SPC Harlock 19-21: Insidious
The Mazone are still obsessed with finding out if there is a 42nd crew member aboard the Arcadia and where he is, so they send thought-reader waves through the ship, capturing each person’s thoughts. Virtually everyone is thinking of food, except for Yattaran who’s worried about his models!! That said, the waves detect 42 distinct cognitive capacities aboard the ship, confirming the existence of a secret passenger. His or her identity is unclear since the person was thoroughly asleep. And a minute earlier Mimay was telling Daiba that the ship’s central computer was fast asleep…hmmm…2+2=….
[It really surprised me that Yuki was as clueless as to this 42nd entity as Daiba was. I’m guessing everyone else on the ship knows what’s going on]
Mimay plays her harp and a string breaks. Harlock snaps out of his musings and states his conviction that the message in the bottle is part of an elaborate ploy by the Mazone to lure him into the Horsehead Nebula. He relishes the thought of walking into a trap. That’s Harlock for you!
There is a great battle in this episode between Akias’ Zoness spacefighter carrier and the Arcadia and its Cosmo Wings. The Zoness pays the ultimate price and a hologram of Queen Lafresia turns up in the Captain’s Quarters. This scene is splendidly done:
Lafresia offers to start negotiations and Harlock refuses. The Queen grins and hints to the effect that the human race was engineered by the Mazone. Whoa! Then she leaves. It’s a turning point in the War, we can be sure…
The lesson of this episode is that alcohol is good for you.
Mimay notices the Arcadia is passing by the Antares System and insists on visiting her home planet of Jura. Harlock grimaces but sets the ship on course there. I imagine Harlock thinks Mimay should be over her tragedy by now, and in any case the possibility that Jura is swarming with Mazone is high.
Guess what? The planet is indeed swarming with the plant-like alien menace. A poisonous plant on board the Arcadia affects everyone but Dr. Zero and Mimay, who have been drinking lots of alcohol (as usual). It turns out alcohol protects one from the plant illness.
Mimay discovers a truth more horrible than she could have imagined: not only is she the only Juran still alive (as she feared), but her best friend Fure was actually a Mazone agent called Georgibell, the same Mazone agent Mimay had let escape in a previous encounter!
The motif of the Arcadia crew member facing his/her past comes up again, and we find a clear progression toward intensity and evil. First we had Tadashi facing a Mazone agent pretending to be his mother. Next we saw Maji having to destroy his own daughter who was a Mazone agent. Now, we have Mimay coming to grips with the fact that not only is her best friend a Mazone agent, but that this agent helped instigate the nuclear civil war that destroyed her planet. Insidious is the best way to describe these aliens.
The link between Jura’s fate and Earth’s future is stressed throughout the episode. The Jurans were weak and self-absorbed. Mimay wished that all of the corrupt Jurans would die, but now she’d rather they have lived. This is a great reminder to Harlock not to give up on Earthlings however corrupt they have become.
[Let me point out that some Harlock fans online apparently think that Mimay’s friend Fure was a real Juran and not involved with Georgibell. Having listened to Georgibell’s dialogue a couple of times, however, I’m convinced that Fure was always just a disguise for Georgibell. If anyone has evidence to the contrary do let me know.]
Episode 21 deals with the Tokargan race. If you’ve watched Arcadia of my Youth you’ll feel a strong sense of deja vu. In that film Tokarga was a planet enslaved by the Illumidas race with the surviving inhabitants forced to participate in the invasion of Earth and the persecution of the Arcadia. In this episode pretty much the same thing holds, right down to the name of the Tokargan protagonist “Zoll”, except that of course here the Tokargans are slaves to the Mazone. What’s creepy is that even though there’s no mention here of Tori-san coming from Tokarga (as was shown in the Arcadia film) the bird shows up in this episode frequently…almost as if it wanted us to make connection?!!
Before embarking on his death ride against the Mazone, Zoll hands Harlock documents on the main Mazone fleet. This isn’t as exciting for us as it might have been…after all, we’re fresh off of thinking we knew the location of the main Mazone base and it ended up being a hoax. Plus the fact that we’re only halfway through the series makes me suspect that the data given by the proud Tokargan won’t prove to be very useful in the end…