Story and art by Ryuko Azuma
See the original pages at Web NewType here
Narrative reads right to left
Vimana station: Nina, Marina, and Aisha frolic in the pool as Yu and lane watch. Laine is happy to observe that the girls made up and restored their friendship. Yu is distracted and Laine asks what’s going on with him. “You’ve been acting a little strange since the last battle, haven’t you?”
Right side: Yu says nothing’s wrong, and Laine’s cell phone buzzes. It’s a message from his girlfriend Naya, on Earth at a Halloween party. “Wasn’t she opposed to you coming to Jupiter?” Laines says she was. When Yu asks why he came anyway, he answers, “I asked God for help.”
Left side: Yu is confused. Laine explains that he was out stargazing with Naya and his family when the witnessed the Deus accident. (The pivotal event in chapter 1; Yu’s mother Maya supposedly caused the experimental energy station Deus to crash on Earth and kill millions.)
Right side: Laine recounts that terrifying experience: “There were screams all around. Even the adults didn’t know what was going on. But I knew that something terrible had happened. I was a helpless kid, but I wished I had the strength to protect these people…” He began to pray. “Please give me the power to protect these people. I don’t know if there is a God. But I was given that power.”
Left side: Laine reminds Yu that he’s the one who invited Yu into the ranks of Topness, and as his best friend Yu should be able to confide in him. Yu starts to explain that he’s been having bad dreams, but then stops himself from describing them.
Flashback: Yu in younger days living with his grandmother, after his mother Maya died. He hears neighborhood boys scheming outside. “This is Maya Yamato’s house, isn’t it?” Yu speaks quietly: “Die. Everyone dies.”
Right side: Laine sends a text to Yu’s cell phone. They haven’t spoken for a while; Laine is currently surfing in Hawaii. Yu asks him to hold on a second.
Left side: Yu runs outside, punches a neighborhood kid, and runs back in.
Right side: resuming their text conversation, Laine has a laugh when Yu says what he just did, and “It was a good medicine for an elementary kid who made fun of me.” Laine says it’s not what high school students do. Yu freezes, realizing that he might have just given away his true age, but Laine moves on. “Hey, on a different topic, do you know Star Sailor?”
Left side: Yu communicates with Laine by audio, using a voice changer to disguise his age. Laine has gotten him into the Star Sailor network game, and Yu is building a space battleship. He opts for a Wave-Motion Gun, which gives it abundant firepower. Laine invites you into a game where he’s already struggling against enemies.
Right side: Yu chooses the name for his ship.
Left side: At the same time, Carlos Jones and the masked leader of Nirvana are in virtual space, monitering the gameplay. They’ve just found something…
A crystal represents the new player who has just logged on.
“Maya’s son. The sixth child of karma. May his soul once again fulfill our wishes…salvation for every soul in this universe.”
Right side: Back on Nirvana, present day. Abbey finds Alexei watering the garden late at night, which she says will stop roots from growing. he says he’s too busy during the day, and she accuses him of avoiding her.
Left side: He explains that Nirvana killed his friend Stan, meaning they’re more dangerous than he thought. He’s worried that if they come after him, she’ll get hurt too. “I know,” she answers. “Abbey, are you kidding me? Your life is in danger.” She repeats her answer.
Right side: “As adults, we have a duty to protect those kids. Nirvana is using them. We need to know what the hell they’re up to. Topness is risking its life to protect humanity, right? Isn’t it you who’s kidding yourself?” He apologizes for dragging her into this…
Left side: …and says she’s too beautiful to lose. Thinking he’s making fun of her, she yells at him to be serious. “I’m not kidding. You’re a beautiful human being.”
Yu drifts in and out of his horrible dreams. Unable to sleep, he sends a text. “Linne, are you awake? I need to talk to you.”
Right side: Linne Aegis finds him sitting in a corridor and says he should be asleep. He says he’s been having weird dreams. “Weird dreams? Why tell me?” “Because,” he explains, “you’re at the beginning of it. I told you before…”
Left side: “When I see it, I’m lying in shallow water. I turn around, and there’s a giant version of you. And…your arm falls off. You turn squishy and you disappear.” Flashback to Chapter 4: the last time Yu told Linne about this dream, she immediately called the command center to tell them Seireness was coming. “You called the control room, didn’t you? You know something, don’t you?” She tries to play dumb, but he demands the truth.
“After that weird dream, Seireness was sure to come!!! Why did you call the command center back then? You called them because you know something! Answer me, Linne!”
“Yu…What if I told you it wasn’t a dream?”
“It’s…overflow when Seireness appears. Over and over and over again…”
“What if I told you this was your memory of what happened in space…?”
Right side: “Yu…YU…” Yu has just awoken from another dream, sitting on the same steps. “People are calling, wondering where you are. You were asleep.” Yu is shocked. “A dream!?”
Left side: “Yu, what’s wrong? What is it?”
“Linne…Seireness is coming…”
TO BE CONTINUED
Ryuko Azuma’s Production Memo
Is this a flashback episode of Yu and Laine, and also an episode of solving the mystery of Yu’s dream? Since it is a regular episode, the number of pages is less.
The story is basically the same as the script. I added a scene about Alexei and Abbey, which was strongly requested by one of the female staff members. The goal of the scene was to question Alexei, who was on the run, and get them to work together again, otherwise it would be a problem in the future.
So, how to move Alexei’s mind? I mean, “I know.” “I know.” “You say you know…” We get Alexei to turn around, Abbey’s full-throated breakthrough, and Alexei’s “You’re a beautiful person” as a punchline. The relationship is restored and Abbey’s humanity is revealed, making it a two-for-one production.
As for Yu’s past, if only Laine could have asked Yu to join Star Sailor and pulled out the Wave-Motion Gun, there would have been no problem in the story. I ask the question, “What does Laine mean to Yu?” The scene where Yu chases after and beats up the elementary school student is intended to show that Yu is back to his normal self now that he is in contact with Laine again. I think the “insert” part is nice because it looks like a movie.
I also really like the scene where Yu asks Linne about the situation. In fact, even if that was a dream, it makes him wonder what reality is. I tried to create a structure that makes Yu feel uneasy.
The mirror scene was quite difficult. I made put a doll in front of a mirror and took many pictures with my iPhone to get a good composition. In the end, a video I mistook for a photo was the best I could do, but the quality was too rough. I had to start from scratch, using it as a reference.
This time, the structure is as follows: Episode 5 “End(less) Universe” leads to Episode 14 “Endless Universe.” Episode 5 was the setup for this story. If you don’t understand what I mean, you might want to re-read Episode 5.
How can Lambda move a character’s heart? What kind of direction should I give to the characters to make them resonate with the readers? I always think about that while I’m drawing.