SPC Harlock 12-14: Standing on the Shoulders of the Mazone
Chapter 12 has Tadashi Daiba finally redeem himself by blasting Lola to smithereens after two failed attempts…
But it’s tough, and the plot thickens considerably in the process. The Arcadia has trouble finding the current Mazone base on Venus, instead descending into an abandoned base with what looks to be human-made pottery that happens to date to 180 million years ago. And then the new base, nothing less than a Mazone super battleship, rises from the ground and begins attacking the Arcadia.
Daiba’s struggle with Lola reminded me a lot of Evangelion: in my eyes we have here a proto-LCL fluid, that pink-red maternal substance which protects while threatening to drown. The way in which Daiba’s “mother” grows to enormous size prefigures Rei’s transformation in Eva…and so forth.
So Tadashi exorcises the ghost and the crew travel to Earth to investigate a Mazone signal emanating from the Sargasso Sea (chapter 13). So much of this series is spent in the darknesses of space and the deep sea that I always find the bright blue skies refreshing when we get to see them.
The ghost ship plot is a great way for Leiji to indulge himself as a WWII fanboy: the I-168 submarine did fight (and extremely well) at Midway and according to fans the battleship in the episode is none other than the Musashi. I should note that the Musashi features in Time Sweeper Mahoroba in an oddly similar role, with its dead crew being forced to fight by a superior, alien power. (I don’t know what the original source for the I.D. of the ship is, but I guess since there were historically only two super battleships in the Japanese Navy, and the Yamato became a space battleship in the Leijiverse, then this one has to be Musashi)
The point of the episode is that the crew of the Arcadia falls (even its captain falls!) under the control of the sea witch, an ally of the Mazones. The rescuer is none other than the Arcadia itself. This begs the question: why have a crew, why not let the Arcadia always run itself and fight? Well, the fact is that the Arcadia has a tiny crew (40) for such a large ship, and so the answer is that there are already lots of processes that the ship is taking care of itself. And ultimately I’ll wager that in matters of war the Captain knows more than the ship. And the Captain would be lonely without a crew.
Chapter 14 begins with another refreshing light blue scene as Harlock comes to Earth and faces the Prime Minister. The leader of Earth is clueless and does NOT want to face the facts. Here’s today’s research question: “What if the leaders of today (2010) are just like Earth’s P.M. in the year 2977?” Don’t just answer “NO”, but think about it. On the surface it would seem our presidents, premiers and general secretaries worried as they are about world markets and the weapons race and poverty are diametrically opposed to this Prime Minister who spends his time betting on horses, playing golf and catching swans in a lake. But Earth’s Prime Minister in this show IS worried about something: he is worried (of course) about horses and golf and swan trapping. So what must be decided is whether in a larger more cosmic perspective the world markets etc. of today are really more important and less silly than horseracing and catching swans with a net. We can’t tell for sure, but if the possibility is allowed, then…those aliens about to enslave us maybe laughing as speak. Just a thought.
As for Harlock, Mayu is what matters. Kiruta has come up with a simple plan to get rid of his nemesis: grab Mayu and take her to Egypt where he was raised, then let the space pirate perish in the middle of the desert. Employing home court advantage is fine and all but what’s very, very odd is that Kiruta grew up in Egypt in the first place!!
Here’s a theory on why Harlock won’t just whisk Mayu off of planet Earth:
Harlock cares about Earth, but he’s so fed up with his fellow men that he’s about ready to leave the planet to his fate. Keeping Mayu on Earth is his “ethical safety lock”: he can’t abandon Earth as long as she’s around, and so her presence there ensures the bond with the planet that Harlock cherishes at a deeper level even though he’s so tempted to cut through.
I suspect there are other, more practical reasons at work but we’ll have to see as the show develops. Anyway, Kiruta tries to destroy the Arcadia with a Mazone weapon hidden inside the Great Sphinx. He fails when the Arcadia once again acts of its own will and rescues Harlock after destroying the Sphinx gun.
Nazca lines, the Maya, the Sphinx: in the Leijiverse, Däniken’s theories are plain fact…