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Ecocriticism:  An Essay about Robotech and Nature Part 3 of 3
Posted: 31 December 2018 09:44 AM  
Total Posts:  55
Joined  2018-11-29

Ecocriticism:  An Essay about Robotech and Nature Part 1 of 3

Ecocriticism:  An Essay about Robotech and Nature Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

The mecha design in Robotech is also a commentary on nature.  The Zentreadi ships all appear very organic.  They appear as whales swimming through space in a pod or school of fish.  Reflex weaponry operates on reflex or instinct.  The veritech’s battloid mode is obviously an anthropomorphized bipedal for hand to hand combat with giant Zentreadi.  The Zentreadi battlepod has animal like posture similar to a horse or dog’s pasterns or a flamingo’s tarsus.  The SDF-1 is anthropomorphized as a human being with the addition of naval ships for arms and the transformation to fire the main gun.  It is symbolic of a giant human floating through space on their way back home.  The mecha of all races are exoskeletons but for the Invid this is literally true in the majority of cases.  The Invid are very insect-like or crab-like with hives, pincers, and claws.  The Invid troop carriers are akin to giant clams.  All of this imagery has touchstones and cues from the viewer’s reality.  In the McKinney novels protoculture allows machinery and electronic hardware to appear alive and fluid, constantly reconfiguring itself.  The novels also allow a syncing of human thought and mechanical action creating an almost cyborg type entity.  Mecha in Robotech blurs the line between the organic and the inorganic linking nature with machines.
There is a symbiosis between many of the Sentinels and their home worlds.  The Karbarrans must touch their sekiton ore or flower peat to energize it.  The Garudans can commune in a spirit world induced by the atmosphere.  The Haydonites serve Planet Haydon IV and can seemingly plug into it.  The Spheresians can blend into the stone of their Planet.  This may all be a metaphor for humanity’s relationship with Earth.  By default, these alien races seem to imply micronians share a similar unique bond with Earth.

Robotech also proposes nature extends beyond the surly bonds of Earth and encompasses the entire known universe.  Furthermore, Robotech moves beyond nature alone and comments on the physical structure of the universe itself.  The ships travel by folding space.  Haydon may be Father Time as he always was, is now, and forever shall be.  Each planet in Robotech may have its own unique Mother Nature.  There are also Children of the Shadow, Disciples of Zor, and the shapings.  These could all be allegories for sprites, nymphs, fairies, and naiads personifying nature and mysticism.  Haydon aspires to transcend the universe and the Regis seems to have transfigured her substance if not wholly transcended to another place and time, universe, or plane of existence.  The term protoculture itself implies aspects of anthropology.  In the original Japanese Macross it is a literal translation meaning the first culture or prototype.  The term was redefined in Robotech as a fuel source.

In conclusion, Robotech seems to embody an environmental agenda through symbolism, imagery, plot, and direct dialogue of the characters.  Progress is shown to not be inherently positive or beneficial.  For all the technological advancements generated by the Flower of Life, the characters are left to ponder if their past natural original state was counterintuitively the more advanced existence.  Was the entire journey of the Flower of Life a folly?  From Zor to Optera to protoculture to the Regis’ transfiguration, the original state was returned to as the micronians end up right back where they started from.  The micronians are almost an Invid surrogate or doppelganger.  As the Invid were once in harmony on Optera and strive to return to that primitive state, so the Regis returns the micronians to their pre-protoculture way of life and now relatively harmonious existence with Earth.  At this point in micronian history, Global Civil War seems quaint and passé.  Robotech suggests the natural world is a concept of great importance and is more than just a place, location, setting, or background.  Earth is home, and… there’s no place like home.

Thanks for reading.  Any questions, comments, or criticisms?  smile

Posted: 01 January 2019 12:47 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Master Sergeant
Total Posts:  5686
Joined  2007-04-08
Brofessor - 31 December 2018 09:44 AM

Progress is shown to not be inherently positive or beneficial.

War, though, is shown to be totally negative.  Tools are only as good or evil as those weilding them.


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.