Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
Previously we were still waiting for Col. Wolff to show up, and I skipped ahead to see how the interior of the book spells it. It’s with two “f”s, like the comic from the previous post. What we got instead was more set-up to this post-Masters Earth, concerns about the Invid Sensor Nebula, in-fighting between the different government authorities because they’re still the government, and what happened to the remaining Tirolians on Earth.
They also mentioned the Shimada gangster family, or seeing as they’re in Japan I’m surprised they didn’t go with “yakuza”, which is still a crime syndicate in the same way that “mafia” is for Italians, basically the word for mobsters separated only by cultural approach when you get right down to it. This chapter we’re going to meet them and see what their deal is. The back of the book claims the Shimada family represent our pacifist faction but I find that hard to believe given their activities. Let’s see if I’m right.
Well, we won’t know from this chapter. Outside of highlighting the underground cities of Tokyo we meet four characters I’m assuming came from the novels and Eternity comics run. Misa was brought up in an earlier chapter, and is a number cruncher for the business side of the Shimadas. The author tries to downplay the yakuza as criminals, now being more of a political influencers. Then again he thinks “otaku” means “computer programmer” and not the Japanese equivalent of “geek” (an admittedly simplistic translation on my part). I’m guessing he didn’t do any heavy study into Japanese language.
Misa is joined by four friends who I guess had ties to Misa’s adventures with Dana and the crazed Dr. Zand. We have Miho, Shi Ling, Gibley, and Strucker. Also mentioned is Terry Weston, who I only know from those two issues of Cyberpirates I managed to get back issues of. I don’t know either of these other characters from there so I’m pretty much lost on who they are. The book acts like I should know them, which is throwing me off, and that’s kind of the problem with this story. If you only know the TV show you’re going to get lost in this chapter. EVE is mentioned later on in passing as well, but unless you saw the comic adaptation that came out (I believe) after this book or was lucky enough to see the bootleg of Robotech: The Movie you really aren’t going to know what’s happening with this group or why we should care. And yet for the die-hard fan including them means you need to treat them as important somehow to the history. At the very least I think we have enough information for those of us who haven’t read all the comics and novels to this point (I knew about Comico thanks to that Vermont convenience store and the credit at the end of the episodes, but I didn’t even know about post-series Robotech comics until near the end of the Academy Comics run, and certainly not during the Eternity run) to accept them into the story and know they have a history with Dana.
The other segment is with Nova and her GMP team who tried to raid one of Zand’s labs in the US. The Shimadas bought the property one of his Japanese labs had and are planning to placate the Invid with Zand’s homemade Protoculture Matrix and the Flowers Of Life formerly in his stuff. So it’s less about “peace with the Invid” and more “if you let us remain all-powerful in Tokyo you can have this”. I had a feeling it wasn’t that easy. Anyway, Nova managed to get a few records around the boobytraps in the lab but much of the data is corrupted, including files about his obsession with Dana and I have to ask…were there no other romances or affairs between humans and Zentraedi after the war? I know the comics had something called the “Malcontent Uprisings” but going to the source material, the Macross franchise had other hook-ups romantically and sexually between the two species so how is Dana the only biracial child from these two groups? Or is it because Max and Myria were the two best pilots of their factions before her defection to the RDF?
At any rate, Nova may not have access to all the records but she does have access to Dana herself and wants to learn if she really is the savior of the universe. I don’t like the idea that Dana is supposed to be special. We’ll even see one of the bits of proof challenged in next week’s Robotech comic review. Plus this is a girl who often won by luck more often than her strategies given how flaky she was at times. There were moments she was proven right but also occasions where the plot had to step in to save her. I really hope this book isn’t going to go that route.
I should also mention that the chapter starts with a description of Protoculture that was running around the Robotech newsgroups and if I understood half of what it was saying I’m not sure I’d agree with it. Then again, I’m not a scientist. As for next time Dana and Nova meet up again. So we’ll see if that plot line goes anywhere.