Monday, April 26, 2021

Star Blazers, Episode #7

Gamilon forces strike back in Star Blazers, episode #7.  Here, the evil aliens wait for the Argo to approach the secret base on Pluto, and then prime their “ultimate weapon,” the Reflex Gun.

On the Argo, it’s time for tough choices.  

Destroy the Pluto Base and spare Earth additional bombardments by planet bombs, or set course for Iscandar at top speed? 

Somewhat surprisingly, Captain Avatar chooses battle. 

Unfortunately, the Reflex Gun fires on the unsuspecting Star Force vessel, emitting a “powerful surge of energy” that damages the ship.  When Captain Avatar attempts to use the planet Pluto to hide from the weapon’s line of sight, he learns that a clutch of orbital satellites can transmit the weapon’s power to Argo, no matter where it hides.

As the episode ends, the Argo goes down…falling into a planetary ocean on Pluto.

I must confess that with this installment, I’m beginning to find the development of Star Blazers’ s narrative a little bit anemic.  It’s been several weeks now of punch and counter-punch between secret Gamilon facilities and weaponry (like the Ultra Menace Missile or the Reflex Gun) and the Argo, and so this episode, frankly, feels like a retread. 

What’s worse, the story is stretched out, essentially, to two parts, with the Argo still battling the planet-based Reflex Gun in episode eight.  It feels like a very long preamble, and I hope there will be some forward plot momentum soon.

Early in the episode, Captain Avatar notes that “We’re in Gamilon territory now,” and he’s right.  Indeed, much of the solar system -- near Mars, Jupiter, Titan and Pluto -- is solidly in the hands of the enemy.  With Argo as the only line of defense, one wonders why the Gamilons don’t simply invade Earth and be done with the war all together.  They possess numerical, technological, and territorial supremacy, as episodes one through six abundantly demonstrate. 

I was also curious regarding Captain Avatar’s rational for fighting the Gamilons at Pluto.  He knows there is only one ship – Argo – that can reach Iscandar in time and recover the device that will save the Earth.  I thought for certain Avatar would see the logic of fighting another day, and use the wave motion engine to get out of Dodge, so-to-speak. 

After all, whether or not it is being bombarded on a daily basis by Planet Bombs, Earth still has a death sentence: 356 days till destruction   By risking the Argo at Pluto, Captain Avatar risks the survival of the Earth.  

The only possible reasons to fight the Gamilons at this juncture are: a sense of revenge/justice for those who have been killed (like Avatar’s son and Wildstar’s brother), or to build morale within the Star Force, going forward.  I’m sure no one in the Star Force wants to feel as though he or she “ran” from a fight with the Gamilons.

Still, Avatar’s choice here, at least to me, isn’t particularly indicative of big picture thinking, or really, an adherence to duty over and responsibility over sentiment.  And I thought duty and responsibility were key elements of the series’ thematic gestalt.

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