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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:33 am
  

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D-Bee

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While doing background research for my character, I fell on the discovery of the Zhuang people's ancestral religion : Mo. (A southern Chinese ethnic minority.)
The wiki article is however strangely related to the themes of Robotech, mainly the Robotech Master's culture and the Invid "Flower of Life".

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mo_(religion)
Quote:
198. Most Zhuang follow a traditional animist faith known as Shigongism or Moism, which include elements of ancestor worship. The Mo have their own sutra and professional priests known as bu mo who traditionally use chicken bones for divination. In Moism, the creator is known as Bu Luotuo and the universe is tripartite, with all things composed from the three elements of heaven, earth, and water.

[...]

The religion is animistic, teaching that spirits are present in everything. The spirits are seen as immortal and subject to changes in mood. Mo exhibits totemism and the cult of reproduction.

[...]

201. In Mo, Bu Luotuo is considered the supreme god, creator and the founder of the religion.
The Flower Mother, Me Hoa, is seen as the creator of humanity and Bu Luotuo's wife. As the goddess of reproduction, she is seen as governing a large garden of golden flowers (boys) and silver flowers (girls). Whoever behaves with good sense and sentiment will receive good flowers (i.e. good children), while those who behave with bad sense receive bad flowers.

[...]

202. In Mo, spirits are thought to be present in everything, and even inanimate things such as water are considered to have souls. Mo spirits include deities and ancestors as well as devils.
People are considered to have three souls after death: One goes to the sky, one to the cemetery and one comes back to the deceased’s family. Souls of the dead enter a netherworld but can continue to assist the living. According to the religion, people who have died by violence can become evil spirits.


Here... Let's give a little context :

The idea to divide everything as a tripartite equivalent of the Flower of Life is present in every aspect of the Tirolian "Master" culture.
While this is never really explained in depth, these aspects are present in the muse triumvirates as "Action", "Mind", and "Feelings". Which are roughly equivalent, at least to my knowledge, to the Chinese metaphors for "Earth", "Heaven", and "Water".

Robotech does have "immortal" characters such as the multiversal singularities known as "The Regiss (Regess)", and Haydon. Both have been demonstrated to be related to great mood swings. The Regess by suddenly leaving Earth and then (in the RNU) renouncing to evolution as a failed and trapped enterprise, or now in the Titan version (soon to be continued in Remix) as trying to take on the whole damn multiverse by herself! Haydon is less clear since it was mostly a planning intelligence, but then you have his children, the Haydonites, which alternately help increase human technology, then go at war with them for the same reason.
The flower itself needs incredibly complex factors in order to prosper, most being related to the flora, fauna, and potential for long term evolution on a planet.
It was also presented as being an agent of intelligent design through the RNU and later comics such as "Clone" and "Mordecai". Though the actual results might have been collateral damages, since the real protoculture consciousness has been presented as from another universe.

The theme of the "Cult of Reproduction" is prevalent in the whole Robotech Universe. The flower craves species that evolves through sexual dismorphism in order to form a relationship of food / pollinator. Deities / immortal rulers comes into male / female schism. War are mostly resolved through the attraction of opposites.
Indeed, the most potent symbols used during campaigns were "love" and quite literally "a baby".

In some ways, the "Flower of life" is the mother of a space born humanity. (One could also relate the old RNU idea that the flower came originally from Earth.)
It is also what gave the Invid a way out of their savage nature... And the Master's empire would never have endured for so long without it.

The Invid Regess was once the ruler over a garden of flowers.
Often represented with a silvery shine and golden pollen.
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/rob ... 0817001442
Those that use protoculture peacefully, or for their own survival, usually end up victorious and most powerful; while those who tries and use it for less ethical aims ends up in crumbling dark ages and, sometime, quite literally as mutated and impotent flowers themselves. (See Lazlo Zand - RNU.)

In Dana's vision, she is revealed to her three selves. While she is potentially laying dead from overdose on the floor, another one has a vision from far away... of her family. While in Robotech this doesn't mean they are dead, what about the original Southern Cross vision?
While it is evident that "objects having souls" has been used and re-used by different authors, most of them no longer considered canon, the flower of life itself, and Inorganics, are still strongly related to that idea.

The soul of the dead can clearly continue to assist the living if you consider the use made of Zor's brain. (Which would logically not be the only brain used that way, if the technology was ready and well-known by his corpse's arrival.) And Zor himself, killed during conflict, certainly turns vengeful and borderline devoid of empathy when he comes back as Zor Prime.

So... Coincidence?
Does anyone thinks or knows if this might have been the inspiration behind any of the mythos?
I'm wondering if I should dig deeper into this, or if the surface similarities are just a nice touch for some characters.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:28 am
  

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Knight

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It's a coincidence.

The 2nd act of Robotech shares its animation with Super Dimensional Fortress: Southern Cross, which helped shape the scripts for RT in this arc. The Flowers in that case did grow in groups of 3, the society was organized in groups of 3. This dictated somewhat how RT had to handle things, the Invid Sensor Nebula in the OSM was just a gas cloud, not an Invid device (which was changed to this in RT to help set the stage for the 3rd act).


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:29 am
  

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xunk16 wrote:
Coincidence?

Yes.



xunk16 wrote:
Might this have inspired the Flower of Life?

No.



xunk16 wrote:
The wiki article is however strangely related to the themes of Robotech, mainly the Robotech Master's culture and the Invid "Flower of Life".

One thing to remember is there really aren't many original ideas in Robotech proper... Carl Macek mainly just combined concepts that were already present in the original three shows. The "Invid Flower of Life" is a combination of the on-the-fly BS-ing they came up with that changed Macross's Protoculture (the ancient civilization) into an energy source instead, the Protozor flowers which the plot of Southern Cross largely revolves around (by dint of sharing "proto" in the name), and the notion that the Inbit mecha in MOSPEADA ran on bio-energy remotely transmitted to the mecha from Inbit hives and the Inbit Regess's obsession with conducting experiments on evolution to determine the next phase of her own people's evolution.



xunk16 wrote:
The idea to divide everything as a tripartite equivalent of the Flower of Life is present in every aspect of the Tirolian "Master" culture.
While this is never really explained in depth, these aspects are present in the muse triumvirates as "Action", "Mind", and "Feelings".

Well, it's not explained in Robotech... it's a holdover from the original Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and it's actually "Information", "Judgement", and "Action".

The aliens* in Southern Cross were called the Zor, and their species existed in harmonious trinities because of the influence of the protozor flowers on their biology and cognitive processes.
Spoiler:
Because Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross did very poorly in its broadcast run on TBS in 1984, the series was earmarked for cancellation after just 16 episodes and ended its run just 23 episodes into its planned 39 episode run. This meant that the original ending planned for the series was cut completely and some random gibberish about immortality was hastily thrown in at the very end in the vague hope of establishing a motive for the Zor Lords beyond simply wanting their planet back to gain access to the surviving stock of protozor flowers they had sealed away when they left to wait out a nuclear winter to maintain their peaceful society in symbiosis with it. (The Southern Cross Army literally lost a war to an "alien" race that had been at peace for so long they had forgotten how war even worked.)

Had Southern Cross's story been finished as planned, the big reveal at the end would have been that the Zor were not actually aliens at all. They were humans - distant descendants of the crews of the original, lost expedition to Glorie that had been catapulted back in time by a warp drive failure - who had been gradually altered by exposure to the protozor over the millennia their people spent living on Glorie before abandoning it as a nuclear winter set in. "Zor" is a corruption of the name of their original home system... Sol.

Since only the part about exposure to the protozor making people like the Zor made it into the series before cancellation, the show ended up with an accidental downer ending where Jeanne accidentally turns everyone on Glorie into Zor by spreading the until-then contained protozor all over the planet. Nice job breaking it, hero.


Even Southern Cross didn't put much actual thought into it. For most of its development, it didn't remotely resemble the show that got produced. It started out as a comedy series about famous historical women living together as teenagers (including Jeanne d'Arc and Cleopatra), then transitioned to "Sengoku Period drama... IN SPACE!" that appears to have been about the conflicts between the Takeda and Tokugawa clans under the working title Science Fiction Sengoku Saga after Tatsunoko let the original concept creator go (presumably having had second thoughts about hiring a man who specialized in lolicon and diaper fetish art), and in an almost eleventh-hour change switched genres again to mecha anime and ended up being a fairly by-the-numbers ripoff of Macross and Gundam in an attempt to cash in on the then-in-full-swing mecha anime craze. About all from early development that survived into the final show was the main character's given name and the elaborate samurai-esque Arming Doublets that were originally powered armor versions of o-yoroi. Southern Cross's production freeze was done so late and in such a hurry that the show had no final title until after production of the animation already started.

Spoiler:
The surviving concept art from Science Fiction Sengoku Saga includes the Takeda and Tokugawa clan emblems, as well as the historically inaccurate but famed-in-fiction Furinkazan banner of the great warlord Shingen Takeda and a suit of armor that is almost certainly meant to belong to the legendarily undefeatable Tadakatsu Honda (the man known as the "samurai among samurai" and "the luxury of Tokugawa Ieyasu", so memetically badass that in Sengoku Basara he's basically a goddamn Gundam.) The Zor Lords mothership in Southern Cross appears to be a very lightly modified reuse of the floating castle design for this series concept... basically being the floating foundation with the castle on top removed.




xunk16 wrote:
Robotech does have "immortal" characters such as the multiversal singularities known as "The Regiss (Regess)", and Haydon.

Except when it doesn't, or they're not... the outline for the rest of the Shadow Saga would tend to suggest they were quite mortal and eminently killable, and even the old Sentinels materials put them down as normal, mortal beings who gained immense power through protoculture.



xunk16 wrote:
Both have been demonstrated to be related to great mood swings. The Regess by suddenly leaving Earth and then (in the RNU) renouncing to evolution as a failed and trapped enterprise, or now in the Titan version (soon to be continued in Remix) as trying to take on the whole damn multiverse by herself! Haydon is less clear since it was mostly a planning intelligence, but then you have his children, the Haydonites, which alternately help increase human technology, then go at war with them for the same reason.
The flower itself needs incredibly complex factors in order to prosper, most being related to the flora, fauna, and potential for long term evolution on a planet.
It was also presented as being an agent of intelligent design through the RNU and later comics such as "Clone" and "Mordecai". Though the actual results might have been collateral damages, since the real protoculture consciousness has been presented as from another universe.

It's probably better to avoid considering too much non-canon material, given how inconsistent it was with itself... and how Titan isn't consistent with ANYTHING, even on a page-to-page basis. :lol:

Various authors ran with various aspects of it, but really almost none of it was based on anything in particular. Even the explanation that protoculture was "life energy" was something invented after the fact.



xunk16 wrote:
In Dana's vision, she is revealed to her three selves. While she is potentially laying dead from overdose on the floor, another one has a vision from far away... of her family. While in Robotech this doesn't mean they are dead, what about the original Southern Cross vision?

Jeanne Francaix's family in Southern Cross are on Liberte, the other planet that humanity colonized after overuse of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons rendered Earth uninhabitable. She got such a high non-commissioned rank at such a young age because she moved to Glorie from the more established colony on Liberte.

Spoiler:
Glorie is located in the Epsilon Eridani system, Liberte is in the Proxima Centauri system.


What Jeanne sees when she touches the container of protozor is a hallucination of herself as a Zor, a product of the influence the flowers exert over humans to create a harmonious symbiotic existence (which was what created the Zor civilization).





As a good general rule, don't look for deep meanings or hidden significance in Robotech... it isn't there to be found.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:33 pm
  

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Seto Kaiba wrote:
[


As a good general rule, don't look for deep meanings or hidden significance in Robotech... it isn't there to be found.



Damn it, there goes my entire master thesis paper on Knight Templar, Masonic, Cabala and Rastafarian symbolism embedded in the thematic background of Saint Macek's writings!! Couldn't you have at least waited until I'd achieved tenure, Seto?!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:01 pm
  

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Knight

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taalismn wrote:
Seto Kaiba wrote:
As a good general rule, don't look for deep meanings or hidden significance in Robotech... it isn't there to be found.

Damn it, there goes my entire master thesis paper on Knight Templar, Masonic, Cabala and Rastafarian symbolism embedded in the thematic background of Saint Macek's writings!! Couldn't you have at least waited until I'd achieved tenure, Seto?!

Peer review takes no prisoners and shows no mercy! :lol:

Robotech was intended to be a toy commercial, so it isn't altogether surprising there isn't any deep symbolism or hidden meanings to be found in a story that was adapted on the fly and in such an enormous hurry that there was no time for consistency-checking the scripts being produced.

Now if you want to get into obscure and downright WEIRD references, Macross cocreator and franchise director Shoji Kawamori LOVES those and peppers all of his work with them. To give you an idea, here are some of the subjects I've had to read up on to figure various references out while translating just his Macross work:
Spoiler:
  • Stellar nucleosynthesis
  • the Peltier-Seebeck effect
  • Brayton-cycle magnetohydrodynamic power generation
  • Blood antigen groups
  • Hinduism's Vedic sages
  • Buddhist ritual objects
  • the Ugaritic pantheon and its connections to Abrahamic tradition
  • the enteric nervous system
  • manipulation of fluid flow boundary layers
  • vortex coupling
  • late 16th/early 17th century demonology and its connections to Shakespeare's The Tempest
  • figures in Norse mythology
  • pre-Socratic philosophy's personifications of the aspects of Time
  • The Matter of France
  • La Chanson de Roland
  • The Nibelungenlied, Volsunga saga, and Poetic Edda.
  • Chretien de Troyes's Perceval, the Story of the Grail
  • the Tabula Smaragdina
  • Legendary swords of Western European myth
  • Flying aces of the world wars
  • the Mekong river delta
  • Red Army operations in Poland during World War II
  • National Championship Air Races (Reno, NV)
  • United States military flight demonstration teams
  • Gods and Fairies of Irish mythology
  • Chinese numerology
  • Blood type personality theory

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:08 pm
  

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Don't forget Beer!! There is that Budwieser Missile in DYRL when Hikaru is flying to take on Dolza (?)

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:52 pm
  

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I'm actually going to be a bit easier and say....no, but...

...it's not nothing either. The thing about culture and cultural diffusion is that it's a game of telephone that everyone plays without thinking about it and lasts generations.

Was it directly inspired by Mo? almost certainly not.

the thing about going "But the creators were just making stuff up" Ignores the fact that the creators themselves don't live in a cultural vaccume. They're going to think of stuff based on what they've already known and seen, and Triumverates are so ancient there's a reason it keeps popping up.

But Mo can hardly claim to be the first, so it's more likely they share a common ancestor than are directly related to each-other.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:33 pm
  

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Nekira Sudacne wrote:
I'm actually going to be a bit easier and say....no, but...

...it's not nothing either. The thing about culture and cultural diffusion is that it's a game of telephone that everyone plays without thinking about it and lasts generations.

Was it directly inspired by Mo? almost certainly not.

Odds are, given that Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross's "inspiration" was mostly shamelessly copying the content of the genre's most successful properties (Mobile Suit Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross) that the Zor's existence as triplets is almost certainly not anything particularly deep.

My money would be on it being a numerology reference. Even though Japan doesn't take things like astrology, numerology, and the blood type theory of personality all that seriously anymore, they still carry a certain amount of cultural weight. The significance of three in the Chinese numerology than Japan inherited is "to live" or "to split up". The protozor flower that exists in trinities is essential for the Zor to live, and their existence with it in trinities is one where three bodies make a single individual (Information, Judgement, and Action, a fairly basic psychological summary of decisionmaking).

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:02 am
  

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D-Bee

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Nekira Sudacne wrote:
But Mo can hardly claim to be the first, so it's more likely they share a common ancestor than are directly related to each-other.


Thank for not just dismissing it outright. So if I'm following you correctly, it could at least be used to give some shine to an otherwise bland character and at best to detail a red herring during campaign preparation. Well, We'll see how it turns out on that end.

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Odds are, given that Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross's "inspiration" was mostly shamelessly copying the content of the genre's most successful properties (Mobile Suit Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross) that the Zor's existence as triplets is almost certainly not anything particularly deep.


Really it's sad that it never got more developed than that feeling of unbearable grief when one of a trio dies. We actually have a trio of players here who have planned to eventually play that relation. (I'm going to be one.) So a bit more source material would have been nice.
Then again, from androids to clones to genetically engineered chimeras, it's never really quite clear how that process is tied to their organism or experience of life. We'll have to make do.

Seto Kaiba wrote:
My money would be on it being a numerology reference. Even though Japan doesn't take things like astrology, numerology, and the blood type theory of personality all that seriously anymore, they still carry a certain amount of cultural weight. The significance of three in the Chinese numerology than Japan inherited is "to live" or "to split up". The protozor flower that exists in trinities is essential for the Zor to live, and their existence with it in trinities is one where three bodies make a single individual (Information, Judgement, and Action, a fairly basic psychological summary of decisionmaking).


An other really interesting trail for interpretation of the symbol.
Though there is quite too much that can be done with so little for me to formulate a clear link right now.
I can't help but feel there is a link to the "why" they created the triumvirs in the first place, culturally.
If nothing else, by separating and becoming the representation of the "three stages of life", one could say they dissociated themselves from death.
But that would be mostly getting gratuitously poetical for an easy answer.

I'll give both to my Gm. He's still getting his head around the influence of protoculture from one place to another.
Since there never was a definite and detailed truth written about it, any game must find it's own interpretations of the shapings at some point.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:24 pm
  

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xunk16 wrote:
Really it's sad that it never got more developed than that feeling of unbearable grief when one of a trio dies. We actually have a trio of players here who have planned to eventually play that relation. (I'm going to be one.) So a bit more source material would have been nice.

Really, if you wanted to do a faithful rendition of 'em it'd be one player playing all three. The Zor were, in the original, socially and culturally considered to be one mind/soul in three bodies. There are several traditions which have similar beliefs regarding twins, that twins are one soul in two bodies. Losing one member of a trinity would make the other two permanently incomplete.



xunk16 wrote:
Then again, from androids to clones to genetically engineered chimeras, it's never really quite clear how that process is tied to their organism or experience of life. We'll have to make do.

The Robotech adaptation never could settle on what they actually were... clones, bio-androids, aliens, or what have you.

I suspect that a lot of that confusion was Harmony Gold's rewriters dancing around the rather dark plot point from the original Southern Cross that the Bioroid pilots weren't Zor... they were brainwashed humans the Zor had captured during their raids on space stations and Glorie's cities. The Southern Cross Army had been killing its own people the entire time. The Robotech adaptation mentions the abductions, but never ties them to the Bioroid pilots they're autopsying.

The character that became Zor Prime, Seifreit Weiss, was a NCO in the Southern Cross Army who had been assigned to its moon base and was captured when the Zor raided it. He spent the rest of the series raging against the Zor Lords because he was outraged by their violation of his mind.



xunk16 wrote:
I can't help but feel there is a link to the "why" they created the triumvirs in the first place, culturally.

I don't think you'll get anything like that from the existing material... the Zor existed as trinities because of the influence of the protozor on them, rather than for any cultural/social reason. The original series may have at one point intended to get into it more, but the show was cancelled before they could ever get to the part that was intended to reveal the Zor were originally human.



xunk16 wrote:
Since there never was a definite and detailed truth written about it, any game must find it's own interpretations of the shapings at some point.

Most tend to leave that stuff out completely...

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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