An Examination of selected Mise-en-scène portayals in Episodes 1 to 36

Between Episodes 8 to 32 this series portrays multiple conferences and meetings. Between Episodes 8 and 31 the choreography or mise-en-scène of these meetings will symbolize Rick’s (Hikaru’s) personal growth as he will go from standing at attention to sitting among peers at a round table. The imagery of conferences spanning these episodes may also be commentary on political progress from a military dictatorship to an egalitarian representative democracy, or, alternatively, an absentee authority to a local and possibly self-governing society. Likewise, it could be a surrogate for parental authority for young adult viewers progressing into adulthood.

Episode 8: Longest Birthday (Sweet Sixteen in Robotech)

The image above portrays Rick standing at the lower left. He is being recognized by his peers seated at a table. Roy is seated at the lower right. Roy’s placement may illustrate his role as a maverick and renegade operating at the fringe of the establishment.

Episode 11: First Contact

The image above portrays the power structure of the Zentreadi (Zentradi) command. Dolza’s (Golg Boddole Zer’s) character design utilizes the Badass Arm-Fold, High Collar of Doom, and Bald of Evil tropes. The scene pictured above occurs after the interrogation of the four micronian prisoners aboard Breetai’s (Britai’s) ship.

Episode 13: Blue Wind

The image above reinforces Captain Gloval’s (Global’s) authority as he sits at the head of the table. The scene pictured above is taken from the debriefing scene aboard the SDF-1. While Rick was standing at his award ceremony in Episode 8, he is now seated at the table which may show professional progress within the military structure.

Episode 15: Chinatown (Homecoming in Robotech)

The image above portrays a bare headed Captain Gloval and Lisa (Misa) reporting to the United Earth Government (United Nations) in Alaska. The imagery illustrates the power structure of the in-universe government.

Episode 23: Drop Out (Reckless in Robotech)

In the image above Rick is summoned to a conference concerning the Zentreadi defectors. The scene is symbolic of each character’s role. Lisa and Max sit opposite Robotech Defense Force (UN Spacy) hardliners represented by Colonel Maistroff and a second unnamed Colonel. Captain Gloval sits in the middle representing balanced wisdom between the younger liberal ideology and the older conservative ideology. Interestingly, Rick remains standing and comments on the proceedings as an outsider. Rick’s placement in this scene may symbolize a higher moral plane of independent ethics or detached natural law. Rick’s arrival as the final participant to this conference bears an aesthetic resemblance to his award ceremony arrival in Episode 8: Longest Birthday where he was also last to arrive. Whereas previously the three Zentreadi spies were often before Exedore, Breetai, or Dolza, here they are presided over by Captain Gloval. This reinforces Captain Gloval’s command as being in opposition to Breetai and Dolza.

Episode 26: Messenger (The Messenger in Robotech)

In the image above, Minmei (Minmay) is the final guest to arrive which is symbolic of her as the missing piece or linchpin to this series. The choreography of the conference room scene is symbolic of political forces and changing political alignments. Exedore (Exsedol) represents the Zentreadi and sits opposite the forces of the SDF-1 and Earth. In this scene, Exedore stands, leaves his empty chair, walks across the room, and shakes Captain Gloval’s hand. This recalls an earlier scene in this episode when Colonel Maistroff described a handshake as a symbolic gesture for greeting friends. Exedore and Breetai portray the Heel-Face Turn trope in this episode. By crossing the room Exedore symbolically dissolved the old geopolitical relationships and forged a new alignment. This is similar to Rick jumping a chasm to Minmei’s side in Episode 5: Transformation. While, Captain Gloval still resides in a position of authority, Rick is seated at the table in a subordinate role.

Episode 29: Lonely Song (The Robotech Masters in Robotech)

In the image above Exedore presents his scientific findings. There may be symbolism in the imagery of the table. All the attendees are seated around a round table which may demonstrate a democratic equality among all participants. While Captain Gloval was previously seated at the head of the table, he now sits among the attendees. Body language analysis reveals the males as dominating physical space with their arms on the table while the females remain in submissive poses.

Another possible explanation for the round table pictured above is it may have been easier to render and reduced the cost of animation production. At this point in the production of this series several of the creators were becoming more involved in the production of the feature film version of this series titled Do You Remember Love?

The image above is from a later scene in Episode 29 in which another meeting takes place with Captain Gloval sitting at his desk and Rick, Lisa, Max, and Miriya (Milia) standing at attention. While there is an overarching progression between Episodes 8 and 31 of meetings symbolizing a trend from authoritarian politics to democratic authority, this meeting is an exception to this theory as it returns Captain Gloval to a symbolic position of high command.

Episode 31: Satan’s Dolls (Khyron’s Revenge in Robotech)

The image above is not from the SDF Macross episode titled Satan’s Dolls. This image is only from the Robotech version titled Khyron’s (Quamzin Kravshera’s) Revenge. It illustrates the power structure of the Robotech Masters (The Zor in SDCSC). It portrays a hive mind. Group mind is a frequent characteristic of antagonists as it portrays an alien otherness.

The image above is from a later scene in Episode 31. In this scene Exedore presents further research about micronians and Zentreadi. This image concludes the theory proposed by this examination. Rick has progressed up the chain of command as symbolized in the imagery of these tables and meetings. Once again, all the attendees are seated around a round table which may demonstrate a democratic equality among all participants. While Captain Gloval was previously seated at the head of the table, he now sits among the attendees. Body language analysis reveals the males as dominating physical space with their arms on the table while the females remain in submissive poses.

Again, an alternate explanation for the round table pictured above is it may have been easier to render and reduced the cost of animation production. At this point in the production of this series several of the creators were becoming more involved in the production of the feature film version of this series titled Do You Remember Love?

Episode 32: Broken Heart

In the image above the authorities discuss possible strategies for rescuing Minmei. It somewhat works against the theory of democratization proposed by this examination as it returns Captain Gloval to the head of the table. However, in support of the argument of a political progression present in this series, he does consult with a committee prior to making a dictatorial decision.

Episode 36: Farewell to Tenderness (To the Stars in Robotech)

The image above portrays Lisa and Vanessa as promoted in rank with very symbolic imagery as they are at a higher elevation than their subordinates. This imagery was first portrayed in Episode 28. Likewise, throughout this series, Minmei is often illustrated perched on a raised platform relative to other characters or on a concert stage. These raised platforms illustrate the power dynamics between Lisa, Minmei, and other characters relevant to these scenes.

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