On the planet Astria in the Andromeda Galaxy, a wedding between Princess Lilia of Ayodoya and the prince of Cosmoralia is poised to establish a new dynasty and usher a new era of prosperity. However, the time for rejoicing is short-lived as the planet is invaded by a race of robots who begin to silently infiltrate Ayodoya, and the new king and his cabinet are quickly taken over. Meanwhile, Lilia becomes pregnant and gives birth to twins, one of whom is spirited away by Lilia’s nurse before anyone realizes two children were born. As the robots begin to wage out-and-out war on the other nations of Astria, Lilia and her infant son Jimsa flee. Over time they learn that Jimsa has a special role to play in the war against the robots, a war that has been going on for centuries and spanning galaxies… and won’t have an easy end.
Andromeda Stories is a three volume manga series that was originally published in Japan more than 30 years ago. It boasts art by Keiko Takemiya, one of the first female artists to make it big in the manga scene, and the art is very pretty. The story, however, while not lacking in ambition or scope, is tremendously overstuffed. There’s some great world-building early on, but none of the development of the cultures or politics of Astria amount to much as the civilization is promptly destroyed. Ostensibly Jimsa is the main character, but he’s such a whiny jerk that I started looking forward to pages where he was gone. His only motivation is a creepily excessive affection for his mother, and he disregards every piece of advice or suggested course of action offered to him for no reason. In fact, most of the plot points occur for no discernible reason and the rules of the world, where they exist, are arbitrary.
My overarching feeling is actually that Andromeda Stories is missing something, as if only half the panels made it into the books. There are massive gaps in the logic and action. And that’s too bad because the art is gorgeous, even where the storytelling falls flat. There is such promise in the first volume, such an interesting mashup of fantasy and sci-fi in the world of the book, and such apparent depth in its cultures. It’s too bad that the grab bag of big ideas about the nature of humanity and the sacrifices that must be made to preserve it become so jumbled that, by the book’s cataclysmic ending, I barely cared anymore.
Andromeda Stories, vol. 1-3
Vol. 1: 978-1-932234-84-8
Vol. 2: 978-1-932234-85-5
Vol. 3: 978-1-934287-04-0