Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From Beyond Television: Ultraseven Episode #22




During a birthday party for a young woman named Ruriko, a monster walks out of the ocean, kills her dog and makes off with the girl. Anne, who is attending the party, alerts her comrades. Searching for her missing friend, they find the monsters footprints, but no sign of the creature. The Ultra Guard eventually find Ruriko unconscious on the beach with a strange parasite attached to her arm. They discover to their horror that these spores can only grow and multiply inside of female host bodies. The only cure is Radiation Alpha 73, a special element found on Saturn. With but hours to save her and Anne both, Ultraseven and the Ultra Guard must face an assault by dozens of aliens before Seven can race to the ringed planet to retrieve the element required to save the two women.

This moody little number is one of the handful of shows with an engaging storyline that's also modestly frightening for what it suggests. The notion that an alien life form uses the bodies of women to cultivate itself recalls such later horrors as ALIEN (1979) and THE THING (1982); only here, the subject of impregnation is essentially violation by an invading alien force. The script never gets too explicit with the material, but it's a dark topic being explored in what is ostensibly a children's show.

Unfortunately for monster fans, Seven never actually squares off against the Burako. Moroboshi does in human form, though. At the end, Seven and the Ultra Hawk 1 have an aerial dogfight. The Ultra Hawk shows off some new moves such as a rotating formation that leads to the destruction of numerous alien spores. It's also the first time the Ultra Guard and Ultraseven jointly work together. In fact, the Hawk saves Seven at one point when he's surrounded and caught in the combined rays shot from the cluster of spores. The Ultra Garrison would save Seven again later in the series when he was put in an even more life-threatening predicament.

The Pointer also demonstrates a new ability. Near the beginning of the show, the Ultra crew drive towards the ocean. The Pointer then hovers just above the water searching the waters surface. The Pointer is quickly becoming a series favorite where SciFi gadgetry is concerned. James Bond would have loved one of these.

The lack of monster action will likely put many off to this one. Save for the discreet shots of the beast walking out of the surf and killing a dog (offscreen), the only other time we see a monster is the brief scuffle in the operating room between Dan and the Burako. As with many of the other episodes, there's an off-kilter quality here with varied, and odd camera angles, and curious color palette. In the end, the story sells it -- weak effects work and all.

WEAPONS: The Pointer, Ultra Hawk #1 and #3

To be continued in Episode 23: SEARCH TOMORROW!!!
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