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Salamander, volume 1 cover
|Genre||Adventure, Science fiction|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Hisayuki Toriumi|
|Released||February 25, 1988 – February 21, 1989|
|Runtime||50 minutes per episode|
Salamander (沙羅曼蛇 Saramanda?) is a 1988 OVA mini-series based on Konami's arcade game, Salamander. There were three volumes released on VHS and Laserdisc. The series is not canon, however; as the MSX Gradius series states that the events with Gofer take place over a two-hundred year period following the crisis with Zelos and his Salamander Armada. In this mini-series, it is revealed that the Bacterians capture sentient life to create leaders for their space armada. They capture sentient life via a dark fog going through space that changes inorganic matter into organic matter (the large brain-like final bosses in the games); and that they are a crystal-like life-form in origin.
- Vol. 1: Salamander (沙羅曼蛇 Saramanda?) (based on Salamander)
- Vol. 2: Salamander: Meditating Paula (沙羅曼蛇 瞑想のパオラ Saramanda Meisō no Paora?) (based on Gradius)
- Vol. 3: Salamander: Gofer's Ambition (沙羅曼蛇 ゴーファーの野望 Saramanda Gōfā no Yabō?) (based on Gradius II)
On the planet Lotus, all is well. The reigning lord, Lord British, thinks of building a shrine or temple. The next day, as the generals and escorts prepare for the lord, the sun dies out, and is replaced by a burning, orange planet. This orange planet engulfs Lotus in light and causes havoc with the weather. Lord British then consults his advisory, an old, twin horned being. He identifies the planet as an inorganic star run by the invaders called bacterians, as told in the prophecy and seals of the planet. The weather worsens. Suddenly, a big serpent can be seen moving chaotically through magma. On the planet Lotus, the land shakes apart, sea floods and total chaos reign on the planet, nearly wiping everything off the city, including the palace, which is terribly shaken. In another meeting, the elders consult the Lord to get help from their rival planet, Gradius. The prince rejects the idea, but eventually gives in with reluctance. Soon, 3 pilots arrive.
After a brief intro, they go straight to a chamber with a view. The floor moves down and is replaced from above; it is one of the organic fighters at the bacterians' disposal. The prince thinks of this enemy as simple to defeat, but Dan thinks otherwise. He moves a robotic arm in front, and in an instant the tails grab it and summarily wrenches it to destruction. They then leave the room to get ready. Dan and Stephanie survey the entrance on a video screen, displaying the layout of the first stage, and plans are made. Dan and Stephanie are shocked; they underestimated the Bacterians and the pilots are on the way to their deaths. The squadron leave, then enter the hole. Pink spikes begin to protrude from the walls, then, an orange circle, shooting out strands of an unknown substance, appears.
Dan, Lord British, and Stephanie talk about something and then realize that Eddie is missing. Eddie is seen surveying the damage and the sitting on a fallen pillar. He then sees something, which turns out to be a gun holster with a pistol. He thinks he remembers it, something about his father. He then looks at his pendant and opens it. There is a sun engraved inside the pendant, with a picture of a dragon on it (the fire trail on the salamander game, opening screen). He then looks at the buildings and sees half complete replicas of it, or maybe the pendant is the replica? An elder then arrives and they talk about his father being known by the elder and about Eddie's destiny.
As Dan and Stephanie get ready to leave, Eddie is not around, so they do not know who will be the third person to accompany them. The Lord says: "I can fly." The ships are then readied and they leave. They quickly pass the unidentified orange circle, and before the strands shoot out, they destroy it. Then they travel through a void, where they see hordes of ships under a skeleton. They blast some ships and loop above the skeleton where they quickly kill a big skull boss. They quickly arrive to a magma chamber and resume fighting with the Salamander. It proves to be a tough enemy. As Stephanie is about to get hit, a rain of missiles distracts and stuns the salamander, and as they turn around to see who it is, they see Eddie! The pilots then kill a "red eye" monster and fire missiles at the salamander. They enter its mouth, firing missiles, down and down till he gets crushed from the inside. The salamander then falls dead into the magma, just as they fully kill the "red-eye" monster and escape. They then look back, shouting, "Eddie!", mourning for the loss of their comrade.
Back towards home, Lord British and Stephanie are talking, and Dan decides to leave her (Lord British is apparently flirting with her). Dan then launches off into space, but just before he goes, a dot catches up with him. It's Stephanie, and they go home together. Lord British sees his elders and sees the gun holster, and asks it to be displayed and kept as a memory of a hero of both planets.
Salamander: Meditating Paula
Out in space, a ship has sighted an enormous piece of wreckage. Three shipmen are ordered to investigate it right away. The three are anxious to go check it out, and the investigation goes as planned. They see capsules stacked like beds, with humanoid bodies and decayed, alien-looking faces. After a few shocks and discoveries, they stumble upon a complete human woman in suspended animation. Beside her, a recorded message is played relaying history and events on their planet and info regarding planetary invaders called "bacteria". The message is then relayed and sent to the Gradius officials, who then speak of their actions and plans against these "bacteria".
The three pilots, Dan, Stephanie, and Eddie are thinking of the defense force's plans and effects of this. Then, they show a camera to see the humanoid they found on the wreck meditating. She has identified herself earlier on the video message as Paula, the sole survivor of the planet invaded by the bacteria. Eddie thinks that she can help against the bacteria threat, while Dan thinks otherwise and rejects the idea in an arrogant tone. This leads to a heated argument between the two, until it is broken up by Stephanie, who in turn is shocked by the events and memories that they bring up and by their attitude. She and Eddie leave for their rooms. Eddie speaks to Paula afterward and tries to get her help, and the two begin to show interest in each other. The three pilots are recalled to the ship and are asked to investigate a strange planet or meteor, via flybys and searches, for strange objects or potential bacteria invaders.
They notice that the planet looks orange on the surface. Suddenly, they realize they are being attacked by long flying arms on clumps. They attack and fly by the planet, then they pull up. A lump on the surface of the planet appears and then the boss of the first stage attacks them, coming out of the lump. They are able to escape; just as they are going away, Dan takes a clear look and recognizes distinct features on the planet that has been overrun by the bacteria. They report this to the ship, and they decide to order an assault on the planet. Hordes of ships from either side confront each other and attack. In the fray, the three pilots clearly stand out and they help their side. Later, they are forced to retry and fight through many waves of enemies.
Before the next wave is launched, Eddie asks to be excused for a leave. Dan and Stephanie insist on him staying but he goes anyway to the planet. He goes back to Paula and they talk. Suddenly, Paula senses something and asks to be taken to the desert. Eddie flies Paula there, and she gets shocked by the appearance of an obelisk in the middle of the desert. They land, and walk through a sand storm, which rips a bit of her sleeve and shows some of her scales temporarily. She says something, causing the obelisks' mouth to open and a ring of energy to jump out. The ring of energy spins on the ground and hits Paula. Eddie screams her name and asks if she's alright. She tells him to leave, and he replies that he will not. Another rings jumps, spins, and hits Paula. Eddie jumps in his ship and blasts the obelisk. Eddie begins to suspect something weird and tells his suspicion to Paula. Right then, Paula shows her motives of destroying Eddie and the planet Gradius and turns into the salamander. She then leaves. Eddie collapses in disbelief.
As the second wave heads to the planet, Stephanie hears a voice and thinks it is her father and is telling her to go to a location. She unwillingly follows; Dan follows her and the commander gets hot-tempered about it. As they head toward a tunnel, they see a big brain with electric bolts connecting it to the walls. The brain is speaking to Stephanie; it's her fathers' voice. After some talk and a few scene switches to the losing of the second wave, the brain decides to attack. They dodge the lasers, and Dan attacks and destroys the brain, while Stephanie hears her fathers voice screaming. After that, the planet explodes and Dan and Stephanie have a little talk.
Salamander: Gofer's Ambition
A ship surveys a star, as the captain's orders instruct the ship to move closer and do checks on the star. As they go on their way, a crewman sights an anomaly on radar, a vortex of some sorts. Everyone buckles in as he maneuvers the ship and the ship fires retro rockets, but to no avail. Energy is draining and they are sucked into the star.
The Ruler of Lotus, Lord British decides to pay a visit to Gradius and meets up with Stephanie. He offers her a beautiful robe and takes her to a secluded park or villa. Dan follows, keeping out of sight. As tLord British starts talking in flowery words, Dan comments sarcastically on each of them. Suddenly, the sky glows red/orange, and the salamander appears. It whacks the breath out of Lord British, grabs Stephanie, and goes back to whence it came from. Dan and Lord British both look at the sky, then the ground, and then at each other, in complete shock. Stephanie ends up in a place where she cannot move; she is stuck to a hammock-like device. She talks to Paula, who introduces her to Gofer, a man with a grotesque face and muscular body, the leader of the Bacterians. As some appendages lower to her, Stephanie goes into a series of flashbacks involving her family and her home. She awakens from the flashbacks shouting for Dan.
Dan and Lord British plan their attack. The ship can be seen being sucked in by the star as plans are made. They talk a bit about Stephanie. As the attack begins, the armies of Gradius and Lotus combine and they launch. At the same time, the ship that got sucked into the star reappears and launches the bacterians' own fighters. As hits are exchanged, it seems that the armies of the two planets are overpowered. Dan and Lord British sneak by and enter the ship that came out of the star. They see landing pads on it, one of which has a hole in it. They go through the hole to a lower level. The fighters return, and one fighter lands in the holed pad and its appendages nearly touch Dan's ship. The ship returns into the star. Paula then decides to meditate and turns into crystal; the ship also turns into crystal and Dan and Ike Lord British slam flat onto the floor. They then lift-off to look for Stephanie.
Stephanie is in a dream, in which she is on an "ice platform". She sees how bacteria are produced and hears the voice of her mom. She sees a crystal hand. Just as she is about to touch it, she wakes up and sees Dan and Lord British cutting her free using lasers. She's free and rips off her cape to remove the netting. Then, her long skirt get snagged by a crystal and she rips it and becomes short-skirted again. She first meets Dan and gives him a slap, then goes off to ride with the prince. They then careen to a tunnel and blast their way through. They talk for a little and Lord British leads the way just as a big eye monster comes out. He starts shooting at it and comes closer and closer until he is about to crash into it. Suddenly, the eye disappears. The salamander comes to the place where Stephanie was held and finds her not the re, She then goes and unites with Gofer, creating a fire phoenix. As the pilots go forward, they encounter a place with a lot of platforms and guns. They go about blasting guns and platforms. Suddenly, lots of ice appears, accompanied by the salamander. The pilots kill them all and the phoenix shatters the ice. The pilots fight with the bird and encounter some close calls. Just as Lord British had avoided a crash, Stephanie offers to pilot. The prince hesitates, but gives in. What continues is a series of perfectly executed attacks. After a while, they kill the bird with spread bombs. The ice vanishes and exposes the planet Gradius. Just as the prince is about to leave, Ike Lord British tries one more time but fails. He then makes his cloak-flying move and goes off. Dan jokes to Stephanie about the prince and gets another slap. In space, the escorts ask why Lord British hasn't asked Stephanie to be his bride. They tell another joke and then leave with a smile.
- Noriko Hidaka as Stephanie
- Kazuhiko Inoue as Eddie
- Sumi Shimamoto as Paola
- Kōji Tsujitani as Dan
- Hirotaka Suzuoki as Lord British