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James Bond Jr Online


Episode #24
by Ted Pedersen

Featuring: James, I.Q., Tracy, Gordo, Phoebe, Trevor, Mr Milbanks, Coach Mitchell, Dr No.

On 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.

Review: 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.

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.

Lows: As 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.

Lines to Remember: James, having leapt off a moving train onto a cafe boat below: 'A chocolate milkshake, please. Shaken, not stirred.'

Gadgets & 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. 

S.C.U.M. 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. 

Notes: A 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).

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