SINK THE ENEMY BATTLESHIP
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 27/09/1980
Harulu receives a transmission from an unknown party warning her of the danger she's in, and instructing her to leave Null Space at a certain position. Without any other options, she orders the ship to head to the escape point. The Solo Ship overhears the transmission, and follows her into normal space. It emerges directly below the Dorowa Zan, and brief stalemate develops, neither side willing to make the first move and expose themselves. Harulu breaks the stand-off by ordering her troops to board the Solo Ship, and hand-to-hand fighting ensues. The Gauge allows Ideon to be reformed, and Cosmo directly attacks the Dorowa Zan. The boarding party heads back to defend their ship, allowing the Solo Ship to pull away to a safe distance. The Dorowa Zan is soon destroyed, but Harulu escapes in a life pod. Cosmo tries to give chase, but the Ideon is struck by a passing attack from an unknown Buff Clan mecha. As the colonists recover from the battle, Harulu meets her saviour on a nearby moon - she recognises that her is not regular Buff military, but the mysterious pilot does lend her a ship to get home in.
Harulu Ajiba: Harulu recognises the voice of her rescuer, but for now plays her cards close to her chest.
Gije Zaral: Gije is also working for the mysterious Buff Clan unit that saves Harulu, who also have different uniforms and access to very advanced mecha (even Harulu doesn't seem to really know what it is). He was dismissed from the regular military by Harulu in episode 19, but doesn't seem to be taking it personally.
Giran Dou: That's presumably the same example launched in episodes 7 and 9, which survived previous scrapes with the Ideon, and was presumably transferred over to the Dorowa Zan before the Gataman Zan was abandoned (which seems to have happened off-screen - considering the losses Harulu's expeditionary force took in terms of both mecha and men, I guess they only had enough to fully man the Dorowa Zan). The Giran Dou is mainly used here to show the increasing power of the Ideon - the heavy mobile mecha held the colonists' robot twice before, but here lasts a matter of seconds. No further examples of the type are seen after this episode.
Buff: The planet is within about a day's Null Space travel of the action.
The Solo Ship: We're never given a solid estimate for just how many people are on the Solo Ship, but I'd guess it's in the hundreds. A good few dozen are wiped out in the Buff Clan's attack here. We do get our first glimpse of a non-regular civilian since the visit to Ajian, however - a large woman who throws the contents of a kitchen at a pair of unfortunate Buff Clan troopers. I can't quite decide if that bit is hilarious or awful. Both in equal measure, perhaps.
Once again the series abandons the "strange planet with a Buff Clan general loitering above, attacking just before the commercial break" formula and once again the result is cracking.
The whole episode is fast-paced and unpredictable, owing to the labyrinthine motives of the Ide. It's left ambiguous as to whether the Ide causes the initial contact between the ships or if it's just a fluke, but it seriously mucks the colonists around in the ensuing battle and there's a real sense of both its' power and its' willpower growing.
There's plenty of action even if most of the characterisation takes a back seat. Things are building nicely when the plot's allowed to move forwards.