Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflections on Macrophilia Part 8: Conclusion

To recap: I love the Zentradi because I found that their original story resonated with me in a peculiar way, unintentionally touching on some of my personal ideals and desires. This was filtered through some appealing characters with their own stories to tell and their own initiative to take. Above all else, I grew attached to the human-friendly male Zentradi from the SDF-1 era (Exedore, Breetai, and the spy trio), with Exedore being at the forefront, because they were the characters who most strongly embodied the themes and ideals of the Zentradi. Exedore was the one I liked with the most, because I empathized with him the most obviously, and continued to  like him even when he was re-imagined as a new character. Anything else related to Macross or Robotech was a distant interest at best.

It might be argued that being primarily a Zentradi fan makes me a Macross fan by default, and I’d agree: I am a Macross fan. However, it doesn’t logically follow that I must be a Macross purist, too. It’s easy to say that Robotech offers nothing once one discovers the three separate original series, and I’d argue that is true for most when you strip away the nostalgia for Robotech. Yet it’s not that simple for me. Certain small things that Robotech once did with my favourite Zentradi are essential to my personal fandom, and I can’t give those things up, regardless of the crude, fake nature of their material.

Furthermore, when I’m involved with Robotech there is this sense of assurance that I can act on my automatic impulses and desires, be myself, spread my wings, have fun, rather than rework and twist my perceptions to try to fit the radical alterations made by Macross. I understand that the quality of the Macross stuff is better, and overall more supports the themes that drew me to the Zentradi, but those are not the only issues. The mishandling of my favourite Macross characters will always be a black mark.

Because of this comfort, early on I mistook myself for more of a Robotech fan, before reconsidering the complex issues surrounding this assertion. However, because I still allow Robotech to come into competition with Macross and in some ways win, such as in preferring Sentinels Exedore to Neo-Exsedol (strictly on a level of personal fondness rather than artistic legitimacy) , I can’t be a simple Macross fan.

Yet Macross is what originated the Zentradi. The first series is even better in its original presentation, and there are good things about Macross’ handling of the race. If I had the option of tweaking one universe or the other to contain my “ideal” Zentradi treatment, it would be a hell of a lot easier to remake Macross to my own standards.

Since the reality is what it is, I have to adapt. When neither the Macross nor the Robotech franchise alone can give me the basic whole of authenticity, quality, perpetuation, and pleasing treatment of my favourite characters, I have to choose both in the end. Despite the difficulty this causes, I do truly enjoy what I did get out of the experience.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading all your essays. Wow.

    Ultimately I disagree with many things, but I'm not here to argue. I'm just happy to discover someone who thinks as much about Macross as I do, and isn't completely partisan one way or another regarding Robotech.

    I sympathize with your frustrations. If I had come to love the material the same way I think I'd be upset as well.

    Like many fans, I'm far more lenient on the franchise when I'm paying attention to the elements I like and I do tend to gloss over things such as gender politics, the resolution of minor characters' stories, and Exsedol.

    I've pretty much held a composite image of him: the DYRL?/M7 look with the SDFM history and behavior. This will break down under the weight of analysis. I just never did indulge such scrutiny because I was having my fun from other things relevant to the franchise.

    The only thing I'll argue here, is regarding Bilrer:

    1. He is a great story of Zentraedi integration (as much as Millya Jenius)
    2. He is a train nerd who has a vision of galactic connectedness via the fold crystals
    3. He isn't trivialized or made into a joke by having a "Rosebud" moment with showing the Minmay photograph.

    I realize I just compared Macross Frontier with Citizen Kane, but I care little for high vs. low culture binary oppositions. I see no big problem being a Minmay fan.

    I am one, until the ends of the galaxy (LOL). What I'm trying to say is one can be a successful business leader (not that I am, not quite yet anyway) and still have nerdy idol fixations.

    Remember, Rich Bill was most likely a veteran of the first space war. He was there to see Minmay and was probably one of the first defectors. She means something to him more than just a (outdated reference to lolita) pop idol. To him she represented the possibility that his life is now a reality from.

    Now, before you dismiss me, I am a person of high self-worth (I don't hate myself). I'm not a total chauvinist (I did take 9 units of undergrad gender studies). I'm married to a woman who makes more money, is better educated, and is of higher social standing. We have a lovely 10 month-old daughter, and we are quite happy. I have no issues with women, having grown up in a matriarchal clan.

    While I won't praise Macross as being progressive in gender issues as much as it is with environmental issues, I won't condemn it either. I won't however, invalidate your experience of the work. That's just dumb.