“To the Star Force. You are an enemy to be admired. Once again you have demonstrated your great ability, second only to mine. But count your days–they are numbered. Signed, Desslok of Gamilon.” – Homer, reading Desslok’s message.
As Monday rolled around, events in the world of STAR BLAZERS began to pick up some momentum as the week went on. The first order of business was dispatching the remainder of the third-string Comet Empire force that had been plaguing our heroes for the better part of the last week, so that the story could move on to the main event, the return grudge match between Leader Desslok of Gamilon and his Star Force rivals.
As the episode opens, General Torbac is bored out of his mind on patrol near Telezart, where his true objective is to keep a watchful eye on Leader Desslok for Prince Zordar, to make certain that the Gamilon doesn’t step out of line. To entertain himself, Torbac decides to engage in a little target practice with his fleet’s Anti-Matter Missiles on a nearby lifeless planet.
But before this happens, in a scene cut out of STAR BLAZERS, Torbac takes his flagship to the surface of the planet, and we see that it’s not uninhabited at all, it’s rather a prehistoric world. Torbac hunts a few dinosaurs, slaughtering them easily despite the size difference with the Comet Empire’s futuristic arsenal. It’s only after he’s had his fill that he returns to space and orders his fleet to annihilate the planet. In either case, it sure seems like a waste of pricey Anti-Matter Missiles to me. And where does the fleet go to get resupplied with such enormous ordinance? I’ve no idea–but the next time we see them, they’ll be fully restocked.
Elsewhere in space, the Star Force is feeling the frustration of not knowing what their ultimate destination or course is. Sandor tells Wildstar that they must be getting close to Telezart based on all of the enemy activity they’ve been running into recently. “They’re trying desperately to keep us from getting to Telezart. The closer we get, the harder it gets.” At that moment, another broadcast from Trelaina comes in, and as usual Venture pushes Homer aside to take it himself. “She might hear you if you switched on the right channel!” Homer tells him derisively.
Trelaina is able to give Venture some navigational information, but as usual, her broadcast is interrupted and jammed. In the Gamilon fleet, General Talan reports to Desslok that this is Torbac’s doing, and Desslok orders the jamming wave cancelled out–he wants the Star Force to get to him more rapidly, so that he can defeat them. This outrages Morter, the Comet Empire’s liaison to Desslok’s Gamilon fleet. Desslok tells him to make sure that he includes this information in the secret reports he’s been sending back to Comet Empire headquarters, the ones that Desslok knows all about.
Back aboard the Argo, reception of Trelaina’s message resumes, and she warns the Star Force about a potential ambush awaiting them in a meteor field ahead of them. Venture loses his composure when Trelaina addresses him as Mark for the first time, promptly asking her about her height and hair color, and pretty much everything short of her digits. Homer gives Venture back some of the grief he’s been absorbing, telling Venture that they probably missed out on some important information while he was trying to impress Trelaina.
Wildstar issues an announcement to the crew that the ship will shortly be encountering a meteor swarm, and this is where we meet another new character in the series. This is Royster, one of Sandor’s underlings on the science team and a bit of a stereotypical nerd character–he’s fearful and skittish. In YAMATO 2, he’s a Rookie, which begs the question of just where he came from and how he got on board the ship–the rest of the crew were all Star Force veterans who reunited, remember? And Royster could’t have come aboard with the space marines either. In any event, he’s freaked out by he announcement, and Conroy tries to calm him down. “Aw, who’s scared?” he replies, “I don’t know the meaning of the word fear! I don’t even know how to spell it! But you might try panic or terror!“Royster was a fun addition and he’s played up for a couple episodes until he promptly disappears–his later scenes wound up being the first ones edited out of STAR BLAZERS once somebody realized that he was going to suffer a horrible death towards the end of the series.
Next comes a long and somewhat strange sequence set back on Earth, as the Star Force sends back their regularly scheduled report about their progress. According to Trelaina, they are only two days away from Telezart. The Commander and General Stone decide to cancel all civilian space flights in response to the growing threat of the Comet Empire, but they don’t want to disclose the danger to the public just yet. However, a civilian astronomer has taken note of the White Comet heading Earth’s way, and has calculated that it will reach Earth in 100 days.
Taking his findings to the Commander and Captain Gideon, he is sworn to secrecy about the danger facing Earth. Gideon reckons that they’ll be equipped to meet the threat of the Comet Empire if the Earth Defense Force can complete the construction of five more Andromeda-class battleships in the time they have, and so the work is sped up. But when the astronomer’s daughter’s honeymoon space flight is cancelled, she winds up revealing some of this confidential information to the public. None of this really matters much–we won’t see the astronomer or his daughter ever again. But we do have a sense of the timeline and the growing threat to Earth.
Back in space, the Argo enters the meteor swarm and begins to experience a loss of power. A quick analysis by IQ-9 indicates that the swarm is composed of a kind of “vacuum meteorite” that absorbs propulsion energy. What’s more, Eager has detected an enemy fleet up ahead, which quickly begins firing missiles at the Star Force. (In YAMATO 2, these aren’t meteorites at all, but the debris from the planet that Torbac annihilated at the beginning of the episode, which at least ties those events together a little more nicely.)
Sandor suggests that the Star Force employ the Asteroid Ring Defense, last used weeks earlier back in EPISODE 9. Magnetic beacons are fired out into the surrounding meteorites, which are then drawn into orbit around the ship. The ring is able to intercept and detonate the incoming enemy missiles before they can strike the Argo, preventing any damage. But the ship’s energy is still being drained, and now it’s being drawn into a vortex created when they reversed the polarity of the Asteroid Ring.
On the other side of the vortex, Torbac’s fleet is waiting with their Anti-Matter Missiles. Once the Argo comes through the vortex, it’ll be depleted of power and his fleet will destroy it easily. As the Argo emerges, Wildstar calls for the Wave-Motion Gun to be prepared, and Venture scoffs–they have hardly any power left, and certainly not enough to charge the Gun. But Sandor says that they should still try it, and as the charge-up sequence is initiated, power begins to flow back into the Argo, and the Gun begins to charge.
Down in the briefing room, Nova gives Royster and the space marines (and the audience) a quick refresher briefing on the Wave-Motion Gun, how it harnesses the undiluted energy of the Wave-Motion Engine and concentrates it all into a single devastating force. A moment here where Sergeant Knox winks flirtingly at Nova and she blushes in response is cut out of STAR BLAZERS. Torbac’s fleet unleashes their Anti-Matter Missiles, but it’s too late–the Wave-Motion Gun roars to life, completely obliterating both the missiles and the entirety of Torbac’s squadron. For those paying attention, this is the first time in the series that the Wave-Motion Gun has been used directly on enemy forces, rather than upon super-weapons or bases or other less direct targets.
Now that the danger has been averted, Sandor can explain what happened. When they first used the Asteroid Ring on their voyage to Iscandar, he noticed the energy drain effect, and so he equipped the drones fired into each asteroid with a transmitter that would bean the lost energy back to the ship once it was activated. So when the Star Force formed the protective ring, the ship’s energy was restored. “I just used our past experience to save us.” comments Sandor.
Also commenting is Desslok, who is elated that the Star Force is nearing his grasp. In the manner of the earliest episodes, he sends the Star Force a congratulatory message, saluting their victory. But he warns them that he will be their next opponent. The Star Force is confused by this transmission–as far as they know, Desslok died during their last encounter a year ago. “Somebody’s got a weird sense of humor and they can certainly imitate Dessloks style!” says Venture. But now the preamble is over, and the battle between the Star Force and Leader Desslok of Gamilon is set to resume tomorrow!