Robotech—Part 1: The Macross Saga

robotech part 1 the macross saga box set episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great intro to Japanese anime

THe Rick-Lisa-Minmei storyline gets a bit old at times

robotech part 1 title card episode guide

The Macross Saga Begins!!!

An alien ship crashes onto the Earth island of Macross and saves the world from war with the threat of a bigger enemy. As the Earthlings study and learn the technology of the alien ship, an army is amassing in search of the missing ship. The Zentraedi find Earthlings have learned to use their ship and evolved weapons to their fitting. The Zentraedi realize that the Micronians must know the secret of protoculture and begin their effort to seize it. When the Zentraedi experience the world of love and emotion from a young woman named Linn Minmei, they find they are vulnerable. Minmei has her own problems however. She is torn between her cousin Kyle who hates the war, and Rick who saved her life. As Minmei deals with her new found fame, Rick tries to determine if he loves Minmei while not realizing his commanding officer Lisa Hayes has feelings for him.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-attack

The Zentraedi are coming!!!

Robotech was an eighty-five episode series divided into three parts. This first part of the series is known as Robotech: The Macross Saga or The First Robotech War. The series aired from March 4, 1985 to April 22, 1985 in the United States. It is often one of the series credited to bringing Japanese animation to mainstream America.

Robotech: The Macross Saga basically breaks down into two storylines which run through the course of the series. One story involves the war with Zentraedi and the other storyline involves the relationships between Minmei, Rick, and Lisa. The two stories obviously break down into different segments, but the themes of war and love stretch through the show.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-sdf-1-christmas

The SDF-1 celebrates Christmas!

The war with the Zentraedi divides into three parts. The first part is the SDF-1’s accidental voyage to space and its mission to get back to Earth. The next part involves the battle with the Zentraedi and the destruction of Earth. The final part of the series has the Earth rebuilding as the humans and Zentraedi strike a new relationship and attempts to live.

The relationship storyline has Minmei and Rick striking an early bond as Rick saves Minmei a number of times and enters a fake marriage with her. This changes with Minmei’s fame and is further complicated when her cousin Kyle shows up upon the return to Earth. Rick also finds himself at odds with his commanding officer Lisa who realizes she loves Rick.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-rick-minmei-lisa

Rick…just pick one!

The whole relationship aspect of the story is very soap opera like. I actually really, really hate Minmei. Whenever she opened her mouth to sing, I kind of grimace. Not only is her song horrible, but she’s so full of herself and superficial that I don’t even like hearing her voice. I wish the Zentraedi would just step on her to end the singing nightmare.

Robotech: The Macross Saga really feels bigger than a simple cartoon. It is for this reason anime has become so popular. The subject of the series is a bit too serious for younger viewers but adults might have a hard time with the some of the lighter aspects of the series.  Robotech:  The Macross Saga was followed by the twenty-six episode Second Robotech War called Robotech:  The Masters Saga.

Robotech—Part 1:  The Macross Saga Complete Episode Guide:

robotech episode 1 boobytrap rick hunter

“Boobytrap”

Episode 1       Boobytrap Airdate:  03/04/85

An alien ship crashes on Macross Island in 1999 and helps stop the war raging around the world.  Banding together to fix the SDF-1, Earth enters a new renaissance with technology.  With the SDF-1 repaired, Lisa Hayes and her crew prepares for the lift-off of SDF-1 but quickly discover that fate has other plans.  Rick Hunter visits his friend Roy Fokker at Robotech Island and is challenged to use his piloting skills for the program.  An armada of ships from the Zentraedi head to Earth with plans to retrieve the SDF-1, and it could be the catalyst for war with Rick caught in the middle.

robotech episode 2 guardian mode

“Countdown”

Episode 2       Countdown Airdate:  03/05/85

Rick finds his plane has transformed into a robot as Zentraedi soldiers move in on Macross Island.  Captain Gloval is ordered to lift off in SDF-1 but worries that his crew won’t be able to really function in space.  Rick meets a young woman named Linn Minmei as Roy tries to help Rick operate the battloid.  When the Zentraedi forces move on Macross City, Rick must save Minmei.

robotech episode 3 space fold sdf-1

“Space Fold”

Episode 3       Space Fold Airdate:  03/06/85

Rick and Minmei are caught in the middle of the battle for Macross City and must be saved by Roy.  Captain Gloval prepares to rendezvous with the space bases and question why the Zentraedi attack hasn’t continued.  The Zentraedi resume their attack and force Captain Gloval to attempt a risky maneuver to save SDF-1 and Macross Island…leaving Rick and Minmei stranded in a precarious predicament.

robotech episode 4 the long wait rick minmei tuna

“The Long Wait”

Episode 4       The Long Wait Airdate:  03/07/85

Rick and Minmei try to repair Rick’s ship as Captain Gloval deals with the disaster of the space fold.  Roy wishes to search for Rick but finds the situation necessitates other actions.  Rick and Minmei find themselves lost within SDF-1 and fighting for survival as food and rations begin to run low.

robotech episode 5 transofmration sdf-1 ship

“Transformation”

Episode 5       Transformation Airdate:  03/08/85

Minmei gets to get her aunt and uncle to reopen their restaurant on SDF-1 and find rumors are circulating among people about her time alone with Rick. Roy tries to convince Rick to join the Robotech fighter pilots. Breetai is encouraged to break his attack on Earth and goes after the missing ship. When the base comes under attack from the Zentraedi, Captain Gloval orders SDF-1 to transform.

robotech episode 6 blitzkrieg rick vs zentraedi

“Blitzkrieg”

Episode 6       Blitzkrieg Airdate:  03/11/85

Rick joins the Robotech Defense Force and finds himself under the command of Lisa Hayes.  SDF-1 reaches Saturn and prepares a pre-emptive blitzkrieg attack against the Zentraedi.  Rick spends time with Minmei and worries what combat will mean, but when he finds himself face-to-face with the enemy, Rick’s courage will be tested.

robotech episode 7 bye bye mars lisa hayes crying

“Bye-Bye, Mars”

Episode 7       Bye-Bye Mars Airdate:  03/11/85

SDF-1 approaches Mars, and Hayes finds herself thinking about her boyfriend who was stationed there.  With the Zentraedi lying in ambush, SDF-1 could be walking into a trap.  Lisa is sent on an emergency mission that could reveal the fate of her boyfriend and lead to an unlikely hero.

robotech episode 8 sweet sixteen minmei birthday

“Sweet Sixteen”

Episode 8       Sweet Sixteen Airdate:  03/13/85

Rick and his squadron are honored for their fighting, and Rick is promoted to lieutenant.  Rick finds himself assigned Max Sterling and Ben Dixon.  Rick attends Minmei’s sixteenth birthday and attends her party with Max and Ben.  The Zentraedi prepares for a sneak attack, and Rick has to leave the party to lead Max and Ben into battle.  The Zentraedi learn about the unauthorized attack on the ship and orders a recall of forces.

robotech episode 9 miss macross minmei

“Miss Macross”

Episode 9       Miss Macross Airdate:  03/14/85

Minmei is selected to be in a Ms. Macross Beauty Pageant, and the Zentraedi are confused by the intercepted broadcast of the program.  With the Zentraedi moving in, Rick is pulled away for an intercept mission.

robotech episode 10 blind game vs breetai

“Blind Game”

Episode 10     Blind Game Airdate:  03/15/85

The Zentraedi question what the Miss Macross Pageant meant as Gloval tries to repair SDF-1. SDF-1 makes contact with Earth but learns a return to Earth might be out of the question. When SDF-1’s radar is disabled, the ship becomes a sitting target for the Zentraedi, and Lisa’s attempt to prove herself on the battlefield leads to her capture…Rick, Max, and Ben attempt a rescue.

robotech episode 11 first contact zentraedi dolza

“First Contact”

Episode 11     First Contact Airdate:  03/18/85

Rick, Ben, and Lisa are prisoners of the Zentraedi, and find themself face to face with Zentraedi leader Dolza as Commander Breetai tries to determine what the Micronians are hiding about Robotech.  Max finds himself trapped outside of the Zentraedi ship and believed to be dead as he attempts a dangerous rescue.  Minmei learns from Roy that Rick is missing and that he might not be coming back.  The Zentraedi threaten to destroy Earth unless Rick, Lisa, and Ben provide them with answers, and Rick, Lisa and Ben discover a secret about the Zentraedi’s way of life…by being put in an intimate situation.

robotech episode 12 the big escape rick lisa zentraedi ship

“The Big Escape”

Episode 12     The Big Escape Airdate:  03/19/85

Prisoners Rick, Lisa, and Ben find themselves on the run and lost in the Zentraedi ship when Max attempts a rescue.  The Zentraedi decide they have to infiltrate the Micronians to learn the secret of protoculture which leads to a risky espionage experiment.  As time begins to run out, Rick, Max, Lisa, and Ben make a desperate last shot at reaching SDF-1.

robotech episode 13 blue wind zentraedi spies

“Blue Wind”

Episode 13     Blue Wind Airdate:  03/20/85

The Zentraedi spies arrive on SDF-1 and infiltrate the humans to understand their powers. Lisa, Max, Ben, and Rick debrief about their capture and find the claims in their report about the Zentraedi are being questioned. Dealing with a new celebrity status, Max, Lisa, Ben, and Rick find themselves heroes after the return to Macross Island as the SDF-1 heads for Earth while under fire.

robotech episode 14 glovals report captain gloval

“Gloval’s Report”

Episode 14     Gloval’s Report Airdate:  03/21/85

Gloval provides a debriefing of the events occurring between the attack on Macross Island to the SDF-1’s return to Earth.  As Gloval recounts the journey, he still questions what the SDF-1 is hiding.

robotech episode 15 homecoming lisa hayes gloval

“Homecoming”

Episode 15     Homecoming Airdate:  03/22/85

The people of SDF-1 celebrate their return to Earth, and the Zentraedi spies try to fit in among the humans.  Roy and his fiancée Claudia try to spend time together while Rick is asked to escort Minmei back to her parents.  Gloval shows Lisa her father’s secret Robotech project within SDF-1 as they make a desperate attempt to convey the danger of the Zentraedi to their superiors.  Rick and Minmei’s return to Minmei’s parents is met with arguments when Minmei reveals her plans for the future aboard the SDF-1 while Minmei’s cousin Kyle could cause problems for Rick’s relationship with Minmei.

robotech episode 16 battle cry armor

“Battle Cry”

Episode 16     Battle Cry Airdate:  03/25/85

Kyle is reunited with his parents as the crew of the ship learns that they cannot leave the SDF-1.  Lisa meets Kyle and realizes that he reminds her of her lost love.  The survivors of Macross Island learn that they cannot leave the ship and demand answers.  Khyron breaks rank among the Zentraedi and makes an attack on SDF-1.  When Rick is caught in the crossfire, Lisa hopes she hasn’t killed him.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-17-phantasm

“Phantasm”

Episode 17     Phantasm Airdate:  03/26/85

Rick lies near death and has nightmares of the Zentraedi and his battle against them.  Rick dreams Minmei is captured and fights to rescue her despite the danger.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-18-farewell-big-brother

“Farewell, Big Brother”

Episode 18     Farewell, Big Brother Airdate:  03/27/85

Rick fights to recover from his injuries and waits to be released from the hospital.  Lisa finds herself in love with Rick Hunter and is encouraged by Claudia to go after Rick.  Minmei’s popularity grows and Rick wonders if she is too big for him.  The Zentraedi steal a Minmei doll and find themselves hooked up with a group of girls.  Roy tells Minmei about Rick’s hospitalization and Minmei agrees to go see him.  Roy leads a counter strike against a Zentraedi attack, and Max is targeted by Milia Fallyna Jenius.  Roy finds himself caught in the crossfire and pays the ultimate price.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-19-bursting-point

“Bursting Point”

Episode 19     Bursting Point Airdate:  03/28/85

Gloval tries to force the government to release the people of SDF-1 by making it a public matter.  Claudia and Rick deal with Roy’s death.  Milia decides to be a Micronian spy after being defeated by Max.  Rick gets Roy’s ship the Skull-One and learns that the civilians have arranged to be freed from the SDF-1.   The Zentraedi lead a strike against SDF-1 as they prepare to release the civilians and the fighters are forced into battle.  The Zentraedi learn that the SDF-1 has a new energy shield.  When the new shields overload, people will die.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-20-paradise-lost

“Paradise Lost”

Episode 20     Paradise Lost Airdate:  03/28/85

After the destruction and lives lost by the shield overload, the civilians are ordered to remain on SDF-1 and the Zentraedi feel the Micronians are ruthless for sacrificing one of their cities. Rick deals with Ben’s death and tries to inform his parents. The Zentraedi spies debate turning on the Micronians and wonder if they want to stay on the SDF-1. The SDF-1 is ordered to leave Earth, and the future is questioned. Breetai collects the spies for debriefing, and the spies try to teach the Zentraedi about the human culture. When Gloval makes his announcement, Minmei has to try to reach the people.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-21-a-new-dawn

“A New Dawn”

Episode 21     A New Dawn Airdate:  04/01/85

Minmei prepares for the premiere of her film Little White Dragon. Minmei tries to get a message to Rick to come to her movie’s premiere, but Rick misses the message.  Milia searches for Max to avenge being shot down, but thinks Kyle is responsible when she sees him in the movie. The Zentraedi witness the movie and think that it is some form of battle. When the ship begins to transform, Rick and Lisa become trapped together, and Kyle and Minmei are isolated.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-22-battle-hymn

“Battle Hymn”

Episode 22     Battle Hymn Airdate:  04/01/85

Dolza watches the footage of Little White Dragon and demands that Breetai capture Micronians for study. The spies spread Minmei’s song doll and debate defecting to SDF-1.  As the Zentraedi attack, the Zentraedi try to use the attack as a cover for their defection.  Minmei tries to keep people calm by singing and finds herself threatened by the invaders.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-23-reckless

“Reckless”

Episode 23     Reckless Airdate:  04/03/85

Khyron learns that soldiers are searching for Minmei and finds his soldiers aren’t listening to him. Rick finds Minmei kissing Kyle and doesn’t see Minmei reject Kyle. The Zentraedi retreat and the defectors ask for asylum. When Rick is questioned about allowing the defectors stay, he defends the defectors, and scientific tests reveal that the Zentraedi are close to humans. Lisa tells Rick that he should tell Minmei his feelings, but another attack occurs. Lisa decides she must make a big risk.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-24-showdown

“Showdown”

Episode 24     Showdown Airdate:  04/04/85

Lisa risks never returning to SDF-1 by heading to Earth to try to convince Earth to negotiate with the Zentraedi for peace. Gloval finds it difficult to be calm with Sammie in charge with Lisa gone. As Lisa makes her move to reach Earth, an ambush attack by the Zentraedi leaves Lisa at risk. When Lisa arrives at Earth, she reveals her findings on the Zentraedi to her father. A trip to the arcade has Max squaring off with Milia. Lisa learns that her father’s plans for peace involves an attack on the Zentraedi.  Minmei and Kyle are questioned about their relationship by the press.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-25-wedding-bells-max-milia

“Wedding Bells”

Episode 25     Wedding Bells Airdate:  04/05/85

Max meets with Milia, and Milia reveals she’s Zentraedi. When Max defeats her in battle, he realizes he wants to marry her. Max and marry and wonder if it could bring peace. Gloval reveals how Zentraedi are the same as humans, and some question if peace is right. As the marriage is celebrated, Dolza decides that an attack must be pushed in order to keep the Zentraedi from collapsing. When the battle breaks out, Milia realizes she must fight with Max against the Zentraedi.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-26-the-messenger-exedore

“The Messenger”

Episode 26     The Messenger Airdate:  04/08/85

Breetai is ordered to meet with the crew of the SDF-1. Exedore boards the SDF-1 and meets with Gloval. reveals that the Zentraedi think Minmei’s singing is a weapon, and Minmei and Kyle are brought in for questioning. learns that the main fleet is being moved in for the Protoculture, and Earth is doomed. As the world prepares for the main fleet’s arrival, the Zentraedis must choose sides.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-27-force-of-arms-minmei

“Force of Arms”

Episode 27     Force of Arms Airdate:  04/09/85

The SDF-1 is the only thing standing between the main fleet of the Zentraedi forces and Earth. When Earth is attacked by the Zentraedi much of the surface is destroyed. The SDF-1 and the Grand Cannon for their final stand and Minmei might be humanity’s only hope. Rick heads to Earth on a rescue mission to save Lisa.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-28-reconstruction-blues

“Reconstruction Blues”

Episode 28     Reconstruction Blues Airdate:  04/10/85

The SDF-1 is the only survivor of the war with Zentraedi and the Earth is coming back from the destruction after two years. A city arises around the wreckage of the SDF-1, Rick discovers evidence that the Earth is working to save itself. Rick finds Minmei performing in Granite City and tries to get close to her. Lisa wishes she could have Rick for herself and finds herself still competing with Minmei. Rick learns that Minmei and Kyle’s relationship isn’t working out and is called away when New Portland is attacked by the Zentraedi.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-29-robotech-masters

“Robotech Masters”

Episode 29     Robotech Masters Airdate:  04/11/85

Two years have passed since the defeat of the Zentraedi fleet, and many Zentraedi question join the humans.  Minmei and Kyle continue to argue about the path of their success.  Scientists determine that the Zentraedi and humans have the same ancestors and question if it means humans are inclined to war.  A trip to her old room reminds Minmei about her feelings for Rick, but seeing him with Lisa causes her to run off.  The Zentraedi debate rebelling against the humans and military leaders see the Zentraedi threat are returning.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-30-viva-miriya-dana

“Viva Miriya”

Episode 30     Viva Miriya Airdate:  04/12/85

The humans set out a mission with Breetai to meet with the Robotech Masters threatening Earth with a Robotech manufacturing plant and Gloval has Max take Milia and their child Dana. The Robotech Masters try to clone Zor in order to regain the knowledge of Protoculture. As Milia and Max make a move toward the Zentraedi Rick and Lisa are forced to kiss as a distraction in the attempt to take the plant.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-31-khyrons-revenge

“Khyron’s Revenge”

Episode 31     Khyron’s Revenge Airdate:  04/15/85

Rick’s attempt to hide the Protoculture chamber meets opposition from Kyle and other Zentraedi living on Earth. Khyron and his allies prepare a raid of New Detroit to capture the Protoculture chamber. The history of the Zentraedi is uncovered, and Rick learns about the attack on New Detroit.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-32-broken-heart-minmei-kyle

“Broken Heart”

Episode 32     Broken Heart Airdate:  04/16/85

Khyron captures Minmei and Kyle and demands Gloval deliver the space station to him.  Gloval debates what to do about the hostages, and Rick decides he has to try to rescue Minmei.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-33-a-rainy-night-claudia-roy

“A Rainy Night”

Episode 33     A Rainy Night Airdate:  04/17/85

Lisa wonders what to do about Rick, and Claudia tells Lisa that she needs to tell Rick her feelings. When Rick refuses to listen to her, Claudia tells Lisa about her relationship with Roy.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-34-private-time-minmei-rick

“Private Time”

Episode 34     Private Time Airdate:  04/18/85

Rick and Lisa try to talk, but Rick lies to Lisa when Minmei asks to meet with him. When Kyle interrupts their lunch, Kyle is forces Minmei to leave Rick behind. When Rick is caught up in a Zentraedi attack, he worries that Lisa will not understand missing their date.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-35-seasons-greetings-rick-minmei-kiss

“Season’s Greetings”

Episode 35     Season’s Greetings Airdate:  04/19/85

Minmei finds herself without Kyle at the holidays and seeks out Rick as she questions her next step. When Lisa learns Rick has agreed to let Minmei stay at her home, Lisa tries to drown her sorrows.  Khyron and his agents strike, and Rick enters the battle to stop Khyron from capturing the protoculture.

robotech-the-macross-saga-1-36-to-the-stars

“To the Stars”

Episode 36     To the Stars Airdate:  04/22/85

Rick debates leaving the military at Minmei’s request, and Lisa learns that Gloval wants her to help lead a mission into space to find the Robotech Masters. As Lisa prepares to head to space, she admits her love for Rick. Plans for space might have to be put on hold when Khyron and his forces lead a last attack on the SDF-1.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response