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|First appearance||Episode 1 - "Boobytrap"|
|Voiced by||Tony Oliver|
|Relatives||Lisa Hayes (Wife) (2022-Present)
Donald Hayes (Father in law - Deceased)
Rick Hunter, voiced by veteran voice actor Tony Oliver, is one of the fictional characters in the Robotech anime television series. He begins the series as a naive and headstrong nineteen-year-old civilian pilot, having flown for his father "Pops" Hunter's world-class flying circus. Yet by the end of the series, he matures into a well-respected, experienced, and visionary military commander.
Rick originally shares his father's pacifist view of war, until the alien race known as the Zentraedi attack the Earth. Rick then spends the series struggling to reconcile his personal feelings with the realities of war, and the need to confront the incredible alien threat.
First Robotech War
The first episode begins with Rick Hunter arriving as a visitor to Macross Island in 2009 to watch the launching of the Super Dimensional Fortress One and to visit his "big brother", Roy Fokker. Although happy to see his old friend again, Rick is still resentful that Roy chose to stay in the military instead of coming back to the circus where they performed aerial stunts together. Rick is in the cockpit of one of the transformable Veritech fighters when the Zentraedi forces attack, and receives a crash course in piloting the strange craft from Roy in the midst of the all-out alien invasion. He is present when the SDF-1's accidental hyperspace-fold in the atmosphere takes the island and its inhabitants of Macross City all the way to Pluto, on the edge of the solar system.
During this encounter, Rick rescues and falls for a young girl, Lynn Minmay. The two find themselves trapped in a remote section of the giant ship and become very close during their time together. However, just as they are about to kiss for the first time (in a pretend wedding), the two are finally rescued. Although he is not initially open to the idea, the constant danger to the ship and the city it carries compels Rick to sign up with the Robotech Defense Force, and soon becomes an ace veritech fighter pilot, despite the fact that he is only 19 years old. During his time on the SDF-1, Rick has many dealings with Lisa Hayes, the disciplined and reserved second-in-command of the great ship. During the initial battle on Earth, Rick insults Lisa...thus, when he enlists into the military, she takes it upon herself to ride him a little harder than most new recruits. Due to the constant attacks by the Zentraedi, many veritech pilots are killed or injured and Rick increasingly looks toward Minmay, who has now become a popular singer and New Macross pageant winner, as a source of inspiration and happiness. However, despite their initial closeness, the two gradually grow apart as Rick focuses on his military career while Minmay is constantly mobbed by fans who love her music.
After a mission to rescue Lisa from the soon-to-be-destroyed Mars Base Sara, Rick is awarded a medal, promoted to Lieutenant, and is given his own command (Vermilion Squadron) and two subordinates (Max Sterling and Ben Dixon). Throughout the course of the series, Rick matures and gains experience as the SDF-1 slowly travels back towards Earth while under constant attack from Zentraedi forces, such as learning to eagerly concede that Sterling is far and away the superior pilot compared to himself (and thus a prized wingman). Nevertheless, Rick is accounted as one of the most dangerous and accomplished Robotech warriors in all three series.
During a reconnaissance mission, Rick, Lisa, and Ben are captured by the enemy Zentraedi and interrogated by Supreme Commander Dolza, Breetai, and Exedore. Lisa, suspicious as to why Dolza doesn't just order his massive fleet to attack the SDF-1, yells that Dolza doesn't have the power to attack and that the SDF-1 is far superior to his "bucket of bolts". Infuriated, Dolza slams his hand on the table with enough force to cause the captives to lose their balance. Dolza then extends his hand and grabs Lisa, lifting her up in front of his face. He orders her to tell him by what process humans become human-size. Defiant, Lisa refuses to respond, and Dolza tightens his grip around her until she screams in pain. Fearing that Dolza will kill Lisa, Rick yells at him to stop squeezing her and explains that humans are born, at their current size, when a man and woman love each other. When Breetai asks how "this love" is often expressed, Rick responds that it is often done by kissing one another. Demanding a demonstration, Dolza suggests that Rick and Ben kiss one another, but Rick refuses. As Dolza threatens to crush all of them if he doesn't see a demonstration, Lisa says she will demonstrate. After Dolza returns her to the table, Lisa orders Rick to kiss her, an action that shocks Dolza and the other Zentraedi present. This kiss, ironically, is the start of Rick and Lisa's difficult romance and the beginning of the love triangle between Rick, Lisa, and Lynn Minmei.
After being rescued, Lisa shakes off the event and immediately returns to duty, but she cannot help the feelings she is now developing for Rick, and soon becomes jealous of his obsession with Minmay. Although neither realized it at the time, this kiss marked the start of Rick and Lisa's difficult romance that would take years to ultimately come to fruition, and only after many challenges and heartbreaks. Lisa and Rick's personal relationship would continue to mature, and would eventually progress into an uneasy friendship. Despite the bond that grows between them, Rick remains fixated on Minmay, hanging her posters in his home, much to the dislike of Lisa, who is too shy to tell Rick how she feels. Yet despite Rick's feelings, Minmay's music career and her cousin Lynn Kyle, make their romance more and more difficult.
Even after reaching Earth, the crew of the vast ship is not safe. During a battle led by Miriya Parina to hunt down and destroy Max Sterling, Roy Fokker is killed. A heartbroken Rick is given command of the Skull Squadron and is issued Roy's VF-1S Veritech. Shortly thereafter, Rick is faced with another tragedy when his second wingman, Ben Dixon, is killed in the line of duty. The loss of two of his closest friends devastates Rick emotionally, but he finds the strength to carry on.
Rick faces a challenge of a different sort when his wingmate and best friend Max falls in love with Miriya after she is micronized and infiltrates the SDF-1. Despite Miriya's initial intention to kill Max, she eventually realizes that the feelings Max had awakened in her were not of hate but of love, and the two decide to get married. Max soon meets with Rick to explain his plans to marry Miriya. Rick, after spitting out his coffee in surprise, initially objects to Max's plans and ridicules them as "silly idealism". Rick asks, aside from the fact that he and Miriya have only been on one date, what a human and a Zentraedi could possibly have in common. Max vigorously defends his plan to marry Miriya and introduces her to Rick. Rick, after seeing Miriya in a pink dress, is amazed at how beautiful she is and he suddenly changes his mind. Rick even agrees to help them with their wedding plans. That night, as he lies in bed, he thinks to himself how happy Max is to be married, despite that fact that Miriya is an alien of a hostile race. His thoughts soon drift to Lisa as he tries to sort out the love triangle between Lisa, Minmay, and himself.
In the battle against the Zentraedi Grand Fleet, Rick, like the rest of the SDF-1 crew, is devastated as he watches the fleet fire on Earth and destroy almost all life on the planet. Rick fears for Lisa, who had been assigned to Alaska Base after returning to Earth and being unable to leave. In the subsequent battle, Rick's fighter takes damage, and he is temporarily knocked out. When he comes to, he picks up a distress signal from Alaska Base from Lisa Hayes. Despite the risk, Rick flies into the heavily damaged base and descends several miles until he reaches Lisa. The two run into each other's arms before racing back to the fighter. As the base starts collapsing, Rick manages to fly his fighter out of the base and lands it on the planet's devastated surface. As Rick and Lisa stand together, wondering if anyone else survived, they look up and watch the SDF-1, although severely damaged from battle, land safely nearby, marking the end of the First Robotech War.
As the 70,000 survivors of the Zentraedi holocaust rebuild Earth, Rick once again becomes obsessed with Minmay, much to the dislike of Lisa, who wishes that Rick could understand that she loves him, but he remains uncomfortable around her due to the age difference and the fact that she is a superior officer. When Lisa gives Rick photos of her for his photo album in an attempt to compete with Minmay, he is not sure how to react. After Minmay and her cousin Kyle are kidnapped by Khyron, Rick leads a rescue operation to save her, further straining his relationship with Lisa, leading to a fight. The next day an agitated Rick cruelly lashes out at Lisa to stay out of his personal life and then tries to hurt her by flirting with Vanessa, causing Lisa to leave. Vanessa and her fellow operators become disgusted with Rick and try to make him understand that Lisa loves him. On his way home that night Rick realizes he was wrong to behave the way he did and, after thinking about Vanessa's words and the photos Lisa gave him, he starts to realize Lisa's feelings are true and tries to talk to her after finding her at Claudia's home. Shortly after that, Rick decides to ask Lisa out for a picnic, which she accepts, but Minmay calls him to have lunch with her, which he reluctantly agrees to hoping he can finish early enough to still meet Lisa, but the day is dashed by the interference of Kyle and a Zentraedi attack. When Rick finally does get to Lisa, who spends all day waiting for him at an outdoor cafe, he tries to salvage the day but Lisa learns he has been with Minmay and storms away from him in anger. Afterward, Minmay has a falling out with Kyle and goes out in search of Rick, rekindling their love during the holidays and sharing a kiss on Christmas Eve. Lisa is devastated and initially decides to resign her military commission as she feels she cannot serve beside Rick due to her feelings for him. After spending more time with her during the holidays, however, Rick begins to realize that he cannot relate to Minmay anymore, as his experiences in combat have changed him from the person he was when they met, and that Lisa understands him better than Minmay does.
When Khyron attacks New Macross City and the SDF-1 in January 2014, Rick must tear himself away from Minmay's arms to attend to his duty. Minmay cannot accept that Rick must constantly risk his life in battle and begs him to leave the military, something that Rick could never do. Khyron eventually launches a suicide run at the SDF-1, killing himself and everyone aboard except for Lisa, who was pushed into an ejection pod at the last moment by Admiral Henry J. Gloval. In addition to Admiral Gloval, Lisa's close friends Claudia Grant, Vanessa Leeds, Sammy Porter, and Kim Young are killed. As Rick realizes that Lisa is alive, the two run into each other's arms as Minmay watches nearby. Rick and Minmay have already realized that they could never be together as he is dedicated to the military and she is dedicated to her music. Rick also realizes that his love for Minmay is based on euphoria, while his love for Lisa is stronger and deeper than he had ever realized until now.
During the war and its aftermath, Rick rises to become one of Earth's greatest heroes, commanding the SDF-1's fighter squadrons during the desperate battles of the First Robotech War. At the same time, he matures greatly as a person, growing from a brash teenager to a responsible and dedicated soldier. Rick and Lisa are two of the most influential surviving military figures of the human race, and together with the Zentraedi Commander Breetai, they construct the SDF-3, with which they intend to take humanity to its destiny in the stars.
Robotech Expeditionary Force
In December 2022, Rick, now at age 32 and a Major General of the fleet, prepares to join now-Admiral Lisa Hayes on the SDF-3, flagship of the Robotech Expeditionary Force, which is about to depart after eight years under construction. The mission's primary goal was to find the Robotech Masters and forge a peace in order to prevent another catastrophic war on Earth. On the day before the SDF-3 launches, Lisa and Rick are finally married in a huge wedding ceremony attended by all of their friends on board the Zentraedi Factory Satellite. The wedding ceremony can be seen in Robotech II: The Sentinels. Lisa's one-time rival for Rick's affections, Lynn Minmay, eventually makes peace with the officer well enough to volunteer to sing at her wedding. Dana Sterling, now aged 10, serves as a flower girl and Bowie Grant, Claudia Grant's nephew, serves as the ring bearer. Breetai, the former ruthless Zentraedi warlord turned ally, (who has now been micronized) gives away the bride, while Max Sterling is the best man. The wedding is the happiest day of their lives even though their honeymoon lasts only a few hours as they must be ready for the SDF-3 to launch early the next morning. Although they hoped the mission would be over quickly, events would keep the SDF-3 away from Earth for the next 22 years.
By the time of Robotech's third generation, some thirty years after the first generation, Rick is referred to as "Admiral Hunter," who appears to be in command of the Robotech Expeditionary Force that is attempting to liberate Earth from the Invid. (His experiences during the intervening years, as well as his relationship with now-wife Lisa Hunter, are chronicled in Jack McKinney's Sentinels novels). The SDF-3, with Rick Hunter aboard, never arrives at Earth with the main REF fleet at the end of the original Robotech series. The quest to find the SDF-3, and Admiral Hunter and company, is a major plot thread in the Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles feature film, and its forthcoming sequel(s).
Use of the Neutron-S Missiles
An interesting development seen on Robotech discussion boards centers on a plot element of the original Genesis Climber Mospeada, which became Robotech's third generation. At the end of the war with the Invid, it is decided that if the Invid can not be dislodged, then the REF is authorized to use the Neutron-S missiles (a devastating new superweapon obtained from the Haydonites) to destroy the Invid, although they will also destroy most (or possibly all) life on Earth.
In the original Robotech saga, Rick Hunter is named as the originator of this order. Since many human civilians and troops are alive on Earth, and the imminent threat of the Invid to the rest of the universe is not clear to all, Rick Hunter might be found guilty of numerous charges. These include conspiracy to commit war crimes, conspiracy to commit multiple-million counts of murder, conspiracy to commit multiple-million counts of assault, willful destruction of property on a global scale, treason, and others. However, the ordering the destruction of the Earth and all its inhabitants could also be considered legally-correct and factually-prudent action, or that Rick Hunter's orders were prematurely executed as they were to be executed "only if everything else has failed" in the event of "our total annihilation."
In the Robotech novels and comics, Rick's reasoning and justification for the use the Neutron-S missiles has been further clarified:
- The Invid Regess had already decided to kill all of the remaining humans living on Earth once they were no longer needed (and in the meantime, subjected many to horrific medical experiments);
- The REF had committed all available ships and manpower to the Battle of Reflex Point and if the attack failed, the massive losses sustained would cripple the REF sufficiently to make any further offensives impossible;
- The Invid, using Earth's vast supply of Protoculture, were continuing to evolve at an accelerated rate, and that their numbers and weaponry were growing in size and sophistication at a rate equal to or greater than that of the REF;
- Once powerful enough, the Invid would pose a threat to the entire galaxy, including the REF and the Sentinel races.
In Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, it is revealed that Rick's decision (to authorize the use of the Neutron-S missiles only as a last resort) was actually criticized by some senior REF officers, who believed that the missiles should simply be used immediately.
Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles
In the comic Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, Rick and Lisa, still happily married, are expecting their first child. Lisa is an Admiral of the fleet while Rick is a Major General. The comic begins with Rick and Lisa facing the betrayal of the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF) by T. R. Edwards, as he defects to the side of the Invid Regent. As the SDF-3 pursues Edward's ship, the Invid Regent's supercarrier defolds nearby. The SDF-3 launches an attack but the Regent's supercarrier is able to fire first, causing extensive damage and severely injuring Lisa. Later, Rick meets with his close friends, Vince Grant and his wife, Dr. Jean Grant, to ask about Lisa. Rick is happy when he is told that Lisa will survive and he states he is looking forward to her resigning her commission after she found out she was pregnant with their first child. However, it is then that Jean Grant, with a sad look on her face, says: "Rick... She lost the baby." Rick is overwhelmed and collapses in shock and sadness.
With Lisa facing a long recovery, Rick is promoted to Admiral of the REF. One year later, the REF has rebuilt and Rick oversees the christening of the newly refitted battlecrusier Tokogawa, which is to be commanded by Vince Grant on a mission to Optera to find and stop Edwards. However, the tragedy one year earlier has taken its toll on Rick and Lisa. Rick's once black hair has turned gray and his face has aged considerably in appearance. Lisa remains in a wheelchair with braces on her legs. Both are still struggling with the death of their unborn child but manage to find the strength to carry on in their mission to stop Edwards and free Earth from the Invid. Rick, with the help of Vince Grant, is eventually able to track down and stop Edwards while seizing from him valuable technology that the REF can utilize to help free Earth from the Invid. However, Rick thinks little of Edwards' warning that a new threat is about to emerge.
At the end of the comic, Rick orders all available REF forces to assemble at Moon base ALUCE to prepare for one final assault on Earth to dislodge the Invid with the use of the new shadow technology obtained from the Haydonites. Rick, now at the age of 54, looks and acts considerably different from the young man in the original Robotech series.
Reluctantly, Rick authorizes the use of the newly acquired Neutron-S missiles if the REF's assault against the Invid on Earth is unsuccessful. The Neutron-S missiles are a devastating new superweapon developed with the assistance of the Haydonites, a highly advanced cybernetic race which also opposes the Invid. This decision is difficult for Rick, since although the missiles are more than powerful enough to destroy the Invid's central hive at Reflex Point, they will also wipe out most (or possibly all) life on Earth. Rick's decision is criticized by some of his officers who believe that the Neutron-S missiles should simply be used immediately; Like Rick, they are well aware that an attack against the Invid forces on Earth, even if successful, will likely result in very heavy losses to the REF. However, Rick refuses this request and orders that the missiles only be used as a last resort. Before the SDF-3 joins the attack, Rick asks Max Sterling to join him on the SDF-3 and appoints his daughter, Maia Sterling, to lead Skull Squadron in his place. Lisa, now fully recovered, also joins Rick on the bridge of the SDF-3. General Reinhardt, aboard the newly completed SDF-4 Izumo is placed command of the REF fleet assembling at Moon Base ALUCE - Rick orders the SDF-3 to the Omicron Sector to oversee the test firing of a Neutron-S missile before it joins the rest of the fleet for the attack. However, the test goes horribly wrong as the true power of the missiles become apparent.
The comic ends here and paves the way for the movie Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles
Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles picks up where the comic left off with Admiral Rick Hunter, along with Lisa and Max, unaware of the destructive power of the Neutron-S missiles, orders a test-firing of one of the missiles in the Omicron Sector. The detonation of the missile creates a black hole. Despite being more than 800 million kilometres (500 million miles) from the detonation, the SDF-3 sustains heavy damage and everyone, except the android Janice Em, is killed on board the science vessel Deukalion. Vince Grant, captain of the battlecruiser Icarus, is dispatched to rescue the SDF-3 and Admiral Hunter. Because of hostile jamming by unknown forces (later revealed to be the Haydonites), Captain Grant is forced to leave the SDF-3 behind, as Rick orders him to return immediately to the battle raging against the Invid near Earth to warn the REF that the Neutron-S missiles cannot be used on Earth under any circumstances. The SDF-3 is last seen adrift in space, being slowly pulled towards the newly created black hole. At the end of the movie, it is stated that the SDF-3 may not have been destroyed as initially thought. The Ark Angel, now under the command of Vince Grant is ordered by General Reinhardt to begin a search mission to try and reach the SDF-3 before the Haydonites do. It is believed by fans that Rick's fate will be revealed in a future proposed Robotech installment.
As in the Prelude comic, Rick's formerly dark hair is now white.
- Robotech, episode 1: Boobytrap (summary available at Episode 1: Boobytrap at Robotech.com
- "Robotech Remastered Extended Edition Vol. #01". Mania.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
- Robotech, episode 12: The Big Escape (summary available at Episode 12: The Big Escape at Robotech.com
- Robotech, episode 18: Farewell, Big Brother (summary available at Episode 18: Farewell, Big Brother at Robotech.com
- Robotech, episode 19: Bursting Point (summary available at Episode 19: Bursting Point at Robotech.com
- Robotech, Episode 35: Season's Greetings (summary available at Episode 35: Season's Greeting at Robotech.com
- Robotech, episode 36: To the Stars (summary available at Episode 36: To the Stars at Robotech.com
- Harmony Gold USA. "Rick Hunter". Robotech.com.