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EPISODE 12:
LEGEND OF THE ELMEDIA HERO

ORIGINAL AIRDATE:
18/09/1986
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SYNOPSIS

The travellers are in an arctic area of Cronos when a nearby submarine malfunctions, ejecting a criminal - known as Number 96 - it was carrying. The cause of the malfunction is the Gyandlar's latest weapon being tested from orbit. Grujios thinks the weapon is too weak and Diondra suggests recovering a powerful crystal from the Cronos settlement of Elmedia to boost it. The freed Number 96 has been equipped to steal it for the Gyandlar. On the surface, Rom's group arrive at a wasteland settlement on the trail of the escapee, where the surface-dwelling Apu are at war with the underground Andoglonas. They intervene to save a pair of Andoglonas children and are taken underground by their parents. They explain the fugitive hails from Andoglonas and his name was Black. The family react angrily and storm off. The travellers carry on their investigation but Leina is attacked by a strange creature outside a cemetery. Rod fends him off and the deformed stranger flees. They find he is Jilas, keeper of the cemetery, sometime thief and Black's former partner. However the locals gets hostile whenever they mention Black himself. The boy they rescued, Misu, is more friendly and shows them a statue of Black, who is a hero since driving off an attack from the surface dwellers. Their musings are interrupted by the arrival of Number 96, who easily takes out Rom, Jet and Rod and begins attacking the city. Number 96 then flees with Jilas, having taken the sword from Black's statue.

Misu believes Black will return to stop Number 96 while Rom, Jet, Rod, Leina and Jim are accused of taking the sword by the Misu's father, despite the boy's pleas. Rom orders his friends to stand down and go quietly so they can sort the misunderstanding. In prison, Rom speculates that Black and Number 96 are one and the same but that the townspeople don't like acknowledging this - hence the group's imprisonment. Number 96 attacks Misu's family, after the Elmedia crystal, and takes the boy hostage. In the commotion Rod frees the travellers from their cell and they set off to rescue Misu. Number 96 has reached the statue of Black, making short work of the Andoglonas army. He retrieves the crystal from its' hidden location in the base of the statue only for Black himself to reappear and challenge him. However, the hero is no match for Number 96, who easily knocks him out of the sky. He is found by Rom's party who discover that the hero is Jilas, trying to protect his old partner's reputation. He reveals to Rom and Leina that Black is Number 96 and was a criminal from the start, but Jilas - his thief sidekick - was so inspired by the legends he decided to live up to them. He dies from his wounds and Rom swears vengeance. Kenryû confronts Black, and soon Rom has to summon Baikanfu. The fight still seems to be going Black's way until he hits the crystal with an energy beam from the Dragon Sword, giving Baikanfu an opening to destroy him. The group buries Jilas, promising that the legend of Black as a hero will live on.


NOTES

The underground Andoglonas city uses an artificial sun. Leina easily beats up two leery guards while wearing handcuffs. There are some very violent dismemberments in this one of the human-looking Andoglonas, though Ashi make sure they're covered in electric sparks to remind everyone they're robots. The original Black (a Gyandlar) had always intended to steal the crystal.

A blue Dozer Robo (in vehicle mode only) is seen in the wasteland. A Crane Robo (with a very suggestively-placed crane in robot mode), a Scooter Robo, a Bike Robo (recoloured in yellow and grey) and a Police Robo are all seen in Andoglonas - the latter trio even have dialogue (though it's unrelated to the episode, just being the latter telling the Scooter and Bike to watch their speed). Even more winningly, there's a Limousine Robo redecoed as a hearse at the cemetery - this was actually one of the early prototype colour schemes for the toy.


TRIVIA

Cronos Tribe Featured: Leina Stol, Rom Stol, Misu, Jilas.

Battle Tribe Featured:
Triple Jim, Rod Drill, Dozer Robo (cameo), Crane Robo (cameo), Scooter Robo, Bike Robo, Police Robo, Limousine Robo.

Jet Tribe Featured: Blue Jet.

Gyandlar Featured: Gadess, Grujios, Diondra, Black.

Anime Clichés: Rom defeats (kills?) one of the Apu thugs with his finger. Black and Number 96 have a slow-motion sword fight in front of some lovely purple crosshatching. There are also lots of low-angle shots of robot crotches. On the plus side, there's no forming sequence for Kenryû.

Errors: Blue Jet is coloured blue in the scene at Jilas' grave.


REVIEW

At first it looks like another dull story of a settlement in the middle of tribal warfare, but the underground/overground war is then basically ignored. What we get instead is still fairly predictable but at least it's making a bit of a break from the formula thus far - even if our heroes are once again locked up largely for being strangers. Nice to see Baikanfu pushed a bit in the big fight as well - and compacting Kenryû's appearance actually helps.

What's even more pleasing is that both the Stol twins are beginning to settle down a bit. Rom's steadily becoming less pompous and is almost likeable on a couple of occasions and while Leina's still a stereotyped anime girl at least she gets to have a bit of insight and spunk in this one.