Episodes 11 & 12: Captured by the Zentradi, Vermillion Squad are interrogated and learn something about the Zentradi culture. Then Vermillion Squad escapes the Zentradi fleet with information about the enemy and Protoculture.

“First Contact”: With Kakizaki down, Hikaru engages with Lord Britai who proves a formidable opponent. 2nd Lt. Hayase is captured at the same time Hikaru is. Max manages to allude capture but stays around the ship in hopes of rescuing his team. Hayase, Kakizaki, and Hikaru wake up before the Zentradi ship folds for over an hour, which is ten days in Macross time. Focker informs Minmay that Hikaru disappeared and Minmay is grief-stricken at the news. Nonetheless, she continues to work towards her debut. Wandering the Zentradi ship, Max takes the opportunity to steal the clothes of a Zentradi soldier. The captured Vermillion team are brought before Lord Bodolzaa and ask about the Miss Macross contest and how men and women can possibly live together. Hayase instructs the others not to answer but volunteers to demonstrate kissing with Hikaru despite his reluctance. The Zentradi are shocked and awed by kissing so much they send Vermillion Squad back to a cell. Back on Macross, the day of Minmay’s debut arrives. She sings the song “My Boyfriend is a Pilot.”

This is a high-staked episode and there appear to have been budget cuts as evidenced by several scenes depicted with still images rather than moving ones. I don’t know where the budget went, but it was pretty noticeable. Hopefully this type of animation is isolated to this episode and doesn’t appear in future ones.

Meanwhile, we got a glimpse of Minmay and Hikaru’s relationship in the interim between Minmay’s crowning of Miss Macross and Hikaru’s capture. There was apparently a lot of getting together and hanging out and both Hikaru and Minmay value their time together. Does it mesh with Minmay’s previous rejection of Hikaru? No, it doesn’t. But it does provide inside on Minmay’s feelings for Hikaru as her best friend.

The Zentradi, we learn, are totally about war. This episode answers some questions regarding their own culture–they are a people who live entirely for war and their males and females are kept separate. But this also raises more questions. How do the Zentradi procreate? Do they have children? Are the Zentradi entirely lacking in physical urges/sexuality? What if they grow an intersex child? Where are they placed in their strict separation of the genders? Please tell me more about these people.

In lieu of a screenshot, here is the song “My Boyfriend is a Pilot” as performed by Lynn Minmay. (Apologies for lack of subtitles)

“Big Escape”: Stuck in a Zentradi prisoner cell, Hayase, Kakizaki, and Hikaru plan to escape by distracting the guard bringing their food with Hikaru and Hayase kissing again. Neither party is thrilled at the prospect (but Hikaru may be since he proposed it). The doors open earlier than expected and instead of a Zentradi soldier, it’s Max with his Valkyrie disguised in giant clothes. The three rescued prisoners ride in the chest pockets of Max’s Zentradi uniform. They are easily discovered by the enemy and race around the base searching for escape. After a brief reprieve in an elevator, Max’s Valkyrie breaks down and they leave it behind as more soldiers rush upon them. Kakizaki and Max go one way while Hikaru and Hayase go another. Hikaru and Hayase stumble and fall into water meant for cooling engines and Hayase determines that the Zentradi forces don’t know how to take care of their engines. She and Hikaru discuss what they know of the Zentradi and then their love lives on Macross. Meanwhile, the three recon soldiers who call themselves Blue Wind volunteer to be spies on Macross to learn more about Protoculture. They will be delivered by Commander Lap’Lamiz who is taking over Lord Britai in the solar system. Our heroes make it to one of the enemy ships heading for their beloved home and steal a battle pod to escape and return to Macross.

My favorite part of this episode is Max. This guy is amazing and should be leading a squad of his own when he returns to the Macross. But his best trait reveals itself at the beginning of the episode where, upon seeing Hikaru and Hayase kiss, he gives them their own chest pocket for the rest of the escape. “Three’s a crowd, right?” he tells Kakizaki.

My continued sympathies for Kakizaki because no one wants to kiss him.

Despite being in the middle of enemy territory, I’m touched that the show takes time to talk about love. In this case, the discussions are specific to Hikaru who is the only character with any romantic prospects. But I love that this show takes the time to sit down and talk about feelings. We need more of that in modern television, methinks.

With the mention of female soldiers, it was inevitable that they would be revealed. And now we have the fleet lead by Commander Lap’Lamiz! Her ace, Milia, appears to be her second-in-command and has a fearful reputation herself. This is just the introduction of female Zentradi soldiers, so I am left wondering if they are more or less vicious than their male counterparts. I’ll find out next week when the adventure continues!

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His aiming scope is dumb luck.