It is difficult to write a review of The Ideon: Be Invoked without also writing about A Contact. It's not recommended you watch this film without having seen either the full series or the first movie.
However, if you have the context needed from having watched the preceding events, Be Invoked is a truly excellent ending to the show. The essential idea behind The Ideon is that it subverts the idea of super robots being man's servants against an alien menace by giving the titular robot a form of mind of its own, and removing the element of human control.
The events of Be Invoked pick up
around where the series and A Contact end, with a credits sequence introducing the events not shown as in-depth in the first film as in the series - such as the Ideon Sword, and Cosmo's relationship with Kitty.
Then it gets going with its own plot, and it's a hell of a ride. The hope for peace hinted at in A Contact is quickly wrecked and the audience are drawn into watching the universe spiral towards its ultimate fate in a bleak, horror-like film.
The sound is fairly minimalistic, which makes the moments with music hit a lot harder. The sound effects provide a sense of dread and threat - while the sound of, say, the G-Stone firing up would make you excited to see the heroes win, the sound and sight of the Ide Gauge is much less enticing. Tomino uses this giant, mysterious, screen throughout both movies as a a constant visual reminder of the relationship between man and machine and as the events of Be Invoked get bleaker its constant lighting becomes representative of humanity's loss of control.
Be Invoked has a reputation for being one of Tomino's more violent works and that's certainly the case. No-one is safe, from children to pregnant women and countless others - and it is the matter-of-fact way in which both sides kill indiscriminately - sometimes without even the chance to prevent the deaths - which contributes to the bleakness. Unlike in, say, Victory Gundam, the deaths are hard-hitting and emotionally draining rather than mildly ridiculous.
The Ideon: Be Invoked is the thrilling conclusion to the Space Runaway Ideon franchise. In my eyes this is one of the best anime movies of all time and still is today, almost 35 years after its release.
A little bit of background is necessary coming into this movie. Space Runaway Ideon was a television series that aired from 1980 to 1981. Originally intended to last a full year, the show got cancelled after 39 episodes. The show’s director and much of the crew had been involved with the show Mobile Suit Gundam, which had suffered a similar fate, but had been provided with a
4 episode extension to finish the series. The show’s staff tried for the same with Ideon, including even storyboarding the final 4 episodes, but were unable to get the extension. As such those final 4 episodes were never produced, and the final episode of the series ends right in the middle of the action with a very brief and disappointing end sequence.
Thankfully the show’s staff were provided the opportunity to finish the story with a pair of movies. The first, A Contact, is a compilation movie covering the majority of the series. As a viewer you have the option to either watch that movie before seeing this one, or watching the first 38 episodes of the television series. My recommendation would be to watch the television series. The depth of character development can’t be matched with the brief compilation movie and said movie leaves things out, enough so that you will be confused by certain aspects of this movie. Be Invoked provides us with an edited version of the final episode of the TV series (with the ending sequence removed) and those final 4 episodes of footage that never got created. It provides a conclusion ending to the franchise.
This movie is the highlight of the Ideon in pretty much all respects. It greatly builds upon the characters and storyline from the TV series. Technically the movie truly shines in several respects. The animation of the movie is quite strong, significantly surpassing that of the series (significant portions of the final episode, which appear in this movie were reanimated). The franchise’s character designer/animation director Tomonori Kogawa truly does a great job here and I’ve heard that he personally animated significant parts of this movie on his own. Admittingly, I’m a biased fan of late 70’s and 80’s anime, but I think the animation quality here really stands up, even today. The music of this movie is also breathtaking. They really went full out with it. The epic scenes in the movie are made all the more so by the music supporting them. The music delivers regarding of what the scene calls for, whether it’s thrilling battle music, more somber themes or something else. There have been individuals who have listened to this movie’s music and weren’t even aware it came from an anime such as this, it is so grand in scale and style. The director and animators also don’t flinch from using interesting style choices throughout. For example the movie even features some live action footage, something virtually unheard for the format of this era.
The setting of the movie takes place entirely in space and a significant portion of the running time is the various battles between our heroes, the crew of the Solo Ship and their enemies, the humanoid alien Buff Clan. This is space opera and combat at its finest. Some tremendous battle sequences throughout the movie that don’t ever leave you bored. The sheer scale of things is often impressive, and is greatly helped by the movie format. At the same time, the movie contains enough character and plot scenes to provide a proper conclusion to the story threads and character arcs that took place throughout the series. This includes proper resolution to one of the show’s biggest mysteries in the nature of the Ide, the energy that powers the Ideon.
I’d really only have 2 warnings for people wanting to see this for the first time. First, the movie has a reputation that has a good chance of overshadowing the viewing experience. The vast majority of the people who see this movie likely are into it due to its notoriety and as such will be at least somewhat spoiled. I think the movie lives up to the hype (granted I saw it long before there was any hype over it in the first place), but there is the possibility that one expects so much of it that it can’t hope to live up to their expectations. The movie also has some content that will offend some. This movie is extremely violent and gruesome at times and doesn’t hold back. For example, the movie opens with a character seeing his love interest decapitated by an explosion, her bloody head flying past him. There is a particularly infamous scene where one of the young children gets killed in similarly gruesome fashion. The movie also contains a significant amount of nudity. I would hope that most viewers wouldn’t avoid the movie for these reasons, but they are things to consider before watching it.
Strong animation and music, thrilling space battles and plot twists, resolution and answers to the storyline from the series, I couldn’t recommend this movie further.
The Ideon: Be Invoked it's the second and last movie of a compilation of the series Space Runaway Ideon created by the infamous Yoshiyuki (Kill'em all) Tomino.
Story 10/10 the story is very appealing and well developed at least in this second movie, there's a lot of tragedy, a lot of killing, all of them caused because the two enemy factions are unable to understand each other and they make their small diferences bigger then their really are. At the end of it all the hatred, the pride, the desire for vengeance and the willing to live, merge in one of the most epic
and tragic ending you could see
Art 10/10 the art is outstanding especially for the time it was made
Sound 10/10 it manages to create an great atmosphere
Character 5/10 completely underdeveloped, never get to know any of the characters past, motivations, or distinctive personalities, somehow the spectator can feel for them, but it's unable to relate to them.
"Be Invoked" is absolutely fantastic, but it doesn't stand on its own (unless you just like pretty animation and gruesome deaths). If you want to care at all about any of the characters or understand any of what's going on, you'll either have to watch "A Contact" or the TV show first, neither of which quite match the standards of Be Invoked. If you watch "A Contact", you'll get a compressed version and miss much of the characterization. If you watch the TV series, you're in for a long haul of 39 episodes, some of which are just garbage, but the last
~17 episodes are great and set the stage for "Be Invoked" in the way that "A Contact" doesn't.
Let's get this out of the way first: this movie is infamous. If you've seen End of Evangelion, you know what to expect, since Evangelion was partly inspired by Ideon. The only reason I can imagine that this movie is listed as being PG-13 instead of R is because the characters almost never bleed, even when they have massive head wounds—and the movie hands out massive head wounds like candy. If you are feeling down, or in the mood for something light, just watch something else. But this movie isn't just infamous for body count or on-screen decapitations, it's infamous because it makes you care about each one of those deaths.
That's because the characters are superb. Everyone has been pushed to the breaking point and shows their growth. Karala is confident, Sheryl is broken, Lotta is courageous, Kasha shows restraint, and Cosmo has the tranquility to accept his fate when he can't change it. It's unfortunate, but if you missed the first part of the story, then none of this means anything to you. The villains are also a cut above the standard fare from the TV series: Doba is not only fearsome but conscientious, and Harulu is strong but at the same time she can't see beyond her own pain (again... which you missed if you skipped first part of the story). Kasha and Cosmo get a nice moment together which stays true to their characters and doesn't resort to cliche.
By modern standards, the animation and action sequences hold up remarkably well. Gone are the copy-pasted fight sequences from the series, and we have beautiful, fluid scenes in their place. Itano, who also did key animation on the Cowboy Bebop movie and the good Urusei Yatsura movie, is said to have inspired a generation of animators and this movie is a part of that legacy.
In spite of the plot's galactic scale, the movie is economical. Scan through the movie all you like, you won't find anything worth cutting. No clumsy exposition, forced plot movement, or shoehorned character development. It all fits together organically. This beautiful economy starts right from the opening scene, which does more justice to Cosmo and Kitty's relationship in two minutes than all of episodes #23-25 could manage in a full hour. This is followed by a rework of episode #39, which shows a marked improvement over an already great episode in half the running time. With the occasional pause for breath, the pace continues for the full running length of the movie. If this had aired on TV instead, it would probably be a full 13-episode cour all by itself.
Be Invoked's theme is about whether people can escape bad karma. To that end, you may want to read a little bit about Buddhism before you sit down with the movie. The story's conflict started almost accidentally, perhaps it was nothing more than a misunderstanding, but at this point both sides are so attached to the conflict that they can't escape its gruesome conclusion. Even when the Ide delivers the possibility of peace on a silver platter, nobody can see past their own desire for war. Sometimes your only hope is to find happiness in the next life. This core message is why people can say that Be Invoked has such a happy and sad ending.
I find it difficult to think of any real flaws in the movie, except one. Simply put, this is not just a hidden gem of 80s mecha anime, but a masterpiece. It's such a shame that the movie doesn't hold up by itself.
Ideon: Be Invoked serves as an alternate retelling to the final several episodes of the TV anime when it was abruptly cancelled the year prior before Sunrise could wrap up the anime's plot. The film serves to wrap up events in the escalating conflict between the human crew of the Ideon and the alien Buff Clan.
Be Invoked starts where the TV anime left off in depicting Karala's confrontation with her father before the Ideon's power surges upward in response to the hostility between both factions. From then on, the film doesn't let up in showing how these hostilities result in an all-out final conflict between
the Ideon crew and Buff Clan. The film is well regarded by mecha anime fans for being the high point of Tomino's "Kill Em All" moniker and it definitely shows with the high kill count seen throughout this film as not all characters are safe from suffering a violent death in the ensuing final conflict of this series. While I won't spoil how things ultimately conclude with Be Invoked, I will say that the ending is rather fitting considering how events had escalated and is a poignant showing of the ultimate consequences of war. The impact of the film is reduced somewhat in that the limited depth on the Buff Clan had me caring less for how things pan out with them. But I would at least say the film is a large improvement over how the TV series concluded.
Visually, Be Invoked is a considerable improvement over the TV anime with its more cleaner details and fluid animation. This helps make the action scenes more engaging to see in the conflict between the Ideon and the Buff Clan with action sequences including gun fights and mecha action with both sides. A number of the character designs are still a product of their time such as with Cosmo's afro and the attire of the Buff Clan, but I suppose this is to be expected from an early 80s anime.
Overall, I would say Be Invoked made for a more satisfying conclusion to Ideon than its TV anime, and I can certainly see where it served as inspiration for later mecha titles like Evangelion with the chaos that ensued throughout the film. If you seen the Ideon TV anime and are looking for a more proper conclusion to the series, Be Invoked is as fitting as you will get out of Ideon.