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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #20



Dubbed title: THE QUAKEMAKER

The Ultra Guard have reports of earthquakes in the area, but there's something strange about them. Meanwhile, two female racers on their way to a rally find an unusual rock just as another tremor shakes the ground near Aosawa Mountains. Moroboshi and the others seek out Dr. Iwamura to help investigate the peculiar quakes in the area. They also find the two girls. The strange rock cluster they found turns out to be Ultonium -- an element found at the Earth's core. The Ultra Guard then board the Magmalizer to burrow below the Earth's surface in the hopes of finding the answers behind the surge of earthquakes.

This alien invasion plot (aren't they all?) is actually a pretty good show thanks to the cranky Dr. Iwamura character and some cool cliffhanger moments. Between the elder doctor and his younger assistant, Dr. Sagaki, you know at least one of them is not of this Earth. This new intergalactic threat apparently wants to cripple the planet by removing all the Ultonium rock found at the center of the Earth to cause it to collapse on itself.

Pretty much all the main Ultra Garrison members get equal screen time for this one; and that cool mecha, The Magmalizer, makes its second appearance here after debuting in episode 17. The crew inside the burrowing machine are put in more peril than they were last time when they're threatened with being covered up by flowing magma.

The final fight between Ultraseven and Giladoras is well staged on an impressively dark set beset by harsh winds and inexplicable snow that pours down suddenly. The fight ends with the same sort of graphic monster violence that capped episode three. One neat aspect of this fight is in the ostentatious way in which Seven uses his Eye Slugger. The Shaplay Seijin dies rather brutally, too. The monster deaths will get more spectacularly gruesome as the series continues. You'll see more limbs and heads severed, and even a throat slitting(!!!) whose arterial spray bathes Seven's upper torso.

Unfortunately, the Giladoras monster is one of the more clumsily designed kaiju of ULTRASEVEN. The creature has these bulky horns around its head that intermittently glow red for reasons that aren't explained -- possibly to do with the magma under the crust from where the beast emerges. The costume itself is extremely baggy; and somebody had the bright idea to not give the beast any front legs -- it scurries around on its knees ramming Seven with its head!

Overall this is an average show enlivened by a few points of interest. The inclusion of two women race car drivers is unnecessary, and adds nothing to the storyline. This is one of the few episodes I remember vividly when the series aired in my neck of the woods back in the early 1990s.

MONSTERS: Shaplay Seijin, Giladoras (Giladorus)
WEAPONS: Ultra Hawk #s 1, 3; Magmalizer

To be continued in Episode 21: PURSUE THE UNDERSEA BASE!!!

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