Thursday, May 13, 2021

Star Blazers, Episode #15

In this episode of the 1970s animated series, Star Blazers (1979), the Argo faces another space trap: a galactic whirlpool.  

According to Captain Avatar, this space phenomenon is caused by the impending collapse of a star, and eventually transforms into a black hole.  "It draws everything into it," he warns.

Avatar's fear proves apt when the Argo encounters a Sargasso Sea of wrecked spaceships in the whirlpool's eddies.

Then, another threat soon presents itself.  

Lysis of Gamilon takes command of a military outpost from another officer named "Volgar" and launches a fleet to pursue and destroy the Argo.  Wildstar wants to stand and fight the Gamilons, but Avatar wants to escape from the whirlpool before the ship is forever lost in its twisting currents.

Finally, Starsha of Iscandar transmits a message that provides navigational aid to the Argo, and helps the Star Force escape from the galactic whirlpool.  

Wildstar realizes that Avatar made the right call, and that if they had remained to fight the Gamilon armada (consisting of thousands of ships...) the Argo would have never lived to complete its task...

In many substantive ways, this episode is a repeat of last week's episode about the Octopus Star Group.  

There, Argo had to escape from another space trap (a giant space storm), find an escape route (a channel through clear space), and continue its mission. 

Morale aboard ship was drooping, and Mark Venture and Derek Wildstar were at odds over how to proceed.  

That's precisely the dynamic of this story, with the whirlpool replacing the Octopus storm, and Wildstar and Venture squabbling over whether to fight or plunge forward, towards Iscandar.

The big difference between these narratives involves the resolution.  Here, beautiful Queen Starsha intervenes and saves the Star Force.  She leads the Argo to safety with her  video transmission, after complimenting the bravery of Argo's crew.  The episode also boasts a unique visual in its last act: A vision of Starsha is replaced by an image of Nova, as if the two female characters are somehow one in the same.

Speaking of Nova, she is again being used by the series writers in a primarily care-taking role.  In the last episode, she was the morale officer, planning a party to lift spirits.  This episode opens with Nova delivering and serving coffee to the bridge crew.  Given that she is an important member of the Star Force, this isn't the most flattering picture of the character.

Finally, I got a kick out of the segment of the episode this week involving the Gamilons. Lysis takes over from Volgar, and he immediately re-decorates (violently...) Volgar's lurid office.  Lysis takes down all these weird art-works and paintings, that, frankly, seem a little...unsavory.  However, this choice in art appreciation is entirely appropriate given the character's name.  Volgar = "vulgar."

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