Janice Em is a character that features in Robotech.
Janice Em debuts at the beginning of the first "act" of the Sentinels storyline, covered by Jack McKinney's first novel, The Devil's Hand, and Eternity Comics' The Sentinels: Book I comic book. Introduced simply as the niece of Dr. Emil Lang, she is the new singing partner of starlet Lynn-Minmei, and together, they perform at the wedding of Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes. Soon after, Minmei convinces Janice to pilot a shuttle to the SDF-3 so she can say goodbye to her friends before they depart on their diplomatic mission to the planet Tirol, but their ship is caught up in the space fold when the SDF-3 teleports away. Brought on board the SDF-3 to recover, Janice's true robotic nature is revealed to the audience when her creator, Dr. Lang, downloads her recent memories to analyze her unexpected actions. Lang had installed her as Minmei's partner so that she could travel the world as a pop star, talking to the right people in the corridors of power, feeding the suspicious Lang information about the untrustworthy government while he was off-planet.
In the second act of The Sentinels, detailed in McKinney's Dark Powers and Eternity's The Sentinels: Book II, the titular Sentinels themselves enter the scene, a rag-tag group of aliens who are attempting to free their homeworlds from the clutches of the Invid. When a contingent of REF personnel join them on their mission, Lang arranges for Janice to be part of the mission to serve as his eyes and ears, keeping particular watch on Rem, a clone of the Robotech Master Zor. The Sentinels' adventures leave them stranded on the dying planet of Praxis at the beginning of the story's third act, as seen in McKinney's Death Dance and Book III of the Sentinels comics, published by both Eternity and Academy Comics. Janice teams with pilot Jonathan Wolfe to recover a drive module from orbital space that the team could use to escape the planet, but during in the process, they are hijacked by renegade Sentinel Burak and his Invid ally Tesla, who both seek to use the module to return to their homeworlds. Janice intervenes, using her robotic powers to interface with the module and lock in a course back to Tirol and SDF-3; upon their return, Dr. Lang supplies Wolfe and Janice with the SDF-7, which they use to save the Sentinels before Praxis destroys itself.
The fourth act of The Sentinels, told through McKinney's World Killers and Acadaemy's The Sentinels: Book IV, finally has Janice's true nature revealed to her comrades when she is forced to interface with the Awareness, the massive computer-mind of the artificial planet Haydon IV, in order to save her friends by turning the planet's defense system against the Invid. Despite some initial concern over the duplicity, everyone takes the revelation in stride, and Janice's standing in the group remains strong, especially after she revealed her robotically-enhanced combat proficiency in the final battle to free Haydon IV. Following the liberation of the remaining Sentinels' planets, the fifth and final act of The Sentinels, covered in McKinney's Rubicon, sees the heroes confront treacherous REF general T.R. Edwards on Optera. Edwards is planning to used the world's Genesis Pits to engineers a race of monsters, but Janice stops him by holographically disguising herself as Minmei, whom Edwards had become infatuated with. Using the disguise to get close to Edwards, Janice seizes him, sacrificing herself to topple him into the Genesis Pit, ending both their lives.
Janice played a large role in the rebooted Robotech universe of the 21st century. WildStorm Comics' mini-series, Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, served as an alternate ending to the Sentinels storyline, in which Janice helps Dr. Lang and the Haydonites unravel the mysteries of the cloaking "Shadow Technology" used by Edwards in his flight to Optera. Using the revelations gained from these studies, Lang begins constructing a new body incorporating Haydonite technology for Janice while she departs to join the final battle against Edwards. This conflict plays out as in Rubicon, with Janice disguising herself as Minmei to hurl Edwards into the Genesis Pit, but the Waltrips effected an alternate ending they had planned for their original adaptation, in which Edwards emerges from the pit as a mutated horror. Janice, too, survives the plunge, and clings to Edwards's back, serving as a homing beacon for the SDF-3 to target its synchro-cannons upon. Moments before the blast is fired, obliterating Edwards, Janice transfers her mind into the new body Lang had created for her.
At the conclusion of Prelude, Janice participates in a test of the Hadyonites' dangerous Neutron-S Missiles, which badly damages the SDF-3 and its sister ship, the Deukalion. Janice survives the blast, and is recovered from the Deukaleon in the Shadow Chronicles feature itself. A strange romance seeming to bloom between Janice and her recoverer, Dr. Louie Nichols, and she serves as his assistant in analyzing Haydonite technology. Soon, however, it is discovered that the Haydonites actually seek to destroy all users of Protoculture, and Vince Grant has Janice imprisoned on the belief that she is a traitor, given the Haydonite technology in her systems. The Haydonites soon arrive to take custody of Janice, but when she refuses to aid them, they attempt to destroy her. Realizing his mistake, Vince saves Janice and welcomes her back into the REF.
Janice's new appearance, as well as her name, is evidently based on a woman from Dr. Lang's past, the nature of their relationship is unknown. Early in Prelude, she noted that the name Lang gave her apparently wasn't a coincidence, but she doesn't mind, stating that she felt "honored". Later, her new human appearance may have taken on the form of her namesake from Lang's past. She appears to have intentionally chosen image, hoping Lang would not mind. Lang' response is that he felt "honored".
Personality and attributes
She showed no offence at being called a machine as she considered herself one.
Powers and abilities
The technology within her allowed her to produce a holographic appearance thus making her appear human.
She was said to had been partially been built with Haydonite technology thus giving her a unique electromagnetic signature.
- Janice was created by Robotech producer and writer Carl Macek as part of the expanded story he crafted for the series. Like fellow Sentinels character T.R. Edwards, Jance was originally intended to debut in 1986's Robotech: The Movie; according to Macek's notes in the art book, Robotech Art 3, she would have been an artificial intelligence brought to Earth aboard the spaceship SDF-1 and used by the government of Earth for propaganda and cover-ups, subsequently rebuilt into an android by existing Robotech character, Emil Lang, during the time that passed between the movie and The Sentinels.
- As Robotech: The Movie was an English dub of the direct-to-video Japanese feature, Megazone 23, "Janice" was to be the English-language version of the artificial intelligence from that movie, Eve Tokimatsuri. Per Macek's original vision, the movie would have taken place during the early stages of the Macross portion of the Robotech storyline, in the early 2010s, but this intention was lost when film distributor Cannon Films requested major revisions to the story. In the final Canon-approved cut, the timeframe of the film was advanced to the year 2027—a point in time when Janice would not have been able to feature in the story. Consequently, the plan to make Eve and Janice the same character was discarded, but it was Eve who remained the artificial intelligence from the SDF-1; Janice was henceforth simply referred to as a creation of Lang and Lazlo Zand, built on Earth in 2013.
- The withdrawal of partner Matchbox Toys ultimately caused The Sentinels to be cancelled after only approximately three episodes' worth of footage had been completed. This footage was cut together to form a "movie" of sorts that was released directly to video, and in which Janice briefly appeared, voiced by actress Wendee Lee, and betraying no hint of her true robotic nature, save perhaps for what Lynn-Minmei calls "a very odd sense of humor". The remainder of the Sentinels storyline, including the revelation of Janice's true nature and her sacrifice in order to end the conflict, was subsequently told through a series of five novels penned by Jack McKinney, based on Macek's outline for the unproduced cartoon. A comic book adaptation of the Sentinels storyline was also produced by Jason and John Waltrip from 1988 to 1996, across two publishers, but was cancelled before it could reach its conclusion.
- Jance got a new lease on life when Harmony Gold decided to reboot the Robotech universe for the 21st century. Intended to serve as a lead-in to the upcoming animated movie, Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, WildStorm published a comic book mini-series, Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, penned by returning creators Jason and John Waltrip. Although many of the specific details were different in the revised, post-reboot timeline, Prelude essentially allowed the Waltrips to finish their version of the Sentinels storyline, including a new ending in which Janice survived, so she could go on to star in the Shadow Chronicles film, in which she was voiced by Chase Masterson.