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Episode Fourteen: INVASION FROM OUTER SPACE PART 1(also listed as WESTWARD ULTRA GARRISON PART 1; THE ULTRA GARRISON GOES WEST PART 1) ****
Dubbed title: PLANETS IN CONFLICT PART 1
An Anglo assassin has been snuffing out various foreigners in Japan. It's learned that all the victims were secretly part of the Washington Terrestial Defense Force Scientific Team. After an observation rocket studying the "dark planet" of Pedan was mistaken for a pending invasion, the aliens intend to counterattack. One of the most important of these undercover Science Team members with a target on them is Dorothy Anderson, a young woman who knows all the information regarding the Pedan civilization. Commander Morabe orders Captain Kiriyama to send Moroboshi, Furuhashi and Soga to escort Dorothy Anderson to an important conference at the Rokko Defense Center before she, too can be assassinated. On the way to the conference, the Ultra Guard are intercepted by Melvin Webb the assassin, who turns out to not be what he was first perceived.
Tokyo is given a break as monster destruction central for this two parter. The bulk of the action takes place in and around the city of Kobe. This mixture of spy movie tropes and kaiju action is a unique marriage of styles that unveils a tightly efficient, and immersive experience that is yet another breakthrough for the ULTRASEVEN series.
There's an irregular amount of Anglo's on hand here and the script predominantly panders to the spy genre till the end of the show. Prior to that, we bear witness to assassinations, bomb detonations, an undersea battle, mistaken identity, the introduction of the Ultra Guards undersea vessels and a nifty "secret highway Route 9" traveled exclusively by the Terrestrial Defense Force members. It even spits out from a hidden door built into a mountain similar to the bat cave.
The finale wherein the mysterious objects that destroyed the American sub form into King Joe, a giant robot near the Rokko Defense Center, is a highlight. It's also the first time Ultraseven is given a serious throttling by an enemy on this series. His most oft used weapon, the Eye Slugger, just bounces off the enormous robot. The episode ends on a classic cliffhanger note leaving the audience in suspense as to how it's going to end.
In addition, there's some great photographic touches and camera angles in this episode; the image of a burning sea vessel visible in a man's sunglasses being an example. This two parter also marks a new opening title sequence that emulates the one from the original ULTRAMAN series released the previous year. There's a lot of action, intrigue and engrossing ideas in this episode making it one of the best, most lively of the entire 49 episode run of ULTRASEVEN.
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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.