Comic Book: Albedo: Erma Felna EDF

Command Review #1 cover.

Albedo: Erma Felna EDF (or also Erma Felna, EDF, for short) is an American Furry Comic created by Steven A. Gallacci, who ran it in from 1983note  to 2005 in his Albedo Anthropomorphics furry comic anthology, published in many different companies.

In a very distant future, a sector of known space is populated by sapient and humanoid versions of many Earth animals (who have no clue as to their origins.) The titular heroine, Erma Felna, is an officer from the EDF (Extraplanetary Defense Force, a extraplanetary version of The Federation), and she begins her military career during a military invasion of a planet named Derzon by the ILR (Independent Lepine Republic, another federation populated by rabbits who are determined to conquer known space--and kill anyone who is not a rabbit).

Unfortunately, the ILR is fighting this in a bloody, but very canny, way as sociopolitical warfare; they are not trying to defeat the Federation in battle as much as they are trying to undermine its political viability. This means the rabbits are attempting to force their enemy to fight in a way that means the maximum amount of collateral damage and civilian death toll on their own side is caused. With this, the ILR hopes to eventually cause enough resentment to weaken the civic structure and make them easy to conquer.

But, as the story is developed, the whole plot is starting to getting more and more complex, as many events and plot twists befalls Erma and her whole society (and probably, the whole universe...)

This is a special element in this series, as the characters, especially Erma, have extensive conversations discussing the socio-political ramifications of their latest battle and struggle to find a means to fight back in the political sphere. In fact, the very idea of a serious Science Fiction political drama, inspired in part by serious political novels like A Very British Coup, essentially gave a major boost to Furry Fandom as this series showed that Funny Animal stories can be so much more than for laughs.

The series is also notable, just like Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined) did some decades later, to avoid many of the most common cliches of the Space Opera genre, the furry genre or even the sci-fi one like Teleporters and Transporters, Lasers, and even some common ones like space fighters (even regular jet fighter technology is absent here), cool-looking ships, etc. being the technological base being between realistic and futuristic at the same time.

For a relative obscure comic, Albedo has spawned lots of side-stories and related material, published both in and outside the original anthology:

Main Continuity
  • Erma Felna EDF: When all began. The story deals with the titular Erma Felna, member of the EDF and her exploits, while fighting a war against the ILR, conspiracies of all kinds and her own personal problems as well. It's splitted in two different arcs, while the first one is divided into many different sub-arcs and the second one was Cut Short in the middle of the climax.
  • Birthright: Takes place a century after the events of Erma Felna EDF. The entire civilzation has collapsed after years of war, and a new hero, Prince Alfon Kodoka, wages a revolution against the invaders of his country, while dealing with possibly the ghosts of the previous era. It is currently being reissued on Radio Comix's website in a webcomic form. The story is splitted into three different arcs and the story is notable for being published along its prequel, albeit with different publisher.

Side-Stories
  • First Impressions: Deals about how Erma meets Toki Zha in the EDF military academy in Danet, Toki's homeworld, when both were cadets. Notable for two reasons: It was originally published outside Albedonote  and also because it was illustrated by other people other than Gallacci, in this case by Mike Sagara, while Gallacci wrote the story.
  • Scenes From A Room: Deals with both Erma's parents Eda and Kanoc and also Erma and her brother Tasak's respective childhoods and teenage years, and also deals how Kanoc was traumatized by the ILR, giving Erma the motive for avenging him. Like the previous story, Sagara illustrates the story, while Mike Curtis (former Shanda Fantasy Arts' artist and founder) writes the story and Gallacci serves as the editor. This is was published by SFA as an stand-alone story and later reissued in Albedo later on.
  • A Day With the Felnas: Like the title says, it's basically a Slice of Life episode between Eda with her sons Erma and Tasak as kids, while having a shopping day on Annaport, the capital of the planet Dornthant. Unlike other side-stories, Gallacci is the sole artist and writer of this story. It was published in the Refractions fanzine anthology and it was never republished anywhere.
  • Making Sound: This is an unsual side-story: Unlike previous ones, it deals with civilian characters not related in any way with any named character from the main continuity and basically it give a glimpse of how civilian life is in the Albedo universe. The protagonists is a fox girl named Maria, a musician, and her friends while trying to make music, an unusual activity in the setting. Originally published in Albedo during the Antarctic Press publishing period.
  • Erma's Distant Finale (No title given): Takes places 40 years, with a flashback to the past as Erma in her 40s after the end of the first Story Arc (and the entire end of the whole Erma Felna EDF story as a whole, by Word of God). It was written as an interlude between the first and second arcs, when Gallacci was still deciding about resuming the story, since the end of the first arc was originally planned to be the definitive ending of the whole saga.

Tabletop Games and Modules
  • The Tabletop RPG game based in the comic. It was originally published in 1988 by Gallacci's Thoughts & Images' self-publishing brand, with Paul Kidd (Scriptwriter of Nightshade and Shadowrun lead designer for the SNES) writing the script. It was republished again in 2004 with the subtitle Platinum Catalyst, with a different scriptwriter. The game has two different story modules:
    • The Drift: Deals with a EDF ship drifting in space after being seriously damaged in a battle, while the crew tries to survive waiting to be rescued, but not before lots of internal strife happens inside the ship.
    • Zho Chaka: Deals with a revolution in a EDF's banana planet of the same name, while some members are trying to stop the revolution or participating on it.
  • As an additional note, the RPG is notable, along with Refractions, for being a Universe Bible of sorts for the whole Albedo universe, even if some information can contradict some info used in the comic, especially regarding food.

Other/Unsorted

You can find some info about this series here and here. It's not very easy to find about Albedo in the web, due of the relative obscurity of this series, so your best bet it's trying to buy back issues in online auctions. As it is, Steve Gallacci has announced that he is going to restart the series as a webcomic sometime in the near future.

Not to be confused with the main, deranged, villain from the Xenosaga series, the Vangelis's album of the same name or with a brand of toy trucks.

Note: The article include tropes from the comics, the Tabletop Games, side-stories and the Refractions anthology, canonical or not. It does not include stories or series unrelated to the Albedo universe that were first published in the anthologies, including (most famously) Usagi Yojimbo.

Tropes:

  • Absent Aliens - Besides the furry characters, there's very few no-sapient alien life in any of the planets so far.
    • Althrough later in the series, they found a wrecked spaceship with an female human corpse inside it.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene - This series was famous for this with their aftermath discussions about the sociopolitical ramifications of the action scenes.
  • Action Prologue: The Battle of Derzon was the first battle Erma participated, and marks the debut of both the ILR, the EDF and more or less an explanation of how the whole setting works.
  • Aerith and Bob: Besides the alien-sounding names, some of them are really maddening tongue-twisters, especially the ones used by the people of the ILR, we have many human-sounding names from different human languages like German (Erma), Japanese (Toki, Eda, Rojigonote  and Nagai, a minor character), Hebrew (Itzak Arrat), English (Dea, Dale, Joseph and countless others. Hilariously enough, there's a minor character named Bob out there), Nahuatl (Ahuizotl, a character from the Tabletop Games) and many others. Keep in mind, with the sole exceptions of Erma, Rojigo, and possibly the Arrats, all the characters with some kind of Meaningful Name in Real Life were named by Word of God just because he wanted to include alien-sounding names.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The computers, collectively called the Net, are initially artificially intelligent to a degree and work strictly subordinate to the organics. Eventually, the overall personality, installed long ago by the furry civilizations' human creators, starts asserting itself subtly, setting up a political movement with Erma invited on board. Eventually, after Tavas and his cronies stage their coup, the Net eventually goes public with both the EDF and ILR. In doing so, it declares that it will be taking a more active role in political and military affairs, albeit as simply an equal participant with the established authorities in the interest of their survival and their own laws. Furthermore, the only way it can be removed would be for the furries to completely gut their computer control and communications systems, so they are basically stuck with it.
  • Allegory: Both invoked in the story and also by the name of the comic: The name Albedo is the astronomic term for the reflecting power of a surface, in this case of the light reflected by the planets from a star. In a metaphorical sense, the name is an allegory of how the problems of the anthropomorphic society somewhat "reflects" the ones the human society also have, albeit in a warped way.
  • Alternative Calendar - SD (Standard Date). In the "Refractions" anthology it's revealed that the Awakening, the event when the whole Species appears for the first time in the planet Arras Chanka, took place in early or in the middle of the 21th century (possibly between AD 2030-2050 in human years). The whole plot takes place possibly in the 23th century, during a time frame of six years, from SD 195, the year of the Battle of Derzon to SD 201, and Birthright in the 24th century possibly.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: It's very obvious something is not quite right with the whole setting, and many characters, Erma included, went involved in the whole mess while trying to find the truth: The fact all the characters were designed by humans is the biggest clue of this.
  • Animal Jingoism: One of the main themes of the series, albeit played in a very warped way: You don't expect rabbits, of all species, being depicted as genocidal Nazi-wannabes doing war crimes as such scale that would make Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin or any human regime green with envy.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Downplayed and sometimes even inverted: While some characters shares some stereotypes associated by their respective species, this is normally by character basis and not applied toward an entire race. Sometimes, many of those stereotypes are even subverted in many ways.
  • Animals Not to Scale: According with Word of God, due to the Creators' manipulations, all the characters are bigger than their Real Life counterparts, but smaller than humans, but this is not evident, much less consistent, when the EDF finds the female human corpse, since she is depicted as being almost the same size as everyone else. The worst offenders of this are Erma and Toki: According with her profile in the Tabletop Games, Erma is about 1.44 meters, making her as small as 11-year old teenager girl, but she looks taller than your regular adult human woman. Toki is about 1.11m, making her in-universe as small as a 6-year old human girl, but she looks as more than half of Erma's size. On the other hand, other characters from smaller species, like Avians (birds), otters, smaller marsupials and similar ones are depicted more or less as it's supposed to be depicted officially.
  • Animesque: Mostly in spirit rather than in character design, since most of the storytelling avoids many tropes regulary used in Western comic books and fully embraces the continuity-based format normally used in Japanese Anime and Manga. The Japanese influences became more notable years later in pin-ups, to the grade Gallacci recently tends to sign his pin-up art with his last name written in kanji by using a personal seal, and in the comic itself goes between this and a more grittier look depending of the ongoing plot.
  • Anyone Can Die: Oh boy, the death toll here is really big, albeit most of the dead are one-shot characters. Until Alfon, Erma's boyfriend kicks the bucket too. Oddly enough, almost all the named dead characters are males.
  • Art Evolution: Also overlaps with Progressively Prettier: By comparing Gallacci's first sketches from the prototype issue in the 80s with his more recent designs, you can swear they're were designed by many different artists rather than a single one. This is more accentuated with Erma, Toki and the humans: Both girls were initially looked bulkier in their first appearances both in their more recent redesigns in pinups, they have more realistic proportions and more prettier faces. The humans, oddly enough, look more Animesque than their non-human counterparts, compared how the human female corpse looked in the derelict spaceship in the 80s.
  • Artistic License: Even if Gallacci took lots of pains to research each and every part of the elements of the story just to avoid including stereotypical, non-realistic, sci-fi stuff, he sometimes allows some unrealistic stuff to appear, sometimes for the Rule of Cool or for the sake of writing a interesting story:
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: According with the Refractions anthology and some scenes in the comic itself, most of the food eaten in the setting is seafood, algae, grains, biomass (artificial meat) and sometimes, salads, something according with the setting everyone, regardless their species, can eat. This could be handwaved the Creators genetically modified their organisms so they could eat any kind of food. On the other hand, and oddly enough, the RPG games and some stories contradict this and it makes painfully clear the characters can only eat the food designed for their speciesnote  avoiding this trope entirely.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: During a flashback scene when Erma explains towards some Ekosiak soldiers how she stopped a mouse girl armed with a really big sniper rifle killing lots of innocent people in the streets. Taking into account her size, the recoil of such massive weapon could have killed her before she could even hit a target, despite she's firing the rifle from a tripod.
  • Artistic License – Military: By Word of God, each and all licenses of this are more or less intentional mostly to show the alieness between the Albedo universe and Real Life military doctrines. Keep in mind the author is a former USAF member:
    • Erma is possibly guilty of this during the whole story: She begins her career as a flight officer in the in-universe equivalent of the Air Force. She's later promoted to Squadron Commander... while doing jobs in Ekosiak related with the Army and she later takes the command of a battleship (technically a Navy job). This is handwaved for two in-story reasons: She's Kicked Upstairs by the EDF, mostly to prevent her to become an example, as women were not allowed to participate in combat and also, at the end of the first arc, because they wanted to get rid of her, using the ILR attack in Erma's homeworld as a convenient excuse to send her in a battleship to pursue the ILR and expecting her to die in combat.
    • Erma's hair is unusually long for someone working in the armed forces. Justified in her case, as she's one of the few characters with human-like hair and for that reason the EDF doesn't have rules against that.
  • Attack Drone - The ACV (Autonomous Combat Vehicle) is a sci-fi version used in this series.
  • Badass - All of the members of the EDF and the ILR.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Distant Finale is a very bittersweet one: The finale heavily implies Erma managed to stop the war somehow, but the price for doing it was really steep, as while the ending doesn't fully explain what happened with Erma's biological family at all, the whole experience turned her into a very bitter and sick elderly woman at the end. It's also heavily implied the whole story of her life was told from her POV.
  • Call A Rabbit a Lepine: Also overlaps with Descriptively-Named Species, as all the names of the species are named with the taxidermic terms used in Real Life: Erma, her family and many cat characters are Felines, the ILR are named Lepines, etc. Odlly enough, they still use sometimes the regular species names at times.
  • The Chosen Many: For many reasons, The Net tries to protect many specific people, due to their personalities or their latent psychic powers from all sides, including our heroine Erma.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: All over the place. If the characters aren't discussing about politics, society or any relevant on-story topic, they will resort on this regarding their own origins or anything related with their human Creators.
  • Cool Starship - Averted. Most of the spaceships are cylindric-shaped and plain-looking due to the need to create artificial gravity for the ship.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Downplayed, but still present here: If we take into account that Humans Are Cthulhu, this is the Driving Question of the whole story: Many of the members of all the three sides of the conflict (EDF, ILR and Enchawah Corp.) are painfully aware they were created by someone or something a century ago for some mysterious reason, and some people are trying to find the truth behind the Creators. When they finally find out the truth, what happens next change the course of the story possibly for worse.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The whole cast, in a sense as the Creators (humans) are behind their creation as a cosmic social research subjects.
  • Cloning Blues - Teka Ardehad is a clone of Erma, when the Ardehad family wasn't able to have an biological heir.
    • Erma herself had many cloned sons and daughters, after losing contact with her biological family.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - Kanoc courtesy of the ILR
  • Crapsack World: More than Crapsack Universe, as no planet is safe of the ravages of war, with the partial examples of the ILR's worlds.
  • Cut Short: The series was placed on hiatus in 2005 and and was stopped after Gallacci's wife died.
  • Death from Above - The ILR tried to wipe out Erma's homeworld bombing the planet with ACVs, but Erma managed, somewhat with the help of The Net, to prevent a total apocalypse against her planet.
  • Derelict Graveyard - The wrecked Human spaceship.
  • Distant Finale - Despise the original story ended in a massive cliffhanger due of the death of Gallacci's wife, there's a side-story who takes place many decades after the events from the original series when Erma is already an old woman and a legendary war heroine (or a genocidal war criminal for the ILR, possibly.) and she tells the story of her life to a reporter and her cloned family.
  • Downer Ending: The first arc ends into a helluvah downer one for both heroes and villains: Erma prevents the ILR from completely obliterating Dornthant, her homeworld, but her boyfriend Alfon dies when his aerodyne plunged to the ground after The Net was disabled by Tavas in an attempt to control the whole planet during a coup d'etat, while screwing Erma along the way by exiling her and sending her to pursue the ILR fleet that attacked Dornthant. She also lose contact with both her family and her son, possibly permanently.
  • Driving Question: Three of them:
    • Who are the Creators? The answer is the human race.
    • For which reason their civilization was created from scratch without any cultural basis? Very possibly as a really big, unethical, social scientific experiment and the whole cast are nothing more than guinea pigs.
    • Where are the creators right now?
  • Fanservice: Gallacci couldn't resist having semi-nude scenes of Erma and Toki in the shower, swimmng or suddenly having to get out of bed in the buff to show off their beauty.
  • Fantastic Racism - Both sides of the conflict indulge on this, but the ILR takes this to genocidal levels.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Some planets and characters have characteristics from some Earth cultures, despise the whole sci-fi background of the series:
    • Dornthant (The Felnas' homeworld): Japan
    • Danet (Toki): The Netherlands
    • Ekosiak (Onni Hitzok): Germany, with some elements both France and post-Cold War Russia, albeit many characters speak like American Southerners.
    • The ILR: The United States, except if the country was ruled by both the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan.
    • The ConFed and the EDF: The Cold War-era Warsaw Pact.
    • Zho Chaka (from the Tabletop Games): Any stereotypical Banana Republic, government-wise.
  • Fantastic Honorifics: The honorific system used in the setting is basically a translated version of the Japanese one: Many of the characters uses the "Honorable {insert last name}" honorific for adressing to very important people.note . Other regular honorifics like Lady, Miss, Mr. and military ranks are used too.
  • A Father to His Men - Captain Arrat does not take it lightly when someone hurts his crew.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: More notable with the demonyms: When a person from a specific planet is mentioned, the naming convention is (Name of the planet) with the suffix "I". For example, Erma, who hails from the planet Dornthant, is called a Dornthanti. Toki (from Danet) a Danetti, and so on.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Of the jump drive variety, and even with it, interplanetary travel normally take months.
  • The Federation - The Confederation (ConFed), the EDF (ConFed's military branch), and the Enchawah Corp. (A Zaibatsu-style conglomerate of planets).
  • Fictionary: All the characters speaks and use a language created by the author named simply as "Standard Language". Unlike other examples of this trope, the Standard Language is completely culture-neutral, at least in-universe.note  It's heavily implied the Creators designed that language, not only because it was easier to learn for all the Species due to their modified speech organs, but also to prevent the Species to find out about their origins too easily.
  • Four-Fingered Hands - And they also use a base-8 numerical system to match this, until they find the derelict human spaceship, who uses a base-10 system on the ship's computers for obvious reasons.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Taking into account the Distant Finale, it's very possibly the whole thing about the human Creators will never be fully resolved, at least not in Erma's era, albeit its heavily implied it was planned to be solved in Birthright, except that arc was never explained at all, not to mention the EDF, ILR and Enchawah Corp, will collapse and the whole civilization will end going straight to hell.
  • Funny Background Event: Just like Shirow Masamune, Gallacci has a quirk about including those in many scenes, especially in scenes when many characters are talking at the same time. Interestingly, most of those "funny" events are useful to understand how the Albedo universe works.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal - The entire cast.
  • Genki Girl - Toki and in less degree, Frieda.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke - Especially in the Refractions anthology.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy - According with the Refractions anthology, one of the possible main points for creating the species in first place (besides the fact mankind found out they were the only sentient beings in the universe) was because humanity was becoming too lazy and there were too many restless people (aka Scientists) and humankind needed to keep them busy with some kind of "Grand Experiment" (Not to mention for self-preserving purposes)note 
  • Gory Discretion Shot - Steven A. Gallacci loved to abuse this often, with some very gorier exceptions.
  • Government Conspiracy: Lots of them from all the sides of the conflict, including the finding of the human corpse and the Wave Motion Gun developed with the technology of the derelict spaceship the corpse was on it.
  • Great Offscreen War: The war that happens in the story is the second one between the ILR and the EDF. The first one happened possibly about two decades ago and it's barely explained at all, other that Kanoc (Erma's father) fought on it and it was the first war the ILR fought as an established country.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: As the series goes on it becomes clear that the EDF and ILR aren't completely good or evil. The ILR government has committed genocide, but not all of its citizens support that course of action, most don't even know it happened. While the EDF uses some unsavory tactics to keep planets in the ConFed, and created a weapon capable of destroying the galaxy.
  • Home Guard: Described as such in the comic. Each member planet of the EDF has one for planet, albeit they fill the role as professional armies in the same way a regular army is one for a Real Life country.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Since the humans are the Creators of them, this is can be considered the case, when they find an abandoned spaceship with an human corpse inside of it, and to fuel to whole thing, they also find a book inside of it: Frankenstein.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Played a bit: For some reason, almost all the plot-relevant named characters of the story are females.note  While there's a lot of named males with relevant roles, most of the storytelling tend to look over the females rather than the males, being the named males the most common victims of the war. This is mostly avoided in the second Story Arc, when all the sides of the conflict receives similar screen time.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better - Justified, since kinetic weapons are more effective for destroy entire cities and targets than nukes.
  • Kudzu Plot: One of Neon Genesis Evangelion proportions: Basically the whole plot begins straightfoward at first, but at the beginning of the Ekosiak sub-arc, it starts to get more and more complicated to the massive Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and in-universe Paranoia Fuel caused by a ambicious local executive in a attempt to separate Ekosiak from the EDF and the things went Up to Eleven when the human spaceship is found by both the EDF and Enchawah Corp. By the time the second Story Arc begins, the plot is split from each of the three conflicting factions of the story, with their own goals to accomplish.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The side-story In the Beginning, published in the Refractions anthology, the Human Creators wipes out any memories from their existence (but not vital information, like using advanced technology, etc.) from the Species (critters) with the help of drugs. Needless to day, many human scientists were were not amused by that.
  • Last Name Basis - Justified, due to the military protocol the characters are subjected, but also used in civilian contexts.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: It's very possibly after finding information about the comic, you will end being spoiled by the fact the Creators are humans. In fact, the Tabletop Games makes painfully clear that fact in the prologue of the core book. On the other hand, the 2004 Platinum Catalyst Updated Re-release omits that info entirely.
  • Law of Alien Names - Used here in full force, with some exceptions. (Including the titular heroine)
    • The Unpronounceable: Some names are nothing more than strings of consonants without any vowels, making them incredibly alien for the readers. The best example of this is Teka Ardehad's mother, who is named by their underlings as Lady M'T.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: If we include all the characters from both Albedo and Birthright, plus characters from the side-stories, the Tabletop Games, and the short stories from the Refractions anthology, the entire cast is really big. This is subverted at the end, since most of those characters ends being killed or dissapearing from the plot later on.
  • Love Hurts - Almost none of the couples appearing in the Albedo universe (and their families) have a good marital or romantic life due of the war. Erma and Alfon were an exception of this trope, until Alfon dies during the ILR attack over Dornthant thanks to Tavas's schemes over The Net.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac - Toki, all the way.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The ACVs are able to do this with various results.
  • Master Race - The Lepines (rabbits) from the ILR are bloody serious about being the rulers of all species.
  • Mature Animal Story: A possible Trope Codifier. A very serious military sci-fi comic with detailed socio-political discussions that has Funny Animal characters.
  • Mercy Kill: This is what happens after the aftermath of the Chishata massacre, when the ILR gassed out the survivors with nerve gas. After Arrat and his crew manages to reach them, it's too late to do something for them and they have to euthanize them.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters - Averted. According to Steven A. Gallacci, people can only breed (and having viable offspring) with other people of the same species (felines with felines, rodents with rodents, etc.) This doesn't prevent Toki to having sex with every good-looking guy in the universe, regardless of their species.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Level 3. Most of the technological level used in the setting are nothing more than upgraded versions of actual human technology we use at present day. While there is some advanced technologies like robotics (albeit in a very primitive way) and cloning, there's neither laser weaponry, other than the galaxy-destroying Wave Motion Gun developed by the EDF, nor teleporting or any other exotic technologies. The only exception of this rule is Faster-Than-Light Travel is used by almost every ship in the story.
  • Myth Arc: The story didn't have one at the beginning of the plot, since most of the story was a mix of military drama with some Space Opera parts mixed to the plot, but in the middle of the first Story Arc the story gains one when the derelict human spaceship was found and now the role of some characters is now trying to find the true origin of the Creators and their whereabouts.
  • Narrator All Along: The Distant Finale, at least during the last panel of the final issue, heavily implies the whole story of the Erma Felna EDF saga is told from the POV of the titular heroine herself in her final days towards a historian who visited to recopilate her memories and also to her remainings of her family, or her clones.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The ILR is extremely racist, with a nearly fascistic military-dominated government, and they probably killed more people than the Nazis in their first war alone. They're also combined with type 2 Eagleland stereotypes.
  • No Cartoon Fish: According with Word of God, the only animals that cannot be featured in the Albedo by any means are fishes, whales, killer whales and dolphins (since they need water to survive), cold-blooded beings (like lizards, for obvious reasons) and above all, primates (since they can become more intelligent than the rest of the beings and becoming a serious danger for everyone else, being related to the human beings).
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: OK, we do see people hug each other a lot, but we don't see anyone kissing. We do see Kanoc kissing Eda in the Scenes From A Room side-story, albeit only in the cheek.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Played a bit in the story: While pop culture does exist, most of it is somewhat different because the entire civilization (Be the EDF, ILR or Enchawah) is pretty young and many of the concepts we have for granted in our human society are depicted in a very odd way here. Interestingly enough, the closest thing for a sport (and also martial art) is something named as "stick fighting", a mix between bojutsu and Kendo, except with a large stick rather than a bokken.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Albeit it doesn't reach the Cluster F-Bomb territory. The stronger insult used here by everyone is "shit". Even Erma, of all people uses it at times.
  • Ojou - Erma is a military example. Her mother is a more classical example.
    • Teka Ardehad, Erma's cloned daughter, is also an Ojou too.
  • Pardon My Klingon: The word "khai" gets quite some mileage from the characters, alongside more conventional swears like "damn" or "shit", albeit that word stands out for the human equivalent to say God, in this case, the Creators.
  • Physical God: It's implied after the appearance of the derelict human spaceship that the species were genetic contructs created by the human race (The Creators) possibly for investigating how those species can create a society from scratch without any kind of human intervention using The Net as a way for investigate them and keep them in check.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: While the setting is really grim, it's because of the current war the organic characters are waging between. The computers (The Net) are basically tools for both sides and their job is merely passive than active, at least at first.
  • Precursors - The Creators, named in-universe by all the characters in the Albedo universe. They also are known as the Human race.
  • Reporting Names: Both the EDF and the ILR has different philosophies regarding this: The EDF uses a mix of the Japanesenote  and Soviet systems, while the ILR, being the in-universe equivalent of the U.S., obviously uses the American one.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: One for both Albedo and Birthright:
    • The Battle of Derzon seems to be partly inspired in the Fall of Saigon. Taking into account Erma being Gallacci's Author Avatar and he being a Vietnam War veteran, this is justified.
    • The whole plot of Birthright, at least of the beginning of the story, is very similar to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, as the comic was published in 1986 in the middle of that conflict.
  • Schizo Tech: A very odd case, despise the military sci-fi setting of the setting: While the technology level used in-universe is more or less advanced compared with our human technology, on the other hand, especially regarding military technology, there's lots of oddities compared with even Real Life military forces: Despite the EDF, ILR and Enchawah uses more or less the same technology with few variations, on the other hand they lack fighter jet technology (despite having commercial and transport planes for in-planet use), no seafaring technology (Despise some planets like Erma's Dornthant has seas), no anti-air artillery beyond rocket-launchers and oddly enough, no heavy tanks (other than light tanks, AF Vs and similar vehicles) and most of the fighting is very much infantry-based.
    • Of course, it's all justified by everyone's lack of experience with war. No jet fighters because they already had space travel and orbital strikes, and the RPG explains that the EDF's ground forces prefer mobility to armor so they use troops and vehicles easily transported by drop ships, only Home Guard units use heavy tanks.
  • Shellshocked Veteran - Many characters, especially Kanoc and his daughter Erma in her final years of her life.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There's a minor character near the end who's name is Nagai
    • The Talents like Erma are basically furry Newtypes, mixed with Espers along the way.
    • After Dr. Elaki Kalahahaii finds the human corpses in the derelict spaceship, in her philosophical ramblings she says Are you Khai made flesh?, a possible reference from The Bible, more especifically from the Gospel of John from the New Testament, when the book describes God as "The Word made Flesh".
    • The female human corpse has a passing resemblance with Ellen Ripley which is a really ironic in a way.
    • While we don't see too often in the story, the logo of the EDF looks similar to the logo of the NATO.
    • Gallacci seems to love drawing Erma in pin-ups cosplaying as many different characters including Storm and Kiki.
  • Shown Their Work: The author is notorious for taking lots of pains about researching every single piece used in the storytelling:
    • One of the aspects Gallacci took a special effort is regarding space warfare: Since there's very few serious literature outside regular science fiction regarding the topic, he interpolated info from the current human space exploration technology used actually and military information used in other branches like the Navy and the Army.
    • Being the author a former USAF member, all the military lingo is the same one used in Real Life, mixed with astronaut lingo as well for obvious reasons.
    • Even the kind of food the characters eat is painfully researched, as the characters eat between vegetables and a mix of algae, sea food and "biomass" (basically artificial meat, mostly to avoid Carnivore Confusion), being those being easily mass-produced for the cheap.note 
  • Space Is an Ocean: Most of the space battles resemble more like underwater warfare with submarines rather than with battleships.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": A non-translation version of this trope: Gallacci is notorious for having a somewhat bad spelling, not only in his writing, but also regarding many of the most alien-sounding names used and he can't ever decide which is the correct spelling of many names.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker - Due possibly to the Translation Convention used in the series, all the characters speak using a very weird syntax, making the dialogue sound a bit more alien.
  • Subspace Ansible: Averted, interstellar communication uses "message torpedoes" that are essentially hard drives mounted on rockets with jump drives that have enough storage capacity to hold practically the entire contents of the local Net.
  • The Thirty-Six Stratagems: Zig-zagged and discussed by Word of God in additional materials: Both sides are complete amateurs regarding military strategy and until the second ILR-EDF war, their tactics didn't go beyond attack, invade and raze anything from the opposite side. By the time the second war came in, both sides came with more sharper tactics:
    • The ILR uses the 20th during the Battle of Derzon, just to cause chaos inside the ranks of the ConFed by causing lots of collateral damage during the battle on their own civilian population. The same stratagem is used during the Ekosiak uprising by Aito Zho to stir the flames of the rebellion on the people of his planet. Too bad his plans backfired against him at the end.
  • Title Drop - Used when Erma and some EDF members found the wrecked human ship and they aren't able to see it from outside.:
    EDF Officer: The pan-spectrum Albedo on it is almost zip.
  • Time Skip: Used continuosly during all the series, partly because the comic avoids Comic-Book Time, albeit the passage of time is very slow and partly because due of the relative "slowness" of the Faster-Than-Light Travel technology, many scenes and plots can take weeks or months.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Except in this case, the tomato is the entire cast when Erma and many members of the EDF, ILR and Enchawah finds out the truth about the Creators, who were human beings, meaning they were created by them, albeit that fact was already rumored centuries before Erma was born.
  • Transhuman: Some of the humans in the derelict ship had been cyborgized, mainly through nanotechnological means.
  • Translation Convention; None of the characters speak English (or any human language) and sometimes during the series there's some characters (Erma included) who speak in a invented language by the author. This is also not exclusive from the language used in-universe either: The whole setting uses base-8 numerical system, but it is translated to base-10 for the sake of the readers.
  • Used Future: There's hardly any "shiny" stuff in this comic. A lot of vehicles wouldn't even look out of place in a modern day military base.
  • Wham Episode: Two of them, and both are the biggest ones from all the plot, and also overlaps with Game Changer:
    • The very first one and the most important one is the discovering of a derelict ship with human corpses inside it, confirmating the theory of the Creators. Not only the discovery of such a ship causes a giant aftershock in both the EDF and the ILR, it also changes the course of the war for the worse when the EDF reverse-engineered the technology of the ship and designs a galaxy-destroying Wave Motion Gun for using against the ILR.
    • The ILR attack on Dornthant, Erma and her family homeworld. Not only it marks the end of the first Story Arc, it also changes the established status quo by killing Alfon, Erma's second boyfriend, separating her family from her possibly for good and causing her to be exiled from her homeworld as retalation for trying to stop the attack as a part of Tavas' False Flag Operation.
  • War Is Hell: The story doesn't stop hammering the readers about how hellish is about living in a setting on almost perpetual warfare and how the war affects all the people involved on it, regardless their positions on society. Even the ILR avoids the War Is Glorious trope, because they are fighting for both showing their own superiority and their own survival.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Using the technology salvaged from the destroyed human spaceship, the EDF builds basically an Antimatter cannon. Unlike the most well-known version of this weapon, or even the updated version, the Albedo one is able to destroy an entire galaxy with it, to the risk to destroy all life in the known space. That weapon seems to return in Birthright as the crew of the Winkles tries to destroy it.
  • A World Half Full: Basically, The setting is a war-torn universe and the characters frequently expose corruption and conspiracies of any kind, just to find their efforts nullified by the same system they're fighting for and their efforts went for nothing at the very end.
  • Zeerust: Surprisely, this is mostly averted: For some bizarre reason, Gallacci has a knack for unintentionally predicting many technological trends in the comic, when those trends were considered sci-fi stuff in the earlier 80s like smartphone and tablet-like devices connected to a wide net, and many similar technologies.

Birthright features

  • Actionized Sequel: While it still the characters had conversations about the socio-political ramifications about what they have done, we see lots of ground military warfare this time, compared with its prequel, when the action was scarse.
  • After the End - Interstellar society has collapsed and individual planets are divided into nations fighting over what's left.
  • Feudal Future: For some reason, some planets (like Prince Alfon's one) regressed towards a feudal-like societies, despise not having previously the elements for one, as the EDF and the ILR were parlamentary governments previously.
  • The Kingdom - Shartoa, invaded by Tosiu "peacekeepers".
  • La Résistance: Two different revolutionary groups rise up at the same time.
  • Lost Superweapon: The EDF's Wave Motion Gun.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: The crew of the Winkles.
  • Noble Fugitive - Prince Alfon Kodoka, who comes back to start a revolution.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Oh boy, where to begin: Basically almost everyone else looks too different compared with their Albedo counterparts, since most of the character looks more cartoony and animal-like compared with the previous series, when everyone else looked more human-like, save for the birds and penguins. This is especially egregious if you take into account Birthright was published originally along Albedo, albeit in different magazines.
  • Stealth Sequel: While actually Word of God stated Birthright is the sequel of Albedo, it wasn't too evident at first because the whole story avoids mentioning the EDF, Enchawah, and the ILR, since it only mentions about the whole society collapsed after years of war.note  As the story goes, we find the society uses the same Fictionary used in Albedo, the mention about the EDF's Wave Motion Gun and the fact Kala is descendant of Erma Felna.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Jenna Shodi speaks with a very Germanic-sounding accent in a deep contrast with everyone else.

The Tabletop Games features:

  • All Deaths Are Final: Since the RPG games are more established on reality than other fantasy-based games, if you got killed in the games, you're dead for good and there's no way for bring any dead character to life.
  • All There in the Manual: Contains a lot of information on the setting that isn't featured in the comics.
  • Banana Republic: Zho Chaka in the module of the same name.
  • GURPS: The Refractions anthology gives you a guide to convert the rules of the game for using in the GURPS system, rather than using the default system.
  • Nintendo Hard: The games are notorious for having a steep learning curve due to having more realistic rules regarding action, meaning you cannot simply going out like Rambo in this game, forcing you to behave in a more realistic fashion.
  • The Squad: Under most circumstances player characters have a small group of "supporting characters" operating under them. Given how fatal the system is they tend to be Red Shirts.