Friday, August 6, 2010

He Fought the Darkness. The Darkness Won.

Narrator: No one was left who could remember how it had happened,
how the world had fallen under darkness.
At least no one who would do anything.
No one who would oppose the robots.
No one who would challenge their power,
or so Dr. Wily believed...

Thus begins The Protomen, the self-titled debut of a band whose epic rock opera takes the Megaman story and turns it into a dystopian fable of hubris, compassion, vengeance, love, redemption, and hope. The songs rock hard and are full of Meat Loaf-esque emotion: everything is over the top, dramatic, and wonderful.

Somehow, the band takes a story about scientist who creates a robot boy to fight evil robots and turns it into a sprawling saga of a man trying to redeem himself by creating a robot who can stop the megalomaniac he inadvertently helped into power.

The story is complicated, though, because Megaman is the second robotic "son" Dr. Light creates. The first was Protoman, a tragic hero who fought to protect the people of the city but fell when the people of the city refused to help him in his fight.

Whereas Protoman was created as a warrior who could take down the evil Dr. Wily, Megaman was made to be a son and companion to Dr. Light in his misery and helplessness. Nevertheless, when Megaman learns of his brother's stand and noble death, he resolves to complete his brother's quest and rid the city of Wily's evil robots. Megaman rushes out while Dr. Light frantically pleads with him to reconsider and stay safe, saying, "You need to know! You are not him! His fight's not yours! You cannot win!"

Megaman goes into the city and sees how hopeless the people are. Loudspeakers constantly blare out reassuring and oppressive slogans, while the people shuffle around, dead to the world. Megaman is the one with hope. Despite what he sees, he still idealistically believes that he can fight the evil that grips the city. He stumbles across Protoman's grave and sees that someone has scrawled a message over the tombstone: "HOPE RIDES ALONE." Megaman takes it as his personal slogan, though he doesn't realize that Dr. Light himself wrote those words.

The heroic robot swears,
"And as I live
There is no evil that will stand
I will finish
What was started: the fight of Protoman!"

Megaman launches himself into the enemy robots, crowing,

"Send me the best you've got. Send me your strongest machines.
The fight my brother fought, here, now, will end with me."

As he progresses, littering the ground with the wreckage of robots, he sees the leader of the enemies up ahead. Though Megaman cannot see him clearly, there is something strangely familiar about his opponent's shape.

What happens next is tragic and epic and rocks very, very hard. I won't spoil it, (though you've probably already guessed part of it), but I should add that if you listen to the album, you're only getting half the story: you should read the Protomen lyrics and liner notes as you listen to the album to know who's talking and what they're doing.

I highly recommend giving The Protomen a listen. The music rocks, the story is epic, and you don't even have to be a fan of Megaman or SF to enjoy it (though it certainly doesn't hurt).

There is a second album that tells the story of how the city fell under Dr. Wily's control. All Protomen fans should check it out if they want to know the full arc. It also has some of the best songs on either album, so there's that, too!

1 comment:

Kawaika said...

I read the lyrics. Epic. Hopefully I'll get a chance to listen to the music soon.