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Ecocriticism:  An Essay about Robotech and Nature Part 1 of 3
Posted: 31 December 2018 09:34 AM  
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This essay is an art critique or media criticism of Robotech using the literary discipline of Ecocriticism.  This essay analyzes symbols and imagery found throughout the Robotech series.  These symbols and themes may have been created by the original Japanese writers or by Carl Macek’s re-writing efforts.  Imagery and motifs may have been purposely written into the material or may have seeped in by way of the artists’ subconscious.  In this way certain take-aways of the story could be either intended or unintended for either Japanese, American, or any general viewer.  In analyzing Robotech there are at least four chronological layers involved.  The first layer deals with extrapolations from the primary material the Japanese writers created when making three original cartoons named Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (Military Operation Soldier Protection Emergency Aviation Dive Armor).  The second layer involves Carl Macek’s revisions.  We can lovingly repurpose the previously coined derogatory term Macekring (massacring) for this layer.  The third layer is anything involving the Robotech novelizations by Jack McKinney.  This layer can be referred to as McKinneyisms.  The fourth layer consists of any other material such as comic books and role playing games.  In this essay I will analyze Robotech in all its canon and non-canon manifestations using a very broad overarching perspective.  This essay attempts to answer how Robotech portrays nature and the environment.

Storytelling in the dramatic arts requires a protagonist and an antagonist and nature can play either role.  Some examples of nature as an antagonist are tornadoes, volcanoes, earthquakes, bears, sharks, disease, cold weather, hot weather, etc.  Some examples of nature as a protagonist are bountiful farmland, plantations, estates, nature personified as the gods and goddesses of mythology, King Kong and Godzilla when defending humanity from monsters, sentient utopias as seen in the film Avatar, and collectives as seen in The Jungle Book or Tarzan.  For the most part, Robotech portrays nature as a place of retreat and rejuvenation.

The story of Robotech begins with a young Tirolian named Zor going on interplanetary voyages in the pursuit of scientific discoveries.  He discovers a flower named the Flower of Life on the Planet Optera.  In literature and art, nature can be portrayed in two ways.  The first is wilderness and it is a scary place filled with ghosts, spirits, danger, and the unknown.  Alternatively, nature can be portrayed as pastoral or utopian.  It is a place to find comfort and peace.  Optera is in this latter category.  The first crime against nature occurs when Zor discovers a bio-energy power source derived from the Flower of Life.  This is symbolic of man’s perversion of nature to serve his own selfish needs.  Mother Nature is shown to inflict a penalty for this crime against her.  It can be said protoculture is a curse on all those who come into contact with it.  Protoculture could be interpreted as an embodiment of Mother Nature or Gaia herself (See my previous essay on Gender Studies and Female Character Analysis for a discussion of gender symbolism as Zor’s story can also represent a male crime against the female embodiment of Mother Nature).  Protoculture is interpreted by some as being sentient and working to achieve its own agenda.  Zor’s masters become warped by the absolute power provided by protoculture and Zor attempts to atone for his sins by seeding other worlds with the Flower of Life.  In so doing he introduces a non-native species into foreign habitats.  In the end, he sends the only functioning protoculture matrix to Planet Earth.  This event contaminates or pollutes Earth with protoculture.  Zor was a vector and damages many ecosystems by introducing the non-native Flower of Life.  By introducing this flower, a new environmental niche is created for the secondary non-native species, the Invid.  This multi-generational cascade of events illustrates the repercussions of tampering with the natural order.  This illustrates the web of life or the tapestry of life and the fragility of ecosystems.

Technology is portrayed as having a negative impact on the environment in Robotech.  This is evidenced by the destructive impact of intergalactic war on several planets.  When the SDF-1 folds to Pluto, it takes Macross Island with it.  The SDF-1 becomes a surrogate Earth as the micronians travel home.  Outer Space is shown to be a harsh environment for micronian life and tuna.  Evidence of nature’s value is shown when the SDF-1 utilizes robotechnology to provide the inhabitants of Macross City with a false hologram sky.  This is preferred over the cold steel bulkheads of the SDF-1.  In addition, Lisa brings Rick pink flowers after she hospitalizes him.  This demonstrates the importance of nature in healing as well as Claudia making Pineapple Salad for her boyfriend.  Fresh fruit nourishes a warrior.

Continue to Part 2 of 3

https://robotech.com/forums/viewthread/2206997

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Posted: 31 December 2018 08:31 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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I thought it said eroticism lol

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I can see that because you have never faced a worthy opponnet you think you are something special!

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Posted: 01 January 2019 10:31 AM   [ # 2 ]  
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I feel your pain.  Sorry to disappoint.  Perhaps one day someone will analyze Robotech in that regard.  smile

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Posted: 01 January 2019 12:27 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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Brofessor - 31 December 2018 09:34 AM

Technology is portrayed as having a negative impact on the environment in Robotech. 

https://robotech.com/forums/viewthread/2206997


I’ve always seen Robotech as being about the negative impact of WAR, not of technology.  We see technology being used as a tool, to rebuild as well as to destroy.

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If it ain’t in the Robotech show itself… It didn’t neccessarily happen.

Thanks, Carl Macek, for introducing me to all these folks.  Even the ones who bug me.

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Posted: 02 January 2019 10:03 AM   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi there.  I’m glad you’re here!  My posts would be very lonely without you Lol!

I agree with you.  I suppose in my mind I see war and technology as one in the same.  I should edit my essay and say “war and technology.”  It is a chicken or egg argument in my mind.  I have read how World War II was disillusioning as technology allowed for mass murder in the concentration camps and the atomic bomb.  I agree with Exedore about war being part of human nature and human culture.

The big picture takeaway of Robotech and Nature would be the human animal, while a product of nature, is flawed and destroys its habitat with either technology or war.  This may be a minor point or a major distinction depending on the person.  Perhaps intelligence is the primary flaw.  Were the Invid successful by staying primitive and isolated prior to outside contact?  Perhaps the homogeneous island nation of Japan would prefer isolation.

I think Robotech is clearly anti-war.  This post focuses on nature but Robotech could be anti-war and pro/neutral on technology.  Or Robotech could be anti-war as well as anti-technology.

To continue the topic of my essay, I suppose the Neutron -S missiles are an anology for the concept of mutually assured destruction.  I wonder how many science fiction stories involve humanity destroying Earth to spite the enemy.  Seems extreme Lol!

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Posted: 02 January 2019 01:43 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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I saw your posts and jumped right on it!  YAY A DEBATE! 


I’m something of a Luddite, myself, in that I worry we humans are too dependent on tech, but I see it as nothing more or less than a tool.  It does appear at first that tech is to blame for the problems in Robotech, but a closer look leads me to the “don’t blame the tool” angle. 

I agree with you on the mutually assured destruction thing.  Lots of analogies to stuff in our history (let’s hope not our future) as a species.

I think the tendency towards war that Exedore refers to is linked to the survival instinct.  We humans just have some very strange notions about what we need to survive.

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If it ain’t in the Robotech show itself… It didn’t neccessarily happen.

Thanks, Carl Macek, for introducing me to all these folks.  Even the ones who bug me.

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Posted: 13 January 2019 12:05 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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Hello… May i try to turn your “nature” concept a little? The global opposition for all 4 levels is not “nature - tech”,
but “nature - art” where art is “God” (but not good) and nature is “Devil” (not the evil at last).

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I’ve been here before ...
my name was allye…

My Robotech vision: https://ficbook.net/readfic/1430507

https://ficbook.net/readfic/3508709 (not complete yet)

not in english .. sorry ))

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Posted: 14 January 2019 09:56 AM   [ # 7 ]  
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Hi there.  Your English is very good.  smile  I agree with you 100%.  However, my post is about elevating Nature/Environment to the level of the cast of main characters as opposed to just the background or matrix of the story.  Your insight is a very beautiful sentiment.  Such discussions would belong on an art forum or blog.  For relevance to this Robotech Forum, you would have to demonstrate art within the Robotech universe.  This could be done with Minmay, Bowie/Musica, and Lancer as performing artists.  Personally, I can possibly see an argument to be made within Robotech showing technology to be evil and art overcoming evil.  But again, this post is about demonstrating Nature as a main character.

Otherwise, all human art from the dawn of creation could be used to support your case.  Nothing particular about Robotech would be necessary to prove your point which is very broad and all encompassing.

Thank you for commenting.  Great idea.

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