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  Space Warriors: Battle For Earth Station S/1
 
1987 | Celebrity Home Entertainment Inc.
Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Celebritys Just for Kids

Once more I reach into Celebrity's treasure trove of Anime delights and this time I've pulled out the over-titled Space Warriors: Battle For Earth Station S/1. The "Earth Station" bit is a little inaccurate (and possible even a spoiler)... let's learn more!

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Space Warrior Baldios (Uchu Senshi Baldios) was the anime debut of studio Ashi Productions later creators of a number of hit TV shows of the 1980's including Magical Princess Minky Momo and Goshogun as well as being one of the animation studios behind the U.S. hit Mask. In keeping with the giant robot fad of the time, which had begun in the early 70's with Go Nagai's mecha forefather Mazinger Z, Baldios was the name of a mighty robot, formed by combining the three space-capable jets of Earth's Blue Strike Force. The lead pilot and controller of Baldios is Marlin Raiden a fugitive from the doomed, polluted planet S-1 who, while fleeing through space from the clutches of the tyrannical General Gatler, is somehow transported through time into the orbit of our blue planet. But he isn't alone as the evil Gatler and his S/1 army are not far behind and it is soon decided that our peaceful planet is their perfect new home.

Baldios premiered on TV Tokyo on the 30th June 1980 and ran for 32 episodes. This was in fact eight episodes short of its full run as the station cancelled the show before its climax. A loyal fanbase had grown who were understandably angered by the lack of conclusion. Their complaints lead to Hokuto no Ken designer Toyoo Ashida reassembling the final episodes, a number of which had be left unfinished, and incorporating them into a 117 minute movie which hit cinemas on December 29th 1981 nearly a year after the abrupt end of the show.

The animation for the movie was handled by the anime giant Toei with many of their well known names working behind the scenes. The score, as with the original TV series, was handled by Kentaro Haneda who would make his name with Macross only a few years later. He had earlier worked with Toyoo Ashida on a different project, the Toei made for TV movie Frankenstein. The Baldios movie retold the story of how Marlin came to be battling his former race by carefully and skillfully editing and compressing much of the plot of the previous 32 episodes into one feature length story and adding the conclusion that the fans had been craving.

Despite its initial brief run Baldios still managed to generate a small amount of tie-in merchandise in the form of model kits, a main stay of the mecha genre.

In the west Baldios, with its title intact, was shown in its entirety on Italian TV in the mid eighties as part of Italia Teen Television. The movie was also released on home video in the country so fans could see how it all turned out. Elsewhere the movie edition was given a theatrical run in Cuba under the new title of Yaltus. The TV series was also reportedly aired throughout the Middle East.

In America the independent movie releasing outfit American National Enterprises Inc. distributed Baldios through the familiar hands of Celebrity Home Video on their Just For Kids label. In time this became home to a number of Japan's anime output including Toei's Kamui no Ken (Revenge of the Ninja Warrior) and Arcadia of my Youth (Vengeance of the Space Pirate) and the first ever OAV Dallos (Battle for Moon Station Dallos).

Under the long and unwieldy title of Space Warriors: Battle for Earth Station S/1, Baldios made its English language debut in 1987. The video feature was adapted from the feature length movie edition but suffered a number of cuts to scenes of violence and a little shortening of the running time leaving it 17 minutes lighter.

As with most of the Just For Kids titles Space Warriors was re-released in 1994 after Celebrity ceased trading in the early nineties and a large percentage of their catalog changed hands to Best Film & Video.

 
  Baldios Kit
Original TV series title card
 
Japanese movie poster
 
A model kit of Baldios
 
 

The sun sets behind the sea. Staring out into the ocean Marlin mourns the loss of its natural blue beauty and wonders if it can ever be restored. Looking over to the other side of the wrecked lighthouse he sees a girl also looking out into the polluted ocean. She walks silently past him, leaving without giving even glancing his way.

The credits begin to a mournful tune, the lyrics are a little clichéd but I was surprised when I enjoyed it, it's far too well produced for a disposable kids tape as well!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Flying space craft invade an underground shelter. A female solider bursts in on the planet's emperor and their short exchange fills in the necessary background detail to the story. A military General by the name of Gatler has deemed that their planet S/1 is beyond saving and ordered a mass evacuation. Because he is unlikely to agree with this drastic plan the emperor is assassinated, which is sort of understandable. What is less clear is why they also have to kill all the scientists that his Excellency had put in charge of finding a way to restore the polluted world. Can't they just be left behind to continue their research? If they succeed then the space refugees could cut short their search and return home. But, then if I stop to think over every plot hole in this video I'll never reach the end of it!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1

With the Emperor successfully shot the army head further below ground to the research lab. Inside a group of scientists are celebrating just this second having created a miracle machine which will restore Planet S/1 to its original condition. It sure is a dream come true! Uh oh, what's that noise? Unfortunately the military don't wait around and burst in on the space-lab-coated boffins and destroy the place. Marlin walks in just as one of the soliders shoots dead the lead scientist, his father!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

In retaliation he kills the solider responsible with a shard of metal (off screen of course, this is a childrens cartoon). The female soldier/assassin bursts in and Marlin instantly recognises her as the girl from earlier at the lighthouse. Turns out that the murderous solider he killed happened to be her brother! Its quite a day for unfortunate coincidences, isn't it? Anyway, they both swear to never forgive the other but before they can fight to the death the lab begins to collapse around them.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Above ground General Gatler gives a rousing speech to the lucky 100 million citizens assembled for his voyage. This crazy exodus will be leaving shortly on a search for a new, unpolluted planet to occupy and the people seem to be right behind this misguided despot.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1

Their spaceship, of uninspired design leaves entering pseudo space as is its key ability. Left behind on the disintegrating planet Marlin is forced to abandon his dying father to escape with his own life. Leaving Planet S/1's atmosphere something unexpected happens to Marlin's small spacecraft. As the occasional narrator explains he passes through an invisible time warp and is sent back in time to planet Earth in the year 2100. You're not really supposed to know that he has traveled into the past yet but you do now anyway... it's not as if the intended target audience of 7 year olds would have worked it out for themselves.

Earth. Inside a budget priced SDF Macross Marlin is being held captive by the suspicious humans. Not far away four of Earth's elite Blue Strike Force watch a video of the Mars base being attacked by a bunch of spaceships that look a lot like tadpoles (or worse, if you know what I mean!). The aggressor is none other than Gatler and he is managing to evade the Blue Strike Force by retreating into Pseudo Space (a dimension behind real space) a place that no earth vehicle has the capability to go.

Dr Quinstein has some good news. The alien spacecraft belonging to Marlin is equipped with just such an ability. And, better than that ,also, by some unbelievable coincidence, it can be combined with the two existing Blue Strike Force vehicles to create a giant robot (which they'll name Baldios). That's handy! But there's one major draw back, only Marlin can pilot the robot and the Earth men don't trust him. After all, shortly after he arrived Gatler appeared and started his campaign of destruction. Even so they decide to give him a try.

Space Warriors
Battle For Earth Station S/1
Space Warriors Battle for earth station S/1 Baldios

The three drab looking space ships take off on their first fight against Marlin's country men. In a continuous stream of stock animation the launch is followed by a mid flight team up to form Baldios. Out in space the new robot defender battles a two headed mecha dragon, a robo jelly fish and some sundry tadpole ships. There's no explanation for any of this but it serves as a good demonstration of the mighty robot warrior's powers including his ability to enter pseudo space. Odd then that after this we won't see Baldios again for over an hour.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Marlin's female nemesis, Aphrodia, addresses the troops, now known as the Pseudo Space Force, detailing a new directive she is bringing in to encourage more commitment to the fight against mankind's new weapon. Basically it boils down to death as a punishment for pretty much anything from desertion to simply receiving sympathy from the enemy.

Marlin breaks into an enemy base at some undisclosed location and bazookas their control computer. While escaping through the fields he is confronted by none other than Aphrodia. His fellow strike force members grow impatient for his return and leave, all except Jamie who seems to be the only member of Earth's resistance who actually trusts him. A series of controlled explosions gives Marlin the cover he needs to escape.

Back home the Director congratulates Marlin on a job well done but his team mates still treat him with little regard, particularly Oliver (who sports an ill judged white-man-afro, bet he regrets that now). Like a high school loner being shunned by the cool kids, the S/1 fugitive storms off in a sulk. While soulfully staring out of the window he is approached by a new recruit who introduces himself simply as David. He goes on to explain that he is being trained as Marlin's replacement. It's almost as if they want to hurt his feelings. This theory is compounded by the coincidentally arrival of Ruger, Oliver and Jamie, the two males being old friends of David, they spare no time in rubbing their established friendship in the alien outsider's face. On revealing his transfer to their team Ruger exclaims "That's great! After all, the Earth must be defended by Earth men." Racism! In the workplace!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

The jocks walk off together leaving Jamie behind to gaze in awe at Marlin's "deep and troubled" act. Meanwhile in Pseudo space things look bad for the ground unit Commander. He is deemed responsible for the allowing the bombing and is confusingly charged with "Desertion Under Fire", the penalty... what else? Death! Gatler is emotionless, but Aphrodia is less so, especially when she hears the screams as he meets his fate with the firing squad. Don't worry, it's off camera so it's perfectly suitable for the kiddies! The dead Commander receives a burial in space which is watched over by his brother, Captain Neglo, who, along with an unnamed sidekick swear vengeance against Aphrodia for creating the death penalty directives.

  Battle for Earth Station S/1  

At the Earth HQ new recruit David, who I've noticed has an oddly misshapen head - much wider down the left side, visits Dr Quinstein and it seems they have some history. Quinstein used to be David's teacher and he reveals that he got transferred just so he could be close to her. I'm sure there is more to this scene than the Paragon Films dub lets on, it's likely that David's feelings for the Doctor are more than admiration.

The World Federation receive an unexpected call from Unnamed Sidekick who offers Earth a deal - return the alien deserter and keep a quarter of the Earth's surface. Plus the attacks will stop. The bureaucrats fall over each other to agree with this demand and order the Blue Strike Force to turn Marlin over. The only Earth Defense member who seems overly bothered about this is the perpetually under dressed Jamie (how come no women ever complain about their skimpy space-uniforms? Surely it's a pretty blatant infringement of the office sex discrimination rules... there needs to be a meeting!) who reminds everyone that he is the only one who can control Baldios. David's not phased, claiming he is easily up to the task. Once more Marlin stares out to sea filled with emotion.

Aboard the enemy mothership idealistic young couple Laska and Lillian gaze out at our planet. Laska assures Lillian that soon they will conquer the planet and once more the people of S/1 will be able to live happy lives on a clean planet. The innocent pair seem completely at ease with the mass genocide of its human inhabitants then? The room next to theirs is Aphrodia's. Inside she considers painful memories of her parent's death in a space-car crash and how this led to her being raised by Gatler himself. That and her conflicting emotions towards Marlin.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1

Its night time on Earth and the fugitive is leaving the cut price Macross base with the help of Blue Strike Force's director, to hide out somewhere the callus world leaders won't find him. He speeds off into the dark, rocky terrain but doesn't get far before he is attacked by unidentified jets. Fortunately his hover-space car is equipped with laser guns and he engages the enemy in a low flying dog fight. All the assailants are destroyed but one of the pilots survives. Marlin demands answers from him and he gets more than he bargained for. The pilot claims to be from Earth's Forces and reveals that the mastermind behind the attacks were none other than the Director himself! Too stunned to notice the concealed weapon Marlin is saved from a fatal shooting by Unnamed Sidekick. Before you can say cunning scheme he attempts to brainwash the defector into believing that the World Federation really do want him dead. He even drops the Director and the Blue Strike Force in on the supposed conspiracy. Eventually Marlin gives in to the manipulative lies and accompanies Unnamed Sidekick into pseudo space.

Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Aboard the enemy mothership Marlin is met by Gatler himself. The General asks if the returning defector will truly turn against his former Earth allies and Marlin agrees. It seems that their trick has worked, once mankind's only hope is now as set on planet conquering as the rest of them. But Aphrodia doesn't believe it. She doesn't trust Marlin and implores the others to be skeptical of him too. They brush off her suggestions and Marlin even stretches out the hand of friendship to her but gets a slap in the face in return.

The next day tadpole ships attack an unidentified Earth city, causing massive damage but, thanks to a number of jumpy cuts, no actual human fatalities. The Blue Strike Force quickly arrive on the scene in their crappy looking fighters, with David for the first time at the helm. Hundreds of enemy ships fly out to greet them but David isn't prepared. Not only doesn't he know how to fire back he can't work the controls to form Baldios, leaving Oliver and Ruger taking damage in their defenseless, transformed shapes. Everyone said this would happen! Fortunately his wing men change back and take care of the alien menace for him but not before they do terrible damage to the populace.

Returning to base the crew comfort David on his poor debut. Oliver suggests that maybe they get Marlin back but the Director crushes his plan by explaining that their former alien ally disappeared on his way to the secret laboratory safe house, probably returning to the hands of the enemy. Dr Quinstein has unraveled the alien's rather obvious rouse and has every hope that he will return to them. Later that day the Chairman Morgan of the World Federation comes crawling to the Director to apologise for their ruling which left the world open to attack. When he refers to Marlin as "that alien" the Director blasts him for his disrespect claiming "He loves the Earth a lot more than you and your lot do!"

Later that night, with a snow storm howling outside, David, still ashamed of his poor performance earlier, goes to visit his beloved Dr Quinstein but loses his nerve. He runs to the base's hanger and takes one of the lesser ships and she watches him fly off into the storm in disbelief.

Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Trouble is brewing too in Pseudo Space, the Mothership is running low on Pseudo Space energy causing parts of the generator to explode. This planet is taking much longer to conquer than General Gatler has planned and soon they will run out of energy entirely forcing them into real space and then they'll be in real trouble.

He holds a meeting with the S/1 heads as it quickly becomes clear that things are much worse than he knew. Their repeated attacks have cost them 30 million lives, there is a growing food crisis and they have only one month of Pseudo energy left. It is clear that the invaders need to turn this war around soon or all will be lost. One of the speakers reveals that the aliens have managed to capture a number of our Nuclear Weapons Bases, and urges the General to allow their use. "To contaminate the world with radioactivity and take over a polluted planet would be stupid!" remarks Aphrodia. The others continue to argue against her for their use but Gatler finally speaks, ruling them out altogether. He instead calls for all of the civilians to be put into suspended animation to conserve the remaining food.

Shortly after this meeting Aphrodia breaks into the cell where Marlin is being held, stunning the guards and intending to kill their captive. Unfortunately for her she is overpowered and disarmed by the prisoner and he lectures her on preserving the beauty of Earth before escaping through the open door. The alarm is sounded but he easily evades re-capture and makes it to the Pseudo Space reactor. In the throne room Gatler is just about to award Unnamed Sidekick with the new title of Commander for his clever plot as the reactor explodes. Marlin makes his escape taking Aphrodia with him and the order is given to shot the pair on sight. Unnamed Sidekick's scheme has backfired and General Gatler executes him for allowing this to happen. While making a break for freedom Aphrodia and Marlin's escape craft takes a hit and crashes somewhere on Earth.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

The next day the Blue Strike Force detect the release of two large objects from Pseudo Space, heading for the North and South Poles. They turn out to be heat bombs which explode over the ice caps melting them rapidly. Huge tidal waves rock the globe, coastal towns and cities are washed away and a plane crashes into a boat. Reports reach the Blue Strike Force HQ that Australia has been wiped out completely. This is terrible news for Oliver whose sister's family lived their along with their new born child which they had named after him. To make matters worse he imagines their idyllic life just moments before the wave hit, even fantasising that she would say "We are so happy now!" seconds before death struck!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

The wave reaches the World Federation tower, Chairman Morgan watching from inside as it comes crashing down upon them. With the loss of the World Federation Blue Strike Force is promoted by default. News reaches the director that the West Coast of America has been hit, this means that his wife and child have too been drowned. Just as Oliver did he imagines the horrifying moment his family met its end. Why do they do this to themselves? He orders the HQ's protective barriers are lowered (personally I would have done this a long while ago).

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1

The bad news just keeps rolling in as King Lenniard of Lenia contacts the BSF via radio. He informs them that there is no hope for him or his Kingdom. Why should we care? Well, it turns out that he is Jamie's father.

Somewhere amongst this environmental disaster Marlin carries Aphrodia up the stairs of a wave battered lighthouse and the two collapse. After a brief fantasy of a clean beach Aphrodia wakes first and takes the opportunity to stab Marlin to death. At least she would have was it not for a terrible pain in her stabbing arm. "I can't do it..." she laments "... all of my hatred has left me." Looking out of the lighthouse she is suddenly shocked by what she sees. "Planet S/1!" she exclaims as the realisation that must have struck most viewers when they saw the lighthouse, dawns upon her. Back in Pseudo Space the same realisation strikes General Gatler and it will soon befall the Earthmen too.

At BSF HQ Ruger is outraged at Marlin for bringing Aphrodia inside. Dr Quinstein tries to calm him but outside the room the rest of base's population are baying for her blood. Quinstein wants her interrogated everyone else wants her executed. In this anti alien climate Marlin makes the unwise decision to carry her through the angry mob to the lab himself. After a grueling, cruel and ultimately fruitless session on the brainwave scanner Aphrodia is treated for her wounds in the base infirmary. That evening she jumps a nurse and makes her escape armed only with a stolen scalpel.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

The plot twist is finally spelled out by Dr Quinstein. She explains to Marlin that since the melting of the polar ice caps planet Earth's continent configuration now matches that of his planet exactly. On top of that the continued war will cause the destruction of Mercury and Mars which will move our planet closer to the sun. This is the exact same layout as S/1's solar system. Both planets have the same mass the only difference is the lack of radioactive pollution on Earth. It is likely that when making his initial escape from General Gatler Marlin and the enemy slipped through a worm hole and back in time to the planet S/1 of the past... Earth!

The alarm breaks up their discussion, Aphrodia has escaped and must be recaptured. In the hall the fugitive alien Commander takes Jamie hostage. Marlin bargains for her release and the two come to an agreement, the human won't be harmed in exchange for an old west-style duel between the two.

On the beach the stage is set for the final showdown. After a few parting words the two get some distance between them. The word is given and Marlin turns to face his opponent only to see a chunk of space debris materialise above her. It comes crashing down, almost certainly crushing her. Ironically the debris was part of the enemy mothership has become unstable from the draining of its Pseudo Space energy which is no completely gone. As feared it re-materialises into space making it completely vulnerable to attack.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Wasting no time the BSF Director orders an all-out attack against General Gatler which includes the launch of their Macross-light fortress. Nearing their location, close to Saturn, the Earth forces come under heavy attack from the elite Red S/1 fighters (if they are so good then why did the aliens wait until now to launch them?). Things look bad until the surprise re-appearance of David who skillfully neutralises the alien threat. He greets his former colleagues before returning to the fray to escort the Blue Strike Force through danger and onto their final confrontation with the mothership. As the going gets heavy he takes an increasing number of hits until his ship is critically damaged and he heroically drives his shuttle through the enemy's armour making it into the inner skin of the fortress before he explodes. Dr Quinstein is horrified but the Director remarks "This isn't the time to feel sorry for anyone!"

A two pronged attack is ordered; the Fortress will attack from the front while Baldios (remember him?) will take the mothership on from the side. The plan is to disable the S/1 reactor as Marlin insists this is the only way to stop them. An action packed space battle ensues; lasers fly and things explode (including the fiercely anti-human Laska who is seen manning a gun tower). S/1 don't stand a chance as Baldios still possesses the ability to enter Pseudo Space and he uses it to reappear right next to the mothership's generator which he proceeds to smash using his mighty robo-sword.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios
Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

The mothership begins to collapse from the inside while the Blue Strike Force base rams it from outside. Within the vast spaceship General Gatler is struggling with Neglo who is determined to turn Earth's nuclear stockpile against them. The General attempts to reason with him after all there is no point in winning the war if it leaves them with a polluted planet to occupy, but there is no stopping Neglo. The button is pressed and soon huge, burning mushroom clouds erupt all over the world's surface. "It was an inferno worse than hell!" exclaims the narrator as cities crumble and whole continents are engulfed in a radioactive fire. From space the globe is enveloped in a sickening red glow. The inevitable has happened... Earth has become Planet S/1!

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios
Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Gatler watches horrified, Neglo lying dead on the floor. Aboard Baldios the crew too look on in disbelief, Dr Quinstein vows to return to Earth and help gather survivors into the World Federation shelters. Marlin leaves and separates his Vulcan from Baldios so that he can confront General Gatler himself. Within the stricken vessel Marlin finds Gatler as he makes futile attempts to awaken his frozen people. Marlin is determined to kill the General for what he has done but Gatler has a get out clause: if he dies no-one will be able to awaken the suspended civilians of S/1. While our hero is distracted considering this quandary Gatler throws his lance, disarming him and turning the tables. But then, out of the darkness walks a familiar figure... Aphrodia! General Gatler hands her the gun, urging her to finally avenge the death of her brother but despite her burning hatred she turns the gun on Gatler and then herself.

Space Warriors Battle for Earth Station S/1 Baldios

Unlike Aphrodia the evil General doesn't die he instead staggers away to activate the warp system and disappear into space in search of another home to conquer. Marlin escapes in the vulcan and heads to Earth with the body of Aphrodia.

He returns to the beach, and to the lighthouse where they first met.

Space Warriors    
 
Missing videos

Baldios in Action!
Make the most of it. That's practically all the Mecha action you get in 1hr & 40 mins!

The end...
Experience the depressing conclusion and just keep away from the medicine cabinet.

 
Good dubbing
 
Good script
  Engrossing story
  Mature themes
G Great score
 
Fairly uninspiring mecha designs
 
Some by-the-numbers charaters designs too

I wouldn't have thought it possible but they managed it! Celebrity released a childrens tape more depressing than Dallos! The overall tone is downbeat but that conclusion is just so bleak; David and Aphrodia commit suicide, the world is irreversibly devastated killing almost all the inhabitants and, to top it all off, the bad guy gets away! I'd be really interested to hear from anyone who saw this as a child as I'd love to know what they made of it! It's enough to make you want to take a drink from the cupboard under the sink.

Do you think these sleeve notes accurately portray the movie described above...?

"Polluting aliens plot to trash Earth. Don't expect this fight to be clean!"

"An enemy so dirty they've condemned their entire planet!"

"Instead of cleaning up their own nuclear waste, Planet S-1 brings their dirty work to Earth. Their military rulers want to knock us all off so their dying world can relocate here."

The time traveling twist is clever and reasonably unexpected but creates a huge number of plot inconsistencies and holes which would quickly unravel the plot if you dwelled on them too long, so they're best ignored. Also on the negative side the Mecha design is really dull and uninspired. The prime example are the Blue Strike Force vehicles which are just a lame bunch of coloured boxes which wouldn't look out of place in a Korean rip-off. And Baldios himself looks quite a lot like Ashi's later Goshogun.

I really liked this tape. The voice acting is great for the most part, the editing of an entire series is smooth and never drags (Jim Terry could've learned a lot) and the score fits really well. Even the newly recorded theme song works well. If it wasn't for the cuts this would be the perfect way to see Baldios in English. Definitely worth tracking down on VHS in place of an unlikely subtitled DVD release.

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