I just finished Genesis Climber Mospeada this evening, and to be honest, it feels like I'm still absorbing what took the past three (or so) days to watch! The fact that it's still on my mind so strongly is, for me, a good sign of a plot that extends far deeper than surface action. My overall impression? Though it has its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed "the ride" of watching the series.
The story is easy to grasp but at the same time a little difficult. Earth was invaded by aliens known as the Inbit. Humans have either already been living on
other planets or perhaps flee to other planets after the arrival of the Inbit; they try twice to liberate Earth and fail. The main action follows Stig (Stick) Bernard, a member of the Second Liberation Force and the only survivor from his squadron, as he journeys to the Inbit headquarters in hopes of completely obliterating it. The Inbit are mysterious creatures who were seeking a peaceful place to live, but that's all I really feel like I understand about their intentions.
The characters and their travels are what made this series so enjoyable for me. My favorite is Stig, the uptight soldier who has trouble seeing things beyond the simple good/bad dichotomy. Ray and Mint are always hilarious and adorable. Hoquet is lively and strong, and it was nice to see a capable female fighting alongside the men. There wasn't a single member of the cast that I found myself disliking, even Jim, the big coward of the bunch! :p Their growing relationships were a joy to watch and cheer for, especially those between Ray/Houquet and Stig/Aisha. The latter seemed a little less natural (as in, you couldn't really watch it develop step by step), but strangely enough I still felt really drawn to them as a pair.
My favorite aspect of Mospeada is the soundtrack because, let me tell you, it's BEAUTIFUL. The opening theme, "In Search of Lost Legends", is incredibly lively and fits the series so well. Yellow Belmont's songs (performed by Mine Matsuki) are haunting and beautiful, to the point where you may be moved to tears after listening. The background score is by Joe Hisaishi, who went on to compose the music for all of Hayao Miyazaki's films; though Mospeada is older, his compositional brilliance still shines through. I can't recommend the soundtrack enough to do it justice!
I never saw the adaptation of this series in Robotech: The New Generation, so unfortunately I can't give a comparison to the original. However, I will say that the original is a strong series that stands on its own two feet as a great work of art.
A fond childhood memory of mine is watching "Robotech" airing on TV. It was one of my first contacts with mecha anime, and it's not hard to see the appeal a cartoon full of battling robots holds for someone under 12. "Robotech" comprised three arcs, the last of which, "The New Generation", was my favourite.
I now know that "Robotech" is just the editing and mashing together of three anime with virtually completely independent stories, and that "Robotech: The New Generation" is just an edited version of an anime called "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA", which I managed to dig up following my reacquaintance with "Robotech" thanks to
Like the other two series that made up "Robotech", "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA" is about humans vs aliens, the aliens in this case being the Invid (or Inbit, which sounds a lot crappier, so I prefer "Invid"). The differences between the plot of "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA" and "Robotech: The New Generation" is small. The version-neutral core premise is as follows: Earth was invaded by the Invid. After being part of a failed attempt by Earth's space fleet to recapture the planet, Stick/Scott (depending on which version you watch) Bernard crash lands on it. Determined to continue his mission, Stick begins a journey across the land in order to launch an attack on the Invid's main hive at Reflex Point. Tagging along with him is a ragtag group of freedom fighters made up of random people he meets along the way.
The thing about this anime is that it's the only series part of "Robotech" for which the "Robotech" version is better than the original. This was largely thanks to the music that "Robotech" brought to the table. Although the original music weren't bad, the "Robotech" tracks were better and more effective at setting the mood. Also, surprisingly, the original Japanese voice acting is more lacklustre than the "Robotech" English dub.
What I was looking to get most out of watching "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA" is the story, because I found "Robotech: The New Generation" baffling at points. Unfortunately, the original isn't much better. Granted, it doesn't have the whole protoculture thing that was crowbarred in to make it fit in with the rest of the "Robotech" arcs; but aside from these merging issues, the rest of the story didn't change too much. The ending to "Robotech: The New Generation" had been so bad that I was convinced it was the result of editing, but the original ending from "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA" turned out to be similarly rough. It felt hurried, as though they had to finish the show prematurely. Not only that, they seemed to do a u-turn towards the end, portraying the Invid in a completely different light compared to the start of the series.
It's not hard to see the reason Harmony Gold brought this into the "Robotech" franchise: it shares a number of elements with the other two series, for instance the obligatory human-alien love story (which was getting quite stale by this point), certain stylistic aspects in the battle sequences, not to mention the very "Macross"-esq fighter plane/mecha hybrid designs. "Genesis Climber MOSPEADA" does have its own unique aspects as well. For example, the bio-mechanical, insectoid nature of the Invid and the transformable motorbike armour are all pretty cool. (Useless info: The motorbike armour actually gave rise to the title of the show - MOSPEADA stands for Military Operation Soldier Protection Emergency Aviation Dive Armour, which refers to the said motorbike armour.)
The reason why "The New Generation" was my favourite arc of the "Roboech" franchise is because of the colourful characters and their interactions. Stick's group is filled with different personalities (though a few of them aren't that great, like that loud, annoying girl), there's plenty chemistry as well as tension within the group as they make their way across the desolate, war ravaged land. The series is mostly episodic, painting a bleak picture of life under Invid occupation with its stories full of fear, betrayal and hardships. But they also show the best in addition to the worst of human nature, as there are many instances of bravery, friendship and heroic sacrifices. A lot of the one-off characters found in these episodic adventures are quite interesting in their own right, and I found myself caring about what happens to them, despite their brief screen time.
Other than the names, very little of the characters was changed as "Genesis Climber Mospeada" made its transition to "Robotech: The New Generation", which means that the best parts of the show were left intact. Add to this the superior music production in "The New Generation", and you have yourself an anime where the Americanised version outdoes the original. Well, who'd have thought that was possible! But anyway, whichever version you like to think of it as, the anime doesn't fare too badly even today - I still found it enjoyable at least. Admittedly that might just be nostalgia speaking, but I reckon there's a bit more to it than that.
A year following the success of Macross and known in the United States as the third part of the Robotech series, Macross being the first, Mospeada came into anime existence. One person of note was involved, Katsuhito Akiyama. He is the same episode director from Macross and a few other notable anime (Last Exile, Bubblegum Crisis). However, where Macross stood high and even falling into much of the same name and fame, Genesis Climber Mospeada falls way short.
Aliens invade Earth and wipe out humanity to the point that the remaining humans flee to Mars. Humans fight back with a second force to try and take
back the Earth from the invaders (Inbit), and this is where the anime begins. It does start out strong with good action, an interesting plot with loads of potential. Even the plot behind the reasons behind the Inbit invasion and how evolution plays a role, all are interesting and great. However, the anime and this “done before” plot does everything it can to ignore a story and fill air time with almost meaningless action, and no progression to the overall goal. The entire anime is the journey of one group of main characters from southern South America to the Great Lakes of North America. At the same time, nothing happens, other than the same re-hashed fight sequences over and over again.
The animation is weak being that there were more interesting and exciting things done already in the early 1970’s. One could actually think the entire show was episodic in sense after episode two. Music wise, this screams 80’s go-go dancing. The soundtrack is fun the first time heard, and then repeats over and over again. Lucky it is by Joe Hisaishi (music in many Ghibli films).
There is almost no character development other than some characters kind-of falling for one another. Each one is incredibly one-dimensional. The most interesting character is the comic relief character, which is a red-headed ball of fun, but really has zero business being in the group. How the Inbit can wipe out Earth’s forces twice, but cannot manage a small group of scrubs is beyond understanding.
In short, this might as well be a re-hashed super-robot show from the 1970’s trying to be real-robot. The only good episodes after the first two were the last three. It's just nowhere near enough to save this anime. This would have been better off as an OVA series, or just skipping all together.