SPC Harlock 22-24: Look to Andromeda
Harlock manages to trace the location of the main Mazone fleet in Andromeda. Fans of the Galaxy Express 999 will note that the Mechanization Empire was based in the same galaxy [more specifically, the Mechanization Empire was actually founded on the planet LaMetal, but after being ousted from there, its leader Queen Promethium began building mechanical planets in Andromeda]. It is fitting then that scientists believe our galaxy and Andromeda will collide in the future! Mind you, this is not to say that the Mazone call Andromeda home, it’s just their present position…
Leiji’s penchant for reusing names for different things can get really confusing, and here we have a great example. One of the Arcadia’s secret bases is called Deathshadow Island, and it is from this base that the Arcadia goes to meet the Mazone fleet. On the way they happen to fall prey to an antimatter planet called Deathshadow. And in Arcadia of my Youth we learn that Harlock’s first ship was called the Deathshadow. Geez.
Here we get the explanation that Harlock’s friend named the island after the planet as a joke, and the use of the name becomes an actual plot point, as Harlock sees the irony: their refuge (Deathshadow the island) is gone and now they are prey to a fearful foe (Deathshadow the planet) which they mocked when they named their island base. I love it how Harlock really loses it here: he truly seems to be in despair.
As soon as Lafresia ordered a task group to destroy the Arcadia I thought I knew what would happen: the attack would release the Deathshadow’s hold on Capt. Harlock’s ship and they would be able to escape. I was wrong. The attack didn’t alter anything, but someone or something negated the power of the Deathshadow planet and allowed the Arcadia to escape. At this point I don’t have a clue who did this.
Episode 23 begins with a lovely flashback to Yattaran’s younger days. The music, the colors, the knowledge that it’s all going to go horribly wrong, it’s perfect. Best of all is this shot right here:
This is only a tease; the flashback is interrupted by an alert of incoming Mazone ships. I love it how Daiba is so confident in meeting the Mazone on his Bullet because it makes one feel that he is actually progressing as a character. And he kicks butt all episode long, being instrumental in Yattaran’s rescue.
Which brings us to the plot of the episode: the Mazone kidnap Yattaran and try to get him to build a puramo (=plastic model) of the Arcadia so they’ll be able to know all of the ship’s secrets. Yattaran loves his puramo so he is happy to oblige, but the Arcadia rescues him just as he finishes the model. Yup, it’s all very silly.
A FASHION NOTE:
Alien invaders in the Leijiverse tend to provide their regular soldiers with a basic uniform, but the officer class is allowed to sport all sorts of fashionable getups. I like this freedom, as bewildering as it is. It is possible, though, that I have spotted a consistent Lafresian symbol in all of this mess. Let me show Akias’ outfit from episode 19:
Now here is the outfit from the commander that captured Yattaran in this episode:
I think the symbol in Akias’ chest and that in the commander’s arm are related. For example:
“a” might be the basic symbol, with “b” being simply a rotated “a”. It is possible then some of the high-ranking Mazone officers like to wear a double form of this symbol. Thus Akias is sporting “c”, which is simply the the vertical and the horizontal forms of the symbol one on top of the other, whereas the other officer (who looks a lot like an evil Emeraldas) is wearing two vertical instances of the symbol. But that’s just speculation!
Oh, and young Yattaran doesn’t end up with the girl. Alas…just as I thought.
What to say about episode 24? I didn’t expect hearing Zoll the Tokargan’s name again, and here we have a whole episode dedicated to his younger son (the elder is dead) and how he flees to the Arcadia with a Mazone nurse. The story is somewhere halfway between the (originally Chinese) tale of tragic love between two youths who are taken to the starry sky and a modern-day soap opera. Nothing really remarkable in this example from the endless series of sacrificial secondary characters in the Leijiverse.
[What are Tokargans supposed to look like? The captured male Tokargans in this episode look like Zoll, stocky creatures with green skin, but Zoll’s widow looks just like an Earthling, and his son looks like a regular human being too. What gives??]
By the way, from the narrator we learn the neat factoid that the original home of the Mazone was destroyed by a nova and this is the reason they are in search of another place to live. The Mazone are thus like the LaMetalians (Millennial Queen) and the Gamilons (Space Battleship Yamato) in this respect: their war-waging is as much reactive as it is offensive.