Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflections on Macrophilia Part 5: Bad Endings

Exploring what I believe to be the Macross universe’s ill treatment of my favourite characters would be heavily skewed towards the handling of Exsedol Folmo, so I will begin by talking about the others first, ones whose fates don’t require as extensive an explanation.

The original names for Bron, Rico, and Konda were respectively Warera, Rori, and Konda, which, when arranged and divided just so, translate to “We have a Lolita Complex ” in Japanese, and a Lolita Complex, sometimes shortened to “lolicon” or “rorikon”, refers to an attraction to young girls, sometimes very young, though in this case, it's likely referring to their attraction to the teenage Minmay, since they never do anything unseemly.

Macross fandom likes to assert that this naming joke makes the spy characters themselves pedophiles, but when watching SDFM I didn’t read those characters that way. There’s only that infatuation Minmay, and a joke about Shammy seeing Rori with the Minmay toy and asking if he is a “lolicon”. In fact, though the characters are obviously awakening sexually, I was in fact impressed with their lack of sleaziness.

I believed in their relative innocence even before I grew to like the characters, and therefore knowing their true names wasn’t a point of anger. The flippant attitude most fans take towards the implication does make me boil a little, because I won’t separate my real-life attitudes about such issues from everything else. To think of beloved characters as pedophiles involves mortal panic rather than giggling acceptance, and therefore I do not endorse it, especially when there is no evidence in that favour.

However, Warera, Rori, and Konda were also said, in obscure supplemental Macross material, to have ended up as bitter, burned-out alcoholics cursing human culture, with Rori leeching off his wife (who also happened to be Vanessa from the original series, Warera’s former girlfriend) by not working.

This made me utterly flip my shit when I first heard about it, and I’ll never understand the mentality behind it. It is true that the very last episodes of Super Dimension Fortress Macross depict Warera, Rori, and Konda trying and failing at various jobs and hence, if the issue were considered neutrally, such a fate would be a legitimate possibility for them. Furthermore, they could also be considered “just fanboys” whose destiny is an expected reflection of how some varieties of hardcore nerds can’t hold down jobs in real life.

However, since Macross never came off as a pessimistic, ironic, mocking or vicious series, it seems extremely uncharacteristic for it to do this to the comic relief. In real life, we might not deserve to be rewarded for our good deeds or likeable personalities, but in fiction, we tend to expect it for characters, unless a work is being blackly subversive. I ask the same question I ask of the Robotech novels’ near- extinction of the Zentradi: what is the point of telling the story of their involvement in a great peace, only to have them end up crushed?

Would I rather have them respected and dead, like in the Robotech novels, or alive and complete failures, as in the Macross universe? Neither. Both are awful. Yet the Macross version bothers me a lot more because of the overt degeneration rather than a sympathetic treatment, making me so very close to preferring the Robotech novels version, though in the end I always step back to criticize them both.

As for Britai, he never appears in any other works. I infer his design retcon because all later references to him use the DYRL design. This aside, he actually got off lightly, in that his new design, while still objectionable, is at least familiar, and in supplemental material, he is said to become commander of the Earth forces later on, which actually is pretty awesome.

However, I’m a poor loser, because the fact of him being Neo-Britai kills all interest I might have in speculating about his future and providing him with that sense of development I craved. When, for example, the Macross video game Macross 2036 says that Neo-Britai has a friendship with Milia and an avuncular relationship with Milia’s daughter, it is a tremendous shock, because it goes against my view of the new Britai as a cold and distant figure. Yet while it is exactly what I wanted, I still don’t have the urge to follow up on it, because it's just a story in a game. Britai’s fate is undoubtedly the best fate of the bunch, however.
And then there is Exsedol. Poor, poor Exsedol. I feel like I should say more, but we have a lot to go through with him, so we will wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment