Monday, 12 November 2012

21 Collinian Limitless Battle!

"and now we'll celebrate with a bonfire!"

Episode 21: Collinian Limitless Battle!
UK Video: Space Quest for F-01
US Video: Volume 7: Attack of the Bionic Robot
DVD: Star Fleet - The Complete Series - Disc 4

Commander Makara has her battlecruiser fire laser torpedoes at X-Bomber but X-Bomber replies with it's laser blast. The carriers on Collinian deploy more fighters against the palace and the city. Halley wants the rulers to flee but the refuse and will not reply with violence or use Professor Hagen's laser cannon which he constructed without their knowledge or permission. The Skull launches and battles the Alliance fighters as Calliban's Death Ball approaches the palace and attacks, demanding Lamia surrender herself. Halley calls X-Bomber for help, revealing the Alliance's trap. The pilots leave X-Bomber in the hands of Professor Hagen & PPA launching the Dai-X fighters. They form Dai-X in space and travel to Collinian where they land and confront the Death Ball. Calliban has been waiting for the Dai-X and attacks it first with missiles. The Death Ball's shell is impervious to Dai-X's physical attacks but when Dai-X physically pushes the death ball back Dai-X gets electrocuted by it. Dai-X uses it's laser beam and torpedoes but the death ball is undamaged. The Death Ball closes in on Dai-X as the Skull is attacked by the fighters. Dai-X jumps over the death ball but it turns round firing magnets attached to chains at the robot and then electrocuting it again, forcing the robot to the ground and injuring the pilots. Lamia is appalled by the suffering her friends are enduring and urges the Collinian royals to use the Professor's cannon. Death ball retracts it's chains and uses a flame thrower against Dai-X and the city. The pilots recover and Dai-X regains it's footing projecting an energy shield which deflects the Death Ball's flames. Dai-X fires X-Tracers destroying the Death Ball, but collapses, it's energy cells depleted. As Makara's battlecruiser attacks the palace fires the cannon causing the cruiser to flee in flames. The rulers of Collinian thank the crew of X-Bomber for helping defend their planet. Lamia bids goodbye to the -Bomber crew as she prepares to leave with Halley. As Commander Makara plots to destroy Collinian they are interrupted by the hologram of the Imperial Master who strips her and Orion of their command and tells them he will attack the Earth himself. Makara refuses to take this disgrace and resolves to attack and destroy X-Bomber. Collinian intercepts the transmission from the Imperial Master and informs Captain Halley & Lamia. Lamia rushes to tell the X-Bomber crew as they pay their respects at Doctor Benn's grave before they leave. She tells them that the Imperial Master will attack the Earth and they prepare to return to Earth. Lamia pleads with Shiro to go with them. The Imperial Master's planet moves out of the Thalian Zone and commences it's journey to Earth. Shiro asks his Father if they can take Lamia with them. After she argues that she must return with them the pilots vote to take her with them and Professor Hagen accepts the decision. Hagen informs Captain Halley as X-Bomber launches for Earth he prepares to following the Skull.

On the Star Fleet DVD X-Bomber creator Go Nagai expresses a desire to have an Imperial Alliance mecha foe for Dai-X. Well that's effectively what you get here with Calliban's death ball, a machine loaded with weapons which gets turned on Dai-X. It's a fab piece of design right down to it's screw thread tracks for moving it. It really is a match for our heroes robot, knocking it flat on the floor at one stage. But Dai-X has a few new tricks for it too: we saw X-Bomber's shield back in episode 4 now Dai-X reveals it's shield: a rectangular red panel projected in front of the robot. The shot of Death Ball's flame hitting it and being halted, but just lapping slightly over the top of the shield is one of my favourite effects shots in the entire series. Dai-X then deploys it's X-Tracers, white energy blasts fired from the X-Crest on his head. This *might* be the same weapon used to destroy the first Death Ball in episode 19 but the effect is very different, more a series of pulses than a constant blast.

X-Bomber meanwhile fires what is termed a Laser Blast here but was called it's Laser Torpedoes in it's only previous outing in episode 8. There the four blast were pink, here they're yellow/orange.

The destruction of the Death Ball is pretty spectacular and just watching this episode in isolation you'd think Calliban has perished with it. But the next time trailer reveals he's still alive and back on the Alliance Battlecruiser. Yes we get to see the Imperial Master and his home planet this episode as seen in the previous next time trailer but they only appear fleetingly and right at the end of the episode.

The first run of this episode in the UK (in the LWT region at least) occurred on a Sunday so I missed it as I was at church. The LWT 1984 repeat run either never got this far or aired in on a Sunday morning when I couldn't watch. But when I went to secondary school in 1984 one of my new friends there had recorded this episode and still had it on tape so in 1985 it became the first episode of the series I saw after the original run had finished. I wouldn't see any more Star Fleet footage until finding the videos in Woolworths c1990 and none of the 3 episodes I'd missed until c2000!.

The Japanese name for this episode is M13 Limitless Battle. Some of the episode appears on the UK compilation tape Space Quest for F-01, but how much depends on what version you have. On my earlier version we get Halley learning of the intended assault on Earth, Lamia warning X-Bomber's crew and X-Bomber leaving for Earth. On the latter version all this material, plus all the material taken from episode 23 and a good proportion of that taken from episode 24 is missing. A more complete version of the episode appears on the US videotape Volume 7: Attack of the Bionic Robot.

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