YMMV: Albedo: Erma Felna EDF

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The Creators are subject of this: Does the Creators designed the entire civilization just as a possible misguided attempt of creating life and as a social experiment just to watch the final results from a safe distance, or the real reasons for designing new lifeforms hides an even more darker purpose? Even the whole story gives many clues regarding both theories and the closest answer could be a mix of both, possibly impliying the whole project could had been hijacked for another different directive by different persons (comic) or a single person (Dr. Komatsu or his cloned descendants in Refractions), at least what we can see in the Refractions anthology, while possibly another set of persons seems to be using The Net to trying to help Erma and the rest of the chosen ones, while having their own plans. What kind of plans they have in mind, and what kind of role Erma has on all this is still unknown to this date.
  • Anvilicious: Steve could get heavy-handed with his politics at times, both within the story and when he responded to letter in the comic itself, basically accusing anyone who disagreed with any particular thing he drew or wrote of only wanting to see some furry T&A. It also averts Death of the Author as well.
    • Regarding the ILR, the whole message is capitalism is flawed, if not outright evil, albeit this is later subverted, as the EDF turns to be Not So Different, despite being communists, on the grounds the EDF are prepared to even carrying out genocide if that means eliminate the ILR once for all by using the Matter Conversion Cannon.
  • Ass Pull: The entire off-screen mutiny against ILR's Capt. Barlahan carried out by Tankannahai, on the grounds how he did managed to convince the rest of the crew to join him, taking into account his own impopularity with his peers.
  • Canon Sue: Erma, at least at first. Gallacci seems to be aware of this later on and he tries to downplay this, mostly to show she isn't invencible or infalible after all, becoming this more evident during the final part of the first Story Arc when her homeland was bombed and she lose contact with her family, and breaking her emotionally, and her role during the second arc is somewhat downplayed because she shares equal screentime with Itzak Arrat, Dr. Elaki Kalahahaii and the ILR, especially with Capt. Barlahan's fleet and his crew. That's doesn't prevent her to have some kind of Plot Armor to survive many dangerous events, including receiving a direct gunshot at point blank right in the gut during the Battle of Derzon and not having any ill effect later on.
  • Continuity Lockout: The whole story is very continuity-driven, compared with many other comics from the same genre or even Western comics as a whole, meaning you need to read each and every single issue very well to understand not only the plot, but also the characters and all the nuances behind the whole Albedo universe. The fact the comics were published on a very low print in many different companies doesn't help.
  • Cliché Storm: Zig-zagged: Gallacci tries his best to avoid many of the most known sci-fi cliches, being the story in the level 3 of Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness, and he completely discourage any attempt to include fantastic or unreal elements (like lasers, teleporting, etc), to the grade this has become into some kind of Berserk Button to him. Oddly enough, that doesn't prevent him to include Newtype-wannabes and galaxy-destroying weapons like the Matter Conversion Cannon.
  • Cult Classic: There's many reasons why Albedo is such a classic in the Furry Fandom: Not only is one the first titles of the genre geared towards adult audiences, while avoiding many of the pitfalls of adult works (like using lots of sex scenes, Gorn, lots of swearing, etc.), but also because the author's unstable release schedule and also most of the issues were released with a very low print, without mention the storytelling and characters shares many things in common with many tropes normally used in Japanese Anime or Manga.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: There's a very good reason why Albedo is this for the Furry Fandom in the same way Neon Genesis Evangelion is for the Mecha genre or A Song of Ice and Fire for the fantasy genre, despise Albedo precedes them for decades:
    • Erma deserves an special mention, at least for the Western standards of the time and for the furry genre as well: Unlike similar heroines (or heroes as a whole) Erma is not a Damsel in Distress, nor another teen heroine who Jumped at the Call, much less someone like Kira Yamato or Amuro Ray who got into the army by accident. Erma is a 25-years oldnote  trained professional soldier who chose that profession by both family tradition and also for carrying Revenge against the ones who tortured her father, and even with that point she control her emotions very well, to the point of ackwardness. That doesn't mean she lacks emotions, she doesn't let them to stand in her way.
    • The whole premise deserve a mention too: The story avoids glorifying war, showing us instead how hellish is living in a war-torn universe, when both sides are trying to mutually destroy by any means. Also, the setting of the story differs from other similar furry comics, as when other comics the setting exists just because the author wants to be, on the other hand in Albedo the origin of the setting came from foreign sources, in this case, from human ones.
  • Ending Aversion: Twice for arc:
    • The end of the first Story Arc could give The End Of Evangelion a run for its money regarding how controversial that ending was: Basically it was a Shoot the Shaggy Dog for the sake of having a Downer Ending for the Felnas, since it basically implied Erma sacrified her family for the sake of saving the rest of her homeworld from complete destruction. Her award for doing that? Being exilied from her home by the person she once loved and also by the army and the country she swore to serve and protect, leaving her heartbroken and in tears. Originally, the first arc was planned as the definitive ending of the story, but after hearing the feedback from the fans, the author decided to continue the story.
    • The second arc possibly planned to answer many of the unanswered questions from the previous arc, but the comic was Cut Short before the arc went into its climax.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Despise only appearing during the first Story Arc and not being mentioned at all during the second one, Toki is one of the most popular characters from the series, and more of her backstory is explained in side-stories and supplementary materials.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: If you take into account the Distant Finale as the definitive ending of Erma Felna's saga, Erma managed somehow in the past to stop the war, but with a very steep price for her, as she lose her family, her boyfriend and possibly anything dear for her. The only thing that prevent the Distant Finale to becoming a complete Downer Ending is the fact at least Erma found Teka, her cloned daughter, along the way and she cloned herself just to create another family, so it wasn't a complete loss for her anyways. The worse part came with the fact, by Word of God's own words, another war broked out between the ILR and the EDF, very possible after Erma's generation, except this time it was ever worse than the previous two wars, because both sides used from nuclear weapons to even biological weapons, completely destroying both sides entirely, colapsing their entire civilization and each sacrifice Erma did in the past went straight to the toilet.
  • Flip Flop of God: Anything that deals with the Creators (humans) and possibly (with the logical exceptions of anything that Gallacci has written on it) anything written in the Refractions anthology. Even during the recent FAQ he refused to answer questions regarding this.
    • In the same way, Gallacci politely refused to answer questions regarding the influences behind Albedo, albeit he has offered some clues regarding specific plotlines and characters in random interviews and in the comic itself in the foreword of each issue, but he traditionally avoids to give straight answers.
  • Genre Turning Point: When this comic became a cult hit, furry comics became much more ambitious creating for material for adults.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Basically, everything related with the ILR (minus the genocide thing), especially after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the economic recession that hit the U.S. in the 2000s and the War On Terror. Keep in mind the comic was published in the 80s and the author is a former member of the USAF, but that doesn't stop him to criticize many of the things he saw wrong about the United States, its armed forces and above all, about American society.
    • Alfon Voga, who is Erma's boyfriend dies during the ILR attack against his homeworld when Tavas disabled The Net. This is even more harsher if you take into account Erma is Gallacci's Author Avatar and the fact Gallacci's wife died too, albeit she died due to cancer rather than in a "accident".
  • I Am Not Shazam: A very contrived example: Technically speaking, the whole main story of the comic is named Erma Felna EDF because that's the name of the heroine and the name of the organization she belongs to. Albedo was the name of the anthology when the main story was published along with other non-related stories from other authors, (like Usagi Yojimbo who debuted there). Over time, the anthology part was downplayed as many authors other than Gallacci moved to other magazines or they simply stop publishing there and by the time the magazine moved to both Antarctic Press (in the last issues) and Shanda Fantasy Arts, that part completely disappeared from the magazine and all stories are related with the main plot of Erma Felna EDF, including side-stories and afterwords. Despite this, the magazine still carries the name Albedo, and both fans and Word of God alike uses the Erma Felna EDF name or also Albedo Anthropomorphics or the more common name Albedo: Erma Felna EDF, being the main story the subtitle of the name. The fact the name Albedo still reflects the main themes used in the Erma Felna EDF story, besides the ones used by other furry comics published when it was an anthology, does help.
    • This is also applied retroactively towards the sequel Birthright, since its now published in the Radio Comix's website as Albedo: Birthright. Unlike with the Erma Felna EDF story, the fans prefer to use simply as Birthright, rather than use the Albedo moniker.
  • It Was His Sled: The fact the human race were the ones who created the Species is a well known fact for many members in the Furry Fandom. Even the Tabletop Games spoils this at the beginning of the core books.
  • Just Here for Godzilla - Albedo would have ended in the obscurity of the comic book history if Usagi Yojimbo didn't make his debut in a side-story published in the first years of the series. This is also rumored to caused Gallacci to sour his relation with Stan Sakai.
  • Les Yay: Oddly averted in-series between Erma and Toki, as their relation is completely platonic and both girls are straight, but this is played straight in a meta way, as Gallacci, the author, has drawn erotic art between those both characters. Also played straight between Ilnya and Frienda, members of Capt. Arrat's crew, as Illnya is so far the only lesbian character in the series and Frieda asks her if she's interested on her.
  • Magnificent Bastard - Tavas Ikalik
  • Magnum Opus: Albedo is considered for many as Steven A. Gallacci's greatest work he has even made. The utter complexity of the story and their characters is maybe the biggest draw of the series.
    • Tough Act to Follow: On the other hand, Gallacci's other series have never been as successful, with the sole exceptions of The Tales of Beatrix Farmer and in less degree, his recent webcomic Alone Together in his FurAffinity's page.
  • Memetic Mutation - "Socio-political Ramifications" was a common catch phrase in Furry Fandom for years because of this series.
    • Also, the "Erma with a crowbar" meme is a very popular one, after an incident when a perverted fan asked the author to draw a pin-up of Erma pleasuring herself with a crowbar, and refusing to do so. Oddly enough, he did some pics with Erma naked with a crowbar, but not in the way intended by that fan, at least not in a sexual way.note  This meme even trascended beyond the furry fandom in a way.note  This also ovelaps with Never Live It Down, as the author himself encourages this and his fans loves to tease him with that meme.
  • Memetic Sex Goddess: Toki is possibly one of the supreme champions of the Furry Fandom on this, along with Krystal: The fact she dates with whatever guy she could find, a fact exagerated by the fans, turns her into one, to the grade many fans deduced if she ever had the chance she could ever had sex with an human, if the opportunity were given to her. Erma herself is not a slouch in this department either.
  • Moe: Teka Ardehad as a kid, Lees and Rojigo Felna. Oddly enough, Erma herself is a subversion when she was a kid, as while she was cute in her younger years, she was a Fake Cutie and a massive Jerkass towards her brother.
  • Moral Event Horizon - The ILR already crossed the line even before the series began, but some of the worst things the ILR did during the series are:
    • Invading a EDF space station, slaughtering every civilian inside it, rigging the station with nukes and destroying it along with the survivors!
    • And they did the same thing with their own civilian space station in the second Story Arc, but with their own civilians still alive and well, because they suspected them of being traitors.
    • The EDF pulls a even bigger one or at least they plan to do one later, if you know the implications of what they did: They created a Space Battleship Yamato-style Wave Motion Gun by reverse-engineering the Antimatter technology from the human Creators, with the catch that weapon is able to destroy galaxies with it, and they plan to use that cannon on the ILR. Just to get an idea how much the EDF has crossed that line, The Net, the Master Computer who controls all the computer systems for all the sides of the conflict, suffers one hell of a Logic Bomb, partly due of the Net's programming to protect all life forms and partly due of all the manipulations all the sides pulled against it, causing The Net to suffering a literal case of Split Personality.
  • Narm: The whole scene when Capt. Arrat punches the corrupt EDF officer right in his face could have been a even much powerful scene if that officer didn't look too cartoony and the whole punch scene didn't look like Arrat was punching a small rag doll instead.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: At the time when the comic was published and until recently, the idea of a modern military force like the ILR being so pointlessly brutal on both their enemies and people could sounded too over-the-top even for Western standards.note  Three decades later...
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Possibly due to lack of time, magazine space or many other reasons, the author tends to skip many cool events or solve them in a single page:
    • Toki being promoted from cadet to Squadron Commander happens completely off-screen and without any explanation about what she did for deserving that promotion. Erma's promotion, on the other hand, is explained in a single page during a dream sequence.
    • During the ILR attack on Erma's homeworld, Ipcha Tankannahai's mutiny against Capt. Barlahan is only alluded by Barlahan and Tankannahai himself after the latter decided to free Barlahan once the ship has leave EDF space. this is especially egregious, as it's never explained how Tankannahai managed to convince his fellow crewmembers on going against his captain, taking into account he was hated by each and every single member of the Barlahan's crew and by Barlahan himself.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The copy of the Frankenstein book Dr. Elaki Kalahahaii finds inside the derelict human spaceship, since it deals about a man who wants to create intelligent life from something previously non-sapient, (in the book's case, from corpses) who is very significant for the plot, when the furry characters were created in a similar situation from non-sapient animals. In a meta way Frankenstein was also the very first science-fiction novel ever published, not to mention the full name of the novel is Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, being Prometheus the name of the project who created the whole anthropomorphic cast, at least in the Refractions anthologies.
    • Also from Dr. Kalahahaii:
    Are you Khai made flesh?
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • WAR IS HELL: No matter for whatever reason you're fighting for, any war affects everyone involved, soldier, civilians and politicians alike.
    • While the fact is barely explored at its fullest, but taking into account what we know about the topic and judging how its depicted in the Refractions anthology: Mankind trying to play the role of God towards their fellow "inferior" species is not probably a very good idea at all, it's not ethical, and will possibly end backfiring against the humans sooner or later.
  • Tear Jerker: The final scene of the first story arc ends with Erma crying for the death of Alfon and the fate of her family, as she thinks they could be all dead.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Due of the way the plot is designed and the fact the whole series was Cut Short at the beginning of the second Story Arc, many characters were wasted in their execution:
    • Toki: According to her backstory, she's as good as Erma in the military stuff, but we never see her doing anything and her only role in the plot is being Erma's Foil and a Plucky Comic Relief character, not to mention When she disappears from the plot the story turns even darker than before. Her backstory is explained with more detail in the Tabletop Games and in some side-stories.
    • Alfon Voga: Oh boy, where to begin: Alfon is basically a Satellite Character with zero background, we never see how the hell he managed to meet someone like Erma, we don't know anything about him outside his relation with the main heroine of the setting, he's borderline a Glorified Sperm Donor for Erma so she can bear a child and after he accomplished that, he is killed during the ILR attack to Erma's homeworld, so Erma can have something to angst about. The only thing we know about him is being a Nice Guy towards everybody else.
    • Teka Ardehad: She appears in a way completely out of the blue for both Erma and the readers, not only because she appears for the first time in the Distant Finale as an adult woman but also because she's Erma's cloned daughter without any explanation on how the hell the Ardehads got Erma's DNA, other than they need an heir since they can't bear one. This is even more egregious because Erma never bother to ask Teka about that and she doesn't look surprised at all after finding out the truth and she even believe her story, something even more egregious if you take into account she is supposed to be a professional soldier first and a person second, and she was supposed to be working as a spy in an enemy planet, and Teka almost blows out her cover. Even worse she appears in the regular continuity as a kid meaning she and Erma will not ever meet until decades later.
  • What an Idiot: Even if Tavas' plans could worked with or without Tasak's help, one could argue the Felnas themselves are partly accountable of their own doom by sheer stupidity of Kanoc and his daughter Erma. Kanoc treated Erma much better than her brother when both were kids, and Erma's attitude as a kid didn't help matters for Tasak's self-esteem. It doesn't help Kanoc disowned Tasak after he joined to the EDF against their parents' wishes, partly because they don't want Tasak to suffer the same fate of his father and his elder sister, but it ended alienating him more, causing him to join forces with Tavas for pulling out a coup d'etat and destroying both his family and his homeland at the same time, the last two were not intentional from his side. Erma herself aren't safe of this, because she ignored The Net's red flags about Tasak and she could easily neutralized him, or at least talked with him when Erma, Alfon and their son Rojigo returned home, a mistake that cost her everything dear for her.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Due of the cuddly design of many characters, especially in later issues due to Gallacci's Art Evolution, one could think this is another kiddie comic with cute animals, until those "cute animals" start blowing each others' brains out almost every issue.
  • The Woobie: While not as bad like the Ikaris, the Felnas are possibly one of the most screwed-up families in fiction, since they are basically the main victims of many of the machinations from all the sides of the conflict: Kanoc, the patriarch, got tortured to the point of madness by the ILR while wife Eda has to endure the later's maniatic outbreaks, and trying to keep a straight face. Their sons suffers even more than their parents: Tasak, the younger one, is The Unfavorite for everyone else, including even The Net and he is victim of Tavas's political machinations, becoming the accomplice of Tavas's False Flag Operation plan of letting the ILR bombing his homeworld to hell, causing his entire family being separated, possibly for good, and driving him to madness. The titular heroine, for obvious reasons, receives the most painful blows: Erma got shot during the Battle of Derzon, she's later Kicked Upstairs to another planet, due to the EDF's Stay in the Kitchen-of sorts policy. She gets pregnant later and her son was born prematurely due to a serious unintentional Mind Rape from another Talent. When the things were going smooth for her and her boyfriend, her homeland got bombed, her boyfriend got killed and losing contact with her whole family and son, possibly permanently. Even Erma's own life begun in pain when a terrorist attack striked in her homeland and she was also born prematurely due of her mother Eda's shock. The word tragedy is inadequate to describe everything what happened to them.
    • Iron Woobie: After all the tragedy that befalls her, it's still surprising Erma holds enough willpower to keep going.