Two Dilemmas in the Millennial Queen movie
This 2 hour film is a reprise of Matsumoto’s Millennial Queen TV series (42 episodes). It tells of the heroics of Yayoi Yukino, the undercover Millennial Queen sent to Earth from the planet LaMetal, and how she ends up opposing her own race to save Earth. There are two issues I’d like to tackle in this post. [As always, spoilers abound!]
I. Ethical Dilemma of Survival
I hate ethics. But I think it is a core issue in this movie so I’ll cover it. Imagine this scenario:
Earth is doomed. As the leader of the human race, everyone’s fate is in your hands. Now, it is within your power to send Earthlings en masse to Mars, which has a similar atmosphere you know will allow humans to survive and eventually prosper. The problem is, Mars is already occupied by an alien, animal-like population that’s in addition quite violent. If you ask them for permission to relocate Earthlings to Mars, they’ll turn you down. If you land there anyway they’ll fight you and, due to their superior brute strength, they likely will destroy you. If you cross your arms and wait, humanity will perish and it will be your fault. What should you do?
Annihilate the Martians and move in? Well, you’d call it something else, but, yeah, I guess most leaders would choose that option. Still, either way you go it will be down an ethically dubious path…
This is precisely what Queen LaRela faces in Millennial Queen, mutando mutandis (LaMetal for Earth, Earth for Mars). And she does choose to save LaMetalians and destroy the humans.
What’s most fascinating is that although here LaRela is the villain and Yayoi Yukino is the heroine, the triumph of the good guys leads directly to Yayoi becoming arguably the most evil individual in the Leijiverse: Queen Promethium II of the Mechanization Empire. In a nutshell, LaMetal fails in its invasion of Earth, which means they’re still doomed. LaRela is ousted (or dead) and Yayoi Yukino’s solution is to mechanize everything on LaMetal. Mind you, this is beyond Millennial Queen territory, I’m referring to Maetel Legend and Space Symphony Maetel.
The suffering and the carnage involved make one almost wish LaRela had won and LaMetalians taken over the Earth. What we see happen is that Yayoi/Promethium gets addicted to this mechanization thing and sets out to conquer the universe (Earth included!).
II. Ethical Dilemma of Representation
So, LaMetalians attempt an invasion of Earth and fail miserably. What I’m going to do is give you a brief summary of the battle as objectively as I can, the idea being to let you figure out yourself what notions, comments or criticisms the account triggers in you. I don’t wanna put any thoughts in to your head, not yet anyway…
LaMetalian technology is superior to Earth’s so fighting them head on seems like a silly strategy. In any case, a rebel faction of LaMetalians defends Earth and does quite well, although it is totally overwhelmed in terms of numbers. Some brave civilians in Japan, where LaMetalian forces are concentrating their attack, storm their Museum of History in a desperate attempt to arm themselves. They break out catapults, all sorts of guns and warplanes.
Leiji Matsumoto, or someone looking very much like him, joins the fray.
Hajime Amamori, Yayoi Yukino’s young friend, hops on a Mitsubushi A6M (better known as the Zero) and takes to the skies. Yamori, a LaMetalian assistant of the Millennial Queen who at the last moment decides to betray his planet and side with the humans, scrambles close behind on a Lockheed P-38 (the Lightning).
So these characters are operating two of the most successful aircraft in the Pacific Theater of World War II: the Zero for Japan and the Lightning for America.
After some fighting, both planes are hit. Hajime ejects from his Zero and escapes to safety. The alien Yamori aims and crashes his Lightning on the control center of the main invading ship, bursting into flames and dealing massive damage…
What do you think?
I think it’s reasonable that a historical museum in Japan would have Zeros and Lightnings. It’s also very reasonable that the creator of an anime would insert himself in a bit of lighthearted fan service, especially when the defense of our world is at stake! And I guess it’s somewhat reasonable that Yamori, out of love for his Millennial Queen, would do a kamikaze attack on the LaMetalian ship using an “apple pie” P-38 Lightning since that’s the ship he had randomly picked out at the warfare hall…
Maybe it would be unreasonable of me to suggest that an alien flying an American warplane is not science fiction for Japanese minds, but just common sense (i.e. foreigner = alien = foreigner). It will be definitely seem unreasonable to some if I suspect glorification of kamikaze Yamato spirit is at work, and that while the alien must atone through a Japanese-style death, the native Japanese is allowed to live on, etc…
Anyway, it’s whatever, right? And for all I know my warplane I.D.ing skills might be totally whacked. Let’s just drop it 🙂