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Film / Message from Space

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Message from Space note  is a film by Kinji Fukasaku, who would eventually do the film version of Battle Royale. A futuristic reimagining of the 19th-century novel Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, it was released in 1978 as Japan's answer to Star Wars. Among the film's stars were Sonny Chiba and Vic Morrow.

The peaceful people of the planet Jillucia are under the iron fisted rule of the Gavanas, whose emperor, Rockseia XXII, is himself ruled by his mother (an old crone played by comedian Hideyo Amamoto in drag). Kido, leader of the Jillucians, conducts a ritual to send out eight Liabe Holy Seeds (which look like glowing walnuts) to deep space. He then sends out his granddaughter Emeralida and her bodyguard Urocco to find the "Liabe heroes" that the seeds have chosen, and bring them back to defend the Jillucians and defeat the Gavanas.

Among the ones that the Liabe Seeds have chosen are:

  • Shiro and Aaron, two maverick rocket jockeys
  • Their cowardly friend, Jackie
  • Meia, a bored heiress
  • General Garuda (Morrow), a disgraced soldier
  • Beba-2, Garuda's loyal robot and Expy of R2D2
  • Prince Hans (Chiba), the exiled former leader of the Gavanas

This film contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Aaron is in love with Emeralida. For a while at least. It's used as his motivation for getting into the fight with the Gavanas, and is never mentioned again. When the heroes reunite with her near the end of the movie, there's no indication of this supposed undying love at first sight.
  • Action Girl: Emeralida suddenly turns into one at the end, fighting alongside her people against the Gavanas.
  • Airstrike Impossible: Aaron and Shiro have to pilot their fighters through a reactor shaft to destroy the Gavanas base, pursued by enemy fighters. This was a full 5 years before Return of the Jedi. Who followed whom?
  • Burial in Space: General Garuda's Establishing Character Moment is being chewed out for arranging for his outdated original robot buddy, Beba-1, to be launched into space instead of being scrapped according to regulations. When Garuda's superior officer threatens to fire him, Garuda simply announces that he's already submitted his resignation.
  • Clingy Macguffin: Not only do the Liabe Seeds randomly show up in front of the chosen heroes, if thrown away, they will return to their possession.
  • Cool Spaceship: The Heroes' ship, piloted by Meia, to which Shiro and Aaron's fighters are connected; said fighters can detach at a moment's notice.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Rockseia's forces vs. Earth.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: All the major enemies in Galactic Battle explode on defeat. One even tries to destroy a MacGuffin with his death explosion.
  • Detonation Moon: Courtesy of the Gavanas.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Aaron, having thrown away his Liabe Seed with the others, becomes sulky and brooding when they get theirs back and he doesn't.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Urocco, when informed that the heroes' plan will destroy Jillucia. It quickly becomes Redemption Equals Death when he realizes his mistake and opens fire on the Gavanas.
  • Leitmotif: And get used to it; the tune plays whenever anyone so much as looks at a Liabe Seed.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Envoys from the oppressed Jillucians search for an unlikely group of heroes, and bring them back to their home to fight the enemy oppressing them.
  • Recycled In Space: Nansō Satomi Hakkenden... In SPACE!
  • Recycled: The Series: Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen (Message from Space: Galactic Wars), known as San Ku Kaï in Europe or Sankuokai in Latin America.
  • Refusal of the Call: Just about everyone, until about halfway through the film.
  • Robot Buddy: Beba-2, Garuda's loyal servant and companion.
  • Space Is Noisy: And how!
  • Space Is an Ocean: Somewhat literal. The Jillucians' spacecraft is basically a galleon — In SPACE!. People can also swim in space, wearing nothing more than normal clothing and a breathing mask.
  • Space Sailing: See Space Is an Ocean above.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: To save face in front of the Emperor, Garuda picks a fight with a nearby warrior, and Rockseia agrees they may duel. The Gavanas warrior panics, firing before he has taken the required 10 steps. Garuda nevertheless continues his ten paces, and turns. The warrior quakes in fear as Garuda aims at the defenseless warrior, but Garuda declines to shoot. Rockseia shoots the guard himself for this cowardly move.

VSDFHB - From 'Author of all your pain'