What They Say:
Nagisa’s a typical high school student on an Earth overrun by alien monsters. Iczer 3 is the youngest member of a race fighting robot girls swon to protect humanity. Together, they’re a combat team with spunk, style, and charm, but will it be enough to defeat an invading army of killer shape-shifters?
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded at 192kbps. Considering its age, it comes across pretty well with the bulk of it being center channel based with some standard action elements to it that aren’t exactly requiring any heavy lifting. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout the program during regular playback, but there’s nothing exceptional in how it sounds. The score for it at least sounds decent but it’s a show that I wouldn’t mind seeing getting a lossless mix at some point for some additional quality.
Originally released in 1991 the transfer for this six episode OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ration. The series comes across in relatively good shape with this transfer, though not without its inherent flaws. For the majority of the episodes, the transfer is fairly strong; solid if somewhat dull colors via the palette chosen, good-looking black levels and very little jitter. The downside to the transfer comes in the amount of aliasing that crops into a number of scenes due to the high level of detail in a lot of the background scenes so that when the camera does any panning at all as well as on a number of static shots, the image really looks alive. There’s also some cross coloration that creeps into a number of areas throughout the episodes, but usually just along the lines and not overtaking the entire image.
Using artwork of the three Iczer girls with Three taking the lead, the cover is fairly attractive and eye-catching here with the strong colors and the clear light blue background punctuated by lightning. Iczer Two’s artwork doesn’t look quite as good as the other two, coming across a bit softer and fuzzy, but with the darker colors, it’s not as quickly noticeable. The back cover uses a similar kind of background but a bit darker while having a nice action post between both Iczer one and Iczer Three with their swords extended. The summary is light, but so is the show, so that doesn’t matter too much. The discs technical details and the features are all clearly listed as well. The reverse side of the cover has a good change from the norm in that there’s a heavy white background instead of the usual dark gray or black. The basic production credits for both teams as well as the Japanese voice actor credits are on one page while the other has a great piece of artwork of Izcer One, Three and Nagisa below the chapter listings for all six episodes.
The menu for this release shows the continuing upward trend in CPM’s designs. While we used to be able to get away with a “CPM Standard Menu” design comment or joke, their recent ones have been doing a good job of moving beyond that form. With a small item box to the left containing the selections, that’s kept static while behind it is layers of images from the show against a black backdrop that moves back and forward, with the front one showcasing actual animation from the show and the English logo. This is probably one of the best recent menus I remember from CPM. Access times continue to be solid and the menus all load nice and quick.
The extras are pretty minimal, but not entirely unexpected. In addition to the trailer for the show, there’s a five-minute art gallery video piece that’s filled with a lot of really nice looking color pieces. And for those who aren’t completely jaded about things, there’s a fun trivia game included as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Prior to watching this for the first time some fifteen years ago, my only experience with the Iczer franchise came many years ago when the very first one was picked up and released in dub only format with Fight! Iczer One. AT the time, I was eager to get my parents into anime, as my mother was quite interested in shows like Orange Road and Lodoss War, so I figured science fiction and scantily clad babe would be ideal with regards to my father. Add in that it was in English (only, I don’t believe it ever got a proper subtitle release) and it was essentially right up my fathers’ alley.
Suffice to say, that little experiment failed and his distaste for all kinds of cartoons continued for the rest of his days.
So something like over a decade later, I was able to revisit the franchise again, albeit not the same show but one of the later series. Iczer Reborn, originally released on VHS from CPM under the title of Iczer Three on three tapes, takes the tale sometime into the near future. Iczer One is facing her latest battle as the series opens to an entertaining image of Neos Gold swirling through space and launching an attack on the moon where Iczer One resides, an attack so strong that it shatters much of the moon, causing it to split wide open. It’s here that we learn that Iczer One has been scouring the galaxy to destroy all the offspring of Big Gold, and Neos Gold is the latest one to rear its ugly head.
The battle goes poorly for both of them in the end, each worn down by the other and unable to continue fighting. But Neos Gold has the advantage of her sisters, and she informs Iczer One that while she’s incapacitated and trying to recover, she and her sisters are going to go to Earth and ravage it until Iczer One can come and try to defend it. With her three sisters, the show quickly brings them to the moon where they devastate the advance space faring enclaves and then proceed to Earth where the bulk of the planet is quickly given over to ruins, though much of humanity has managed to hide away in shelters for the time being.
Knowing that Iczer One can’t help for quite some time, her mother consoles her while she’s in the rejuvenating tank and tells her that she’ll send her other daughter, Iczer Three, off to Earth to try and help since they have committed themselves to defending humanity from the spawn of Big Gold. Her mother is fairly comical about it but says it with a straight face, giving nod that Iczer Three is inexperienced and probably not the best qualified for this but she’s destined for a baptism by fire.
Iczer Three is essentially a shorter version of Iczer One with cold blue hair and a far less serious and intent look on her face. While she can look serious, the general feel you get from her isn’t that, but as the younger sister really trying to prove herself but often too caught up with having some fun. She’s quickly dispatched to Earth, where she eventually comes across some of the survivors of the military group that Nagisa is attached with. Nagisa is someone rather critical to the series, as she’s the one that Iczer One originally met when she first came to Earth and developed an attachment for. With Iczer Three, the two have something of a near instant bond and the ability to communicate telepathically.
Oh, and Nagisa is also required to power the giant robot form that Iczer Three can create, and being part of it requires her to be naked but properly covered up in the right areas. With the two working together, they’re a powerful combination, but the ordeal puts Nagisa through quite a lot and she’s generally down and out afterward for some time. But even without that form, Iczer Three is pretty powerful and able to deal with quite a lot of what’s thrown at her.
And much is thrown at her once she arrives. The six episodes play out pretty much in the standard form with little in the way that’s interesting. After things settle out with Nagisa, you have Iczer Three going after one of the basis of the Neos Gold group, dealing with the warrior there as well as their beast element that they either merge with or just have attack outright. It ends up going from sister to sister, but just when you think it’ll play out all too predictably, Neos Gold brings to life the lovely form of Iczer Two under her command and sets her to Earth to battle.
This is what ends up bringing the show down as it moves beyond the first two episodes. It becomes nothing but fight after fight, simply changing opponents and occasionally moving back to one that we thought was defeated before, yet only to return. The fight sequences themselves are decent, set against the ruined cities of the world with no inhabitants around to get in the way, but it just keeps getting hammered away episode after episodes that it’s easy to get dulled by it all very quickly. The overall look and feel of the show are good and there are some definite OVA qualities to it, but the story is just very lacking.
While there are a number of shows from the late 80’s and early 90’s that I enjoy, the Iczer franchise seems to be one that I simply can’t get into. This series definitely has all the feel of a late 80’s production from character designs to the babes with weapons storyline, never mind the world in ruins aspect. There’s little originality to the Iczer Reborn storyline, but for the fans of the show they’ll find themselves really pleased with this release but also still hoping that it might some day get some better treatment domestically instead of ending up as another lost title.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C+
Packaging Grade: C+
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Central Park Media
Release Date: December 2nd, 2003
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.