Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Blazers Episode #10

One of my friends and regular readers here -- who goes by the handle SGB -- has written a few times in the comments section about the powerful emotional content of Star Blazers (1979), the 1970s animated series re-purposed from Japan.  The tenth episode of the series aptly establishes that content, and is all the better for it.

Here, the Argo is, at long last, ready to leave the solar system and make a dash for Iscandar to retrieve the life-saving Cosmo DNA. 

But before the Argo leaves the solar system, the crewmen and women must make their goodbyes to Earth, and Earth Command.  Captain Avatar notes solemnly that it might be even worse to be stuck on Earth than facing danger aboard the Argo.  “They can only wait.  We can act.”

As time to communicate with Earth runs out, Nova arranges for each crew member to get five minutes on“the telecommunicator” with family and loved ones.  Mark Venture telephones his Mom and Dad, and talks to his brother Geordi, who is building a model of the Argo in the living room when the connection goes through.  

Meanwhile, Nova speaks to her own parents, and learns that her mother is obsessed not with the impending end of the world…but with finding a suitable husband for Nova upon her return.

These “goodbyes” to family are emotional enough, but then the episode follows up on such heartfelt moments with the revelation that men like Avatar and Derek Wildstar are even worse off. 

They have no one on Earth to even say goodbye to. Talk about feeling lonely...

Until the last few frames of episode ten when Desslok appears, there’s not a twitching, threatening Gamilon in sight, and that’s a very good thing, as Star Blazers diagrams the emotional impact of the Argo’s journey.  The crew must not only accept its mission, but the vast distance from Mother Earth.  And the people from Earth are hungry for hope…any hope.  

We have a great need of news of the Star Force…can we hope?” asks the Earth commander.

In short, this episode makes up for the last several middling weeks of Star Blazers, which merely tread water in terms of narrative The focus here is rightly on the crew and the fact that it carries the weight of the world upon its shoulders.  

The only negative I can point out, as before, is the detail surrounding the “star warp.”  Already -- several episodes back -- the Argo has jumped twice, and yet this episode again explains the concept of folding space all over again.  And also, I’m not quite clear why the star jump distances have been so short.  The first jump barely took the Argo from Mars to Jupiter.

Still, this entry is a very strong episode in the series, and all of “galactic space” is ahead.  Only 315 Days left…

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:23 PM

    John, thanks for the mention. Once again this series establishes a very emotional moment with Avatar and especially Derek Wildstar[because I relate to him as a boy at that time] have no one on Earth to even say goodbye to. I will admit now that when I watched this as a boy with friends in '79, I honestly had to hide the impact of how this hit me with great sadness for these characters. I was a boy in '79 that felt Derek's pain.



The Cult-TV Faces of: Prison