Adventures With Iczer 3 (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Kim Wolstenholme
Review Date: Friday, May 06, 2005
Release Date: Monday, May 16, 2005



What They Say
In deep space a battle wages between the forces of good and evil and the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance.

The evil Neos Gold dispatches her invading forces towards Earth with only one aim: the total destruction of all mankind. Now it’s up to Iczer 3 – Iczer 1’s younger sister to defend the Earth from Neos Gold’s deadly armada. With the aid of a single Earth battle cruiser and the descendent of Iczer 1’s original partner Iczer 3 is thrust into battle with some of the most bizarre adversaries imaginable. But don’t count her out – what she lacks in experience she makes up for in all-out enthusiasm.

Created by Toshihiro Hiranothe director of Daingaio and Vampire Princess Miyu. The Manga Collection is proud to present Adventures with Iczer 3. For the first time ever UK anime fans can enjoy the original six part series as a double DVD set that contains 3 hours of action and thrills!

The Review!
The sequel to Fight! Iczer 1, Adventures with Iczer 3 sees Iczer 3 trying to save the Earth from evil aliens.

Audio:

I listened to the show cycling through the English Stereo, DD 5.1 and DTS tracks that Manga have provided on this disk. This looks like a decent choice of sound options, however neither the DTS or DD 5.1 soundtracks really use the speakers to their full advantage. Everything from dialogue to sound effects uses the front sound stage only. I tried really hard to detect when the surrounds were being used, but I never noticed a single instance of activity in the rear speakers. This is a shame, as some of the battles would have benefited from the use of the surrounds. There was also no real difference between the DTS and DD 5.1 tracks either, apart from the fact that the DTS track sounded slightly louder. The Stereo track is perfectly functional, but as to be expected is less bombastic than either of the DD 5.1 or DTS tracks.

Considering all the other options it would have been nice to see a Japanese soundtrack as well, but for a budget release the soundtrack options available are more than adequate.

Video:

As Adventures with Iczer 3 is now around 15 years old I wasn’t expecting fantastic picture quality, but this transfer has more problems than I anticipated.

The first thing I noticed was the level of grain on the picture, not a huge problem in itself but it was slightly distracting. The next issue was that on occasion the colours ‘pulsed’ (i.e. get lighter and darker repeatedly), this happened mainly on backgrounds but after a while I managed to tune it out. Contrast levels were also a problem, especially during darker sequences, which sometimes resulted in it being hard to make out what was going on (the best example of this is when Iczer 3 is fighting Insecto at night). Last but not least, there is edge-enhancement, lots of edge-enhancement. This ranges from being hardly noticeable to being so obvious it’s hard to look at anything else on the screen.

Another slight annoyance with this disk is the fact that the Manga title screen is shown before each episode. The chapter stops on the disks also seem a bit random as well. Instead of using the popular opening, part A, part B, closing chapter stops Manga have allowed each chapter a certain amount of time, this means that you can’t chapter skip either the opening or closing credits should you wish to.

Packaging:

No packaging was available as only a review disk was supplied.

Menu:

Considering this is a budget release from Manga they’ve provided quite a nice animated menu, which kind of looks like you’re looking down the barrel of some sort of laser sight. The centre of this shows clips from the show, whilst the menu options are all located at the edges of the screen. The theme music also plays over the main menu in a loop, whilst all sub menus are silent. All menu access times are quick.

Extras:

As this is a Manga Collection disk the extra features are almost non-existent, the only extra included on this disk is a show reel of previews for Manga’s other releases.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)

Adventures with Iczer 3 originally aired as a radio drama that was meant to be a parody of Fight! Iczer 1. The radio drama was then turned into an anime that continued the events that were portrayed in Fight! Iczer 1. I can’t say that I’d heard of Adventures with Iczer 3 until the review disk turned up, and the same goes for it’s predecessor, so I started watching this series with absolutely no preconceptions and a totally open mind.

The show opens with the penultimate battle between Iczer 1, presumably a robot, though she looks human, and Neos Gold, an evil shape-shifting alien whose goal is to take over the universe. It appears that both Neos and Iczer 1 are too evenly matched to defeat each other, and after they both sustain damage in the battle they retreat to their respective hideouts to recuperate. Neos Gold still has one trick up her sleeve though; she’s sent four of her warriors to lay waste to Earth so as to make Iczer 1 go there for the final showdown.

All is not lost however, as Sister Grey (Iczer 1’s creator) has created a backup for Iczer 1, named Iczer 3. Iczer 3 is still very young and relatively inexperienced, but Sister Grey and Iczer 1 have no choice but to send her to Earth and hope that she manages to defeat Neos Gold’s warriors before they do too much damage.

Unfortunately Iczer 3 arrives on Earth too late, as Neos’s warriors have destroyed all of the defence stations and are wreaking havoc on the planet. The moon base is the last one to be attacked and Iczer 3 arrives just in time to stop the base from being totally destroyed by Fiber – one of the four warriors. Iczer 3 defeats Fiber and then joins the remaining survivors, including a girl called Nagisa with telepathic powers and who Iczer 3 seems to already know. They then leave the moon base in the last remaining space ship, the Queen Fuji. Their aim is to see if they can find out whether there are any survivors on Earth, while Iczer 3 tags along with them, just in case they run across any more of Neos Gold’s warriors.

In the next episode Neos Gold forces the Queen Fuji to land on earth in an area that’s been infested with bugs, which Iczer 3 finds terribly cute (strange girl!). When the insects start to attack the ship Iczer 3 leaves to find the person who appears to be controlling the insects and finds another one of Neos’s warriors – Insecto. In order to defeat Insecto, Iczer 3 summons Iczer-Robo, and together with Nagisa, whose help is needed to pilot Iczer-Robo for some unexplained reason, she manages to defeat Insecto. Things aren’t quite that simple though, as Iczer 3 gets a little carried away when a holographic Neos Gold appears and tells of her master plan. Iczer 3 tries to fight Neos who manages to extract the Iczerian power from Iczer-Robo, even though she does not have a physical presence.

At this point I was kind of thinking that the rest of the series was going to be quite predictable, first Iczer 3 does something cute and childish, then one of Neos’s warriors turns up, they fight and Iczer 3 eventually defeats her opponent with a little help from Nagisa. But it is at this point that a curve ball is added to the plot, as using the Iczerian power that she got from Iczer-Robo Neos has made a warrior with exactly the same power as Iczer 3 – Atlos. You might expect Atlos to be the exact opposite of Iczer 3, but it soon becomes apparent that she is not entirely subservient to Neos. Also thrown into the mix in the last couple of episodes is the fate of Iczer 2, who Neos has semi control of. Will the three Iczer sisters and Atlos overcome their difficulties and combine their powers to fight Neos Gold and her warriors, or is the Earth and its remaining survivors doomed?

Although Adventures with Iczer 3 is 15 years old it showcases some pretty good animation and character designs, although the series does have a slightly retro feel to it. Surprisingly enough the baddies get the most innovative designs and they have some quite ingenious battle armour, especially Goram with her multi purpose armour. In comparison the designs for the three Iczers are quite boring which is a shame as I feel that a more imaginative design could have been used. This could have been the result of a desire to keep some continuity from Fight! Iczer 1, and looking on the Internet certainly indicates that this could well be the case. The battle scenes that feature quite frequently throughout the series are also fluid and realistic, there are no silly gravity defying moves, even though Iczer 3 can fly.

The dub on the show is also worth a quick mention as it’s by no means a great dub, but I can’t exactly class it as awful either. The actors chosen for the roles are quite wooden and some of the lines are delivered in a terribly stilted fashion. Some of the actor’s voices are also terribly miscast and by far the worse offender for this is Yajin who sounds way too old for his character. As mediocre as the voice cast are they do actually manage to add to the overall retro / cheesy feel of the series and as such I can’t knock the dub too badly.

Being a sequel of sorts it’s nice to note that Adventures with Iczer 3 can be watched quite happily without needing any real knowledge of its predecessor. However there are some minor points that it would have been nice to have a bit more exposition on: what is Nagisa’s relationship to Iczers 1 and 3, why is she needed to pilot Iczer-Robo (wearing very little, unlike Iczer 3), where do the Iczers come from and why do they feel the need to protect Earth and finally why do Iczer 2 and Iczer 1 not get along and how did Neos gain semi control over Iczer 2? They do seem like fairly inconsequential questions but it would have been nice to have some answers to these questions, as it probably would have resulted in a more rounded story.

The only other quibble I have with the series is the pacing of the final two episodes. The first four episodes with Iczer 3 fighting Neos’s warriors were very enjoyable and actually quite light-hearted, but the final two episodes were slightly lacking. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly was wrong with them, they simply felt a bit rushed, and the late introduction of the new character of Iczer 2 didn’t help. It would have been nice to have a bit more time devoted to Atlos and Iczer 2 as well, but this was not to be. This may be overly harsh though as it’s probably fair to say that character development was not the main aim of Adventures with Iczer 3. None of the characters are really given any kind of motivation apart from saving or destroying the Earth and its few remaining citizens. It’s really just an excuse to have lots of battle sequences as the good guys and bad guys square up to try and take each other down!

In summary-

I’m really glad that I’d heard nothing about Adventures with Iczer 3 before getting the disks, because if I had I probably would not have enjoyed it half as much. Yes it might be full of clichés, and the story might leave a lot to be desired, but its just good brainless fun. The show has no illusions of grandeur and does exactly what it sets out to do – entertain. It’s a shame that the audio and picture are not quite up to scratch, but if you are interested in some cheesy, retro fun then don’t let them put you off.

Features
English Language 2.0,English Language 5.1,English Language DTS

Review Equipment
Panasonic 42” Plasma, Arcam 88+ Prog Scan DVD Player, Kef Egg 7.1 Speaker system with a Ruark log sub. Denon 3802 amplifier.



Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B-
Video Rating: C-
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: D
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: Manga UK
MSRP: £14.99
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Iczer Reborn