Sunday, November 14, 2010

Astronaut Theology: SuperGod MasterForce

I always assumed that AAT vanished from pop culture when the original
Battlestar Galactica went off the air and didn't really come back into vogue until The X-Files. There were a few one-offs here and there, and the meme was embedded into subtler narratives like the Prophets subplot in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but it seemed that it was definitely out of fashion for a good long time. The reason being is that I wasn't watching a lot of cartoons at that time.

In fact, the theory that dare not speak its name has been a staple in kiddie cartoons since the late 70s. A helpful reader tipped me off to this short-lived series Space Sentinels, from the producers of Shazam and Isis. The concept (if not the execution) is fascinating- a trinity of gods are guided by a Artificial Intelligence to act as the protectors of mankind. You had Hercules (looking a lot like the Lee/Kirby Thor), Mercury and Astrea, an obvious stand-in for Astarte/Ishtar/Hathor with bonus shapeshifting powers.

Isis and Hercules (aka Herucles) teamed up soonafter in another Filmation production The Freedom Force. This show didn't make much of an impression either, but it certainly prefigured what Alan Moore was doing with his true masterwork, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Bonus factoid: Filmation co-founder (and astonishingly prolific polymath) Norm Prescott worked on the new music score for the American dubbing of the Steve Reeves Hercules film, which kicked off the Greco-Roman revival of the sword and sandal films. Indeed, Filmation seemed to be a major part of the animated AAT invasion.

In 1973, Filmation director Hal Sutherland took the reins for Star Trek: The Animated Series, which reunited Gene Roddenberry and most of the Star Trek principals. Again short-lived, but a truly fascinating experiment in bombarding young children with dense, obscure sci-fi that taxes the attention of most adults. But one of the seminal episodes had the Enterprise crew tangle with the feathered serpent Kukulkan, who claimed to be the creator of the human race. You can watch the whole thing here.

Then there's The Transformers.
We've looked at this franchise quite a bit here but I missed this Japanese production bearing the startling title, Transformers: Super God Masterforce. Japanese anime is by far the most Gnostic pop culture on the planet, as any Akira or Ghost in the Shell fan will tell you. But even the face-punching obviousness of Yu Gi Oh (which we'll get to in a minute) couldn't prepare me for Super God Masterforce. In this clip we meet Metalhawk, aka Hawk (nudge, nudge). Here's his story:
He is the leader of the Autobot Pretenders and Headmaster Juniors. Metalhawk is known as "Hawk" when in his human guise.

Eight thousand years ago, a star ship containing the Autobot Pretenders Metalhawk, Lander, Diver and Phoenix pursued the Decepticon Pretenders Blood, Dauros and Gilmer to neolithic-era Earth, where they crashed. Using their Pretender abilities, the Autobots adopted the form of humans - not using external shells like in the American fiction, but actually transforming the very structure of their bodies into an organic equivalent, shrinking down to normal human size to hide in plain sight among burgeoning humanity.

The Decepticon Pretenders, on the other hand, adopted the forms of monstrous creatures, becoming feared as demons by early man. After many battles, the Autobots succeeded in defeating their enemies and sealing them away - Blood in the pyramids of Egypt, Gilmer in the ruins of Atlantis, and Dauros beneath the Nazca Lines in Peru - for thousands of years.

Here's another series I had no concept of, since it fell between my two boys' cartoon-watching prime; Mighty Max. This series is a catalog of esotericism-for-kiddies storylines, and may be the only cartoon in history to name an episode after a Kenneth Anger movie. Then there's this episode that showed that someone on staff had been reading their Robert KG Temple. Note that the villain is named Nahmo (read:"Nommo").
Aliens from a planet orbiting Sirius come to Earth, and while trying to stop them Max unwittingly starts a heated argument between Norman and Virgil that keeps them from working together through the entire episode. Max finally gets them to settle the dispute and work together. Aboard the aliens' ship, Max finds out that they've been stealing toxic waste, a source of fuel for them, and happily let the aliens go on their way with it.

Then there's "The Mommy's Hand," in which a villainous Isis (voiced by Kate Mulgrew, speaking of Star Trek) returns to Earth to revive Osiris (and presents us with some visuals startlingly reminiscent of Lucifer Rising):
Max's mom again finds herself in danger when a ring placed on her hand compels her to go to Egypt. Following out of concern, Max and company find that the ring belongs to Isis, an ancient Egyptian goddess who has been living among humans for a few thousand years. Now a little unhinged, she is attempting to awaken her husband Osiris hoping that he will destroy the human race for its many faults and injustices. However, Osiris spares humanity after learning Max is the "Chosen One" and departs along with his wife.
Max is the "Chosen One," eh? Maybe 'Armagddeon Closer' will give us some insight on that little factoid:
Max's birthday falls on the Winter Solstice, the day that is filled with the most darkness. Skull Master, having now reforged his crystal of souls and filled it with the souls of the citizens of Dragon Island, now puts in to play his final plan for victory he has been working towards ever since his escape from Skull Mountain. Virgil and Norman show up at Max's birthday party to show him the prophecy in their home in the Himalayas Mountains.

Then there's the 90s Jonny Quest revival, which featured 'The Return of the Anasazi'. It's a pretty blatant X-Files knockoff, specifically the definitive mytharc three-parter of 'The Anasazi', 'The Blessing Way' and 'Paper Clip', all of which were inspired by Chris Carter's participation in a Navajo peyote ritual. The irony here is that Race Bannon is voiced by Robert Patrick, who'd emerge as Oannes Doghead on The X-Files.

Then of course there's
Yu Gi Oh, which is like shooting fish in a barrel. But that's Japanimation for you.

The thing that really cracks me up about all of this is that nerds hate - I mean, truly hate - AAT just as much as they love their cartoon and sci-fi franchises. Why? Because they all see themselves as nascent Einsteins and can't tolerate the idea of a higher intelligence than they themselves.*

The problem is that nearly all of their favorite franchises are based in AAT, which leads to a state of cognitive dissonance in the community one can only describe as pathological.

It also raises the question as to how effective all of this memetic embedding is if the people who immerse themselves in this kind of entertainment the most are the most resistant to the messages being put across in these narratives. Maybe we're not quite the mindless robots some might believe us to be.

*It's similar to how working class Americans see themselves just a lucky break away from becoming billionaires, so they can't stand to see anything done to threaten offshore tax shelters, outsourcing or egregious tax breaks, even if it all threatens their own economic well-being.


  1. I love that line about nerds being so resistant to this meme. I've always seen that too, everything has to be scientific to them and esotericism is poppy-cock.

    Being in my early twenties I grew up with Mighty Max and Johnny Quest. A lot of the cartoons I watched I DEFINITELY felt some deeper meaning that wanted to be let out but never could articulate it until I was older. But yes, take it from someone who watched these cartoons, there was some sort of hidden truth woven within them. I've tried telling some friends and it just goes pass their heads.

    I wonder if the meme is targeting a particular type of person. I'm not sure what I mean. But maybe that programming was my personal way of evolving my own consciousness. Great post, friend.

  2. We're dealing with a fairly fine line on these issues when dealing with Star Trek. Star Trek: The Animated Series was done by Filmation as noted by Chris. Gene Roddenberry didn't get full say as to the philosophy on the series, just like the issues he had with NBC. Gene got trumped by a committee consisting of Filmation Owner Norm Prescott, Director Hal Sutherland, and the show's Head Of Writing Staff. Gene could not get the money to bring the whole cast back, Walter Koenig was excluded from coming back as Chekov, but Roddenberry named Koenig as Head Writer of the show! Here's the problem, Gene Roddenberry was not a true AAT believer, he believed in Exocreationism. What does that mean? AAT believes in Exopolitics, that aliens currently and in the past affect our development as a civilization. This less strident position of Exocreationism means that the aliens either dumped DNA into the Earth's historical stream to affect evolution, or genetically engineered us using Cro Magnon or Neandrathal Man as the base unit to work with. Norm Prescott, Hal Sutherland, and Walter Koenig were all AAT supporters. I've heard Koenig speak in favor of Exopolitics and AAT. Gene Roddenberry (not Paramount as some fan material says) announced in the early 1980's that Star Trek:TAS would no longer be considered Canon Star Trek. Why? Because the AAT material presented in Star Trek: TAS violated Starfleet's rule on the Prime Directive. I know I've seen the Prime Directive has been twisted and bent until near breakage like the work of a mean-spirited Yoga Instructor! But Star Trek that is Canon has never gone as far as AAT, but has limited it's scope to Exocreationism!

  3. Hi Chris,

    A couple of live-action kid's shows aired in the UK in the 80s that delved into similar themes.

    Children of the Dog Star was about some kids in New Zealand who find the remains of an ancient alien probe from Sirius B:

    The credits logo even featured the famous Dogon Sirius B oval drawing!

    There was also an adaptation of John Wyndham's book Chocky about a boy who has an 'imaginary friend' that turns out to be a discarnate alien living in his mind. If I recall the show even had a hypnotic regression session in there somewhere. A couple of follow-up series came later featuring prodigies being helped by the alien to advance science & technology:

  4. I was steeped in this stuff growing up thanks to the sheer volume of bad (?) TV I watched, and also the preponderance of Von Daniken and Velikovsky-type books that were readily available. Another one to add to the list is 'The Ancient Cities of Gold' cartoon, which has a pretty darned self-explanatory name. My personal favourites were Space Sentinels and Ulysses 31, as a kid, and I find that Ulysses 31 STILL stands up today.

  5. Interesting that the animated Star Trek was "endorsed by the American Psychological Association".

  6. Yup, I watched that mighty max series as a young lad.

  7. I used to watch Mighty Max every day after school... must have shaped my understanding of reality. As my note filled thumbed through copy of Temple's Sirius Mystery sits next to me... and Max is chillin with the Dogon tribe.

  8. Growing up I was really into the He-man and She-ra cartoons with the whole "Masters of the Universe" theme. Thundercats was also a childhood fav of mine. Of course now I realize it was all about cat-like humanoid aliens.

    "*It's similar to how working class Americans see themselves just a lucky break away from becoming billionaires, so they can't stand to see anything done to threaten offshore tax shelters, outsourcing or egregious tax breaks, even if it all threatens their own economic well-being."

    Thanks for so succinctly describing the warped mind state of the masses in this country. When will it stop? Wanna run for President?

  9. Thank you Cartography, that information about the politics between Roddenberry, and Filmation is something I didn't know about. Still, it was commendable that an animated series was even produced, and I am not too surprised that Roddenberry's vision was compromised in that area as well. He was never really treated all that well by Paramount either way.

  10. Erich von Däniken's work, along with most “Ancient Alien” theories have been popular in Japan since they were first published in the 70's.

    I think the Ancient Alien concepts thrive in Japanese media because they kinda feed our cultural superiority complex. “Aliens exist and they're just like us!” = “Obviously a highly advanced civilization from the stars would be indistinguishable from modern Japan...”

    'talking about Transformers, my cat recently chewed up my husband's vintage Optimus Prime. I was going to replace it for Christmas but I can't bring myself to spend over 200 bucks on a plastic toy. They're like Hummel figurines for guys.

  11. Just wanted to echo The Thing That Should Not Be on "Mysterious Cities of Gold"- a surprisingly sturdy toon that's practically all AAT (though I suppose that might be a spoiler for someone completely new to it).

    One unique feature of the show was that each episode featured a live-action documentary segment on the real-world locales and individuals featured in the storyline. This video, though fan-made, gives you a quick overview of the territory covered. It definitely fired my young imagination (and inspired me to go read Chariots when memories of it came creeping back a few years ago).

  12. Have you seen Richard Linklater's Slacker? Do you remember the scene with the guy talkin' about the Smurfs?

    Also, regarding the working class, I think they support the interests of the billionaires that rule them not so much because of faith in social mobility, but from a conviction that "a rising tide lifts every boat", that the interests of the rulers and the ruled are one and the same. Far more insidious is the notion that, while capitalism may be "less than ideal" for the majority of people, there "is no alternative".

  13. HAha!! I remember the Children of the Dog Star. No doubt it had New World Order spin on it and that probe was somehow passed through the TV to kids' brains.

    Damn government, can't even let a kids program slide, they have to meddle with everything!

  14. Loads of MSG imagery in the new Tron trailers. MSG a short hand for masonic, satanic, gnostic. Even these short trailers manage to reveal themes of knowledge revealed, knowledge denied, god-like fathers, worlds created, and prodigal destiny-laden sons.

    "Your father is the creator... Where do I find him?"
    "My creation turned against me"
    "It's a New World"
    "I promised you that if I ever got any information about your dad I'd tell you first"
    "skyrocketed to the top"

    And the anti-Flynn/Set/Satan/demiurge figure "I am not your father Sam. And I'm very very happy to see you"

    All complemented by images of masonic arcade floors, solar cross lights, pyramid/solar cross arenas, Flynn kneeling with his head as the capstone to a pyramid. Anti-Flynn sitting with his head as capstone to a pyramid. The Flynn house as a pyramid. Repeated sixes galore. Enough blue sun imagery to give James Randi a sunburn.

  15. Can you imagine what would happen if most people decided to live off the Grid, that combined with an economic meltdown, and a new found way of living we would probably find that derelict towns and cities would become the new countryside. I seem to remember seeing that in a lot of cartoons. Such as Masters of the Universe.

  16. Hi Chris,
    Something Sybil said about Thundercats..reminded me that when I first watched those cartoons, I had the errie feeling that I knew those characters.

    When the series finished I had shall we say, certain 'experiences...visions,' for a while, of cat-like people landing on earth in remote areas of the planet and shape-shifting into ordinary looking people. And the Government knew who they really were.

    When I was a child, I was both terrified and facinated by cats. I had the feeling that I knew what they were saying on their nightly conferences on my garden wall, and it was this that scared me so.

    Thanks for your continued imput..

  17. they are not aliens, they
    were the first race of this

    in my opinion.

    why are we so sure they come from
    somewhere else?

  18. I'm currently about halfway through an anime series called Ghost Hound (by the creators of Serial Experiments Lain.) It does away with any form of symbolism whatsoever and is explicitly about spirit possession, astral projection, and similar topics. I don't know how this stuff gets funded; it's far, far weirder than anything you'd ever see on American TV. xxxHolic is really good too (it's not what it sounds like.)

  19. For anybody who is interested in more on the animé side of the discussion, the following shows are (good) symbolic retellings of the basic Gnostic mythology:

    The Big O
    Serial Experiments Lain
    Revolutionary Girl Utena
    Neon Genesis Evangelion
    Ergo Proxy
    Ghost Hound
    Angel Beats
    Haibane Renmei my girlfriend says, there are only two stories in the world. Boy meets Girl, and Astral Projecting to Save the Universe

  20. Well Im not a nerd, but I am resistant to this meme. The controllers have been shoving pie in the sky religion down our throats for millenia, I dont see how this is any different. Why are we buying into this again? Because it makes good scifi? Just because supertechnology exists doesnt mean it comes from space aliens. And even if it did, I could really care less, Im not going to bow down to some supergenius alien because he's really good at doing math problems. The "nerds" you speak of are the glue that holds the global slavery system together, content to reap the benefits of wealth and status at the cost of everyone else. The "nerds" are the "geniuses" who have brought us great stuff like cellphones, atomic bombs, and a new flavor of carcinogen every day. Not to mention advanced brainwashing techniques. So it makes sense that nerds would be targeted for this type of propaganda. So, Chris, I hear you loud and clear that this stuff is preeminent in pop culture but Im not sure why you give it credence.

  21. Hello,

    I have a question for the webmaster/admin here at

    May I use part of the information from this blog post right above if I provide a link back to your site?


  22. Guys, I need to catch up here. I'll check in tomorrow and dig into your comments.

  23. Imagine what our society would be like, if your average American voted as if we all were only one "unlucky break" from destitution, instead of being only one lucky break from unimaginable wealth?

    Have a nice Tuesday :)

  24. Thank you to the person who posted the link to Children of the Dogstar. I had never heard of that series. It was really good. Great post, Chris!


  25. Grey- The point is though that this whole idea that we all fall for subliminals or memes like a bunch of Pavlov's dogs needs to be exposed as Fundamentalist-created disinformation. Sure it makes for fun Conspiratainment and that's fine. But it not only untrue, it's anti-truth. And this AAT-Nerd thing is just one example proves that. Just because snakehandlers are a bunch of gullible sheep doesn't mean the rest of us are.

    Doug- Like most visionaries, Gene wasn't big on consistency. Sharper was directly inspired by Who Mourns for Adonais, which most certainly is canon. I think Gene was very careful not to step on the toes of his friends like Issac Asimov who were aggressive proponents of extremist Darwinian theology. But at the same time, Gene was also using ST as allegory, which is something we need to always remember.

    434- That's awesome. Thank you very much for the links.

    The Thing- Yep, more exogenetic Japanimation. I hope everyone who reads these blog reads these comments and checks out these links.

    Davidly- I think that was a joke!

  26. MP/Steven- If you guys have any more memories of it, let me know.

    Sibyl- You know, you're not the first person to suggest that!

    Matt- Gene was treated by Paramount a lot like Chris was treated by Fox. They were both seen as interlopers and their success is very much resented.

    レベッカ I think it has more to do with national trauma of World War II and Hiroshima, which definitely fed the scifi and monster boom in the 50s. Which followed on the trauma of the encounter with the West. It's part of being a proud warrior race on an island nation that demands a lot from its people. It feeds a very powerful competitive strain. It reminds of Britain and Sicily in a lot of ways. Maybe success in the 80s and early 90s has ultimately been more demoralizing to a culture that seems to need these heroic obstacles to overcome. I think the present malaise is Japan's most difficult obstacle yet, but can't be fought- it has to be solved. It may not be immediately obvious, but there's a lot of Japan in this blog.

    831- Thanks for the second endorsement. That's a great clip.

    Nick- I could never sit through that movie so thanks for that link. I think the working class is the only group in America that still clings to the old myths about America, which we see in the Tea Party Rallies.

    Sophie- Yeah, the global propaganda is all over kids shows. Doesn't seem to do much good as far as I can tell. Kids just see it as medicine.

    Nancy- The thing is that Masonry, Satanism and Gnosticism are three very separate philosophies with totally different roots, histories and goals. Despite what we've seen Masonry seems to be based in Mystical Judaism, specifically Kaballah and Alchemy. Touches of Sufism from the colonial era. They seem to have added other influences as they became vogue, specifically the Egyptian stuff. Masonry also ties back to Mithraism in many ways, which Mystery scholars have pointed out as being specifically anti-Gnostic. The Gnostics were about freeing themselves from these systems like Astrology, which were seen to be works of the Demiurge, but were the core of Mithraism. The closest modern parallel to Gnosticism today is Mormonism, which scholars like Bloom will attest to. Of course, all of this traces back to Mesopotamia, but it speaks to very different personality types.

    Wotie- Or Thundarr the Barbarian, an obvious inspiration for HeMan.

    Diana- When I was going to art school, the animation department director spent most of his time working on his freelance projects. He was one of the early designers on Thundercats- I remember going into his office and seeing dozens of character sketches laid out on his table.

    Pete- Well, all of the ancient texts say that's where they came from.

    Dammerung- Japan doesn't have a bunch of religious hangups creating a constant sense of anxiety and paranoia in its culture so it's a but more open. A lot of anime is created for adults, don't forget. Thanks for the links- I got a lot of watching to do!

    Tox- Well, most people see this as an antidote to religion and not a religion. I don't see anyone out of a few tiny and/or defunct cults is suggesting these probably long-dead aliens should be worshipped.

    Harry- Go ahead!

    Lynn- Well, most of us are one unlucky break away from ruin so there's your answer.

    KL- You're welcome!

  27. I see what you're saying. And I didn't exactly mean conspiratorial, but many do feel more profound meanings in some types of entertainment.

  28. @Mr. Knowles:

    Thank you for the detailed reply.

    Although, Japan was certainly not successful in the late 80's and Early 90's. In fact, we went through a recession similar to America's current financial predicament.

    The “Salaryman isn't the most stable or ideal job” notion contrasted with everything post WWII Japan stood for.

    Many Japanese companies were sold or merged with foreign companies. This “bruised” our national ego, so to speak.

    The various post apocalyptic/alien invasion themes in the 90's Japanese media kinda reflected this drastic change of status quo. “Aliens invading Japan” = “Foreign companies buying up Japanese companies and taking away our national identity”

    You mentioned the national trauma of World War II and Hiroshima. You're right, that definitely plays a part in Japan's fascination of “Ancient Alien” concepts.

    We know Aliens wouldn't just invade Earth and cause massive destruction for the lulz. These invading Aliens must have a strategic reason to wage war against Earth.

    Erich von Däniken's Ancient Alien theories gave Aliens a logical purpose; something missing from a majority of early SciFi works.

  29. this is the second time today the secret sun has synced up with me. i was just talking to my friends about how esoteric and crowley-esque/masonic japanese anime is. its hard to miss really

  30. Hey Chris, if you don't mind a comment on older stuffs - I loved this. There is a *ton* of AAT-style in anime. My favorite anime is "Super Dimensional Fortress Macross" and it's franchise. Macross is embargoed by the holding company that brought you the bastardized version as "Robotech", but if you track the rest down, it's so awesome, and Macross explicitly states that humanity was uplifted by the "Protoculture", the precursor beings that were the first sapient race in the Milky Way galaxy. Also, series like "Neon Genesis Evangelion", are built on alien intervention, AAT themes, and the like.

    I wonder why the Japanese are so into these themes?