Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! We’re all preparing ourselves for the end of Ultraman Blazar, as we break down and recap the penultimate episode of the show. It should also go without saying, but this article will deal with major, open spoilers for episode 24, “The Approaching Third Wave”, so you definitely should watch it first before checking back in!
The name seems like a bit of an understatement to me however, since the threat the “Third Wave'' of Space Kaiju brings is so dire that it could wipe out life on Earth even though it hasn’t even landed on the planet yet! After the Kaiju, now named Varallon, crashed into the Moon last week, it wasted no time laying down bio-organic explosives which are powerful enough to knock it out of its orbit, and send it plummeting straight to the Earth’s surface.
Later in the episode, Gento’s son, Jun, asks if they need to evacuate from the Space Kaiju’s attack. Gento himself comments that if the Moon’s orbit changes, “then there won’t be any point.” I appreciate that honesty, but that’s a chilling thought even at this late stage of the show. We’ve seen some pretty nasty Kaiju set up as the final confrontations in different Ultraman series, but one that threatens to destroy all life on Earth with an extinction-level impact from the Moon? That’s a new one for me, and I’m sure a new and exciting source of terror for everyone else on Earth here.
It also puts a lot of pressure on the SKaRD team and the Earth Garon – again, to use a bit of an understatement. Despite Gento’s cheery confidence towards his son and his wife about the success of their mission, it’s clear that he’s worried sick about their operation. I mean, he already doesn’t look great after pushing his body to its breaking point by fighting as Blazar in the last episode. But Gento knows that they don’t have the resources necessary to prepare or ensure their success, especially not since their commander, General Retsu Haruno, was formally relieved of duty after their insubordination last episode.
I’m frankly surprised by how much my opinion of Haruno has turned around over the course of this show. He appeared to be just another bureaucratic blow-hard in the early episodes, who berated the team constantly while also constantly demanding unreasonable perfection. But over time, it seems like his true intentions around the team have shown through.
After all, as Emi Aobe pointed out in episode 14, he was her father’s best friend. Professor Aobe’s disappearance, and the subsequent cover-up from the GGF, must have weighed heavily on his conscience. By selecting this crew for SKaRD, including Emi herself, it seems like Haruno wanted to create a team who could work effectively against the constraints of the GGF’s commanders, while still fulfilling their necessary mission. Yasunobu even comments that the Earth Garon was always intended to fight against the V99 – and now, against Varallon who might be their final harbinger of doom. Did Haruno hand-pick the SKaRD team to give it the best fighting chance in this final battle, even if all else failed in the GGF organization around them?
If so, then it might be the case that Haruno’s plans have also been laid elsewhere through the GGF, not just with the SKaRD team. Early in this episode, we see Former Director Yu Dobashi angry with something in Professor Aobe’s journal, which recorded their study of the wormhole device from the V99 aliens, and presumably their first encounter with the V99. But later on, after Dobashi leaves the journal to be burned and destroyed, it ends up in Haruno’s hands! In fact, it was brought to him by someone who looks suspiciously like one of the security agents who had been escorting Dobashi around. Perhaps the Former Director isn’t the only commander within the GGF who knows how to play these political games.
Still, even with Haruno pulling for them here on Earth, and Emi continuing to investigate the origins of this apparent conflict with the V99 aliens, the team still has to go to the Moon to face down the most threatening “wave” of the Space Kaiju to date. Gento orders his team to prepare by taking a break away from the base, and these scenes are actually some of my favorites of the entire series, let alone in this episode. There’s so much about each character that shines through in these quiet moments, like Yasunobu catching up on his laundry, Anri going for a run, or even Teruaki calling his dad to check in on him. Their small little concerns and habits seem simultaneously too small compared to the enormity of their mission, and also the most important things they care about, things which drive them to fight to protect the Earth in the first place.
All of these moments, even Gento trying his best to sneak out of his apartment without waking up his family so he won’t have to lie to them again – seriously Gento, why haven’t you told them you’re the Captain of SKaRD yet? You’re literally going to the Moon and know you likely won’t come back if you’re forced to transform again! They both care so much about you, just tell them already–
Ahem. Sorry about that. It’s extremely frustrating to watch, but Gento’s such a great character to follow at a time like this because of these character flaws. Those same flaws are just so utterly exasperating to watch because he’s struggling with such a relatable, heartbreaking dilemma.
Later on, the scene of the Earth Garon’s take-off was also one of my favorite moments in the episode. In practice, we’ve seen a lot of these launch sequences before, but this one was extended by the sheer complexity of Earthy’s Mod. 4 upgrades. It combined all the weapons and additions they’ve developed for it over the course of the show, in the same way that the SKaRD team itself has gained so much experience and strength from those same battles. It really made the approach for this final showdown against Varallon feel definitive in a unique way.
And so, all those moments, both quiet and loudly dramatic, brought SKaRD, the Earth Garon, Captain Gento and the Earth Garon itself to the Moon, to make their stand against the most powerful Kaiju threat yet. They all knew the risks. They all knew the possibility that there would be casualties, that some of them might never make it back to the Earth, and yet they all chose to be there in that moment – even Ultraman Blazar himself.
Then… oh dear. Readers, I need a second to collect myself here.
We all knew there would be long odds of victory. But against Varallon, they didn’t seem to even stand a chance.
Almost immediately, everything goes wrong in this fight. The bombs explode too early and too rapidly. Varallon’s powerful energy attacks destroy any cover Earth Garon might’ve used, and they can’t stop the Space Kaiju from knocking the Moon out of its orbit. Even worse, the blast disabled the Earth Garon itself, leaving Gento and Blazar to make the unthinkable decision. In order to save the others – the crew in the Earth Garon and all life on Earth – they both have to transform.
It comes at a cost, however. Blazar’s color timer immediately goes red, and they can’t summon the strength to stop Varallon either. They burn enough energy, it seems, to put the Moon back in its orbit and prevent the worst-case scenario. Or maybe I should say they prevented a worst-case scenario. After being beaten, and literally drained of energy by Varallon’s attacks, Blazar forcibly separates himself from Gento, leaving him alive… but with a blank, empty stone.
There were many points in this episode where I was close to losing it emotionally. This episode was intense in so many different ways, throughout so many different scenes. However, the one point where I did break down was watching Blazar leave Gento behind. The moment was even framed as a tragic reversal, mirroring how they first encountered each other during the fateful accident three years ago. At that time, Gento reached out to Blazar, and they met together in that tragedy, united by their desire to protect all other lives.
Now, for the sake of protecting Gento’s life, Blazar lets go.
Just remember, for Ultraman stories, the seeming darkest hour we face is never the end of the story. There’s still one more episode to go in Blazar, and these times when things seem completely hopeless are always when the greatest miracles come about from the true power of Ultraman. That is, the true power of hope, courage and compassion that have all defined our heroes through this entire series.
I’m sure we’ll see how this all ends happily coming up this next Friday, when the final episode of Ultraman Blazar premieres. In the meantime, stay on top of all the news, commentary, special events, and more from us here Ultraman Connection, and I’m going to go stare at a wall for a good long minute.