Friday, May 07, 2021

Star Blazers: Episode #12

This week's episode of the animated series Star Blazers (1979) finds tons of new menace for our intrepid Star Force.  

The evil Gamilon leader Desslok attempts to trap the Argo with a space net, pursues the giant ship with an energy gas cloud that consumes matter, and then tries to lure the embattled space battleship into a Red sun nicknamed "the Sea of Fire."

And if all this isn't trouble enough for one crew, Captain Avatar is rapidly weakening, and refuses to be hospitalized for his grave condition...

This episode is one of the best so far in the series, for a couple of dynamic reasons.  

In the first case, the pace is faster.  Up till now, we've been getting a menace a week (like the Desslok space mines, or the ultra menace missile...), with the Argo laboriously avoiding it, and destruction.  This week's installment provides three challenges to overcome in twenty-minutes, and so the episode flies by.

More importantly, character development doesn't have to take a back seat this week to all the space adventuring.  

Instead, we watch as the brave Captain Avatar -- my favorite character -- starts to succumb to the radioactive sickness that is also poisoning many denizens of Earth.  In noble fashion, Avatar refuses to be hospitalized, counting himself responsible for the success or failure of the Argo's mission to Iscandar. Unfortunately, he is so ill, he can hardly give orders, and that fact actually jeopardizes the mission.

As you might suspect, Avatar's illness is the beginning of an important plot-turn in the series, and it's heart-breaking to witness.  Avatar is a figure of stability and wisdom in Star Blazers, and so to watch him grow ill is both difficult and upsetting.  

But, of course, if one follows the Joseph Campbell "monomyth" pattern, the wise old general or elder must -- after imparting his wisdom -- leave the stage to make room for the new, young hero...

In terms of other character developments this week, the series finally begins to pay some attention to the long-dormant or at least unexplored attraction between Nova and Derek Wildstar.  

As the episode opens and closes this week Nova wishes upon a star, to the taunts of Wildstar.  

But Nova leaves the young officer speechless when she notes that her wish is "for a certain person to fall in love" with her.

I think we both know who that person is, don't we?

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