GALACTIC GALE BAXINGAR
EPISODE 38: Gamble on Uranus-Pluto
WRITTEN BY: Yuu Yamamoto
BROADCAST DATE: March 22, 1983
And, as always, this episode aired exactly forty years ago today!
First off, I forgot to mention last week that on March 15, the same day that Episode 37 aired, the second Baxingar Soundtrack LP came out!
It’s very similar to the second Braiger soundtrack in that it focuses more on the songs than the background music. It’s also similar in that the Braiger soundtrack had narration by Kaneto Shiozawa as Blaster Kid speaking over the beginnings of the songs, and this one has narration by Yoko Asagami as Lila. As such, if you want “clean” versions of the songs, you either have to pick up the 7” singles, or get one of the later J9 song collection CDs. Which, y’know, isn’t that big a problem, except that the “Slow Version” of “Asteroid Blues” is not available anywhere else, so no “clean” version of it exists.
And speaking of that song, it appears at the beginning of this episode, as the Galactic Gale mourns the death of Digo. And this IS a really big deal. We’ve gone through all of the Braiger series and most of Baxingar, and this is the FIRST primary J9 member who’s died. When Braiger wanted to pull out the stops, they killed Macarone and Gratano. When Baxingar does it, they kill off the leader of the group.
Way back when I was first trying to envision my Baxingar posts (and remember, I watched Baxingar in Spanish back in ’86 or so, so I’ve known for decades that this moment was coming), I thought that at this point I’d say something like, “Now that the new guy is out of the way, we have a proper, four-person J9 team.” And yes, it’s true that Baxingar is the only J9 team with five members, and I initially said that Digo was the “new” character, not based on anyone from Braiger.
But I realize now that I was wrong about that. It’s as if, for Baxingar, they split Isaac from Braiger up into two characters. Schutecken gets his looks, Digo gets his personality.
They underscore this, I think, during the scene where everyone watches Digo’s final message to them. Along with an exhortation to keep fighting and win, he also says that he lives inside them now, and Schutecken later agrees, saying that Digo resides inside him now. I’m not sure if this was intentional on the creators’ part, but one way to look at it is that the J9-II incarnation of Isaac was split in two, and has now, at the the end of the series, finally rejoined into one.
Next, Sonia, who at one point seemed poised to become Schutecken’s love interest, visits Igo on his ship, wanting to know if there’s some way the final battle could be averted. Igo says (and I think he’s right) that the New Planets Alliance would never let the Galactic Gale live, and the Galactic Gale would never surrender.
Now even more deeply worried, she joins him in his journey to the Uranus/Pluto zone.
Back with the Galactic Gale, on the way to the Uranus/Pluto zone, they come across an enemy group there to ambush them. They fly out (with, eerily, Digo’s motorcycle on autopilot)…
…and, it’s almost emotionally moving. Last episode, the enemy were so thrilled to have downed Baxinger, which has been a thorn in their side since the start. And now, they’re baffled and horrified to see it return.
Then they reach the new space fortress, Fort Santa Vida, built by Buyo Nomolt over the past few episodes. It’s got a pretty unusual shape.
Inside, however, it looks well-fortified and even pleasant… there’s even a large, natural-looking park.
Sama and Cathy-Lou have an emotional reunion, and decide to check out the cherry blossom trees.
So, we’ve got Sama, who’s the avowed samurai of the group, resting under falling cherry blossom petals… THIS IS NOT AT ALL OMINOUS.
And sure enough, Gil Claude and his men have sneaked in with a large shipment of grain…
And they ambush Sama.
Gil Claude doesn’t get away with it, though. Lila electrocutes him with her whip and Billy delivers the killing blow.
But it’s too late for poor Sama. He’s gone.
Farewell, Samanosuke Dodi… you were my favorite character.
Again, Baxingar is pretty much telling its own story at this point. The model for Sama, Harada Sanosuke, had died much earlier in the war. And of course Gil Claude is based on the fictional character Shichiri Kennosuke from the novel, Moeyo Ken.
That said, Buyo’s star-shaped space fortress is based on Goryokaku, a fort in the city of Hakodate, where the last of the Tokugawa supporters and the remaining Shinsengumi sought refuge as they fled north.
NUMBER OF TIMES “YAY” IS SAID IN THIS EPISODE: None.
AND TOTAL: 23
NUMBER OF GALACTIC GALE SOLDIERS KILLED IN THIS EPISODE: Again, only one. But it’s another BIG one.
AND TOTAL: 35