Rooster Teeth’s gen:LOCK is a mecha with something to say.
The series was originally released as a web cartoon in 2018, followed by the release of an original comic and novel in the subsequent years. Gen:LOCK follows a group of mecha pilots working for The Polity (an international coalition) to defend from attacks by a hostile force called The Union. The series owes its popularity to an all-star cast of voice actors and its compelling exploration of disability and identity in a world where consciousness can be extracted from the body.
With season two set to release this fall on HBO Max, here’s what you need to know about the major characters from season one.
Surviving on life support at the Polity base, Chase lives almost entirely virtually as the first pilot to achieve gen:LOCK. But the Chase we know is really a copy of the esteemed interceptor pilot who sacrificed himself at the Battle of New York. Nemesis, his Union rival, is revealed to be the tortured fate of his original consciousness. Chase spends the entire season reckoning with the widening gulf between his mind and body, and eventually embraces transferring his mind entirely into his Holon as a new body. Chase is notably voiced by Michael B. Jordan.
A defector from the Union, the Iranian fighter pilot contrasts Chase’s sly wit. She was taken into Polity custody after defecting, where Dr. Weller identified her for the gen:LOCK program. She became the second pilot and consistently measures up against Chase’s combat and flight skills. Fiercely loyal and steely under pressure, her by-the-books attitude makes her an effective leader of the group and a foil to Chase.
The youngest member of the gen:LOCK program, Cammie is Scottish furry and hacker that has a strong affinity for rabbits. She was previously a civilian, maintaining her playful personality and nerdy interests in spite of the military presence. But she’s empathetic, developing a teasing friendship with Chase and Kazu and getting taken under the wings of Yaz and Val. She also modifies the team’s Holon’s to better fit their unique combat styles and personalities, giving her own mech rabbit-like legs in the process.
Val grew up fighting the Union’s European presence from Russia as a spec ops agent and then resistance fighter. After retiring, the veteran was recruited into the gen:LOCK program by Dr. Weller under questionably false pretences. Once at the program, they see its potential to protect others from the Union and find their resolve to fight for the Polity. Val openly discusses their gender as they present more masculine in virtual spaces, alluding to several physical transitions across genders in their past. The genderfluid character is played by nonbinary actor Asia Kate Dillon.
Kazu is the tough guy of the team. The insubordinate Japanese guitarist was recruited to the gen:LOCK program after his recklessness got him demoted to cook in the JSDF. He loves baseball and rock, dressing like a punk in the Ether and taking his guitar with him wherever he can. He’s a capable swordsman, wielding a Holon-sized Katana in close combat. Kazu primarily speaks Japanese, but in the future of gen:LOCK, live, autotranslations are incorporated into military life – Val even has a Cyrillic translation.
The mastermind behind the gen:LOCK program, Dr. Weller is a leading scientist in the Polity and handpicked each gen:LOCK compatible pilot in the hopes of winning the war. He was paternal towards his pilots, and especially Yaz, who he advocated for when she was apprehended by the Polity as a Union defector. In episode six, Weller sacrificed himself to buy the pilots time to escape from a Union attack with their Holons. Weller was voiced by Good Omens and ex-Doctor Who actor David Tennant.
A fierce soldier in the Vanguard, Miranda was Chase’s partner through his presumed death at the Battle of New York. She continued to fight for the Polity after his death, and is shocked by his return. Able to communicate more often during the show, Miranda helps Chase healthily reconcile their past relationship and time apart, and the two manage to remain close but separate.