Ultraman Blazar ep 9: Melody of Life

This week’s episode focuses on Anri and her relationship with a street musician whom she met because of her interest in music. At first, they seem to be on a good term where the musician gave a concert ticket to her and Anri herself is enjoying his and his friends’ music. Turns out, their connection is more than meets the eye.

Before that though, I want to point out another interesting thing in this episode, and it’s involving Gento and Blazar. In this episode, Blazar possessed Gento and drank Teruaki’s vegetable juice, despite Gento himself disliking it. This of course caused some suspicion among the SKaRD crews. Even more so when Gento’s Blazar Stone in Gento’s pocket heats up Gento’s legs. I’m sure that moments like these would eventually lead to the moment when Gento’s identity as Blazar’s host being unmasked, especially the way Teruaki look at Gento after his leg got struck with heat as if trying to find out what is really going on with his captain.

Speaking of Gento’s interaction with Blazar, it seems that they often use a first person PoV for Gento anytime Blazar is involved. Sometimes when Gento is about to transform, a shot of Blazar’s inner space, and also when Gento is communicating with Blazar. I assume that they want to the viewer to immerse themselves of what is it feel like to be in Gento’s shoes as Blazar’s host, especially when Gento is trying to communicate with Blazar. We can see how hard it is to communicate with Blazar when he doesn’t know how to speak a word unlike other Ultras, such as in Ultraman Z, where Haruki and Z sometimes have a banter with each other. With Blazar, since he’s so primitive that he can’t really talk, Gento has to think of other ways to “talk” to Blazar, such as clapping. At least from that, we can see that Blazar is able to understand human speech since Blazar is responding to Gento’s clapping.

This week’s villain(s) is super unique! They are a group of Seijins who came to pillage the Earth by summoning the Kaiju Garamon. Things would be normal if they just follow that textbook approach. But not this time.Anri’s relationship with the musician, Mr. Tsukushi, is a weird but wholesome one. When they first met, they seemed to be good acquaintances with each other. They even exchange life lessons with each other that not only valuable for them, but also for us. “What’s good is good, and there’s no boredom in enjoyment,” is a statement that all of us can live by. We might be judged for what we like, and that’s fine, as long as we’re passionate about what we like. Maybe, just like how Anri got her interest in music, those people who judged you might take an interest in what you like as well.

Their relationship eventually crumbled when a Kaiju rises from a meteor that dropped to earth. This Kaiju is Garamon, a robot Kaiju that behaves depending on waveforms. From here, Anri has her suspicions on who could be responsible for controlling the Kaiju – especially since she had “seen” this waveform harmony before. This leads back to the concert ticket that Anri received. After all, who other musicians that appeared in this episode apart from Mr. Tsukushi and his friends? I do appreciate Gento’s willingness to believe in Anri’s gut feeling, which on paper is essentially a baseless accusation with no solid proof aside from the ticket.

The flashback scene itself is shot so beautifully. First off, the scene where they first arrived to Earth is shot in black and white. At first, I thought with the heavy influence of Ultra Q with the music played and the Kaiju appeared this is to make this flashback feel old school, and then when they discovered music the flashback turned into full color, as if they found their real calling of playing music. Then the scene after that is the stand out of this flashback scene, where they walk into the sunrise while holding their instrument, like they walk into their new life as a group of musicians. After that, they shot the scene where they perform from afar and slowly pans around while focusing on the musicians as the seasons change from spring, to summer, to fall, to winter. To me, this whole sequence is so beautiful.

Speaking of things that I find interesting in this episode, it’s the music. The scene of the rise of Garamon, a very old Kaiju that has appeared on various Ultra series, even dating back to Ultra Q, they played Ultra Q’s themes. The orchestra that plays while Garamon rises from the meteor gives this scene a chilling feel. Even if the Kaiju itself doesn’t do anything significant and just walking back and forth, with that music it makes whatever Garamon’s doing feels so mysterious. What is it going to do? Is it going to destroy some buildings? You can feel the alertness from that music. Right when Earth Garron arrived, the music changes to a lighter tune, as if signalling that a help is arrived and will save the day from the Kaiju. In the middle of the fight, the music is back to heavier tune as Earth Garron is struggling to fight Garamon and Anri is running towards the source of the music. Also, this tune is playing continuously, even during Blazar’s rise sequence where Blazar’s usual rise jingle is not playing (on a sidenote, I like Blazar’s new rise sequence), until the aliens’ flashback scene. After that, the music turns into a slower and somber note as it leads to what would eventually happen. At first the music gives of a feeling that Blazar would lose, and then the music stops as Anri shot Mr. Tsukushi, which makes the music feels like it would lead to the alien and Garamon’s death. The moment when Garamon is destroyed itself is not accompanied, but another somber note plays during Mr. Tsukushi’s death, which make his farewell scene with Anri really touching for me.

Overall, I thought this is going to be a regular cooldown episode right after the intensity of the last two-part episodes, but it turned out to be quite special. It all thanks to Ultra Q influences and also Gento’s progress to connect with Blazar. The actors who played the alien band is really amazing, especially Tsukushi. The music is also very good as well. I’m also looking forward to the next episode where we finally get to meet Gento’s family.

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