Episode Eighteen: ESCAPE SPACE X ***
Dubbed title: THE BELLS ARE RINGING
"Have you ever heard this saying? -- Knowledge without God creates devils."
On a skydiving exercise, Amagi and Soga disappear, landing in a fog enshrouded forest in what seems like some alternate dimension. Separated from Soga, Amagi is immediately attacked by small blood-draining leech creatures; and a giant spider that emits noxious gas. Finding Soga and finally regaining contact with the Ultra Guard, the two Garrison members find themselves trapped within a monster-filled "Virtual Space" created by a race of Seijin known as Bells, insect-like creatures with the power to cause ear-piercing sonic attacks on their enemies.
This is another action episode with a decent story to boot. Why they chose to call the Seijin (aliens) seen here Bells is anyone's guess; but they do produce a loud, disruptive sound that's anything but music to the ear. The single Bell alien we see looks like a giant humanoid beetle.
The 18th show contains numerous kaiju perils such as this spider monster that spits poisonous gas from three nodules above its mouth. There are also small, leech-like monsters that appear twice, and also some enormous killer vines.
Not much is explained about the race of Bell aliens, nor the purpose behind the Virtual Space. Commander Morabe mentions it in passing that he had experienced it before. The action rarely lets up, so the storyline suffers. Still, it's an enjoyable 25 minutes that flies by. We can just assume an insidious plan of world domination is lurking around in there somewhere.
This show is also of interest in that we see Ultraseven transform in a different fashion than the norm. Dan isn't seen using the Ultra Eye. He lies on the ground and disappears, only to reappear in giant form as Ultraseven. Up to this point, we've not seen him transform in this manner. His return to human form is also seen differently -- first seen in episode nine. Seven shrinks to human size, boards the Ultra Hawk #1, then transforms back to Dan.
The last battle between Seven and the Bell beast is a creative one -- going from an otherworldly swamp setting, to the sky, and back to the ground again. Wrestling fans will enjoy Seven's grappling skills displayed here. Minimalist, but elaborately effects heavy episodes like these are a treat and posit a nice balance for the occasional cerebral shows that sneak in once in a while.
MONSTERS: Blood Drainer, Bell alien, Gumonga, Sunflan II
WEAPONS: Ultra Hawk #1 and #3
To be continued in Episode nineteen: PROJECT BLUE!!!