If there is one thing for certain to take away from Space Opera Week, it is this: The SocJus Death Cult has no idea what Space Opera is, how it works, or why it works- but they hate it with the fury of a thousand suns. They don't believe in it at a fundamental level, which has predictable effects.
The key element to Space Opera, regardless of presentation, is the mythic foundation upon the genre builds. This is not, has never been, and can never been a genre about ordinary people doing ordinary things in ordinary lives. That Literary Realism crap gets shot right out of the airlock and annihilated with a Wave Motion Gun. It's an epic genre, and it demands epic elements all around, because that's what the people want.
Star Wars remains the world's most prominent and commercially-successful Space Opera for a reason, and that reason is the mythic foundation that George Lucas wisely laid when creating the original movie- a foundation that comes from the Pulps.
Which means that Space Opera is a Pulp genre, and does not succeed outside of that sensibility. Indeed, you can reliably measure the success of a given example by how harmomious with Pulp sensibility it is- just like you can with precursor genres like Planetary Romance.
And there is one example, again out of Japan, that nails this aesthetic. First as a Planetary Romance, then as a Space Opera, Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann is Japan's love-letter to the Pulps and nothing expresses that love like the one song from its original soundtrack that does the impossible and perfectly captures the series that perfectly captures (and laid the way for, after a fashion) the Pulp Revolution: Libera Me From Hell.
Play that video. The chorus nails what the Pulps in general, and Space Opera specifically, is about:
- Do the impossible
- See the invisible
- ROW! ROW! FIGHT THE POWAH!
- Touch the untouchable
- Break the unbreakable
- ROW! ROW! FIGHT THE POWAH!
There's a reason this show is considered one of the most manly shows Japan has ever done. This is the spirit behind it all, and it is this spirit--where "The Powah" is the same Satanic fraud behind Social Justice, the anti-Spirals, etc.--which is nailed down in a chorus in the final episode:
Nia: Even when trapped by karma's cycle...
Yoko: The dreams we left behind will open the door!
Leeron: Even if the universe stands in our way...
Viral: Our seething blood will determine what will be!
Simon: We'll break through time and space...
Team Dai-Gurren: And defy all who would stop us, to grab hold of our path!
Simon: TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN!!
Team Dai-Gurren: JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE!?!
The Anti-Spirals are the fantasy that the CHORFs prefer to believe, but we drill on past them. None of their lies stand once challenged by fearless heroes armed with the will to seek the truth and make that truth reality once more. That tag needs to be ours: WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE?
And that spirit of suck is why they fail at Space Opera. Fuck them. Drill through them and go on to build the heavens anew.