Matt Wells on Kamjin and the Alien Rivals in Robot Anime

Original Post: Cho Jikuu Yosai Macross: Remembering the Killer Episodes (05-08)

Matt Wells says:

July 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

[…] As far as the “Noble” enemy rival trope Kamjin seems to disparage, the earliest example I can think of would be Prince Sharkin in Brave Raideen; the character archetype was refined into its more modern form with none other than Prince Heinel in Voltes V, and Richter in Tosho Daimos. Note that all three are aliens, same as Kamjin. Its a common trope in older anime. Char merely branched out into the more modern “Masked Rival” sub-trope.

Not that the idea that the rival figure in a series can be a figure of contempt is anything new, similar contemporary examples I can think of at the time would be Ypsilon in VOTOMS and Gostello (sort of) in SPT Layzner. I just read Kamjin that way from both how the series presents him (like his exchange with Hikaru in ep. 7 seeing them equally matched) and from the narrative role he seems to fit in the series. Kamjin is thrown into the rival role, ill fitting though it might be, so I saw him as a deliberate subversion of it.

Macross seems to be all about referencing and subverting the Mecha shows that came before it, its creators remembering love just as Nadesico did to far more Post-Modern effect 15 years later. […]

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