Fight! Iczer One - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 19.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fight! Iczer One

Fight! Iczer One

By Chris Beveridge     March 16, 2005
Release Date: April 12, 2005


Fight! Iczer One
© Media Blasters


What They Say
The biological combat android Iczer-1 travels to Earth. Her mission is to defend the planet from Cthuwolf invaders, but in order to power her battlesuit she needs to unite with a partner in body and mind. Nagisa is a human girl who has lost her parents to the Cthuwolf. Nagisa's psychic power can give Iczer-1 the strength to fight, and her love can give Iczer-1 what she needs to win. Directed by Toshihiro Hirano, director of Magic Knights Rayearth, Vampire Princess Miyu, and Macross: Do you Remember Love Mecha Designes by the legendary Masami Obari, of Battle Arena Toshinden and Fatal Fury fame.

The Review!
One of the old school favorites finally gets released in its original language and fans of 80's mecha and hairstyles get to rejoice.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The shows vintage pretty much keeps things in the stereo mix to a very center channel based piece from the music to the sound effects as well as the dialogue. It's by no means a dynamic mix but it is decent considering its age. The track may be a bit low in general but it's pretty clean and clear. We had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released to video between 1985 and 1987, the transfer for the three OVA episodes are presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. The materials here definitely show there age but they're better preserved than I would have expected. There's a fair bit of grain throughout it which is likely due more to the film stock than anything else but this along with the mild jitter and aliasing gives it such a lively feel. The shows colors are dark and muted but the blues, which are used heavily here, just look good with the way it interacts with the grain. There's a bit of dirt and scratches throughout the print but otherwise it's pretty decent and the transfer is free of problems.

Packaging:
The cover art for this release does a nice job of highlighting the various aspects of the show, from the big robot and space ships to the characters who find themselves on opposite sides and the feud in the center that pushes a lot of the action. The character artwork looks good and really well cleaned up and the overall layout does a nice job of bringing everything together. The back cover provides a nice array of character artwork along the side and bottom while the other side is filled with shots from the show itself. The summary in the center covers the premise well and clearly lists the discs features below it as does the technical grid. No insert is included in this release.

Menu:
The main menu layout is a bouncy piece with 80's pop synth music but it really shines with the great looking illustrations used here in the static background of the various characters, most through various colored filters, but mostly with the great looking piece of Nagisa in the center. I really love how this looks, as simple as it is. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is easy to navigate. The disc only read half our players' language presets correctly by getting the language right but failing on the subtitles since the slates track is the first English listed one.

Extras:
There's a pair of extras here and fans of the show will love them. The first is the standard art gallery but they have some great pieces in here. In addition to shots of numerous cels, they managed to get the original VHS artwork for the first volume and some laserdisc artwork for the other acts. The really big extra is the 25 minute making of piece which is done in a way most of them aren't anymore. While there's plenty of similarities in style as we see how the recording sessions and music scoring hasn't changed in twenty years, what they use here is fresh animation to serve as bumpers for the pieces, such as super deformed versions of the characters and robots doing things. They do rely too heavily on animation from the show to pad out the overall time, but if you enjoy this show you'll love seeing something like this since there aren't too many of these kinds of specials that have survived the years.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My relationship with Iczer One is one that goes back to when it first came out in the US, one episode per tape and dub only. This is actually my first time seeing it in Japanese and it's been probably about twelve or thirteen years since I saw that dub tape. At the time, its release was heralded as one of the better OVA series of science fiction goodness that was coming over, so in an effort to try and convince my father that there was more to this anime thing than just being cartoons from his point of view, I figured a good SF series would help sway him.

Oh what a mistake that turned out to be. With the extremely poor dub of the time, and a story that didn't even have me all that interested due to the way the script was written, it was almost embarrassing. He did manage to sit through the one episode we had but I've never been able to get him to really try anything again. So sitting down with the show now after all these years, and with a much broader range of experience, I found that I could appreciate the show more than I did then, especially knowing its relevance, but at the same time finding that it was still something that I just can't get into the way I do other shows.

The premise of the story is fairly simple and one that was done heavily throughout the eighties, which is one reason why it's easy to be forgettable with it. We're introduced to a race of creatures called the Cthulhu Invaders who have this great looking method of travel across space; they use what looks to be a cracked open moon and have a power drive in the midst of it and have used that to arrive here at Earth. Their plans are to take over the planet and eliminate their obstacles there so that they can live and prosper. That means getting rid of those pesky humans of course, and they've sent down their Bedams to do just that. Unfortunately, someone arrived just before them called Iczer One and she's set to protect the innocent there.

Iczer One is an attractive looking blonde woman in a skintight suit who doesn't have all that much depth to her but has the basic motivations of wanting to defend people. In order to properly do so though, she needs to bond with someone from Earth who will provide added ability and power when they use Iczer Robo to defeat the Bedam creatures. And since the Bedam creatures are just so easy to eliminate, they need to be powerful enough to handle the various female warriors that come down from the invaders ship. This brings about various little character dramas, such as the first warrior falling and her lover coming down in the next wave to attack, but for the most part even with what we do learn of the warriors, they're still really just ciphers.

Where they try to really draw you in is with the human who joins with Iczer One. She's a young woman in school named Nagisa who is your typical happy and bouncy girl who can't believe she's getting caught up in all of this. She actually tries to get out of dealing with Iczer One and proves to be a bad combination with her, but her ability to adapt to the Iczer Robo and provide what Iczer One needs is too great so Iczer One keeps trying to get her to come to her side. This actually takes two-thirds of the show before Nagisa realizes that she has to help defend the planet since not doing so will result in her death as well as the deaths of others. It's a most base motivation and one that sadly does take a schoolgirl quite awhile to really understand.

Iczer One has some really good things going for it outside of the average plot. One is that it is the vision of Toshihiro Hirano, so it has a very complete feel to it even though he wasn't able to flesh out the characters as deeply as someone viewing it today would want. The mecha designs were done by a rather young Masami Obari and you can see a lot of his trademark style in them that's carried throughout the years since then. And one area that just plain appeals to me is the great looking classic character designs. They are definitely eighties in their nature and seeing shows like this reminds me just how much I miss them and how much more alive the character artwork used to look back then.

In Summary:
Iczer One was something that at the time was easy to understand and one of those short OVA series that people imported on laserdisc because they could get it without much understanding. It's got some great action scenes that were probably quite well done for the time and it has a number of attractive designs, but it's something that's had a hard time holding up in the twenty years since its first release. It's great to finally get to see this in its original form though and Media Blasters deserves the kudos for resurrecting another title that many thought would simply be lost to fans. Those who adored this in the past will love this release and all that's here, but it's easy to see why it'll have a hard time gaining too many new fans.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Behind the Scenes

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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