Starship Troopers 04

Uchu no Senshi Ep. 04 (OVA)
宇宙の戦士 Episode 04 (Anime)

SPOILER Summary: Johnnie and his fellow recruits are being sent to Mars for the next phase of their training where they notice the new sensor satellites in orbit of Mars, designed to prevent another alien attack on Earth by detecting them early. However, unbeknownst to them, the aliens have already penetrated the system undetected and infiltrated a patrol ship via a small spore (?). The patrol ship returns to its base on Mars while within the ship Johnnie is on, he wonders why Sgt. Zim made him the squad leader. Greg feels he knows as the others will follow Johnnie.

As the aliens slaughter everyone in the patrol ship and then proceed to move to the Mars Occupation Base where the slaughter continues, Sgt. Zim orders his trainees to begin their simulated combat where they will have an actual drop, then with armored suits and paint guns, they will assault another group of trainees and attempt to take their flag. The trainees will be allowed to resupply once from the Mars Occupation Base. Thus the simulated combat begins with Johnnie leading his squad. As Zim monitors their progress from orbit, he receives word from his communication person that they’ve lost contact with the base. Zim is concerned about this and since the rules of the simulation won’t allow him to contact the other trainee group, he contacts he captain.

As Johnnie’s squad gets ready to move to resupply from the base, the captain tells Zim that the combat simulation will continue despite Zim’s concerns as they need seasoned troops. Since the captain’s order cannot be disobeyed, Zim orders that the squad of real combat troopers be dispatched to even though he is required to get the captain’s permission first. Meanwhile, Johnnie’s squad (minus one who’d been hit with a paint ball and thus is “dead”) reaches the Mars Occupation Base. They notice how quiet it is, but Johnnie attributes this to the fact that the base is neutral territory. Inside the resupply building, they find an enemy trainee apparently sleeping. However, the trainee is dead, his armored power suit having been penetrated.

Johnnie is contacted by Zim, so Johnnie reports on what they found. They proceed further into the base and find a lot of dead bodies. Johnnie believes it is the work of the Buenos Aires aliens, but Zim wants confirmation. They soon have it when they are attacked. Zim orders them to evacuate as this is no longer a simulated combat and their paint guns won’t do jack. Smith manages to make it out but Johnnie is captured by the aliens. Greg helps free Johnnie and is sliced in half through his armored suit for his efforts. Johnnie is about to be slain when the squad or veteran troopers that Zim had dispatched arrives and kills all of the aliens. Returning to the ship, Johnnie and his squad mates are distressed to learn that Greg will not receive any recognition for his efforts because he disobeyed Zim’s orders. When challenged about his own disobedience of orders, Zim tells them to pack up Greg’s stuff and walks away. Johnnie decides to do this himself and as he does, he finds the letter Greg had been writing to his girlfriend.

Thoughts: This episode moved much faster than previous episodes, mainly due to the aliens having infiltrated the Mars base and the action that resulted. I find that the way the aliens work in this anime makes more sense from an attacking military sense than the bug-aliens of the live-action movie. There, everyone is just fighting a lot of hard to kill giant bugs whereas here, the aliens ability to infiltrate and elude detection is pretty impressive (even if these spore-like things apparently turning into the large alien creatures is unrealistic).

I guess the recruit armor suits for the battle simulation weren’t all that armored for the aliens to be able to do what they did so easily to those recruits unfortunate enough to be caught in the line of fire for an alien. With the aliens having penetrated the early warning system (the electronic fence if you will), I can’t imagine it will be that long before the people in Johnnie’s troop are sent to fight for real.

It is a pretty harsh world that they live in though. I know early on, Johnnie had been punished for rescuing the man in the fire when he’d been ordered out. Now, Greg disobeys an order to that Johnnie lives and as a result, when he dies, he gets nothing. I know about how the military has to follow orders, but I’m not sure what point is being pushed with this idea of orders have to be followed even if it means abandoning others, something that seems alien to me.

While I’m thinking about it, I’m still not sure why Johnnie was made a squad leader. The thing Greg said about it seemed kind of weak. In the live-action movie, Johnnie actually did something to deserve being a squad leader.

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