There, I said it.
Luckily, Minmay-hate seems to be on the wane, but it’s still way more prevalent than it should be. Now, I can understand the impetus: Misa is the one that everyone wants Hikaru to hook up with, and Minmay’s the one standing in the way of that happening.
Except that she’s not. Or at least, she’s not doing it consciously or deliberately.
The moment between Hikaru and Minmay of course occurs in Episode 4, when they’re trapped in an unused part of the Macross. As time goes on, they eventually think they’re going to die and stage a mock-wedding so that Minmay can at least somewhat fulfill her dream of being a bride. They ALMOST kiss, but a falling dud warhead breaks the ceiling, which leads to them being rescued. At this point, it’s clear that Hikaru REALLY wants to get into Minmay’s pants, but doesn’t quite know how to go about it. Me, I would say that he had his only chance when they were trapped, and the moment has gone and passed him by. And yet, he hangs on to that memory and doesn’t let inconvenient things like “reality” get in his way.
From Episode 5 on, it should be clear to anyone who ISN’T Hikaru that Minmay just doesn’t like him “that way.” She’s friendly and nice, but not especially romantic or flirty, and she continually refers to him as “just a friend.” Now this seems to bother a lot of guys, but I’m not sure why. The only reason I can think of is that they’re identifying pretty closely with Hikaru and HIS romantic failure feels like THEIR romantic failure.
So, yeah. Already, the only moment of romantic tension between them is when they both think they’re going to die, and are lonely and scared. Not really the best start to a long-term relationship. And once things are back to normal, she doesn’t lead him on at all. Not only that, but the book “My Fair Minmay” makes it clear that she’s one of the most popular girls at her school, and that she gets asked out an awful lot, and dates pretty frequently. Which of course she does. You don’t get to win the Miss Macross Contest (especially against a famous actress) by being someone nobody’s ever met or heard of.
And then, yes, the Miss Macross Contest happens a quarter of the way through the series, and the idea of a Hikaru/Minmay romance is sealed shut pretty much for good. After this point, she’s too busy and rarely has time to see Hikaru. Pretty much the only times they do see each other are Episode 15 (when he flies her back to Yokohama) and Episode 18 (when she visits him in the hospital) and in both instances, her two-hours-of-sleep-per-night schedule catches up with her and she falls asleep. Or else Hikaru really IS just that boring, which is always a possibility.
And once Kaifun is on board the ship, then Minmay has her romantic interest for most of the rest of the series. It’s so stunningly obvious that even Hikaru should be able to see it, but no… he doubles down on his infatuation by dedicating his military service to protect Minmay. It doesn’t last long, though, since he comes across Kaifun kissing her, which (again) really shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as it is.
And yeah, all of this changes once we get to the post-war episodes. Even then, though, Minmay is mostly blameless. Hikaru is the one treating Misa like a consolation prize, and he never ever tells Minmay anything about her. As far as Minmay’s knows, Hikaru is single and available, and he does nothing to correct that impression. It isn’t HER fault that he’s not telling her anything.
But anyway, my point here is that pretty much from the beginning, Hikaru’s interest in Minmay is really formed entirely in his imagination. If Minmay knew about it, I’m sure she would have rejected him early on, but he never tells her. And he keeps hanging on to that one moment in Episode 4. For YEARS. Seriously, man… MOVE ON! Again, none of this is Minmay’s fault or responsibility. The entire romance is happening inside Hikaru’s head. So yes, if you hate Minmay for it, you are an awful person. You’re blaming her for his stupidity. Or else you’re blaming her because she’s not sufficiently attracted to Hikaru to go out with him. So yeah, she never does anything to deserve your hate, so put it on Hikaru, where it belongs.
(Of course, if you’re a Robotech fan, then it’s different, since the rewriting there consistently makes Minmei stupid, annoying, selfish, and thoroughly dislikable, with a horrible “hit” song about how great it is to be her. Although that should, by all rights, make you hate “Rick” even MORE for never realizing how awful she is.)