Thursday, 25 October 2012

03 Find F-01!

"First we must find out what exactly F-01 is"

Episode 3: Find F-01!
UK Video: Space Quest for F-01
US Video: Volume 1: Save The Earth
DVD: Star Fleet - The Complete Series - Disc 1

While Star Fleet searches it's databanks for information on F-01 Doctor Benn tries to send Lamia back to Moonbase, not wanting to risk her life, but she refuses to leave and joins the pilots repairing the engine room. Hercules & Lee speculate that F-01 might be one of X-Bombers weapons but Shiro thinks that F-01 may be a person, with special powers. Lamia overhears this and returns to Doctor Benn questioning her origins. Shiro follows and overhears Doctor Benn telling her how she was found in a spacecraft on Mars, with Kirara and her blue jewelled necklace, by Professor Hagan, Shiro's Father. Professor Hagan raised her as her own until he disappeared from Mars some time ago. Kirara finds Shiro and Doctor Benn swears him to secrecy. When no data on F-01 is found in the computers, General Kyle decides to attack the Alliance Cruiser. He tells Makara they have no information but she doesn't believe them. General Kyle contacts X-Bomber but it is unable to launch in time to save them. The Alliance destroys Earth's missile base sites and gives them five minutes to hand over F-01. Star Fleet command evacuates it's personnel to the shelters. Doctor Benn decides to use X-Bomber's X-Impulse to attack the Imperial Alliance cruiser. Lamia contacts Commander Makara and tells her that she is the F-01. This draws the Cruiser away from Earth. Shiro stops Lamia from leaving X-Bomber to surrender herself. As the Cruiser approaches the Moon X-Bomber launches and uses the X-Impulse against it massively damaging the vessel and forcing it to flee the solar system.

So.... where do we start? Spacesuits. I like spacesuits :-) I do wonder though what Professor Hagan is doing wearing one with no gloves? Mars' surface pressure is 0.636 (0.4–0.87) kPa (compared to Earth's 101.325 kPa so I'd have thought a full suit would be necessary especially if entering a potentially hazardous environment.....

And then there's the spacesuits seen hanging in X-Bomber's airlock. Bright yellow in colour. And hanging there is the only time you'll see these suits: The pilots will wear space suits in several later episodes (and Lamia in one too) but they never use suits of this design and colour.

Then we have to question the Hagan family's domestic arrangements: How has Shiro never met Lamia before if her Father brought her up? If we assume that she & Shiro are a similar age in their early twenties surely they must have come into contact? The only assumption is that Professor Hagan and his wife are long since separated with Shiro & his mother remaining on Earth while Professor Hagan went to Mars & started work on X-Bomber. Note that Professor Hagan is now missing: Absent, Missing & Presumed Dead Fathers are a bit of a trope in Japanese Manga & Anime fiction (see also: Red Impulse / Kentaro Washio in Gatchaman, a plot element eliminated from the western Battle of the Planets version.

So how does Lamia make the jump to think that she may be F-01? She's a bit impulsive as we'll see in later episode so..... but it is quite a big leap to make. Doctor Benn's direction to the crew to take X-Bomber up to avoid colliding with Makara's battlecruiser is a bit odd: the following frames show both ships heading up and narrowly missing, surely down or off to the side would be better?

X-Impulse's debut here is as an X shaped blue ray projecting out from X-Bomber's wings. We're given prior warning of it's destructive power as Star Fleet command evacuates to shelters and when we see it it's jolly impressive becoming the first thing to actually do some damage to the alien cruiser. We learn something about the Alien Cruiser here when Star Fleet command analyses it: it's 1,600 meters long. From that you should be able to produce estimates of the rest of it's dimensions.

At one point I owned a copy of this episode on audio tape. But for some reason the previous episode overran and I missed the end of the episode on recording: it cut out just as X-Bomber started launching so I missed the crucial X-Impulse sequence. These first three episode make a nice little trilogy to open the series so it's only right that they all appear together on the US Star Fleet video Volume 1: Save The Earth. It's the only episode on the tape to retain it's next episode sequence, which excited me no end as a nine year old: Asteroids! Those red fighters from the end titles at last! This episode also appears, almost complete, on the Space Quest for F-01 UK compilation.

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