People We All Look Up To #8: Roy Fokker

I've trash talked spoilers in the past so here's the heads up. Don't read this if you plan on enjoying Robotech and do not want to be partial to things that happen in that show.

I’ve trash talked spoilers in the past so here’s the heads up. The show’s almost 30 years old, if you haven’t watched it maybe you’re never going to.

When Robotech was on television in the eighties many kids looked up to Roy Fokker, a legend of the Macross saga and an all around charming fellow. Roy was one half of the first cartoon interracial couple I ever saw, and I always respected him greatly for that. He showed the other cartoons how it was done. His ship had skulls and crossbones on the rudders and was the only ship that stood out from the thousands of other ships in a battle. It helped that he was kicking the shit out of everything too, I suppose. Roy was a pilot for seventeen years before he was even born. He played guitar sometimes. He and his wife enjoyed the odd pineapple salad. Pineapple salad presumably chock full of “very confusing death”, because apparently you are what you eat, and my friends, what we’re here to talk about today is the tragic and very confusing death of Roy Fokker.

Roy Fokker reporting for.. ughhhhh......

Roy Fokker reporting for.. ughhhhh……

It can’t be called much of a spoiler if you happened to catch the “in the next episode” from the episode before Roy dies. It strongly hints that Roy will die in the next episode. It practically shows them burying him and having sex on his grave. Maybe it’s not that strong a warning, but it’s pretty close. The next episode arrives and, since the show has already spoiled it for you, you’re waiting for Roy to eat shit. Anytime someone shoots anywhere near him you think it’s going to be the one. For the entire episode. He’s fine. His ship is fine. It’s not even displaying the usual brand of warning signs from eighties cartoons that would indicate the ship is going to explode violently and the eject is broken, such as smoke coming out of cracks in the plane or big buttons flashing seriously red. You’re expecting a harsh battle but it’s pretty usual and it’s over before Roy dies, leaving everyone wondering what the hell is going on. Did they just say that to make us tune in next time? Was it just a hypothetical?

Roy lands his plane and climbs out of the cockpit, returning to Claudia, who is preparing something for them to eat. What’s this, though? Some of the techs who take care of the ships are looking in at the seat of Roy’s ship. The ship that’s in perfectly fine condition. They look at the seat and show concern. They know a lot more than the rest of us do, though, because we never get to see what happened in there. We’re back with Roy, who’s now playing a little guitar and staring at the wall as Claudia talks to him about her day. Then, when the show is literally seconds away from ending he just keels over and dies. Don’t believe me? I can only find it in Spanish, but I don’t think you need to understand anything that’s being said to understand that what you’re seeing couldn’t make sense no matter what anyone said in that short amount of time. It’s not even possible. Enjoy:

What the fuck just happened? It’s as though they planned to write his death into the episode and then completely forgot about it and then added it in as an afterthought in the part of the show where Roy would usually impart some sage advice for the rest of us to absorb. The couch wasn’t bloody, nor was the front of Roy’s shirt. What did the techs see that had them all worried? His horoscope? Roy Fokker died of Fokker’s disease, which is the disease that kills characters in television shows for seemingly no reason at all. When you’re watching something and a main character dies and it doesn’t advance the story in any way they pretty much got Fokkered. He literally died of plot and was pronounced dead by that final thump on the floor. No bullets pierced him. No bombs blew him up. His ship was fine and was passed on to his “little brother” in the next episode. The guy didn’t even ask what the hell killed Roy. He just hopped right in there. He was a love interest, the plot would never destroy him.

The helmet is just for show. Trust me.

Wearing your watch on the outside of your glove: Badasses only.

In reading a little bit about the show and about Roy himself in order to write this I discovered that in another version of the show that has an alternate universe Roy Fokker, he dies after flying into battle extremely drunk. I’m not familiar with the facts on that one but I believe there is likely no explanation as to why he goes into battle drunk. Just as there’s no explanation as to why he wouldn’t radio his comrades and inform them he was injured and then proceed to the hospital instead of going home to strum the guitar a few times and die in front of the woman he loved. Roy Fokker didn’t need a reason and he didn’t need a rhyme. He talked that pineapple salad up for many an episode and then when it came time to actually eat one he opted to fall into a lifeless pile on the floor. Any confusing death for me is a Fokker. That’s what I call it. His death is the enigma of the ages. What the fuck was going on, Roy? You were like a hero to all of us. Right up until the end.

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2 Responses to People We All Look Up To #8: Roy Fokker

  1. Alexandros says:

    Lol, so much ignorance. Fokker died because he had his internal organs damaged while fighting. He was shot down. The enemy shot at the cockpit only, and thats why
    1)Fokker eventually died
    2) His vf-1s was repaired
    Besides that, dont forget that earlier, that morning, he had promised his g/f for a dinner with pineapple salad. After all the promises he broke, and although he was internally injured, he did what a warrior does. He kept his word.
    I think now your questions are answered

    • snaughty says:

      So they shot the cockpit only with bullets that caused internal organ damage but didn’t make him bleed in any way? What kind of bullets are those? Did they phase out of existence before they hit his skin and then back in once they were inside his body, only to phase back out once they’d messed him up inside? I think you’re the only person I know who watched Robotech and feels like his death was perfectly explained, and that’s including the two people I know who suggested the show to me to watch.

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