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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #15



After the Pedan's robot monster retreats, Captain Kiriyama plans to ready the Ultra Guard forces for their next attack. In the meantime, Dr. Tsuchida tries to find a way to defeat the robotic beast, the Secret Service agent Melvin Webb searches for the real Dorothy Anderson and the Ultra Guard strengthen the Defense Center for an impending alien assault. Meanwhile, Moroboshi meets with one of the Pedan spies (a Dorothy double) and brokers a deal to cease hostilities between the two planets. However, the Pedans have no intentions for peace. They launch a wave of assault ships to conquer the Earth as well as sending their invincible robot for a second attack.

With the basic premise already set into place in the first part, this second chapter is mostly all action. The monster battle alone takes up over half of the running time. The battle between Ultraseven and King Joe is the longest, and among the most exciting kaiju fights of the series so far. It takes place in a shipping harbor and both combatants literally trash the place by either blowing up the ships or using them as weapons. The model ships and buildings in the Kobe harbor are remarkably accomplished, especially on a television budget.

Furthermore, the script manages to wedge in a couple of cliffhangers into all the explosions and giant aliens tossing each other around. The biggest and most crucial to the storyline is immediately after Dan brokers a treaty with the Pedan's who promise to return Dorothy Anderson to them. Only when they do, the Ultra Guard discover that her memory has been erased. Linda Hardisty, the gorgeous actress playing this character, appears to be speaking her lines in Japanese, too. She's one of many Anglo actors that have dotted numerous Japanese science fiction productions as well as one of several non Japanese performers spread throughout ULTRASEVEN's 49 episode run.

Anyway, Dorothy's the key to destroy King Joe, the gigantic Pedan robot monster. Of course, with such limited air time, she recovers her memory quickly and both she and Dr. Tsuchida come up with an explosive using something known in the Japanese science fiction universe as Rayton 30. While all that is going on, the Pedan attack fleet inches closer to Earth.

There's a subtext here regarding diplomatic relations between planets, but this merely serves as a crutch for the onslaught of near endless action. The only downside in this second part is that the American Secret Service agent, Melvin Webb, has next to nothing to do here. Whereas Part 1 had a heavy dose of spy elements, this one is pure kaiju territory, so the Webb character is shoved into the background for the most part. But then one watches these Japanese monster shows to see giant creatures battling amidst explosions of meticulously constructed miniatures. On that note, this action packed episode delivers the goods. ULTRASEVEN's first of three two parters is a winner.

MONSTERS: King Joe, Pedan alien
WEAPONS: Ultra Hawk 1

To be continued in Episode Sixteen: SHINING EYES IN THE DARKNESS!!!

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