LaMetal (the Japanese Wikipedia Article) Part II of II
[Here’s the rest of my translation of the Wikipedia article on LaMetal, Maetel’s home planet in the Leijiverse (read the original here). To spice things up, I’ve added some images of LaMetalian royalty from Space Symphony Maetel.]
It is named Miyu City in Millennial Queen. Its existence as the capital of LaMetal predates the birth of the human race, and the Sacred Palace of the leader LaRela is located within it. When the surface ice melts a large number of long and slender buildings resembling horsetails emerges, giving the city an ultra-modern and dignified appearance. Concerning its whereabouts, there is an account that “it is located on the southern coast of the continent of LaMiyu, which is separated by a 300 km strait from the equatorial continent of North Scarab.” LaMiyu is said to be 1.5 times the size of Africa, and it comes to the surface as a floating continent at the time LaMetal is approaching Earth. In the TV version, Miyu is an underground capital wholly illuminated by an artificial sun. Moreover, in the novelization by Keisuke Fujikawa (the scriptwriter for the TV version) the capital is named LaMetal City.
In Maetel Legend, during the period when Promethium has become queen of LaMetal, there is no mention of the city’s name. However, there is a building that resembles the Sacred Palace.
The capital appears as Neo City Miyu in Space Symphony Maetel. The architecture has been shaped by the mechanization process and the design will carry over into the Mechanization Empire. While the construction of the outer shell is taking place, barriers are erected in the remaining unbuilt spaces in order to ward off meteorites. However, a rebel fleet led by Promethium’s former subordinate Leonardo bombs and destroys the city.
Dark Sun Ra
It appears in Millennial Queen as a dark star with an immense influence on LaMetal’s orbit. Its existence has been common knowledge among LaMetalians since ancient times, and it is recorded in the old epics of LaMetal. Ra’s perpendicular approach to Earth has an effect on that planet, just as LaMetal does, specifically bringing about earthquakes. On this particular occasion Ra is passing underneath the Solar System, but this trajectory is not fixed and can change each time. Ra warps space and time in its vicinity, causing objects to look disfigured or amorphous. If one is able to see “with one’s heart” and visually arrest the surroundings, it looks as if a hole had been made in space. Ra also possesses a dimensional gravity which only affects LaMetal, and it is due to this influence that the planet leaves the Solar System one last time after the 1999-2000 contact and travels toward the galaxy of Andromeda. Toward the end of the story in the film version, Dark Sun Ra finds itself in a second Milky Way that intersects our own galaxy.
In the TV version it appears starting from episode 40 as Dark Comet Ra. It emits powerful electromagnetic waves and it is composed of supermatter moving as a comet, absorbing all sorts of things along the way. In essence it behaves like a black hole in motion. During the show, the elites of Earth attempting to escape the collision with LaMetal on a spaceship are sucked in by the attractive power of Ra. Regarding Ra and LaMetal’s simultaneous motion, Professor Amamori conjectures that the planet’s powerful gravity and Ra’s strong attraction happen to perfectly balance each other out. Yayoi intends to alter LaMetal’s orbit and thus prevent its collision with Earth by cutting off the link with Ra. To this end she travels to her mother the sacred queen and asks her to devise a means for this task. However, the sacred queen refuses as she revers Ra as a deity. In the novelization of the TV series (the Fujikawa version), the sacred queen decides to sever the connection with Ra but the energy required for this would mean the destruction of LaMetal so she abandons the project. Analysis at the observatory reveals an imbalance in the mass distribution of Ra and a mass diagram is drawn up on the basis of this findings. Professor Amamori is able to confirm that the left side of Ra’s mass is weaker. A force of 2.4 “universal powers” added to this side would result in the destruction of Ra. The only possible object that can achieve this is the spaceship that was made by order of Yayoi, but as remote piloting is impossible due to Ra’s electromagnetic waves, Yayoi decides to board the spaceship alone. Using her will power to move the vessel, she rams it into Ra, causing its destruction and averting the possibility of Earth’s obliteration.
* – The name derives from the Egyptian Sun God “Ra” and the English word “Metal”, but in Adieu Galaxy Express 999 it appears on the station sign as “Larmetal”. Ramen noodles appear frequently in Matsumoto’s comics, so some readers thought this might be the origin but Matsumoto himself has denied it.
* – According to Matsumoto’s original conception, LaMetal is pulled under the influence of Ra as far as a point halfway between Earth and Andromeda. Later on, in the 999 story, it is caught by the gravity of Heavy Melder’s sun and begins to trace a similar 1,000 year elliptical orbit (5).
* – In the city of Kitakyushu, in Matsumoto’s native prefecture of Fukuoka, there is a company that provides a visitor care service entitled “Helper Station LaMetal” (link here). Matsumoto was born in Kurume City, Fukuoka.
(5) – From “My Anime”, 1982 May issue. Akita Shoten. page 122.
OK, translation over. Now, as the article clearly states, the first part of the name of this planet comes from the Sun God Ra. In fact, there is a deep connection between Ancient Egypt and the planet. Cleopatra was actually a Millennial Queen and Egyptian legends talk of this planet. So obviously we should call it Ra-Metal, or RaMetal or Ra Metal. Why do I (among others) insist on LaMetal?
For me the main reason is phonaesthetic: LaMetal sounds better to me. And the Japanese themselves, because they lack a clear “l” sound, like to overuse the “l” in fictional, foreign or alien names. Plus this “Ra/La” element is used as an honorific prefix for the LaMetalian Queens (and for the geographical features and cities), and as a Spanish speaker I find “La” very feminine. But still, Ra is Ra, right?
But wait. It turns out Ancient Egyptians did not have an “l” sound either, and whenever they borrowed a foreign word (from the Greek, for example) they would change all the “l”s into “r”s! So if, hypothetically in terms of the Leijiverse, they had heard of a mysterious alien/divine power called “La”, they would have had no choice but to call it “Ra”. So voila, I feel I have complete license to stick to “LaMetal” rather than “RaMetal”.