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Friday, September 6, 2013

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #19


Episode Nineteen: PROJECT BLUE **1/2


"...There were no living creatures in your galaxy except on Pluto. However, we annihilated them because no other beings besides us should be in this galaxy!"

Dr. Miyabe is working on Project Blue, a plan to develop a defense barrier around the Earth to protect from alien threats. Late one night after returning home to be with his wife, the doctor sees a monster in his room. The next day, he discovers an underground laboratory beneath his kitchen! Descending the labyrinthine stairs, he's captured by an alien being known as Bado. After an informative discussion, Bado demands Miyabe hand over his plans for Project Blue (or as he says, 'Project-o Brue') so Bado's alien brethren may enter the Earth's atmosphere to destroy the planet. It's up to the Ultra Guard and Seven to rescue him.

'Project Blue' presents some fascinating ideas as well as some surrealistic shots amidst some choice, if highly improbable situations. Among these are quite a few SPX shots. One of note is a mirror that acts as a doorway into Bado's underground lab/spacecraft (When Seven touches it, the mirror turns into a watery, liquid substance). It's never revealed just how the alien managed to situate his vast facility below Dr. Miyabe's house without any detection. This is science fiction, after all. 

Regarding Dr. Miyabe, he is a likable, and uniformly formidable character for the series. It's a shame this character doesn't turn up again. 

The Seijin Bado is a nicely eerie creation in some of the earlier shots. Seen in daylight, he's rather laughable; but this adds to the shows enjoyment. The creature has this scaly body, curly-toed boots and a head that, in some shots, looks like a big butt. The bulbous head is a typical alien design, yet resembles a deformed human bearing vampiric fangs. Bado's voice is also a hoot. One area where Bado differs from other U7 kaiju is that there's a bit of a backstory revealed about him. The creature states he had visited Earth once before when it was but a ball of fire; and also claims Pluto was once inhabited by lifeforms before he wiped them all out! 

The end fight between Seven and Bado appears to be intentionally ridiculous -- backed by that typically playful U7 music. Both beings use brawling style tactics (headlocks and haymakers) for their battle -- whacking wildly at one another. The finish is sort of bloody, though. Bado incorporates a lot of acrobatics, too. The rocky terrain acts as a wrestling ring. U7 bashes Bado's big head into some mountains at one point.

The end of the episode reveals one final Bondian strand of Miyabe's genius that was a creative, if unlikely bit of scientific ingenuity.

This episode is at least unique in that it mostly takes place at a single location -- both in and under Dr. Miyabe's house. It's a quirky show, tinged with a bit of horror (such as the scene where Miyabe spots a cloaked figure walking in the fog towards his house) and capped off with an immensely goofy, but fun giant monster battle. The last scene is the sort of comedic coda that dominated cartoons and situation comedies for decades. It's one of the more childish episodes, but fans should be pleased with this breezy, effects-filled Tokusatsu programmer.

MONSTERS: Bado (Budd)

To be continued in Episode Twenty: DESTROY EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER X!!!

1 comment:

Brian D Moore said...

The blonde wife of the professor seems to be dubbed. I don’t think she was speaking English though, maybe she was speaking her lines phonetically? I liked the creepy atmosphere of this episode. From the foggy approach to the professor’s house, to the cheep thrills of the wife being terrorized by the Alien. Maybe I watched Evil Dead too many times, but when Seven touched the mirror, I expected his evil doppelgänger to start strangling him. Loved the part of the final fight when the Alien uses spiked brass-knuckles to try to gouge Seven’s eyes out. I think the comedic nature of the final battle, was to give younger viewers a break from all the scares leading up to it. Another great review as always. Thanks for an entertaining guide. I hope to post more often, as I rewatch these classic episode of Ultraseven.

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