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Episode 4: Antarctic Storm

 

Review by Arshad Adel Abdul-Aal

April 1, 2015

 

Summary

 

Seiji has breakfast at the Kosakas' and they all watch Misuzu's news report about the increase in attacks by the mysterious robot invaders concentrated in the south seas area. Hikaru notes that Misuzu looks tired and Seiji explains that it's because of all the big stories happening at once recently. Misuzu also reports that a lunar exploration crew will also be returning to Earth to avoid being attacked by the invaders. Haruo tries to feed Seiji some natto but the latter quickly excuses himself and leaves for school, missing the news footage showing a Brave Stone among the objects excavated from the surface of the moon. After school, Seiji wonders where he can find another Brave Stone when he spots Hotaru staring off into the distance. He asks her what she's doing and she says that something terrible is happening in Antarctica. Seiji spots an aurora for a brief moment but Hotaru is suddenly gone before he can ask her about it. On the way home, Seiji passes an electronics store front sees Misuzu on the TVs reporting that the shuttle carrying the lunar crew went missing over the Antarctic. When he finally notices the Brave Stone among the cargo, he quickly runs back home to Da-Garn. Seiji briefs Da-Garn on the new Brave Stone before suiting up and summoning Jumbo Saber to fly them to Antarctica. A GDO EWACS jet and its fighter escorts search the Antarctic for the shuttle but are intercepted by a squad of Riken Betas. The Riken squad damages the EWACS and takes it back to Redlone's hidden base where the missing shuttle is hidden. However, Redlone orders them to throw the jet out because it is now junk. Redlone inspects the shuttle and, despite its primitive design, orders his robot assistant to add it to his collection. The assistant tells Redlone that he doesn't recall building their frontline for the purpose of expanding his collection. Redlone backhands his assistant and retorts that studying Earth's machines is part of his mission and getting to keep them is just a bonus. He finds the Brave Stone in the cargo hold but thinks nothing of it and throws it away. A robot soldier shows Redlone the imprisoned crew of the shuttle and the other planes they've captured, and Redlone says that he'll use them for biological study later. Another soldier informs him that another plane is approaching. Seiji complains about being hungry and orders Jumbo Saber to land at the nearest populated area. Jumbo Saber finds an American geological survey base and lands in front of the bewildered crew. They feed Seiji and the cook recognizes the Brave Stone shaped symbol on Seiji's helmet. The base commander asks Seiji what he's doing in the Antarctic and the latter replies that he's looking for the missing space shuttle. The commander is surprised at this and says that they haven't heard the news because there's been so much interference they couldn't even use the radio. The cook wonders if this is related to the strange fleet they saw earlier, and Seiji explains that they're probably part of the alien invaders that attacked Japan. The commander explains that they lost radio contact with the outside world around four days ago when the strange fleet first appeared, and the cook finally remembers that he saw the Brave Stone at a nearby excavation site. Seiji quickly drags the cook off to Da-Garn so he can lead them to the site.

 

The cook thinks Seiji is some rich kid playing a game, but is surprised when they reach the excavation site in record time. The cook takes Seiji to the bottom and shows him the Brave Stone embedded in a large rock. Seiji summons Da-Garn and has him smash the rock, freeing the Brave Stone. Seiji notices that the stone is reacting to the Aurin but isn't activating, and Da-Garn explains that there isn't anything nearby that can become the Brave Fighter's body. The confused cook demands to know what's going on and Seiji reluctantly says that he's just playing a game. Jumbo Saber calls in and says that enemies are approaching the base. A squad of Riken Betas arrives and begins to carry Jumbo Saber off. Jumbo Saber wants to transform but Seiji tells him to let the invaders carry him to their base so they can track him to it. Seiji and Da-Garn drop the cook off back at the base then quickly follow after Jumbo Saber until they arrive at Redlone's base. Seiji orders Jumbo Saber to transform but the Aurin activates the Brave Stone he found and the one inside the shuttle, which embed themselves in the shuttle and a nearby blue fighter jet. The two new Brave Fighters introduce themselves as Shuttle Saber and Jet Saber. Da-Garn picks up the voices of the imprisoned crew members and Seiji orders the Sabers to destroy the base while he and Da-Garn rescue the hostages. The Sabers transform to robot mode and engage the Riken Betas and robot soldiers. Redlone's assistant bursts into the former's office yelling that enemy robots have invaded their base, and Redlone wants to know where they came from. Da-Garn fights his way past robot soldiers and finds the hostages. He breaks their glass prison and leads them back to the hangar while Seiji orders the Sabers to load them inside Jumbo Saber and prepare to leave. The Sabers destroy the remaining enemies and force Redlone to abandon the base, but not before he sends Daimler II after the Brave Fighters. Seiji orders everyone to cover Jumbo Saber while he takes off. Da-Garn, Shuttle Saber and Jet Saber easily wreck Daimler, but Da-Garn notices that it has a powerful bomb in its body. Everyone barely makes it out before the explosion destroys the entire base. Seiji drops the hostages off at the American base and leaves with the Brave Fighters. He wonders if the entire invaders' army is just robots, but Da-Garn says that he detected a non-Earthling life sign among them. Seiji notes that the sky is beautiful and Da-Garn says that that's the beauty they're here to protect.

 

Commentary

 

I had thought that with the introduction of one new Brave Fighter per episode, the show would have comfortably stretched the Brave Stone searching subplot for a good seven episodes. Instead, Seiji finds two stones in one episode and completes the Saber team. Funnily enough, he probably wouldn't have found the other one if he hadn't gotten sidetracked by his empty stomach, which itself was a side effect of the Kosakas' rather unfulfilling organic cuisine. This episode also had a bit of a filler feel to it, what with Redlone's obsession with collecting vehicles serving almost no purpose in the grand scheme of things. The monster of the week fight was also pretty much an afterthought when you consider that Da-Garn X didn't even have to make an appearance, but it was good to see Seiji showcase good leadership when it came to finding the Redlone's base and prioritizing the hostage rescue. I can't decide Seiji if going along with the cook's assumption that he's a rich kid playing a game is sheer genius or just plain silly. On the other hand, I'm already bored of Hotaru's shtick. She might as well just tell Seiji a destination right off the bat before disappearing instead of wasting time with all her ominous babbling. Also, what was a Brave Stone doing off-planet to begin with, Much less being found on the moon? On a lighter note, Redlone's assistant suffers the first of several abuses by his master and things will only get worse for the poor guy.

 

Overall Rating

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4 out of 5 stars
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