Saturday, August 31, 2013

Robot Motorcycles: 'Nuff Said.

There are fantasies and then there are futuristic motorcycles that transform into body armour with missiles.I first got to know Genesis Climber Mospeada through Robotech where it was 'season 3'.Of the three anime series that Robotech adapted and mashed up together, Mospeada was deviated the least from it's original form.

I might not love Mospeada as much as I love Macross but I feel affection for it all the same. The latter clearly had an influence on the former, as one can see from its own transforming fighter jets, the Legioss (a clear descendent of Macross' Valkyries).Mospeada however is on a different scale and there's not a love triangle in sight. It is, above all, a post-apocalyptic drama, following a half-dozen characters on a journey through the Americas after an alien invasion.

In 2050, a swarming mass of aliens called the Inbit descend onto our planet Earth. They win. Humanity is reduced to pathetic remnants scattered over a desolate world. Luckily for these few helpless refugees, there were several colonies elsewhere in the solar system. The human colony on Mars sends multiple waves of their Earth Recapture Force. The story begins in 2080 as the latest wave from Mars has been defeated by the occupying Inbit. We follow a single survivor as he makes his journey to Reflex Point, the Inbit capital to hopefully reconnect with other survivors of the Recapture Forces.

The characters are, of course, a motley crew of misfits who are added to the party one by one as they embark upon their quest. I liked most of them. Stick (known as Scott in Robotech) I rather enjoyed as a cold, stoic person who gradually softens as he bonds with his rag-tag group of freedom fighters. Ray (a.k.a. Rand) was a likeable contrast to Stick. A scavenger and a rogue, he's the one who tries to see the bigger picture beyond the war. Houquet (Rook), is reserved young woman who hides her vulnerability behind a tough-chick exterior. Yellow Belmont (Lancer) is a cross-dressing singer whose ability to pass as a woman provides him with a cover for his freedom fighting. Lunk is a deserter from the war who redeems himself by joining the rebels. Aisha is a mysterious amnesiac. Mint is a teenage girl who ... just tags along.

Romance abounds over the course of this trek. The three couples are Stick with Aisha, Ray with Houquet and Yellow Blemont with Solzie. These pairings don't take over the show. Rather the bond between the group of rebels is the primary relationship explored over the course of the series. Seeing them get to know, work with and rely on each other is one of the joys of Mospeada.

Another pleasure of this anime is the transforming motorcycle. It just has cool written all over it in giant glowing neon letters. One can't get away from the inherent romanticism of the motorbike and this series provides it in spades. The bike also fits with the freedom fighter/ small group vibe of Mospeada.

Given all the legal issues around the release of Macross and related products in North America, the 2008 Robotech sequel The Shadow Chronicles was essentially a continuation of Mospeda. This year, the musical OVA Live Love Alive (which centres around Yellow Belmot being interviewed while on tour) was adapted into a Robotech title. As disappointed as I was with The Shadow Chronicles, I found it much easier to take this way. Mospeada is an awesome story in it's own right and has its own strong visual identity
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