and he's realizing now that they ARE living in drastically different worlds now. Of course, there's the typical chauvinistic Rick Hunter undertones, like when Minmei tells him she's not going to stay at home and have children and Rick says that'll be a problem, then begins backpedaling by saying he'd just expect her to follow him wherever the military posts him. Despite that, the almost-kiss with Minmei from "The Long Wait" still goes forward and then turns into Rick and Lisa's kiss from "First Contact." Dolza then proclaims that "YOU WILL NEVER HAVE MINMEI!" which is funny.

The last words that echo in Rick's mind as he awakens are from Lisa: "You belong to my world, Rick. You belong to the service." Somewhere in that thick head of his, Rick is starting to figure it all out. He may not like it, but she's right.

"Don't miss 'Farewell Big Brother,' the next exciting chapter in the epic story of ROBOTECH!"

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  • I'm actually pretty fond of this episode.

    If you want a clip show to engage your audience instead of just annoying or boring them you need to either use the framing story to further the story and characters (a recent example of this that I liked being Power Rangers RPM's "If Venjix Won" which has some great character moments) or do something interesting with the footage that makes it fun to watch instead of just retreading old ground and the trippy dream version of prior events presented here, perfectly summed up by the space bicycle, is a great example of that (with a little of the former for good measure, reading your analysis).

    By Blogger Aladdin Sane, at 25 July, 2010 07:29  

  • Best. Clip. Show. Ever.

    It's wonderfully surreal, and of course if you watch it with analysis in mind, there's a peculiar dream-logic to it. I wish more fiction wrote dreams in this scatterbrained way: it's slightly more realistic but also more interesting.

    Except for Kyle dressed as Breetai. That is HIDEOUS. My god. D:

    By Blogger A.J. Wells, at 25 July, 2010 09:39  

  • Magic bicycle FTW.

    By Blogger Shawn, at 25 July, 2010 11:52  

  • This episode stuck with me back when I first saw it on TV, although, perhaps befitting its "dream" status, the specifics sort of slide away from me to this day... except for that for a while I was convinced the transition between the trainer Veritech and Rick's racer was, in fact, what had happened earlier in the show and a Veritech's nose was a self-contained escape craft.

    By Blogger Keith Palmer, at 25 July, 2010 20:34  

  • I have to agree with everyone, this is probably my favorite clip show of all time. The dream logic feels just like my dreams-- the case of Lisa appearing and vanishing while Rick is talking to Minmei, and when Rick & Minmei are trapped and Rick tells Minmei "Don't worry, they'll rescue us in two weeks. I told them where we are." Great stuff!

    By Blogger Fer, at 28 July, 2010 09:45  

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