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The Joker Cluster consists of five star systems in close proximity, where human pilots (headliners) are bonded with sentient androids (fatimas) to control giant robots (mortar heads). Dr. Chrome Ballanche, the greatest of the genetic engineers, completes his two most perfect creations, the fatimas Lachesis and Clotho. Their sister, Atropos, has vanished. The fatimas go to the castle of the local lord Uber to be "impressed," a ceremony at which they select their future partners from among the ranks of headliners. Most pilots have to make do with "etrimls," low-grade subhuman versions, so the beautiful fatimas are highly prized, not only by the assembled pilots, but also by several notables who are attending the ceremony in disguise.
Condensed from just one segment of Mamoru Nagano's sprawling 1986 manga that's still occasionally serialized in Newtype, FSS duplicates the original's baroque feel, as well as its near impenetrability. With mount-rider relationships that presage Brain Powered and sumptuous science-fantasy conceits, the look of the characters and machinery is as marvelous as one might expect from a fashion-designer-turned-rock-musician such as Nagano. N