'THE SWORD OF POWER'
by Ted Pedersen
I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell,
a trip to the British Museum, James and his friends admire an ancient
samurai sword in one of the display cases. But as they're admiring it,
a blast above their heads shatters the glass casing and a band of
ninjas bursts into the room. Despite James's best efforts to stop them,
one of the ninjas steals the sword and they make their escape through
the roof. Tracy, I.Q. and James run up the stairs to try and catch
them, and the ninjas try to take Tracy as a hostage. Luckily, James
grabs onto their escaping helicopter and frees her from their clutches.
The pair fall into a rubbish skip, only to be chastised by Mr Milbanks
for having left the museum! Back at Warfield, James is convinced
S.C.U.M. is behind the plot, and the gang try to fathom out why they
could have wanted the sword.
Doing some research, they discover it's called the Sword of Power, and
was a shogun's sword fashioned from a meteor, which was said to possess
magical powers. From some secret photos I.Q. snapped in the museum,
they notice that a map was engraved on the sword's hilt - but the
writing on the map is written in an ancient Japanese code. With only a
handful of scholars worldwide who could decipher it, Phoebe suggests
going to a man who has written a book containing information on the
sword - Professor Tanaka, based in Tokyo. Later, Trevor overhears the
gang discussing how to get to Japan, and resolves to tell Mr Milbanks.
But James buys them some time by signing Trevor up for a 15-mile
cross-country run organised by Coach Mitchell, who then further helps
the gang escape by driving them into the village.
Phoebe arranges for the gang to be picked up from the village and
shipped to Japan. When they arrive in Tokyo, James sends his friends
off to see the sights while he heads to the National Museum to speak to
Professor Tanaka. The secretary at Tanaka's office tells James that the
Professor is out meditating at a Buddhist temple, so she gives him the
address. James finds the Professor at the temple, but just as James is
about to ask about decoding the text, Tanaka is kidnapped by ninjas!
James gives chase on a bike but ends up crashing into a police car and
being arrested. Back at Warfield, Trevor has finally finished his run
and is still desperate to talk to Milbanks - but Coach Mitchell
convinces him to go to bed and sleep instead after his exertions.
James is given a hard time for having borrowed the bike, but released
by the police following a call from Mitchell. The gang reconvenes and
James looks again at I.Q.'s photos over a meal at a restaurant, where a
familiar-looking waitress points out that the helicopter the ninjas
escaped in from the museum carries the insignia of the 'Kawa Company',
which is rumoured to be a front organisation for Yakusa, a Tokyo crime
syndicate. James heads for a building adjacent to the Kawa headquarters
and, using I.Q.'s crossbow, forms a tightrope from one skyscraper to
the next. He begins to cross by foot but slips, and edges along the
rest of the way using only his hands. But a ninja appears and slashes
the rope, causing James's section of rope to swing straight into the
side of the building.
A portal opens in the Kawa building's side, and James finds himself
strapped to a chair in an office - opposite Doctor No! No explains his
plan: the meteor the sword was made from is composed of a metal not
found on Earth, which has special energy-reflective properties. When
combined with standard S.C.U.M. laser technology, the metal can vastly
amplify the power of the laser - by around 100 times. No plans to find
the meteor the sword came from and use it to build a master laser
weapon which he believes will help him dominate the world. No has
forced Tanaka to translate the writing on the sword, revealing the
meteor's location to him. As No orders his ninjas to dispose of James
in a boiling 'Japanese bath', a mystery stranger comes to his aid by
firing a dart into the room, causing a distraction.
Seizing his chance, James flies through the portal in the side of the
skyscraper, having taken an ornamental hang glider from the office
wall. No orders his ninjas to follow him using the same method, and a
chase ensues through the Tokyo skies. James lands on top of a train,
and the ninjas do the same: but he ducks as they go through a tunnel,
and the ninja is sent flying. James returns to the restaurant, where
his friends are gone - but the waitress comes in, with a knife,
claiming S.C.U.M.'s ninjas used it to cut his tightrope between the
skyscrapers. She explains she was the one that saved him from No's hot
tub, having found I.Q.'s crossbow on the opposite building and used it
to fire the dart. She reveals herself as Tanaka's secretary and
daughter, Cherri Blossom; since James asked for Tanaka at his office
she has been following him, disguising herself as a waitress in order
to ascertain whether or not he could be trusted. Meanwhile, James's
friends head to the Kawa building to find him, but are quickly thrown
out again by its inhabitants.
Revealing that she too is able to read the engraving from the sword
handle, Cherri rents a boat with James and the pair head off to a
remote island off the coast, where they soon find Doctor No's men
aboard another boat. As Cherri distracts them, James sneaks up from
behind and captures them with a fishing net. Below deck they find
Cherri's father tied up, and free him, before heading to the site of a
shrine on the island where the sword says the meteor can be found. No
is already there, but his men can't find the meteor anywhere. As he
prepares to execute one of them for failing him, James intervenes from
atop a giant Buddha statue at the centre of the shrine, using a rope to
winch the sword from No's hands. As the ninjas fire lasers at him, the
statue begins to crumble from the damage they inflict. James clears the
scene just as No is about to grab him - and the statue, and Doctor No,
disappear into the cave floor. Beneath where the statue was is the
meteorite, which Tanaka takes to hand to the authorities for
safekeeping. James reunites with the gang and heads back to Warfield,
where Milbanks remains ignorant of their trip, since Trevor is sound
asleep thanks to Coach Mitchell's intervention.
Probably intended as the first Dr No
story given its availability for novelisation, as well as the
references to 007 in the script that are also the hallmarks of the
first Goldfinger story, The Sword of Power
is a tense and action-packed affair, from the initial museum robbery in
the opener right through to the suitably lavish Buddhist temple
showdown. With no comedy capers from villainous henchmen to detract
from the story, Dr No appears to be at his most sinister here - for
example, almost dissecting one of his own men for no greater crime than
being unable to find the meteor, until James turns up to save him. The
plot with the sword/meteor, while not perhaps of
A-grade standard, is just about passable thanks to some well-placed
technobabble, and is in any case assisted by the fast-shifting backdrop
of the episode, which straddles environments as diverse as the city
lights of Tokyo and the remote island shrine of the denouement. Despite
some silliness involving Trevor and Phoebe being served a live octopus,
therefore, this episode is an overall success.
Highs: In the goodies' camp, Cherri Tanaka proves herself
an unusually astute and capable junior
Bond girl, using all her wiles to assess James's intentions before
intervening to save his life.
Cherri hogs the action, James's gaggle of friends become fairly
redundant here - reduced to discussing the finer points of sushi (or
sushimi) and being dumped in a bin by employees of the Kawa Company, in
what are too obviously filler scenes.
to Remember: James, having leapt off a moving
train onto a cafe boat below: 'A chocolate milkshake,
please. Shaken, not stirred.'
& Gizmos: I.Q.
has been contravening museum rules by taking secret pictures of
exhibits with a micro-camera hidden in a rose on his lapel. He also
invents a collapsible mini crossbow, and special
goggles that can see infrared or ultraviolet rays.
on the Surface: James says that the museum robbery has
all the markings of one of S.C.U.M.'s fiendish plots. He also refers to
No's henchmen as S.C.U.M. ninjas.
Loco Parenthesis: Coach
Mitchell smuggles James and friends off-campus under a false pretext to
facilitate their trailing a band of deadly ninjas to Japan. He then
makes Trevor run cross-country all day and night until he's brought to
the point of collapse, thereby keeping him off James' scent.
A Novel Approach: John Vincent's novelisation of this
episode is called Sword of Death,
and considerably expands the action, especially by making the initial
kidnap attempt on Tracy successful, rather than failing as it does in
the TV episode. In
one of the few direct references to Warfield Academy's geography in the
franchise, the novelisation puts the school just over
five miles north of Dover - and therefore within the county of Kent,
probably south of Kingsdown and north of St Margaret's Bay.
couple of scenes involving bladed weapons were cut in some airings,
evidently having been deemed unsuitable for younger audiences. These
include the scene in which ninjas throw shurikens at James in the
museum, and some rather menacing frames of Cherri looming over James
with a knife at the end of the scene in which she reveals her identity
(though it's a false cliffhanger, since it's revealed in the next scene
that her intentions are benign).