17 April 2011

robot marx, part 4

Robotech®, Patriarchy, and Kids' Culture:
A Conflict Theory Perspective

ROBOTECH's "New Generation" features a Princess, a Prince and a Queen, with parallels to both "Uncle" Walt Disney and Team Disney's archetypical models. The context in which "New Generation" takes place is Earth after being conquered by the alien Invid, spawning a human resistance movement leading up to an attempt by space-faring humans to try to win back the planet for all of humanity.

The Princess in "New Generation" is Ariel/Marlene -- an Invid princess who is inserted into a human resistance cell's ranks as a spy for her people; as an Invid, her name is Ariel, whereas the amnesiac identity she adopts while with the humans is Marlene. Towards series' end, Marlene discovers who she really is -- the Invid princess, Ariel -- and exhibits behaviors similar to those described by Rebecca-Anne C. Do Rozario in "The Princess and the Magic Kingdom: Beyond Nostalgia, the Function of the Disney Princess" as the "Uncle Walt" princess archetype: "She wanders barefoot in the woods and is uninterested in the affairs of kings, devastated when she learns she is a princess [...]" (38). Following this revelation, though, she eventually embraces her Invid heritage and name and, along with Scott and her other freedom fighter companions, "creates the possibility of an equal match between hero[es] and princess [... The] new government [that is ultimately] forged is less insular and the princess is reconciled to both father [or mother, i.e. the Regess] and lover [Scott and humanity]" (55, 56).

The Prince is Lt. Scott Bernard -- the lone surviver of an earlier, failed attempt to win back Earth for humanity, and the leader of the human resistance cell Ariel is inserted into; Ariel enters the group as an amnesiac, after which Scott names her "Marlene" after his dead fiance. Over the course of their characters' arcs, Scott and Marlene begin to fall in love and Scott regularly comes to her rescue, similar to the Walt Disney prince archetype described by Do Rozario -- the "prince [Scott] as rescuer, and a 'dragon' [i.e. the Regess ...] from whom the princess [Ariel/Marlene] needs rescuing" (42). From the "Team Disney" point-of-view, Scott functions as an outsider-prince in the eyes of the Regess: "He appears to threaten the stable future of the kingdom by changing the status quo, a forbidden prince who is contrary to the custom of the kingdom and will force the kingdom to become less insular" (54).

The Queen is the Regess -- the queen-mother of the Invid race who has come to Earth and conquered it for her people's survival, due to the fact that their food source, the Flower of Life, has taken root and flourished on the planet following the devastating end-result of the previous Robotech war ("The Masters"). Do Rozario describes Team Disney's queen/mother archetype as "disdained [by their daughters...] their identity and their work simultaneously erased, naturalized and devalued" (Haas qtd. 52). This especially holds true while Ariel is amnesiac and believes herself to be Marlene -- since she does not know any better, she denies the Regess as her mother and fights against her. It is at the end of "New Generation" that a striking "Uncle" Walt Disney-esque queen/mother moment occurs: To stop humanity from destroying their own world (Earth) in an attempt to exterminate the Invid, the Regess sacrifices her and her race's new home by choosing to flee from it by "turning herself into a proverbial dragon" (40), thus saving not only her own race but that of the one she had previously conquered.

A princess. A prince. And a queen. ROBOTECH's "New Generation" features all three, with both the Walt Disney and Team Disney archetypes apparent throughout.

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Do Rozario, Rebecca-Anne C. "The Princess and the Magic Kingdom: Beyond Nostalgia, the Function of the Disney Princess." Women's Studies in Communication 27.1: 34-59. Print.

Robotech.com. Harmony Gold USA, Inc., 2007. Web. 2010. http://robotech.com/.

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ROBOTECH ® and all associated concepts, names, designs, and images are trademark and copyright Harmony Gold USA, Inc. 1985-2011. Application of such for the ROBOT MARX project by Evan Harrison Cass is based on the U.S. Copyright principle of Fair Use for not-for-profit "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research." No infringement of Harmony Gold USA, Inc.'s or associated companies' and individuals' rights is intended.