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Episode Nine: ANDROID ZERO DIRECTIVE(also listed as OPERATION ZERO) ***1/2
Dubbed title: TOYS IN CRISIS
"At precisely the stroke of midnight, these toys turn into deadly weapons that will destroy this whole city. Thousands of hypnotized children armed with my ingenious weapons, and obeying my every command. The weaponry with which I've armed the children is stronger than anything you have on Earth...the adults of your planet will never take up arms against their children."
Furuhashi and Moroboshi are on patrol one evening. They stop for a woman who asks to speak with Dan. Furuhashi pretends to be Dan and the mysterious woman ends up severely shocking Furuhashi. Moroboshi picks up a brooch she dropped and finds a bizarre insignia inside. The next day, Dan and Soga run across a bunch of kids playing in the streets with guns that look startlingly real and all possess that peculiar patch which, under closer inspection, hides a miniature radio receiver. Made by an elderly toymaker from another world, his plan is to initiate 'Android Operation Zero' at midnight whereby children bearing the alien patch will be turned into murderous automatons, gunning down the inhabitants of the city.
Whereas episode 12 is offensive to the Japanese, so would episode 9 be offensive to a lot of Americans considering the inexplicable rash of gun violence and persistent, slow squashing of freedoms in this country these last few years from an ever growing government agenda. The use of guns and children seen here would likely raise more than an eyebrow or two if this one were seen on a wider platform. You can't even play kiddie games like 'Cowboys and Indians' or 'Cops and Robbers' anymore without the PC police deeming such things as morally corrupt.
This potentially grim episode is about as close to horror as this series has gotten thus far. The fact that this alien in human guise would use children to kill adults is disturbing all by itself. Accompanying the Chiburu -- a giant floating brain with tendrils -- are creepy mannequins he brings to life. This all adds to a strikingly effective atmosphere of dread that is present the entire running time of this show.
"Toy tanks and planes attacked us in a department store!"
The finale is also blackly comical in its dark natured irony. The old man, prior to revealing his true form, sends a cadre of killer toys to eliminate Moroboshi and Sogo. These diminutive assassination accouterments include toy tanks and planes; likely the same ones used in any number of Japanese giant monster films.
So far, 'Android Zero Directive' is the darkest thirty minutes of ULTRASEVEN seen on this set. Yet again, monster action is minimal -- which is just as well as this episode contains some controversial subject matter that's all the more intriguing in comparison with current events. Ultraseven never goes giant during his brief skirmish with the big brained alien being. This episode didn't need a lot of monsters as the plot is frightening enough as it is.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.