Hm. The Wave Motion Gun is more than merely a weapon. It is more than merely the system about which the Space Cruiser Yamato
, or Argo
, depending on the version of Star Blazers
you watch) is built (rather like the A-10 Warthog
, really). It is more, even, than a big glaring plot device
more powerful than a transporter
, able to leap plotholes in a single bound; and FASTER THAN A HOLODECK
TO RESOLVE THE EPISODE!
The Wave Motion Gun is, in fact, a parable of True Grit and toughness; of human determination in the face of overwhelming odds, and, not least, a tribute to the engineering of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
But why? How is it all that?
A good question! You see (for those of you not blessed with Saturday morning television at that magic age), the point here is that every episode of Star Blazers seems to end with the heroic crew of the Yamato/Aurora firing the wave motion gun. This Saves the Day, Defeats the Enemy, and Demonstrates the heroism of the crew.
-dirty little secret-
...it proves that they're a buncha wussies who couldn't think their ways out of a ten-inch hole.
Why? Because we are clearly told in the second episode of the series, in which the reconstruction of the Yamato into the SBS Aurora is revealed, that the Wave Motion Gun (along with the Wave Motion Engine) were 'given' to humanity by a mysterious alien race. All we really know about them is that they are fearfully powerful. So powerful, in fact, that the crew of the Yamato/Aurora is admonished to never fire the Wave Motion Gun EXCEPT IN DIRE EMERGENCIES, as it might shake the ship to pieces. Really. There's a good chance.
Now, there's a couple of ways to look at this. On the one hand, you might look at the fact that they seem to be pushed into firing the Wave Motion Gun on a daily basis to be an emphasis on the severity of their (and, by transitive peril, Earth's) plight. After all, if they're not supposed to use it, it must be some veeerrrrry bad juju that they seem to fly through all the time. In this light, the WMG is an icon of the sheer determination and strength of the human spirit and will to overcome obstacles! Nothing will stop our heroes from reaching the near-mythical Iscandar! If they have to run the ship backwards and fart the WMG every two minutes, THEN THAT'S WHAT THEY'LL DO!
On the other hand, really, it's a great big giveaway that Our Heroes really don't have it all there in the problem-solving skills department. The WMG is the Space Navy equivalent of the BFH theory of problemsolving - if what you tried the first time didn't work, find a bigger hammer - or, in this case, Space Naval Ordnance System. I mean, who cares if the enemy outflies your fighters, outshoots your turrets, outraces your flagship, and plain ol' outcools you in the Evil-Looking-Spacecraft department? Nope, all you gotta do is one simple thing...
...get them all to line up in front of you and stay there.
See, the WMG doesn't fire right away. Nope nope. It's gotta charge up, shake the ship around, require excessive and pointless rearranging of control panels, joysticks, pilot helmets and even seating on the bridge in order to fire. The whole damn ship looks like it's straining to be a Transformer, but hasn't quite figured out the marketing yet. It shudders, it shakes, it glows - and, finally, an enormous beam of JIZZUM shoots out, and the Bad Guys (conveniently queued up like taxis at an airport) end up with nothing but the receiving end of The Big Space Fuck.
...following which, the Yamato/Argo sails majestically through clouds of smoking wreckage, intact, victorious, and ON HER WAY TO DESTINY.
Especially if the battle has continued into the twenty-seventh minute of the show. This is a clear sign that the Portents are against our heroes, and that it's time to ante up! Watch the fighters clear the area; watch the Yamato/Aurora clear decks for action -
we're going to fire the Wave Motion Gun.
Try this line next time you feel the need to announce imminent cleverness. It's quite satisfying.
For those who came here looking for alternative music information, I should admit that "Wave Motion Gun" is also a song by the band Marcy Playground. It can be found on their album Shapeshifter, and is an explicit homage to the WMG I speak of above - equating the firing of same to the injection of drukqs as far as I can tell.
Soon there'll be
no pain again
you'll feel like
you shoot all
In one big blast from your wave motion gunnnnnnnn...