Show of hands, how many people have heard of something called Robotech? What about actually watching it? I guess I don’t have a way to measure who is raising their hand for what because this is a blog, but I am going to assume that some of you reading this have raised your hand. To be honest with you, I have only heard about Robotech because I never watched it for myself. I do absolutely love S.D.F. Macross though and I gave myself the mission to watch the other shows Robotech included at some point in my life. Luckily, all of these are available on Amazon. At some point, I’m going to have to actually watch Robotech too for comparison. For this Mecha March, I decided to watch Genesis Climber Mospeada because I’ve heard from a lot of friends on twitter that this one is pretty good and better then the second series. What are my thoughts on Mospeada? Conflicted mostly.
Genesis Climber is a series that happens after the alien race called the Inbit invaded Earth. A lot of humanity escaped Earth in order to fight another day and have colonized Mars. In this anime’s backstory, human kind has already sent one attack force in order to take the Earth back. That first attack failed and the series starts with the second human invasion a short amount of years later. It’s yet another counter invasion that is doomed to fail, but one where our main character Stick takes part and is the only survivor from his fleet. Worthy of note, he went into his fighter merely minutes after proposing to his girl friend. That girl friend and the attack fleet are now dead, so basically the opposite of the usual cliché happens here. Stick was given the orders to travel to a rendevouz point to meet with other downed members and that’s the plot of the Genesis Comber Mospeada. Just so happens he gets a strange group of friends along the way in which they form a make shift family. One of the strangest that I’ve ever seen.
The family itself is the soldier by the name of Stick, of course, a ravager from Earth whose name is Rey, the tough motorcycle chick who is one of the earliest versions of what can be called a tsundere named Houqet, a soldier from the first invasion who is learning to be brave named Jim, the crossdressing singer who is also a soldier named Yellow, and a little girl named that wants to get married to everybody. Half way through the story, another women with amnesia joins them. Ok, this is all a little too large of a generalization. Each character is given their episodes and moments to shine in which they are fleshed out more. In all honestly, I love each of them. Even the hard nosed soldier Stick sometimes, because he’s a complete dork who doesn’t know how to handle himself when he is thrown out of his soldier element. Even Mint, the designated comedy relief character, is pretty alright. She never over stays her welcome at pivotal moments. They are such a fun group of unique characters.
My problems with this series start with all the filler episodes. Each one of them are pretty much the same kind of episode and made Stick unlikable to me. So many episodes are about getting older soldiers to fight once again inevitably leading to their deaths. It was fine the first time when a military leader Stick idolized was selling out soldiers for his survival, but he has no right in judging other soldiers that were fighting to survive in occupied territory LONGER THEN HIM. Especially since so many towns on this group’s journey involved people doing terrible and/or questionable things in order to get by. I see nothing wrong with people being dedicated to their missions, but the lack of empathy and single mindedness of Stick’s character constantly irritated me. At least he learned to see more in the end of the series kind of, even if his single mindedness still hurt him in the end. The series certainly did a number on him.
The Inbit are an interesting alien race. Like aliens in these kinds of stories, their home planet was lost a long time ago and they decided Earth was the planet they wanted to settle on. Not so interesting there, but they are a hive minded species that are seeking the necessary body evolution to live on the planet Earth. Our protagonist crew end up on a lot of situations and laboratories (including a dinosaur one that I still have so many questions about) that show us this along with the mother mind just talking about the Inbit evolution for Earth. You may know what their final form turns out to be, human cough, but I wish we saw what they looked like before hand. They are only seen in robot suits until the important twist shows up. There are moments that the Inbit remind me of the Buggers from Ender’s Game, because after their initial attacks of various human cities, they mostly ignored the humans living in them. The only ones that were attacked were the ones seeking to attack in the first place which ties into what I want to bring up next.
Genesis Climber Mospeada is a story about hatred, acceptance, and fear. The Inbit’s attacks and invasions set off an unyielding since of rage through out all of the human colonies of the solar system. The Earth is our home and humanity feels like it was sucker punched by the aliens. This lead to three attempts to take the Earth back because who wouldn’t get pissed off by that? Not to mention all of the hatred in each of the little towns on the way to Reflex Point, the rendezvous point for all of humanities forces to fight against the Inbit for the last time, which created a confused environment. Nobody could trust each other, because that’s the kind of atmosphere this whole invasion brought up. When will the Inbit attack next, how could we avoid the Inbit attacking us, what is the outside force that is causing these attacks? Nobody understands how to communicate with the other species, so there is this huge feeling of unknown that is more terrifying then knowing when the attack happens. It’s scary on Earth and Genesis Climber Mospeada shows that. What happens in the end that resolves the situation? Well, that’s a spoiler and I kind of want people to watch this series so I won’t be sharing the ending. Just know that it irritates me because I feel like it’s a little bit of a cop out.
The visuals are what you expect an early 80’s mecha series to look like. Some simple character designs, a lot of stock footage of different mecha units lifting off and fighting, a lot of cheap animation when it’s not stock footage with some short cuts, and other things. Still, there are some stand out episodes with some great moments. The first episode with all the space ships and fighters were pretty awesome. There were also interesting ones that involve our characters fighting in the snow or how amazingly animated and constructed the episodes in the dinosaurs was. (I keep bringing this up, because I am still confused about how this happened and STILL am coming to terms with it.) There were other episodes that are great, but these are the ones that come to mind to me. Just know that all of it goes with the show’s disco music soundtrack and all the awesome insert songs.
Let’s talk about the mech designs, because that is always why we are all here? Right? Well, that’s at least why I am here. Shinji Aramaki’s mech designs are mostly basic and redundent, but that works for this story. They are military mechs after all. On the other side, I love the Inbit’s unique and round mech designs. I liked their strange sense of proportions, round shapes, and an odd sense of color. Those things really gives each one of them a sense of otherworldlyness which is excellent. In contrast, the human mech designs are generally boring to me. They are transformable from human form to mech form with an inbetween form, but besides the customizable color, none of them stand out that well. That is completely fine, because they are military mechs and military things are usually identical with each other on purpose. I do what to bring a special mention to the motorcycles that turn into mini mechs. You know, the mospeadas? Those are pretty awesome.
Writing this post helped me to sort out my thoughts better which resulted in me liking it better then I thought I did. Sometimes it helps to sort your thoughts out in a post like this and I didn’t do that until now. I still have a few caveats on Genesis Climber Mospeada that already explained in this post like Stick and the ending, but the ride was still enjoyable and motorcyles that turn into robot suits is incredibly cool. I know some anime do that, but there needs to be more because I feel like the potential is still untapped. In the end though, I will give this show a pretty good recommendation. It’s a lot of fun,has some crazy characters types and others that aren’t seen very often in a lot of anime, and is a surprisingly introspective series while being a decent road trip story. I may want to look at that Robotech version of this show to see how everything was adapted to fit that format.
You can find this show on Amazon Prime right here if you are interested in watching it.