“You’re so used to fighting that you don’t know how to stop! You’re at war with everybody!” – Doctor Sane
As we got to the middle of this week of broadcast for STAR BLAZERS, we also moved into the middle of this second series–which meant that we were about to move into a sequence of average, so-so episodes, some of which repeated or riffed on bits from the initial voyage to Iscandar. None of these episodes was bad per se–and in instances like this one, they had some nice characterization to them. But they weren’t really the best of what the show had to offer. It’d be another week and a half of biding time.
After yesterday, the most immediate problem facing the Star Force is crowding and culture shock. The space marines that they picked up on Planet Brumus are seemingly everywhere–crashing out on the beds in Doctor Sane’s infirmary, eating everything in sight in the mess hall, and making Nova uncomfortable with their leers and advances. They’re a tough and undisciplined lot, and it’s starting to rub the crew the wrong way, in particular the Black Tiger pilots.
Wildstar is touring through the ship, trying to find Sergeant Knox, the leader of the space marines, but everywhere he goes, the marines are causing trouble, and he can’t locate their C.O. After Wildstar departs the mess hall, Conroy, fed up with the way the Marines are acting towards Nova and just in general, calls them out on it and almost sets off a full-scale riot. Nova is able to keep the peace, but it’s clear that the ship is now a powder keg.
Wildstar eventually locates Knox on the observation deck and introduces himself to the burly Sergeant. He explains that the Star Force is on an important mission so they cannot divert course to return the space marines to Earth. Knox scoffs at this, telling Wildstar that he’s sure to be ordered to bring the marines home, but Wildstar replies that Knox and his men had best get used to life aboard the Argo.
Meanwhile, in the Comet Empire, Princess Invidia is being a bit of a bitch and giving Generals Dire and Gorce the business for their forces’ defeat at Brumus. After she leaves, the two Generals lament the fact that she will someday be their ruler (“And then, disaster!‘) This business is all new for STAR BLAZERS–in YAMATO 2, as in the SARABA YAMATO film, Invidia wasn’t Zordar’s daughter at all, but rather his consort.
Back on the Argo, the Time Radar we saw installed a few episodes previously picks up the image of a strange new type of ship in the area. Unable to identify it, Wildstar puts the crew on the alert. Meanwhile, in an attempt to establish harmony with the space marines, Nova and IQ-9 are giving some of them a tour of the ship, including the hydroponic gardens that are a source of much of the Star Force’s food. But despite this, the marines help themselves to any fresh fruits or vegetables they can get their hands on—and Sergeant Knox himself is found sitting around down here, digging into an enormous watermelon.
Suddenly, the ship is rocked with explosions, and Nova races to the bridge. The Argo is being hit by missiles coming from an unknown source–presumably the ship the Time Radar detected earlier. The radar is being jammed, leading Sandor to call the ship a Space Submarine. The Star Force releases depth charges in order to flush the enemy ship out–how this all works in outer space where there is no clear up or down is a question best left unasked. The depth charges are able to silhouette the Space Sub on the Star Force’s screens, but its still launching missiles in their direction.
As the Star Force crew members scramble to combat positions, the space marines find themselves fifth wheels. All they’ve been trained to do is fight, and yet they can’t get into the conflict–Hardy denies Knox the use of an astro fighter, and when the Sergeant makes his way down to one of the main guns, all he succeeds in doing is fouling up the gunner’s shot against the enemy ship. Consequently, the Black Tigers launch to take out the Space Sub directly.
Shunned and hated wherever he goes, Knox winds up back at the infirmary, looking for Nova. He instead finds Doctor Sane and his cat both knocking back some “new soybean milk” as the battle rages around them. The Doctor offers some to the sullen marine and the two men bond as they get shitfaced. Meanwhile, the Black Tigers succeed in finishing off the Space Submarines–but it’s another dead end clue in the mystery of just what enemy the Star Force is facing.
Sandor is supportive of the perplexed and worried Wildstar. “You’ve got a tougher job than Captain Avatar had. He knew we were going to Iscandar. You don’t know yet what we’re looking for. But we’ll find it.” He tells Venture to put the ship down on a nearby small planetoid so that they can make repairs. Meanwhile, back at Earth Defense Headquarters, analysis of the data the Star Force sent back from Planet Brumus is still inconclusive in terms of identifying the enemy. The Commander orders space fleets 2 and 3 to shore up the Earth’s outer defenses at the orbit of Brumus.
Conroy reports to Wildstar on the bridge and lets him know that the Star Force has had enough–they’re actively rounding up the space marines, intending to eject them from the ship. As you’d expect, this leads almost instantly to the all-out brawl that everybody has been waiting for–and Sergeant Knox is right in the middle of it.
When Wildstar gets down to the deck to try to break things up, he’s drawn into the fighting as well, as Knox calls him out directly. All of the other fighting stops as space marines and Star Force members turn to root on their leaders who are going at it mano-a-mano. It’s Doctor Sane who loses his temper, admonishing everybody to get back to their posts and back to work before turning his attention to Wildstar and Knox.
“Come on, you leaders of men, show us how really grown up people settle their differences!” Sane shouts at Wildstar and Knox, causing them to stop fighting and listen to him. It’s pretty remarkable that this character, who started out as just broad comic relief, is now a voice of wisdom and seniority. Knox agrees to put his men under the command of Wildstar and the Star Force, but his pride is still wounded from having to retreat from Brumus. This will come up again in the future, but for the moment, the time bomb among the crew has been defused.
On the bridge, Homer picks up a message that he says is from Telezart. We’ve heard Telezart mentioned in other episodes by the Comet Empire personnel and Desslok, but there’s no reason that Homer or the rest of the Star Force should know it here. (And in YAMATO 2, it isn’t mentioned.) In a scene that represents the beginning of a pattern, Venture elbows Homer out of the way, saying that he needs to get a directional bearing in order to plot a course towards the source of the message. As in the past, the communication is broken, warning of great danger represented by the White Comet. But it’s pretty inconclusive info. Still, Venture is able to work out a direction, and so the Argo blasts off in that direction, the repair work completed and this lackluster entry finally wrapping up.