I'll begin this by saying that the Baldios movie is arguably the "true ending" of the series ala Be Invoked for Ideon. The TV series was cut short and so while its ending is a uniquely depressing one, the movie develops it far more in a horribly inevitable twist which is no less powerful for its predictability.
It's very rare for a super robot show to have its heroes fail completely by the end - even Ideon and Zambot 3 have some measure of a victory in them - but Baldios certainly has that.
The essential plot is that an evil army called Aldebaran invade Earth to
capture it as a new homeworld after some massive disaster has destroyed their homeworld, S1. The hero, a S1 man called Marin, fights alongside human experts in the robot Baldios, and along the way many revelations become apparent until the shocking ending plays out with the heroes powerless against it.
The story is bleak and hopeless, setting up plot events that the audience know cannot hope but play out no matter what the heroes do, and it is this which makes Baldios such a good movie. Much like Zambot 3, themes of distrust and paranoia play into the plot, and Marin's relationship with his fellow S1 and humanity provide a key conflict.
In terms of animation, Baldios is superb throughout. There is surprisingly little combat for a super robot movie, but this doesn't feel like a bad thing since the focus is really on Marin's conflict with the S1 refugees on a personal level. Admittedly, the flaws of the plot show through at times - a subplot about two S1 soldiers is given two scenes but could have been developed on in interesting ways, as is a plotline about the ruthlessness of S1 command, while on the human side, the governments of Earth aren't given the time that perhaps they could have been.
The soundtrack is also excellent, the ending and insert songs being incredibly powerful and moving, while the TV OP is used in an instrumental form throughout although often abbreviated.
Since Baldios in movie form attempts to retell the plot of the series while also expanding upon it, some of the character development suffers in the same way as in Do You Remember Love. Much focus is given to Marin and Aphrodia, arguably the two leads, while the other villains, Gattler and Negros, don't get as much focus. Similarly, the rest of the Blue Fixer's crew aren't given enough focus, which makes their response to the climax of the film a little less effective.
If, however, you are prepared to accept Space Warrior Baldios as a retelling of a series which unfortunately was cut short, and understand that while it is named for a super robot, the robot isn't really the main focus, you'll find a very good movie that's up with Be Invoked, Macross: Do You Remember Love, Soldiers of Sorrow and Macross Plus as one of the best mecha movies of all time.
First off, I'd like to note that there might be spoilers in the story and character section due to my analysis.
Baldios and its companion movie are probably the greatest story I have ever seen. I myself own the movie in its original VHS form and watch it several times a year, it's easily one of my most treasured possessions. The movie usually gets a bad rap compared to the series, but if you look beyond the fact that the clips were thrown together rather sloppily, you can see a true masterpiece.
The movie is basically a recap of the entire series plus the true ending we
didn't get, where justice triumphs at the end, but at a horrible price. You can't really note anything spectacular about the story of the movie as it's rushed and a majority of great scenes are cut out to make it fit the timeframe of 97 minutes. We lose many battle scenes with the great Baldios, and those that are included are spliced in rather randomly, with cuts happening without warning.
I must admit, Baldios comes off as rather cheesy, but inside, the themes run deep.
We constantly find a struggle between two people who are very similar, but different at the same time, and at one point, the line between who is good and who is bad can be blurred. As we see that the people of S-1 are human like the Earthmen, it's really hard to want any side to win as they both have the right to live on the Earth as humans.
The art is on par with the standards of 80s mecha, with the broad line strokes and the underdetailed, but seemingly detailed character designs. Once again, the art itself can seem rather cheesy, and it's very Super Robot-esque, but I guess that's what makes it so enjoyable.
The sound is quite horrible in a good way as well. The English dub is laughably cheesy and seems over dramatic at bad times. An especially good example would have to be when soldiers as shot or blown up, where they make these hilarious grunts. It really adds to the whole experience in my opinion.
Arguably the deepest part of Baldios itself is the characters and how they develop over the period of the movie. Marin is the best example of this. You can very well say he is a tragic hero and has a pure heart. He constantly stares out to the ocean and admires the clean atmosphere of the Earth, which is what he had always dreamed of and what his father would have wished for. I like to call him the original Captain Planet because he fights to protect the Earth from pollution and to keep it the blue planet it is, unlike S-1 which was polluted beyond reason. However, in the end, he still loses what he loves most.
Aphroditia (and the lighthouse as well) is an important character for the development of Marin. Their constant meetings bring them closer to one another, and Aphroditia begins to doubt what she originally believed. In addition, the lighthouse is an important theme which stems their relation.
E.x. "You remember the day at the lighthouse, Aphroditia?" "Let's go back to the lighthouse, Aphroditia."
Lastly is Gatter, who is one of the most important characters due to his standing as the primary antagonist. However, as evil as he seems, he still has a just cause. All he wished to do was give the people of S-1 a clean and safe world to inhabit, however, he was blinded by the power he had and made the one fatal mistake where we find that Earth and S-1 aren't as different as we originally thought; and thus, his seemingly noble cause ended up being nothing but a waste.
Baldios is an interesting show, where it's many themes run deep, waiting to be discovered. It is a very enjoyable movie and I hope people can give it a chance to see how great it actually is.
Overall it gets a 7 through averaging.
First let me start off by saying that I am judging this anime the same way I would any modern anime. I feel it is important to hold an anime up to the standards of the time. It is possible for movie’s to hold up over time, just look at Wizard of Oz. Anyway, on with the review!
President Gattler orders the Emperor’s death, along with all the scientists working on a way to revitalize the planet they are currently living on. Instead Gattler is going to take 100 million people to another planet to live, even though the scientists are on
the brink of finding a way to save the planet. The protagonist, Marin Reagan, finds his father has been killed, who manages to get up seconds later, shoving his son into an escape hatch big enough to hold 100 people. But of course he decides to stay behind, because he is an idiot. They somehow find earth about 2 minutes into their search of a new planet (I say 2 minutes because all the same people are in charge and no one has aged a day). So Earth and the new people are fighting, recruit Marin who somehow got to earth as well, this is cleverly shown by having the shop he is on spin. (Ah, the old “Spin Technique”, how you have managed to start to many plots by spinning around and around.) Anyway, after crying like a bitch when he sees the blue sky, he teams up with Bimbo Slut, Black Dude*, and White Afro. Together they form Team Ridiculous. They also meet David later who seems to have a strong infatuation for Marin. You can feel the sexual tension is strong with them, but damn Bimbo Slut manages to ruin everything by always showing up at the perfect time so nothing happens. We also get to see Aphrowhore (the sister of the dude that “killed” Marin’s father) have some moment with the President. She goes to bed after showing her loyalty to the man, and we learn that her parents died and the President took her in as a child, and Marin appears in her dream. (Dum Dum Dummm! The plot thickens!) After an intense car, space, airplane, dog fight, thing, Marin is confronted by a man sent by the President himself! He tries to persuade him to join the dark side, and after some yelling and screaming he does what Luke should have done. Said “Meh, why not?” and goes along. This is when the story gets good! Elevator music begins to play as we go to meet the President. They meet eyes, gazing into each others souls. Each admires the others beauty, yearning for the other, knowing it could never be. Aphrowhore interrupts the two, slapping Marin, already knowing that the writer is going to force her to have sex with him later. So then some important people, but no one that we care about appear on the screen. I pressed to hit fast-forward, and get up to get myself a drink, hoping by the time I come back the movie is over. After effectively shaving off 10 minutes of the movie I find our hero running from pink laser beams. I can only assume he was found sleeping with the President’s Aid, causing him to be infuriated and forcing Marin to run, and in the process kill as many guards as he can. I turned out to be wrong, as he goes to the President’s office to settle things. Aphrowhore throws herself into the President’s pants, but before she gets there to fulfill a lifetime of wishes, Marin grabs her, whisking her off to safety (I don’t know either alright, just go with it). They crash (good job moron) and some more people do some things that are probably important to something in the story but I just stopped caring at this point. Some explosions go off, ice caps begin to melt, polar bears die (no I am serious about this part, its in the movie), rocks explode into unsuspecting people, cities flood, omg the pyramids just got swept away by a tsunami. Maybe this movie ain’t so bad after all. Bimbo Slut gets a call from her dad, who doesn’t really say anything important, then dies, she cries, and the cake is a lie. Sorry, back to the story. More tsunamis. And somehow the tsunami busts through the metal walls that looked like they were made to withstand explosions. Marin and Aphrowhore are back. No idea how they got into the metal building or ship they are in. I saw them crash-land. Some music video begins to play, I fastforward. Looks like Marin is the man of her dreams! Literally. And it seems anytime she remembers Marin being a kind lover, flowers appear and the President gets pissed, killing babies in the process. She wakes up, decides to kill Marin. Well, she actually didn’t, but I like to think she did. So she kills Marin. Goes back to the President, kills him. “Why!” the president asks. “Because you killed my father!”. With his dying breath “No, Aphrowhore. I am your father!” The End.
It’s pretty terrible in today’s terms. For 1980, I am guessing pretty damn good. But don’t expect anything different than what you have seen in TV shows of anime for this time period.
I am pretty sure the sound is Mono, and all the ships that fly sound like someone has a full time job in the engine saying “Tshew!” when they fly past. Even the music they use is inappropriate for situations. Sometimes its not so bad, but other times you just can’t help but wonder if whoever setup the score was watching something else at the time.
Now the characters in this anime aren’t that bad. This is actually the most redeeming quality of the entire anime. I only found the Bimbo Slut to be the only annoying one. Many of the characters we have all seen before and are nothing new, but that turns out to be a good thing in my opinion.
Okay, this is where it gets confusing. Although I completely hated the plot for a good hour and a half, it did seem to get better near the end. The story was not completely unoriginal (even though I am sure it was new for the time), and it still held my attention for a good majority (given I was writing that synopsis while I watched it to help me). I still managed to enjoy a lot about what I saw.
Not for everyone. If you grew up on 80’s anime, and love to watch the original idea of over used concepts now days, then I am sure you will love this anime. If you are younger and really only focus on the new stuff, but enjoyed Akira, thinking if maybe this one could be good, it is not. It probably isn’t even fair to lump Akira into the same category as this movie. If you are looking for a decent Mecha anime, from the 1980’s, that is no longer original, than this would be a good choice, but at the same time I doubt someone like that is out there.
One last thing, to be fair. My synopsis is not an accurate representation of what this movie is about. I only wrote it to help me get through it.
*He isn’t actually Black, I just like to think of him as that.