This week in Character RETROspect, we will be looking at the always mysterious brother of Mega Man, Proto Man. What exactly are his true motives: Is it hope for a world where robots and mankind can live in harmony, or annihilation of the human race? Grab your whistle and let’s get to it!
Chapter 8: I’ve Got the Blues, Man!
Originally created by Dr. Thomas Light, Proto Man (known as Blues in Japan) was to be the first in a line of humanoid robots that would be self-conscious and able to have reasoning skills, but being the first came with several setbacks. The first problem was that Proto Man’s core was incredibly volatile, and was in such a state that it would eventually “kill” him. The second problem was the fact that Proto Man was the first of his kind — there were no other robots that he could relate to, and this, coupled with his sense of self-awareness, made him leery of Dr. Light. The third problem was his growing distrust of his creator; assuming that Dr. Light was going to change his personality back to that of an average robot, Proto Man went A.W.O.L.
After the disappearance of Proto Man, Dr. Light assumed his creation was destroyed by the imbalance in his energy core, and thus began work on a new set of robots: Mega Man (known as Rock in Japan), and Roll.
The Emergence of Break Man
In a state of self-awareness and feeling disconnected with the world, Proto Man traversed the world until he came across Dr. Albert Wily. Unaware of Dr. Wily’s true intentions, Proto Man allowed Dr. Wily to replace his energy core and apply modifications that turned him into a combat robot. Dr. Wily gave Proto Man a shield, the Proto Shield, to help Proto Man conserve his stamina in battle, as well as a helmet and visor in an attempt to hide his true identity from Dr. Light. Proto Man would later serve Dr. Wily under the alias of “Break Man” in Mega Man 3.
In Mega Man 3, Mega Man is first introduced to his brother in one of the following Robot Master stages: Hard Man, Magnet Man, Shadow Man, or Gemini Man, and Proto Man makes his entrance with a short little number on his whistle. During their first encounters with one another, it is quite evident that Proto Man slowly becomes aware of Dr. Wily’s true intentions of world domination, and knowing this, saves Mega Man after he defeats Dr. Wily in the end of the third game.
Under The Ever-Watchful Eye of a Brother
Throughout the rest of the Mega Man series (besides Dark Man impersonating Proto Man in Mega Man 5 in a kidnapping scheme), Proto Man serves the role of the ever-watchful protector and mentor to his little brother, Mega Man; always there to help Mega Man learn about secrets in some of the Robot Master stages, as well as giving him power-ups to aid him in his journey to defeat Dr. Wily and his Robot Masters. And while Proto Man eventually makes the transition from a loner type to a protector role, there is always a slight air of mystery surrounding him. Maybe it’s the shades, or maybe it’s the whistle…
Okay, it’s probably not the whistle, but I do believe the character of Proto Man honestly does care for Mega Man, and he does want a world where robots and mankind can coexist and prosper.