Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Wave Motion Gun

If you are reading this blog post, perhaps you were attracted by the title, "The Wave Motion Gun"? If so, this places you firmly as a child of the 80's, or at least aware of one of the forgotten but great cartoons, Star Blazers.

This was in the genre of the Japanese animated shows like Speed Racer, but was much less popular. The Star Blazers rode around in space on a sort of recycled battleship, that also kind of doubled up as an aircraft/spacecraft carrier and submarine when needed! A truly green initiative and perhaps we should consider re-using old battleships this way. I expect part of the consciousness of the Japanese people as their immense WW2 navy was slowly decommissioned over time played a part in this.

But the really cool thing about Star Blazers was the Wave Motion Gun. This was clearly influenced by the Death Star on Star Wars, but in the hands of the good guys. The show used a hodge-podge of physics sounding terminology to let little kids like me know that this weapon packed a wallop -- it could destroy the cause of justice.

And then don't forget the characters, including the young pilot "Wildstar" and the old salt of a commander, along with the faithful sidekick, spunky woman and a dastardly villain to round out the main cast. For some reason, their uniforms had arrows pointing to their stomachs, akin to t-shirts that might say "baby inside".

So, here's the question: did you see it when you were a kid? Didn't it seem so cool at the time to be on the bridge of a battleship in space?

Maybe I'll think about another great animated show another time, taking a stroll down memory lane with Liono, Cheetara and all the ThunderCats (Ho!).


Ran Barton said...

a) The Imperial Japanese Navy was not slowly decommissioned over time; much of it was forcibly retired between 1942 and 1945, in events called Coral Sea, Ironbottom Sound at Guadalcanal, Midway, and Suriago. By August 1945, "As a result of the losses it had suffered, the IJN had ceased to be an effective fighting force. Following a series of raids on the Japanese shipyard at Kure, Japan, the only major warships in fighting order were six aircraft carriers, four cruisers, and one battleship, none of which could be adequately fueled. Although 19 destroyers and 38 submarines were still operational, their use was limited by the lack of fuel."

I loved this show as a kid, and was amazed a few years ago to see what a thriving world of fans of it exist on the web. There's an enormous Lego model of the Yamato-as-spaceship that has to be seen to be believed - I am sure google will find it for you.

Clifford Swartz said...

Ha! Yes, I know that the Imperial Japanese Navy was decimated in WW2, but there were still a bunch of ships left (not the capital ships, I guess, which were creamed). But wasn't the Yamato the name of the battleship in the show? So perhaps it is more of a sense of recalling the greatness of the past. Or something.

Still, I'm going to state for the record that I'm wrong and Ran is right for all matters naval!

SeaPea said...

thundercats is coming out to the big screens!

Anonymous said...

As far as the wave motion gun being inspired by Star Wars Death Star. Star Blazers aired in 1974 in Japan 3 years before Star Wars.

Clifford Swartz said...

Thanks for the correction, Anonymous!