Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Star Blazers, Episode #25

This week on the 1970s animated series Star Blazers (1979), the saga inches closer to its stirring climax.  The Argo has reached distant Iscandar and the crew meets beautiful Queen Starsha, the last survivor of a once-proud race.

Starsha gives the Star Force the gift of the Cosmo DNA, a device that can save the Earth from catastrophic radiation damage.  She also shows them how her world is now a graveyard, having suffered a terrible plague. 

Derek Wildstar also finds a personal surprise on Iscandar.  His brother Alex is alive there, nursed back to health by Starsha.  And since she refuses to leave her planet, Alex also refuses to return to Earth.

Meanwhile, several members of the Star Force mutiny and decide to remain on Iscandar -- and “Diamond Island --” rather than return to Earth.  In the end, the mutiny is put down, and only Starsha and Alex -- “the Adam and Eve of a brand new Iscandar” -- stay behind.

Only 131 days remain until Earth becomes “a silent planet!”

We’re almost in the final chapter of Star Blazers now (just one more episode to go…) and this episode must rank as one of the best and most unique of the canon.  With the Gamilons defeated and out of the way, there’s plenty of time for character development, and many of the season-long plot-threads finally come together.  

For instance, we meet noble Starsha and see the return of Alex, and we also reckon with the idea that some Star Force crew members, exhausted from the laborious trip, don't want to return to Earth.  They actually raise a good point: If the Cosmo DNA device doesn't work and Earth dies, Iscandar can become a colony of humanity in space.

The episode's silliest moment occurs when the turncoats capture Nova (apparently for breeding...) and demand that she remain with them on Iscandar. It's a false and unnecessary threat in an otherwise intriguing and emotional show. And again, why is Nova always treated like the only woman on the Argo (or the universe for that matter)?

The relationship between Alex and Starsha quickly proves one of the most interesting of the series, and provides a powerful contrast to the relationship of Desslok and Starsha.  Alex and Starsha love one another, and care for one another, but Desslok only understands conquest and fear.  I always admire futuristic TV programming that asserts that what makes humanity strong is not force, not tactics, not equipment, not firepower, but its own unique nature: mercy, kindness, loyalty and love. Certainly, Star Blazers might be viewed in that light.  The crew of the Argo have stayed true to human nature on their long journey, and are now at the end of their quest (though the return trip looms...)

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