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Laser Disc Cover Art for Stardust War.

Laser Disc Cover Art for Stardust War.

Gall Force 3: Stardust War is perhaps the most philosophical of the original Gall Force OAVs, hammers home the futility of the eponymous Stardust War, but leaves the viewer oddly hopeful.

The Story

Stardust War picks up immediately where Destruction left off with the recovery of Shildy and her crew by a Solnoid rescue team. The Solnoids and the Paranoids are gathering in the Sigma Narse system for a final battle where the only point [1] is to end the war by ending both races.

Courtesy of the android Catty, Shildy and the gang are brought to the Intelligence [2] section of the Solnoid fleet under the direction of Catty’s original Catty Nebulart.

Catty Nebulart has a plan to reactivate the terraforming of Embryo [3] in the Sigma Narse system. By reminding both sides of what they have lost, Catty hopes to persuade both sides to find peace even at this last moment.

This is the sort of Hail Mary attempt that works about as well as you’d expect: not at all.

Whilst setting it up some of the ancient history of the Solnoids is revealed, and it appears that the creation of the Solnoids is very similar to the creation of the third race [4] on Terra.

The Philosophy

This is where Gall Force attempts philosophy within the constraints of both a 60 minute OAV and a raging space battle that would warm David Weber’s heart.

Stardust War does a surprisingly good job of it.

The idea is that there are natural cycles to all forms of life, and for sentient life the grandest cycle is called “history”.

That the Solnoids and the Paranoids are repeating the sins of their predecessors, and that the third race is likely to repeat them again.

The Message to the Future

This is where Catty Nebulart’s true last ditch plan is directed: putting the full history of the Solnoids technology, culture, and mistakes into a time capsule that will be sent to Chaos [5].

The hope is clearly that knowledge of the Solnoids mistakes will help the third race avoid them.

Alas this is where things will come unstuck in the Rhea-Gall Force [6], Earth Chapter, and New Chapter instalments [7].

The grand cycle of history will not be denied, strive though we may to avoid it.

Despite the fatalism, the sense that “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them as we will” [8], there’s nevertheless a nobility to making the attempt to change things.

Maybe it won’t work this time, but even then there’s a chance that the next group along might see something that Shildy, Catty, Lufy and the others missed.

The Verdict

That last hope, that last attempt to try again, is what makes Stardust War still worth watching after all these years.

Stardust War is still deeply invested in the Cold War, and it is still very much “everyone dies, oh the embarrassment”, but that ray of hope makes it worthwhile.

Once again recommended as a piece of anime history, particularly for newer viewers if you can find a copy.

[1] Such as it is, and such as there is of it.

[2] It is worth noting Military Intelligence is not an oxymoron in Gall Force; to the extent that anything survives this mess it is because of Catty Nebulart endlessly seeking a Third Option.

[3] The prototype for the terraforming of Chaos aka the moon in Eternal Story.

[4] In other words: Humanity on Earth if you haven’t been paying attention.

[5] So that it will only be discovered once the third race have some spacefaring capability. As it happens the capsule doesn’t even arrive in the solar system until well after that happens.

[6] I believe that “Rhea” was meant in the sense of “Reincarnation”, and the Rhea-Gall Force characters are clearly intended to be reincarnations of the originals.

[7] Unfortunately I don’t have Rhea-Gall Force. Fortunately I don’t have Earth Chapter or New Era either.

[8] Hamlet. I swear that all the good quotes are from Shakespeare.