Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! Last week, we left off on a number of cliffhangers, so before we start I should remind you that there are open spoilers for episode 19 of Ultraman Blazar in this article. But I bet most of you are here to see how those plot threads are resolved anyways. Despite the excitement of the new revelations from this episode, there are even more questions raised in their wake. For each answer our heroes uncover, several more pop up, much like trying to kill a mythical Hydra by cleaving off its individual heads.
What? I had to work a segue for our recap in there somehow.
Facing the Hydra-esque conglomeration of Irugo and Gebalga, SKaRD comes to the conclusion that it represents a targeted invasion attempt, one specifically engineered to attack human vulnerabilities. This has been hinted at before, but it’s chilling to hear it stated unequivocally. Some kind of threat beyond the Earth is directing these attacks to harm (even possibly to exterminate?) humanity, the question is – what? Or whom?
Meanwhile, as SKaRD and the GGF try to plan a counterattack, Emi continues investigating the mysterious “Test Facility 66”. Thanks to her leads, we finally discover the cause of the accident three years ago. Emi’s father and the other scientists were researching alien technology which created wormholes, gates between dimensions in space. Something went wrong however (as it often does), and sucked the missing scientists into a wormhole when it opened. The scientist who witnessed that accident doesn’t know their ultimate fate, but he does have something for Emi, a locket left behind by her father, Tatsuki Aobe.
Emi, of course, still needs to see the site of the accident for herself. I don’t think anyone was prepared for what she found though – Emi herself certainly wasn’t!
The rest of the SKaRD team has their own problems to deal with, as their commanding supervisor, Retsu Haruno, puts pressure on them to perform up to the GGF’s expectations. It was downright heartwarming to see the team members stand up in support of Blazar in this scene. Each one of them points out that, although they haven’t scored a win against a kaiju by themselves, they see Ultraman Blazar himself as an ally and a member of their team, rather than an unknown antagonist who competes against them. I find it interesting that Vice Captain Teruaki specifically was the first one to try and directly communicate with Blazar last week, including him in their strategy against Irugo and Gelbalga. Following from that, he’s also the first one in this scene to stand up in defense of their teamwork with Ultraman.
I laughed out loud at Blazar’s reaction too, almost blushing from their praise when his stone literally burns through Gento’s pocket after their statements. I don’t know if he understands the words precisely yet, but it’s clear that he gets the intent of their camaraderie.
I also don’t know if Haruno is convinced by their words, but he’s obviously concerned that his own superiors in the GGF’s command will see this as insubordination. He orders SKaRD to stand down, and prevents them from deploying against the gigantic “Brood Gelbalga” which currently threatens the city.
As you might expect, SKaRD lets that order stand for about five minutes before Gento sends them out regardless. They’re confident they can carry out a direct attack against the Kaiju this time. In many of these recaps, I’ve pointed out that the team has learned a lot and gained a lot of advantages through new technology, upgrades to the Earth Garon, and just their own experiences fighting against the different Kaiju threats over the course of the show. Yasunobu even explains that they’ve already installed shields against Gelbalga’s EMP, and have a spare Tilsonite rod, just like they used in episode 12!
Unfortunately, the “Brood” Gelbalga has upgrades of its own – its EMP is even more powerful now, and knocks out Earth Garon’s defenses in one shot! In addition, it’s more than twice the size of the previous Gelbalga! It’s not often that a Kaiju towers over an Ultra hero in these shows, but Blazar himself is dwarfed by the titanic monster, and his Tilsonite sword is broken immediately in their clash.
Emi discovers this right in the middle of infiltrating Test Facility 66. Everything seems to be out of their control and beyond their understanding. Is all hope lost for SKaRD, and for Ultraman? Is there no other way for them to stand up to this threat and protect everything they hold dear, all the lives around them? At this moment, cut off from the rest of her team, it seems like all Emi can do is pray for a miracle.
And then… that miracle happens.
This was such a powerful event, even with precious few words exchanged between Emi and her missing father, because it’s such a powerful expression of the bond which already connects them. He seemed like the stereotypical absent-minded professor from Emi’s description, but Tatsuki Aobe still obviously cared very much for his daughter, and trusted her enough to leave the secrets of his research in her hands. Similarly, even though Emi claimed she didn’t care about her father’s approval or attention, she went through all this trouble to try and find him again, putting herself in danger to either rescue him or find closure if he was truly gone.
And it just wouldn’t be an Ultraman episode if that small, intimately personal miracle didn’t also cause a big, dramatic miracle allowing Ultraman himself to beat the crap out of a huge Kaiju. I was really surprised by this new “upgraded” form for Blazar though, because it parallels Emi’s story so closely. As it turns out, Tatsuki Aobe wasn’t the only one trying to make contact through the broken wormhole at Test Facility 66. Blazar also has an ally of his own – a giant, fiery dragon Kaiju named “Firdran”!
Emi’s discovery of the Test Facility allows Firdran to break through, and give Blazar the boost he needed to defeat the Brood Gelbalga. Out of all the ways to give Blazar a new “form” to use in battle, having him do a gattai fusion with an interdimensional Kaiju dragon is probably the coolest one possible. Later on, we hear Gento describe it as Firdran “sensing that his master was in danger”. It sounds like Blazar was a sort of falconer who tamed this Kaiju, but it must care about its “master” an awful lot if it struggled so much to break through the wormhole to reunite with him!
I should also note that Blazar isn’t the only hero in an Ultraman show who fights alongside other Kaiju like this! In Ultraman Cosmos, the giant bird Kaiju Lidorias was one of the first Kaiju helped by Cosmos after his arrival on Earth, and it returns as a frequent ally of Cosmos and the defense team EYES. And even though he’s not an Ultraman himself, the hero of the Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle series, Rei, also fought alongside many other Kaiju. One of them is the prehistoric bird Kaiju Litra, making a reappearance from its debut in the first episode of the original Ultra Q series!
Ultraman Blazar takes things to another level by not just having a Kaiju ally fight alongside our heroes, but using that Kaiju as a whole new upgrade for Blazar to use! Making armor from Firdran’s power seems almost like something out of the Gridman or Dynazenon anime series, an appropriately fiery spectacle of a twist to put the cherry on top of this two-parter event.
The episode doesn’t end with Brood Gelbalga’s explosive death, however. Emi and Gento discover Tatsuki Aobe’s diary, detailing his research and its intended purpose. As it turns out, “V99” refers to mysterious aliens who arrived on Earth in 1999, and the wormhole technology came from a device they left behind. But it seems like Professor Aobe and the other scientists held the V99 in high regard, and they wished to communicate with them, presumably for benevolent and peaceful reasons. So what caused the current invasion of very definitely not-benevolent Space Kaiju? And how did Blazar get wrapped up in all this?
They probably won’t be getting more answers from Tatsuki Aobe’s work, unfortunately. His diary is immediately confiscated by the secretive faction working under Former GGF Director Dobashi’s orders. Strangely, they let Gento and Emi go free, and it’s SKaRD’s Chief of Staff Haruno who gets put on the chopping block in their place. Did Haruno call Gento in for a meeting to reveal more secrets, and the GGF suspended him before he could spill the beans? What will SKaRD do without their commanding supervisor now?
As usual, we can only wait for the next episode to find out! But we’re also rapidly approaching the show’s endgame, so it’s a safe bet to guess there are even more mysteries, miracles and crazy twists to come over the next few weeks. Until then, readers, stay tuned right here to Ultraman Connection!