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EPISODE 7:
SOPHIA, WARRIOR WOMAN OF THE LEO CLAN

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
14/08/1986
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SYNOPSIS

Rom's band follow the Wolf Sword to Death Valley where they are observed by members of the Leo tribe. Led by Sophia, some of the Leo tribe attack. Rom refuses to fight Sophia because she's female before the Leo tribe warriors run off to attend to something else - their home camp has been attacked and their chief taken by the Gyandlar. Rom offers to help but Sophia insists they finish their fight first. He reluctantly beats her and by the rules of the tribe can take Sophia as his wife if he wishes. Elsewhere, Grujios and Gadess are interrogating the chief, who claims to know nothing. The Gyandlar captain Jingi suggests they take action against the remaining Leo Tribe to get the information.

The Leo Tribe find where the chief is being held, but Sophia continues to refuse Rom's offers of help unless she marries her. The Tribe attack alone but are outnumbered by the Gyandlar and surrounded. Rom, Jet, Drill and Leina arrive (having following the Leo tribe anyway) and turn the tide, but Sophia is mortally injured saving Rom from the Jingi. Watching from orbit, Gadess causes a chasm to appear in the ground but Rom summons Kenryû while Jet and the other Leo Tribe members rescue the chief. After converting to Baikanfu, Rom kills Jingi and Grujios retreats. The chief reveals to Rom that the Wolf Emblem has disappeared and they must search further.


NOTES

As the name suggests, the Leo Clan can transform into robotic big cats. In robot mode, they're human looking as per the Cronos Tribe. If one of their females is bested in combat the victor can take her as his wife. The Leo Clan aren't based on any toys. Leina is very jealous of Sophia, calling her uncouth. She joins the fight - but Jim doesn't. Jim's rubbish.

A Falcon Robo is seen transforming and landing in the first shot - it serves no plot purpose whatsoever; best guess is Bandai were getting a bit irritated at how few Machine Robo toys were appearing in the show. An Ambulance Robo is later seen collecting the injured Leo Tribe members. It gets weirder after the commercial break - an Off Road Robo is seen transforming - like the Falcon Robo with zero relevance to everything else - and just as it's halfway to vehicle mode, there's a single frame of Bandai's logo - subliminal advertising? The oddest thing is that Off Road Robo wasn't even reissued to tie in with the cartoon.


TRIVIA

Cronos Tribe Featured: Leina Stol, Rom Stol, Sophia.

Battle Tribe Featured:
Triple Jim, Rod Drill, Ambulance Robo, Off Road Robo (cameo).

Jet Tribe Featured:
Falcon Robo (cameo), Blue Jet.

Gyandlar Featured: Grujios, Gadess, Jingi.

Anime Clichés: Leina's weird jealous fits whenever Sophia tries to get some of Rom are a bit worrying. Rom kicks a Gyandlar mook's head clean off.

Errors: Rom had no problem with trying to fight Diondra a couple of episodes back. He also convinces the Leo Tribe he's friendly by punching Sophia in the throat. The Gyandlar just happen to operate from a cave shaped like a human skull, which is handy as it means you know they're the bad guys. Gadess' ability to tear the Earth apart with a gesture from space would have been handy several times before and after this episode.


REVIEW

A very weird episode. The Leo Tribe (most of whom disappear, leaving everything up to Sophia and her two sidekicks) are naff with their split second non-transformations and Sophia's pretty irritating, switching from being besotted with Rom to being huffy at random. Women, huh? Am I right guys, huh?

There's some real strangeness as noted above and it's getting difficult to care about random Wolf Emblem signs as the group bumble around. On the plus side at least Baikanfu has to properly fight the Gyandlar captain rather than winning in less time than it takes for the thing to combine. It's just pretty clear that Ashi aren't very interested in Machine Robo by now.