This post was inspired by 2D-Teleidoscope’s post on the Angels of Evangelion and the subsequent comments. It contains spoilers for Super Robot Wars: Original Generation.
Stories of alien invasion have been ubiquitous since the Victorian era. They’ve been tied into our fears of invasion from neighbours closer to home, whether Prussian or Soviet. In a sense, they foster a patriotism that works above national boundaries: like a global ‘spirit of the Blitz’, it’s all of humanity together against the alien other. And it’s not just fiction that warns us of the alien threat, as Stephen Hawking will attest to. History shows that the meeting of two disparate civilisations often ends in disaster.
Given the vast reams of invasion literature, you’d have thought that there’d be more genre-savvy fiction depicting humanity going one step further than just fighting off the aliens and actively preparing for the threat. After all, former US presidents have encouraged such preparations. But there don’t seem to be many stories of aliens coming to find humanity ready to fight them.
This might just be a result of plot conventions. A movie where the UFOs don’t come unannounced (remember that we’d probably see invaders coming a long time before they reach us) and get nuked to hell before they’ve even landed on Earth would be rather short and boring, even if there were lots of pretty explosions.
Also, there’s common sense to consider. SETI have enough trouble getting funding just to look for aliens. Convincing people to pay billions to protect against a purely theoretical threat, whilst possible, would be hard for a non-government body, especially considering that there’s a multitude of immediate problems facing mankind here on Earth.
However, there is one example that came to mind: Super Robot Wars. Although the same themes are repeated throughout the several timelines and games in the series I’ll focus on the Original Generation games, since they avoid licensed series’ plots.
Bian Zoldark is the head of the Divine Crusaders, essentially a terrorist group which aims to secure world domination in order to prepare for invasion. In homage to Macross (a series which I shamefully still haven’t watched in full), this zeal is prompted by the discovery of alien technology on a crashed meteor. Bian is pretty successful considering that he is of questionable sanity (he devotes two thirds of his entire organisation’s budget on one (admittedly awesome) machine and builds a mecha musume for his daughter because the original design wasn’t feminine enough). His movement has enough manpower and resources to overthrow a world government.
In the end, he’s defeated by the game’s protagonists and reveals that the entire war was orchestrated so that humanity would develop better mechs in order to fight the invading Balmarians who become the primary antagonists for the remainder of the first game. A fairly ridiculous scheme even by mecha standards, but apparently it works!