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.
In the previous chapter we didn’t so much meet the Shimada family as learn a bit about them through characters you’d only know through other ancillary media, as in not the comics and novels before it. So we just have the Starchildren left to be introduced to. Meanwhile Nova wants to check into Zand’s theories about Dana, whatever they were. Even a crazy man can get something right I guess.
I did a quick skim of the chapter because I’m really wondering how long it’s going to take for Colonel Wolff to get here. It won’t be this chapter so I’m curious what’s going to happen. Is it more worldbuiding, more plot development, or both? All I know for sure is that we’re spending more time with Dana, so let’s read on and find out.
Again we find ourselves in two segments. The first gives us an idea what the new camp for Tirolian refugees is like and the continuing issues between what’s left of the government and what’s left of the people in the area. Dana and Bowie are in charge of the camp but it’s not official. They have hovertanks running on fumes, which are also named, which is something from extended media and not in the show or Comico adaptations. I’m betting this is one of the additions McKinney (when still a two-person team) added to the lore to make it more “realistic” or “American” or something. Nova and Fredricks arrive wanting to debrief the civilians, but Dana is waiting for an official government and not the provisional. Given how we see on the Zentraedi are still looked at it makes sense that Dana especially wouldn’t trust the safety of the Masters’ leftovers to the government. They’re already being attacked outside the camp by people desperate for revenge no matter how stupid it is.
However, there are two main reasons they’re here to speak to Dana, and none of them really seem tied to Zand’s nonsense. One is they want Dana to act as ambassador to the Zentraedi who have taken residence in the old Robotech factory satellite. The plan had been to be an early warning for the Robotech Masters but they took a different root around. Now they want their help in destroying the Invid Sensor Nebula, which Dana gets talked into. The other is to make contact with Terry Weston, who I at least know something about from my incomplete comic collection. He’s in good with the Shimadas (and apparently involved with Misa and friends from last chapter) and they’ve apparently created a form of interface that doesn’t require protoculture, something they could really use right now. Since Dana has history with them as well they’re hoping she and Louie (the 15th’s gearhead if you’ve forgotten) to look into it. I’m curious what comes of that.
The other segment goes to Space Station Liberty, which is the moon base from the Masters war. Terry is currently on ALUCE base so here we catch up with Marie Crystal. She and Lt. Brown are assigned to get this base up and running. Each chapter begins with some snippet from a documentary or some theorist report and this one goes over the history of Mars Base Sara (including events in 2022), which would later be a staging ground for the reclamation fleet from Admiral Hunter, as mentioned in New Generation (my guess is explaining the M on the strongboxes and mecha that came from the failed attempts at reclaiming Earth from the Invid). This bit of history has some import as it showcases the influence of the Shimada family. Going on about Liberty’s status, what it took to be selected for it psychologically versus have to self-medicate the remaining crew feels like unnecessary additions. I cared more about a blur of the base not factoring into this story than the one that is. Updating the readers on Marie and Brown I’m fine with however.
We also learn that the Southern Cross tradition of putting incompetents in charge appears to continue. General Vincinz is put down by Dana, Nova, and even Fredricks in the first segment and we see more of his failings here. Anatole Leonard in the source material wasn’t evil, just a blowhard xenophobe who’s “strategy” for battle is “thrown soldiers and mecha at the enemy until they die”, though it’s usually his own people who died more than the enemy. Trying to retcon him as evil like the comics did (see my reviews of Return To Macross) when he’s just an incompetent bigot doesn’t sit well with me as far as exploring his character. We’ll see what this Vincinz guy does as we go on.
Marie is sitting with a communications tech who is looking for traces of the Flower Of Life spores on Earth and complaining about calling the Zentraedi for help. This is what I was saying earlier about how the Zentraedi is still not fully accepted or trusted, as he’s convinced the Zentraedi could be restarting the factory and popping out new Battlepods. It’s something they really didn’t get to explore in the show thanks to the nature of the necessity of putting three unrelated shows into a shared lore to fill a full TV season. Well, it looks like the Zentraedi have responded because they’ve brought the factory satellite back to Earth. What happens? Find out next chapter…maybe.
Outside of the exposition about LIberty I didn’t think was all that necessary this wasn’t a bad chapter. You kind of expect the world to be in bad shape. Meanwhile, Dana seems to not care because her calling is elsewhere, which seems odd but we’ll see where they go with that, and is mostly being called on for help because of who she knows, the Zentraedi and Weston. Meanwhile we see the toll being taken on Marie and more evidence of how a former enemy is viewed even they finish up on “our side”. There are parts that were added for McKinney’s adaptations and maybe a bit more backstory than needed but it works well enough. We’ll see what happens next time.