SYNOPSIS

Previous Episode
THE IDEON: A CONTACT
NOTES & REVIEW

ORIGINAL RELEASE: 10/07/1982

NOTES

A Contact is a compilation of material culled from the first 32 episodes of Space Runaway Ideon, mixed with new animation. The Notes section will only be covering things changed from the original episodes, to avoid repetition. For comprehensive notes, see the Episode Guide.

Cosmo and Deck after a stray shot destroys their hovercarResurrection of Ideon: The Gram Zan arriving above Solo at the start of the film is new footage. The rest of the opening 10 minutes are mainly taken from episode 1. Among the significant edits are the uncertainty of the Buff Clan pilots who fire the first shots - here they attack the colonists almost immediately. Also new is Cosmo, Deck and Kasha getting hit by stray shots from the Kopolas and running the rest of the way to the site - in the original episode, they were already there arguing with Bes before the attack started. Also, the dialogue as Cosmo first sits in the Sol-Amber is altered, as he states the Sixth Civilisation machines only move with a kid inside (despite the Sol-Vainer moving with Bes and Sheryl inside...), whereas it would be much later in the series before the colonists realised this.

Destruction of New Lopia: Only a couple of minutes of episode 2 are used - mainly shots of Gije and the Dekka Baus, the attack on New Lopia and some of the second dig site footage. I'm 99% sure Fard isn't shown with Lotta, Lou etc. at their camper van in the original episode - he seems to have replaced Ashura, though it'd be odd for this little sequence to be remade. Footage of Gije's strike force leaving the Gram Zan looks new... Also, instead of separating immediately after defeating the force attacking the first excavation site, the Ideon stays combined and moves straight to the second site.. I'm only 75% sure on this one, but the brief footage of the Ideon taking off from the forest is new. In this sequence, Damido is given a new death while still on Solo, his Gil Bau being destroyed by Ideon. There are fair few new Ideon and Solo Ship interior inserts, generally for exposition purposes - the robot apparently has an 'Intention Automatic' system fitted, presumably an explanation for why the crew can pilot it successfully right from the off, instead of the learning curve shown in the first few episodes of the series; Cosmo's father (reduced to a couple of frames of his death scene in this compilation... still, at least he didn't get a new, ludicrously violent death instead, eh?) was responsible for installing the control systems on the Ideon; the Ideon's missiles and Glen Cannon are built in rather than installed by the colonists; a couple of unnamed colonist soldiers get to make it clear the ship is the second set of ruins (they look a little bit like a mis-drawn Tekuno and Bento);

The Ideon launches above the moonThe Bursting Earth: Again, only a couple of minutes of episode 3 are used, mainly scenes from the second site, onboard the activating Solo Ship and its' escape. Sloppy editing means Deck can be seen running into the Solo Ship with Lotta and the other kids when he's still on the Ideon (in the series, the Ideon takes Lotta, Lin and the others to the second site, dropping Deck off as well - here they arrive by road, and Deck stays inside Ideon). It's not even a particularly necessary shot... The Solo Ship leaving Solo and entering DS drive, with Hatari noticing this (in the series, it returns straight back to Solo) is new. Bes also gives some super-exposition soon afterwards, which might be forgivable if he wasn't just standing on the bridge talking to himself. The meeting in the forest is taken from episode 6, though the dialogue has been redubbed for greater exposition. Actually, some of the shots of Bes (who's pretty much reduced to infodump man for most of the film) seem to be new animation, mixed in with the extant stuff from the episode.


The Ideon runs interference for Sheryl and Joliver's shuttleAttack on the Alien: The sequence with Karala and Mayaya caged onboard the ship is new, including a different death for Mayaya (sniped by Lotta). The dialogue of this also modifies the reason for Karala's change in clothing - in the series, her original outfit was destroyed by Guhaba; here it's been taken away by the colonists. Moera and Tekuno also get glamorous guard duties here, whereas in the original series Karala was able to wander the ship free by now, and was unaccompanied when Lotta tried to kill her. This time it's Bento who stops Lotta instead of Deck. Well, stalls her briefly... At least he bothers, though, unlike Cosmo and Sheryl who just watch the mad woman with the gun run past. This then rather clunkily links to the confrontation from episode 13, with Sheryl already inside the forest behind Karala - why not just draw Kasha in the new footage instead of Sheryl? The dialogue is also tweaked slightly to reference Mayaya's death. The compacting of several episodes excises just about every previous scene featuring Bes and Karala, and it seems he suddenly cares for her out of nowhere in this scene...

Sheryl is left unconscious on the moonInfinite Power - Legendary Ide: The linking material of Harulu and Doku discovering Karala's signal and sending Daram to deal with the colonists is new, while the discovery of the Ideon Gun is moved forwards - a brief piece of new footage links this in, which includes a shot of the Karioka already onboard. The discussion of the Gun itself is taken from episode 29. The scene of Joliver quizzing Karala on the Ide is taken from episode 12, with a few new frames leading into an edited retelling of the Buff Clan legend, from episode 5, then followed by more new animation expounding on the nature of the Ide. It'd be a pretty clean job if it wasn't for Karala inexplicably being back in her original outfit (maybe the colonists returned it to her?).

Plan for Retrieving Ideon: Much of episode 15 is included. New footage is mixed in, with Harulu contacting first Doku and then Karala. She also calls in Doba at a much earlier juncture and calls her sister a "shameless whore". Most of episode 21 also makes it, though the battle in Null Space is much simplified and some new animation for the Solo Ship's DS out is added in. Thankfully, among the minor cuts is Lotta's reference to having never killed someone before, which is no longer accurate. Another change to the footage is that the Ganga Lubu's swift attack injures Cosmo. Daram's dialogue with Harulu is also slightly altered (Yay for spacesuits which cover character's mouths) to reference Doba, while the Ome Foundation stuff is largely ignored - Daram acts like he's regular military.


Gije escapes the Baram Barume

When Meteors Fall: Footage of the injured Cosmo is taken from episode 25 - in the series, the injury was caused by a full-scale battle with Daram over Kyaral, rather than when the Ganga Lubu attacked. New footage then links this to the visitation of the Ide - originally Bes was visited by the Ide, in episode 34. I'm not sure if there is any direct footage reused, but it definitely references the visuals. Episode 26 provides footage of the injured Cosmo returning to his duties.

Amidst the Flames of Fate: The moon sequence in the film blends several episodes, with the shot of the meteor heading towards Earth, the scenes with Gloria, attacks by Zlow Jick fighters on the moon and Sheryl presenting her findings to the crew is taken from episode 27; the resupplying clips, the stuff with the kids, the Adigo attacks, the Baram Burame/Ideon swords sequence and Gije taking Sheryl onboard from episode 29; Moera berating Fard, his final scene with Rapoh, and his death scene (the TV version presumably being violent enough) and funeral from episode 32; I'm 75% sure the footage of Earth Union craft fighting is from episode 28 too.

Daram is killed above the moonSwords of Light: There is also some new footage - Gije now pilots the Berum Barame during the assault (plus there's new footage of him escaping - the no-mark series crew were killed when it explodes); there's a brief new sequence for the Ideon launching from the Solo Ship; new footage of the exterior of the Ideon for Moera's death, the Ideo-Buster no longer docking out (this works rather well, as it explains were exactly Bento goes when the Ideo-Nova catches fire); a new death scene for Daram, now killed over the moon by the Ideon Swords along with the Gerowa Zan; Joliver and Sheryl are now split up on the moon, and she is taken back to the ship by Gije; During the Gloria sequences, Colbeck is present from extant footage, but pitched as a random, unnamed colonist (despite the different design spacesuit). Sheryl doesn't even react to his death really - her upset state when explaining the data from Gloria to the other colonists is intimated to be down to the nature of her findings and/ or her ordeal on the moon and with Gije.


REVIEW:

Mayaya and KaralaA Contact is very much a mixed success. On the one hand, compressing nearly all of a TV series into an 85-minute film and having it make anything approaching sense is tricky and it holds together rather well, despite a few sloppy errors. The plot manages a breathless speed, and yet there are still the slow, contemplative moments that were so effective in the original series. Much of the first half of the series was middling to poor, and it's good to see the space travelogue aspect dropped, while the lack of repetitive Buff Clan commanders is also a big plus. The new animation is superb (though some of the series footage, notably the early episodes, is overly bright by comparison), and some of the editing is inspired - tying Gije coming onboard directly into the Gloria sequence is very well done, as is threading Harulu (who's absolutely terrifying) through myriad events she was never originally present at. The new music, while used sparsely, is similarly excellent (plus "Sailing Fly" over the end titles is a wonderful slice of guilty pleasure pop).

The downside is that while most of the significant events of the series are covered, the pace sacrifices the characterisation. Bes, Sheryl, Gije, Kasha and even Cosmo are little more than ciphers, which robs a lot of the proceedings of their drama and feeling. If you have working knowledge of the series, your brain will fill in some of the gaps, but viewed as an introduction to Ideon this won't make you care for the characters much at all. The condensed narrative also robs the atmosphere from the episodes - the events of the film don't seem to happen in much more than a couple of days, so there isn't the desperation of the series. While watching the series is a lot more effort, especially the slower mid-run episodes, it's ultimately more rewarding. While most of the plot alterations work, there's nothing that really improves on the originals. A Contact is best viewed as a sort of extended trailer for the series, rather than as an adequate substitute.