Sep 13, 2012
kajia (All reviews)
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 the internet.

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.