In Our Next STAR BLAZERS Adventure

EPISODE 34

Torbac, what are you up to? You have definite instructions to patrol the fringe of the Telezart area, not to advance into it. Prince Zordar of your Comet Empire has put me in charge of the defeat of the Star Force. I give the orders!” – Leader Desslok

We were very much into the middle section of this new story now, in the great waiting game episodes wherein the Star Force made the slow journey to Telezart. This episode in particular was in may respects a remake of EPISODE 15, with both a similar obstacle that the Star Force must overcome, and a similar solution to the dilemma in which it finds itself. This wasn’t the only occasion where YAMATO 2 would draw upon the original series for inspiration, but it is the first such time–and as such, this episode is a bit of a snooze.

We open with the Star Force having passed out of our Galactic System and into unknown space, on the vector that the last message gave to them. But they’re at a point where venture needs more information to chart their course, and Wildstar is concerned that they seem to be traveling in the same general direction that the mysterious White Comet is coming in from. In what will become a running bit of business, another message from Trelaina comes in, and Venture practically pushes Homer out of his communications station so that he can take the message himself. The two will continue to bicker over Venture’s treatment of Homer both for the rest of this episode and the next couple. Her message a bit less broken than in the past, Trelaina is able to give Venture a heading to embark in, and so the Star Force prepares to make a space warp.

Meanwhile, in the area of Telezart, Comet Empire General Torbac watches as the Argo changes course and decides to venture forward with his forces and engage the Star Force. From here, we pan down to Telezart itself, where we get our first real look at Trelaina and her floating space citadel. She’s an ethereal glowing space-goddess who looks a bit malnurished, and she listens in as Gamilon Leader Desslok attempts to exercise his Zordar-given authority over Torbac to get him to remain in place–an attempt which fails.

As Eager finishes up the calculations needed for the Warp, Homer reports that Trelaina is broadcasting again. Once more, Venture pushes him out of his work station, but this time there isn’t much to the message apart from a general sense of panic on Trelaina’s part. Meanwhile, Nova and IQ-9 bump into Sergeant Knox and warn him about the upcoming space warp. STAR BLAZERS rather wisely cuts out the fact that what Nova is doing here is the crew laundry, you know, because she’s a girl. Knox has got his full bluster on, he’s not worried about making the warp.

But his men sure are! Heading back to the marines’ quarters, Knox finds his guys scrambling for cover in their own beds, and he scoffs at their distress. “They’re makin’ a big deal over nothing!” he says after one of his guys tells him that he’d better hit the deck. But then the warp is executed, and Knox finds himself experiencing its trippy effects for the first time: it’s like a bad drug trip, the room seems to ripple and waver, and Knox finds himself hanging out into endless space, hanging on for dear life to whatever he can get a grip on. As the ship comes out of warp, Knox crawls from his room, unable to stand–and is further frustrated as Dr. Sane’s pet Mimi marches proudly past him, seemingly unaffected.” Oh no, I’m weaker than a cat!” cries Knox as he pounds the deck in frustration.

When the Argo emerges from the warp, the Star Force finds itself in the middle of a space cyclone that drags the ship into its midst. Venture and Orion make every effort to try to break free of the strong current, but nothing they do is able to liberate their vessel from its almost magnetic pull. Another call comes in from Trelaina at this point, but Venture has his hands full at the helm. But it’s clear from her message that the White Comet is the danger she’s concerned about. Sandor conjectures that she might either be trying to warn them, or else lead them into a trap. In YAMATO 2, that’s because this latest message is a fake, an enemy trick to ensnare the Argo deeper within the space cyclone, a plot point that STAR BLAZERS discards.

Meanwhile, Torbac’s fleet has also arrived in the area, and he’s charted the area before. He orders his men to take up stations around the sargasso at the center of the cyclone–once the Star Force is ensnared therein, they can destroy it with missiles from afar at their leisure. (Again, STAR BLAZERS skates past many of these particular plot points.) There’s also a sequence cut where the Argo runs into the derelict of a destroyed and decayed ship as it struggles to free itself, the space marines watching from the observation deck wondering just what they’ve gotten themselves into on this boat.

Eventually, the Argo comes to a stop in what they refer to as the eye of the cyclone, a place where they find dozens of ruined and decayed ships that, like them, were pulled in and couldn’t escape again. What’s more, the radio seems to be dead, and the Wave-Motion Engine doesn’t seem to be building up power. On the observation deck, the marines are beginning to freak out a little bit when Dr. Sane appears and tells them they’ve got a bad case of space fever, and he knows just the cure. He takes them to the Star Force’s little-used holography room, where they can experience a little taste of home–in this case, a seaside luau.

Torbac and his aide are delighted by their good fortune. They know that they won’t have to do anything to destroy the Star Force now. And indeed, in addition to the equipment malfunctions, the crew begins to experience wardrobe malfunctions (starting with Nova in an early bit of “fan service’ that remarkably was left in the STAR BLAZERS cut.) as their uniforms begin to decay right off their bodies. Time at the center of the sargasso runs oddly, so everything on the ship is now aging rapidly. This makes for some embarrassing moments down in the Holography room (again, surprisingly left intact in STAR BLAZERS) as the Marines’ uniforms virtually explode off their bodies, leaving the entire company in a distressing state of undress, including poor ol’ Doctor Sane.

Back on the bridge, things are looking grim, as enemy missiles begin to pepper the ship. Suddenly, in the manner of EPISODE 15, the Astro-Compass activates, showing a new heading, and a message comes in from Trelaina despite the fact that the radio has been out, urging the Star Force to take this direction, that it is a narrow channel out of the field they’re ensnared in. The Star Force does so, and in no time at all, they break free from the grip of the space cyclone.

Torbac’s fleet is still waiting there as well, but they must not be the cream of the Comet Empire crop, as the Star Force blasts its way through their ranks, destroying several ships before making its escape from the battlefield in one of the cheapest battle sequences in the series–it just looks awful. General Torbac is chagrined but unbowed. He vows to keep the enemy ship in sight, and await his chance to destroy it.

In the aftermath of the battle, another message from Trelaina arrives–and Homer doesn’t even kick up a fuss as Venture takes his place at the radio console. This time, the broadcast is clear, and the speaker identifies herself as Trelaina of the planet Telezart. Despite the fact that the Star Force seemed to know this fact in the last episode, it’s treated as new information here. Trelaina reiterates her warning about the White Comet, identifying it as the Comet Empire to the Star Force for the first time, and she urges them to come to Telezart. But before she can reveal more, Torbac’s fleet begins to once again jam her transmission signal.

The Star Force is frustratingly unable to get a precise location or even a proper vector towards Telezart before the message is completely jammed. Undaunted, Wildstar declares that they’l continue in the direction that they were going and hope for the best. And that’s where this inconsequential episode leaves things off, with the Star Force continuing into unknown space, and the Comet Empire continuing to draw closer to Earth.

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