SPC Harlock 09-11: Daiba does it Again
In these episodes we learn that the overwhelming presence of Mazone on Earth actually deserves the name of INFESTATION. When Harlock, on a hunch, orders the retrieval of an ancient artifact from the Earth Federation Museum [a so-called Flame Pot] the entire museum staff turn out to be undercover Mazone. And yes, the Flame Pot turns out to be a Mazone communications device. Plus the South American rainforest is full of dormant Mazone.
To sum it up, it’s like going to Disneyland’s “It’s a small world” ride and finding all the little international dolls replaced with vegetable vixens.
For what it’s worth, Queen Lafresia’s boast that her home planet is beyond (or without) time, and that her minions are scattered throughout the whole temporal universe is awesome. I can only hope they will dwell on this little statement some more before the series is over.
Episode 10 fulfills many a viewer’s dream by showing us Capt. Harlock slapping Daiba to the ground (supposedly to make him snap from his narrow-minded obsession to avenge his father and turn him to thinking BIG). You’d think Daiba would have been clear-headed after such a blow, but he messes up again soon after when he gawks at his beautiful Mazone rival and gets his ship blown to smithereens. Lola the warrior is very pretty, sure, but come on!!
One good thing does come out of Daiba’s stupidity: Harlock decides to destroy the Mazone mothership with a ramming attack! This bodyblow tactic which one feels is so at home with the Japanese aesthetic has a nicely ironic linguistic turn: how do Harlock and crew call the ram in Japanese: “Ramu”. Oh!
If you ever find yourself writing a paper on “Leiji, Women and Feminism” how’s this for a start:
The Mazone look like lovely women.
Daiba is lured by their beauty.
Harlock tells him categorically: the Mazones are alien plantforms, not women!
The Arcadia analyzes Mazone ship fragments to determine where their base is on the Solar System AND
Their base just happens to be the planet Venus.
Ahem, Venus. Could there be any name more quintessentially feminine? Is Leiji confused? What is the place of Women in the Leijiverse? Discuss.
On the way to Venus the Arcadia picks Lola from the Mazone debris and the captain straightaway puts Daiba in charge of her (or “it”?). And of course this is to make Daiba grow as an individual, while putting all of humanity, let alone the rest of the crew, in mortal danger. Ol’ Harlock is setting up a Bildungsroman it seems…
…where Tadashi Daiba fails again: he is tricked by Lola into thinking she is his (long dead) mother, and he promptly lets her escape on the surface of Venus. The crew of the Arcadia not only forgive him this, but in some convoluted fashion actually thank him for it, claiming that Daiba’s experience has taught them once and for all that the Mazone will go at any length to manipulate their enemies and that the crew of Arcadia must redouble its vigilance.
The funniest moment in this 11th episode was Yuki’s grimacing at the doctor’s speculations on what could occur in a closed room between Daiba and Lola. Was this a motherly fear? Or was there some sort of jealousy involved as well? Hmmm…