Lit Lost Stars, the Japanese webcomic

Discussion in 'Literature' started by LelalMekha, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    star 10
    Where were they originally posted, if I can ask? I've just tweeted these pictures out but it would be nice to be able to link to the source.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  2. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    I've been thinking more about Nash's hair. Does he braid it? He could make some mighty Alderaanian buns. I bet Nash's buns would be bigger than Leia's buns.
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  3. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    I think this manga is taking the "artistic license" route when it comes to hair styles for the Imperials. Note how Ciena is wearing her hair down on the Executor?

    I don't mind it, truth be told. It doesn't make any sense for the Empire to be so lax about the uniform code, but the look of the thing suits the material.

    ETA: Does anybody know when the next chapter is supposed to drop?
    Last edited by Axrendale, Jun 19, 2017
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  4. redxavier Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2003
    star 4
    I'm not sure what chapter you are up to but Chapter 3 is available at the same sites that were linked to earlier in this thread.
  5. SpecForce Trooper Jedi Knight

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    Jun 19, 2016
    star 4
    I imagine Vader would loosen the regs for his personal fleet. He was never that conventional.
  6. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

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    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    I've already seen Chapter 3, but what I'm trying to figure out is the statement at the end of the latest about when to expect the next one.

    Originally they were putting a new chapter up every second Thursday, but that doesn't seem to be the case any longer.

    Are they on hiatus, or have they just shifted to a different schedule?

    Vader might not be, but I always took Piett as the sort of man who was a stickler for these things.

    And besides, even if they were lax about enforcing the uniform code on the Executor, Ciena is such a classic Type A personality that you'd expect her to stick to the letter of it regardless. :p

    Like I said, it doesn't make much sense... but I don't really mind, because it just looks good. That's the whole point of artistic license after all - you get to do things just because they're fun!
    Last edited by Axrendale, Jun 22, 2017
  7. Daneira Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2016
    star 3
    I have to say, I'm not enjoying this so far. The book is an even 50/50 split between Ciena and Thane's perspectives. This comic seems to be focusing almost entirely on Thane with Ciena existing mainly as a pretty face. In the flashback, we don't see that Ciena is also nerding out over the Lambda-class shuttle, she's just some haunting pretty face for Thane to be distracted by.

    Also, Ciena's muunyak is drawn exactly like a bantha, which is just really uncreative.


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  8. Charlemagne19 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    I confess, I really don't get much from Thane's part of the story in the original novel. I think it would have been better if he was just a supporting cast member.
    Last edited by Charlemagne19, Jun 23, 2017
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  9. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

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    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    I agree with this completely.

    The problem with Thane's part of the story is that he doesn't really have a compelling arc as a character. In theory his character progresses from being a cynical disbeliever to becoming an idealist committed to the rebellion, but I never really had the sense of *feeling* the transformation, on an emotional level. He never believed in the Empire to begin with, so his decision to desert and eventually fight against it just felt like a succession of foregone conclusions. All the dramatic tension in Thane's story comes from his romance with Ciena - a stronger and more interesting character by far. The proof of this, in my view, is that I don't think I would have any great interest or desire to read a book that was all about Thane and his experiences, if there was nothing in it about his relationship with her.

    By contrast, I know for a fact that I would happily give my eye teeth to be able to read an entire *series* of books devoted entirely to exploring the adventures and emotional struggles of Ciena Ree - the stubbornly loyal, system-doubting Imperial officer, who keeps on getting promoted despite the fact that she's the sweetest, nicest person in the Starfleet. Her inner conflicts are the beating heart of the book - and the biggest part what makes Lost Stars the #1 Star Wars novel, in my opinion.

    Even though Lost Stars is billed as a romance story, the true essence of what makes it great is how it depicts the *seductive* nature of the Empire's evil - the ways that it can make good, even heroic individuals believe in it and fight for it, and then keep them loyal even as it inflicts terrible pain upon every aspect of their being. It's why I count Nash Windrider as one of my favourite minor characters to come out of the EU to date.

    To be fair, there have only been three chapters so far - two focussed on Thane's POV, one on Ciena. I assume that when Chapter 4 drops, we will get Ciena's POV again, and the manga as a whole will keep alternating like that - staying true to the 50/50 split from the book.

    If that isn't the case, I will be upset, needless to say.
    Last edited by Axrendale, Jun 23, 2017
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  10. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    I will confess Ciena's part is probably a bit more interesting just because (aside from Janek Sunber) this is one of the few "sympathetic Imperial realizes the Empire is bad, but stays with it out of a misguided sense of duty" stories we've gotten, while there are plenty of "disillusioned Imperial joins the Rebellion" stories.

    That said, I feel people are doing Thane a disservice by completely discounting his part of the book, suggesting he be demoted to supporting character and saying we could have just had the whole book be about Ciena. I especially disagree with the "forgone conclusion" part, it took some serious soul searching, time, a galactic tour of the Empire's crimes, and a chance encounter with Wedge Freaking Antilles for Thane to finally join the Rebels. (Wedge's line to him about how being willing to kill and willing to die is better than standing by and doing nothing is probably one of my favorite Star Wars lines.)

    The characters complement each other. People say the webcomic is just a story about Thane with Ciena as a pretty face he reminisces about, I feel like a story just about Ciena would risk doing the same thing with the roles reversed. Thane needs to be an actual character for Ciena's reminiscing about him to actually have meaning and substance, and vice versa.
    Last edited by JediBatman, Jun 23, 2017
  11. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

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    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    I'm of a mind with JediBatman on this, although I can see why Thane can be seen as boring/predictable. The thing about Thane is that he remains pretty stable (despite that one hangover scene) while Ciena progressively goes off the rails, ending in an almost literal trainwreck. I hate to bring up the Nazi thing, but that's exactly what we're seeing here -- she's a soldier indoctrinated by an ultraintolerant totalitarian regime. We need Thane to be the counter -- the blank in the science experiment, if you will. Him being there in the story, as a point of comparison, reminds us how much Ciena has changed.
  12. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    we can debate if the Empire is Nazi or Communist or ultra bourgeosie like the French thermidor, but I think Ciena is the only constant in the story. Whereas them damned traitors such as Thane and Kendy changed side like underwear. They have no shame.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 23, 2017
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  13. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

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    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    Those are fair points, and I may have stated the case against Thane's part of the story too strongly in my previous post. I do think you're correct that in order to work as well as it does, the story needs multiple POVs to play off each other - Ciena taken in isolation just wouldn't work as well.

    However, what it boils down to for me, is that Thane as a character simply does not have an *internal conflict* that is anywhere near as strong or compelling as Ciena, and that's not just a result of "Imperial deserter joins the Rebellion" being a stock-standard trope in the Star Wars fictional universe. My problem is that the *portrayal* of Thane's reasons for leaving the Empire and later for signing on with the Rebels is the least interesting part of the book. One of Thane's defining characteristics is that he is supposed to be intensely cynical, which is why he never really believed in the Empire to begin with, and so it was easy for him to decide he wanted to bail - his soul-searching is more about the difficulties and potential consequences of desertion than whether it would be right to do so. Later, his witnessing the atrocities of the Empire, and having the chance to spend some time with Rebels, causes him to ditch the cynicism and become, somewhat reluctantly, a believer in the cause. Fairly simple and straightforward. Then at the end, he declares that he's now finished being an idealist, because the war is over and he's free to devote all of his attention to getting the woman he loves out of prison.

    To paraphrase George R.R. Martin, the best stories are about the human heart in conflict with itself, and Thane simply doesn't have much to feel internally conflicted about, *except* for his relationship with Ciena. By contrast, even if you take away her worries about Thane (important though they are to the story) Ciena still has a gigantic internal conflict to deal with, between her loyalty & ideals versus her growing recognition of the evil of the Empire.

    Let me put it another way. If you changed the genre of Lost Stars to something other than a Star-Crossed Lovers romance story, then I think you'd have to make changes or notable additions to the character of Thane Kyrell to keep him interesting, because he functions most effectively as the Romantic Male Lead type of character. On the other hand, Ciena Ree as already written is a strong enough character that she effectively transcends the role of Romantic Female Lead - you could transplant her story into some quite different genres of Star Wars story, and the core of what makes her interesting/compelling remains intact.


    This is true - although I would add that Thane is not the only character who serves this function in the story. On the opposite side of the equation is Nash Windrider, who's there to remind us of how important it is that Ciena manages to retain her essential humanity, even as her universe tears itself apart.
    Last edited by Axrendale, Jun 23, 2017
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  14. Daneira Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2016
    star 3
    I'm not sure if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me here lol.

    Maybe it's too early to judge, but assuming this comic is more Thane-centric, it's misogyny, pure and simple. Thane would never be relegated to just a pretty face because he is a Man and Men Are Important. Let's also not ignore that Thane is white and Ciena is black. I'm really hoping Ciena gets more representation as this comic continues.
    Last edited by Daneira, Jun 23, 2017
  15. godisawesome Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    Thane is, in terms of his personal ethics, a static character; his decision to leave the Empire comes because the Empire fails him, not because of any change in his actual values. He hates bullies at the start, he hates bullies at the middle, and he hates bullies at the end. The dynamic element of his character is having his eyes opened to a few more idealistic elements of his universe, in effect having his sour but sure morality rewarded by finding that good people do exist in positions of power in the universe, and that the Force *may* have an impact on his life. The story basically has his cynical anti-heroic elements get forged into a classic heroic core.

    Ciena has a more dynamic transformation from idealistic heroine to tragic, broken anti-villain. A girl who originally was dedicated to good slowly is twisted when the Empire applies the pliers to her old association of lawful=good until she becomes a loyal servant of what she knows is evil fascism, even as she's screaming inside.
  16. Axrendale Jedi Padawan

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    Jun 4, 2017
    star 1
    That is a *beautifully* stated encapsulation of the story. Hats off.
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  17. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    anti villain? you mean anti-hero? If you do, why not say Thane is the anti-hero?

    She's war wary. Too many good people died.

    when is lawful =/= good?
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 23, 2017
  18. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    An anti-villain is a villain who is unusually nice, moral, altruistic, and what have you - "villain with good intentions".

    An anti-hero is a hero who is unusually ruthless, cynical, jerkish and so on.


    Saw Gerrara may qualify as an exceptionally ruthless anti-hero by Star Wars standards, for example.
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  19. godisawesome Jedi Master

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    Dec 14, 2010
    star 3
    Youre right in that functionally speaking she's an anti-Hero of the story until *possibly* the last chapters of the book; she's a protagonist throughout, though you can argue her kind of traumatized refusal to abandon the Empire and determination to scuttle her ship, by defining the final conflict of her interaction with Thane, *might* qualify her as an antagonist then. Thane arguably starts out as more of a modern comic-book style anti-Hero with his cynicism and rejection of his family, but becomes more traditionally heroic and optimistic in contrast.

    Holistically, in terms of the whole Galactic Civil War and Star Wars as a whole, I'd say she'd qualify as a pitch perfect anti-villain; an antagonistic force with numerous virtues and an attitude that feels more traditionally heroic in spite of her actions.
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  20. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

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    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    whatever the truth regarding Ciena, you can't say she was wrong to scuttle the ship.
    She wanted to go down with the ship like all captains had a duty to do, Thane denied her that. For that alone people should despise Thane.

    Oh, but what about Lllllove? Don't make me destroy you.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 23, 2017
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  21. JediBatman Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2015
    star 3
    I'm saying that whatever the genders, following the story of Character A while they reminisce about Character B, (someone the reader/audience has never seen before except in flashback, has no connection to, and barely knows anything about) is bad writing.

    So going with this analogy, they only change their underwear once a lifetime?

    That's a very sarcastic, contemptuous way to talk about someone trying to stop a childhood friend from committing suicide.
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  22. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    re: underwear, it was a hyperbole, you get my meaning. If someone gave you free tuiton, free food, free clothes, free job, free, stable income, you don't betray them because you don't support how they do it.

    re: suicide watch. She was a captain of a doomed military ship. I mean, even civilian ships sinking the Captain should have stayed on board. Who gaves a damn about [responsibility[/b] Who gives a damn about loyalty in your way of thinking?

    People die in war, at least Ciena's death would have meant something. Now Possibilities for her: She's free after NR clears her, she go work for NR? Character would have ruined her. Go independant? Maybe, but unsatisfying. Go back to Empire? Why should the Imperials trust her? Even though she refused to talk, all the Imperials (and rightly) would think damn why did they let her go if she was loyal to us.

    How hard is it for people to understand loyalty means something? For all those people saying Nationalism bad, I am an Earther. I only belong to the Earth, I have something for you you will definitely appreciate. Just kriffing surrender! Your best friend will LIVE! and you will live all happily ever after! PAN EARTH!

    Sarcastic has nothing to do with what I'm saying. Check your dictionary. Contemptous? Thane deserves nothing but contempt, and something worse.
  23. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    It's not that a captain has a duty to die with the ship - it's that the captain has a duty to be the last person off. Plenty of captains have scuttled their ships but not died with them.
  24. DARTH_MU Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    At the battle of Jakku, is Thane her best friend or was he her best friend 8+ years ago?

    It was her choice. Her own. And he denied her of that. And not only that, but he made her a prisoner of war. He took away all of her choices for all time. As I said above, it's going independent shipping company for her after maybe release. She cannot join the rebels, she can't (not her own fault, not the Empire's fault) be fully trusted by the Empire. She has nothing. She'll be a kriffing dependent with no jobs (damn it she won't be able to do a independent shipping company because she doesn't have the start off money (and if Thane loans her some, she'll always be his dependent.).

    She may actually be executed, which humiliates her and Thane further.

    Damn it this book is so good. Now I'm going to be depressed. It's no use. Nothing can be counted on in the Star Wars universe, not even the simplest loyalty and respect, all everyone wants to do is run away to bang their ex.

    According to wikipedia

    If a naval captain evacuates a vessel in wartime, it may be considered a capital offence similar to desertion unless he subsequently returns to the ship at his first opportunity to prevent its capture and rescue the crew.
    Last edited by DARTH_MU, Jun 25, 2017
  25. Barriss_Coffee Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2003
    star 6
    I think Thane couldn't envision his life without Ciena in it. He could handle her being a million miles away, because she was part of all the memories that made him happy (yeah that's smultzy, but I can't think of a better way to put it). So long as she was still alive, there was a chance they could make new memories. The war sort of stalled them. He wasn't happy. She wasn't happy. I don't think he cared whether the Empire had a law about ships' captains in wartime.
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