Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heading off to Iscandar. There are only 213 days left. Hurry Kevin!

Hi all,

In August and September I re-watched STAR BLAZERS. I have wanted to do this for a long... long time. Since I was in high school actually.

About two years ago, on Christmas I saw a great deal on the season one DVD set and bought it. I think I paid about $79. It was normally priced twice that much. So there is sat on my shelf. I have been so busy writing that it has taken me this long to finally sit down and watch the 26 episode season.

Worth the price!

It is important to note that I have not seen a single episode of the show since it's original airing in 1979. YES... 1979. I was 5 years old at the time. I remember watching it and loving it and wondering why there were no toys for it. :)

So here I am 2013, 39 years old... and believe it or not... I remembered a lot of what I saw.

"In the late 22nd century, an alien race known as the Gamilons have attacked the Earth, bombarding it with radioactive bombs and forcing the population underground. However, the radiation is seeping into the planet; unless it's removed, Earth will become uninhabitable in one year."

Obviously, I remember the main plot. Clearly, I recall Desslok. And yes, I still sing the theme song in the shower once a week.
Derek Wildstar
Derek Wildstar... yep... I remember him, the main character and damn, he's still pretty cool. But I kinda liked Sandor the most. Sorry Venture and Captain Avatar. :)
One thing that I was surprised by as I re-watched Star Blazers, was all the similarities to Star Trek and Battlestar Galatica. Holo-decks being a major one. Who invented the Holo-deck, I wonder? Star Trek, right???
Anyway, Since I had not watched Star Trek or BSG before Star Blazers when I was young, I could not draw on these comparisons until now. And I found them all very interesting. I mean Battlestar Galatica is about a ship trying to find home but being constantly attacked by the enemy. Star Blazers is about a ship trying to "reach a distant star" and then back, while being constantly attacked by the enemy.
My biggest surprise was all the death and destruction and how the characters dealt with it. I remembered space battles and ships blowing up. But I did not remember that you often witnessed the deaths of the characters on those ships. One Gamilon ship was destroyed and you actually watched the ship's crew being overcome with flames. You also see the panic and terror of the Star Force, inside the Yamato. Sometimes they are crying, other times you actually hear fear laden dialogue. You even see them tired, battle-worn and exhausted. The ship's doctor even drinks!
Here Desslok used a radioactive poisonous gas when he attacked the Yamato, and Sandor shoots a whole through this baddie!
This is not GI JOE where shots are fired and no one is hit. Nope. There are funeral scenes where you see several dozen people put to rest. WOW... I watched this as a kid???
The communications room where the Star Force could call home. It's empty because Derek did not want to call home. He had no one to call.

Quite possibly my clearest memory as a child was one episode where they were allowed to call home and talk to family. I remember this being a sad episode because Derek Wildstar had no family left. And when I reached that ep... Episode 10 "We will return", I was shocked. I pretty much remembered it all, but at the same time I didn't. I forgot that the episode was structured in such a way that we saw Derek's back story in flashbacks and we witness how his family died.

It explained much, as Derek did not want his turn to call home and did everything he could to avoid it.

Leave me alone, IQ-9!
Not sure who wrote this episode, but it felt like it could have been a live action ep. of the newest Battlestar Galatica, not a silly cartoon. It was that good and it really made me feel. Great work!
Other than that moment, the one thing I was waiting for the entire season was the scene where Nova saves the day, but is knocked unconscious by the radioactive poison gas. The moment where Derek lifts her up and carries her around the ship, half expecting her to die. I remember him telling her he loved her...
Not Nova!!!
When that episode hit, the final ep. of the season, I was shocked by how much of a love story the series was. In fact, there was a lot of love story throughout the season, but it culminates here. Derek tells Nova how much he loves her and how he wanted to start and family with her on Earth once it was healed/repaired. She is practically dead in his arms as he reaches the bridge of the ship, but suddenly awakes... and at the same moment... Captain Avatar dies.
Poor guy...

So re-watching Star Blazers was a great experience. I really enjoyed every episode. I was shocked by how this show was much more mature than I remembered. I also wonder if this set my standard for cartoons as a kid. After watching this and moving on to shows like Voltron and GI JOE and Transformers... no wonder I did not like Tom and Jerry anymore.  
Sorry this is not really a review of the show, or its episodes. It really is just some ramblings of how I could not believe I remembered so much of a cartoon I had not watched for over 30 years and that I was surprised by how good it still was.
Here is a great place for episode reviews.
My favorite moments still remain the same: the asteroid field they use to shield the ship, seeing how the characters deal with calling home and of course, Nova risking her life to save the ship.
Our Star Blazers!
Kevin James Breaux

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