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Headscratchers: The Protomen

The Meaning of "Hope Rides Alone"

The Arc Words, not the song. It seems like an odd choice of wording, rather than, say "Hope Dies Alone." I assume it's meant in the sense of "Your Hope Rides on you and you Alone— don't wait for Protoman to save your cowardly ass," but it doesn't sound right to me.
  • What it means is that since humanity has no heroes left, the burden falls to one person. like Protoman says, 'You will fight, but when you fight you fight alone". There's also the fact that Light wrote it, indicating that he hasn't given up just yet.
    • And Mega Man used those words as motivation. If it had said Hope Dies Alone he would've given up. :P
      • True, though I'd always assumed it was Protoman himself who wrote it, bitter over what happened to him, and why Hope Dies Alone made more sense in my mind.
      • Just checked the liner notes; it says "Men began to gather on the hill, as he stood silently, reading the words of his father carved onto the crumbling marker".
      • Pretty sure that refers to the "You have heard me tell this story many times before you sleep. Even now there is hope for man." part.
  • I always thought it was meant in the sense of "Hope Rides into battle Alone", on a more general scale showing the idea that the one who holds the hope of humanity will always be alone (metaphorically if not literally) as they stand against their oppressors; and showing that in this situation, whoever seeks to free mankind will have to do it alone.
  • My interpretation has always been that it meant that the true hope for humanity- the true solution- would be shunned, because it isnt convenient. Protoman knew that for humanity to have any hope of winning, they would have to be willing to fight.
  • If hope rides in the company of many, what is the point of hope? Hope must ride alone in order to be significant because it is the last reason to fight. When all other reasons fall into darkness, hope remains. Alone.

Why doesn't Dr. Light count as a human willing to stand for humanity?

After all, he built Mankind's two greatest heroes...
  • Because he isn't doing it himself— Even if he does make Protoman and Mega Man ultimately he is still letting others stand for him just like the others.
    • It doesn't matter if Light is willing to fight since this whole thing is personal for him. For Joe, it was about the ideal of freedom. There needs to be another hero willing to stand for what's right, and just that; not for Vengeance.
  • In addition, he tries desperately to stop Mega Man from fighting.
    • It's debatable if that was his actual goal or not. It could easily have been Light ensuring Mega Man really wants to fight and a bit of reverse psychology.
  • Isn't Dr. Light in the crowd at the climax of Act I? He's given the same chance to stand with Mega Man and Protoman as everyone else, and he can't even look Mega Man in the eye.
    • If you had two sons that were irrevocably locked in a battle to the death, and you loved both of them, could you watch one of them die by the other's hand?

Why does Protoman expect a bunch of fleshy humans to fight against superpowered robots?

It seems stupid of him to expect them to just throw their lives away, especially considering that no one still alive has known anything but Wily's robotic domination of mankind.
  • Because they don't have to be able to hurt the robots, just help Protoman or Mega Man win, which means they only need to be able to distract their enemies in order to contribute and at least it'd prove their enemies wrong. Even Protoman at his worst would probably have counted it if anyone had tried to help Mega Man, they didn't need to stand completely on their own. And yeah, that help might get them killed, but people die in revolutions. If no one is willing to risk that, then they must not want it that much.
  • If everyone is working toward the same goal, why should only one person do all the work while no one else lifts a finger to help? Protoman is not telling the crowd that each person must battle all the robots as he has, only that they must show that they are willing to take some sort of stand.
  • Because apathy is what led them to subjugation in the first place. They hid behind Wily because he was powerful, Proto Man (and Mega Man as well) do not want them to make the same mistake by simply hiding behind a powerful figure to be led by what that individual sees as right. The true test is whether they are willing to fight for what they know in their hearts to be right or if they will just follow whoever has the power.
  • Is there no one who values courage over life?
    • Because as proven by Joe and Dr.Light in Father of Death they can be killed by sticking a knife into it's neck. Not to mention Mega Man had just ripped through a crowd of robots leaving their weapons and shielding basically in the streets where anyone could pick it up to use in the fight.

The name of the first album

Did The Protomen themselves ever refer to it as Act I: Hopes Rides Alone, or did the Fanon start referring to it that way to make it fit better with the second one?
  • It's fanon, but widely used. Some people call it Act I: The Sons of Fate, but Act I: Hope Rides Alone is the more widely used one.

Do Capcom know about these guys?

Look, I think the idea (and execution) is awesome, but part of me is afraid they'll end up being sued...
  • Capcom knows very well about The Megas, who cover MM songs, have lyrics that use character names, etc. They most likely have also heard of (and knowing the Capcom Blog, enjoyed) The Protomen.
  • They know, no suits were filed. Indeed, they performed at Capcom's booth at Comic Con 2007.

Why didn't Dr. Light just mass produce Mega Men?

Unless Dr. Light subscribed to the Protoman 'they must stand for themselves' school of thought, why didn't he just build 100, or at least 10 Mega Men? The singular has almost no problem fighting off almost all of Wily's army.
  • It took him 12 years to build Protoman, with Mega Man taking years, too. He doesn't have the time, resources, or will to mass-produce him. He wanted a son, not a solider. :<
    • Why then did he give Mega Man weaponry? and does it say anywhere how long it took Light to build MM? More and more questions.
      • For one thing, the City is dangerous. He didn't want to lose Mega like he did Proto. There's also a theory that Mega Man designed the arm cannon himself, hiding it from him.
      • Well, the weaponry part, you can think about it as a nice reference to the original games, in which Rock was originally just a lab assistant robot, but he asked to be modified as a fighting robot to defeat Wily, thus becoming Mega Man. Maybe the Mega Man of the Protomen story asked Dr. Light to modify him, and the Dr. had to do it when he wasn't able to convince him not to fight.

Who is singing which part exactly?

on the main page, one of the main quotes is "We will build cities in a day! (Men would cower at the sight!) We will build towers to the heavens! (Man was not built for such a height!) We will be heroes! (We will BUILD heroes!) Dr. Light (Dr. Wily) The Good Doctor"

Now this always confused me a bit, because it says Wily is singing the parenthetical lines, yet the line "We Will Build Heroes" seems like something Dr. Light said, considering he does so later on at least twice. can someone clarify this for me?
  • It's Wily singing. He's basically implying that men can't be heroes.
    • I always thought it was more of an implication that they didn't need to be heroes now that they could just build something else to do the heroics for them.
  • It's Wily; Panther doesn't usually use his higher vocal registry when they're both there because it sounds similar to Turbo Lover.
  • It's Wily; the overarcing theme of the albums seems to be that you should stand up and do what needs to be done yourself, instead of letting someone or something else do it for you.

So, wait, humanity's the badguys?

Look, maybe I'm just staring at this from an odd angle, but I don't understand why we're supposed humanity in general is a terrible thing. They're scared as fuck of Wiley and his machines for good reasons. They are so damned crushed that there is no hope in their lives. Can you imagine? When Protoman first fights and he calls for help, they do the obvious thing and don't RUN TO THEIR CERTAIN DEATH IN A BATTLE THAT WILL CHANGE NOTHING TO FIGHT TERRIBLE ROBOTIC MONSTERS. During Mega Man's fight with Proto Man, they thought Protoman turned to the side of monstery, something that had been stalking them and forcing them to live this terrible life. His speech to them, calling them to rise up might as well been flipping them off. Why wouldn't they cheer at his death and wonder why their hero was mourning the death of who they saw as a monster?
  • Humanity is portrayed as bad because they're not even trying to make a stand. They have someone who could help them, they have a hero, but they're not willing to do ANYTHING to try to save themselves. When Protoman first fights and calls for help, they don't even lift a finger. Yes, they're saving their own lives, but they're not supporting the one person who is doing everything to try and free them. Basically humanity is portrayed as bad for wanting a hero, but not being willing to do anything themselves.
    • They're not willing to do anything because they're terrified! Humanity is pathetic and weak under Wiley and doesn't want to take a stand against the evil dictator running their lives because they have self-preservation skills. Is that so terrible?
      • You are the dead. This is the exact mentality that Protoman despised. He doesn't expect everyone to fight, but NOT ONE PERSON rose to meet the challenge. In the Stand he asks if there is ONE among the crowd that will try to resist. He wants to see the human spirit rise up and choose to die free than to survive under tyranny. If there was one shred of hope left in humanity it might redeem them in Protoman's eyes. And in the end they only begin to clamor for help when they are being slaughtered by Wily's robots anyway...
      • So what? With great power comes great responsibility. Proto can sulk over how they don't go down fighting all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that they'd be butchered either way, and you could've stopped it. It's easy to tell the world to pull itself up by the bootstraps when you're a walking death machine. Especially when Proto's never known what humanity is going through. He's not had family or ties to worry about, and by the time he'd realize he was fighting a losing battle, he was already in the thick of it. Not to mention, he didn't exactly choose death over submission, himself, however he justifies it...
      • There is an evil that holds them here, but they won't try breaking its grasp...
    • I submit the case of Joe, who was not shown as anything other than an average citizen in Wily's society. Through sheer grit and a pointy object, he was able to beat a Sniper Robot. Other could do the same with whatever they had around. Each one wouldn't be able to do much, but collectively, and with a little help from Mega Man, the humans could defeat Wily. But no one fights.
  • They put Wily in charge, selling their liberties by inches for his technomiracles. Then they hoped someone like Proto Man and Mega Man would save them from the terrifying results of their mistake. They willingly sacrificed every freedom they had and then expected someone else to swoop in and save them, without any effort on their own part, taking no responsibility for their actions. They aren't considered bad because they're afraid, they're considered bad because they repeatedly push the responsibility for their lives on other people. The only decision they ever make is to let someone else deal with their problem. When it turned out the first "someone else" that offered took advantage of them, they didn't remove him. They waited for a new "someone else" they could hoist the responsibility on. That's all they do, is find someone else they can point at and go "You fix it," that why they're not sympathetic. That's why they're the dead.

What's so bad about Wily's city before the end of Act II?

From what it sounds like, the people in the city are enjoying a life of leisure.
  • Well, for one, the Sniper killed any dissidents. And they didn't have to work, so they grew lazy, apathetic, forgetting how to build and work.
  • Joe says it best in Breaking Out. "We're given only what we need, only the chance to survive. Even then, it's a coin toss, or a roll of the dice." It's something that shows up in a lot of dystopias; everything on the surface is beautiful and perfect, and plenty of the citizens are content to not question things, but looking a little deeper reveals how bad things really are. Sure, plenty of things are taken care of for the people of The City, but it's still a dictatorship where a state-sanctioned Sniper will chase a young man all the way to the outskirts of the city to murder him for saying "there's something wrong here."
    • It wasn't just that Joe believed something was wrong with the city. It was that he wanted to find what it was that was wrong and tear it down. There may have been others who shared Joe's line of thinking, they just weren't vocal in their dissent.
  • They say you'll kill a man for walking on the wrong side of the line...
  • Oppression is a funny thing. It can be overt, in the form of the police state that the city becomes at the end of Act 2, or it can be subtle. Wily's city is subtly oppressive: robots do all the hard labor and save the people from dangerous work, but as a result, there's not enough jobs to keep the people employed, and they're completely dependent on the leadership of the city for their survival, in the form of food stamps and a social safety net and all that stuff. They rely on the leadership/government of Wily to survive, and if they say anything about how the meager things they are given might not be enough, they're killed by the Sniper Robot as dissidents. So no one speaks out. No one says anything bad. And the city crushes the will of the people by messing with their survival instincts: they have to support Wily to live, but in supporting Wily they only ensure they have no chance to be free.
  • Also check out the liner notes from "How the World Fell Under Darkness" http://www.songlyrics.com/the-protomen/how-the-world-fell-under-darkness-lyrics/

Did Light die at the end of Act I?

The last we see of him is looking away from the battle. Was he killed by the robot horde or did he hide and escape?

How did Emily manage to write that letter?

In the letter, she expresses knowledge of Wily's plans years before they come to fruition, not to mention the fact that she mentions her then-impending demise. Sure, she might have been able to figure out Wily's plans after she walked in on him in Light's apartment, but she had the letter in-hand when she got there.
  • The Intermission has her reading the letter Light sent to her, mentioning that he would weep if something terrible happens to her. She went with the wost-case scenario.

What was Wily's plan if Emily came with him?

In the lyrics, Wily tries to convince Emily to let him take her away - she refuses, obviously, but what would he have done had she gone along with it? He only rose to such extreme power by exploiting the witch hunt surrounding her murder, but what would he have done if she had never died?
  • The plan could have been to kill someone else and start the witch hunt up still.
  • Alternatively his sanity was breaking through for a brief moment and Emily choosing to go with him would make him stop.
  • Alternatively Alternatively the plan was always to murder Emily but Wily just wanted her to agree so he could later taunt Light by basically saying she would have chosen him when the chips were down.
  • Wily is a greedy and envious man. He only wanted Emily because she was Light's woman, not because he had any real interest in her. The only thing that matters to Wily is power over other people. Taking Emily from Light, one way or another, was just another way of exerting power over Light - the man whom Wily had the most reason to want to force into submission.
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