Genesis Climber Mospeada
In the 21st century mankind has begun to colonize the solar system, including the moon and Mars. Progression halts aliens known as Inbit invade and dominate the earth. Now only meager pockets of humanity survive. The colony on Mars is retooled for war to retake earth. Even so, each attack launched results in failure. The Inbit show no interest in anything aside from the earth, and do not act unless provoked. Why are they so interested in the earth?
Stick Bernard survives the latest attempt to recapture the earth, but is stranded and alone. His only directive is to travel to the staging area for the final assault known as "reflex point". During his travels other strange people join his band to help take their planet back. One of them will change the destiny of an entire species.
Genesis Climber Mospeada is best known (here) as the third installment of Robotech - a series which also mashed together Southern Cross and the original Macross in a way that left many kids (like me) totally confused. Genesis Climber Mospeada is considered the least molested of the three shows, and the one I never saw to conclusion. Which got me interested when re-released many years later as I recalled the story being pretty darn interesting.
Anime has evolved in many ways. Not just style, but story construction as well. Released in 1983, Genesis Climber Mospeada lacks refinement, and has many faults I'd be harsh on by modern standards, but I choose to forgive due to vintage. And it will require forgiveness because there's a lot of rough spots to this, but not in ways you might expect.
The overall plot is pretty strong, the concept is great, and even the characters are good. Yet the anime often glosses over details, and succumbs to clusters of logic failures in any given episode. Action sequences have to be written off as "stuff happens" because what's on the screen sometimes makes little sense. Many episodes appear a-typical enough to skip, but the pieces within come together in a respectable sci-fi plot.
The strong characters are partially due to the vintage. Back before anime spit out generic formula characters, even the generic types required some development. I liked most of them, exempting the token obnoxious bratty kid. (Thankfully anime has mostly grown out of those.) Characters even take pragmatic and realistic approaches to problems - a far cry from the usual stupidity often seen these days. For example, one night Houquet sneaks out on her own. The group finds out, but instead of running off to save her, they discuss it. Stick decides to leave it be; because people have private issues they have to fix themselves. Besides which, Houquet could take care of herself. Remember when the tough girl was actually tough and didn't need to be rescued? Now there's a throwback concept.
Production is fair for its day. The animation excels in certain parts, but only briefly. Usually the presentation is pretty mediocre. I will say I really like the mecha designs of the show, which stand up even to modern anime. Genesis Climber has a heavy musical presence, yet even as a fan of 80s anime I didn't like it much. You may like the super cheese factor of the songs, so I guess there's that.
In the end it's a swirl of good and bad, but a very strange mix. Tolerance of the "old school" heritage is required, so being a classic anime fan is certainly a plus. For me the biggest drag was the episodic nature. It sometimes felt tiring watching an episode pan out so predictably. It's hard to fault that approach as I've seen many times over decades, from shows produced well after this one. Even if the overall plot is good, the way it's pieced together is a bit clunky. The ending is kind of... "uh.. whaah?", but after mulling it over, I decided I liked the unconventional finish. Overall not a bad show. Good watch for classic fans. Good watch for sci-fi fans. Very good if you're both, probably better to skip if you're neither.
Jim: You can't get married if you're dead.
Mint: I don't care since I'm always getting dumped anyway.
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