In Our Next STAR BLAZERS Adventure

EPISODE 39

One thing you can say for them, those Star Force space jockeys sure know how to live!” – Sergeant Knox

After a few weeks, the Star Force had finally arrived at Telezart, the source of the mysterious messages from Trelaina. The entire journey took far less time than the previous trip to Iscandar, as in this instance the voyage was in the service of a larger story, rather than being the crux of the story itself. Now the focus would switch over to hand-to-hand combat, and the space marines, having become something of an impediment since coming aboard the Argo, would get to show their mettle.

The episode opens with the Argo approaching Telezart for the first time. Sandor has run an analysis of the planet and found it to be largely hollow, like Gamilon. The surface is unfit for life, so if Trelaina is to be found everywhere, it’ll be in the interior. Just then, the Star Force is startled as a colossal image of Trelaina appears over Telezart. The telepathic image begins to give the Star Force information about her location, but as in the past, it is jammed and fades from view.

Assuming that the continued jamming means that there are still enemy units stationed on Telezart, Wildstar calls the space marines into action. They’ll be the spearpoint of the Star Force’s landing efforts, dropping down first and establishing a beachhead on the planet’s interior. Sergeant Knox and his men are grateful for a chance after so much inactivity, and they also want to avenge their humiliating defeat on Planet Brumis, which still hangs over them and is mentioned by Knox with alarming regularity.

But before the space marines’ transport can launch, the ship comes under missile fire from a ground-based installation. A nicely-animated battle breaks out–better looking than most in the series because it recycles a lot of its footage from the SARABA YAMATO feature film, which had a higher budget and animation standard. The Star Force returns fire on the base, destroying it with bow missiles while the space marines set off.

Descending into Telezart, the marines take the opportunity to fire off a few shots themselves before making planetfall. After radioing in their status, they move out for the cave that Trelaina mentioned in her aborted last message. The move into an area that was clearly once a major city and are shocked and stunned by the devastation. There are destroyed vehicles and airships crashed into buildings–but whatever took place in this city clearly happened a long time ago.

Meanwhile, Desslok and the Gamilon Fleet approach the Comet Empire, where Desslok was seemingly ordered to return. That order was a feint on Invidia’s part in order to eliminate Desslok from the playing field, and now she approaches Prince Zordar with news of Desslok’s return. “The mighty Desslok has given up the fight!” she tells him. “Maybe he’s finally heard about Trelaina’s strange power and she scared him off! He wouldn’t be the first man to be frightened of her!” Zordar is skeptical, he’s got more trust in Desslok than that and he agrees to meet with him and hear him out. But Invidia convinces him to let her handle things. “Don’t you think it might be better if I talk to him, father? He’s deserted his military position without call, and he’s bound to be humiliated and disgraced. It probably would be easier for him to confess to me. He’s a proud man–and also devious. I’m sure I can get the truth from him!

Desslok and his aide Talan are cooling their heels in Zordar’s throne room awaiting their audience. As his gaze falls upon Desslok’s throne, the Leader thinks to himself, “Someday, that will be mine.” It’s a sentiment that was added in entirely in STAR BLAZERS and isn’t present in the original YAMATO 2 source material. Before meeting with Desslok, Invidia lines up an ally in General Dire, who has similarly been concerned about the influence Desslok has been gaining with the ruler of the Comet Empire. So he needs to be put out of the way. Together, the two go to confront the Gamilon leader.

On Telezart, within an enemy outpost, General Scourge is updated on the Argo’s landing party’s progress. He intends to surround Knox and the marines with robot tanks once they reach the flat plain where there is little cover. Scourge hits the fact that these are unmanned robot tanks hard, because in YAMATO 2 they aren’t, and so in STAR BLAZERS the writers want to make sure that everybody understands that no human beings are going to be injured in the battle to come.

Meanwhile, on board the Argo, crew members are getting ready for their meeting with Trelaina. Nova gathers some flowers from the sip’s hydroponic garden that Wildstar can give to her, because her planet is so desolate. Elsewhere, Royster preens, telling IQ-9 that he expects Trelaina to fall hopelessly in love with him. The robot responds by messing up his hair. And on the bridge, Knox and the marines finally report in, broadcasting images of the devastation back to the Star Force. Sandor theorizes that such destruction could only have been caused by a war. In STAR BLAZERS the Star Force theorizes that possibly the Comet Empire was responsible for this attack, whereas in YAMATO 2, this is conclusively ruled out–an odd change to make.

Arriving at the clearing, the space marines decamp their transport and decide to take the opportunity to chow down. As they enjoy their picnic, they can feel a rumbling in the distance–one that they’re soon able to identify as enemy tanks. The marines snap into action, taking cover among the scant fortifications in the area as the tanks open fire. Their transport is destroyed, and Knox radios the Argo for reinforcements.

In response, Wildstar, Sandor and IQ-9 load up into a second transport and descend into Telezart. But in the meantime, the marines are taking a pasting. There’s a bunch of small edits throughout this sequence to eliminate the many instances of marines getting blown to smithereens (or, in one instance, being run over by an enemy tank.)

And that’s where this episode wraps up, with the marines under heavy fire, Wildstar and company racing to provide support, and Desslok awaiting his audience with Prince Zordar, unaware of what is coming for him. It’s a bit of an oddly-paced episode, in part because the YAMATO 2 production crew is trying to reuse as much footage from the SARABA YAMATO movie as possible, which means extending this battle over two episodes so as to get the greatest value.

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