Mankind has traveled to the stars and come across various alien civilizations, now long dead. Upon discovering the archaeological remains of such a civilization on the planet Solo, humanity finally has its first encounter with a living alien species: the Buff Clan. When Karala Ajiba, the daughter of the Buff Clan's military leader, sets foot on the surface of Solo, the Buff Clan launches a brutal assault on the colony to retrieve her.
In order to escape, Cosmo Yuki, Kasha Imhof, and Bes Jordan climb aboard three trucks, which soon transform into the giant humanoid robot Ideon. When the settlement on Solo is destroyed, the survivors board a recently discovered spaceship—the Solo Ship—and flee, endeavoring to get away from the aliens and finally find peace. The relentless Buff Clan, however, is still in hot pursuit and will not give up so easily.
Let's be honest here. You're probably interested in this series because of the movie's reputation, and you're wondering if the TV show is worth watching. Let's get this out of the way first: you CAN skip the TV series and just watch A Contact (the compilation movie) followed by Be Invoked (the new and improved ending). This may be fine for you: you'll get skip some of the repetitive bits of the series, but you'll also skip characterization. While the TV show is a bit slow at times, A Contact and Be Invoked try to cram everything together... things develop a
bit too fast.
The problem with Ideon becomes apparent as soon as you watch the first episode. At its core, the show is a series of 22-minute commercials for toys which haven't been sold in decades for a country on the other side of the world. Animations are reused heavily, early plots mostly follow a predictable formula (land on new planet, aliens attack with new strategy, mech pilots save the day), the characters can be hard to like, and you get tired of the revolving door of villains. But there are also episodes where the show takes itself seriously. Tensions between the main characters are handled with respect, and most of the main cast develops quite wonderfully, even if it seems a bit slow. The plot is sometimes stitched together with crude seams, but at other times it flows quite well.
Once you get to episode #23, the tone changes, and the series discovers its purpose. Remember how the conflict in episode #1 seemed almost accidental in origin? By episode #23, the conflict has grown so large that no matter what anyone says or does, the fighting will continue, and the consequences are always serious. Even if you save the day, you can't save everyone. Even if you surrender, you can't stop fighting. Even as you work towards the same goals, you can hate and betray each other. The plot picks up the pace, characters develop and break down quite spectacularly (they don't cope with things by whining about them, thank goodness), and even the deus ex machina that saved the day in the first half of the series gets turned on its head. Everyone gets a moment before the end to show their true depth.
Episode #39 should be skipped, just watch "Be Invoked" instead, since episode #39 was recut, improved, and made into the beginning of the movie. It is a great episode, but the movie gives you a better version.
All said, I would give a 5/10 or 6/10 to the first 22 episodes, with the acknowledgement that a few of those episodes are fairly good. I'd give the last 17 episodes a 8/10 or 9/10—again with the acknowledgement that there are a couple stinkers, such as episode #34. I might rewatch this someday, but I'd skip over most of the episodes.
Space Runaway Ideon is perhaps best known for its influence on Neon Genesis Evangelion, along with being one of the works of Yoshiyuki Tomino (of Mobile Suit Gundam fame). Ideon’s success in Japan was only marginal upon its original broadcasting, and was cancelled prior to its originally-scheduled ending (not unlike MS Gundam in this respect). There were enough outcries from fans that the “proper” ending was released theatrically and titled Be Invoked.
Dating from 1980, it shouldn’t come as a surprise how dated it is. I have done my best to write this review with this in mind, and unfortunately, the series has
not aged very well at all.
The directing itself is average. Tons of close-ups, generic to non-existence framing techniques, and plenty of tracking shots during the action sequences are offset by mostly unremarkable editing techniques that are rather common to the genre. A good example: tracking shot of fighter getting pummeled by missiles, close up of pilot saying “curse you Giant God!”, sudden explosion of ship & white-out, returns to tracking shot of ship exploding. You’ll see this a LOT in Ideon. Various panning techniques are used as well, but there seem to be far less of these than I had expected. A welcome change, though for what it’s worth, not anything terribly remarkable either.
The soundtrack fluctuates wildly between great tone-setting ambiance and tedious regurgitation, especially by the series’ later half. The sound effects are fantastic, however, and provide perfect accompaniment to the visuals on screen. As far as the visuals themselves go, you can expect some reuse of footage (particularly during the action sequences), but these don’t really affect enjoyment value. The action sequences themselves are well-animated and abundant, as every episode features more missiles, lasers, gunfire, and explosions than most action movies. You can also expect to see the complete giant-robot transformation in every episode, along with some rather vibrant & detailed backgrounds that help shape a remarkably lush—if somewhat unoriginal—vision of the future.
But it’s within the story where its flaws are most readily apparent. A group of villains that begin the series with great potential for further development essentially turn into little more than faceless replaceable soon-to-be corpses that are piled upon the small mountain of dead characters this series wades through. Only three or four characters on the villainous side get any sort of spotlight, but even their development is about as stunted as the rest of the cast’s. The protagonists of the show are often accessorized as mere spectators to the action, to the detriment of their development. This wouldn’t usually be such a bad thing if it weren’t for the fact that Ideon’s impact relies heavily upon the fates of the characters themselves.
In order to portray the desperateness of the cast’s situation, the show relies a little too heavily upon these action sequences as both an advancement of the narrative and as a break from what little dramatic development is included. I consider this to be a flaw mainly because this constant reiteration of desperation really loses its impact by the second half; a lack of solid character development prevents the audience from better identifying with the characters, so these action sequences seem more like an attempt to divert the focus from the long-winded narrative. As an action series, it’s great—but its story and characters leave more than a little to be desired.
Recommended to anyone interested in older anime (particularly anyone interested in Leiji Matsumoto’s material, as this stands in wonderful contrast to his work from roughly the same time). However, I believe that its flaws outshine its strengths in too many areas, and its overall dated quality will be too much of a turn off for any casual viewers.
First of all, i usually don't make reviews, but i will make a exception just because i loved this anime and its movies by all my heart, and will be a quick review.
and please forgive me, i'm NOT good at writing reviews nor good at expressing my thoughts in English because my English isn't that muchl..
Ok, now, Ideon isn't a typical anime which anybody can watch or enjoy,
it's an anime that can be watched by hardcore mecha anime, classic anime fans, and or Tomino's fans.
Ideon's story was unique, one of kind gets interesting as the series progresses to a degree you became on your edge
of your chair wanting more and more.
Ideon's sometimes considered to be the prototype of the modern dark and twisted science fiction anime such as Evangelion, Akira and others. and been an inspiration for many directors and anime such as the just-mentioned and well-known Evangelion.
It's draggy though, very slow paced which can be unpreferable to many.
The titular mecha, the Ideon a massive giant robot resurrected when he felt that the people is killing each other again and now he must stop it. Later revealed to the characters that Ideon is more than a robot.
i loved the idea of both factions thinking of each other as "Aliens" while both are human beings just fell into misunderstanding which lead them to their doom later. that also can be a good "Anti-Racism" message. the Love story between two characters from different sides, both loved each other despite the hate of everyone around them, One lost the trust of some people, and other lost her entire family and homeland for her love.
there are also many twists and surprises for everyone in the series, things i love most in anime.
And something i should not forget, how the series alone showed how filthy and corrupted the humankind can be amazed me, it's sadly true, mankind just lives to kill each other and rule each other....
one of strongest elements of Ideon is that it has great development for each one.
the interaction between characters, the trust and betrayals, the fear and revenge and the hatred.
it's like a bloody theater
It's nice to see that all the characters acting realistically, unlike the typical super robot anime
everyone worried, cautions, nerves, depressed,jealously, etc...
In a typical super robot anime, the main heroes all acting hot-blooded and ready to kick some bots ass because they have a powerful robot, it isn't the same in Ideon, which all the characters keep suspicious and in fear of it.
sound: there are some good and lovely pieces, but the problem here is the transition between BGMs sometimes get noisy and annoying. for example, a BGM played and eruptly changing the tone to entirely different tone and mood, that happened so much unfortunately =/
Animations: Nah, i don't care much about animation, i'm fine with any, as an old anime fan that grew up with many 70's anime
i consider Ideon's animations is one of the best in its time. what grabbed my attention more is the art of the galaxies and planets, the art shows how the scary the "ruined planets" can be, some arts was scary, giving a good image of a ruined world.
I Enjoyed the series so much, there are many messages to humankind in Ideon, the series was good to show solutions to end wars and hatred from people towards each other.
almost a perfect depiction of mankind..
I can't really recommend Ideon to anyone, only those mecha-maniacs like me can enjoy it, unlike most modern anime which famed by its fan-service and naughty girls
Ideon has no fan-service if anyone seeking.... still a great show in overall, has good action and good characters set..
The Ideon franchise is one of my favorite in the mecha genre and is something I’ve been a fan of for a very long time. Originally created as the follow up to director Yoshiyuki Tomino’s most well-known work, Mobile Suit Gundam, Ideon never got the same play that the Gundam franchise eventually got, although it is definitely something worthy of attention in its own right.
Ideon takes place far in mankind’s future. Mankind has searched throughout the stars, finding many long dead alien civilizations. On the planet Solo, they find the sixth such civilization, which left behind various relics such as the three trucks that make
up the Ideon and a giant spaceship, incidentally called the Solo Ship. At the same time, humanoid aliens known as the Buff Clan suddenly appear. Karala Ajiba, daughter of the military commander of the Buff Clan, Doba Ajiba, heads down to the surface of Solo and in their pursuit to find her, a war between the earth settlers and the Buff Clan begins. Our heroes, led by Bes Jordan, and teenagers Cosmo Yuki and Kasha Imhof board the Solo Ship and head throughout the universe, under pursuit of the Buff Clan, who are seeking the power that the Ideon holds.
The general plot of Ideon is very similar to Mobile Suit Gundam, which had come before it. Our hero’s settlement is destroyed by an attacking force, everyone boards a ship and escapes and is under constant pursuit throughout the series. Also like Gundam before it, the heroes in the show are principally civilians who need to learn how to cope with their circumstances. Although whereas Gundam is a war drama, Ideon has more similarities to their predecessors; it comes off more as a space opera-type show, and there are many giant robot show elements here including the three part main robot of the show, Ideon, and the alien enemy.
At the same time, much like Gundam, Ideon is not the traditional robot show, in many ways. For starters, the show does not flinch in displaying death, often times gruesome ones at that. This isn’t the type of show where everyone gets to return from each mission alive. The humanity – Buff Clan interplay is an interesting one. Both races look identical and may even share a common root, but they get into a giant war with each other over a misunderstanding and their cultural differences are often unique. An early episode presents a great example; the heroes bring out a white flag, hoping for a cease-fire, but this makes the Buff Clan fight even more viciously as a white flag in their culture means fight to the death. This is also a show where there often isn’t that much hope for our heroes. They are under constant pursuit, and even when you expect they would get a warm welcome, they don’t. Having arguably the most powerful force in the universe is not all it is cracked up to be. The show also features an interesting mystery in the power source for the Ideon, the “Ide”. The Buff Clan have their own legend surrounding it, but there is a lot more to it than just that. What’s really behind the Ide is one of the more interesting parts of the show.
Character-wise the show has its mix of both likable and unlikable characters. Cosmo, the main hero is a bit of a jerk, and if anything one may find it better to consider Bes and Karala the main characters as both are extremely likable. Kasha is a blood thirsty and aggressive girl, much like a certain red haired character from Evangelion, and similar to said character isn’t that likable either. Sheryl Formosa, a linguistic scholar (a rather unique profession for mecha anime, ain’t it?) plays another key role. On the Buff Clan side, the show unfortunately isn’t as strong as its predecessor, Gundam, in providing a lot of interesting, sympathetic characters, although there is at least a few of them worth sinking our teeth into, in particular Karala’s former fiancé, Gije Zaral, and her elder sister Harulu.
The show shares several flaws from the era that this type of series were bound to have. The giant robot elements are in heavy force throughout much of the show. The Ideon is made up of three transforming trucks, and most episodes feature them fighting on their own before combining to win the day at the end. The show throws new Buff Clan military officer and heavy mobile mechas at us which go down in defeat, and their frequency just rises higher as the show reaches its climax. For a while pacing can be a concern; the first 10 episodes in particular are quite slow moving. Although the show’s plot does pick up considerably in the second half.
One can’t review this TV series without bringing up the ending. While this show was originally intended to run a full year, it ended up getting cancelled after 39 episodes, featuring an extremely rushed ending. In fact the ending consists of a very brief, 1 or 2 minute scene at the end of the final episode which comes right in the middle of things and ends the show. A big disappointment if this was all we got. But the show did have its real ending eventually made, in the movie The Ideon: Be Invoked, which is a must watch if you want to see how this show really ends.
While it has its flaws, Ideon is a very good mecha anime and I strongly recommend checking it out, especially so you can see its movie ending, which is one of anime’s best. Although that’s a whole other review…