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80’s ham was best ham!

March 17, 2012

“No, no… we’ll come in the Queen Fuji to visit YOU!”

Rob Onwa, Iczer Reborn

The 1980s and early 1990s were probably what many would refer to as anime’s golden age; if not in quality, then in concept. I certainly won’t contest that suggestion after watching Fight! Iczer One and Iczer Reborn, the two most famous sagas of the Iczer-series directed by Toshihiro Hirano. Listed as a “dark” science-fiction series, Fight! Iczer One is a 3-episode Original Video Animation while Iczer Reborn is its 6-episode OVA sequel. A third, Iczelion, is a distantly related show with similar concepts and premises but quite the different execution.

Both Iczer series in the saga take place in a future where humanity is a fledging interstellar race, complete with space stations, near-future weaponry and other classic 80s sci-fic anime clichés (minus the flying cars, if they were ever a part of the 80s sci-fi clichés). Starting with Fight! Iczer One, Earth is under attack by creatures called the Vedim, led by the Cthulhu, who despite the naming convention are surprisingly normal-looking with the exception of being an entire race of space lesbians that have had the fortunate unfortunate (whatever, you decide) their entire male population killed off in their travel through the galaxy. The titular heroine, Iczer One, fights them on Earth, destroying the parasitic Vedim when found.

A lone schoolgirl, Nagisa, gets caught up in the madness via constant near-raep and exposure to the Vedim’s ugly visages when Iczer, sensing that the Cthulhu are about to step up their game, starts to look for a human partner so they can “fuse”, or whatever word you want to substitute in, in exchange for greater power and the ability to call down a giant robot known as Iczer Robo. This is fairly important to Iczer One that her interaction with a disbelieving and in-denial Nagisa appears at first to be Iczer One forcing a relationship with Nagisa; without the ability to call on Iczer Robo, Iczer One can’t fight the other giant robots used by the Cthulhu. She may be a Jedi-Saiyan fusion that can fly, teleport, pull beam sabres out of nowhere and fire off energy blasts from her bare hands, but from the looks of it the Cthulhu robots are probably monstrosities on par with the Evangelion units themselves.

Being a three-episode OVA, Nagisa grows up pretty fast once her parents and her entire damned house turn into Vedim; timely intervention by Iczer One sets her on a path of despair to he point where she just wants to curl up and die. While the rest of the world dies under the assault of the Cthulhu, she manages to get motivated enough to avenge her parents, but when the motivation goes it takes an encounter with a mother-daughter pair of survivors to get Nagisa’s courage up to standards, at which point the enemy… kidnaps her.

It seems that Iczer One has a rival called Iczer Two (…what?) who, after fighting the Nagisa/Iczer One combo, gets a taste of how powerful true partners can be. She kidnaps Nagisa to make her her own, but Nagisa had developed a mind of steel by that time; a frantic Iczer One, after braving many dangers to find her soul mate (COUGH) finds her brainwashed, and has no choice to kill her. It turns out to be the ultimate route to fusing with Nagisa, however, allowing Iczer One to bump off Iczer Two with ease and proceed to find the mastermind, Big Gold. Alot of plot comes into play, like how the originally-peaceful Cthulhu and Vedim were turned into enslaved races by a chance encounter with a wish-making machine that created Big Gold out of the desires of the Cthulhu to find a place they can call home; Iczer One, it turns out, is the Cthulhus’ natural subconscious given form to combat Big Gold’s evil tendencies. After defeating Big Gold, Iczer One uses the machine to restore Earth to its pre-invasion state including Nagisa being alive, and leaves for the stars.

You can probably tell by now that this is a plot you could only find in the ’80s. Character development is easy to understand; Nagisa is about the only character that needs the development, with the villains being straightforward and the other baddies barely able to articulate more than grunts and roars. There are some Cthulhu who talk back, but as minor characters development is moot for them. As for other humans, other than the mother-daughter refugee pair, the human military is by and large worthless (they have a line of ships with names inclusive of the word Fuji that all manage to die within seconds of deployment in extremely humiliating defeats) and not worth mentioning.

The sudden asspull of a wish-making device is so ’80s fiction that it would have sucked, but Fight! Iczer One manages to cover for that aspect by dedicating some time to a flashback sequence involving the Cthulhu leader and her encounter with the device.

Animation is quite up on the scale as well, since it’s an OVA. Iczer One’s fights and Iczer Robo’s moves are quite impressive, as are the scenes of destruction rendered with loving care and the actions of the antagonists (of special mention, Iczer Two and her machine, Iczer Sigma). Of special and honorary mention are the scenes featuring Vedim infecting and humans getting chomped or blown up; they are quite gruesome with eye-blinding detail to body parts, skin creases, teeth and other things you could only find nowadays in visual novels featuring tentacle pr0n, and generally not recommended for people who are eating dinner or other meals unless you are a fucked-up person, and by fucked-up I mean you’re a fucked-up faggot who faps to guro, you fucked-up fascist cumbag pig-fucker, but it’s okay to be yourself so carry on, nothing to do with me.

The direct sequel, Iczer Reborn, is pretty much the same thing except with a bigger cast. It has a 200% longer plotline than Fight! Iczer One, and features Neos Gold, Big Gold’s daughter and her cronies, VS Iczer Three, Iczer One’s little sister, created by a talented scientist of the Cthulhu, Sister Grey. The fight once again focuses on Earth as Neos Gold, after being in a fight against Iczer One that saw both wounded and unable to proceed with the action, sends her four subordinates to subjugate Earth and use it as her bargaining chip against Iczer One.

Iczer Three is sent in response, and together with the crew of the remaining human warship Queen Fuji, Yajin Ro, Rob Onwa, Candy Barts, and part-time Lunar Base waitresses Kawai Shizuka and -gasp- Nagisa Kasumi, they must join Iczer Three in her fight against Neos Gold and her lackeys; Fiber, a puppetmaster with an ego larger than a play stage; Insect, a commander of nasty bugs with the ability to make herself a big bug; Bigro, a circus tamer wannabe with quite the formidable mecha-pet called Iota (perhaps she should have called herself the Big Zam instead, tee hee); and finally Golem, the weapons otaku who also doubles as their commander when not in the presence of Neos Gold.

If Fight! Iczer One kept you well-entertained, then Iczer Reborn would also probably be your cup of tea as well. While missing the well-detailed Vedim, there are others aspects that remain just as entertaining, like the fight scenes. A greater cast also allows for more interaction, and this time we see some from Iczer one as she frets about Iczer Three, who is childish and knows nothing beyond winning. Nagisa probably plays the biggest role in this; not only does she help rein in and teach Iczer Three about keeping a poker face and a cool mind in the heat of combat, she also helps Iczer Three through some tough times. This Nagisa doesn’t need life lessons; she is the life lesson.

The villains themselves get some surprise development; some of them are just template evil, while others are not quite the same shade of grey used by the rest to color their character development and reveal a surprisingly human side to them at times. About the only real gripe is the lack of  robot action; Iczer Three gets her own Iczer Robo (mild speculah suggests it to be Iczer One’s repaired Iczer Robo since it shares the same name, and Iczer One never summons her own Iczer Robo in the course of the second series) but doesn’t get much of a chance to use it in terms of showtime to plot-length, as opposed to the original Iczer Robo which was pretty much permanently in the show. It’s forgivable, however, on accounts of it being a plot-related banishment. Other bonuses make Iczer Reborn its own show; for one, the mechanical designs, especially that of the Queen Fuji, are quite the improvement, and human efforts bear more significance to the fight and plot.

Overall for all accounts, Fight! Iczer One and Iczer Reborn are fairly decent series that manage to present an interesting story despite the limited lore they have. If you’re looking for hard science fiction I’d advice against it, but if you’re bored on a Friday night with friends of like interests over and nothing to watch, you might like to pop Fight! Iczer One and Iczer Reborn into the playlist and enjoy the ’80s action and style as you cheer for human power against evil alien overlords from space.

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