Star Blazers Lambda Chapter 12

Story and art by Ryuko Azuma
See it in larger format on Comic NewType here
Narrative reads right to left

Nighttime on Vimana station, Jupiter orbit. Marina gets a message alert on her phone from Nina. It comes with a surprise.

“BLOCKED.” Marina is shocked. Chapter title: BREACH

Right side: Marina angrily pounds on Nina’s door in vain. Nina lies still, not responding. Aisha asks Marina what’s going on.

Left side: Marina and Aisha sit together in the cafe. Marina is anger-eating ramen as Aisha speculates on Nina’s behavior, offering to investigate on Marina’s behalf.

Right side: if no apology is forthcoming from Nina, Marina vows not to apologize either. Aisha’s probing reveals the likely source of Nina’s anger: in the last chapter, Yu loved the taste of Nina’s chicken wings, which she secretly prepared for him. When Marina revealed she made them, she leapt into the pool out of embarassment. Marina refuses to take any blame for this, insisting it was obvious to everyone.

Left side: Hugo and Laine arrive, surprised to see Marina eating like a pig at such a late hour. Laine asks what’s going on between Marina and Nina, and Marina says she’s being blocked (right before finishing her ramen).

Right side: “What’s wrong with her,” Marina fumes. “It’s not like she’s been my friend from the beginning!”

Left side: The next morning, everyone reports for breakfast. Nina and Marina steadfastly ignore each other.

Right side: Yu asks Marina why she isn’t eating with Nina, as usual. Laine tries to cover, saying Nina caught a cold. Yu thinks it was due to the pool incident, not noticing as Linne swipes his pudding.

Left side: When Yu recognizes the theft, he yells at Linne. She offers to get him an egg in return for swiping his pudding, he complains that there’s no comparison between them. Marina stares vacantly forward as the arguments fly back and forth.

Right side: Later, Nina and Aisha visit the convenience store to buy ice cream.

Left side: Aisha asks Nina if she is indeed mad about the chicken wing incident, and Nina resents having to share her private thoughts with everyone.

Right side: “I don’t like it when people pry into my private business,” Nina complains. “We’re here at Jupiter to protect the human race. We didn’t come here to make friends.” Aisha tries to apologize, but Nina doesn’t want her to.

Left side: “I don’t need friends to save humanity,” Nina states. “You may not need them, Nina,” Aisha answers, “but I do.”

Right side: Elsewhere on the station, a preoccupied Alexei uncharacteristically brushes past Abbey and Mifune, ignoring both. She tries to get his attention but he just asks if they can do this later.

Left side: In a simulated fight against Seireness, Nina directs Linne and Laine to box in their enemy.

Right side: Hugo gets into the mix right on time with Nina’s plan and ends the fight with a “Lightning Bolt” blast.

Left side: The simulation ends with Marina still fuming, especially with Nina’s simulated victory.

Right side: Abbey leads an after-sim debriefing, complimenting Nina on her tactics. Marina, sitting right next to Nina, builds to a boil as Nina explains her tactical thinking. “By concentrating our attack power in a small zone, the enemy won’t have a chance to counterattack. We can also conserve the Wave-Motion Gun.” Hugo is puffed up over his effectiveness with the Lightning Bolt attack.

Left side: Marina finally breaks her icy silence, accusing Nina of leaving her out of the sim due to personal feelings. Refusing to look her in the eye, Nina says she simply utilized the Lightning Bolt’s potential, and Marina explodes. “Don’t get back at me like this! This is your sneaky way of doing it!”

Right side: Nina doesn’t take the bait. “The purpose of this tactic is to concentrate our attack power in one place. Your ship’s attack power isn’t suitable for it.” Marina demands to know if Nina’s not happy with her performance, and Nina finally turns with a cold stare. “Our job is to protect humanity. Don’t get emotional. I’m not comfortable with you as a leader.”

Left side: Marina storms out to the bathroom, leaving everyone squirming.

Right side: Aisha listens as Marina screams her outrage. Nina has added insult to injury by refusing to apologize and denigrating Marina’s leadership in front of everyone. “I hate her!! I’ll never apologize!!”

Left side: Suddenly, Marina notices that Aisha is gasping for breath, collapsing to the floor.

We go to a flashback. The scene is a devastated Eastern European town. A rescue worker finds a young girl in the rubble. It’s a young Aisha. He calls for help.

Right side: Aisha wakes up as the rescue worker carries her past horrific devastation.

Left side: Aisha sits, dazed and bloody, as her rescuer assures her that a doctor will take care of her. He’s called away to another emergency.

The flashback jumps forward; now a war orphan, Aisha is greeted in an airport by her new foster family. Introducing themselves as Azel and Chloe, they are to be her new mama and papa.

Right side: Years later, Aisha is working in an animal shelter with her younger sister. A blind cat named Pamuk rubs against her for attention. Her sister says Pamuk doesn’t want her to go away. To Jupiter.

Left side: Back at home, Aisha’s foster father is making breakfast. She pours a drink and is surprised by something out of our view. She drops her glass.

Her father and sister notice that she’s frozen in her seat, gasping for breath. Her father tells her to breathe slowly.

We see an image on a TV screen. Aisha’s rescuer has been killed in a bombing assault on Syria.

Right side: Aisha wakes from her flashback and sees Marina. Nina came by earlier, but saw Marina and left. Aisha begins to explain what happened.

Left side: “I’m actually a war orphan, all my family died in the bombing. I was taken in by a new family in Turkey through NG0. So coming to Jupiter felt like a betrayal of my family. But…The man who saved my life was killed in an air strike. Suddenly, without my knowledge. I didn’t know what my life was about. I wondered what I could do with my life. I was scared, but I came here to find out. And you know…I made some real friends on Jupiter. I can’t tell you how much you and Nina have saved my life. Because we were people who decided to come here with the same courage…”

Right side: “…so we’ll be okay. That’s what I think.” Marina looks relieved.

Left side: Elsewhere, Mifune delivers coffee to Abbey, who is studying a report. “Alexei is avoiding me because of this, right?” The scene shifts to a tunnel in the station.

Right side: Linne is there with Alexei on another illegal smoke break. She looks at something on a computer tablet.

“Those are the plans for the Mark 1 through the Mark 8 during construction,” Alexei says. “At this point, it mentions Yu’s wave motion gun and your gravity field. So the Scenario is going exactly as Nirvana wants it to. And that’s the construction plan for Mark 10. But we don’t know who’s on it, or what it’s capable of. A secret ship in the midst of a crisis of human survival. The last page of their scenario. The original space-time crystal is probably in there…”

“Alexei,” she answers, “All I need to know is where Mark 10 is.”

“What do you need to know for?”

Left side: “That’s my own business, isn’t it? I could use a little help here. Are these the plans for Deus?” (Referring to the notorious energy station that crashed into Earth and killed billions.)

“Of course,” he answers.

“So,” she continues, “Tell me if you know where Mark 10 is.”

“Hey,” he replies. “Don’t you see it? Mark 10 is Deus…”


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Ryuko Azuma’s Production Memo

This chapter is about Aisha.

Marina, Nina, and Aisha’s relationship with each other is broken. Aisha, who doesn’t talk about herself much, reveals her heart to the audience.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to make Marina and Nina bash each other. I think I succeeded in bringing out the unpleasant side of both of them. I felt sorry for Aisha, who is caught in the middle. The story revolves around Aisha, but I think I was able to dig deeper into all of them.

Marina is a trickster, but I think she has a good performance. She’s straightforward and easy to handle, and since she can stir up the story, it’s easy to create drama with her. Even if I leave the ending of the story to her, she makes it interesting no matter who she is involved with. The scene where she gets really upset with Nina started acting on its own, so I just let it flow and drew it.

At the script stage I thought, “This is different from the Marina of the past, but it’s realistic.” So, I didn’t change any lines, and made it into the story.

Nina has a natural side, and a clever side that is orderly and theoretical. I think she is a complex character who has strength of will, kindness and pride. She is like a second heroine, but I can’t think of many characters like her.

In the scene where Marina loses her temper, I used a line that I would definitely hate if someone said it to me.

Also, Mark 1 is a ship that must not sink. I had a hard time figuring out how to push through the strategy against Abbey.

Aisha is a character who doesn’t come forward very often, but she is a very kind girl with a strong core. She’s honest, which makes her a good match for Marina. She is a war orphan, so she has a different and complex personality from the other two. I’m so happy that I could finally draw her.

I like the way she learns about the death of the man who saved her life, a man whose name she doesn’t even know, on the TV news, and that is the reason why she goes to Jupiter. I also think that she is the most sensitive to life. By the way, her parents are veterinarians, and the name of her cat, Pamuk, means “cotton” in Turkish. It’s a cute name, isn’t it?

I’m sure there are a lot of readers who got their image of Aisha from this chapter. Over the course of a story, a character sometimes changes to become more human, but this time, I think she changed a lot.

Also, the man who saves Aisha from the air strike works for a real organization. It’s called White helmet. There is a documentary on Netflix, so if you are interested, please check it out.

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