SPC Harlock 25-26: Lafresia’s Rubicon

Zero and Mii

Two things right off the bat:

A. The commander of the Mazone Advanced Fleet is called Cassandra.  The original Cassandra was a woman cursed by Apollo: she could foresee the future but no one would ever believe her.  The expectation then, if you’re classically minded, is that Cassandra’s fleet will get mauled by the Arcadia but the Main Fleet behind it will not learn the lessons from the catastrophe that has just occurred.  I’m fairly confident in this prediction because it’s what happens in this show all the time anyway 😉

B.  All this talk of advanced fleets vs main fleets and submarines is reminiscent of WWII.  The problem is that it is nonsensical in the context of battle against a single opponent.  The object of an advanced fleet could be a) locating the enemy (but Queen Lafresia knows exactly where Harlock is) or b) executing a feinting attack at one point so that the main fleet can do the actual operation elsewhere (but again, if the Arcadia is the only opponent, this makes no sense).  What would make sense is to throw the entire fleet in successive waves at the Arcadia until it was destroyed.  Period.

Dr. Zero and his kitty Mii get a mini-backstory here, and I enjoyed seeing the good doctor don samurai armor and say “to hell with the patients!”.  Plus Mii as a co-pilot was adorable.

Now, there is something that disturbed my peace of mind.  When the Arcadia fires accidentally on a Mazone passenger ship we get to see inside and guess what?  We see men and boys along with the woman.  What’s up with that?  It’s just so wrong I’ll just skip ahead to the next episode, which is

Episode 26

There are some grave consequences to the battle in the last episode.  The Arcadia’s attack on a civilian Mazone ship has made a group of the civilians afraid of Harlock, so afraid in fact as to begin plotting to detach themselves from the main fleet and settle in Andromeda rather than risk getting blown up on the way to Earth.

At the same time, Advanced Fleet Commander Cassandra blames her loss to Harlock on the civilians (going so far as to destroy a civilian ship herself), and is advising Imperial Guard Commander Cleo to drop the civilian contingent and race to Earth on a 100% military convoy.  With accusations of treachery flying about, potential conflict between the two most powerful Mazone after the Queen (Cleo of the military wing and the scientist Tesius on the civilian side) is brewing, despite the fact that neither Cleo nor Tesius count themselves among the troublemakers.  Serious stuff!

Her heart is not in the right place. No, really.

In an audience with Cassandra and Tesius, Lafresia makes a bone-chilling vow to reach Earth even if it means going down as the most merciless queen in history [presumably because of the massive casualties expected along the way].  The outfit is not the only link between 999‘s Promethium and Lafresia!!  I guess you could say that her heart is not in the right place.

Tesius eventually joins the conspirators and flees Lafresia’s fleet.  The Queen has a great line, which translated into Latin would be “Et tu, Tesius” with the obvious resonance.  Cleo is dispatched to offer the scholar a chance to kill herself, all very stylish and classically done.  Then Lafresia goes for a swim.  This reminded me of Chairman Mao and how he was fond of swimming while terrible things were being done elsewhere under his orders.  Also, I was surprised at how similar the Mazone body is to our own mammalian bodies. (giggle)

Anyway, the swim is significant.  Lafresia is crossing her Rubicon right here with the death of Tesius.  To put things into perspective, the director gives us a flashback of Tesius urging Lafresia in council to migrate to Earth.  Tesius, Lafresia’s friend, changed her mind and now she is dead.  There is no going back: the Queen is going to get things done as she vowed earlier, no matter the cost.  Emotions won’t come into it.

[Homework for Comparative Leijirature students: how does Lafresia’s conversion into a merciless queen in this episode match up with Promethium’s conversion into a merciless queen in Maetel Legend?  Does the fact that Promethium did not know the full consequences of Headgear’s operation absolve or minimize her guilt?  In contrast, is Lafresia exercising her free will here or is she constrained by events?  Does any of this matter?  Discuss.]

This amazing episode isn’t over.  Lafresia’s hologram pops up in Harlock’s quarters and the Queen delivers a bombshell: she was the one who released the Arcadia from the Deathshadow antimatter planet (in episode 22)!  The reason is she wanted her people to rally behind an enemy.  Of course, this decision backfired horribly as the persistent attacks of the Arcadia after that incident have instead divided the civilian and military sides of the Mazone race and brought it to the brink of civil war.  Another exciting aspect of this news is that it raises the stakes even further: up to now Lafresia has been fighting Harlock halfheartedly, but she’s about to take her gloves off.

I loved this episode.  It served as a backstory of sorts for the entire Mazone race and made the invaders that much more interesting.  The dialogues and monologues were perfect.  Harlock is more fired up about the struggle, Lafresia is ready to bring it on, and all of us viewers are glad to be along for the ride!

~ by Haloed Bane on September 13, 2010.

4 Responses to “SPC Harlock 25-26: Lafresia’s Rubicon”

  1. Arg that would make for one hell of an essay question for a test. And here the version of Maetel Legend got banned on youtube. Arg you are really hitting that part of me trained to right 3 page essays with that bit.
    Reading you’re blog and doing my own rewatch of Harlock I do see similarities between the two. Being queen is a job full of sorrow in the Leji verse it seems. I’d say the whole downfall of Promethium was well done up until the fusion part with Headgear. I felt that was cheating in some way.

    I do feel like the Mazone have more options that the people of La Metal ever had.

    • I think your last sentence says it all, and I agree with you.

      The Mazone could have colonized other planets, but they’re obsessed with Earth because their forefathers controlled it. For LaMetal, eternal winter
      is just around the corner so brutal mechanization is possibly the only way out for most..

  2. Hmm, I don’t believe Lafresia’s is exactly a conversion. She had set her mind on fulfilling her mission long ago – and now the situation demanded a proof with action – she a sort of passed the test, in her own eyes.
    Maetel Legend is the only feature that shows Promethium wavering, though it does not look too convincing. Anyway, she never regrets her own “upgrade”, and what is worthy of respect, she makes herself the first guinea pig of her grand experiment. My point is that she had became a fanatic some time before she let that chip into her brain.

    Aww, isn’t it just like the school of Athens 🙂

    • Even more to your point, what happens in subsequent chapters shows that Lafresia hasn’t really much changed. I definitely got carried away in my analysis. On Promethium’s upgrade, I think Leiji wants us to believe that she’s lost most of her humanity by then..what I’ve never gotten is why Leiji wants us to believe that
      mechanization makes you evil (at least in most cases). He seems so pro-technology on other stuff!

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